Artist’s Introspective: State of the Union Part Six

In review to the questions from artist’s introspective parts one through five…

What sort of an illustrator are you? What sort of career do you want to have?

I like to illustrate things that I find clever or subject matter that makes me happy and my heart sing a little. I like when illustrations are useful, but I also have a love of ephemera. This all boils down to a mix of useful and fun illustrations with delightful little pieces I think merit a “how smart!” or, “how funny!”

I wouldn’t mind having a career in book illustrations, poster/card design, interactive design, beer label design, or something along those lines. Something where my illustrations serve a purpose, include design with them, and they contribute to something I care about.

Does your present body of work reflect your aspirations? Could it do so more strongly?

I think little pieces of my portfolio reflect my aspirations. I do not, however, think it is anywhere close to where it needs to be. It currently has very little cohesion, the style jumps around wildly, and the color palettes are only beginning to seem unified. Basically if I could correct this by creating a cohesive body of work (in color palette, theme, and style), I would feel much more confident.

List ten images/themes/techniques/subjects/formats that your portfolio needs in order to become more in line with your aspirations.

– beer label/packaging design
– poster design
– printables
– book covers
– water color + digital integration
– pattern
– illustrations for ephemera, such as cards
– interactive illustration
-typographical stuff
– united color palette/drawing style

Artist’s Introspective: State of the Union Part Five

If you had to spend the rest of your life illustrating one book, what would it be?

I suppose I could take this route two different directions: An already published book, or illustrating some book I’ve got made up in my head. For the sake of simplicity, and the fact that I’m pretty certain I’ll never write a full novel so that’d be wasted life-illustrating time, I’m going to choose a book that I like to read that is already published.

So here are some possibilities…

– I love the book Pride and Prejudice. (I know, I’m such a girl). I’ve read it nearly 10 times now, and that number will only increase with time. Now, to that end, is that a book I’d actually want to illustrate? Maybe not as much as others. Let’s continue this brainstorm.

If I had to illustrate something for the rest of my life the book would have to meet certain criteria:

– creative
-I don’t mind re-reading it. A lot.
-interesting imagery
– imagery that I would actually like to pursue drawing

What are some books that meet these demands? My first thought is to go back to the glorious novels of my childhood. Narnia, C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength), The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Doctor Doolittle, The Wizard of Oz series, Anne of Green Gables, I could go on…

And then there are books that I could read and re-read over and over again today. There’s The Historian, The Shadow of the Wind, aforementioned Pride and Prejudice, and probably others. (Note that I obviously don’t read as much now as I did when I was a child). (Also, can’t forget Harry Potter- read that starting as a kid and finished as an adult as the books came out)

So which takes the cake?

I know I’m supposed to narrow it down to one, but I may have to pick two and just roll with it.

One: Chronicles of Narnia

Two: The Historian

The Chronicles of Narnia have everything compelling to draw, with enough content to keep you going your entire life. Magic, personified animals, interesting landscape- it could really go places.

The Historian would be cool for the interesting architectural scenes, landscapes, and historical accuracies to be thrown in. There’s also a lot of described imagery (think: ancient documents) that could be illustrated along with actual action.

So here’s a question for my readers! What would you choose? Regardless of illustration ability, what book could you spend the rest of your life illustrating and re-reading?

If you could go apprentice with any two artists in the history of the world, who would they be? Why?

This is a toughy to be sure! There are so many artists I admire.

The first artist I would choose would be a Renaissance painter. Possibly Botticelli. My reasoning for this is that their technical skill is so magnificently hewn that I feel that I could do almost anything I wanted after that. Renaissance painters far exceed the 10,000 hour rule. They might as well create their own 100,000 hour rule for the point of their mastery. And as for Botticelli in particular, I just love the way he paints women’s faces more particularly than any other Renaissance painter.


