Saturday, December 23, 2006

1 Year Blog Anniversary

Tomorrow is my one year blog anniversary, but I'll be on vacation, so I'm celebrating a day early. I remember being so excited starting this up, and posting my first Illustration Friday post. This blog has been a wonderful creative outlet for me. A place to follow through on the ideas floating around in my head. I cherish all the support from everyone who's stopped by for a visit. I love hearing from you. You've all kept me so motivated to go on, and try new things. I'll be doing more blog visiting over the holiday. I've added some more of my favorite artists to my blogroll.

This will be my 34th post. It's not quite the 'at least once a week' goal I was reaching for, but it does feel like an accomplishment. This has been a real up and down year for me. I have noticed that for me every year seems to have a theme or a certain focus, and I seem to follow my own little story arc that supports it. This year I thought I knew what I wanted this year to be about, and what goals were most necessary to achieve, mainly to buy a house, but I learned that sometimes the path from A to C involves a lot more focus on B than you had intended. There was so much more middle stuff that needed to be accomplished before the end goal C could ever be thought about. But that has been a good thing since stopping to focus more on my art and career has opened up new and exciting opportunities that may bring me to a better point C than I ever had imagined. This year I learned that the most random points in your life have a way of connecting in ways you never considered. I hope in 2007 to see even more of my dots connect.

Illustration Friday: Peace

Who! who! who!, Merry Christmas! to everyone who participates in Illustration Friday, and everyone out in the blogosphere and beyond!
Tomorrow is my 1 year blog anniversary, and it's been such a fun year meeting so many new friends. I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday.
Happy Winter Solstice!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Illustration Friday: Thanksgiving

I'd like to take a moment to give thanks to pie! While turkey is often the main attraction every Thanksgiving my favorite part has always been my mom's homemade pies. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin unless it's folded into a cheesecake, but I love cherry pie topped with wonderful cool whip!

This is a photo of last year's pies. My self-appointed job is to crimp the crusts, and decorate the top. I had fun with my maple leaf cookie cutters for this one. I haven't yet decided yet what the design theme will be for this year.
For some inspiration maybe I should consult the Book of Pi.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Illustration Friday: Clear

Never is there more of a need to clear the skies than when Andy the Amazing Flying Ace takes to flight. While many of his tricks are downright....well, amazing, he's often unpredictable, doesn't have the best brakes, and he's not exactly known for flying in a straight line. So, if you happen to hear his plane engine buzzing near, unless you'd like a propeller up the nose, it would be best if you cleared the runway, and gave him the right of way.

I loosely sketched the idea for this illustration as I was driving on the toll road to go visit my parents, (even though I never condone sketching and driving). I was thinking that I was soon going to see little Andy, the most precious kitty that ever was, and his tendency to sometimes fly at great distances off the bed or couch rather than simply jump down, and so the character of Andy the Amazing Flying Ace was born.

A 'History of Angela' Fun Fact: My high school class was so apathetic that our class color was 'clear'.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Black & Orange

I wanted to contribute an illustration to Penelope's Black & Orange gallery, but I'm still a little lacking on fun drawing ideas. I have been snapping a lot of photos lately of anything that catches my eye, so I used the photo below, manipulated it in Photoshop a bit, and tranfered it onto Sculpey III to create the necklace above. Creating homemade necklaces has become a bit of a hobby for me, but sculpting a charm is something new, and was quite fun, especially the part about it not burning!
Have a spook-tacular Halloween!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Illustration Friday: Ghost

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted. I've missed participating in IF so much, but have had a hard time getting that creative spark back. So this is my little attempt to break the hiatus.
I love how everything gets dressed up for the holidays....even the donuts.

