My weekend was literally non-stop run-around of work, traveling in a car across New York State, hosting a birthday party, and attending an awesome alternative show (Tera Melos & Melt Banana). I had finished coloring this illustration before the wekend and somply had to push it aside of other things until I had the proper time to scan it.
I must say, I'm really astonished at how good the color looks compared to a intricate monochromatic illustration! It is a lot of added work to an illustration, but it certainly pays off in the end (espeically experimenting with layers of the same color). I also had to color with an exceptional amount of light in a room to get the right blending and to see if I have the exact hue of marker. It really makes a big difference when you're trying to decipher how different markers will color when their label colors are similiar in hue.
All in all, I really am proud of this illustration just as I am with any completed piece of artwork that I physically manifest into existence. I often look back on finished pieces and think of how I could have changed some of its characteristics or change different parts of it. Though I look back at it with hindsight and see these blunders, I can't change certain pieces or take out aspects of it without ruining it or completely making another from scratch. I just try and live with the stage of the piece I decided to stop with when I chose when it was complete. Making art, destroying art, finishing half-started pieces, and living with pieces I would change if I could (but I can't) is all an adventure of a learning experience of being an artist. I absolutely love the path I have chosen for myself and completely believe in myself (and my artwork) as an artist.
I'm also going to finish my other Halloween-inspired illustration soon and hopefully post it before All Hallow's Eve!!
currently listening to: Cab Calloway Reefer Man (I have a big place in my heart for old-tyme music and classical when it suits me- originally heard on NPR.)
Here is a new Halloween-inspired illustration that has taken off recently!! I started drawing this with a simple, relatively happy-holiday-esque vision in mind and I'm now trying to kick it up a notch with my usual careful attention to detail (that has become a signature style). I'm working on continuing the serious stibble action on this little ghostie and blending/adding layers of color with a variety of Prismacolor markers.
You've probably noticed that I have a fond love for using Prismacolor markers as my usual choice medium. I absolutely adore the color potency each marker has as well as the myriad of colors they range from. If you've ever seen them in a craft store, art supply store, or college bookstore there's usually quite a selection to choose from (and they're all so interesting)!
I've been using these wonderful, yet pricey markers (they're about $4-5 per marker) for about 5 years now and am I completely hooked for life! They're absolutely amazing to work with for an artist (like myself) who still draws, illustrates, and colors strictly by hand. I remember first using them for fashion illustrations my freshman year in undergrad in a kit that was required for a couple of classes. Though I switched my major from fashion design to studio art a lot of what I learned and loved still stays with me. On that note, I'm sure you can also see a fashion-esque inspiration in the majority of my work & girls I illustrate.
I'm a little behind on some updated scans of work I've done, but that just means new illustration posts later in the week! On another note, I've been completely (and happily) emersed in consuming quite a bit of apple & pumpking related foods & treats! Autumn is finally soaking in to my bones and I'm enjoying every bit of the chilly crisp weather.
I have decided to dedicate my day off from my part-time job to bake a little autumn treat! The great debate was between apple crisp, apple pie, apple muffins, or some maple-pecan cookies. The apple muffins won due to their simplistic recipe (so I could make mulitple batches) and because I've got many an apple around the apartment from apple picking with family this past weekend.
The recipe I use for these muffins takes me way back to Home & Careers class in junior high. Even after the years since then (about 10 years or so) I keep returning to this tried and true recipe!
[ Apple Muffins ]:
1 1/2 cups flour 1/4 cup oil
1/2 sugar 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder 1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt *1 medium apple (peeled & grated)
1/3 light brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*You can double the amount of grated apple you use in this recipe for more apple in each muffin. I chose to do this for more of the fruit in each!
Each batch of this recipe makes about 12-14 regular sized muffins. I ended up baking about 5 dozen for a treat at work and for some friends in the local area. When I begin to bake, sometimes I just can't stop and feel the need to bake a large quantity at a time (and end up sharing a good portion of baked goodies). I'm not sure if these muffins would arrive well if I shipped them in the post, but it may be worth looking into for those friends who are a distance.
