For this project, we had to draw something metal in Illustrator. I used a photo of a stainless steel Lincoln Continental I had taken at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. The fact the car was metal (not painted) made it much easier to draw! This was a great way to learn how to use the gradient mesh tool.
In sticking with the Auburn theme, another project was to take an existing logo and replicate it. My replica is on the left.
In this project, we had to hand draw something and make a beer or wine label out of it. The other requirement is that the drawing had to be stippled (i.e. drawn by making a series of dots instead of lines). When I heard about a beer called Careless Whisper IPA by Our Brewing Company in Holland, Michigan, I knew I had my product (I’m a big George Michael fan). Our Brewing doesn’t bottle their beer, so it was fun to have full creative control over the design. I don’t know about you, but when I think of Careless Whisper, I think of the sax line…
This was for a visual research project in my digital photography class. After selecting a photographer, we had to research him or her then emulate the style of the photographer with our own photos. When I discovered Lee Friedlander, I was sold. He can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary!
This was a fun project for me. All the times I thought I was making mistakes, a famous photographer was making art out of it! Granted, I was making mistakes, but Friedlander gave me a lot of hope and inspiration that I could improve my craft.
The majority of my photos are digital that were brought into Photoshop to try to make them look like black and white film. That is very hard, if not impossible, to replicate. I was also taking a black and white film photography class from the same instructor and she let me use some of those in this project. As for cameras, I used an Olympus VR-320 and a Chinon 35mm with Arista EDU 400 ISO film.
America by Car
This series is what caused me to fall in love with Friedlander’s work. How many times have you taken a picture out of your car window and caught the car in the frame? He didn’t see it as a mistake; he worked with it. I love that he tied his series to the road trip, because I think the road trip is an innocent and unique part of American history. It makes me think of Route 66 and the 50’s and 60’s when the automobile was still relatively new.
I had spent several years commuting between Muskegon and Grand Rapids (120 miles a day at one point) and while it’s boring, there is a certain beauty to the highway.
I’ve always been fascinated by what you can catch in your vehicle’s mirrors. You can see the past, present, and future all at the same time.
This is one of the few film pieces. It was pure serendipity I caught the car in the mirror. Perhaps what is more amazing is that it was probably going around 55 mph.
The Little Screens
My first reaction to Friedlander’s series was that it was haunting and creepy. An article in my research pointed out something I never thought of. TV’s were still sort of new in the early 60’s. I’m sure they were alien for their time and I think that adds to the haunting quality of them.
This was another serendipitous shot. I turned on the TV to take a picture of it and I captured this woman on the Price is Right. Her appearance was so perfect for the theme.
I expanded my Little Screens to include my laptop, as we are now truly attached to our “little screens”.
My tribute to the movie Poltergeist.
Living in an era of the selfie-obsessed, I am intrigued by Friedlander’s self-portraits. Even though he has access to the same technology as every teenager in the world, he doesn’t have the bad camera-phone-in-the-mirror-with-duck-lips shot. He’s creative in the use of his own image; He doesn’t always stage them. He manages to capture himself in the same kind of mundaneness and simplicity he captures his other subjects.
Friedlander looks pretty rough in some of his selfies. My photo was inspired by the look he had in Philadephia PA (he’s sitting shirtless in a chair) and Philadephia (he’s in front of a mirror with his camera). I was a little concerned about taking a shirtless photo of myself (and using it in a class project on top of it!), but I like how it came out.
I never thought about using shadows as a subject. I was doing the shoot on Easter when I found a cross marking a pet’s grave. It seemed apropos.
This is one of my first shadow selfies. It was just fun to try!
I didn’t do much research into Friedlander’s signs series, but the fact he could take something as mundane as a sign and make it interesting intrigued me. Of course I had to try!
This is the backside of the sign I would use to find my house at night. Exciting, eh?
This is one of my favorite photos. The mailboxes are a little more prominent than the road signs, but I love it anyway.
I have no idea why there’s a stop sign, never mind a shortened stop sign, by this power pole out in the middle of the woods. But it’s very interesting!
This page showcases some layout work from a few different classes. It includes a newsletter, book cover, and magazine. Laying out text is challenging. It’s important to keep the text legible while keeping the pages attractive and easy to read.
For the newsletter assignment, we had to design a three-page newsletter of our choosing from scratch. Since I’m a bit of a yarn nut, I made one about fiber art. The copy and some of the images are not mine (see credits at the end of this page).
For the book cover assignment, we had to design three coordinating dust jackets. The author and the books could be real or made up. I am a big Neale Donald Walsch fan, so I chose him and made up three books using text from one of his products. The artwork is the same image on each cover; I cropped it and resized it differently for each one.
