Archive for the ‘My Art/Design/Business’ Category

Deer Skull 2.0.

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Remember Blinged Out Deer Skull? Cricket gave me a deer skull he found in his backyard and I decided to cover it with beadwork. The finished product looked like this:

I was content with Deer Skull for a while but the I found the box of supplies I used for it and I decided to fix some things that bothered me.

1. Those daggers on the bridge of the nose. They don’t match anything and since they’re so protuberant they tend to fall off, requiring me to glue them back on regularly.

2. The bead-woven sections. I was a bit precious with those, not allowing anything to cross over or overlap with them. That makes them look like they’re not integrated with the piece as a whole and I don’t want that.

3. Those sequins and pin on the forehead beaded panel. Not doing anything to improve the piece.

Here is the skull with the updates:

I’m much happier with it now. That’s how it goes with art: You make something and then after some time has passed and you’ve lived with it for a while the piece can evolve.

Caitlyn the Mortician and an origami cat.

Friday, October 18th, 2019

I’ve spoken on many an occasion about how much I like Caitlyn the Mortician. Here and here, specifically. Snorth got tickets to see Caitlyn live on her book tour and since both Snorth and I are big fans we decided to combine our talents to make Caitlyn a present. We decided on a unique origami cat. Snorth folded one and I took it and drew spookiness all over it. I tried to make it special by putting the date and “4 C8lin” (“For Caitlin”) on the back of the head.

Then I unfolded it and smoothed it flat.

It turns out that all the illustrations were on one side of the paper which is good because you don’t have to worry about the front and the back lining up when it’s printed. I photographed the unfolded drawing and brought it into Illustrator and made a elegant crisp Illustrator file from it with some slight modifications so it’s wouldn’t be an issue if during the folding process things were not exactly lined up (Snorth called it paper creep).

After Snorth printed and folded the new Illustrator version I decided it needed some festive glitter so I took one of my nail polishes and jazzed it up a bit with a dotting tool.

Because unless you have fancy cameras and lights the glitter never shows up properly here is the nail polish I used, First Class by ILNP. You can appreciate the holo.

And Caitlyn loved it! Here is the photo of her and Snorth and Snorth’s niece.

I’d like to think it’s on display somewhere in her home or office.

St. George and the Dragon: The Force Awakens.

Friday, June 7th, 2019

I went to a three-day beading intensive in New Orleans a couple months ago and I needed a project to work on. I was going to bring a board with a design on it to glue tiny beads to but an employee of mine quit. I took over her work and therefore didn’t complete as much as I wanted. So I ended up gluing teeny tiny sequins instead. Let me tell you my story with St. George and the Dragon.

A while back I went to the Neue Gallerie, the German art museum in NY, for their Weiner Werkstätte exhibit. In the entrance hall there was a mosaic (you know how I feel about mosaics) of St. George and his dragon.

I was like GIVE THAT TO ME I WANT IT  but shocker, they did not give it to me. So I was like FINE I’ll make it myself. And I’ll make it exactly how I want it. For example, I don’t love that dragon, but I very much love the dragon on the fountain in Antwerp.

I decided to use the head and some of the body style. Done. Then I wanted smoke to come out of the nose. And I like the way the Chinese draw clouds.

Boom. Put that in.

I decided that I wanted the piece to be matte but the suit of armor and his halo should be encrusted like a Russian icon. I’ve had a soft spot for Russian icons for a long time. The hands and face are painted and the rest is hammered metal, usually gold or silver. Here is an example.

And finally I’ve always wanted to make a drawing with red outlines instead of the usual black. I like to make my life difficult because that’s how you grow and evolve as a creative person.

SO, armed with all this everything I made a drawing.

That’s Cricket’s face which I used as a guide for the face.

I did such a good job! Hooray for me! So talented! (Get ready for a fat pile of hubris.)

I transferred the design to the board by punching little holes using a pushpin onto the lines using a soft backing, in this case I used foamcore, taping it to the board and pressing a pale-colored Sharpie on the holes thereby making wee dots on the board. I can then connect the dots and have the pattern.

And I colored in all the red. Which is when I realized I screwed up all the proportions on St. George.

His head is too big, his waist is too small and his legs are too short. But I didn’t have time to redo it so I convinced myself hey, it’s the Middle Ages, he’s a young child and he has rickets and a tapeworm. Fine, good, solution. Moving on.

Gray and silver washes as a background. And darker gray for depth.

And the beginning of the sequin-gluing process. I found some flowers and cut off the petals to make the chain-mail.

I finished all the sequins and started on the dragon’s body. I painted it a rich deep blue-green.

