Thursday, December 23, 2010

Watercolour Silhouette

I've been toying with some ideas on how I can combine my love of watercolour with some digital work. I really should be planning and packing but when I have a few moments to spare, I do little things like this.

This is my eldest daughter's silhouette done with a bit of the watercolour backgrounds I've been playing with. The watercolour background was scanned and I did a little bit of colour adjusting. The illustration was created in Photoshop.

I'd love to hear any feedback whether you like it or if it's not your cup of tea. Tips to improve, etc. I am planning to explore this style a touch more and have some ideas for other portraits and objects.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I miss my friend

A dear friend of mine passed away earlier this month. I think it's the first time in my life that I have had a friend that has died and I feel as though I am struggling with a large combination of feelings and emotions.

Even though we rarely saw each other I felt as though we had a close bond. We forged our bond while working at a company that elicited a lot of stress and emotional baggage. We stayed in touch over the years and across the many miles that separated us. We emailed, exchanged postcards, called each other and visited when we were in the same city.

A year ago we exchanged a music list as a Christmas gift. We emailed each other our favourite music, a YouTube link and a brief description as to why we loved that song. Any time we exchanged anything creative related I always felt like the student learning from the teacher. She was so naturally talented, had a keen desire to learn and great taste. She loved the odd, eclectic, quality, vintage, interesting and peculiar. She always had something new and interesting to share. From her I learned about StumbleUpon, Illustration Friday, The Sketchbook Project, Giclee, and much more.

I've been thinking quite a bit about how I can honour her life. We were each others biggest cheerleaders when it came to our art and design. When either one would get down on our talent we'd reassure each other and offer any tips and tricks we could. The best thing she taught me was to be supportive of others in the art and design world and so that is what I will do to honour and remember her.

I miss you, sweet friend.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Card Archive

I cannot tell you how awesome it is to be married to my tech support. The old Mac was located, plugged in and on the network shortly after I requested we try to look for it. Booyah!

So, I went through my old cards and had a good laugh at a few but mostly reminisced and noted my growing skill and changing tastes. Let's take a walk through memory lane, shall we?

The first Christmas that our kidlet doesn't sleep through it and is able to open presents. It must have been the excitement of a kid-oriented Christmas that gave me temporary amnesia and made me think we could get a really good family picture. We took the picture ourselves with a timer on our camera and the outtakes are priceless. We have pics with Dad barely in the shot, the kid melting down, Mom rolling her eyes or giving the stink eye. Many where someone is half way to blinking thereby looking stoned. The only way to keep the kid amused was to cheer which is why the hubs has his mouth wide open. This picture was the best of the lot and not too shabby now that I look back.

I had been doing a lot of Christmas doodles and added them to the foreground. Kind of busy, but very festive.

The only year since 2001 I bought manufactured cards. By the time I needed to get them prepped and mailed out I had just finished the birth announcements and was still trying to figure out my 8 week old baby. 

We're pre-first child, spending our Christmas in our first house and I have oodles of free time. I took a picture with our timer, grunged the picture up a bit and chose a grunge-script font.

One of my favourite cards. I took a picture of us then took my time illustrating the card. I love this illustration style and I think I'm going to do more of it for the next little while.

As I recall I was very, very busy at work and left my card design to the very last minute. I wasn't really feeling the Christmas spirit yet so I took a quick picture of our hands and threw it on with some snowflakes. I do like the combination of red and light blue.

I created a quick and simple illustration of us this year. This was the last year I printed it myself on our home printer. I may have a hardcopy somewhere, but that would take some major excavation to uncover it. Just imagine it being printed on a cream, slightly shiny pearl paper. It sparkled a bit and was very pretty.

This one actually cracks me up a little. I printed it at home and for some reason I thought a really small card was perfect. It was tiny like those itsy, bitsy cards that are attached to gift bags. Somewhere around 3"x3" folded. I have a picture of us taken before we went to a friends wedding that past summer then added illustrations and scans from bits of origami paper. Same batch of stuff I used in my Sketchbook Project.

This one also makes me laugh. It was our first Christmas together and I think it was at the peak of the web cam fad. I took a bunch of web cam pictures of us, made them black and white then printed it on oatmeal coloured kraft paper. Again, a hard copy is kicking around but who knows where. I remember taking gold, sliver and black marker and illustrating twinkling Christmas lights around the card.

It was a lot of fun going through these old cards and remembering the process of each card and design. I'm looking forward to many more years of cards.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

2009 & 2010 Christmas Cards

I originally wanted to post a retrospective of all the cards I've done since around 2001 but that entails digging out my old Mac that may or may not be packed, locating my files (uh, and perhaps backing them up while I'm at it) and copying, etc. etc. I'm usually more organized but I'm going to blame this on having two instead of one child and being in the early stages of moving. My husband just read this and said "uh, huh....." Ok, fine. AND I procrastinate.

