Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Inspirations

Hi all!
A quick note: I have significantly updated my website! There is one little glitch I have just noticed-- on the portfolio page, the Christmas dove piece continues to haunt you when the cursor is off the thumbnails! I will be fixing this problem shortly. But check it out anyway!
Speaking of Christmas cards...
Well, this year I am neglecting to paint my annual Christmas cards, unfortunately. I was on a roll, three years in a row, but I just couldn't find the time for 2011's rendition. So, instead, I decided to show you some really wonderful retro cards and advertisements, all of which I find pretty inspiring.

I can't resist starting off with my favorite: Mary Blair!

Here's a Disney illustration from 1952. The use of green is a little odd here, but I love the line work on the buildings. I think it's also pretty funny to see the traditional Disney characters drawn in their usual style, with Mary's trademark technique surrounding them.

©Mary Blair, 1952.

I'm not sure when this Christmas card was made, but I really enjoy the simplicity of it. The texture is really nice, also. Although, the rocking horse's eyes make me slightly uncomfortable after some time.

© Mary Blair

Not a card, but still for the holidays! This character is my personal favorite of the bunch. Her way of handling children still has the largest influence on my personal work. I also enjoy that this piece required such a limited color palette.

© Mary Blair for Meadow Gold

While on the hunt, I also found some really fun card illustrations from the 1950s. The first is from "Better Homes and Gardens," illustrating a happy family in the most traditional sense possible. I love that about old illustrations. Even if life wasn't really this perfect, the world sure pretended it was! Wonderful limited color palette here, also.

© Better Homes and Gardens

This is an old children's card from Carrington. Again, the simplicity here is just wonderful. Apparently, there are some Carrington card collectors out there. I can't imagine what kind of lovely goldmines those folks have.

© Carrington

Now, this I just found really funny! Talk about simplicity-- Santa in his most basic form, selling electrical appliances. I'm not sure what woman today would really want a slow-roaster or waffle iron for Christmas, but I won't judge either. This was printed sometime in the late '50s or early '60s.

I don't have anyone to copyright it to. :(

And last, but not least, a really fun card illustration from 1960 by Hallmark. The card was made for First Lady Mamie Doud Eisenhower. Apparently, Mamie was responsible for the pink bathroom trend that graces millions of homes today (or once graced, as I'm sure many have sadly been torn out by now). Click here to read the really interesting article on Mamie's love of pink influencing America, which I discovered was attached to the illustration.

© Hallmark via The Eisenhower National Historic Site

I hope this makes up for my lack of personal work for Christmas!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Features, features, and some more features!

Hey all!
I realized that I never updated you on my fun discovery a few weeks ago! After taking Kellan's suggestion to Google my own name, I found that other folks had, well, found me! Let me tell you, it is one of the most exciting things to unexpectedly see your work featured on another website. (Unless, of course, they've stolen it. I suppose that would be a different kind of exciting.)

Here's the links to each page:

Halogentv.com wrote an article on They Draw and Travel, and They Draw and Cook. My Zippy Zucchini recipe was at the top of the page! This was a nice treat, and was posted on my birthday, no less.

Avocado Sweet also did a piece on They Draw and Travel, and sampled both my Austin map, and fellow Square Carouselian Catherine Fontenot's Northway Park guide. About my work, they said, "Two maps that immediately made me want to go to Texas: Active Austin by Caitlin B. Alexander which includes a plea to 'Keep Austin Weird' and identifies the Armadillo World Headquarters."

Another Wordpress site to feature TDAT was Valesulfilo, which included my Austin map again, as well as previous Square Carousel member, Shannon Snow's, Savannah map.

I also found my map on a Tumblr page!

The most interesting feature of them all though, I must say, is the one I found written in Portuguese. The author was comparing cat totes, and mine was at the top of the page! It's so interesting to wonder how this ended up on her site, because it had been a year (at the time of the post) since my Etsy screen-print shop was selling the bags! In the post on Nao Me Mande Flores, she asks "Which one of these cute cat totes would you rather take home? I want them all!" I am proud to say (after translating all the comments like a dork!), that my tote was one of the most popular in the bunch! Good to know I have some Portuguese fans!

On another note, I finished my recipe for They Draw and Cook's youbeauty.com
holiday contest. They'll be announcing the winners soon. I hope someone from Square Carousel wins a prize! That would be so fun, but if not, it was a blast anyway. I always love creating pieces for TDAC and TDAT.