And then I screwed up the cloud. And scraped it off. I proceeded to screw it up three more times. And at that moment I made the decision to start over. George was the wrong size, I didn’t use a sticky enough glue for the sequins and they started coming off, and the smoke cloud was not happening. You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, etc.

First thing I did was find a photo of a tall man, chopped off chunks of my original St. George drawing in Photoshop and reassembled them over the new body so the proportions were correct.

Then I made an entirely new drawing. I wanted the cloud to balance the curve of the dragon so I moved it over.

I used the same technique of the pushpin on the soft backing material, this time a padded envelope, taping it to the board and tapping a Sharpie on the dots. This is what the paper should look like when done if it’s done correctly.

Before I got to the tail I decided I didn’t like that odd turn and redesigned it using light pencil lines. You can see Old George who is not great and New George who is really coming together.

And now I begin the painting process. Since I made a ton of mistakes on Old George I feel like I’m starting New George with a lot of good information. Let’s see if I’m right.

A break.

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Hey, I’m going to need to take a break from blogging for a while. I have a great job opportunity on the horizon but that means I need to make a 200-page document explaining what I do so whoever follows in my position doesn’t come in blind. I will return as soon as everything is in place.

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Kitchen progress! (Season 4, Episode 12,000)

Friday, September 21st, 2018

Good stuff. I’ve repainted the entire countertop and now I’m ever-so-carefully painting around each and every freakin’ rock on the backsplash edge. I would like all the awards when I finish this. I want an EGOT for this.

ALL THE AWARDS. GIVE IT HERE.

What I’ve been up to. (Normally, no good. This time, actually good).

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

I would love to say I’ve been busy with cool, rock-star-esque activities but let’s be real here: I went to some classical music concerts with The Moomins and I am teaching myself After Effects. I was never, no will I ever be, hip or cool in any manner.

First, the concerts. The Moomins bought tickets for a bunch of performances at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall (it’s been renamed David Geffen Hall but I ain’t havin’ any of that ish; David Geffen is the juice, Avery Fisher is the sauce) and she always gets two in case my dad wants to go with. He did not want to go with so I was drafted into the Going to the Concert Army for the day. This particular night was a Baroque chamber orchestra doing Bach and Handel, specifically Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto and Handel’s Water Music. You know both these pieces. The Brandenburg Concerto is used in a lot of high-end product commercials. Play it and think of a Lexus commercial. There ya go. Handel’s Water Music you know from, I don’t know, weddings and graduations or maybe other high-end product commercials. Music from the Baroque period seems ideal for shilling overly expensive objects to the bourgeoisie. Anyway, the concert was good and the harpsichord they brought in was good but they had the dumbest-looking lute I’ve ever seen in my life. Baroque lutes normally look like if a banjo and a guitar went to a steampunk convention.

Fine. Weird stuff happening near the twisty knobs, but okay. The guy comes out on stage with a ginormous lute where the frets end at a reasonable spot but then the neck continues on for, I kid you not, another four feet. It was taller than the guy. How much better is the sound that you have to lug an impossibly large instrument around with you when you could have a… not impossibly large version? That seems like self-imposed suffering. The lute looked like this:

Jessica: Ask Her About Her Strong Feelings Regarding Baroque Lutes.

Now on to topic #2: Learning After Effects. I’ve been making a real effort to learn this program because I’ve been doing presentations for over ten years and I’d like a bit of change. Animation is super-interesting to me so I made a bunch of stuff to update my portfolio AND teach myself this program. Let me take you on a journey.

When my company won Walmart as a client a few years back they decided to use The Spark in their campaigns, the yellow thing next to the name. So they figured out how to use it and break it up and incorporate it in things so if you’re paying attention you can pick it out.

And then this past December my company designed a sign that said “Rock This Christmas” with a snowman playing guitar, a penguin playing a saxophone and various other Christmas and/or music-related imagery.

So, armed with that knowledge, I designed two Walmart signs – one for Halloween because have you met me and one for summer to show that I have range and I am not a goth nightmare. For the Halloween one I made all different types of costumes using a variety of ethnicities and genders and if you look closely you’ll note I incorporated some Spark in each and every child. <3

Also please note that I made a little representative image on each treat bag that corresponds with the costume. The werewolf has the moon! The witch has a cauldron! The pirate has a parrot! The clown has a (not red) balloon! The mummy has an ankh! (I struggled with that one.) Then I assembled a variety of these kids on a composite similar to the Rock This Christmas one above. I got to put in candy corn and other candies and spiderwebs and an owl.