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween with sprinkles on top!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Illustration Friday: Farm

This week's entry was inspired by the soon to be released new version of Charlotte's Web starring cute little Dakota Fanning.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Illustration Friday: Match

I was having idea block when I went to read my now several days old Sunday Chicago Tribune, and there was a cover story about the twin Chinese girls who were adopted by different American families, and were reunited due to a chance meeting on the internet. Amazingly, their names are both Mia. They seemed to have an immediate connection when they met face to face, and their DNA was a match.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Illustration Friday: Clean

From the moment I saw this week's topic I knew I wanted to do a 'in the tub' scene even though I knew there would be a lot of similar entries. I wasn't sure who would be in my little tub until I remembered the time my mom and I attempted to bathe our extremely bratty, ornery cat Max. Mom said it couldn't be done, but I truly believed that since I was bigger, and even more stubborn than him that I would be triumphant. Well, as soon as I got him soaped up and slippery he did the 'crocodile death roll', I lost hold of him, and he jumped out of the basement sink, and ran upstairs. I paused, heard the 'I told you so' from mom, and calmly went up after him. I found him just sitting in the middle of the floor. I told him we would have to finish this thing, and his soapy little self realized I was right, and he let me carry him back down to the basement.

I've been meaning to get back to traditional painting for a long time now. I've become so dependent on the computer that the thought of picking up a real brush is extremely intimidating. I needed to break through this barrier. I want to get into working in acrylic, but for this first go around I went back to the medium I used to know best....watercolors.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Illustration Friday: Opposites

This week's topic developed into 2 separate illustrations in which I tried to include multiple opposites. So we have the big happy elephant enjoying being free to eat his little peanut in the city on a hot summer day, and then there is the tiny unhappy mouse trapped inside a country house while attempting to snack on big cheese on a cold winter day.

I definitely enjoyed drawing and coloring the elephant, but kinda lost interest in the mouse. While I was finishing this up I heard Stephen Colbert announce that tonight's word was 'Opposite Day'. How appropriate!

Hand drawn sketches colored in Painter IX.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Illustration Friday: Sacrifice

The pain of being abandoned is often too much for a once beloved stuffed animal to bear. Some of the forgotten ones turn to self-sacrifice, offering themselves up to the almighty shredder to become pillow stuffing in one last desperate attempt to be close to those who once promised to love them forever.
I always intended colour for this one, but this chalkboard sketch version came about during the process, so I thought I'd share it as well.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Illustration Friday: Skyline

I glanced out the window at work last week, and saw this strange suessian-type roadwork vehicle. It poured out some dust which whirled into a big cloud, and then rather precariously weaved from lane to lane backwards with cars zipping by. I'm not sure what the purpose was. My only thought was that it must have been part of some kind of pothole prevention plan.

I wanted to be more creative and looser with this, but got caught up with the details. I added an industrial skyline in an attempt to fit this week's topic. I'm not sure if I like the results with this one. I see it more as a stepping stone to some other design directions I want to explore.

Here's the photo I snapped before it sped off:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

Illustration Friday: Portrait

I was hoping to use this for one of the IF topics. I did this portrait last autumn for my mom's birthday. It is based on an old photograph of us from my childhood when we were goofing around with my dad's 'styling' fishing hat.

This was done almost entirely in Painter IX.
You can see a larger version which I posted at CGTalk. .

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Illustration Friday: Cake

Mmmmm, what a wonderful topic this week. I've been a big fan of this confection for as long as I can remember. What could be better than deliciously wonderful cake? Well, I suppose if a friend surprised me with cake that could be even better. Although, I'd accept cake from just about anyone!! :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Illustration Friday: Sorry

I'm sorry for not updating this blog much lately, and I'm sorry for missing a few weeks worth of Illustration Fridays. I've been busy as I explained in my previous post. I've missed participating. I already feel rusty. This took forever to finish. I attempted last week's topic, but it refused to become finished art. You can't force the design process, (bad things happen if you do), so I let it go. Hopefully, I can get back into the weekly IF habit.

needle felted pets

It feels like forever since I've posted anything. All the usual excuses apply. I've been stressed by work, doing a little freelance, and other projects like learning needle felting. I created these little versions of my parents cats for mother's day/father's day. I haven't done anything crafty in awhile, so this was a fun change of pace. It also helped act as a little art therapy to forget some of the work stress. I learned how to create these little guys from a coworker, Mary Brunner, who teaches classes on this, and many other wool creations at a local shop. I liked that there was no sewing, except for the eyes, and no gluing. I started with the wire armatures to give them structure, and it makes the finished ones bendable. Then I used some polyfill for the insides, and wrapped them with wool roving poked in with the felting needle. I broke a couple needles, and stabbed my fingers quite a few times, but it was a fun project.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Illustration Friday: Robot