"Superfood Salad," Gouache and Digital, 2011.
That's all for now!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A little something extra

Hi all!
I thought it was about time for me to start blogging about a variety of illustration-related topics, instead of just posting my work. It's so easy to fall into that rut, and I know I used to have much more interesting things to say!

Lately I've been feeling very inspired by the 1940s and early '50s. Truthfully, I'm usually drawn to these time periods, as I'm sure you all have noticed, but for the last week or so, I've been especially obsessed.

I believe it all started with Thanksgiving. My parents have a box of endless ancient photographs, dating even back into the 1800's, featuring family members mostly forgotten. It's always really exciting to look through the old pictures, imagining what life was like, and how the people were related-- asking yourself, "was this woman my great-great-great grandmother, or was she... or this lady?" The box makes for quite a historical puzzle. The pictures I fell most in love with, however, were of my mother's parents. They truly were from the era that I daydream of. Here are a few scans:

And a fun one in the late 50's/early '60s of my mother and her sister:

It's so interesting that children had to dress up for a theme park during this time period.

The next day, we saw "My Week With Marilyn," with Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. The movie was really visually lovely. I found a picture online of her reading, which I don't remember actually seeing in the film, but it still captures the same feel. The patterns and colors here are to die for!
I've really been wanting to cut my hair like this for some time, but haven't had the nerve. Now that I'm out of school, I think it's really the best time to try it out. I found a really fun blog to follow called Elegant Musings. The girl who writes it has really similar inspirations as I do, and she actually cut her hair the same way I'm considering. Seeing her blog has finally given me the nerve to try it out. I'll be making an appointment any day now...

And what does all this have to do with illustration, you ask? Well, not only is my life influenced by these time periods, but my work is as well. Here is an illustration by Jan Balet that I've had on my bulletin board for probably a couple years now:

© Jan Balet, from "What Makes an Orchestra," 1951.

I love the mix of solid shapes, line, and collage that Balet uses here. Not to mention just the feel of "simpler" times that the piece exudes. I feel like this sensibility appeals to a pretty wide range of viewers, and I always try to keep my own work in line with that. I want it to seem timeless, approachable, and nostalgic, even though I'm creating it in the 2000's. And by surrounding myself by reminders of that time, I'm constantly motivating myself to recreate it in my illustrations, as well as research more and more. Plus, I just personally enjoy it quite a bit. It's just too much fun to live in an apartment with a teal-tile-walled bathroom!

(Yes, I took a picture of my toilet, and yes, there is a ceramic cat on top of it.)

That's about all I have to share on the subject for now. If you're feeling up to it, please leave a little note with your most inspiring era!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To brighten or not to brighten?

Hi all!
I'm in the middle of working on a self-portrait for Square Carousel, and I just wanted to get a little feedback. Some people love the colors I use, and others aren't much of a fan, so I've been playing around with it a little bit in Photoshop.

The original painting I think is too heavy on red/orange on the left side. The chair and the clothing kind of melt into one another.

So I played with it some, and I can't really say I'm a huge fan of this one either! I made the chair more of a teal so there would be a contrast with the dress, but then I felt that the piece was too cool overall, so I made the table slightly more purple. Maybe I just have to get used to it.

Thoughts? Which one do you like more? Any suggestions of colors to experiment with? I'm pretty set on my palette for everything but the table and chair, but if you have other ideas, be sure to throw them out there.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November!

Hi everyone!
Just a quick update. Most of the pieces are in for the new Square Carousel challenge. We were approached by Philippe Debongnie of Jazz and Draw (thanks to our success with They Draw and Travel) a few weeks ago. Then the group, prompted by Jazz and Draw, created pieces inspired by jazz music, whether that be a specific artist or general mood.

I chose to create a pattern for my piece. It is some of the best fun I can have, honestly! I don't know what it is about repetition like that, but nothing can compare to the feeling of creating something like this. (Plus, I'm a pattern junkie anyway. You would agree if you've seen my home or wardrobe!) Here's a peek, but for my explanation of my interpretation, you need to go to our site!

"Teddy Wilson, Summertime," Gouache and Digital, 2011.

And by the way everyone-- some big changes are coming to Square Carousel, so keep an eye out!