Anyhoo... Let's start with what I happen to have on my laptop at the moment. 2009 and 2010 cards!

I had a lot more time to create my 2009 card. The sweet angel on the top of the card was still in daycare and I was on mat leave. I wanted to do something cute, a little campy and a combination of illustration and photography. The only irony of the card is that I made my little girl an angel. She was two at the time and I don't think I need to explain this point any further.


Christmas 2009. 8.5 months pregnant at the time so Mrs. Claus opted for head shots only.

I applaud anyone who can get a normal looking full family picture without using a professional photographer and tranquilizers. My family does not fall into that category. Some of the best (or only available) head shots of each person in a hand drawn frame over a scan of a watercolour piece I painted.

Christmas 2010. Merry Christmas mug shots with bows.

If I don't put the others up before Christmas I will post them shortly after. This is the first of several posts on card designs I plan on doing. I have some birth announcements and wedding invites in my archives.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Handmade Ornaments

Last Christmas I decided to continue with my hand sewn felt adventures. Between my maternity leave and daycare overlap before Christmas holidays I had most of the day to myself. I wanted to stay busy but needed to spend a chunk of it sitting down because I was so very, very pregnant and uncomfortable. I picked up a few supplies and used leftovers I accumulated from other projects to sew about half a dozen star ornaments from a tutorial I found online at The Purl Bee.

I changed it up a little bit. I chose two shades of felt, red floss and opted for a blanket stitch. The beading was a new thing for me but I enjoyed learning and there was no right or wrong when arranging the beads. Turned out pretty well and I hang them on our wreath at the front door.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Empty Nest

My dear, sweet sketchbook is in the post and on her way to Brooklyn. I think I had the tiniest inkling as to what it may be like to send my girls off to college. At first I was excited to be finished and able to check something off my list then I was sad to stuff her in the evelope and seal it, knowing I'd only see her again online. Now I have occasional waves of sketchbook withdrawal.

To remedy my withdrawal I plan on writing about a few more sketchbook topics including a few more pages I haven't yet discussed. I'll try to piece together one last overall review of the project as well.

Since we're moving I'll have to keep my projects to a limit around here. I haven't packed my other sketchbooks so I may whip something up by hand if I feel the urge. Oh, that sounded dirty! I have a couple of ideas for showcasing some of my design; personal and past work. I'll post a monthly Etsy treasury list and dig into my archives for little tidbits that inspire me. I'm looking forward to staying in this creative high.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Judge a Sketchbook by its Cover

I had a ton of ideas for the cover but saved it for last since I kept changing my mind. I created a book of 'it'. I like that it's a bit perplexing, having only the word 'it' on the cover. Perplexing makes me take a book off the shelf and open it. Once you open the book there's a spread with the second word of my subject matter 'must' and then on the next spread 'be'.

For the front and back cover I covered it with a quick wash of neon pink, a colour I've used many times in the sketchbook. The pink is accompanied with a light blue for contrast and just because I like blue. I covered the background with a line pattern I love.

The sketchook of it. Like your cousin it. 

The inside cover and initial page has another wash of watercolour but this time it's in a more subtle purple. I added another line pattern I love. The word 'MUST' is in chunky letters with patterns over a wash of several colours.

Pattern, pattern pattern.

The next spread has a small illustration from every page or spread of the sketchbook and the word 'be' over some origami paper I glued down.

Compilation and found paper.

The inside back cover has a simple 'this must be the end' text on one side and the decorated pocket with bio on the other.

Bio is hiding. She's shy.

The bio is from a sheet of watercolour experiments I was doing. This one looked like a kimono so I went with it and added a bit of ink for definition.

Bio's out and she's awfully pretty.

I'm not one for lengthy bios. I made this one more of a thank you for viewing my sketchbook and communicating my gratitude for this project which has brought me a lot of fun and inspiration.

The blog addy is on there in case anyone wants to add to my current hubby and mother readership.

Outside back cover is simply the extension of the hot pink wash and line pattern.

Now bio's just hogging the camera.

Friday, December 10, 2010

In the Beginning

I think I stated here that I wasn't necessarily going to post my sketchbook drawings in any kind of order. While finishing up, taking pictures, adjusting in Photoshop and adding to my Picassa site, I realized I had a few pages I hadn't posted yet. I think it was probably because they weren't as strong as some of the other ones but in time they are growing on me. They're also an example of my thought process for this sketchbook in the beginning. Starting with just what popped into my head or what was going on around me.