The second choice I believe would be to apprentice with John William Waterhouse, the Pre-Raphaelite painter. I adore his paintings. He offers such mastery over the palette and such beautiful renderings, again I feel like I could accomplish anything with his level of mastery down.
(Now, I am keeping in mind that I also would love to have worked with Dulac and other artists, including more modern ones- but these two offer a skill that I’m not sure I could arrive at without masterful instruction)

If you were banned from the art world, but could have any career you wanted that wasn’t in art, what would it be? Why?

If I were forced to have a career outside of the arts, my first choice would be rare book conservation. Book conservation is outside the realm of the fine arts, however  it combines a skill I’ve learned within the fine arts (book binding) and my love of history and good craftsmanship.

I attended a workshop this summer and met many conservators and practically drooled as they described their jobs. I do, however, love the fine arts more than conservation. But it certainly is a real interest.

Also, if I couldn’t go into that, I probably would go into environmental science, working in the field doing some sort of testing. I really enjoyed that in high school and briefly considered making that my major, but again, art won out.

Describe the Project you would propose under the following circumstances. Describe the project in detail: What would it be, how would you spend the money, how would you schedule the time allotted, and how would the work be presented upon completion?

oh what to do with $1000 and one month. The money would be for supplies, I suppose. Which sounds like a lot of money for supplies, but depending on what supplies we’re talking about, they can get pretty expensive. Example: Parchment and vellum.  Another good thing to consider is what exactly could I get done in only one month.

I would probably use this money to illustrate the children’s book my sister wrote over the summer. It’s a project I’ve been meaning to get to, but haven’t yet- and a month seems like the right time to do it in.

I would like to do the book in watercolor with digital finishing, so materials I would need should include:

– watercolor paper
– nice gouache
– nice brushes
– ink
– scanner
– photoshop + inDesign
– tablet

Granted, I already have a scanner, photoshop, and a tablet. My gouache could be better and so could my brushes, however.

I would spend about a week storyboarding/bouncing them off Mary to get them correct.
Week two + three would be the final drawing / gouaching.
Week four would be the digital additions / layering
Week five would be formatting.

In this project plan publishing is a separate process later.

With six months and ten grand I think I would most like to fully learn CSS (and acquaint myself with PHP) to create wordpress, tumblr, and blogspot themes.

Supplies I would need:

– possible course tuition
– photoshop
– illustrator
– coding reference bibles

The first three months would be spent learning the language and trial testing, picking apart current themes, and learning how to do the things I want to do.

Month three would include a trial run of a simple-ish theme, start to finish.

By month four I should hopefully have the hang of what I’m doing and be getting started on my fancy awesome theme for my website or whatever else I think needs a theme more than me.

Month five will be graphics-making and coding

Month six should be plugging in all the information into the site and bug-testing. Honestly, I should probably be finished before the end of month six. I hope.

Alternatively, I’d use the money to buy a letterpress. Spend 6 months repairing it and cooing at it.

With one year and One hundred grand I would create my ultimate installation, a piece that takes what I want from my BFA about 50 steps further.

Think: museum/archaeological exhibit set up with drawings and sculptures I have made from today’s materials, all assembled incorrectly to appear like worship objects. The exhibit would, in theory, be set up for the viewer to know it’s from the far future, like 4000AD or something.

Anyway, I’d need used technology parts for the sculptures and an ipad for the display of “archaeologists recreating what a twenty first century prayer book would look like.”

The entire thing would be like a museum set up in the forty-first century where archaeologists have found pieces of our civilization, put them back together incorrectly, and then, based on other clues, interpreted them as tools of worship for our celebrity obsessed culture.

timeline wise, the first month would be experimenting with materials/drawing out plans.

month two would be making sculptures n stuff

month three I would look at starting to program the ipad book,

months four through eight would be material creation for the exhibit, like the sculptures.

months nine through eleven would be ipad book prep

month twelve would be installation set up, marketing and press, etc.

