Sunday, October 7, 2012

Online illustration videos & courses through Folio Academy!

Hey guys!

I wanted to share something with you that I'd heard about before but hadn't taken advantage of until recently.  As an artist, even though I'm done with school, I'm still very much obsessed with gaining as much knowledge as I possibly can about my craft.  I think it's important to look at different people's processes and constantly try new things. It's how we develop what works and what doesn't work for each of us as individual artists.

Well, I came across a site through several mentionings by other artists I follow called Folio Academy.
It's a great resource for anyone looking to get into Illustration, Children's books, etc but it also offers courses for traditional media techniques as well as digital work.  Even if you've been in the business for a while or have just finished school, I think there is plenty of information still applicable for anyone.

I recommend everyone to go at least check them out and see if there are any courses that strike your fancy :) I've been going through the "How to Illustrate Children's Books" and there's a ton of great advice and information through out. Very helpful and interesting.

*Edit*  The guys have just come out with a new tutorial on getting artwork ready for ebooks!

Go give 'em a look-see!

Hope you guys have a great week!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Elephants & Tap shoes

**This was supposed to have been published a while ago, but somehow the scheduling part of blogger didn't go through. Oh well! ;) **

Hey guys!

I wanted to share a project with you that I finished up last month for a good friend of mine.  I illustrated a piece for her as a graduation present.

She and I have become pretty good friends over the last year or so; we met in the local community theater and have bonded over a few shows, tap dancing classes, and Disneyland trips.

She is a very creative person, loves to dance, and loves loves LOVES Pinterest! haha so I knew I needed to make her something inspiring that she can relate to in all her crafting a pinning endeavors. It started off pretty sneakily with me sending random texts asking what her favorite animals were... "I need some cute animals to draw, what's your favorite?" I asked.  Her reply was elephants, dinosaurs, baby orangutans, and baby tortoises.  Well, that would be an interesting illustration! LOL

So I got out my sketchbook and proceeded to study up on these.
sweet little elephants

fuzzy orangutans
I posted these to my facebook page to show that I actually was taking her up on the suggestions.  Meanwhile on facebook, I was completely going stalker- status on her pictures page.  It's an odd thing when one finds themselves zooming in on a friends facebook picture and studying the detail of their cheeks and how their eyes are positioned on their face...

.... anyway....

After getting the sketch of her face down I began to work on the composition of the piece.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to put in all the animals she wanted so I started out focusing on the elephant and a little monkey.  In the end, I had to edit out the monkey as the elephant stole the show. It just would have been too distracting as I illustrated the lettering as well.  When I got to the lettering, another text was sent "What are your favorite colors?"... so sneaky ...

Here are some process shots...
sketching out details of her face

I sketch ideas down and then use tracing paper to clean it up and get a full image

redrew the image on watercolor paper with my light box

illustrated Inspiration quote

why wouldn't an elephant wear leg warmers??

totally want to steal her outfit...

final framed piece 

I'm so happy with how it turned out.  That elephant made me giggle every time I looked at her.  Although, the best part was giving it to my friend.  It took all of my will power not to drive over to her house the second I finished, pound down her door, shove it in her face and yell "LOOK WHAT I MADE YOU!!!"  hahaha I'm a horrible gift giver, I can never wait!  I still had like 3 days before her party too.

Anyway, she did open it and she loved it! It lives in her house now above the fireplace tap tap tapping the night away :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Upcoming Painting Project: Siren of the Sea

Hey Guys!

I know. Again I've taken my sweet time on this blog.

BUT I do have something I'm working on right now to show you!

The time of the year has come again to work on the booklets for the women's society.  I've had the privilege of producing them for the group for the last few years.

This year, I'm combining my love of the sea and a vintage flair to theme the book with mermaids a la the Coca Cola ads from the 40s and 50s!
Here's a sketch of the cover illustration...

She'll be sitting on some rocks and have a string of pearls hanging from her neck to her hand. The rest of the booklet will have ocean spot illustrations with shells, seaweed, sea stars etc.  I haven't yet decided on what element I'll add to make it pop.  I've had lace and flower seed paper in previous years.  

Check back again for the final illustration photo and some progress shots!! 

Have a good weekend!  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Disney Vinylmation

Hey guys!

I'm still alive!

I've just started the design work for a really exciting project, Vinylmations!  The first one is going to be more like a mural than a specific character or object but the theme is going to be Disneyland :D (of course)

I don't want to get into too much detail yet, as I'm just in the beginning stages of it and I don't really want to get my ideas out there before I start working on it.  A lot of people work on Vinyls and I want mine to show mine at it's completion - not that I'm so famous everyone will be dying to copy me LOL but I do want to keep the design safe.  I will be taking progress pictures to show you though when I do post the finished one.

