Here is my final Cuckoo Clock print. The red and gray was a last minute thought I had. I'd painted it with greens and pinks, and another one with blues and yellows. They looked cheery, but not very memorable. Then about 6 hours before the final image was due for Lilla Roger's Assignment Bootcamp, I had the idea of using a stamp to print spirals on the background and paint the image red and gray. I think it turned out so much better! Soon I'll have a print in my Etsy shop also.
Most people submitting their cell phone mock-ups were making nice layouts including coordinating patterns, color swatches, and logos. Here's the layout that I went with- it has an image of the carved block. I would have liked to make some patterns also, but I ran out of time.
If you want to see more than 400 (!!!) cuckoo clock cell phone covers, check out the gallery here. Mine is on page 8. There is lots of gorgeous work in the gallery!
In my last post I mentioned about our cuckoo clock assignment in Lilla Roger's class. I was excited to try some new techniques to see if I could find a way of working that I liked and was quicker than my usual detailed linocuts. I'm happy to say that I did try out some new ideas, but oh boy, did I make some bad art!
I liked the large cuckoo clock drawing that I did, so I carved some stamps for it and also painted some areas with watercolor. At first I thought it was going to look really neat. But it didn't.
I tried a little collage with stamps. Then I tried printing the stamps alone and with watercolor. I have a really bad stamp-with-watercolor that somehow didn't make it into this photo. Finally I realized that if I was going to have anything to submit by the deadline I'd better go back to what I know and do a linocut. So I simplified my clock drawing and carved the block below. You can see a couple of my color trials above that were ok but not great.
So, very last minute, I repainted the print one more time, got a presentation layout I liked and submitted my cuckoo clock cell phone case. Whew! I'll show you my finished version soon!
We are a little over a week into Lilla Roger's Assignment Bootcamp. It's been really fun! Last Monday, we got an assignment to sketch cuckoo clocks. We could play around with different themes and elements for the clocks. At first I wasn't really excited. Traditional cuckoo clocks are ornate, carved, wooden, and with woodsy themes, animals, and people. That style isn't my favorite. But the artwork people were posting was so varied, interesting, and fantastic! So I warmed up to the idea and as I started drawing, I zeroed in on some themes that I liked that weren't traditional.
My clock has a day and night theme. I'm imagining the word cuckoo and the numbers on the clock face are neon tubes. And the stars and decorative circles are lit also. The music is the opening of You Are My Sunshine. In the earlier sketch, I also had Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but it was a little too crowded. I'm going to make stamps to color the birds, flowers, and some other decorative bits, and watercolor the rest. I haven't tried combining stamps and watercolor like that, so I hope it looks good.
Yesterday we got our main assignment for February which was to turn our clocks, or elements of the drawing into cell phone cases. Again, I wasn't super excited. I recently made a case from my artwork and it's ok- I like the art, but I don't like the case itself that much. So I'm going to see if I can find a case I like better. And in the meantime, people in the group have started posting their finished cases and they are so neat that it's making me excited to do it myself. What fun!
I ordered a few sheets of 5x7Richeson Clear Carve Linoleum because I saw an ad for it and it was interesting on a few different levels. First, it is clear so I figured that was one less step in transferring a drawing. Second, it is clear, how weird! And third, there is a contest. If you use their linoleum, you can enter your piece and win an etching press. So, I took a bunch of photos along the way and I thought I'd do a little review.
Here it is laid over my drawing. You can't use pencil to draw on the surface, but a ball-point pen worked ok.
I started carving and it is so plasticy feeling. I mean, it IS a sheet of plastic, but it also doesn't feel very good to handle, like carving a wad of saran wrap. I also had a very hard time knowing what I was doing. I couldn't tell the depth of the cuts, or exactly where I was making them. There are strange shadows once you start carving. I struggled for a while, and decided to change the border so that I'd have less carving to do. I imagine there is some way to remove the drawing from the plastic, but I didn't experiment. I just started drawing over everything with a sharpie. It turned into a big mess.
Here it is all carved.
And, in the meantime I stamped a couple sheets of printmaking paper with the stamps I made a couple weeks ago.
