Tag Archives: project

Alive & Kickin’

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What a great couple of months this has been!  I have been caught up in a rush of school activities for my kids, and my classes have picked up speed as well.  I finished out the rest of my Drawing class last semester, just in time to prepare for family and friends visiting over Christmas.  Then, my Winter and Spring session courses added to my already frenzied days!  Currently I am enrolled in three courses:  Writing for Children, Designing and Illustrating Children’s Books and Graphic Design!  And I am LOVIN’ it!  From the outset, it seems highly unlikely that I could ever keep up this pace.  Yet in the midst of each project, I find this new reserve of energy and passion that drives me to finish line.  This is definitely what I was born to do!

GrphDsgn.Proj 1.Graphic Novel Self Portrait

A self portrait appropriation based on the amazing original artwork of Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna (Marvel Comics, July 2010).

Last week, I put together the mock up of a Picture Book dummy which I am hoping to get critiqued by an editor at an upcoming conference in May.  I initially thought that I would have 3 months to work on this, however I learned during registration that a sample had to be postmarked within 3 days.  Needless to say, I was launched into high gear!  And just to keep things interesting, my first Graphic Design project due date was around the corner.  The assignment required that we submit an appropriation of a favorite character out of a graphic novel.  I chose the Black Widow character from Marvel Comics after recently watching Scarlett Johansson’s awesome portrayal of Natasha Romanoff in “Iron Man 2” and “The Avengers” – now THAT’s what I’m talking about ~ Excellent choreography in her fight scenes!  This style of illustration is not what I typically generate, and we were expected to re-invent ourselves as this character.  After multiple searches for an action packed illustration, I finally found the cover, “The Name of the Rose” (Issue #2) created by Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna for Marvel Comics.  By using their fantastic work as a template, I was able to explore this style with my own pen and ink self portrait and ultimately render the finished product through Adobe Illustrator – it was a ton of fun!  I added my own facial features and hair, and my holster carries paintbrushes and pencils, ready to produce extreme graphics at a moment’s notice.  Now I have something to hang in my studio to keep me motivated… Speaking of which, it’s time to get back to work!  Glad to be back in the blogosphere!

Emerging from a Cloud of Charcoal

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Scribble gestures of gourds and peppers for homework.

Just another quick post on the fly to update you on some more of my drawing class assignments…

We have been getting more into “Mass Gestures” with compressed charcoal… So other than feeling like I have a constant black film filling my pores, I am loving this exploration of textures and media!  Here are some of my homework assignments, along with some classwork.

My mass gesture study of a stuffed pillow in class.

The objective for this homework was to create a mass gesture of 3 stuffed objects… I couldn’t leave Cappuccino out of that one! 🙂

Exploring my new world through Prismacolor!

Moving right along, we are preparing to take on landscapes soon, depending on how the weather treats us.  Meanwhile, in a whirlwind of personal projects, I have been getting immersed in the world of Prismacolor pencils.  I am developing an idea for a series that I will share when I feel they are ready.  Here is a little cropping of one of the drawings I have been working on most recently.  I have been kindling this desire to illustrate for children’s books, exploring more detailed renderings of subjects and really enjoying the journey!  Thanks for stopping by my virtual studio! 🙂

Healing Through My Sketch Pad…

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What a whirlwind this year has been for our family!  In the past year, we have been through selling a home, building a new home for our spankin’ newly blended family, a honeymoon, a familymoon, and some unforeseen surgeries following miscarriages.  In an attempt to navigate through my grief and mend my broken heart, I began to nurture my love for the sketchpad…

In an earlier post, I described The Carousel Project that I have conceptualized for years.  This project is becoming a healing balm for me now… As I blend my love for whimsical carousel characters with my desire to bring light into my painful loss, I have sketched a Christmas reindeer character for our first son, Nicholas.

Later in the summer, we learned that my father was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.  During some of my prayer time, I was inspired to create a special sketch as a gift.  His wife is Vietnamese and his life has been heavily influenced by Asian cultures.  I chose to sketch a Vietnamese dragon grasping a pearl, as in the Eastern tradition, a symbol of protective strength and healing from Heaven.  He was also raised Catholic, and I felt strongly that the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus should be represented within the pearl… a deeply soulful prayer for not only holistic, but also soul-istic, protection and healing.  Embedded within the border is a scripture I felt led to include.  It is a passage that speaks to our faith from John 11:25-26, translated from a Vietnamese bible…

Jesus said to her:  I am the resurrection and the life:

he that believes in Me, although he be dead, shall live,

and every one that lives and believes in Me shall not die for ever…

This is my first drawing that I have ever colored, so I wanted to extend the symbolism through the Heavenly blues and purples in the dragon against the background sunrise of hope… It is my prayer filled healing sketch on its way to Georgia.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth of a Centerpiece!

