Monday, September 15, 2014

The Art Challenge: Progress Report

Hello!
I've been working really hard on my art challenge the past couple weeks. I wasn't going to show you the progress until I had finished it a bit more, but I was informed it might help inspire any of you who are doing challenges to keep working if I post my progress. So here it is!
I had a really hard time starting this challenge. It was bizarre! I have all the ideas, I can even envision the final pieces in my head, color and all, and I just didn't want to start. I think mostly it was a fear of not being able to put what I was envisioning on to paper. Then I found this really cool artist (as in musician) that my friend introduced me to, and I was really inspired by her music. Since I was feeling creative every time I heard one of her songs, I decided to just listen to her album on repeat and start drawing. Guess what? It actually worked! (In case your curious, the artist is LP. check her out! Here is her website). Now every time I don't feel like working on my project, I start playing her album. So far it's really working for me. Maybe if you are stuck, you should find a new artist that inspires you. It worked for me, it could also work for you!
So here is my process for this challenge (and really any piece I am working on):
The first theme I picked to illustrate a series for was bullying, or being picked on. First, I write down any and all ideas that come to my head and draw the roughest thumbnails. These are so rough I think I am probably the only one who can decipher them. Also, for this series, I had it pretty clearly in my head, so I didn't need as many thumbnails.

The scribbled notes in my little sketchbook. As you can see, the thumbnails aren't much of anything
Then I start making tighter, but still loose, sketches in my sketchbook.






Then, I traced everything onto tracing paper. This enabled me to make everything clean, figure out stuff I wanted to take out, and make the picture a little more legible to me. I traced it with pencil because I wanted that kind of line in my final piece.






Then I added color and texture in photoshop. I've only "finished" one so far, but here is a look.
I wanted to work in a limited color palette to really challenge myself.
I showed these to my friend Olivia who is also doing this challenge (don't forget to check out her tumblr to see her work!). I also showed these to a group of illustrators I have been meeting with every couple of months. They were all able to give me really good feedback, so there will be some changes to these sketches the next time you see them. They also inspired me to make this into a longer story! I think for the purposes of my challenge, I will still only try to finish 6 of the pieces, but I may add the other sketches if I have time.
Now it's time to get back to work. I have a lot to do! Hopefully, this was inspirational for your Monday. How are your projects going?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Road Trip: The Beautiful California Coast


I know you've all been waiting to hear about the actual road trip part of our trip. Well here is, as promised, part 2.
We left San Diego and made our way to Santa Barbara. We had grand ideas of taking US 1 all the way up, but when we realized that meant it was going to take 6 hours as opposed to the 2.5 we had planned on, we went back to the shorter route. Some day I will drive that stretch of US 1, but we hadn't budgeted 6 hours of time to do it.
The architecture in Santa Barbara was beyond gorgeous. It was a beautiful day to just walk up and down the Main Street and soak in the sights. That was pretty much all we could afford to do! Santa Barbara is not a cheap town. However, in honor of one of our favorite shows, psych, we did go find the police station. We stopped at the beach for a bit, but then we had to hit the road again because the hotel we were staying at was an hour and a half away.
The view from where we ate lunch in Santa Barbara
Pysch! Alas, we could not find a pineaplle to include in the picture
The next day, we woke up really early to start driving up US 1. This day was amazing . The views were gorgeous everywhere! We couldn't get enough of how beautiful everything was! I don't think words can describe this part of the trip so I'm going to just let the beautiful pictures taken by Elizabeth speak for themselves. (these are probably not in order but I tried to at least arrange them by place)
The photographer with the beautiful scenery
One of our stops was the Hearst Castle. What a gorgeous place!
First views of Hearst Castle!
Hearst Castle
Me at one of the many beautiful views from the castle
Elizabeth with the castle
Me with a view of the castle
After the castle, we went to view some elephant seals!
Just chilling

And then we just stopped many many places along the way









By the end of the day, we were exhausted and just ready to crash. However, I felt so inspired by the beauty we had soaked in all day. It was definitely my favorite day by far of the entire trip.
The next day we spent in Carmel by the Sea. What a cute little town! We took the somewhat hard to follow walking tour, and happened upon a gallery showing prints of Dr. Seuss' art. It was cool because there were a lot of pieces I hadn't seen before that he hadn't done for children's books. And I found a couple of books that I want to save up to get!
We stopped at the beach for a while because it was supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the USA. Well, it definitely was! I could have been perfectly happy sitting there all day, but we got hungry. We spent some time at the mission there which was definitely an interesting piece of our country's history. Then we found a cool state park and took a hike!
Again the day would be better served by showing you pictures so here they are:
Elizabeth in a really cool tree right by the beach
The beautiful beach at Carmel by the Sea
Us at the beautiful beach
And some views from our hike that we took in Point Lobos State Park:




This was probably my second most favorite day.

