Illustration Progress #2

For the past few months since my last update about my journey in bettering my illustrating skills, I’ve been incredibly busy. Because March was busy and April was spent focusing solely on reading in my spare time, my sketching every day streak I had going dwindled to a few times a week. And, I’m behind on doing a full color illustration a week—by like ten. But! That’s okay! During the month of May, I’m going to be focusing on hand-lettering (another one of my goals for the year, I’ll also have a full post about this after the month is over) and in June, I’ll be focusing more time on illustrating specifically. Instead of trying to do all of it all the time, I’m going to work on one more heavily than the other in certain months, which is why I have very few works in this post. But still, I’m very  happy with the progress I’ve made these last few months despite not being able to put the time I want into it.

I definitely have a tendency to draw exclusively people, so in June, my hope is to illustrate more animals and objects. And, all of the self-portraits of myself seem to have much larger heads than they should—I don’t know if I’m just bad at proportions or my brain just knows I have a large head and is making fun of me. I think that I’m starting to develop a style, at least somewhat of one, which is great. The floating heads all together with names are characters from one of my book, a little series of sketches that have been so fun to do! Anyway, my skills are improving, I’m still learning a lot, and most importantly, I’m enjoying the process!

Art + Design: Favorites

Since the last time I posted about my recent art and design favorites, I’ve stumbled upon more – as I often do thanks to Pinterest and Tumblr. There’s a mix of new album art of songs that I’ve bought, some art and design finds from scrolling through Pinterest, and some newly discovered books with incredible covers. Here they are:

Album + Single Art

Illustration + Miscellaneous Design

Book Cover Design

Note: the cover of A Conjuring of Light, the final book in one of my favorite trilogies by my favorite author VE Schwab, is A+ and matches perfectly with the others, which I love— they’re my favorite covers of all time.

Illustration Progress

Since late last year, I’ve been working on my illustration skills by trying to sketch everyday for about a half hour, as well as working on different projects more often, when I can. So far during the first month and a half of the year, I haven’t really been able to sketch every single day—but I’ve been sketching as often as possible—probably a few days of the week. Because I hadn’t done any art for a while during design school, it took a while to relearn how to do the basics. I can definitely see the difference and improvements since starting again, even if they are slight.

Right now, I’m just drawing, sketching, whatever I feel like to sort of feel a groove, find a style. I’m looking at a lot of other illustrators and work for inspiration, feeling things out. Here’s a few examples of sketches and illustrations I’ve been done over the last few months—some are just quick doodles, some took a little more time. Some more cartoonish, some more life-like and shaded (and obviously, some are better than others, especially from the start of all this to now). And apparently, I tend to draw girls almost exclusively.

I’m really excited to be doing art again, learning and growing. My goal has always been to get better at illustration in order to be able to incorporate it into my design work and be able to do more. And just being better at illustration in general, having another outlet and getting back to what I fell in love with as a kid.

Art & Design: New Favorites

I’ve posted design favorites before in different categories (book covers, film posters, motion graphics, patterns, etc.) and I made some “update” posts with recent finds, but I decided to expand from just design and share illustrations and other forms of art in my favorites. So here are recent favorites that I’ve found and became obsessed over:

BOOK COVERS

FILM POSTERS

ILLUSTRATIONS

Sketchbook Progress

While studying design, I haven’t really done much drawing or sketching for fun like I used to. I was never great at it, always disappointed in my sketches (with a few triumphs that I could brag about, even though I see them and think “yikes…that’s not as great as I thought it was in high school…”) But I loved it a lot. I loved sketching and doodling and drawing little characters. I didn’t do it often enough to get better at it, always choosing painting in art class over drawing, but in high school, I thought about going into illustration before I eventually chose graphic design.

Over the last few years, I’ve heard other designers say that they can’t draw to save their life or they’re terrible—and so I sort of gave up drawing, too busy working on design, thinking “well, if they can’t, I don’t need to draw well.” But recently I’ve been inspired by illustrators on Instagram and YouTube, and I realized that being good at both can only be a plus. So I’ve been wanting to work on my illustration skills for a while—and for the last few weeks, I’ve been sketching and doodling for a half hour every day. And I’m really enjoying it.

This particular one didn’t make me want to throw it across the room, so I thought I’d share it as the start of a progress. It’s not great, but not as bad as my first few days starting this new journey (seriously, at one point I said aloud, “I think I forgot how to use my hand to draw things”). Eventually I’d like to experiment with using watercolor paints and do full on pieces, but for now, I’m going to try to sketch (nearly) every day in my little sketchbook and get the basics down, find my style. I’ll be hoping to buy some markers (I have my eyes on Copic Ciao brush-tip markers) and do some color work, too. I don’t know! It’s all knew (and old) and exciting.

I will for sure be updating my progress, starting with this sketch and updating in the next few weeks with work that will be much better (hopefully). I’m slowly improving—and I’m falling in love all over again.

Design: Favorites – Updated Album Covers

Like I posted in March, my series of posts about my favorite designs (cover art, title sequences, prints, etc.) need to be updated from time to time to reflect recent favorites that I’ve discovered or forgot about. For this post, I’ll be adding to the original post here about my favorite album covers.