For the magazine assignment, we had to create a four-page spread from a real magazine of our choosing. Still the fiber nut, I chose to replicate pages from Spin Off magazine. We had to research the content before doing the layout, so the copy is a mix of different websites. One of the most challenging parts of the assignment was trying to identify the fonts the original publisher used!
I’ve become very intrigued with the idea of creating paintings in Photoshop. The artwork is already digitized and best of all, no mess to clean up! If you’re following Yay on Facebook, you’ve seen some of those experiments. I’m getting a few of them printed up as they are just to see how the resolution and color holds up in reproduction. I really have no idea how to sell something like this since it’s not really a print. That’s a topic for another day.*grin* For now, I’m going to try to document my painting process. If nothing else, it should prove somewhat entertaining…
As far as materials go, I’m using Photoshop CC14 on a Windows 8 laptop. It’s not some super-pimped up box, just a reasonably priced lappy. For a graphics tablet, I found a VisTablet Penpad for $17 on Amazon. It’s not super-pimpy either, but it seems to work well for me. I think drawing tablet hand-eye coordination is going to be difficult no matter what brand it is. That’s a lot harder than it seems! Lastly, I’m using Alex Dukal’s Photoshop brushes. I’m using the AD Aquarellist Brushes and the Cartoonist Brushes. I also own the AD Pencils Garden, but I don’t think I’ll be using any of those.
When I went to Prague, I snapped this photo in Wenseclas Square. I’m the biggest horse’s ass I know, so the shot is perfect. *laughing hysterically* Actually, I love this photo. I love the lighting, I love the composition, I love it! So I fired up Photoshop, and created a new doc that is 15 in x 10.713 in with a 300px resolution. I figured that should allow a pretty large reproduction (like maybe a poster!)
I don’t know if it’s “cheating” to trace a photo or not. Yes, I can draw, but I really wanted to get started on this project, so I used the tablet to trace the photo. That was plenty of effort in itself, trust me! (That whole hand-eye thing.) I used the 04. AD Wet Strong Line – 40px Aquarellist brush in black to make my sketch. Part of learning how to use the tablet is realizing that pressure controls things like darkness.
I love the weekly newsletter from Artist’s Network.tv. Those videos make me think I can paint. In watercolor, even. I’ve never really had much luck in real watercolor, so I’m hoping digital watercolor works out for me. I threw in some sky using 45. AD Liquid Ink – Col Dyn 200px Aquarellist brush in RGB colors: 0, 174, 239.
Well, that looked pretty good. Let’s throw in some yellow for the buildings! Same brush, RGB: 255, 255, 0.
Man, I am feeling like an artiste now! Same brush, RGB: 46, 49, 146.
Still feeling super confident! Add orange! Same brush, RGB: 237, 28, 36.
Let’s just say that’s when things started to go to hell. I started adding more color and doing other fancy artist things, and I found out I was painting on the wrong layer. It wouldn’t have been a big deal except that I wanted to remove the outline layer at some point. I could tuck it below the layers I was painting on, but then I lost that color. Long story short, I tried some salvaging, didn’t like that, went back a few revisions, redid the color, and had no clue what to do next. I couldn’t get the color I wanted, the brushes were either too transparent or too dark.
Feeling like a real horse’s ass for trying this idea, I practiced blending colors using other brushes. I did some cartooning. I wasn’t very happy and my body was hurting from trying to use this stupid tablet stylus and I was cursing why I ever wanted to be an artist. So I went to bed.
I got my weekly Artist’s Network.tv newsletter and I watched this video about Tracey Creighton. I know very little about Tracey, but I love her work! This! This is what I needed! So with a renewed faith in my painting skills, I went back at it. This is where I started today, sans outline. My apologies for not documenting this part very well…there’s lots of colors applied using different brushes trying to achieve what I had in my mind. I am trying to stay with the standard swatches that come with Photoshop, though I have been taking samples of layered colors to get better blends.
I did some crazy painting on Wenseclas and his horse. That’s my focal point. I don’t care about realism. I want color and pop and wow! I used the 41. AD Wet Line 40px Aquarellist brush in various colors and in 100% to 50% opacity.
I think what intrigued me with Tracey’s technique is when she poured black ink and piped on white paint. It cured a few problems I was having. It got me out of my head and got me to play! In lieu of black ink, I’m using the 09. AD Broken Blotch 15px Cartoonist brush. Ah! I love how this came out!
I’m not sure where I’m going next with it, but I wanted to post this before I forgot. I took a piccy of the screen. Trippy! It looks databent (oooo…another idea!)