Or, I would buy a letterpress and set up a design/illustration company that uses the letterpress.

Artist’s Introspective: State of the Union Part Four

List Ten illustrators whose work you admire, or whose career you would like to emulate. Provide images. Who are their clients? What sort of work do those clients look for?

I’ve answered these questions on a separate page to allow for the list to continue growing as I discover new artists that inspire me. You can find that page here

Find at least ten magazines that you think you could work for. Consider both the content of the magazine and the type of illustration, if any, that they use. Record the names of the art directors and any assistant art directors listed and their contact information.

 The Oxford American
P.O. Box 3235
Little Rock, Ar 72203

Tel. 501-374-0000
Art Director: Tom Martin

Whole Living
601 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

Art Director: Jamie Prokell

(also, note this job listing)

Real Simple
Senior art director: Abbey Kuster-Prokell
Art director: Joele Cuyler

-can’t find any contact information. Will keep searching-

162 Archway Road
N6 5BB

Tel. +44 (0)208 341 9721
Editor: Elizabeth Smith
Brand & Product Manager: Penny Grey

Real Simple Family
Art Directors: Margaret Gallagher, Cristina Luna

– same issues as Real Simple-

Mollie Makes
Art Editor: Helena Tracey
No specific contact information for non-subscription inquiries

O Magazine
Art Directors: Jose Fernandez, Angela Riechers
Another magazine extremely hard to find contact information for.

Family Fun
Art Director: Michael Grinley
general correspondence email:

Creative Director: Ridge Carpenter
May MEdia Group, LLC
152 MAdison Ave
Suite 200
New York, NY 10016
tel. 212.532.0010

Vanity Fair
Julie Weiss, Chris Mueller
Another hard magazine to find contact information for.

If you were starting your own magazine and your livelihood depended on it selling well and your sanity depended on it being something you wanted to spend all your time on, what would it be? What sorts of writers and artists would you hire? What subject matter would it deal with? How would you want it to look?

 If I were to create a magazine that needed to be both successful and something I was genuinely interested in, I think it’s safe to say it’d have to be about my interests. 

What this means, basically, is the magazine would include art, crafts, and household things. Quite similar, in fact, to some of the magazines I’ve already listed above– just with more illustration.

Writers would be knowledgable but who wrote with a creative, humorous bent. It’s aways nice to read something that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Artists would have a fun, whimsical air to them. Think: artists that inspire me. The magazine would have pattern, each page would be designed, and there would be useful information such as artist interviews, crafting (but not dumb crafting) how-to’s, and tips for living creative, organized lives. I’m pretty sure people would love my magazine.

List ten non-magazine clients that you would like to work with. Why are these your dream clients? Find and record their contact information.

Tap Handles is a design firm specifically oriented to craft brew product design. They’ve designed for the likes of Kona Brewing, American Brewing Co., and more. They’re awesome. I would love to work in design/illustration for them.

1424 4th Ave, Suit 201
Seattle, WA 98101

Tel: 206 462 6800

 Random House Publishing is a leader in the American publishing world and  therefore offers some pretty good opportunities to illustrate for book covers.

Alternatively, illustrations for inside books would be cool.

Children’s Publishing
1745 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019

Random House, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
Tel. 212 782 9000

Another great client would just be freelancing for craft beer companies by themselves, or even getting hired by one single company. Obviously this is hard to get contact information for.

Okay, I am going to finish this tomorrow morning. But just as some general notes-

I’m interested in book illustration, some editorial illustration, online/website design and illustration for that, craft brewing industry design, poster design, and probably more!

Illuminated Manuscripts: Inspiration

I’ve been researching illuminated manuscripts and ornament for my independent study this semester. (you can see on the side my first trial). The ornament was inspired by this image:

 (you can click on the image to view it larger)

My project is going to be modernized some, and this little test would, ideally, have gold around it or something along that nature.

I also tested out some papers, and I think I may be using arches cover white. The other option is Rives BFK.