Then I printed over the top with dark brown ink. The block actually made a really nice print. All of the ink wanted to transfer to the paper easily. And when I went to clean up, I just wiped the block with a rag and practically all of the ink came away. That was really nice.
Then I painted the dog with watercolor and it's finished! Printing over patterned paper is something I've been wanting to do, but I really didn't know if it would work. I think it turned out well! This print needs the watercolor, but in the future, I will make the ink lines heavier and maybe the print won't need to be painted.
I wanted to share two beautiful books of artwork by one of my favorite artists, Mark Hearld.
Outside Your Window is a book of poems and writing for children by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld. It's a big hefty book of over 100 pages compared to most 32 page children's books. And the artwork is gorgeous! I originally fell in love with Mark's linocuts. But he mostly does collage and some lithographs. Below are some of my favorite collages from that book.
And the two spreads below are linocuts from Mark Hearld's Workbook. Aren't they heavenly? The Workbook is also a large book of artwork, images of Mark's eclectic collections, and writing about his process and inspirations.
Mark's winter scenes really capture the shivery essence of snow! The book doesn't say, but I think these images are mixed-media that include monoprinting.
I posted recently about Lilla Roger's Assignment Bootcamp and the "mobile studio" I was inspired to make. Well, it's done! It's officially called the Art Box. Now I have somewhere to keep work and supplies tidy and schlep them around the house to be available whenever I have a few minutes to work on something.
I started with a newish sturdy cardboard box and painted it yellow with some old house paint. I have to mention this yellow paint because it was -I SWEAR- 15 years old!! I guess I had the lid on that can really tight. It moved across the country with me twice. But from the price tag on it, I know I bought it at the Salida hardware store near my house when I lived there eons ago.
Then I painted it fun colors and added a nice strap as a handle so I can carry it with one hand. It turned out a bit gaudy, but hey, I'm not going to redo it. It is a cardboard box after all.
Putting the supplies in was fun. So far I have my sketch book, rulers, pencils and colored pencils, a folder of cut printmaking paper, a piece of masonite as a table surface, watercolor & gouache, paintbrushes, homemade stamps and stamp pads, and my linocut tool.
I've ordered some new linoleum in precut 5x7 pieces. It's called Richeson Clear Carve Linoleum. I decided to get it because there is a contest. If you use their linoleum, you can enter your piece and win an etching press! Why not?! Also, because it's clear, you don't have to do a lot of work transferring an image. You can lay the block over a drawing and see right through it. And one of my main goals is to learn to work faster and simpler.
I made a bunch of new little stamps recently and it was fun playing with them late at night. I want to try and do small editions of prints by stamping a background pattern and then printing a black and white single linocut over the top. I THINK it will look neat. So the stamps and clear linoleum are for that experiment. Yay for experiments! Yay for the Art Box!
I started this blog 4 years ago today. I thought I was too shy to have a blog, but I've enjoyed sharing my artwork, my process, and other artwork and books that I love. I hope in 2014 I will be able to get a lot more work done as my baby girl gets older and more independent.
To celebrate I have 4 small prints to give away. The first 4 people to comment on this post who want a print, tell me which one you want. Please also follow the blog in the sidebar on the left if you haven't already, then email me to give me your address. Yay!!!
Thank you to all the wonderful people I've met through this blog over the years, what a lovely community of artists and book lovers!
My friend Laura Wait moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico last year. It was sad to have her leave town, but Santa Fe is a perfect place for her. Her bookmaking and handwriting as image classes are in high demand in art schools and camps. But this summer she's offering a chance to take a workshop in her own studio. Here is a link to the info for Writing as Image, Exposed Sewing Structures.
And I'm lucky enough to go and be her assistant for the July class. Yay!
This blog is having a 4 year anniversary this January! My posts have been a little spotty for the last year, but I'm building up a nice momentum again and hopefully I will be posting some interesting things in 2014. In a week or so I will have info about a little giveaway to celebrate the anniversary- stay tuned.
I'm still working on a dummy for a picture book called Baby Sings. I thought I'd share what is working for me right now as the mama of a baby with not much time to draw.