That's all I have for now!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Season changes

Hello all!
This will be a quick update, because I need to work on a piece for Square Carousel before heading to work (I now have a second job at The Art Garage, a walk in paint-your-own-pottery/art camp/classes/birthday parties place just outside of Austin!).

I completely neglected to show you the last challenge from Square Carousel, which was "Spirit Animal:"
"Wolf," Gouache, 2011.

Visit the site for the whole explanation of why I chose a wolf, but I can tell you this: don't think of the animal as the vicious carnivore from children's stories.

And I've completed another piece for the group, this time the challenge being "Fairy Tales with a Twist." I chose to illustrate the Mother Goose rhyme "The Three Little Kittens," which I suppose is less of a fairy tale, but it was something I held dear from my childhood. Here's the illustration:

"Kittens' Mittens," Gouache, 2011.
I have been getting some feedback lately suggesting a brighter color palette, so I pushed myself a little with this piece. I'm sure I still have progress to make, but I'm proud of myself for using so much pink!

Let me also show you my very latest piece for Square Carousel. The prompt was to illustrate your greatest fear. I have many fears, but I knew immediately that my greatest was to lose my loved ones and be alone in life:

"Greatest Fear," Gouache, 2011.

This piece was actually extremely difficult for me. The first painting I did was absolutely dreadful, and you aren't going to get to see it! Luckily, with a little inspiration from my dearest Mary Blair, I was able to pull this one out of the hat. I realized, although I have no issue seeing the negatives in life sometimes, I truly struggle with portraying it through my art. I suppose for an aspiring children's book illustrator, that isn't such a bad thing! You can read more about my piece on Square Carousel's website.

Also, some exciting news: I have been featured on several websites thanks to They Draw and Cook! The first was on their own art shop, where you can buy prints of my recipe, and even have the option of getting it framed. Then I was notified that my piece was up for sale on Great Big Canvas, a website that sells prints on stretched canvas of varying sizes. The great news about both of these is that I'll see a profit from any purchases of the prints. Thank you again, TDAC! And for the folks who read my blog-- if you have ever wanted a nice quality print of my work, this would be your best option at this point!

After that exciting news, then I found out that Halogen TV.com featured They Draw and Cook, with my recipe front and center, as the first of several example works from the site! And this happened on my birthday, no less! What a great surprise!

Last, but not least, I have one quick piece left to show you. This painting was for a very dear friend of mine who had a baby in August:

"Teddy Comes to Life," Gouache, 2011.

And now it hangs in the baby's room!

That's all for now,

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lots and lots of goodies!

Hello all!
I know, I know. I'm back so soon! Well, my lovely followers, I have so much wonderful news to share!
First of all, here is some new work (I have been very busy!):

"Trees in the Grove," Gouache, 2011.

"Picking Pears," Gouache, 2011.

"Harold Carries, Rosie Counts," Gouache, 2011.

These pieces are from an imaginary children's book I came up with. Theoretically, it would be titled, "Pears, Peaches, Apples," and would be about counting and seeing differences in objects (fruit specifically). I haven't added any text here for two reasons: first of all, I haven't written any text, and secondly, placement would likely be a designer's job, not mine. I had a lot of fun working on this, because of the challenge of a semi-limited color palette, as well as keeping my characters consistent.

Exciting bit number two:
The reason I was motivated to create these spreads was because I received a couple thrilling emails! First was the blog feature I have already mentioned on here. Annie Ericsson, an art assistant at Penguin/Putnam, loved my postcard mailer enough to post it on her website, and suggested that I create some spreads that show consistent characters to push my portfolio further. I have emailed her all of my most recent work.
And now, the Art Director of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has emailed me as well, saying that she loved my postcard and wants me to keep her updated with new work. How exciting is that?! So, I sent her my recent pieces also. Obviously, I will be letting you know if something happens!

And here's the BIGGEST NEWS OF ALL:

Our last Square Carousel challenge was to create a map for the wonderful website "They Draw and Travel," where illustrators around the globe create beautiful and geographically informative artwork. They often create books and calendars from hand-selected pieces, and are widely followed by the creative community. Here was my map (of my lovely home, Austin, Texas!):

"Austin Map," Gouache and Digital, 2011.

