April 30, 2008


I was just notified by one of my readers that I entirely forgot to list forest animals (bears, deer, fox, wolf, etc). Please notify me in my comments section if you'd prefer forest animals. (Thanks Erin!)

April 28, 2008

The Culmination of my Quest

Some of you might remember my Quest for The Perfect Travel Sketchbook blog from a few weeks back. I just wanted to give you guys an update. Thanks to my mom, my search is over. Look what she nabbed for me!

It's cute. It's portable. It's got built-in pencil holders! I'm in heaven. Mom, you're the best.

*Someday when I'm a billionaire, I'll upgrade and tote this beauty between my apartment in Paris and my small luxury home in Florence:

(thank you, Jennysbooks, for giving me a dream...) Lol.

Upcoming Art Shows

For those of you who are in the area, I wanted to let you know about two upcoming shows at local galleries:

The first is an exhibit of the work of children's illustrators. It will be running for a month at Kennedy Studios in Portsmouth NH. Some of the artists exhibiting include Teri Wiedner, Robert Squier, and David McPhail...as well as our very own Gina Perry! She's a fabulous illustrator, member of my SCBWI crit group, and author behind The Pineapple Diaries. The opening is May 9th. I'll post further details as I get them.

The second gallery opening features fellow Etsy member, Scott Bulger. It's a solo exhibition of his photography at the Jill Coldren-Wilson Gallery on the campus of the Kimball-Jenkins School of Art in Concord, NH. The Artist Reception will also be on Friday, May 9, from 5:00 - 8:00 PM.

If you're free that Friday, attend a show (or two!) and support your local artists. (o:

April 26, 2008

Productive Procrastination

I was busy with little projects this weekend. Basically, I've been procrastinating doing my homework (what else is new?). But at least it was a productive kind of procrastination! Check it out:Move over, Fred Astaire! It's the Tap Dancing Squirrel!

She's got sass and attitude (sassitude?), but why not? She is the Queen after all.

Sometimes it's ok to play with your food. This panda has decided to play us a song on a bamboo flute. If he gets hungry, he can eat it later...

Karate Koala. Need I say more?

All of these are for sale on my Etsy shop. I'm still in the process of posting them on my site, but bear with me...everything will be up by the end of the weekend.

April 24, 2008

Yes, yes, I know it's a van Gough...but does it match the duvet?

Once upon a time (the summer after I graduated from college) in a land far far away (ok, so it was Cape Cod and that's only 2.5 hours away) I worked at a gallery. I thought I would take the summer to "find myself" while selling some art to the summer tourists and figuring out in what career direction to go with my oh-so-valuable illustration degree (the answer, as it turns out, was Office Space -- schlepping in Corporate America for many years while, with the exception of a few hard-to-come-by freelancing gigs, hardly using my expensive education at all. But I digress...)

I had mixed feelings about the "art" sold at this gallery. I won't get into it too much because the gallery would be easily identifiable and otherwise it was a great summer experience. Anyway, my summer job was located on the main street in one of the most touristy Cape towns ever. The clientele was obviously mostly of the tourist assortment, which makes for interesting characters every now and again.

Often, people would come in looking for something to match a specific room in their house. Sometimes they'd bring fabric swatches. On one particularly memorable occasion, two little old ladies dragged in an entire couch cushion (in an enormous hideous floral print) and held it up next to a framed painting! Keep in mind, I was freshly graduated from a highly respectable art college. I was full of pride, and was a little bit of an art snob. Watching those two ladies struggle with a cushion through the gallery made me mortified in a way I can't even describe.

Down the street from my job, there was an adorable little gift shop. They sold Fred Babb t-shirts. All summer long, I wanted to buy the one that said "Good art won't match your sofa".
I don't think they would've appreciated me wearing it to work, however. Especially as the owner of my gallery was making quite a cushy living doing exactly that. So I never bought it.

Fast forward to the present - I have since bought (and have decorated) a home of my own. Though I have never dragged a swatch OR a cushion into a store, admittedly much of the art in my house matches each room's color scheme. Or at least the "theme" of the room. But the wall decor in those rooms was intended as just that. Wall decor. You can find this stuff in the "home decor" area of any little home goods shop. It's certainly not fine art. Especially as all of them are reproductions.