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The inspiration for our centerpieces.

Oftentimes I will find a photograph in a magazine that inspires a project or determination to figure out how to replicate or reconceptualize a design.  One of these pictures was a miniature wreath created by pine cones.  I was immediately drawn to the simplicity and elegance of this piece.  Years later, as I was planning my winter wedding reception, this image returned to my mind, and the concept for our centerpieces was born!

Pine cones that our children painted
were used to decorate the wedding chapel.

My parents live in South Carolina surrounded by magnificent Loblolly pine trees that yield thousands of HUGE pine cones.  We collected bags of fallen cones during one of our visits.  Then my mum shipped extra boxes as we cried out for more!  It turned into a family project to tediously pull each scale off of the cones.  But eventually, with the hot glue gun in hand and some perseverance,  a finished wreath emerged ready for painting and of course, the shimmer effect!

This was also a great way for our children to contribute to making decorations for the ceremony and reception as we all became more excited for the upcoming wedding!

One of our wedding reception centerpieces.

Later, we used the wreaths to decorate our new house for our first Christmas together as a family!

      May we continue to grow in love,

as we create new family memories together

                                                                     in our days ahead…

For more information about joining in on the weekly photo challenge, go to:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/weekly-photo-challenge-growth/

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Mission Impossible III1/2: Design Protocol

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Mission Impossible III1/2: Design Protocol

Project #4 Objective: Create an interesting and/or provocative narrative or linear story using a photographed sequence whereby meaning is effectively conveyed.  The final sequence should include 12 – 15 original images that are visually interesting and relate formally to one another.

 

 

 

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This project was a little bit too much fun!  Once we got past the paparazzi while we were ‘on location’ at Great Falls National Park (McLean, VA), Cappuccino was able to get into character to give us the shots we needed.  I’m not sure, but this assignment may have inspired a family project for the summer!  There could be more adventures in his future…

The Narrative:

“Most would think it is a charmed life I lead.  Hugs, tea parties, wardrobe changes… They are all a part of a day in the life of your average bear.  But that’s just it.  I was an average bear living an ordinary life.  I knew I was made for more.  There was a world beyond these walls that beckoned to me.  I had seen it in the movies when the children buried their faces into my fur — the excitement, the intrigue, the danger!  It was all right there, waiting for me to explore.  The time was now… GERONIMO!!!”

Finding the blue sports car in the driveway made Cappuccino smile as he climbed behind the wheel.  “Barbie always has my back,” he thought.  The car puttered, warming up for the drive.  As he finally began to accelerate, he could hear Barbie’s voice from the garage, “Dream big, live large, Cap!!!”  With that, he hit the gas and headed toward adventure!

The journey was a long one, but there were so many new sounds and sights that Cappuccino could barely take it all in.  He needed some peace and quiet, a place to ponder where this path should lead.  Suddenly, the trees parted and gave way to the most spectacular rock formations he had ever seen in all his two stuffed years!  This was the place!  He jumped out of the car, changed into the clothes that Barbie had packed for him, and headed for the woods.  “Now THIS is the life!” he thought as the memory of his bedroom seemed like just a flicker in his past.  He felt like a new bear!  He was on top of the world!

While he reveled in the view of the waterfalls, he caught a glimpse of a small black capsule emerging from the ground.  He cautiously approached as it opened to reveal a pair of sunglasses. Placing them over his eyes immediately triggered the digital download through the lenses, and then the voice began to speak…

Good afternoon, Mr. Cappuccino.  Your mission should you choose to accept it, involves successful completion of the accelerated CAT 111-875 session.  Should you be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions.  And Mr. Cappuccino, welcome to the I.M. Force.  This message will self destruct in 5 seconds…

“A mission!!!”  This was fantastic!  He ran back to the car to find a map to his next destination… The Vault!

Cappuccino read all of this clues carefully and followed each instruction.  Once the key to the Syllabus and the Software were retrieved, he was ready to proceed.  Vector graphic illustrations flowed from his paws ~ it was like poetry!  Premiere Pro proved to be just as engaging… this was fascinating!  Who knew there was so much available to anyone who had the desire to learn!

A week later, the results of his mission were transmitted.  He beamed as he reviewed his grades.  This was truly life altering for such a small bear, and he just couldn’t stop there!…

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As in all great works, there must be edits.  We were allowed 12 – 15 photographs, so here were some of the shots that were cut from the final slideshow…

Blog-a-licious

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Project #1 Objective: Create a blog to share things you are learning and researching that relate to visual art (film, animation, graphic design, painting, photography, etc.). The goal of this assignment is to gain an understanding of the internet and web design.