I hope you try out this very simple & delicious recipe for yourself as an autumn perk! Apple recipes are always a lot of fun to make, and usually are pretty simple as well. I'm quite thankful I'm still residing in New York State, so that I am able to pick them fresh from an orchard and bring home. It's a sweet autumn tradition my family and I have had, and still cultivate annually. I know I can look forward to apple picking each year and all the lovely baked goods that accompany the season!
I am very proud to say that I am solely dedicating this post to the healthy, easy-to-bake-in-the-oven, and amazingly delicious spaghetti squash! I had never even tasted a spaghetti squash until trying a sample of the autumn squash earlier this week at Wegman's while I was grocery shopping. I really don't know how it wasn't in my life up until this point because...it's so darn scrumptious!!! If you were like me, and have yet to try this tasty squash, I'd certainly ask you to reconsider and give this vegetable a second chance. I also feel as though this recipe would be a picky-child pleaser too (coming from someone who was also quite picky in my younger years when it came to trying new foods).
You may find that your local grocery store will sell spaghetti squash either whole or by the half wrapped in plastic. I chose to purchase a whole squash, because i was cooking for 6 people total (and I love leftovers). If you are cooking for a group of four or less, you may want to opt for the half size for less quantity and less waste. I also chose to bake the squash whole (I prefer baking most things if I can and I enjoy the freedom to do other things while food is baking), but there are also recipes for either steaming, boiling, or microwaving your spaghetti squash as well.
The recipe on how to properly bake spaghetti squash in the oven can be here on Steamy Kitchen. Jaden has a wonderfully simplistic recipe/method to baking the squash and her photographs are just as wonderfu! I'm really glad I stumbled on her drool-worthy website, because I may be trying some other recipes as well! Baking the squash was really simple and it was quite successful on an old cookie sheet in the oven for a little over an hour (the squash I bought was also 4-5lbs). However, scraping the squash out after it was baked got to be a little messy! I tried to keep the mess at a minimum by attempting to scrape out all the squash over the sink with a large pot to catch all the squash goodness. I ended up getting pretty carried away and also ended up with little stringy bits of the squash all around where I was working...oh well!
Once I had scraped all the squash from the outer rind, rinsed it in cold water, squeezed the excess water out, I transferred it to a medium skillet with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on low heat. I mixed up the fresh baked strands with the oil and spices of your choice (I went with pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and some creole cajun seasoning-of course a little of each goes pretty far). Once the squash was starting to heat up I added about 1/2 a can of crushed tomatoes (juice and all) to the mix. Top off your warm spaghetti squash with parmesan cheese (of not if you're vegan).
If you do decide to try baking up some spaghetti squash of your own (I really hope you do!) you can always change and adapt what you put in with it! I really enjoyed the crunch and texture spaghetti squash has to offer and just how much it really resembled eating the real spaghetti!
I haven't made a post on here since September which ended up being busy with work/life/being ill, but now I'm currently feeling back to normal & healthy (yay)! The cold I had caught had decided to stay with me for a week or so as well as the ear ache I had, which manifested itself into an ear infection (which I haven't experienced since being a toddler). So, after one trip to a local urgent care facility and two perscribed antibiotics later I'm feeling oh-so-pain-free and so much happier!
I am ashamed to say, I have yet to make a single mark in my official sketchbook for the 2012 Sketchbook Project , but I have been working on a new illustration quite for the upcoming holiday! Gregory has been asking me more frequently if I've taken the leap into starting it yet-to which I always answer no. I'm sure he's anxiously waiting, just as you most likely are, to see drawings start to appear in the sketchbook. I really can't tell you why I am so intimidated to start this book, but I can tell you I think about different ways of starting it often. I'm making a promise to myself to start my journey with this sketchbook in October since it must be mailed back to the Art Hose Co-op by January 31st 2012. I'm not the best with aniticpiating the total duration of a project before I commence, so I want to leave myself enough time to work without feeling rushed about finishing it.