Here are the covers of Birdy’s Beautiful Lies with art-deco-like typography with an image of her, standing in a field, draped in red against a darkening blue sky; Halsey’s Badlands, showing the blue-haired singer among the rocky desert, bold type covering her face with a vintage, textured layer over the image; the band Lucius with Good Grief, the sort of childish cursive type under an image of a woman holding an invisible person, a blip of color in a sea of black; and SOHN’s Tremors, an photograph of a man walking down a dirt road with snow on either side, white smoke climbing out of frame ahead with the large, simple type at the center.

All great album covers, all some of my favorite designs.

Monthly Selections: February 2016

I know that February only had 29 days, but honestly that month went by incredibly fast. Because I had the entire month of January off from classes, I’d had so much time to write and be productive in all my side projects and I felt great! And then the semester started again. All my time disappeared. I’m tired.

But I did have just enough time to enjoy some great stuff and now I’m going to share!

Mauve Reviews

Mauvereviews

First off, speaking of not having enough time, I ridiculously decided to start another blog, though this one for reviewing things. I watch a lot of TV and love to share my thoughts, but nobody I know watches the shows I watch, so I started Mauve Reviews to express my opinions on a few of my favorites shows! Because most of them happened to be sci-fi/fantasy related, I decided to just go with it and those are the shows (and later films/books/podcasts/whatever I feel like—may even do more than just sci-fi/fantasy) I’ll be reviewing. So far I’ve been reviewing the episodes of two new shows, Syfy’s The Magicians (which I recommend!) and Freeform’s Shadowhunters (I’m a fan of the books, less so of the show so far), and one of my all-time favorite shows, AMC’s The Walking Dead.  These are only three of the dozen or so shows I watch a week. (What do you mean I’d have more time if I stopped watching all that TV. That’s ridiculous.) I’m having a lot of fun doing it, though I’m looking at the shows more critically than I usually would, which makes me wonder if it’s skewing my enjoyment of it (I’ve noticed this with The Walking Dead specifically.) Still having a good time being able to express my opinions about the shows, though.

Limetown

Another thing I’ve enjoyed this month is the podcast Limetown. It’s a fictional radio-show told by a young woman named Lia Haddock who is investigating the strange disappearance of over 300 people of a small town called Limetown. The show begins similarly to Serial, though shifts after the first episode when one of the survivors contacts Lia to speak with her—what happened ten years previously isn’t the sole focus:  strange things start happening to Lia since starting her search for the truth. Honestly, the podcast is so incredible I started listening thinking I’d just listen to one (since all of the episodes for season 1 are available on iTunes already) and listen to them sporadically over some time, but I couldn’t stop. I listened to the first three in the same day and finished the whole season two days later. The show freaked me out, honestly. There’s a lot of disturbing parts, even if it’s just the sound—even non-significant moments had an intense effect on me. Just listening, not seeing or anything else is an incredible way to take in a story. I couldn’t listen at night, only in the day, because I was that freaked out by a few parts. My heart was racing and I couldn’t stop thinking about it days later. It’s just so good.

American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson

Another new show I enjoy is FX’s American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson, a spin-off of the show American Horror Story, both created by Ryan Murphy. Because I was a baby during the OJ Simpson trial, I know very little about it. Watching it with my mom (who was around my age at the time of the trial) is incredible. She watched everything on the news, completely invested, and it’s even more enjoyable watching with her, who is constantly saying “I remember that! I remember exactly where I was when I watched that.” The show itself is incredible, too. The acting is absolutely top notch—especially Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown—and I think they’re handling the story really well, showing things that even my mom didn’t know about, what wasn’t on the news or in the courtroom (obviously not all accurate, but still interesting). It’s fantastic stuff.

Design Obsessesion

For one of my classes, we use Pinterest to search for great design examples and share them, and while I searching a few weeks ago, I found this set of labels for a (I’m assuming French) marmalade called La Tia Fina. The use of stamping actual fruit to create the graphic elements on the labels themselves is both genius and beautiful, giving it a rustic, homemade feel. Really love this idea.

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Design: Career Goals + Recent Projects

At the beginning of 2015, during the spring semester, one of my classes (Business for the Designer, I think it was called) really changed what I wanted to do with my design degree. Most of my life, I’ve wanted to be a published author, and because that could take years and years before I ever see any money from it, I chose something that I loved just as much to get a degree in, a more “safe” career to fall back on as I used to say to those who asked the crippling question “What do you want to do after you graduate?” Since I’d always been interested in art and design throughout high school, graphic design seemed like a good fit.

Even throughout my first few semesters, I didn’t really like it—I mean, I sort of realized that I more enjoyed the idea of design, and I could appreciate good design, but doing it wasn’t for me. That terrified me. I spent a lot of time panicking, believing I’d made a mistake. But slowly, I started to not only like it, but love it. As I learned more and honed my skills, it became something I enjoyed doing, not just appreciating. And it was that business class I took, almost a year ago now, that finally pushed it over the edge for me to realize graphic design is on the same level as writing.