Here I am, winding down at the end of the summer semester.  My Project 1 parameters have almost been met, and the whole exercise has become somewhat addictive.  This blog has been a great tool for keeping track of research that I make mental note of along the way and sharing my progress as a student.  But admittedly, I find myself getting more excited about the traffic to the site by the day.  It started out with my online classmates, then trickled to family and friends… until international flags started lighting up on the Stats map!  Then my whole family was hooked, from which stemmed the realization, “We must conquer the world!” (in your best Dr. Evil voice)

While I am fairly certain where the Canadian hits originated (…a shout out to my cousin, Sandra, & sister-in-law, Tanya! Thanks for being the first to bridge the international gateway! 🙂 …), I’m not sure what drew visitors from the UK, Brazil & Germany. Regardless of the reason, my son has now determined that we must gain recognition in Madagascar.  You can imagine where the interest was born.  Here is a hint:

Da-da-dada-dada-da-da-Circus
Da-da-dada-dada-da-da-Afro
Circus-Afro-Circus-Afro
Polka-dot, Polka-dot, Polka-dot… MOVE IT!!!

Yeah, what can I say, we love the movies.  Anyway, I can see the value in continuing to ‘journal’ about this academic road I travel.  This will help me to maintain focus, to keep trudging toward my goals – my ultimate “Fitztopia” – and with hope in my heart, may even inspire a few other moms to open their minds to their own possibilities.  So with my bright pink Jansport on my back, and a constant stream of java in my cup, I am unstoppable…

                       I am one mom…

                                 returning to college…

                                                with a magnificent dream of creative proportions…

Here I go!!!

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It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times…

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Project #2 Objective: Complete a set of drawn studies of a simplified object using traditional drawing tools followed by vector production tools. Create a final study of 3 abstracted views of your object on a single page or composition.

Project 2, Part B… okay, this is where it gets good!  This is what I came to do!  My first crack at Illustrator, or any vector graphics program for that matter.  My closest interaction with this type of software, was back in the day when I was singing with a band, and we decided to put out a CD. That was my first fun with logo design, and I got to be the backseat driver for the graphic designer we hired to ‘pretty up’ the insert and get it printer ready. I’m sure he loved it ~ “hmm, that’s a nice idea, but, um – no… okay, slide that over there… no, more purple and make it gradient… oOoh, and marbly!… hey, what does that do?”… yeah, good times…

I diligently watched the tutorials, getting more and more excited about the possibilities.  Ideas were flowing out of my head on how it could be incorporated as an invaluable, production multiplying, time saving tool!  I couldn’t wait to download the application!!!… All set up, I started with what seemed to be the easiest image to trace, placed it on the artboard, cut the opacity so I wouldn’t confuse the new black traced lines with the original image, locked the layer and opened a new layer to get started.  Hmmm… where do I start?  Elliptical tool, line tool, pen tool… *!@#!!!… CMD+Z, CMD+Z, CMD+Z… okay, we’ll go back to that later… fill… polygon tool… pen tool… anchor points… handle… Why isn’t this working???… This doesn’t make sense!!!  Maaaarrrrk (that’s my husband)… look at what this crazy thing is doing, have you ever seen anything so ridiculous? (rant, rant, rant)… I mean, you would think for the actual price of this software it would be functional!  (he sits down, click, click, click)  “Is that what you were trying to select?”  Okay, psh… well, YOU didn’t watch the tutorials, so they must have confused me somehow from the obvious common sensical approach you just mustered there, whatever… okay, fine, I can do this… I CAN’T DO THIS!!!  What was I thinking?… Going back to school… and don’t even get me started on how to make a living as an artist!… Suddenly, I imagine Tom Hanks in a baseball cap yelling, “There’s no crying in Illustrator!!!”  No time for tears, project is due tomorrow… push through the pain…  After, a few more hours & just past pumpkin time, I collapsed into bed feeling completely defeated from my first and most simplified image.

I did not get a lot of sleep.  In fact, I tossed and turned most of the night.  The next morning, and for some unexplained reason, the image of Richard Simmon’s face danced around in my mind, while he beamed, “Come on, Honey!!!  Hop out of bed and get this day started!!!”  I moaned.  Then something snapped and a determination swept over me to figure this out.  I got dressed, dropped the kids off at school, poured my coffee (THAT”S a given!), grabbed a CD of Celine Dion to have at the ready… yeah, the FRENCH Album…  Okay, let’s DO this!!!

It wasn’t pretty at first, but time was of the essence, and I needed to get creative to get the effects I wanted.  I’m not proud of it, but I became one with the blob brush and the warp tool.  I still manipulated the paths and formed a few compound shapes, but I focused on cleaning up the lines and maintaining the integrity of the original images.

Save… Attach… POST… done!