(This was originally posted on the old Yay for J in an article called, “The Artist Pretending it’s Art”. Since the website deconstruction, that post is no longer available. Also, this painting has not been completed yet. *sad face*)
If you have been following me on Facebook and Instagram, you’ve seen a lot more of what I’ve been working on. My plan is to do a series of posts to show more of the process of my projects. It’s both for me to document what I did and for you, in case you want to know what I’ve put into it or if you want to try something yourself. I would love to hear what you think, so don’t hesitate to comment below.
If you know anything about me, you know that I’ll go on a project tear and I develop some serious artist crushes. I’ll get really super obsessed with an another artist’s work and have, have, HAVE to try it. It can be in fiber, on paper, or with pixels (pixels are FREE!). Sometimes I finish it before the next muse shows up, sometimes I don’t. I’ve learned to stop worrying about that and choose smaller projects that stand a chance of being completed.
If you love that as much as I do and you’re a weaver, go on and sign up for UrbanGypz’s Art Weaving Beyond the Basics. I’ll wait for you. *grin* I’ve been reading Stacey’s newsletters for quite some time and I had, had, HAD to do this! The weaving bug hit me while The Boyfriend and I were moving. (I saw a pretty weaving video, I unpacked my studio, I became consumed by the wool fumes, had to buy this, really wanted to drop everything and weave, stop judging me.)
Stacey is super awesome, both as an artist and as a teacher. I learned so much watching her demonstrate each technique and even what she was working on for herself. This is either my recipe for success or disaster. I’ll let you decide that for yourself:
For the technical specs of my scarf, the yarn was just remnants of all kinds of yarn I had left over from other projects. I used longer little bits for the warp and tiny little bits in the weft. I used all kinds of yarns too. Cheap wool/acrylic to novelty stuff. There’s handspun and commercial in there. Loomikins is a 24” Ashford rigid heddle loom. I used the 7.5 heddle.
The yarn at the top was some left over ruffle yarn. It made for some really interesting texture. Since I’m not an expert weaver by any means, the class was very enlightening. I decided to use every technique she showed in the class. It may have been overkill from a design standpoint, but boy, was that ever FUN! I love how it came out.
To finish it off, get some beads with a hole big enough to stick the yarn through. That seriously blinged it up.
I guess as cliché as it sounds, just have fun with it. You really can’t screw it up that bad. Use a few yards of your better yarn in it. Take a chance and put random colors together. You won’t be able to judge it until you take if off the loom and wet finish it. It’s amazing how it’ll make it come alive. Give it a shot! I think you’ll find it a lot of fun!
(This was originally posted on the old Yay for J in an article called, “Artist Crush – Art Scarves”. Since the website deconstruction, that post is no longer available.)
This was an interesting project. The purpose was to create a four page spread on a political topic of our choosing. We had to write a two page paper (who would’ve thought you would have to write a fully MLA cited paper in a graphic design class?) and turn it into a layout using the style of one of the design movements we had been studying. My design won third place in Muskegon Community College’s 50th Annual Student Art and Design Exhibition (a very pleasant surprise!).
Writing the paper was the biggest challenge for me because I’m not big on sharing my political beliefs (I guess I took my mother’s advice to heart about not talking about politics or religion with people) and I hadn’t written a cited paper in decades (kinda forgot how to do that). At the time, we had no idea what we were doing with the papers, we just had to write them.
Originally, was going to write about gay marriage (it was big in news at the time), but as I started writing, it occurred to me that other groups had been facing inequality for a longer period of time. I expanded it to include blacks and women as a contrast to “all men are created equal” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. I tried to write it from a factual standpoint based on law versus an opinionated one. The paper can be read here.
Then we got the design part of the assignment where we had to pick a design movement and create a four page spread using the style of the movement. I really like Russian Constructivism. I have a greater appreciation of it after visiting the Museum of Communism in Prague. The style is simple and powerful. I’m also very influenced by popular music. I love taking bits of lyrics out of songs and using them elsewhere.
I decided to use a Communist-esque propaganda style to cover the inequalities that exist(ed) in US law. Or as I wrote in my design brief:
Concept – Symbolism – equal sign with the lines blurred, unequal scales of justice done in Soviet Constructivism Communist style superimposed over the American ideas of freedom. Communism promised an ideal life, but in reality it was the opposite…use that theme with how the US was founded on freedom, but the American legal system has held people of various groups down.
Before I get accused for being anti-American, that’s not true. While the US is a great country, it’s not a perfect country, particularly if you’re in a minority group (especially when it comes to the law). At the end of the day, I wanted the reader to think about equality instead of discrimination.
For the cover, I took the title from Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines (which I am mildly obsessed with) and took the equals sign from the marriage equality symbol (two lines to be blurred) and made one black and the other white to represent race. Lady Justice was made to look like a stylized black and white photo, shapes were added to mimic Constructivism and the American flag was added to soften the Communist look. Finally, I used a bright rainbow of colors to represent the gay pride movement.