This project took a long time, and was pretty difficult for me because I don't usually work with such intricate details and backgrounds, but the struggle was so, so, so worth it! As soon as I uploaded my map to the TDAT (They Draw and Travel) site, I was contacted by the creators, Nate and Salli, saying that they had completely fallen in love with my work (I'm blushing!) and after searching around on my site and blog, they discovered Square Carousel. It was so exciting to them that our group of diverse (and talented!) illustrators had devoted our collective challenge to TDAT, and because of that, they offered to us the incredible opportunity to be heavily promoted by their network.
TDAT then did us the biggest compliment possible by telling every single person they could about our group. They featured our maps at the same time on the website (currently mine sits as the homepage!), with an amazingly large header that links to the Square Carousel page. Also on the They Draw and Travel site, Nate and Salli wrote a lovely blogpost about our collective. Then they took to Facebook and Twitter, repeatedly updating their hundreds of followers on our work. (Please check these links out for yourself, too!) The most exciting of all, however, might just be that Nate and Salli emailed all their subscribers (about 500 people, I believe) with an image-packed update of all Square Carousel's maps. This email also went, with a personal note, to the amazing Lilla Rogers, an artist representative who has corralled some of the most fresh illustrators to date. Even if none of us see immediate feedback from this networking extravaganza, it is such an honor and compliment to be promoted so heavily by one of the best creative websites around! THANK YOU, TDAT!

This made me so excited, so inspired, and so motivated that I decided to submit to TDAT's sister site (also run by Nate and Salli) called "They Draw and Cook." They are currently running a competition called "Cooking 4 Kids," so I did a quick, easy, and fun way to get children to eat their veggies: "Zippy Zucchini" (an allrecipes.com creation). This is the link to my submission and it's comments, but here's the image itself:

"Zippy Zucchini," Gouache and Digital, 2011.

And that would conclude all the exciting news I have for you right now! Stay tuned though, because I have a new Square Carousel challenge that I'm pretty close to posting...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Moving right along

Hey all!
Things are pretty crazy and busy right now, so here's another quick post.
Life update: Kellan and I have moved into our apartment, unpacked and decorated. It looks awesome! Now we just need some house guests... and the internet! I'm bumming off my parents' at the moment.

Here's a couple pictures of my amazing new workspace!

It's in the bedroom, but I divided the space a little with the tapestry.

Big, beautiful window!

Storage and a little personal work on display that you may recognize.

I love hanging art with clothespins! And bulletin boards, as you can see.

The best scanner ever sits on my dresser.

Also, I've started work at Urban Outfitters, although the minimal hours may become an issue by the end of the month. I'm hoping this will change soon though! It is the perfect job for me to couple with freelancing.

Some exciting news: I received an email from Annie Ericsson, an art assistant at Penquin/Putnam saying that she really enjoyed my postcard and posted it on her blog! She enjoys my work a lot, and suggests that I now make more pieces with a continued plot and characters. I'm on it!

Also, I've been getting some responses from other companies from my postcards, but I feel like I shouldn't jinx myself by discussing that too much yet. Baby steps! It's exciting to know that people are seeing my work, though.

The spots I was going to have in the September issue of "What's Up, Annapolis?" Magazine have now been moved to February so they can be larger. Here's to hoping that the next article isn't bumped! I can't wait to see it in print!

"Honey Bee," Gouache and Digital, 2011.

And last, but not least, here we have another post for Square Carousel! You need to go check out the site for yourself, but here's a snippet of my explanation of the piece:

"This quote I found very fitting to my personal life, as well as an interesting fact..."

Go look at the challenge theme! It was a great, and broad idea. So far the interpretations have been really interesting.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Square Carousel

Just a quick post today to let you know that I have another piece to show for Square Carousel! The explanation is on the site, so here's a little snippet of my interpretation (of my own theme) "Home Away From Home:"

"I picked this topic, thinking that it would be a piece of cake, since I love painting houses, but I quickly realized during the sketching process that this was not an easy concept to illustrate..."

Check out the site for more! Here's the piece:

"Where is my home away from home?" Gouache, 2011.

In other news, I started my day job this week, and am moving into my apartment with Kellan in eight days. Life is moving on!
And so am I! Time to go.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Limbo Land

Well, this has been a very interesting period of time so far for me. It really is difficult to describe. I feel free, in some regards, and more bound in others. I have yet to start a job, although I have been hired part-time by Urban Outfitters (starting the 26th), and am in between interviews with another store for a second job. Kellan and I have an apartment pre-leased for August. Although I've worked hard to take care of my responsibilities as a budding freelancer, it feels a bit like I'm living in the Groundhog Day movie! Every day is very similar to the last.