To start off with, and to not leave you without any eye candy, here's a pic of the very beginning of my design process.  My friend bought be this sketchbook at Walt Disney World last year and it has the coolest stencil attached to the back! So much easier than trying to find a pattern online or having to take a straight picture for the right dimensions.
just make sure you have it right side up - the hands are different ;p
Here's a quick pic of the two large vinylmations I have.

The purple paint can be very easily painted over with a white base.  The green looking one, however.... is Glow-in-the-dark!
Whatever surface you DONT put paint on will show through and glow in the dark or under a blacklight.  You better believe this is being put to use in my design. ;)

Thats it for today! Hope you guys have a great rest of the week and weekend!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ready for the Summer!

It's summer time! YAY!

This marks the first summer vacation I've had since being in school.  It's a little weird but oh so sweet! haha 

My teaching position has finished for the school year and I don't have to be back until the end of August.  Besides having a side job thats about 10 hours a week, I'm pretty excited about having some down time to work on my stuff.  (As I type this, I'm in my pajama bottoms and have a furry purry curled up in my lap) I have so many things I want to accomplish and I know that I desperately need to get rolling on them.  Here's the perfect opportunity! 

I'm currently sketching out some summer ideas to hopefully put on some cards.  
fat babies are so much fun to draw
I'm still working out some other ideas and I need to clean up and tighten this one but it's a start! 

Does anyone have any recommendations for art prints of your work? Do you send the file and have them shipped to you? Who do you use and is it reasonable?

Thanks for any advice!

Stay tuned for more work :) 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Drawing Nights and Doodle Parties!

Hey guys!

Hope you all have had a fabulous week so far, the weekend is almost here again! YAY! (I'm pretty sure I can make it one more day.... focus Annie...)

Last week I was honored to be asked to participate in a Family Reading Night at a local Elementary School here in town. Although the main focus was obviously about reading and they had a big book fair, I was also set up in a class room to talk about illustration and host a drawing session! It was so much fun and I'm really glad I agreed to do it.

I did 3 sessions of 25 minutes to both older elementary ages and their parents/teachers. (In all honesty... the kids did better than the majority of the adults lol).  The kids were excited to be there and it made me happy to see them proudly showing their parents their drawings afterwards. I gave them the option of picking the subject to draw soooo what we ended up with was...
 Session 1: the penguin on my avatar. (Some of the girls saw it and wanted to try)
 Session 2: the character Bullseye from Toy Story BUT he had to have Mater (Cars) teeth.
 Session 3: a howling wolf and a rabbit. (the rabbit was hiding, I have a no blood rule lol)

It was a really great night and it made the kids happy and also excited for the art curriculum coming up in a couple weeks.  I didn't take pictures of the kids, I wanted to but then I was afraid of putting them up on the internet with out their parents knowing and it made me feel like ehhhhh maybe I shouldn't. And they were ushered fairly quickly to the next thing (and cupcakes!) so I didn't get to relish their drawings. Next year maybe!

Next up, I wanted to tell you about something that happened today that made ME so happy :)
In my classes I have a system where the kids work towards a reward at the end of each trimester. I have a giant candy jar on poster board and they earn "gumballs" (those furry pom pom things) with good behavior, participation, and a chance to earn bonus gumballs. IF they fill up the jar by the end, then they earn a fun day with a small snack and something other than the curriculum.  Last trimester I brought in Fantasia 2000 and had cookies. This time the kids decided they wanted to have a "Doodle Party"!

Try to twist my arm on that one! haha

Today I brought in some small pieces of sour candy for them (100+ kids!) and then I started them off on something fairly simple they could follow with. We ended up only being able to one drawing but we embellished a ton and filled up the entire page with drawing! That's hard for a beginner to do; I still struggle with filling the space.

This is from the first 4th grade class I did, they just have a regular overhead instead of a projector to draw from so I went with the white board/expo medium.
I was demonstrating different textures, this puppy cant make up his mind on fur haha

Oh man, my heart was gushing with all the cute little puppies popping up all over the classrooms! Their little toes! ooo! waggy tails! ahhh! and then some added in little drool drips! awww! I was so proud of them and best of all.... the TEACHERS were gushing over all the drawings! One of them wanted the kids to keep their papers safe so they could color them in later and then hang it up on the wall!

We had spiked collars, puppy hoodies, jewels dog tags, mohawks, surfing puppies, puppies breaching security fences... the possibilities were endless for this mutt!