However, I do own a couple original pieces. One small painting by my friend Jen, and the other - an original drawing by Angus Oblong (the illustrator of Creepy Susie and the animated show The Oblongs). Now, these particular pieces don't match anything. And I don't care. Unlike the stuff I bought at the chain home goods stores, that's not the point in owning them. I do think there's a significant difference. If you own an original work of art, and it just so happens to coordinate with one of your rooms, that's cool. But I don't think you should be buying fine art pieces simply because they match your coffee table.

In my own freelancing life, I've been commissioned to do pieces with a theme. This includes either a specific subject, or less frequently, a color. (IE - "She has a pink floral theme for the baby room") To me, those are still fine art. I'm not in the home decor business. No swatches, matching of image to duvet cover, or nit-picking of colors were involved in those commissions. Just a theme, and creative licence.

If you specialize in home decor or interior designing, that's one thing. Your whole job is to design items specifically for a room. That's not what I'm talking about. For a fine artist (or illustrator) to put their heart and soul into a work of art, then to have a couch cushion dragged in next to it in order to judge it's value...well, I still shudder.

It it just me? Do you guys think "Well, a sale is still a sale. Whether I match their sofa or not." Do you think that sort of mentality (on the part of the customer) lowers the artistic value of your work? Am I wrong? Anyone else have feelings on this? I'd be curious to hear back from you guys. Leave a comment for me! (o;

P.S. Especially since I may still buy that Fred Babb t-shirt after all...

April 22, 2008

Cruel Intentions

I haven't blogged in a couple days because I was off on an extended weekend. It involved a 6 hour car trip (approx. 12 hours round trip) to attend my grandmother's memorial mass. She passed away last spring shortly before my wedding. I saw a lot of family I hadn't seen in ages. It was exhausting, but nice.

I returned home on Monday to find a brand new comment on a pretty old post awaiting my approval. I denied the comment. I figured it was only fair to tell you guys why, and to establish a few rules for etiquette in my Comments section.

First, my statement of purpose: let me say that I started this blog as a way to talk about being an artist and everything that entails (the good, the bad, and the ugly). I wanted to explore all kinds of art forms, including crafting. I wanted it to be a means of supporting and connecting with other artists and craftspeople. Being surrounded by a great community of creative people is invaluable. Whether it's online or in a group you meet up with once a month (shout-out to SCBWI! I miss you guys and promise to be back at meetings in June). I think it's important. As artists, we support, inspire, and sometimes even commiserate with each other.

I LOVE hearing from my readers. Nothing makes me happier than to get lots of feedback and commentary on one of my posts. Even if you have a differing opinion from me, I'll be glad to put your comments up here. Being open minded and hearing different views is what it's all about. You can't expect to expand your horizons without taking a look at other options and ways of seeing the world.

That said, in some cases I do draw the line. If you intend to post a negative comment on my blog about anyone (that includes myself as well as the artists and sellers I feature) you'd better stick to the following rules:

a) have some solid facts to back up any accusations. Go ahead and include those facts within the text of your commentary.

b) attach your name (or at least your Blogger name) to aforementioned commentary so people can reply.

If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, then don't post it. If you're not willing to take credit for your comment, don't post it. It's that simple. There are real people behind these keyboards with real feelings and reputations to protect. There will be no hit-and-run smearing on this blog. Nasty comments with "anonymous" attached WILL NOT GET POSTED. If it won't fly on the Etsy forums, it's not going to fly in here, honey.

I don't expect this blog to always be sunshine, rainbows, and cupcakes (though the cupcakes would be nice!) But I do expect some common decency and respect for others. I don't think those boundaries are too difficult to follow.

*gets off soapbox and goes to bed*

April 17, 2008

The Art of the Comic Strip

Did you miss me? (o;

I realize that this Thursday (almost Friday) post is insanely late, but it's been a madhouse at work recently. Then again, it always is this time of year...but, coupled with everything else going on in my life right now, I can barely keep up!

I thought I'd give myself (and everyone else) a little break and post some comic strips.

But first...allow me to digress into a mini-discussion about cartooning. At two different points in my freelance illustration life, I was hired to create comic strips for 2 different companies as part of their advertising campaigns. I can tell you from experience that comic strips are definitely an art form that should get some serious respect. That stuff isn't easy! (Also...I make one miserable excuse for a comic strip artist. Really. Don't ask me to do them anymore. The outcome is just sad.)