Laundry or sketchbook. Sketching about laundry won out. Watercolour and Ink. 

Laundry theme continues with the sniff test and stray socks. Origami paper, marker and pencil.

Using the bleed through to my benefit with another sock and sniff test. Magazine clippings, marker and Origami paper.

This post is about the beginning of the sketchbook but I'm nearing the very end of the process. I am literally just double checking any glued bits for reinforcement and then this suckah is DONE and ready to ship back to Brooklyn. I can tell I'm already going into a bit of withdraw because I'm considering how to decorate my shipping envelope.

 The End.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Loosening the belt already

A few years back we decided not to travel to visit family for Christmas. I was looking forward to baking but soon realized that baking = eating and when you only have 2 adults in the house and your three different cookie recipes make 2 dozen cookies each that is a lot of eating. Once we bought our house, met our lovely neighbours and had kids I discovered that holidays now mean gifting with edible treats. I made the mistake one year of baking and then we were gifted with copious amounts of treats. There was so much we had to freeze quite a bit and save it for later. I can only be so glutinous. I have now learned to only make my favourite, Almond Roca, for gifts and a little extra left over and let everyone else supply us with baking.

Needless to say this status update struck a nerve and I had to whip up a quick illustration.

Oh the eating I have to look forward to! Watercolour & Ink.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where, indeed

Text reads "It's a sad day when you realize all of a sudden the sun is gone, you're sitting in the dark, still in your PJ's doing homework at 5pm. Where did the day go?"

I guess I'd currently define myself as a SAHM (Stay at home mother). As many other mom's can relate to, I often can't believe it's time to make the next meal because I could swear I just made and cleaned up the last one. Before you know it, it's bedtime, then mom's wine time and then we start the next day all over again. Sidenote: Dooce used to call herself a SAHM (Shit Ass Ho Motherfucker) and you have no idea how many times, since reading that, I have nearly blurted that out when the 'what do you do' conversation comes up.

Watercolour & Ink

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Albino Rain

This is a bit of a random post. I have two sketchbook spreads ready to blog about but they don't have much in common other than being from the Facebook portion of my sketchbook. I like the combination of the names in my title... Albino Rain. I think I may lock that away in the memory bank for inspiration later.

Sweet, sweet, Rhino lovin'. Watercolour & Ink

Second rain themed post & sketch. Watercolour & Ink

Monday, December 6, 2010

My dirty little secret is Zombies

I have been asking myself over and over again where this new obsession came from. I have actually avoided most scary movies as they really freak me out. For days after a particularly troubling movie I am certain something is chasing me up the stairs when I walk up from the basement.

If I really mull it over I think it's all MadMen's fault. I adore that show and after the season finale I found myself with a really big TV void in my life. Nothing was really comparing and then in walked in the non-stop promos for The Walking Dead on AMC. It was premiering on Halloween and I thought I'd give it a try at least. Worst case I don't ever watch it again... but I did and now I can't stop! The season ended this past Sunday and I thought I'd take the opportunity to make an Etsy treasury list to honour my obsession.

Speaking of Etsy, I do have a shop, but for the moment I have only purchased a couple of items. I have plans, bursting with ideas and in need of a lot more research. Before I get too carried away, we need to move first before I start selling. Speaking of treasury lists, it was so fun to do this one I think I'm going to try to make it a monthly occurrence.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Young Love

Is there anything better than young love? I'm in my 30's with two kids but I can still remember the gut wrenching intensity of first love. When I was a teenager (back in the olden days), we didn't have cell phones or the internet, let alone texting and facebook. We just talked on the phone ENDLESSLY. Remember those days, internet peeps of the same era? Lengthy phone conversations are a lost art.

I read this person's post, who happens to be a teenager, and was flooded with memories of sneaking away and, er, holding hands at the library, ahem, cough.

Young, hipster love. Watercolour & Ink

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Tis the season to be crabby... fa la la la

There's a little tradition that was started around our house a few years ago. On December 1st we officially kick off the Christmas season by opening some small presents. These presents are specifically Christmas style gifts like an ornament or a chachki. This year my oldest daughter is finally able to help make cookies so I have plans to make a simple sugar cookie recipe and add red and green sprinkles. Once the kids are tucked in I'm going to watch my favourite holiday movie, Love Actually. This should help everyone get excited for the big day and warm our hearts a little.

Nothing can ruin Christmas for me faster than a busy shopping mall. I am trying to avoid them at all costs this year. This facebook post had me saying 'Word, brotha' out loud so of course I had to illustrate it.

Happy December 1st!

"I love Christmas but I hate shopping mall crowds" Watercolour & Ink
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