Then...off to San Francisco! Which you will hear all about in my next California post. Now it is time to stop procrastinating and get to work on my art challenge!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

To Dream the Impossible Dream

Happy September all!
I know I haven't finished telling you about my trip yet, but I wanted to let you know about this challenge I am doing this month.
Recently, I've been reading No Plot? No Problem!. This book is about how to write a novel in a month. (No I'm not writing a novel . . . yet. )
It got me thinking though, if you can write a decent length novel in a month, a seemingly impossible task, what else could you accomplish in a month?
Which led me to my art challenge for September. In the next month, I've promised to challenge myself to do something seemingly impossible that moves me forward in my art career. The only rules? I couldn't start drawing until September 1st, and everything needs to be done and posted here by September 30th. I want it to be something different then I usually do, yet something that will strengthen my portfolio. I  want to do
10-15 portfolio pieces (so scary seeing it in print!) but would be happy with any strong pieces that come out of this challenge. I don't want to give anything away yet, but I'm pretty excited about some of the ideas I've come up with.
However, I've already started procrastinating! And I'm only on day 3 of the challenge. (I mean, this was supposed to start the 1st, and here I am, only telling you about it now!) When I realized I was simply scared to start, I emailed my wonderfully talented friend Olivia (see her work here), who is doing this challenge with me! It seems that we are both struggling a bit already, but it helps to know someone else is doing this with me, and also helps hold me accountable to someone other than myself, and that looming deadline. I think just telling her, "I'm scared!" helped me make the first scribble of an idea on paper.
Now I am also posting it here, so you can all hold me accountable too. Even though it's the 3rd already, you can join too! Pick something seemingly impossible to do, and get it done! Let me know what you are planning to do in the comments and we can all help each other with this challenge.
Of course, since I am telling you about this late, you can also just simply enjoy our crazy journey so keep looking for mine and Olivia's updates! I'll be sure to post everything both here and on my Facebook page so you can't miss it.
(No worries. I will take some breaks from feverishly drawing to inspire you with beautiful pictures of the California coast!)
This month is all about challenging yourself and getting outside of your comfort zone. What will you do?


A little motivation from our friend the hedgehog. Time to get to work!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wedding Invitations: Steampunk Style


I'm taking a brief break from telling you about my road trip to talk about the second set of invitations I did this summer. When I first met with the couple, they told me their theme was steampunk. I had only the vaguest idea what steampunk was, so of course, my first step was to google, what is steampunk? Well, if you are ever trying to do research on steampunk, it seems that everyone has their own idea what steampunk should be. From my image research and the many blogs/websites I read, my conclusion was this: industrial elements meet Victorian fashion. From there, I looked at one of the bride's Pinterest page to get a better idea of what they were thinking when they decided on this theme for their wedding. Then it was image research time. I downloaded a bunch of images of gears, watches, skeleton keys, bikes, and carnations (a flower they mentioned in our design meeting) and got to work.
First, I sketched everything out as separate elements in my sketchbook. After I sketched the elements, I took tracing paper and used a brown pen to ink them.


The pieces. My sketches
Then everything got scanned into Photoshop and I played with scale and placement of each individual element. I came up with several different compositions for them to choose from. Then I played with fonts and picked a couple that seemed to fit with the art and theme.
Then I had an aha! moment. I would take a ponchette envelope to put the invite in, and stamp gears on each flap, so that when you opened the invitation, it was like the gears were turning to open it. I learned how to use easy cut while I was in school, but hadn't done a project using it since then. It was fun revisiting this technique. To make the gears, first I traced the different size flaps into my sketchbook. Then I drew a gear on each. I transferred this to the easy cut block by using graphite scribbled on the back of the paper. (I know,really advanced, but the transfer paper wasn't working). Actually carving the stamps took a really long time. Especially because I had to redo the longer gear. Originally, I had to do it on two small pieces of easy cut board because I didn't have a big enough piece to do it on one, and I wanted to show the brides how it would look. So that took extra time but it was worth the effort not to have a line down the middle of every gear.
Then came stamping the envelopes. The flaps would alternate silver and gold so as to incorporate more metal finishes in the piece. I was pleasantly surprised by the time this took to get them all stamped. It took a couple hours, but I thought it would take me a day. They covered the floor of my art room while they were drying.

The first stamp. I was so nervous! But it worked really well!
A close up
All of the envelopes drying on my floor. I couldn't walk anywhere!

Then it was assembly time. This also went faster then I expected. I glued the invites in, placed the postcard response card in, and that was that.
Time to glue!

The final product:
The outside
opening....
TA DA! What was inside
The back of the envelope
A closer look at the invitation

I also designed some stationary for the brides' personal use. I got to use both my new printer and my new paper cutter for this, so that was fun! It also made me realize that I could offer more stationary options when I do open that section of my etsy store.



Overall, I was really happy with this project. I feel that it was something I had never done before, and that I was still able to execute it well, even though it wasn't flowers! (Although I did manage to squeeze some flowers in there). The couple was very happy with them, and so I felt that I had accomplished what I had set out to do!
If you or anyone you know would like custom designed invitations, please contact me at: anne@anneappert.com