Here’s another piece that I love. Ornament, obviously, plays a big part in these illustrations. I’m looking forward to the possibilities of it all.

Anyway, the piece above isn’t really a sneak preview or anything of what’s to come, but it is a little something to make me (and hopefully you) excited about what’s to come!

Artist’s Introspective: State of the Union Part Three

Describe your typical creative process, from getting an assignment to finished piece.

My creative process normally begins with simple brainstorming. I get an assignment and my brain starts turning it over until I a) need to write something down, or b) am at the point where I sit down to start thumbnailing. Which leads to what happens next. I normally then jot down some key factors in what I want to do, little side notes to keep me on track. (I have issues with keeping all my thoughts organized). From these textual notes, I begin the quick thumbnails.

Here is where I must be honest with myself and anyone who reads this. I am not good at thumbnails. I don’t like doing them. I do a couple till I have a better idea in my head of what the thing should look like, and then I tend to just jump in. Or, conversely, if I do thumbnails and want to understand after 5 minutes what I’ve drawn in the little box, I can’t actually make it a little box. It’s gotta be a bit larger for me to work my thoughts out in coherently.

So that normally happens after I’ve captured a few ideas in teeny thumbnail form. I am no where of the caliber of 100 thumbnails till I’ve exhausted all possible compositions like I think past teachers have wanted us to be. I feel like by the end of those 100 thumbnails I never want to see the piece again, which really puts a cog in the system when I try to start actually working on the piece.

With my big sketches done, then it depends on the medium I’m working with. If it’s traditional, I’ll draw it out better, scan the final sketch (in case I totally mess up on inking, etc, I still have the option of digitally doing something), and then start the next process whether it be inking, gouaching, what have you. I scan at integral parts along the way, and then finally scan the finished piece.

If it’s digital, I still may ink it, or just use the sketch and have at it. As far as time goes for any of these things, I sometimes work in long hours, or in smaller chunks. It depends on how much I like the piece…

Describe what you think your creative process should be like.

To answer this correctly, I probably should examine what in my current routine works against me and what works for me, then sort it out that way.

For one, I wish I spent more time brainstorming. I mean, I already spend some time on it, but I want to feel like the composition I chose was really the best choice. This probably either means more thumbnails, or– well, no, that’s really probably what it means.

I also wish those thumbnails were more clear and quickly drawn. I am a slow thumbnailer.

Next, I’d like to think that I’d get to work on stuff immediately. No waiting till I really have to work. Similarly, I wish I worked smarter and not harder. Sometimes I work too slowly for my own good.

And then, I suppose the last little change would be working to definite conclusion. As in, no “this is probably done” and stopping at  85%, but stopping at 100%.

Research and describe a professional creator’s creative process.

I interviewed Nick Iluzada last year for my illustration 3 class- He’s a fantastic illustrator who by the time he’d graduated from MICA was already recognized by the Society of Illustrators twice, American Illustration, and CMYK. Also, he’s only two years older than me which makes me feel kinda crappy about myself… but I push ever onward!

As he described it, his work generally involves doing a lot of layers of pencil and ink, coloring in photo shop, then incorporating fun textures.

As for his editorial work, here is his general process:

Step one: templates for sketches, draw them, send them in

Once the final version is chosen, print out a large version of the sketch, use a lightbox or tracing paper, rework and tighten, complete the underdrawing.

Step Three: Layers of pencil and ink (using lightbox or denril for finals), scan in the layers, compile everything in photoshop

after that it’s just drawing details and coloring everything.

Now I’ll just throw in a little advice from him. 

– style is overrated but cohesion isn’t
– dont’ just send out stacks of post cards: think hard about what you’re sending & why
– become friends with art directors
– enter illustrator competitions
– sourcebooks are a waste of money
– keep organized and on top of all business things

 Everyone should check out his site, I think his work is absolutely magnificent.

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