Anyway, I go through phases where I can get a bit obsessive with one thing. I will read/watch/devour or otherwise drown myself in that topic until I'm ready to move on. That goes for comic strips too. There's been many I've enjoyed, but I'll just give you a few examples. In high school I adored Calvin and Hobbes. Currently, I'm eating up the Get Fuzzy compilations. (Loooove!) Between those, there was period immediately following my college graduation where I became a worker bee in The Hive. We're talking corporate cubical life for barely any money, here. Basically, I was Dawn from The Office:
Or if you watch the American version, I would be Pam:Yep. That looks pretty familiar. And they were both artists who were clearly NOT working in their field. See what I mean...? Sigh.

Guess what was my favorite comic strip at that time? You got it...Dilbert! When you start identifying a little TOO much with Dilbert, I think you might have a problem. But, for your amusement (and sympathy), here are a couple comic strips I collected during that era of my life:
Panel #1 was what made me tear this one out of the newspaper. Tells you a little how I was feeling back then, huh?

This is just sad and true. And hysterically funny. I hope no one ever says that to me!!!

I gotta give props to Scott Adams for taking jabs at the establishment for the amusement of all working stiffs. You gotta laugh at your predicament or else it'll take you down. I'd also like to note that one of my all-time favorite quotes about art came from Scott Adams. I'll leave it as the last word of today's blog:

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." -Scott Adams

April 16, 2008


Last night's crit on my brochure layout went better than expected! I'm starting to feel a little confident about my design skills, and certainly more confident in my ability to learn quickly. We have only 3 major projects left and 4 weeks until the end of the semester. Yikes! After that's all done, the hubby and I are going on a weekend getaway for our first anniversary. So, at least I have something to look forward to at the end of my trials and tribulations!

In other good news, I made a sale yesterday! That was a pleasant surprise since sales are rare for me these days. I haven't had time to promote my shop or make any new items for a while, so it has been really stagnant. Lately, I've mostly used Etsy to buy from other artists and chat. My poor shop has sat there waiting for me to find time to pay attention to it. People seem to be liking my teeny little inexpensive drawings, though. Maybe I'll make some more this summer.

Other than that....when I can, I've been working on organizing my studio. Along with some little plastic tubs, I bought one of these from Target last week:

Note the signature "honeydew" color scheme? Yeah, I'm a sucker for that color. I saw a VW Bug on the road this morning in the same color and I was like, "Hmmm...." as my head filled with daydreams of driving around in one with Honeydew Studio stickers all over the back. I don't even particularly care about VW Bugs. I think it was just the color that nabbed me. Lol. Oh God.

Anyway, I want more bins, but all that our local Target had in stock was the one I bought. I even went back a few days ago, but alas - still out of stock. I'm thinking about buying more online. The only problem is that you must buy 2 at a time online, and it gets pricey with the shipping etc.

That's about all that's going on today. I hope it's as gorgeous outside in your neck of the woods as it is in mine!

April 14, 2008

Paul Rand

In class a couple weeks ago, our teacher made us each pull a name from an envelope. Those slips of paper had the names of various graphic designers on them. Our newest ongoing assignment is to create a magazine spread for whichever designer we got.

I pulled Paul Rand. He's the one who designed the logos for UPS, IBM, ABC, and Enron (to name a few). It was a lucky draw, because I feel like I "get" Rand's work. It's modernist, simple, and witty.

Paul Rand passed away in 1996, but remains one of America's biggest names in graphic design. What I didn't know about him until my research this week, was that he designed a few children's books with his wife, Ann Rand. As an illustrator (who has been focused largely on the children's market in the past few years) this interested me. Take a look at some of his book covers:

The above cover is the french translation for Rand's book, I Know a Lot of Things. I mean, how adorable! That book (in any language) seems to be a collector's item now. The starting prices that I saw online were $40 and up.

The top two images are covers, and the lower images is a spread from one of the books. I think it's just gorgeous.

You know, it's funny...until this Typography class I didn't think about the people behind the designs we see every day. I guess in my mind, there were big corporations collaborating together and churning out logos and type like factories. I never thought of individual designers sitting behind their desks, brainstorming over letterforms and what way would best brand a company. Now I not only understand that many logos can be attributed to specific designers, like Rand, but I am starting to recognize and appreciate individuals and their work. It's sort of like a door opened up and I've discovered there's a whole other wing in this house that I haven't explored.

