My holiday cards just arrived! With moving and getting my freelance career started the past few months have been a whirlwind. So Christmas just kind of snuck up on me. Moo.com’s cyber Monday 30% off sale was just enough of a reminder and motivation to light a fire under my ass and get this baby done. I still have quite a few of last year’s cards leftover though so I only ordered a small amount. It got me thinking though, maybe I should start an Etsy shop and sell these online? The inside is blank. I wanted to insert a silly message inside but Moo doesn’t let you design the inside, just pick the font and color. So the type ends up being enormous, and the lines don’t break where you want them to. I might look into another print vendor if I decide to print more. The illustrations were done in ink and watercolor on illustration board.
First things first, I’ve added more work to my portfolio, so please look around! And as always, your feedback is welcome.
So after what felt like an eternity planning, stressing, packing, driving, more stressing, and unpacking, we are finally settled into our new home in Sacramento. My husband has had the West Coast itch for several years now, and I figured I might as well appease him before he went berserk in our 500 sq-ft New York City apartment. The move across country was not entirely uneventful, but with the help of my in-laws, we made it to California relatively peacefully and safely.
So now what? Before the move (and for a little while after), I was unsure of whether or not I’d look for a full-time design job, give freelancing a try, or become a Netflix junkie, permanently affixed to our living room couch. I decided on the second option. And as scary as it seemed, so far so good. I had always been skeptical about freelancing, as I’d been burned in the past by a client who refused to pay me. I took her to court, she didn’t show, and I won. What Judge Judy and Joe Brown don’t tell you is that even if you win, it doesn’t end there. There’s still a ton of paperwork involved and it still doesn’t guarantee you you’ll get your money. I ended up moving out of state shortly after going to court so I just gave up. I’m still angry about it though. I dream of the day I “pop” into her office with my heavy (a.k.a. beefy husband) and demand my money plus court fees and 6 years of interest. Grrrrr.
Where was I? Oh, yes, well, I decided to smarten up and whip up some contracts. The bonus? They make me feel very smart and official. So now my home has also become my place of business, which takes a little getting used to. What I’ve found most effective is if I maintain the same work ethic as I had when I was employed, I’m much more productive during work hours and less stressed during off-work hours. Some examples: shutting off the TV at the start of the day, cleaning my desk up at the end of the day, and pretending the couch/bed/refrigerator aren’t just a few steps away. It seems so obvious, but it took me a couple of weeks to figure out. Duh.
Anyway…I think it’s time to retire my illustrated New York City blog. I might do one last entry if the mood strikes, but honestly, that blog was wearing me down. I will continue to post some things from time to time. I’ll start with a painting I did for my lovely friend from Virginia Tech who now lives in Boston. Here’s the first sketch:
Then the refined sketch onto the canvas:
Then the under painting, just done with burnt sienna:
Then I added white to the under painting, which quite possibly could have been a waste of time:
And after many rounds of ugly, here is the final:
There was a point where it was so bad I wanted to give up. But I’m glad I stuck with it, because it turned out ok in the end. However, I will never paint birds again. At least the ones that have feathers.
A couple of months ago I made the mistake of submitting a painting that didn’t exist yet for an art show. And being the procrastinator I am, I stayed up until 2am finishing the painting in order to turn it in for the show the next day. I definitely had a few college/illustration academy flashbacks.
I decided to do this painting because I really, really wanted to paint the cupcakes. I think maybe I thought it would be almost as good as eating them. (Perhaps this could be a new form of diet/art therapy?) The rainbow sprinkles were fun for sure, but I really liked painting the cab too. Overall this painting did not turn out the way I wanted, but I am starting to realize I’ve been lazy and skipping important parts in the planning process that normally contribute to a successful illustration.
BTW, I love that the sign maker got coffee and chocolate right but still managed to misspell “or.”
Here’s my initial sketch. Instead of sketching in my sketchbook and then transferring the sketch to the acrylic paper (and ultimately growing bored with the illustration before I even start painting) I just sketched directly onto the acrylic paper.
I also tried something else new. I learned that Mark Teague does a burnt sienna underpainting, then paints in the shadows with gray and highlights with gesso. I decided to try this, and by the time I had finished this portion of it I was a little sick of painting.
So I put it off…until the night before I had to turn it in. I originally intended to paint the color portion with my brand new gouache paints, but since I was in a rush I decided to go with acrylic (I’ve never used gouache before). About halfway through the acrylics began to annoy me so I switched to trusty oils. Since oils take a long time to dry, I put my painting in a low-temperature oven to speed dry it. (A tip that saved my ass many times in college.)
Happy New Year. It’s been a while since my last post. Partly because I took a break during the holidays, and partly because this illustration took FOREVER. This is from the Santa Streak 2011 in Astoria Park, Queens. It’s an annual charity event that involves running, underwear, very cold weather, and a group of slightly crazy Astorians. And ridiculous amounts of alcohol.
I hate this painting. But I’m trying to let go of my perfectionism and am posting it anyway. I thought the subject matter was pretty hilarious and was motivated to start the painting, but my motivation quickly ran out after I sketched out my runners. I put so much time and detail into the sketches that by the time I had transferred the sketches to the acrylic paper, I was tired of working on it. I also think it’s fugly because the composition is boring, the background is too primitive, and the colors aren’t working together. Oh well, it is what it is. It’ll be a good reason to make the next one better.
Here are the 3 main runners I sketched in my sketchbook.
I tried to trace the sketches onto the acrylic paper, but the paper was a little too thick to see the detail clearly, and I ended up having to redraw much of it onto the acrylic paper.
This is the painting midway…I got lazy and waited until the end to paint in the rest of the background. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the background were simple, but the trees and shadows made it more complicated and should have been completed first.
In other news, check out my new Mac and desk! It was a very Merry Christmas indeed!
This guy grabbed my interest one day as I was walking down Broadway in the Village. I never noticed him before that day, but now I see him almost every day either chillin on the sidewalk or customizing t-shirts with a sharpie. The painting is 8″x10,” done in oils on acrylic paper. It’s my first time using acrylic paper which comes pre-cut in a pad. I’m lazy and hate to cut illustration board so was tempted to try it. It’s more porous than illustration board so the oil dried quicker (which I liked) but it buckled after I put an acrylic wash over the sketch. Oh, and the paper ripped when I peeled the artists tape off the edges. Meh.
Here are a few photos I took during the process. I started off with a sketch in my sketchbook.
Then I transferred my sketch to the acrylic paper and fixed it with an acrylic wash (thanks for the tip, Sterling!).
Then switched to oils. Wasn’t digging the way his pants were turning out…
…so I put him in jeans instead.
Welcome to my brand spankin’ new website and blog. This blog will contain paintings I create based on what I see in the city. This first painting is about 5″x6.25″ and was made in acrylics and oils. I don’t particularly know why I chose to paint it so small, but it presented some challenges when rendering facial details. This scene is from McDougal Street in the Village.
Here’s a little background on the project: I studied illustration in college with hopes of becoming a children’s book illustrator. But after I graduated in 2004, I realized that working as a freelance illustrator wasn’t going to be steady or lucrative enough to support myself and my husband, who was also in college full-time. So I started working full-time as a graphic designer, which was great because it was something I really enjoyed and paid the bills. But the downside was I really let illustration fall to the wayside. For like, 7 years. So I started this blog to force myself to create artwork. Since I’m not the type of person who always feels to need to create things and would much prefer to spend my downtime exploring the city with my husband, I needed a deadline-driven project to get me going.