After I finished and it was to my liking I replicated the composite and started building a summer-themed version. I was psyched about this one too. I got to make cactii and popsicles and hell yeah I put in crabs because who’s gonna stop me. Also note the frequent use of Spark bits.

I know. I am very pleased with myself. So in order to give myself a challenge I decided to animate the “Fun in the Sun” image using After Effects. I would say I’m about halfway there.

I’ve done the blue background, brown base elements, words, waves, cactii, crabs, sunglasses, orange slice and pinwheel. I still have to do popsicles, beach balls, flip flops, shorts, the corner bits and fireworks. I’m getting there. I’ll keep you posted.

Recent side-project. NSFW maybe. Depends on where you work. Make a judgment call for yourself.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

I am a huge proponent of helping ladies doin’ their own thing so I’ll take on work pro bono for them in my free time. (Free time! Hahahahaha!) I’ve designed some logos for women starting their own businesses and presentations for masters’ theses, etc. A co-worker of mine recently started recording a podcast with her friend where they talk about sex and dating issues that women are dealing with today. It’s funny and light and positive and she needed a logo design. Since it’s a small industry I can get a little more loose and free with what I can create. I’ll explain. I created a very basic logo based on the name they gave me.

The reason I kept it so simple was I was inspired by the Absolut ads of my youth, where the shape of the bottle is the only constant from ad to ad.

So I thought it would be cool if for every episode the text remained the same and in the same position in the box shape, but everything around reflected the topic being addressed. Kind of a bespoke logo per episode, but still recognizable. I came up with some samples. I won’t specify what topics I was referencing because some of them are a bit blunt but you can guess if you’d like.

They’re all bright and cute and fun and not straight-out vulgar, more “tee hee” in nature. I was inspired by the webpage of the podcast Criminal.

I mocked up an example of what The Get Down Lowdown website could look like.

I also thought of the poster from The Dollop podcast where it’s the two hosts and a collection of characters they’ve discussed in the past.

I think it would be cool after The Get Down Lowdown is on for a while and I’ve made a large quantity of these individualized squares if I make a collage poster based on some favorite designs. Then The Get Down Lowdown girls can sell it or give it away to Patreon subscribers. There’s a lot of directions this could go.

 

Addendum: They’ve finished editing their first episode. And I have made their logo for them. It’s super-classy.

Kitchen progress.

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Good stuff regarding my countertop: I painted over the dark parts of the ripples, most of the background and two of the five fish. I have some photographic proof.

You’ll notice I made the fishies more fancy-like. I figured since I have to redo them I might as well upgrade them a smidge. The improvements that have been made are a stronger outline, larger eyes and graded dots on the top that create a sense of roundness and depth. Here’s a shot of the old style so you can compare.

So now begins the profoundly tedious process of painting around all those dark lines and around the edges of the rocks up against the wall. It’s nice though because it’s mindless so I can listen to podcasts and just zone out a bit. It’ll get done. I have faith.

I made a thing.

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

Does everyone know about my ongoing feud with Russia? Specifically, how goshdurned good they are at crafting and how I feel compelled to crush them with my talent? I believe I mentioned it here. And here. In keeping with this quixotic quest I received an email from my sister K. with pictures of bead-woven necklaces from a Russian website. Even though I couldn’t read anything I looked at the pictures and I really liked the wildflower look of the pieces.

Specifically this one.

While viewing this unabashed awesome talent I got all huffy and was like NOT THIS TIME, RUSSIA. IT’S MY TIME TO SHINE. So I decided to make a lariat for myself using only beads I already own with leaves and seeds at the bottom. I found a whole bunch of really pretty twisted metallic / rose gold-like bugle beads so I worked off of that and made this. I think it turned out pretty great.

If you decide to make a necklace like this, might I recommend what I did which is build all the leaf / seed elements separately and then assemble them as you make the dangly components. That way if you make something that isn’t working (which happened to me) you can simply unravel the cord and remove the leaves and seeds, then fix it and put them back on. No harm, no foul.

Fun fact: I did a Google image search to find out the name of the artist of those wildflower necklaces and it is… Margo Fields. A woman from New Mexico. Not a Russian. I got all riled up for nothing. I don’t regret creating the lariat, it is a piece I will wear and it was a nice stretch for me, but perhaps in the future I should do research before I get a bunch of cyrillic bees in my bonnet unnecessarily.

 

I’m mad at the entire state of Oregon.

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Just saw the new commercial for Oregon Travel. What the hell, Oregon? You forget I exist over here? You’re gonna make a commercial with giant rabbits covered with tulips and caterpillars on bicycles in the style of one of my favorite films Spirited Away and you’re not gonna call me? We have beef now, Oregon. We fightin’.