I still don't know if I'll ever be a good designer, myself (I still very much have an illustrator's brain). But I do feel like I'm learning and progressing by leaps and bounds. We'll see how I feel after the crit on my brochure layout tonight. I honestly have NO IDEA if it's good or bad. Usually I have some sort of inkling before class. Today? Nothing. I'm sure you'll hear about it either way. In the meantime, go look up Paul Rand online. You'd be surprised how many well-known easily recognizable logos are attributed to him.

The Actual Honeydew Studio

I practically live in my studio. It's where I paint, sew, and do my homework. It's where all my art supplies are stashed, as well as my favorite books. I would post pictures, but it's currently also a disaster area. (And anyway, the whole nation will get to see it on HGTV in the 500 series of That's Clever.)

It may be a mess, but it's mine. We moved into our place nearly 3 years ago, and it was the first time I'd ever had a room JUST for my artwork. In my studio's past incarnation, it was a little girl's bedroom. On our arrival it was covered in a too-sweet shade of lavender paint, complete with pink carpet. Then I took over. I slapped a can or two worth of Behr paint in a shade called "honeydew" and moved my stuff on in. (My shop and blog name aren't so mysterious anymore, huh? Lol.) You've never seen a more gorgeous paint color than when the morning sunlight brightens that room. I spend more time there than anywhere else in the house.

The only problem is that it's on the top floor. That's fine for most of the year, but when the humid New England summer finally hits it's unbearable. Especially since all I have are two skylights in the ceiling which aren't air-conditioner friendly OR that helpful with any sort of ventilation.

Last summer, I had 4 commissioned paintings to complete. Could I work comfortably on my drafting table? Of course not. I had to abandon my studio for a TV tray in the living room where at least we had an air conditioner. I've put fans up there; I bought a massive dehumidifier. I've even tried aiming an air conditioner up the stairs. To no avail. You feel like you're trying to fight your way out of scorching hot (damp) plastic wrap up there. It's a sauna. You're guaranteed to be sitting in a puddle of sweat after even so much as a 5 minute venture up those stairs.
In the last couple years, we seem to have gone straight from winter into summer with no real spring to speak of. I'm hoping that, this year, I'll actually have a break before summer kicks in. All I want is some studio time after my classes end and before it becomes impossible to work up there. That's not too much to ask, is it?
It's a love/hate thing. I adore my studio. I hate that it's sort of a seasonal room. What's your working space like?

April 11, 2008

The Cure for Insomnia

Eureka! I've found it! May I present to you the first drug-free cure for insomnia:

It's my copy of Typographic Design: Form and Communication.
Oh. My. God. I thought I'd reached the pinnacle of all dry, boring textbooks when I took an Architectural Theory class in my undergrad. I have to say that this book is in a close race for second in the category of Most Boring Reading Material EVER.

I have a lot of reading to finish up by next week for class. I thought I could plow through it last night. I made myself a ginormous cup of coffee, propped myself up on pillows, and sat on my bed to do some reading at 8 o'clock. Every two pages, I dozed off! This was sort of aggrivating seeing as how I didn't even feel very tired...plus I was pumped up on caffeine! Unreal.

I was literally swearing at the book last night. The writing is pretentious. It's like these guys are getting paid by the word. They'll take up 4 lines text and pack it full of 10 cent words to say something that could've been said in one easily digestable sentence. It's not like the concepts are beyond me, it's not even that the vocabulary is beyond me, it's just that I find the writing obnoxious. By the time I've finished reading their phrasing, my brain has shut itself down and I've slipped into a coma.

So, if any of you are having trouble falling asleep at night, put down the Lunesta and head to your local bookstore for the cure!

April 10, 2008

The Quest

When most people go shopping, they see something they like, decide they want it, then buy it. This is the normal pattern of things. I, unfortunately, don't shop like a normal person. I get an idea in my head of a very specific item I want and then start hunting for it. I'm really picky, and won't spend money until the item for sale matches the item in my head. Sometimes this takes weeks. I will recruit friends to keep an eye out if I have to. I call these searches my "Quests". Past Quests have included "The Quest For The Perfect Flat Open-Toe Wedding Shoe", "The Quest for The Perfect B&W Polka dot Retro Dress", and "The Quest for a Semi-Metallic Not-Sparkly Sort of Neutral Eye Shadow". It may have taken ages, but I eventually found each one of these things.

