Monday, December 13, 2010

Gift season

Made this watercolor painting as a birthday gift for my former illustration professor, Joel Priddy

This was a wedding present for a relative. They were engaged in Peru, so I used that as the theme and included native flora, fauna, and textile designs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Southern Culture Show

These are for a show I'm participating in this Saturday-
"Southern Culture Lowbrow Extravaganza Part II" at 1330 Dickerson Pike, Nashville TN; Saturday, November 20 · 6:00pm - 10:00pm. One night only, come on out Nashville folks!

"Once again, visual artists and musicians come together for a night of satirical celebration of all things southern. Artists will share their own unique and comedic relationships visually set against an amazing soundtrack provided by Decatur, Alabama's Barnstormers!

Topics of interest include: Southern food, slang, music, hot rods, southern iconography, stereotypes and everything else that makes the south "The South". Works will be presented in a wide variety of media, including everything from photography, traditional paintings and illustration to sculpture and design. The Southern Satire show is back with more artists, more art and new music!"

My Opossum story was inspired by a few sketches I'd done for these pieces, hence the similarities.

The initial thumbnail skritchy scratchy sketches-

A few more developed little sketches

Plaque with ink, pre-stain

The workspace with inky plaques and sketchy sketches

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Opossum progress

A page from my "Ramshackle Wilderness" story painted up in watercolors. I've thumbnailed/written the remaining pages of the story, and it looks like it will be 24 pages if I don't change my mind. Drawings shall be done soon-ish and posted accordingly. Whether all 24 pages end up as fully fleshed-out watercolor paintings is yet to be determined. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pins for sale!

Finally got my pins in the 'ol Etsy shop! There is even a special offer when you buy a group of three. Thanks for checking it out :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ramshackle Wilderness: pt. 2

(click to enlarge!)

Sketches for pages 15-18 of the story I started as a 24-hour comic. See the first part here.
So it looks as though Beelu's opossum compatriots are likely to die after all. Or maybe not. In any case, they have been the architects of their own destruction since the beginning, so Beelu cannot really be blamed. This sort of thing was bound to happen eventually.

Any critique so far, dear readers and art buddies? I think I'm going to use ink and watercolor on the finals. I may shoot for 24 pages, we'll see how long it takes before this story decides to wrap itself up.

*Read part 3 (finale)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

24-hour comic no.2

I once again attempted the 24-hour comic challenge this year, and got about as far as I did last year. I like how it turned out though, and hopefully I'll get around to finishing it sometime in the near future.
(click for larger view!)

In the last page we see the opossum heading back to his town atop the snake, I haven't decided what should happen when they get there. Maybe he'll ferry everyone back to the kudzu-overgrown churches so they'll have a new place to live. Either that, or the snake will eat all of them. Depends on my mood that day.

Read part 2
and part 3!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Meet Your Maker" show

The showcase of local Etsy sellers I was a part of this weekend, titled "Meet Your Maker", turned out to be a great success! I sold a fair bit, and got to talk with lots of people who were excited about my work. All the other sellers had great looking booths and items, and the food from Goodnight Gracie Specialty Foods was fantastic. The turnout was really good too, had the joint hopping all night. I rarely had a moment to stray from my table because the traffic was so steady!
I didn't manage to take any decent photos, so my special thanks go out to Christine Cook Jones, a seller at the show, for taking the time to beautifully document the event. (all photos in this post, excluding that last one of the pins, by Christine Cook Jones. Click to enlarge!)
Very special thanks also to Papatya Curtis of Bluer than Blue and Melissa Bridgman of Bridgman Pottery for putting the whole thing together!

I started making these pins. They were a popular item at my table and I'm going to be making a lot more for my Etsy shop soon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Etsy show

On Friday Sept. 24 I will be joining a group of local Etsy sellers for a one-night event here in Memphis. Come by and say hi if you are in the area, it should be a cool show and a good time!

