The Great Escape

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This is a piece I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks. My first intent was to create an illustration with a bicycle since I’ve never really drawn one before. I also wanted to create a very dramatic composition with equally dramatic lighting. Getting the right amount of color and contrast is something I have to work very hard at, so it’s nice to see those skills improving.

I may use this as a promotional piece at some point but I’m contemplating options other than just postcards.

This piece is available as a print from Society6.

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Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by Michelle Kondrich – age 7

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On a recent trip to my parents’ house I discovered this illustrated short story that I wrote in the third grade. I don’t have a lot of old examples of things like this that I created as a child so I was excited to find it. I also found an in-class journal from the same year that is quite amusing.

It’s a very convenient story and I make the mistake of switching tenses halfway through, but I sure wrapped it up neatly at the end! I’m not entirely sure who is who in the illustration other than Poochie, who I am assuming is the poodle.

I’ll post some of the journal pages at some point. I didn’t remember being so sure that I wanted to be an artist, but the journal proves otherwise.

What kind of drawings and/or stories did you create as a child?

Food Illustrations for AIGA Colorado’s Heart Art Denver

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These are some food illustrations that I did for AIGA Colorado’s Heart Art fundraiser in Denver. It’s the first time I really focused on particular dishes for an illustration and I am pleased with how they came out. The above piece is a seared pork tenderloin dish. Below is a seafood pastry and chocolate hazelnut pancakes.

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The New Yorker’s 2012 Eustace Tilley Book-Bag Contest Entry

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Poor Eustace. Due to a slowing economy and high unemployment rate he was forced to leave his position at The New Yorker and take a job as a barista at a local coffee house.

Last night, just under the wire, I submitted this piece to The New Yorker’s 2012 Eustace Tilley Book-Bag Contest. I don’t normally enter many contests, mainly because they tend to charge high entrance fees and/or the retain the rights to the work regardless of whether or not you win. This contest was free to enter and they only keep the rights to use the image to promote the contest. Anything else and they pay you.

Anyway, I saw the announcement for the contest last week and thought it would be fun to try. Not to mention my work could potentially be seen by AD’s and Editors at The New Yorker.

Even if I’m not one of the winners, I’m quite proud of this piece. I only wish I could have found a decent sized example of the title logo so it could look a bit more authentic. I’m confident that the people at The New Yorker can imagine what that would look like, though.

Do you enter contests? Which ones have you found to be worth the entry fee?

New Custom Standing Workstation!

*UPDATED BELOW*

 

Over the weekend I was able to pick up the standing workstation that I had custom built. It was designed to be 41″ – tall enough that my arms can rest at a comfortable 90 degrees and my computer can be tilted so it’s perfectly at eye level.

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The desk is 5′ wide and 2′ deep and half the table has the ability to tilt up to 45 degrees. It came to me unfinished so I stained it and varnished the top at home. I plan to varnish the entire desk, but right now it’s too cold to have all the windows and door open long enough for the whole thing to dry. In the spring we’ll do the rest.

In addition to the drafting side, it als has a very deep drawer that is the same width as the desk.

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As you can see, the drawer can hold a lot of stuff, including two 11×17 pads of bristol side-by-side. Now all my works-in-progress and finished line drawings will have somewhere to live until I’m ready to really store them.

I haven’t finished decorating the wall area yet and I still have some organizing to do. Some of those boxes won’t be on the floor and there will be another little set of drawers on the left-side. Overall it will be much┬áneater than my old set-up which was a computer desk and a separate drawing table, neither of which had much in the way of storage. We still need to get some shelves for our closet so I can store lots of stuff in there as well. I’m an adult now – it’s time to get rid of all the clutter! Or at least make it look organized.

The carpenter who built this for me, Roudy Clapper, did such fabulous work. He even built it so that the legs can come off, which was essential to fitting it in the back of our little Honda Insight. He said that he had a great time building it and enjoyed the challenge of doing something he’d never done before. I provided him with a sketch and a description of what I wanted and he took it from there.

He is absolutely interested in building more of these, so if you are interested you can contact me. He is located in rural Nebraska so if you aren’t near there you’ll have to work out shipping with him. He may also be able to sell his plans if you would like to build one yourself. Obviously the height and the size can be totally customized to fit you and your needs.

I’ve only been using it since last night, but so far I feel more awake at the desk than I do if I’m slouching in front of the computer. I definitely need to get a stool and a mat to stand on since I’m not used to standing all day. I’ll update this post with a full review in a few months.

Also, doesn’t it look great?

For an example of another, more do-it-yourself desk check out Chris Oatley’s.

*UPDATE*

I’ve been using my new desk for a little over a month, now. I’ve had a tiny issue with one of the boards cracking, likely due to the altitude/humidity change, but the carpenter is going to repair it next time I visit my parents. Luckily, the crack hasn’t impaired anything and the area is still super stable thanks to very good craftsmanship.

As for how I like using it? I love it! My back and shoulder aches are gone and I’m so much happier when I can avoid hunching over to draw or to paint digitally. I feel truly energized by being able to stand for a good portion of the day I thank my husband on a regular basis for letting me make this investment.

I highly recommend a standing desk of your own, whether you build it yourself, cobble it together from IKEA pieces, or have a carpenter build it. And let me know if you are interested in having my carpenter build one for you or draw up plans so you can DIY.

Cover Illustration for Regent’s College London EBS Alumni Magazine

EBS-London-Cover-Illustration-Spaghetti-Meatballs-Michelle-Kondrich

Late last year I was asked to create a cover illustration for EBS London, Regent’s College London’s alumni magazine. It was a food and drink special with the tagline ‘The Ingredients of Success.” They loved the spaghetti and meatballs idea and provided the words they wanted to include within the pasta. They were such a pleasure to work with and I was thrilled to be working on my first cover. Below is a larger image of just the illustration.

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Sneak Peek of a Panicking Chicken

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Since early December life has been extra crazy and it appears it might continue that way for a while. I’ve had a good amount of client work is is great and I’ve also been working on a lot of personal stuff.

This year I am developing a new, more cohesive style and trying to fill my portfolio up with this new work. My last blog post featured some of the new work. Above is a little peek at one I’m working on now.

Just before Christmas I signed up with Hire an Illustrator. You can see my portfolio here. It’s only been a couple of weeks but I have seen traffic to my site increase and I am very hopeful about the work it might bring in. I’ll post a comprehensive review of it in a few months.

This weekend I’m driving home to my parents’ house to pick up my new STANDING WORKSTATION! I’m so excited to see it and get it set up in the apartment – especially since I already sold my drawing desk. I’ll be posting photos and a review of it next week.

New Illustrations, Experiments, & the Sea

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Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting here and there with new ways of working. I wasn’t feeling comfortable or happy with the way I was coloring work or with the consistency of style in my portfolio. I started looking more closely at a few illustrators whom I greatly admire and studying what it was that I liked about their work and tried to incorporate some of those things in my own way.

Over the holidays we went with my whole family to Belize and did a bit of snorkeling. I’m not sure if these pieces were inspired by that or if it’s a total coincidence. I noticed that several of my stronger pieces happen to involve the sea. I couldn’t tell you why.

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I plan to continue working this way. It feels much more natural and will help me convey my ideas and messages more clearly.

Happy New Year to everyone!

These pieces are also available as prints on Society6 here.