That said, I have a new Quest. And I'm recruiting you guys to help me. This most recent Quest has been spurred on by the fact I'll be doing some overseas traveling this summer, and want to bring a sketchbook along. Of course, I don't want just any sketchbook. That would be too easy.

A couple years ago, I bought a present for a friend that was some sort of leather-bound sketchbook. When you opened the flap, there were slots inside the cover for a set of colored pencils. I've decided that I need a not-too-small not-too-big sketchbook with some sort of pocket or slots for art supplies. Of course, I can no longer find aforementioned sketchbook at the place I bought it. So, I need to find a different one. A collection of pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener would probably be what I'm toting around. In the past, I've carried an easily portable sketchbook and an entire pencil case. That's sort of cumbersome, especially if you're trying to draw on the move. I really don't want to have to dig all of that out of my bag while standing in front of something sketch-worthy. I want to be able to pull the pencil right out of a slot in the actual sketchbook. It has to be big enough for significant drawing, but small enough for me to comfortably carry around several countries.

I started looking online yesterday. I found a bunch of sketch folios. These seem like a good idea if a) I wanted to carry a whole other bag around or b) I just needed to go sit in a field and draw, but didn't plan on moving for most of the day. It's a little bit too big. I also found a "compact portable" sketch folio, but that was too small. (Do I sound like the Goldilocks of Art Supplies yet?) I sort of like this sketchbook cover. I like that it's refillable. However, it's too expensive and I would like a little more organization that just a big pouch on the front.
Then...while browsing on Etsy and I came across a masterpiece:

It's (very fittingly) called The Artist Dream Sketchbook and is made by jennysbooks. Let me just post part of jennysbook's own description of this gorgeousness so you can know why I'm drooling. She says,

"This is a very hefty sketchbook. . . about 10" x 8.25" x 2.75"
My husband (also an artist) designed this style for himself and he loves it.
Your book will be custom made for you - I have included pictures of five different such sketchbooks that we have made."

"Your choice of motifs will be burned into the solid wood front cover by hand. The back cover is actually a box with a barrel-hinged lid that holds all your artist pencils, pens and even eraser. Both covers are dyed and sealed with a tung oil finish. The extra thick back cover makes a superbly stable surface to draw on. The book body includes approximately 360 pages of quality drawing paper plus a sheet of tracing paper between most pages. It is bound extra carefully and strong for lots of use. The spine is Kangaroo or goat leather and is topped off with furniture nails."

I want it!!! Except, it's also $350. And rightly so -- that sketchbook is a work of art in itself. If I owned it, I would never draw in it. Ever. My thumbnail sketches are completely intelligible to any eye but mine. I wouldn't want to put my scribbles in that book. That book deserves Da Vinci-level drawings. However, not drawing in a sketchbook sort of defeats its purpose. But jennybooks, just so you know, if given $350 of Etsy Bucks, that sketchbook would be mine!
In the real world I could never afford it, so alas - my affair with this sketchbook shall remain in only in my mind. Sigh.

Anyway, back to The Quest. I do realize I could hire someone on Etsy Alchemy to do this for me. However, that defeats the point of a quest. You'd be missing the point...I'm sure this item already exists somewhere in the real world. (Plus, hiring someone to make something from scratch for you can get pricey.) If you guys can direct me to the not-too-small not-too-big organized-with-pockets-or-slots-for-art-supplies sketchbook of my dreams (that I could afford and order online), I'd be forever grateful. (o:

April 09, 2008

The Grid is a system, Neo.

It seems I wasn't the only one in Typography class last night who didn't "get" the whole grid layout concept. After a 5 minute explanation from the teacher, I felt like I had an inkling of understanding. Even though I don't feel completely secure in my knowledge, going from having NO clue to at least SOME clue was huge. I felt like I could suddenly see the Matrix.