Just a quick color sketch of father and son fishing at ol' Oil Slick Lake. I know I have some drawing problems in this, but I'm too busy and too tired to try and fix them now. I realized that I don't think I've ever drawn robots, so I did a little googling to try to get some ideas on the mechanics. National Geographic had a story about a real robot fish which probably helped inspire this image. While on their site I found a crazy article about a housefly with glasses, and another about a ginormous monster bunny which would have been a useful reference for me a few posts ago.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Illustration Friday: Spotted

Last week I heard on the news that a family of owls had returned to nest in a tree at a courthouse in a town near where I live, so on my way home I had to check it out. It was easy to find the right spot as there were people staring up into the trees. I didn't see anything in the nest, but then someone pointed out that the owl was on a branch farther up the tree. I asked if there were babies, and was told that was a baby. Wow, I didn't realize they were already so big. With help from others I spotted the other 2 babies in different trees. I tried to take some photos, but they were only a speck in my little camera.

I bought this photo from a toothless man who got the shot a day earlier when they left the nest, and one fell to the ground. Animal control came out and scooped it up, and put it on the roof of the courthouse. It was o.k..
They aren't the famous Spotted Owls, but rather Great Horned Owls.

I went home to my parents house for Easter weekend, and we went up to Fernwood Nature Preserve. It was the most beautifully perfect day! I took lots of photos of frogs and flowers, and we hiked through the woods. I felt so fortunate to take a day to really relax.

I wasn't sure if I'd get anything drawn this week as I've been ridiculously tired. To prepare for the nature filled weekend I got a sample of the allergy drug, Astelin. I breathed very clearly, but was sleepy and very drowsy. These last few days I started to feel like I was in a fog, and couldn't concentrate. I felt like my mind was slipping, and I was forgetting simple things. I was useless by evening, and didn't have the energy for anything, and depression was setting in. I googled, and found that others had many similar side effects, so I stopped taking it. I feel almost 100% better today. I was so much more awake this evening that I jumped for joy, and there was some skipping too. I guess I'll be going back to Flonase and homeopatheic remedies. I only wanted to mention this here to warn anyone who's considering trying Astelin that there are some possible serious downsides that they don't mention much in their cheery commercials.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Illustration Friday: Speed

Sure bee boy enjoys buzzing from place to place on wing power alone, but when he has the real need for speed nothing beats a super fly sports car. (Just hope the fly doesn't notice he "borrowed" it.)

I had the inspiration for this illustration ever since the Insect topic from last month. Speed seemed to be a fitting topic to turn this concept into tangible art.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Illustration Friday: Spring

I was hoping we'd get a 'spring' topic. A couple of week's ago I walked outside to go to work, and the air was warm, and the birds were chirping. I looked up and saw two robins on a branch. The first robin is always a nice sign that spring is here, so I figured two meant that mother nature wasn't kidding around. Then I glanced over at some other branches and there were 4, 5, wait, there were another 2 dozen or so robins gathered in the trees. I'd never seen a whole flock of robins before. (If 'flock' is even the right word.) Of course I've seen flocks of other birds, sparrows, crows, geese, but I've never seen so many robins in one place. It was a beautiful morning.

Then in true Chicago area fashion the very next day it snowed.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Illustration Friday: Monster

Marshall was fed up with being picked on and bullied everyday at school. So, he asked the teacher's permission to bring his pet bunny Xander into class. She delightfully agreed saying that she just loved cute little bunnies. She had no idea what she was in for.

I started on the idea for this sketch awhile ago, and when I saw the topic I thought it was a perfect reason to to try and finish it. I had trouble deciding on my colors, so I spent most of my time playing with the hues in photoshop. Monster bunnies reminds me of how Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anya said her biggest fear was bunnies. Oh, how I miss that show. : (

I saw this monster while mindlessly staring off into nothingness, and there he was. Lately, a lot of my illustrations start out from images I see when I'm not thinking about drawing. Daydreaming can be an artist's best tool.