I hope to have a lot more posts about stuff like this. Their art curriculum starts the week after next and it might be changing up from the norm because of some other projects I've been doing at other schools. We'll see I guess :)

Nothing is better than seeing a kid, child, young adult etc be proud of a drawing they did especially when they didn't think they could do it.

Til next time, I leave you with images of happy kids and chunky puppies!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm a Guest Illustrator!

How cool is that?!

The elementary school that I work at (I teach music) has asked me to come tomorrow night and teach a couple short drawing lessons for both adults and kids.  I'm so excited!

There is going to be another artist there as well, I'm not sure who yet, but she's going to be working out of a step by step book for animals.  I figured since my schooling is in Illustration, ie storytelling, it would be cool to take suggestions on what animal they would like to draw and place it in some type of storytelling image. Be it a bear in a Tu-tu tight rope walking or a sun bathing starfish!

If any of you are in the area of Fresno, come on down and join the party! It kicks off with pizza at 5:30pm and I think the sessions are like 20-25 mins. Enough to start them and if they want to finish them at home, they'll have an idea of what to draw.

I'll try to get some pictures and do a blog post after!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm still alive!!

Ack!! A month has gone by since I last posted. FAIL!

I'm still here guys, I've been super busy and technically I've still been working as a freelancer, but in a different category. I don't have a lot to show you because the work I've been doing has been along the lines of ... shall we say... "Social Media Consulting" for use in a creative field.  I've been helping a client work up a lot of social media sites, connect them together, create a website, link everything together.... phew! it takes a lot longer than you'd expect!

In other news, those of you who've been with me for a while, know that I have been working with some local schools in music and in art.  In one school in particular, I've been developing an Art only  curriculum.  A lot of my time has been spent figuring out projects, how to make them last over a few lessons, and how to actually teach for understanding and not just copying.  It's a challenge! This group of kids are not the typical kids who would choose an art program over other electives so I've been dealing with a LOT of behavioral issues.  It's starting to turn around tho and their first project was a complete WIN for the class!  They felt good about it, the office staff flipped out and called a bunch of teachers to come look at the work.  They even asked to have some laminated and put up around the school!  Granted the work wasn't museum quality (remember they're 6th graders), but it was better than any of them thought they could do.  That's a success in my book :)

I start with the other classed in Art in a few weeks. I'm excited to see where those students go with the program.

I'll leave you with a couple sketches I've managed to quickly put down to paper in between.  Hope you all had a wonderful week and I wish you a restful weekend!

sketch of my puppy love

random doodle

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I Use

Helllooo fellow bloggers and blog readers!

Not much has gone on in regards to upcoming projects except for a freelance consulting type gig the last few weeks.  I client I worked with recently is getting a novel published and needed help setting up some social media sites (facebook, twitter, blogger, etc) as well as looking around for website possibilities.  Its hard to just jump in and try to get all that stuff set up at once. I'm glad I could meet with her and help her out :)

What I wanted to write about today is some of the equipment I use in my mini "studio". (In all reality, it's more like Harry Potter's "cupboard under the stairs"). I would love to upgrade a lot of this stuff but it all works really well and until I have the money to change it, I'm glad I have what I have!

* First things first! I purchased a 15" Macbook Pro in 2006 and this baby is goin' strong! I'm so impressed with Apple computers and glad that I decided to go Mac.  I'm thinking my next computer will definitely be a desktop with a bigger hard drive. This is a laptop (albeit an amazing one!) and it unfortunately cannot hold all the programs, music, pictures, and giant art files I have on here. It's just not big enough. If all goes well, this laptop will still be the travel buddy after I get the desktop. For more info here's the link to the most current version of my Macbook Pro

*Next up is my printer. When I purchased my computer through the educational program Apple offered, I could add a printer onto it.  The lowest one was free but they had additional options I could pay a little extra for. I think this one was $50 more. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure.  I have a Canon PIXMA MP600 That has been a GREAT All-in-one printer.  It's definitely worth the money I paid for it. There are some issues with printing lines if the image is very dark, but most of the things I use it for are light images, scanning, sketch printing, and document printing.  It suits what I need and the scanning quality is really really good. The ink can be expensive if you buy it all at once but it's not too bad and its readily available at any place that would have office supplies (including Walmart).

*Sticking with computer electronics, I went to costco and purchased a 750GB Maxtor external hard drive.  I believe it was around $100. Again, it was around 5 years ago so I could be wrong on that. Ive barely put a dent in the storage space with all the files I have on it. I've also transferred over my iTunes and my iPhoto because my laptop hard drive couldnt hold all of the photo/music files I have haha!

