Thursday, January 31, 2008

IF: Tales and Legends - Snow, Glass, Apples

Snow, Glass, Apples

Snow, Glass, Apples is short story by Neil Gaiman. A twist on the tale of Snow White with Snow White herself being the villian. The story is retold from the prospective of Snow White's stepmother, the Queen, who is also an innocent witch who dabbles in white magic. Snow White is depicted a monstorous evil child, thought to be an undead vampire. The stepmother was terrified of her and sent her men to cut out her heart and banish her to the forest after her Father died. However, she still lives. Apparently a prince saw her in her glass coffin, kissed her and woke her from her comatose state. Throughout a few years, the forest people were less and less and it was believed she was brutalizing them and killing them off. And wow, Neil really made her evil. I know, I know. . . it's horrible to take a sweet Disney character and turn her into a monster. However, the story really stuck with me, as do most of his writings. Originally I was going to do the Sweeper of Dreams, another tale from Smoke and Mirrors, but as you can see on the post below I gave it to my friend Dawn. I did this piece in one sitting with an ebony pencil since I am so limited with time this week. I don't think she looks quite evil enough. And adding vampire fangs just looked cheesy. I'm just happy I finished!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

IF: Tales and Legends - The Sweeper of Dreams

The Sweeper of Dreams

Let me first tell you that this drawing is not by me. My good friend Dawn drew this. Dawn is my crafting buddy. She taught me how to do a lot of cool things like knitting and sewing, and I taught her how to paint. So tonight we met up at some unnamed overpriced coffee shop to get a warm drink and catch up for an hour before our Tuesday class.
I wanted to illustrate a story from my favorite writer, Neil Gaiman. The tale is called "Sweeper of Dreams", a short but sweet story from his collection of shorts featured in the book "Smoke and Mirrors". I thought a loose gruff pencil sketch would render him perfectly. And since this is a busy week, a pencil sketch I thought is going to have to do! Unfortunately, I only have tomorrow to work on it, since I have another class Thursday and I have a full time job.
So in the meantime, here is Dawn's quick coffee shop sketch and her take on the Sweeper of Dreams. She proceeded to steal my sketchbook and blamed her inner gremlin for wanting to get her idea out. She interpreted him as the Grim Reaper with a Hoover vacuum called "Dreamsweeper 2000". I saw him as your average blue collar, reclusive old man high school janitor with an old broom. I love my Dawnie, she's such a nutjob. I'm going to get her to start an art blog. It's just a matter of time.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Photo Friday: The Machine

Nature's well engineered flying machine. Ok, I've been having to get really creative with these photo challenges. I thought I had a decent archive of good photos, but it seems that I need to have more of a variety!
So this dragonfly you see above actually posed for me. He even looks like he is smiling. I think he was getting romantic with my car antenna, and didn't care that I was too close. I got a ton of pictures of him, and had time to play with the macro feature on my camera. I didn't realize dragonflies were so hairy! Maybe that's what I'll call him, Harry.

I'm mad at Illustrator CS2.

So lately I've been drawing all of my IF posts on my new Wacom tablet using Illustrator CS2. . . I'll slave over them for a few hours, save them, and open them the next day to see that most of it is missing! I got an error code ID = -50. So I looked it up, and discovered there is a ton of other people out there that this is happening to when using the brush tool + scissors + wacom tablet on Windows XP. Great. . . This happened to me twice! I shouldn't post a crappy version of my latest piece, but this is what it looks like after saving and re-opening:
Nice, hugh? I've kept my computer on for days and days because I know when I close this file, that will be it! I've been copying them and pasting into Photoshop to preserve the image.
So. . . I got myself an upgrade. Supposedly CS3 doesn't have that problem. I should be keeping my software up to date anyway. Is anyone else out there having this problem? I bet most of you have Macs. Apparently, this error has been tested on Macs, and guess what? No problems. Go figure! If you haven't guessed by now, I still prefer Apple products, I'm just forced to work on a PC.

1/31/08 Update!

So I got the new CS3 upgrade. Not only did Illustrator behave properly, it actually restored my corrupted files! Yaaay! The only other program besides Illustrator I've played around with since upgrading is Photoshop. Wow. Adobe has made some impressive changes! I'm so glad I got CS3. It doesn't take much to get me excited, I'm such a nerd. And if you've read this post to the end with all of my rambelings, I'm very impressed!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

IF: Plain

These Janes just didn't want to be plain!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gelaskins, looking for artists!

A few days ago, I received my first gelaskin in the mail that I purchased for my iPhone. I love it. Gelaskins is a company that manufatures protective skins for iPhones, iPods, razor phones and laptops that are esthetically pleasing. I really love the idea of these, and the artists featured on the site have some fabulous work, it was hard to choose. Ultimately, I chose Amy Sol's Land of Dreams for my iPhone. It has a nice soft girly look to it that I love. I also noticed on the site that they are open to artist's submissions to have skins produced of their artwork. They are also great about promoting their artists and providing links to their websites along with a bio. Maybe somday I'll submit art, if I ever create a piece I feel worthy, but in the meantime I wanted to let fellow artist friends know about this opportunity also.