I debated about posting this one. I have been keeping a clean potty-free sketch blog here, so this may be in bad taste. I was drawing this monster's portrait when he somehow got turned around, and appeared to be .....well, as you can see,....busy. So I drew him an environment, so everyone could see he was civilized, and not using the side of a building or other inappropriate place. Big thanks to Google image search for providing many, many references.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Illustration Friday: Feet

Rain or shine whenever he went out Eddie always put on his big red galoshes to cover his webbed feet, but his large bill always gave him away. Yes, Eddie was a duck, a curiously tall duck, but a duck nonetheless.
Dedicated to anyone who's ever felt like an odd duck.

Since my first illustration didn't technically show bare feet I did this quick sketch of Eddie just relaxing at home in front of the tv.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Illustration Friday: Tattoo

Although I don't have any tattoos myself, nor plan to, I do really enjoy the series Miami Ink. What I like most is hearing the stories of those about to go under the inked needle. Their tales are so passionate and heartfelt. They come in with so many different reasons for doing something so permanent. The father who got a tattoo of his young daughter beating cancer, people who get tattoos to remind them of family or friends who have passed, and those wanting a lasting reminder of a particularly trying time all are so touching. That's what is fascinating to me about tattoos. It's not just that they are a piece of art, but they often carry a lot of emotions in those images.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Illustration Friday: Insect

I was doublely inspired this week, and decided to do 2 bug versions. Now, I'm twice as tired. I picture the boy bee having the voice of Philip Seymore Hoffman as Truman Capote. Bzzzzz. Thanks Trevor for pointing out the Evangeline Lily pics that helped inspire miss girl bee's outfit.

I plan on making prints available of these at my deviantArt shop, and may try to make these available on some products at Cafepress if I can manage to figure out the process of opening a shop there, and if there's an interest.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Illustration Friday: Tea

I didn't want to be posting so late, but I've had a touch of a cold, and it slowed me down this week. Thinking of tea made me think of little girl's tea parties, but then my thoughts turned to what would make for an unusual social gathering. This lead to wondering what if Goldilocks and the 3 Bears could have made up over a nice cup a' tea??

I've been wanting to do a vector piece, but I'm not completely happy with the result yet. It still needs tweaking, or maybe I'll use this as a color comp, and try painting it instead.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Illustration Friday: Song

It's a shame when a bad singer happens to a good song.

I was going to skip this week's topic, but a song by Azure Ray, 'Nothing Like a Song' kept entering my mind as if it was prompting me to draw something song related.
This sketch seemed out of character for me, and I debated about whether to finish it, but I thought it would be good to experiment outside my comfort zone, and I was curious to see how it would turn out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Illustration Friday: Simple

When life becomes hectic and complicated it's easy to miss the simpler times of childhood. Everything seemed simpler when all I needed to know was that I loved Kermie, and Kermit loved me.
I also tried to make this week's entry simple for me by coloring a sketch I completed a couple months ago.

Kermit is copyright ©Jim Henson

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Illustration Friday: Chair

At first I thought this was an odd topic choice this week, but actually it could lead to endless possibilities. I reviewed some different options, but kept coming back to the pale yellow chair, and then just had decide who would sit upon it. Since I've been drawing a lot of standing characters lately this was a good exercise.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Illustration Friday: Glamour

I wasn't feeling very glamourous this week, and didn't think that I would complete this week's topic, but this young girl wanted her time in the spotlight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Illustration Friday: E is for...

The first 'E' word that popped into my head was elephant which makes sense since I've been trying to work on a children's book with a friend involving elephants that I've been slow to make progress on. It's a project that intimidates me to the point where I question every line of every sketch I attempt. I will conquer it. I just don't know how yet.

For this illustration I wanted to do a decorative ornate-type piece, but as I was working that out this little guy appeared.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Illustration Friday: Sea

This sketch sort of evolved into an image that could represent my horoscope sign--Pisces. Maybe I'll atempt to create the other eleven signs sometime.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My introduction to blogging

Since initiating this blog I've already changed the name, and address multiple times. I can be quite indecisive. I spent hours trying to discover how to add my own custom header. I finally got it, but I think I broke something. This isn't viewing well in Safari on a Mac. Oh well, I'll figure that out later. I'm a complete html/css rookie, so the header feels like an accomplishment. I'm hoping that along with helping to motivate me to draw more, that posting and customizing this page will help me learn a few html basics. Then someday, maybe I'll be ready to start my own website.