February to November

Okay, time to to admit it. I've been cheating on Blogger. I have a Tumblr.

It's here!

You should follow it! I still find the whole thing slightly baffling (and the lack of attribution makes me crazy) but it's quick and easy to update and, well, that's where I am. So change your bookmarks and quit thinking mean thoughts about what a neglectful blogger I am (even though, yeah, I am).


Happy New Year?

Yes, Blog, I know that it's February. I'm working on February projects, but I wanted to post an old(ish) one, from just before Christmas, now that there is no risk of my ruining the surprise.

I love love love to do private commissions, especially with people's pets and inside jokes, so when Evan emailed me after Brunch and Buy to paint his and his girlfriend's two dogs and a Thompson's gazelle in a hot air balloon, well. If we chat in real life, I probably told you about this already.

Here's the painting:

My goal this year is to carry the loose watercolor magic that (usually) happens in my small paintings to bigger, more complex pieces. It happened some with Pom Pom (the Pomeranian, obviously) but other areas didn't come so easily. That said, this piece was unadulterated fun, and Evan was a fabulous client.

Bonus! Here's a sketch for a February project that I like a lot:
Hopefully this will be a poster before March. And that puffin is now an egret.


Adapting to Fall

Today is awesome. It's a "freelance day," a day where I work on client assignments, the administrative things associated with freelancing, and portfolio projects. I usually get a couple of these each week, but this one is special, and not because I worked in my pajamas until 1pm. This is the first November 22nd since moving to Boston where I've gotten to work on my own art the whole day. I have a long way to go before I'll be the illustrator I want to be, but this feels really good.

Here's the first finished comic I've done in, I think, three years. It was time consuming--seven times the drawing of those cute paintings I've been doing for sales--but it's going to have such a good home in my portfolio, and drawing, inking, and coloring this guy was just a lark.

So: "Jessie Makes Jam:"

Edited: I replaced the original version with this one. Josh delivered one of his truly surgical crits: short, to the point, and utterly right. So, I've brought back some black for the line-work. I think it has a better depth and punch now, but feedback is always welcome.


B Season

Objective achieved, maybe! I've been busy since the last blog post, preparing for back-to-back holiday sales on December 3rd and December 4th (YIKES). I'll be in Longmeadow, MA for the third annual Brunch & Buy:

This is a super fun, intimate sale. It's in my parent's (cool, mod style) house, and includes some fabulous Western Mass artists who are, I can testify, amazing craftspersons and fab people. Plus there's a ton of food, and champagne. Tell your Western Mass friends! After the sale I'm hopping a bus and going back to Boston for Bazaar Bizarre! Erica Henderson and I are sharing a both! We're buying banners, we're dressing up, and we're preparing to just rock out all day. I've been doing these little paintings (each is 4.75" by 6.75") in batches for the last few weeks. I'm hoping to have another ten before Double Sale Weekend. If you see one and want me to bring it or save it for you, drop me a line.
Construction equipment puns!

This one is called "Mew Blood," unless someone things of a better name...

The phrase "Small Business Owner" is inexplicably enchanting to me when applied to an aardvark.

I think the rest of these are pretty self-explanatory.

Lastly, a series inspired by Harry Potter and an awesome Hufflepuff I met at the RISD alumni sale. (Do you know what Ravenclaw's animal is? Hint: not a raven.) 


Look Out!

I'm trying to procrastinate less and produce more, so this is a quickie post with a bunch of images. Last Saturday I shared a table with the lovely Erica Henderson at the fall Alumni Sale. And you know what that means? Small paintings! And animal-themed free association. For once I planned ahead, and didn't try to create and package a bunch of art 12 hours before the sale. My next goal is to do these paintings and get them up here before the next sales. Next sales, you ask? It looks like I'll be doing Brunch N Buy in Longmeadow on Saturday, December 3rd and then Bazaar Bizarre Boston (also with awesome Erica. We're making banners.) on Sunday December 4th. Cue crazed laughter. Anyhow, paintings! Most of these sold, but I'll be making new ones, and probably repainting a few that were particularly fun. (I'm looking at you, gardening badger.)


Something Old, Something New

Here are two pieces that are already on the website, but represent a bit of a jump for me, creatively.

I'm recognizing that I work best when I give myself a few constraints. For my Alumni Sale paintings, I think, "What's a weird animal, and a fitting or fittingly unfitting thing they could do?" (Okay, sometimes it only makes sense to me, but it's a usefuly questions.) I was entirely thwarted by the advice to make a book dummy from a classic fairy tale (everyone will tell you to do that) but the idea of doing a nursery rhyme was really freeing. (More on that soon, I promise.)

Lately, my default parameter is "Why not make this an alphabet?" This isn't always an ideal approach, not just because I don't always want to do 26 of something. Plus, how many words start with X, really?*

I've managed two of these, anyway, the first being "A Bichon frise teaches Ballet to a Beaver, a Bunny, and a Baracuda."

I am ridiculously happy with this piece. I intentionally limited the palette (cerulean is the only blue) and I'm really happy with the vignette edges, among other things. This and the next piece are both on Fabriano watercolor paper, and I think I prefer it to my regular Arches.

"Peccaries Parade in Pompadours and Ponchos, Packing a Pineapple Pinata, Piggy bank, and the Parade Princess."

I'm less utterly charmed by this piece (not: cerulean blue isn't actually the answer to everything) but it was fun. I think the format, which is wildly inappropriate for my website, might mean that this works well as a repeat. We'll see.

Finally, an all new painting. I made this card for an entirely lovely wedding a couple weeks ago. I was really happy I had time to make this (and go to the wedding!), and when two separate speeches mentioned the couple's affinity for wacky cards, I was pretty relieved.

Inside, the card says, "You're going to build an incredible life together." Get it?

*By the way, I hate workarounds, especially in alphabets but also generally. When I was little I had a video that showed an alphabet of animal clips. When they got to X, why just showed an ox, and flipped the word horizontally. Even at age 5, I felt like that was a cop out.


Twist and Shout

You know when you put something off so long that the problem solves itself? And by that I mean, melds with another problem so you just have one big problem? I meant to do a little post about my newly revamped website, and also to post on this poor, dusty blog more than once every six weeks.

In any case, I made a new front page image, based on that earlier painting and folding in illustration with design:

I'm super happy with how he came out, and have been circling the piece since, trying to figure out how to build off of it.

Okay, first problem/thing I procrastinated about solved! The other thing I wanted to talk about went live yesterday.

I have a new story in Twist Collective!

I've taken to describing this assignment as Illustrator Bait. It's a three-part narrative with a lonely peasant girl and magic and hand lettering and knitting. Take a look, but kindly click on the above link to see the pieces in context and read Daryl Brower's lovely story:

What was especially nice about this job was how smoothly I worked, compared to the last story I did for Twist Collective. Straight out of school, I was so nervous about messing up the paintings that I worked them half to death. I also managed to schedule a three-day interview the week before they were due, so I was both panicked and exhausted. On the (very) plus side, my fee for that job and the money I made selling the paintings paid for first, last, and deposit on the apartment I'm still living in today.

Alright, posting completed! In a fit of productive procrastination, I also reinvigorated my Etsy shop (yes, again), so the paintings are for sale there, among posters, notebooks, and cards. As usual, tell your rich friends.

Until next time (October?)!