Wednesday, May 18

Botanical Illustration: Onion

A new botanical illustration of an onion. I do apologize for the not so great photography here. I think my initial sketch seems a bit more interesting than the final (that may also be due to the low quality photo). However, this was a lot of fun to paint, I hope it looks realistic enough.

Watercolor flowers on gessoed paper

Today I was playing with watercolor on gessoed paper. I loved the texture that the gesso created but I'm not sure it shows up well in this image. I made up the flower cluster and then did some poppies, buttercups and dianthus. It was fun being a little more loose with the watercolor and drawing/painting directly with the brush. I will definitely be doing more of this.

Wednesday, April 27

Reconnecting with my sketchbook

 The Paw Paw tree was a new discovery for me while walking along the C&O Canal in Maryland. The flower buds are a deep maroonish color with bright green leaves. The Washington County Cooperative Extension help to identify the plant for me and they also mentioned the tree bears a large edible fruit and that this is the host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly. I've never seen one before until my next walk and they are simply beautiful butterflies! With black and white wings and a distinctive magenta spot on the lower part to the wing. There may be other varieties of them I'm not sure, however, that is the one I encountered.

I will try to collect another tree branch to try and replicate the color of the flower and it would be nice to to a full illustration of the branch and butterfly. Spring is slipping by fast so I am running out of time.

These pods I grabbed off a bank near where I walk back in March I believe. Left over remnants of fall. Their shape fascinated me and the seeds inside are like little winged bugs. I think it will make a good composition for a graphite drawing, hopefully sometime soon.

Sunday, March 20

Team SCBWI Conference

Today wrapped up the Team SCBWI conference in Maryland. A very well attended event. Saturdays conference was full of wonderful lectures. Betsy Bird, the Collection Development Manger of the Evanston Public Library gave a very lively and entertaining look into the trends of picture books to start the morning off with a enthusiasm and excitement.

The first breakout session I attended was "Write to Inspire: Work for Hire" by Kara Laughlin, Author and Artist. She provided her insight on the work-for-hire market in craft and how-to books for children.

Next I attended "So You Want to Get Published?" by Mallory Grigg, Sr Designer at Simon and Shuster. She talked about what to put in your portfolio and the importance to show what you really like to do to stand out from others. She spoke about websites and how they should be easily accessible and your images to project large enough to see ease. She looks for artists work on Pintrest and Instagram to mention a few and postcards are still the rage to get someone's attention. Mallory was a very insightful speaker.

Next up, "What Makes a Great (Novelty) Picture Book" with Jess Tice-Gilbert, Sr. Art and Novelty Designer at Scholastic's Cartwheel Imprint. This was a fascinating trip into board, pop-up and lift-tab books (if I'm identifying that correctly). Another great speaker who knows her stuff. Her job is one of those niche jobs that you don't really hear about in art school or that advisers would talk about. If you are a young art student that loves production, building things, love paper and engineering how it moves, then I think this is an amazing option to consider. Something I wish I knew more about as a young designer.

On to lunch and two more breakout session. I signed up for a portfolio critique that afternoon and I was match up with Mallory Grigg. As always, I am nervous when having to show my work to someone outside your normal circle. It was a very good critique, I appreciated her comments and she was spot on with what I need to improve on and work towards. Thank you Mallory!

Sunday was a 3 hour intensive session. I attended "Turning Words into Illustration, Typography, Lettering, and /or a 3D Pop-Up Galaxy" with Mallory Grigg and Jess Tice-Gilbert. It was a nice small group and the information was detailed and the Q&A informative. One of the best workshop/sessions I've attended that was perfectly geared toward artists at any of the SCBWI conferences I've gone to before. Mallory and Jess you were both true professionals with great advice and comradery.

Friday, March 18

Almost Ready

I am almost ready for the Team SCBWI Conference in Maryland tomorrow. I just made this handy dandy card case to hold some postcards and my business cards. I made it from a cardboard box that my bicycle helmet came in. I liked that it was black and the thickness was just right. The larger pouch lets my postcards fit nice and snug and the smaller attached pouch holds the business cards secure with the cardboard flap.

I just love cardboard and this was a fun little project. Someday I really want to make a cardboard grandfathers clock (someday).