This class is the same class that I started this blog for—a semester-long project to focus your goals and a place to network in the industry. While working on the blog and coming up with different ideas to do with it, a thought came to my mind: I always saw these incredible prints and posters and calendars online or on a wall in someone’s apartment, and it had always intrigued me about the idea of doing that for myself, creating those things. And it all sort of clicked together.

My goal is to design and illustrate prints, calendars, cards, and anything else I’m inspired to create and open an online shop. Now of course it will be small at first, I don’t expect this to be a great money generator (especially right away) but with the combination of my other business and writing, I think that it will all be enough to support me—hopefully. I’ll have to keep my job at the restaurant I work at for a while longer until it does, I’m sure.

I don’t have a projected timeframe, but I’m designing 2017 calendars at the moment…so…maybe? I don’t know. If they aren’t completed by then or if it’s just not working out, adjusting them to be 2018 won’t be too difficult.

That’s what I’ve been working on for the last year, slowly and not knowing exactly what I’m doing, but getting ideas down and sketching and making plans. Of course, with my job and school and business, it’s a bit hard to carve out the time, but it’s working nicely for now.

Hopefully within the next year, I’ll be able to set everything up and start promoting my work around on social media and in my area.

Projects:

Here are a few things I’ve been working on this passed fall/winter.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 11.07.29 PM

Inspired by Charli Prangley’s map outline poster tutorial, I made an inverted version of my home state as a Christmas gift for my aunt and I’m really proud of the result. And because it was so cheap to have printed, I printed a few extra and sold them to a few friends and family who asked for one.

For the business I co-own and run (called Mamacita’s, we sell our Salsa Fresca locally—working toward expanding) I’m the social media manager and designer, among many other things. I do all the design work for our marketing and create images for the recipes using the salsa we post on our blog. Here are a few of the recent ones.

Design Goals:

For 2016, some of my personal design goals include:

  • design 3 calendar sets, and 2 holiday card sets
  • practice hand-lettering skills more often
  • design and illustrate at least 2 prints
  • set up online store, or at least begin the process

2016 is going to be a big, busy, and beautiful year—I can just feel it.

Yes, I used beautiful because of the alliteration. I couldn’t help myself.

Design: Obsession – December 2015

Since it’s December and almost Christmas, I thought I’d share a winter/holiday design that I’ve been obsessed with this month: this print by a Denmark design studio called Daddy.

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http://site.danamcclure.com/2010/12/daddy-graphic-design-studio/

The snowflake design (which I just learned was stamped from hand-carved wooden stamps!!!) are overlapped in different colors. It has such a vintage, mod vibe to it – I’m in love.

In fact, I loved them so much, I recreated a similar digital version of the concept (just for myself to hang up in the living room). And to be honest, if these were available to purchase, I would have. (There’s more colors in the link above.)

Mine are above – not that they are better, I’d love to buy some prints of the originals, but I like mine too. I chose to stick to just bluish colors (the originals have orange and red, too).

I just really love snowflakes and I miss them—it’s December 14th and Michigan still has NO snow. It is unusual and sad. Still hoping for and dreaming of that white Christmas.

Wait, that reminds me. It’s time to watch White Christmas and drink some hot chocolate. Bye!

Design: Favorites – Album Covers

Music is a large part of my everyday life. I listen to it while I work, whether that’s writing or designing or doing homework or writing blog posts (currently listening to: Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes) and I’m always looking for new music. I often get tired of songs after so many repeated plays—except for selected favorites that I can listen to over and over and over again.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart (music change: Can’t Sleep Love by Pentatonix) for album covers. I even remember making a cover for mine and my sister’s adventure of starting a band when we were eleven or so—neither of us can play an instrument and only she can sing. It lasted a day. I made a few other covers for fun, mostly for fictional bands or re-creating covers of actual albums (music change: Only if For a Night by Florence + the Machine). Most of these were awful and are now forever dead and buried.

Here are some of my favorite actual album covers from my iTunes library:

Some thoughts:

Laura Mvula’s cover for Sing to the Moon is gorgeous. It’s so simple, a beautiful photo with minimal typography. Incredible.

Pentatonix’s album cover is fun! I love the use of color and transparency, overlapping the images. Against the white, it just pops.

(music change: Easy by Son Lux)

Speaking of, the Son Lux album (song is on a different album) is so great. I like anything that features interesting photography as its main element and this photo of what appears to be florescent light bulbs with colored powder flying through the air. Really cool.

For Gotye’s, I like the story behind it. I watched a documentary he made of making that album and (music change: A Tooth for an Eye by The Knife) he said with the cover, he’d found old art that his father had made and he repurposed it to create that cover, digitally touching it up and making it more symmetrical. I really like the texture of the original paper and paint—using physical tools and methods and art to create a photograph is interesting and something I’d like to explore more.

There’s a few other albums along with these in the gallery. All of them have something unique that I really like, something that appeals to me for some reason.

Hope you enjoyed both the covers and the music recommendations sprinkled through the post. Peace out, dude.