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!