I suppose it's mainly the formality of the small bound book and the fear of making mistakes (which I know is completely normal). It's also because I really still don't know what direction I want to start with (or progress with...) using the theme I selected for the book- uncharted waters.
This is the latest of my sketchbook illustrations and is still in-progress at this point in time and it's in color! The chosen colors were a difficult decision to make, when coloring by hand (anaolog-style), and I'm honestly still not sure how I feel about the colors I chose for it. When going about the decision to choose a color for this illustration I first laid out all the Prismacolor markers I owned into sections by color (also with a tested color strip by each color). One cannot consistenly rely on the color of the paper label around the marker to be the precise color of the mark it makes (and I find this method to be most effective).
I would ideally like to squeeze in more Halloween-inspired illustrations this month as well! This goal will be jam-packed into this lovely autumnal month, just like all the other autumn goals I have for myself for the month and a half-or so ahead!
currently listening to: Natural Self In The Morning
I've been fighting a small cold that seems to be primarily affecting the left side of my head (my left tonsil & ear). It came quite suddenly yesterday morning when I awoke congested (which led to sneezing), a sore throat, and my left ear feeling clogged & full of (not-so-delightful) pressure. So, as a result I've been averaging about 3-4 cups of hot brewed tea with two spoonfuls of honey in each per day thus far.
I've been alternating between (my new favorite) Tazo organic green tea & (an old favorite) organic Yogi breath deep tea. My tastebuds seem to have taken a liking to the taste of sweetened tea a la honey lately. Though this may seem absolutely normal to you-it does, however, bring back memories when I lived in Canterbury, Great Britain (studying abroad through college) precisely 3 years ago now. I really haven't drank this much tea since that three month adventure! Maybe I'm subconsciously trying to seek out to relive those feelings I had through past adventures in foreign places.
Thankfully, I was scheduled with the day off today and as a reuslt I am trying to have a relxing day drinking hot tea (and staying in pj's until the afternoon). Having the day off also allows me the time to think up some autumn goals I have for myself and also an agenda of cooking/baking treats and making a point to enjoy the autumn splendor in central New York State (and hopefully the Adirondacks)! I hope you, too, can feel and/or see the beautiful autumn transition that is beginning around you! Don't you just love all the myriad of colors and the unique earthy smells? I sure do!
Some things on the Autumn agenda:
I've been searching around for some good autumn baking recipes and am really quite excited to welcome autumn into my life! Ultimately, I'm going to try and make a point to enjoy autumn to the best of my ability while still working a part-time job, working on my art, and seeing family & friends.
Last night I finished yet another sketchbook illustration that I had originally started on August 27th 2011. The first sketchbook look of this drawing in-progress was posted on the 29th and can be found here. I really enjoy coming back to in-progress drawings (sometimes after very long periods of time) and finally bringing them to completion!
Here is the first scanned image of what I had originally started last month!
...And here is the finished illustration, completed in my current sketchbook!
Once again, the black on the girl's face is meant to represent face-paint influenced by preforming arts, with a circus/mime feel. I tried to anchor this feel with a simple striped monochromatic shirt on her as well. The swirly cheeks are a stylized signature I just am fond of. :)
The finished scan is a little darker than the original, because I wanted to present a better glimpse into all the freshly added linework & detail to the completed illustration. I do admit, sometimes I get so wrapped up and enthusastic with the linework in the hair that it does become difficult to proportion the body sometimes.
I am very pleased & confident with how this illustration actually turned out! Sometimes, one never know if a small doodle, or the start of a drawing, will manifest into something beautiful & intricate, or if it will stop at a dead end and remain incomplete. Things also get a little tricky when I start drawing on other surfaces-such as a disposable paper napkin, or a box (something along those lines) and finish a goregeous drawing that ends up on an ephermal medium, not well suited for the intricate art or exactly professional. But hey...we all start somewhere and I try to keep little to no regrets on what I choose to draw on or what I choose to draw. It all helps with my on-going developing style and experience!
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I also wanted to share the beginnings of another drawing I started last week, that remains currently still in-progress in my sketchbook.