For those of you (like me) who are coming from a non-graphic design background, I'll try to explain. Imagine blueprints for a house you're going to build. You've got the square footage, the rooms are all drawn out, and that's the plan. Once the house is built, you are free to renovate and knock down walls if you want. A grid is sort of like a blueprint in the world of page layout. You set your margins, number of columns and their width etc -- then you build your design on top of those standards. That's how I understood it, anyway.

Our prof. said the explanation of grid layout was all in our book. Okaaaay. Granted, I'm not yet 100% done with the reading. However, I read the stuff about grids and to me, it was jibberish. That Typography book is as dry as toast. I fell asleep on top of it at 5 o'clock in the afternoon the other day! I'm a firm believer in going back over the reading material in class - even if it's just a quick overview to see if anyone has questions. Which, clearly, we all did. I learn much better by seeing and doing. Looking over a magazine with the teacher and having him point out the underlying grid patterns helped my brain immensely. I have a starting point now. Now maybe I can make heads or tails of the next two layout assignments. At least I know I'm learning something, right?
Five more weeks of class before summer va-k. (o:

April 08, 2008

You know what day it is

It's typography Tuesday! I have my class tonight. That means I usually have nothing to talk about except school this time of the week. (Sorry!)

But, on a positive note -- I sort of feel like Super Woman today.

I finished my logotype project and am pretty proud of how it turned out. I illustrated the honeydew shaped "O" for an image on the letterhead and the back of the business card. I kind of love it. (I'll post newer pics soon).

I also finished up the first portion of my brochure layout assignment. I'm not so proud of that one, but at least it's done. I'll be honest in saying I had ZERO idea what I was doing last night. Brochure layout...whaaa? You might as well have told me to write a paper in Russian. I just can't seem to get the concept of a grid down in my brain. I know what hierarchy is, but ugh. It's just not working out. Even if my samples are abysmal (which I'm pretty sure they are) I'm not super worried. I seem to be learning really fast and I'm sure the crit will set me on the right path.

Other than that, we have a quiz tonight and I have no idea what we're expected to know. The only thing he told us for sure we'd be quizzed on are hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes. Well, I know what those are. Let's cross our fingers that's the only thing on this quiz. Especially since I didn't finish some of the reading I was supposed to do (gulp!).

After all of that, I somehow found the time to make a semi-complicated stew at the last minute and throw it into the slow-cooker overnight. Usually my poor hubby can forget about a home- cooked meal until Wednesday. Granted, I was still cooking at midnight last night, but at least we have dinner for the first half of the week.

Full time work, plus homework, plus commuting, plus school, and I still manage to be one mean cook? Seriously, where's my cape? (o;

April 04, 2008

Featured Artist: Amy L. Rawson

I'm in love...

...with Amy L. Rawson's sculpture pieces!

I discovered Amy's work through her Etsy shop, Draig Athar Designs. Though the majority of her shop consists of cute little felted plushies and wool batts, what caught my attention were the 4 sculptures she had for sale. They were gorgeously crafted, and I couldn't help but notice that each piece had a story behind it. (It must be my illustration background, because I adore when a work of art is attached to a tale.)

Though I've featured artists on this blog before, I've never had the opportunity to post a Q and A. Amy was kind enough to take the time to answer a pile of questions I e-mailed to her. That said, I'd like to present Honeydew Studios' first Featured Artist interview!

Honeydew Studio: Where does your inspiration come from?

Amy L. Rawson: My art doll sculptures are often inspired by myths, legends, folk tales, as you've noticed.

HS: How do you find these stories?

ALR: Usually once I have the theme to start from, I just browse the internet or dig through books until I find a story that sparks my interest. Someone once told me that good art should do one of two things: capture an emotion, or tell a story. I guess I just end up telling stories more often.

HS: What is it about a particular story that will make you want to create a piece based on it?