From the press release-
"They may sell their handmade art, functional items and accessories all over the world on Etsy [], but these 14 Memphis artisans are appearing “live” to host Meet Your Maker, a one-day showcase on Friday, September 24. Etsy is the world’s largest online marketplace for handcrafted goods, with 400,000 vendors currently listing 6 million items. This local sale by some Memphis Etsy sellers will be held at the Jack Robinson Gallery, 44 Huling Avenue, between Front Street and South Main.
“While selling our work on Etsy gives us all a steady revenue base, we rarely meet our customers in person, and people want to know where, and who, their goods come from,” said knitter Papatya Curtis, who is co-organizing Meet Your Maker with potter Melissa Bridgman. “We can’t meet everyone, but at least we can spend a little time with our local customers.”
The Memphis “makers” produce and collect fine art, fiber art, sewn crafts, jewelry, pottery,stationery and home accessories. Meet Your Maker will include items such as organza flower pins, hairclips, and other accessories; aprons, baby carriers (slings) and fabric baby shoes; fine art and fine art photography; handspun yarn; vintage items and vintage-inspired Halloween assemblages; as well as art nouveau-inspired fine art prints. Free shoppers’ snacks will be provided by Goodnight Gracie Specialty Foods."

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Project Sketchbook

My submission for this year's Project Sketchbook. I wasn't sure if I would be done on time (didn't start until thursday night, oops) but I managed to put this together over the weekend. I had fun making it!

The cover. This was drawn with a colored pencil, everything else is watercolor.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Grandma Bird

Made this as an 80th birthday gift for my grandmother. She likes to bird watch, so I decided to go with a classic "bird on flowery branch" motif.

Easiest way for me to trace the shape of the plaque- paper over plaque over light box.

The drawing! Not much photoshop tweaking required on this one.

The drawing backed with graphite and cut to shape, preparing to trace.

When I have large areas of black in the composition I will usually end up blotting my brush in said black areas. I also usually end up scaring myself a few dozen times because I'll think I've blotted in the wrong area for a second.

Ink complete! I always do all of the ink first, it doesn't like to go on top of stain.

My crappy stain brushes like to fall apart. A lot.

Lookit all them dang 'ol birds! One of them is the color study, if you look closely you'll see I had some trouble deciding what to do with the tail.

Want to know more? Check out my previous process post!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gulf benefit show

These fellas will be up for auction during a show to benefit Gulf coast wildlife this Friday. Looks like there will be a lot of great art by an array of artists, so those of you in the Memphis area should come check it out!
It's at Marshall Arts (639 Marshall Ave., Memphis TN) from 6-9 pm, July 30.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Plaque Process!

I made this as a wedding gift for friends Jessica and Casey.
People often ask me about how I make these things, so I thought you folks might be interested in a little process post!
On first glance, many people think it might be wood inlay. Oh heavens no, I don't even know how to do that. It isn't pyrography either. It is actually a great deal simpler than either of those methods.

Here are my materials, a wood plaque from the craft store, cheap liner brush, Speedball ink, more tiny cheap brushes for the stain, ordinary wood stain in various colors, satin varnish, sandpaper. When I was first developing this technique I tried several types of ink and Speedball was the first I found that would hold a line and not bleed all over the place. Sometimes when its a new bottle it still doesn't behave, so i might let it sit out with the lid ajar for a day or so to let it thicken up. I like bringing cheap/craft materials and techniques into "fine" art because 1. they are cheap and plentiful, 2. sometimes you can get interesting effects from unconventional materials, 3. I've found I am not the sort of person who should have nice things.

When doing illustrations or larger paintings I usually start with a tiny thumbnail and gradually enlarge it as I add detail, but with the plaques I tend to do the sketching at actual size. Here we have the initial sketch, laying in the main compositional points and overall concept.

Then I scan it into photoshop for tweaking. Whenever I have an image I want to be symmetrical, like the birds here, I draw one side then just flip it in ye olde Photoshoppe. Or I fold it over on the light box, whichever is quicker. In this case I resized and scooted stuff a little too. Then I print it out and continue adding detail.

Here we have the finished drawing. I smear the back with powdered graphite and trace it onto my wood surface. With the more complex designs I might feel the need to work out the color placement in watercolors first, which is what I did on this one. I only have about four colors (plus black) that I work with.
Next I go about the long and often nerve-wracking adventure of inking the plaque. I have to be careful because there is very little I can do about it if I screw up. I have had to scrap a half-inked painting before because I absentmindedly started filling the wrong part with black. About six hours of work down the crapper, uuuggghh.
Then comes the careful application of stain with my tiny brushes, which goes much faster. After that I varnish the front, sign the back and paint it black, varnish that, then attach the hanging hardware. I wish I had pictures of these stages, but I guess I was too wrapped up in the glorious whirlwind of inspiration to think of it.

Let me know if you guys found this interesting, I'm thinking of detailing the process of my print plaques too. My life is a non-stop plaque party!