Regardless, I've made some significant progress with my illustration. At the end of June, I mailed out my roughly 650 postcards. That was an all-day ordeal, putting on stamps and addressing that many postcards takes a great deal longer than you'd expect. Toting them all in a shoebox to the post office certainly got me some strange looks! I also forgot to mention in my last post that the illustration department at SCAD offered to pay me for my portfolio book, to keep as a sample, but I declined. I couldn't give away my baby! So, instead I mailed them a disc copy of the PDF files. I've also prepared my tear sheet packets to be mailed as soon as we move into our apartment.

A couple weeks ago I received an email from one of my cards. I shouldn't name the company, since they haven't given me any work, but they were impressed by my portfolio and are asking for me to submit additional work soon (they need something slightly more specific in purpose than I have just yet). I'll let you know if this goes anywhere, but even if it doesn't, it was a very nice surprise, since I wasn't expecting to get any responses from my first mailers!

The biggest and best news of all though is several months in the making! Today I can officially announce my involvement with the Square Carousel Illustration Collective! It is a group of ten illustrators who met at SCAD and graduated this year. Josh Heinsz organized the group in a bout of complete genius, carefully selecting artists whose styles and personas mesh well together. I see our aesthetics as a gradient-- one person's work may be similar to another, who is similar to another, who is similar to another... The group will have bi-weekly challenges, and will act as a self-promotional tool, also giving us an opportunity to share advice and contacts with ease, now that we are spread across the country (and Canada!) The first challenge was to create our carousel animal, which will be synonymous with our name on the site. Here's mine:

"Happy Carousel Raccoon," Gouache, 2011.

Click here to check out our website! And here for our Twitter. Aaaaaand here for our Facebook page! Please like it, if you're on Facebook!

That's all I have for you at the moment. Check back soon!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The end of the beginning of real life, and the beginning of the very beginning of the middle of real life

Or something like that.

I am officially no longer a student, and instead a self-employed freelancer! Kellan and I will be moving into an apartment into Austin, Texas come August, and until then, I am in a little limbo living with family. It's okay though-- gives me a moment to catch my breath and organize myself.

Clearly, no new art to show at the moment, but I do have a few pictures from festivities at the beginning of June.

At the beginning of the weekend, we attended the Communications Arts show, which was organized by the school and consisted of works from Illustration, Graphic Design, Advertising, and Sequential Art. Here are pictures of Kellan and me with our accepted works:


Then, the next night, we had our Illustration Senior Show, which for me was an extremely wonderful culmination of all the relationships, experiences, and growth I have experienced over the last four years in the Illustration department. My parents were able to meet my professors, as well, which was really nice, because they had some very kind words to say about my work. I will miss all those lovely folks from Morris Hall! I only wish I had appreciated the community more when it was readily available.

Me and my work!

My dear friend, Casey Crisenbery

My lovely roommate, Catherine Fontenot!

Aaaand my super-talented love, Kellan Stover

The next day, we turned our tassels and were declared graduates! It was a long, hot, emotional, and overwhelming day that I will never forget and will hold dearly to me for the rest of my life. These people have touched me in so many ways over the years, and I owe them so much. Here are a couple pictures:

Procession into the graduation auditorium.

My school!

SCAD's president, Paula Wallace, and our commencement speaker, Whoopi Goldberg.

The Savannah College of Art and Design Class of 2011.

Kellan and I in our caps and gowns

And again in our fancy outfits

Some illustration loves-- Seo Kim and Josh Heinsz

And now I'm back in Texas! Since then, I have mailed out almost 650 postcard mailers and am an established member of the Square Carousel Illustration Collective-- a group created by Josh (seen above) that consists of 10 cohesive illustration students. Check out our site!

That's all for now! More updates soon. =)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Okay, I lied...

One last quick post! I graduate in four days... so I'm a tad frazzled at the moment.

My website is 100 percent done and spiffy now!! Go check it out.

Also, did a quick project for my World Mythology class. It is an illustration of the Australian sun goddess, Gnowee, who lights the sky each day with her torch, searching for her lost son. I wanted the piece to acknowledge her despair, but also give a sense of hope. Likely not going in portfolio, but it served its purpose well.

"Gnowee," Gouache, 2011.

Toodles! Next time you hear from me, I'll be a real grown up.