*The next one, I'm super happy to own.  Last year, I used some extra funds to purchase a Wacom Intuos tablet! It's so much fun to use! I actually need to get back into using it. Sometimes when I just want to get the sketch out, it can be pretty easy to set it aside and knock it out with a regular pencil.  I used Wacom tablets in school and they're amazing to use.  I'm so glad I invested in one myself.  (maybe next will be the Cintiq.... ;p)

* Last but not least, I have a couple cameras I use to document my work.  The first one is a Nikon Coolpix 12 megapixel point and shoot camera. This is pretty handy because it's light weight, has different settings, can get amazing detail, and it's fairly inexpensive when you consider how much $$ you can spend on a big ol' legit camera.
I also have access to a Nikon D60 that I've messed around with a few times.  I'm thinking that I need to experiment a little more regarding artwork photography but it has potential to be a great tool.  And I know that Nikon is a great brand of camera. 
Finally, believe it or not, I've been utilizing my iPhone4s to take a lot of pictures of my work.  I don't know how they did it, but photos from this phone are incredible.  Its portable, easy to use, has a flash, and I can even add video documentation. It a great thing to be able to use.

Well, that about wraps it up!  I'd be interested to know what anyone else uses or has used, or even if they have opinions about what I use. Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week and I'll see ya in my next post!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Diagon Alley, could there be a better place on earth?

photo taken from here
Even if you're not a huge Harry Potter fan, you might recognize this place.  Maybe not for it's content but for the name itself.  "Diagon Alley" is literally a magical place within the world of Harry Potter where wizards go to buy all things magical.  Be it wands, spellbooks, potion ingredients, owls, quills, parchment paper, school robes etc.  Every young wizard visits Diagon Alley to gather their things together for a year at Hogwarts, the Wizarding school.

My cousin is a huge fan of Harry Potter and normally, for Christmas or birthdays, we'd exchange something that had to do with owls, I'm not sure how we got started on owls specifically haha but we've found some pretty good gifts between the two of us.  Anyway, this Christmas I discovered a similar gift as the one I'm about to show you and I died when I realized I could replicate for her BUT BETTER!

I made her an actual street sign of DIAGON ALLEY!
This is an in-progress shot with blue tape around the border to keep myself from smudging it.  I apparently got so excited to wrap it up that I didn't take a final finished shot *facepalm*
I had a real street sign sans letters from a previous freelance job and it was just sitting in my room. It was fate!  First I spray painted the whole side a flat matte white and then I used sharpie and acrylic black paint for the lettering. (Next time if I do this, I'm using decal sticker letters.  It would just be so much easier)
It was a completely white sign with black typography and a black border around the edges

She couldn't believe it when she opened it. It was unexpected and completely epic. I'm actually kind of jealous.

Hope you guys have a fantastic rest of your week!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Superheroes, Kangaroos, & Toms

Helllloooooo my friends!

Long time no talk! (or blog/read... whatever...) I have survived the month of December, which is a feat in itself. So busy and barely enough time to feed myself much less be able to do Christmas presents. I had to be pretty picky on who I was going to try to do homemade gifts for, I would so much rather make something for everyone but alas it just takes up soooo much time. And I definitely didn't have it this year in 2011. Here's to Dec 2012 being a homemade year! *thumbs up*
On a side note, I wish blogger had the same little icons my iPhone has - which by the way I'm blogging from!! Isn't that cool?!

Anyway, this is not the topic of this post! Come on, Annie, focus ...

I am so excited to show you this present which was a joint effort between me and one of my good friends. My friend has a sister who's in NY right now for graduate school and she wanted to do something for her for Christmas that was extra special. Little backstory: a few years ago we were all super bored and decided to recreate ourselves as intertwining alter egos. Both citizen and superhero. Who wouldn't want to be a super hero, amiright?? So, for this present my friend bought her sister a pair of white Toms and had them shipped to my house. I, in turn, created her alter ego and drew them on the shoes. They turned out sooooo fun!
she had a pet kangaroo lol
I wrote superhero sound effects all over the front
 I have to admit, I was a little nervous about doing these because I have never done anything in a comic style before. It not only had to resemble her but it also had to be in a genre I'm not completely familiar with.  However, I think they turned out super cute and she loved them!

all finished!
her alto ego is "Bindy Max"
I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season! I'll be posting up another present I did for my cousin that's a quite a bit different but still just as nerdy haha! so stay tuned!! If you have any questions about the shoes or anything else just leave me a comment.