After scribbles and a couple rounds of thumbnails, I cut a stack of paper to a good finish size. I folded them in half to find the gutter, numbered the corners, and made sure I had lots of extra sheets cut so I don't have to go hunt down more paper if I need to start a drawing over. (My dog keeps walking by and dripping his drinking water on my paper when I don't pick it up. Then it gets all puckery and icky!)
I have this marvelous drawing surface that my husband made from scrap wood. It's the right height to sit over my legs when I'm on the floor or on the couch. Usually these days I'm sitting on the floor while my little girl plays next to me. It's sturdy and handy!
With my stack of paper, I went through the whole book and quickly and sloppily drew the image onto each page. Then, over time, I work my way forwards and backwards through the whole book tightening up the sketches a little bit each time. This is a good way for me to stay loose and not get too uptight about any one drawing. Flip to a new sheet, fix any proportion or layout issues I see, add a little detail, and move on. I'm getting a lot closer to having the whole book sketched!
I signed up for Lilla Roger'sAssignment Bootcamp. I'm excited! This is a 6 week series of assignments with a warm-up before each one and a place to share completed artwork. It's not a class with interaction from a teacher, but Lilla Rogers is good at inspiring you and getting you in the right frame of mind. For example, the assignments start in February but when you register you get some worksheets about setting up a workspace and making a commitment to the class.
Although I have a studio in my house, it's not a safe place for the baby so I haven't been spending much time there. Her playpen is crammed in the room and she'll play with toys for 15 minutes when I'm also in the room talking to her. The only way I get artwork done though is to be flexible and work anywhere in the house even if it's only for 10 minutes at a time.
So, in the spirit of "setting up a workspace" I've decided to make a lovely Art Travel Box that has all the things I need and some handles. I can keep everything tidy in there and work at the kitchen table, on the floor in the living room, in my studio, or in the baby's room- wherever I have a few minutes. I think it will be fun designing and decorating the box. I was partly inspired by this wonderful birdhouse Rafael Lopez and his son built. Check it out, it's gorgeous! My box won't be so detailed, but it will be handy!
I hope everyone had a happy Christmas! Maybe you got some fun art supplies, books, or even some new art for Christmas. I wanted to share one of my presents- a new phone case with one of the snow patterns I made and posted about earlier.
This is a Speck case from Zazzle. You can upload your own art and it's printed on fabric on the back. The sides are hard plastic and wrap around the front edges. My phone feels so dressed up now!
My friend and fabulous illustrator Tina Kugler tagged me in a blog hop. Please take a minute and go check out her artwork, she has been showing a few sneak peaks of the two new picture books she has coming out in 2014.
1. What are you working on right now?
I've started a picture book dummy called Baby Sings. I've only done dummies for the 3-7 year old crowd and it's fun to work really simply. However..... this dummy definitely involves drawing a baby over and over and over on every page in lots of different positions. And babies are hard to draw! Honestly, all people are hard for me to draw. I just keep at it. Luckily I have a model I get to look at every day. Tessa is 7 months old now!
2. How does this differ from other works in this genre?
I'm not sure it's really different, but picture books are for younger and younger kids these days. And parents are encouraged to read to their children from birth. But there aren't as many books for babies- and certainly not ones that have young babies as main characters, as there are picture books for preschool kids. Of course, you can read to your newborn from the newspaper or an adult novel and they'd be just as happy. But part of the reading pleasure is for the adults too, right? And of course a new mama would enjoy a picture book with a baby doing the funny things that her own baby does, right?
And....... I am going to do some collage using music sheets! I haven't done collage in ages, but this will be pretty simple and hopefully look good. I'll also do big linocuts over the collage.
3. Why do you write what you write?
This story in particular got written because well, I have a baby! And I think about babies, and what they do and why. And what does that noise mean? And is that normal? And isn't she just brilliant?!
4. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Occasionally a story or idea or vision come quickly but mostly the whole darn thing is hard work all the time. Not like manual labor, but more like, "Is this any good?" "What am I missing?" "Do I really have to redraw that AGAIN?" "Why is this taking so long??" But it's ok that it's hard work, because I love a good challenge!