ALR: This is something that started almost by chance for me, to be honest! I've always loved myths and legends, but I didn't start sculpting them until one day when I was at a loss for what to work on next. I had an urge to sculpt but no ideas ready to go. Well, I have a deck of animal cards, it's called an animal oracle. It's something like a tarot deck, but I don't much use it for that. I just liked the animal artwork, heh. When I couldn't think of an idea to work on, I pulled out the animal deck and drew a card at random. It was the Crane. I decided to use that as a starting point, so I went browsing through books and webpages for stories about cranes. That's how the Crane Woman sculpture was born. That method of idea generation was so much fun, I kept doing it.
I found I quite liked anthropomorphic art, too, so the animal cards were perfect. Drawing the Seal card led me to the myth of the Selchie. Drawing the Raven card grew into my Hugin and Munin sculpture. The Wolf card gave birth to La Loba, and so on! I like art challenges, when the topic of themes is provided by an outside source, whether it be a group challenge theme or one identified at random by my deck of animal cards. My sculpture of Farmer John came from a group challenge theme of 'pumpkins' and led me to meeting a very talented singer/songwriter, Peter Mayer, who wrote a song about pumpkins who were nervous about becoming jack-o-lanterns. Another group challenge theme of 'emotions' is where Worry and Fear came from.

HS: What's your process? Do you sketch your ideas first?

ALR: I do sketch my ideas first, usually as a guide to construction because my sculptures involve a lot of different media and stages until they are finished. I may have some of my sketches somewhere online if you want pics. I don't usually make models first, though sometimes I will photograph people in the poses I'm aiming for, to use as a reference. I did that with the Kappa - I made my sister squat down like the Kappa is, for lots of photos, heh.

HS: Do you create a model or a mock-up? What materials do you use?

ALR: I use lots of different materials, that's the glory of doll art. Generally, my sculptures have a wire armature with hard-sculpted extremities (head, hands, feet) in either polymer clay, epoxy clay, or paperclay, and then painted. I create some sort of soft body, either wrapped and stuffed or needle felted. Then the clothing and embellishments can be anything - fabric, fur, leather, feathers, beads, lace, you name it. I have drawers full of little objects that I gather over time and save until they turn out to be exactly what I need for some particular project.

To see more of Amy's work, head on over to her website. Once there, you can read her bio and see much more of her sculpture work as well as her beautifully realistic oil paintings.

April 03, 2008

Life. Unplugged.

I think I need to unplug myself.

I don't watch a whole lot of TV. It's not that. Aside from the Daily Show, there's nothing I watch regularly. I have never even heard of some of the shows my coworkers discuss at lunch (I'm about to come off snotty, but oh well. More than half of it is total garbage! How do these things even make it on the air???) No, my problem is the computer. I'm starting to feel that it's a giant black hole sucking up all my time.

Unfortunately, the majority of that can't be helped. I have to be on the computer for my job. I also have to do my homework for typography class on the computer. (Helloooo Adobe!) But when I have a minute of free time between those two things, I'm endlessly answering lengthy e-mails, browsing online, or doing something in Etsy. (Anyone else addicted to the Etsy Forums? OMG. I'm awful!) Plus, being online feeds into my tendency to procrastinate. Hours slip by me unnoticed. There are clear warning signs that carpel tunnel is in my future. I don't even need a crystal ball to tell me that. This can't be good.

One night last year, my internet went down so I shut my computer off for the evening. Suddenly, I seemed to have LOADS of time. The amount of things I could get done in an hour was staggering.

I've decided to start weaning myself off of my internet dependency by reading more. Technically, it shouldn't be too hard. My hubby and I are a couple of bibliophiles. We have geeked it out on many a date to Barnes and Nobles. We read aloud to each other before bed each night. (I know, I know. Most of my friends have threatened to puke when I tell them that.) At any given time, there are a dozen books I want to buy. On top of that, I have probably 2 dozen books laying around the house that I haven't gotten around to reading or finishing yet. I think I'm going to start working on the pile.

In my artwork, a major source of inspiration for me is fairy tales, folklore, and mythology. I did A LOT of work based around those things in college. I have read more stories than is reasonable. One of my bookshelves is dedicated to fairy tales and myths from all over the world. I have a fabulous book that I started reading ages ago but never finished. I've picked it up again this week and wonder why I ever put it down in the first place. It's called Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde. It's really well-written. How can that not be right up my alley?