I also wanted to make the design look like it was printed in the 1930’s-40’s and had yellowed over the years. I wanted it to look old. The rainbow was a little hard to make look old, as you can see in this draft. Evenutally, with the help of my instructor and this website I found the right color palette.
For the text, I went with a traditional Constructivist grid structure. I wanted the reader to be able to skim the text, so I used significant historical years and simple figures to represent black/white, male/female, and gay (lesbian).
I wanted a font like Futura for the body copy, but I settled for Century Gothic since I already had it. 🙂 The other font is Molot (which I found online). I wanted it to look impersonal and unfeeling. I kept thinking of a stark office like this:
I struggled for the design of the last page. After several revisions, I ended up carrying over the colors and American theme from the first page and adding lyrics from Blurred Lines. While the song has nothing to do with equality, I thought these lyrics fit what I was trying to convey:
If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page
Maybe I’m going deaf
Maybe I’m going blind
Maybe I’m out of my mind
I hate these Blurred Lines
I’m very pleased with how the project turned out. I am also happy to say my hard work paid off (literally). My design took third place in MCC’s 50th Annual Student Art and Design Exhibition:
The purpose of this project was to create a website mockup in Adobe Illustrator for both desktop and mobile. It was to include a page for the following: home, catalog, gallery, product detail, shopping cart, about, and contact. All photography is courtesy of Ginger Cat Knits.
The purpose of this assignment was to design a package for something. Being a knitter, I noticed yarn and yarn kits rarely come in a box. I wanted to create a box that would hold the kit contents as well as be able to be used as a gift box when the project was finished.
I was thinking I would be using the box for my own yarn products, so I wanted to make something I could print on a home printer on demand. I liked the look of pillow boxes, and I have used this tutorial to make small ones, so I thought I could make one with two 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of paper. I ended up with a very odd shape when I folded the ends and I hated it.
Then I got the idea that the ends reminded me of my character, Angry Owl. So I drew a mockup on the paper:
That shape also reminded me of the cat logo I did for my friend Lea of Ginger Cat Knits:
When I showed them to Lea, she said it reminded her of the Owl and the Pussycat. I wasn’t familiar with the poem, but I learned there was also a turkey and a pig. That got my wheels spinning. Now I had two problems; how do I make this package (what shape is it?, can I even do it?) and what do these animals look like? It would be geared towards children, but the people buying the kit would likely be adults.
After several iterations, I settled on this shape for the box and this style for the animals. As my instructor pointed out, they were a little bland. Let’s get some color in there!
Very well, then. Here’s some color and texture per your suggestion, Mr. Instructor. (Good idea.) The animals had a cardboard texture added to them, so they look like they are made out of bits of paper or felt. I carried that over to the background of the box, and used Ginger Cat purple on them.
I was a wee bit optimistic thinking I could finish all four by the deadline when I didn’t have the proper product photography and we weren’t sure how we were going to print these and make them into real things. We settled on the cat design and printed it on economy vinyl and stuck it to white cardstock.
I know there are some design/engineering issues that need fixing if I were to produce these, and I also know there’s a very good reason I did not go into engineering! Overall, I’m thrilled with how it turned out (as were Lea and Mr. Instructor)!
The objective of this assignment was to take two images into Photoshop and morph them into one. I merged the Burton Tower on the University of Michigan’s campus with the Dancing Building in Prague, Czech Republic. I’m happy to say I took both photos.
This project required us to pick an environmental topic and design an image depicting it. My topic was e-waste. I wanted to make a family portrait showing how e-waste is turning the family living room into a landfill. I wanted the photo to look old and dirty. I used my own family to show the different generations. I am the child in the lower right looking at the scene trying to understand what I am looking at.
Obviously e-waste was not a problem for my parents’ generation (lower left). My brother and I are laughing because we were just as oblivious as our parents were (he is by the television, I am the child on the quilt). My niece (with the hat) does not look happy with the situation, and my nephew (the young child on the couch) is crying, because as the youngest, he is going to be affected by this much longer than the rest of us.
The text was added to make it look like someone wrote, “E-Waste Landfills. Recycle for the future.” on the photo.
Environmental Topic Statement: E-Waste
E-waste is all of the circuit boards and parts in discarded electronic devices such as cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions. It’s becoming a growing concern given the number of devices consumers purchase and discard every year. Most electronics end up in landfills or they are shipped to developing countries where materials are manually recovered. This is a global problem, because toxic chemicals and elements are released into the air and groundwater when e-waste is incinerated, left in a landfill, or manually recovered. Where there are some legitimate programs in place to facilitate recycling, few people actually recycle.