This week the August issue of Prospect Magazine was released and I am pleased to share an illustration I did for a fiction piece in the issue called “Flight” by Tessa Hadley. The story is about a woman who returns to the UK on business and takes the opportunity to meet her niece’s baby and to try to repair her relationship with her estranged sister.
My favorite part of this whole piece was creating the paisley pattern on the scarf. I love inking and/or painting imperfect patterns. It’s so satisfying to see the detail give the element a little more life and shape.
You can see the last illustration I did for Prospect Magazine here.
Architectural illustration is not a field I expected myself to be in one day, but after I created an image for my alma mater’s Christmas card last year, it seems to be something I have a knack for. I have done a bit of work for other universities (and if you’d like me to paint something for yours, get in touch!), but this painting was a little something different.
A friend of mine commissioned this painting of her boyfriend’s grandmother’s home as a birthday gift. It is a house with a name – and who doesn’t want to live in a house with a name? Meet Daisy Hill. I’m told her boyfriend loves it.
This painting provided me an excellent opportunity to make the piece EXACTLY as I wanted it with no digital manipulation since the original painting was being framed and given as the gift. I often tweak colors or saturation levels digitally because I can be a bit timid with those things when I’m painting but there was no room for that this time!
Below are some of my sketches and color studies that I sent to my friend before beginning the final painting.
Last week, I had the pleasure of working on an illustration for Prospect magazine for a story that hit very close to home. The piece is a short story titled “Animal, Vegetable” by Kate Clanchy that is about “you” and your slightly higher achieving friend with the perfect life and the seemingly perfect daughter. Without giving too much away about the short story, it really tugs at the heartstrings of anyone with children so the fact that I have a six-month-old at home meant that I felt the pain of this story very intensely. I’m very happy to have had the chance to work on a story that I could connect with so personally.
Below are some process shots of the painting. Thanks to Creative Director, David Killen.
In this instance, painting in the background first was surprisingly satisfying. The figures as just negative space were striking. So much so that the thought crossed my mind that I should leave it this way. And below I briefly considered leaving all the flesh tones white to give it a more stylized look but, ultimately, it looked better completely painted in. It does make me want to try some of these techniques on future illustrations, though.
You may have already seen my recent cover and interior illustrations for The Writer’s Chronicle. Sometimes when you send your art director sketches there is more than one that you want to take all the way to the final. That was the case for this cover assignment. Amongst a very busy season and taking care of a six month old (my adventures in freelancing with a baby are being chronicled here), it took me several months to finally finish off this painting. And it was worth the wait.
I feel I really was able to push my composition with this in a way that paid off. If you didn’t see the original cover, it went along with an essay on Henry James and his craftsmanship on The Portrait of a Lady. As per usual, I made some digital tweaks, but the original painting is not far from this version and is for sale, so please get in touch if you are interested.
I intend to write another baby-related post in the near future, but even my good friends are due emails or visits so I will get to it as soon as I can.
In February, I had the great pleasure to work with The Writer’s Chronicle for a second time. I created a cover illustration for an article titled “The Master Craftsman” which was about Henry James and how he crafted The Portrait of a Lady. As you can see, I chose to depict James as a literal craftsman, carving the novel out of wood.
The second illustration accompanied an article titled “Three Quick Studies of the Image” and discussed the role of the image in poetry. This was particularly challenging given the abstract nature of trying to illustrate “the image.” I decided to explore a concept using ancient stone carvings and hieroglyphs as they related to language and communication.
The folks at The Writer’s Chronicle are always so great to work with and they have typically given me a lot of freedom with the illustrations. And this issue was especially well-timed because it came out during the annual AWP Conference & Book Fair so hopefully a few extra eyes were on the issue.
You can see the cover and interior illustrations I did for them in 2013 here.
Here is a little illustration I created for Branston Pickle’s Facebook page.
Sorry the blog has been a little quiet recently. You may or may not know that I had a little girl back in mid-November and, naturally, she’s been taking up the majority of my time. I’m still working when I can and even managed to make some homemade stockings for our new little family.
I did another illustration for Branston’s page prior to our new addition. This one was in more of a “Where’s Waldo” style.
Normally about now I’d be thinking about my goals for next year, but things have been a touch chaotic around here! After Christmas, I will have more time to contemplate things. I will say that 2014 was a very good year and I have high hopes for 2015. Mailers went out shortly before Christmas, and I am ready to jump right back into work.
Have a wonderful holiday!
On November 13th, AIGA Colorado and Design Council of Denver Art Museum are holding a collaborative event they are calling Chaircuterie. I am one of 25 artists that were chosen to create a 2-dimensional piece of artwork featuring a chair or chairs in some way. Here’s a bit more about the event:
Chaircuterie is brought to you by two of Colorado’s leading creative organizations.
Here’s the backstory: AIGA turns 100 this year. With a nod to the founders who provided their own chairs for the inaugural meeting, we’re marking this milestone in Colorado with an original selection of chair designs. One hundred stellar creatives are being asked to craft 25 full-size chairs, 50 miniature chairs and 25 two-dimensional chair representations.
This event supports AIGA Colorado mentorship programming and the Denver Art Museum’s Department of Architecture, Design and Graphics, steward of the AIGA Design Archives. This program is supported by Denver Arts & Venues Cultural Partner Program and the McNichols Civic Center Building.
My painting will be available for sale the night of the event and it is also available as a print here. The painting is an imagined self-portrait of myself at eight months pregnant, napping in an armchair. I say “imagined” because I didn’t pose for it directly, but I am indeed very pregnant at the moment. It is acrylic paint on watercolor paper and the size of the full artwork is 18″ x 24″. If you’re in town, come to the event! I’ll be there mingling as much as possible – while trying not to go into labor.
For your viewing pleasure today, I am posting my latest editorial illustration. I’m really excited about this piece for a few reasons. I’m quite pleased at how it turned out and I also feel that it marks a discovery for me as far as what works best for my work and concepts. That discovery is thanks to some fellow illustrators over at The Mighty Pencil (if you’re not familiar with this illustration collective, I suggest you check us out).
The piece was created for an article about a woman who leaves the city for a much more affordable small town. It all looked great on paper, but when it came to actually living in a small town where she had no real roots the town just didn’t cut it. After an isolating winter, she made the decision to move back to a large city.
The painting is available as a print here and I have also made cards (and other products) available here – seems like the perfect holiday/winter greeting, yes?
Some of you may have seen me tweeting last week about starting a painting over again and this is it. The illustration is about a woman who fills her empty nest with animals. She then realizes that she has spent her life filling voids with various pets. You can buy a print of this piece here.
I know I’ve talked about this here before, but I really do feel that starting something over is sometimes the best thing you can do. It’s always frustrating and there’s always a small part of me that wants to find a way around the inevitable. The truth is that even if the piece doesn’t come out ten times better because of it (though it likely will) you will learn something about what you did the first time and how you might approach things differently in the future.
More new work today. This is a piece about an extroverted mother and her attempts to draw her introverted, adult son into conversations of more than just a few words. In this story, she uses her broken dishwasher as an excuse to get her son, who is living with her, to help her wash dishes … and to talk.
After working with mostly digital paint on the last few pieces, or a combination of digital and traditional, I’ve gone back to paints on this one. I’ve been working in watercolor a lot but I’ve decided to give acrylics a try. What I love about them is that I can water them down and get them to behave much like watercolor when I want them to, but then I can easily add layers as earlier ones dry without the risk of pulling up the paint I had already laid down.
Never stop learning, right?