After this semester is over, and I adjust to spending only 75% of my time on the computer (rather than 99%) I think I'll undertake a massive organizational overhaul of my house. And get back to painting. It's been almost a year since I had a pile of ongoing paintings.
Plus, not to jinx anything, but the smallest signs of spring are starting to show up. That means I won't be cooped up in the house much longer. Hopefully the Internet withdrawals won't be too bad. Wish me luck! (o;

April 02, 2008

Honey-do homework

I thought I'd finally show you guys one of the projects I've been working on for class. This is my *brand new* Honeydew Studio logo. Last week in class, my logo samples went down like the Titanic. This week, I ditched everything and started from scratch. After busting my butt, e-mailing back and forth with my teacher, and discussing it at length with my brother-in-law (who is a professional graphic designer) I came up with this resolution:

That pic is kind of a crappy copy. Sorry. I don't know how well you can see it, but there are little seeds inside the "O" to represent a honeydew melon. I'm thinking about saturating my greens a little more since they don't show up real well on white paper. Especially the "o"s. I want them to be a bit closer to lime green. The other half of the project for this week was to design two samples each of letterhead, a business card, and an envelope. Since I spent so much time on the logo itself, I had to crank the rest of the project out last minute. After seeing everyone's professional-looking work hanging up on the wall during class last night, I was completely ashamed to show my cobbled and glued together mess. I could barely hear all the nice things people had to say about my logo, because I was so appalled at my stationery set. Thankfully, some of my ideas were at least shining through my horrid craftsmanship, and I was able to come away with a plan for next week. I'm eager to get to work on it.

I feel a lot better today. I suppose this cycle of stress and anxiety will continue every week until I'm done the program. (Ugh.) I only have one class this semester, and am starting to wonder how I survived two classes last semester. In the fall, I'll be back to taking 2 courses again. I am not looking forward to it. At least my blog readers will get a whole summer reprieve from me whining about school before I turn spastic again. Haha!
Anyway I'm motivated enough to start working on this week's assignments immediately. I hope I can get it done, get a head start on project #2, and have time enough to enjoy myself this weekend. (I am attending a Margret Cho show with the fabulous Ms. Sarah of The Pink Shoe Diaries.) And maybe...just maybe...I can start sketching cover art idea for Ryan's Life in Orbit album. (I hear you cheering, Ryan. But don't get your hopes up too much! Lol.)

April 01, 2008

Life in Orbit (album art)

I am on Day Two of having a horrible week, but I'm determined not to keep complaining on my blog. (Even though not a single thing has been going right for me since yesterday). *Deep breath*. For my own mental health as well as yours, I'm moving on!

As I've mentioned in a previous blog - my best friend, Ryan, is a musician out on the West Coast. (That's a picture of him above...with a light bulb in his mouth. Yeah. I don't know either.) After years of talking about it, he's finally put together an album. He's not on a record label or anything - this is entirely a self-produced (and funded) effort. That said, it needs album art...free album art. Or as my brother-in-law would say, his budget is "free 99." Haha! Maybe it's funnier if you say it out loud. Sigh...

Anyway, the art part (and the free-for-best-friends part) is where I come in, apparently. He's been busy laying on the guilt real thick in order to get me to work something up for him before mid-April. As you are well aware, I have (what seems like) 100 difficult ongoing projects for my Typography class in addition to a full-time job. I have to pencil in dates with my own husband. Spare time is a luxury I don't have right now. Even though I'd normally love to do it, I'm afraid it just might not be possible at the moment. Though, I really really want to.

Just because I haven't had a chance to physically work up even so much as a rough draft for him doesn't mean I haven't been sketching things out in the back of my mind.
Since his album is titled "Life in Orbit", we have ourselves a readily accessible theme. I've been daydreaming of little 1950's stylized outer space illustrations, semi-cartoony rocket ships, and a retro color palate. Inside my head, little stars have been shooting around the Milky Way. I've been thinking about font.
Turns out Ryan has been thinking the same thing. He sent me samples of the style of album art he'd like. He sent me an e-mail and attached a lot of vintage outer space images. Granted, we've been friends since high school so it's probably not surprising that we're on the same page. But having the same vision as your client (paying client or not) is really helpful and makes me want to get to work. I love the idea of collaboration between musicians and visual arts. I'm just afraid my schedule is too much of a nightmare right now.

*Side note to Ry: What's with the random April deadline? If you'd just be patient and wait until this summer, I could so totally get it done! I'd have all kinds of time, and it would be fabulous. Why you gotta make this difficult? (o;

In the meantime, here are a few links for your listening pleasure: You can go take a peek at Ryan's music and pics on his MySpace page. He's also collaborated with his friend and fellow musician, Celene, on a project called Undercover Love. It's their strange and comical take on a variety of cover songs. Enjoy!