Zune Arts Video - le Cadeau du Temps

I came across this site featuring video shorts promoting the new Microsoft Zune mp3 player, titled My impression of Zune Arts is Microsoft's attempt to market the Zune player to hip creative types such as the mass of Apple customers, with cool videos and indie rock soundtracks. All of the videos were visually stunning, with "le Cadeau du Temps" featured above, being my favorite. Let me first point out that I found out the creator of "le Cadeau du Temps" posts on Illustration Friday as well under the blog name "Light Night Rains"by Corey Godbey. I was thrilled to read about his whole process of creating le Cadeau du Temps, and made me appreciate it even more so. Everything in this video just flows beautifully. The story, the music and the style of the illustration are beautifully rendered. Check out for a visual treat.
For a brief second, I thought about getting a Zune. I was sad to see that they are not competitive with Apple's iPod prices. I used to have an iPod that I miss terribly, as it had plenty of room to keep my whole music and audible collection. Being at the time a DC commuter, I kept my iPod plugged in my glove box and it suffered the bumps from city driving and weather conditions when I would leave it in there overnight. I now have an iPhone that I absolutely love, but unfortunately it only holds 8GB compared to an 80GB iPod that would hold my entire library. That bad boy stays with me at all times! I also purchased my iPhone about 20 days before Apple decided to lower the cost, and that left a bitter taste in my mouth. Still however, unless the Zune player comes down in price, I'm not sold on the product.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Photo Friday: Disastrous

Does this make my ashes look big?

This week's theme for Photo Friday is disastrous. I tend to be the type of glorified photographer who seeks out the beauty in things wherever I go, looking for inspiration for my next piece. So I don't have many disastrous fire flame and brimstone photos in my digital archive.
This photo of an urn was taken at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. If you are ever visiting Baltimore, this gem of a museum is an absolutely must see. The urn was created by Nancy Josephson. I like her work, it's fun! To most people, I would think that they would find it "disastrous" to have to spend eternity in such a tacky, gaudy urn. I however think that's what makes it great. Just for display purposes though, not for practical use!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Painting inspired by a dream

I was inspired to post this painting that I did some years back after viewing my new IF friend Studio Lolo's post for "Plain". Her blogs are so eloquently written and just as much as an art form as the paintings she posts. Just beautiful. Her last work posted featuring giant pears and guardian raven was inspired by a reoccurring dream. It reminded me of a series of dreams that had that I still can't shake.
Some of the greatest artists reveal that their best work had been inspired from their dreams. VanGogh's Starry Night, Steven King's novels by his nightmares. . . I try to really pay attention to my dreams and use them as gifts of inspiration. Visually, I don't think I've captured the magic or the feeling it evoked. As you see it is just a field with swirls blowing across, half twilight, half daylight. I think it would be best rendered as a short multimedia film. Maybe someday, when I learn how to do it!
In the dream, I was running through a plowed barren field, being chased by a shadowy figure. The further into the field I ran and the faster, the crops would grow taller and taller until they were ripe with purple fruit. The night turned into day as I ran. The shadowy figure remained in the dark plowed field, running in place and unable to reach me. Then I had found myself transported in the dream sitting at a table, on a ship. Everything was white. White sky, horizon, table, dishes, the ship. . . everything except for the vibrant juicy purple fruit cut open on a dish in front of me. Wow, what a great dream!
My husband, being the awesome guy that he is took me on a trip to Nappa Valley shortly after so I could be in purple fruit field heaven. I've had an affinity for wine and painting vineyards ever since!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

IF: Stitches

The original inspiration for this piece came from viewing my friend's illustration post for the "girl friday" illustration challenge. Being that we are having a friendly draw-off rivalry thing going on, I boasted that I could draw a hotter girl than him. Honestly I think he did pretty good! Shhhhh, don't tell him I said that. Sometimes some healthy constructive criticism among friends is exactly what we need to keep us at the top of our game, when everyone else says our work is fabulous. After all, that helps us grow, right? Well. . . I never even started mine, so I guess he won that one! My husband however, did supply me with a lingerie catalog for reference and inside I found this cute bustier and placed it on a wire dress form instead of a girl. I thought, hey, this would be good for "stitches"! I made it look like an upscale taylor shop, inspired by my interest in sewing. All was drawn in Illustrator using the brush tool. I wanted to add a few more touches but for some reason the file was corrupted when I re-opened to finish! Shewww. Glad I saved a version in Photoshop!
So with that being said, and this being my VERY FIRST post on the IF forum, I'm expecting some good constructive criticism (after what I had stated), if any! It's all good, I can take it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

IF: 100%

100% focused that is, working diligently in my studio. I decided to try out my new Wacom tablet drawing a self portrait in Illustrator, fitting of my new year's resolution to be a more productive artist. Hopefully there will be many more posts to come and that I don't get sidetracked again!

IF: Little Things

Ok, so my friend Charlie and I decided to have a friendly draw-off. Charlie told me about this site called where artists are given a theme for the week every Friday, and post their work just for fun and feedback. Considering I haven't been very productive with my art lately, I thought this would be a great way to get back into it. So here it is, my very first blog post in all it's grayscale glory. It didn't make it to IF's site, because I finished it ON Friday. I started it off on paper in pen and ink and brought it into Photoshop to airbrush in the grayscale and add a few sparkles. Can't wait to get my Wacom tablet for Christmas!