It started off as more an exercize to draw a more relaistic human profile, then morphed into an exercize to loosen my pen strokes on the hair. It has no real expectations on it yet, but I do hope to finish it soon (and will post updates when I do so)! Thus far, she is a queen in a fur coat in a loose up-do flowing with potential!
The days are getting a bit more chilly here in central New York, but that only adds to the excitement of apple picking, pumpkin picking, autumn hikes in some of the wonderful state parks, homemade vegetable soups & bisques, and homemade hot mulled cider at night!
I hope that you are also enjoying the transition in season and welcoming other warm exciting acitivities into your life as well! :)
I really wanted to finish this sketchbook illustration and decided to do so yesterday evening after work. I brewed two cups of Tazo organic green tea with a spoonful of homemade creamed honey* (purchased last fall from a farm in LaFayette, NY) and just kept on drawing until it was done.
The in-progress scan of the illustration (originally posted here).
...And the completed illustration fresh & ready!
I scanned the illustration when it was in-progress as a color scan, so you could see original pencil marks. The completed illustration is scanned as a grey-scale scan for higher contrast and to all the detailed linework in the couiffure. I also chose to leave the outfit on my illustrative lady simple to accent this detailed work as well.
I absolutely love getting lost in my illustrations. I enjoyed the feeling of finishing this piece without having a clock or any other timepiece nearby to let myself go about it at my own pace. This is a luxury (I wish I had more of) that I try to work into my day-to-day life when I'm not working my part-time job.
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I'm very pleased with how it turned out and I'm contemplating adding some color through careful watercolor application. (The jury is still out on this decision as of yet.)
I'd love to hear what you have to think! I have to admit, I'm very biased towards monochromatic illustrations, so opinions if I should add a touch of color or leave it be are welcome!!
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Note: I did receive my official sketchbook for the 2012 Sketchbook Project in the mail last week and have yet to actually make a mark in the little blank book. It's been kind of more intimidating than I expected it to be. I know I must make the dive into it soon...
****I had originally spelled the word honey as hunny (like Winnie the Pooh would refer to a pot of honey)...yikes! I felt really silly about it when I noticed after I posted this...and had a good laugh at the minor glitch. :)
currently listening to: Martin Solveig & Dragonette Hello (I can't really determine if this video is poking fun at Andre Agassi when he had long hair or not...but hey, I can definitely dig dance music to a tennis video!)
I recently stumbled upon contemporary artist, Mark Crisanti while viewing new illustrative artwork on one of my favorite sites showcasing contemporary work, Juxtapoz. There is something simplicistically whimsical about Crisanti's paintings that I am very attracted to. I'm also pretty fond of interpretations of mankind with various animal features mixed in. More or Crisanti's artwork can also be found here.
These are a couple of my favorites from the bunch presented online via Juxtapoz magazine online.
source for all images (posted above)
Packer Scopfy gallery of Chicago, Illinois has this to say about Crisanti's work:
"Mark Crisanti collage/paintings address evolution and an often-awry coexistence in our rapidly advancing world. Attaching a bird head to a human body, Crisanti blurs our perception between man and animal, yet carefully avoids anthropomorphizing his portrayals. The blank stare of each bird, amidst daily vices and activities confronts us with the irony of our own human actions. Crisanti uses various ephemera as backgrounds-dictionary pages, S & H green stamps, gameboards, and manuals to enrich his confrontations." source
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I'm also a fan of the subtle background chosen in Crisant's painting of these bird-human hybrids. It kind of makes these creatures feel more tangible in reality-more human. I'm becoming a fan of his work and would love the experience of seeing these paintings in person! (I also intend to try and do a bit more research on this artist to locate more of his work & inspirations.)
I certainly recommend you to take a gander at the links listed above to see more of Mark Crisanti's work and to read the small article Juxtapoz wrote as well! On another note, Juxtapoz magazine (or online) is a fabulous source (and one of my ultimate favorites) for keeping up-to-date with art exhibtions worldwide as well as upcoming emerging artists working in all assortments of mediums!
I hope & strive to be included among this contemporary one day with my own art as well.