Monday, September 8, 2008

New Parent Advice

I recently received my first freelance job in Atlanta, and although it is small, I am super excited about it and I think maybe it will lead to other things here. I was hired to design a custom baby shower invitation for a woman who is throwing her friend (the mother to be) a shower that is built around a circus animal theme, which will also be the theme for the nursery. I was also asked to come up with a few other ideas for things that I might be able to do for the shower. After a phone call to my sister, who has more experience with these things (I have never had a baby nor have I ever been to a baby shower) she told me about something she did at hers. They were index size cards that were passed out during the shower, and each person was to write a little piece of advice for the new mother... they were called "parent advice cards".

I thought it was an awesome idea, and I looked online to see some examples of what was already out there. Awful stuff... really generic and plain. Of course I thought I could do better! I really have to thank my sister on this one, when I was trying to decide what to draw on them she said "Why don't you draw a picture of a mom who looks really stressed out with hair sticking up, etc". I definitely liked that idea better than all the examples I saw of a silly baby face. I decided that I wanted to keep with the theme and colors of the other things I'll be designing, so I made the stressed out parent into an elephant, with a screaming elephant baby... the new parent is on the telephone, probably begging for help from someone who has a little more experience and knows exactly what to do! I might not be a mom, but I have worked with children for enough years to know that I have done that myself more than once!

Noah's Card

Today is my only nephew Noah's second birthday. I was there to watch him being born, and last year I happened to be visiting home on his first birthday. I miss the little guy, and I don't have a lot of money for an elaborate gift, but I do know one thing that he likes... cars. He's obsessed, actually, from what my sister tells me. He likes the "Cars" movie, she says it is the only thing he will watch. And he's starting to talk a little on the phone to me now. Our conversation usually starts with me saying hi, and then he'll say hi, and then I will ask him if he watched "Cars" today or if he's having fun playing with his cars. Then he'll say "Cars? ... Cars??". It is usually around this time that he drops the phone and the conversation ends... I think he goes off to find his cars (like I reminded him) but never comes back to the phone.

I got a reference book that shows pictures of different cars over the last 100 years and so I was up pretty late last night practicing my car drawing skills. I especially liked the old corvettes... I have never seen the movie "Cars" but I think that some of them in the film are similar. So here is Noah flying down the road in his flashy little corvette, with his worried baby sister Jade in the backseat (I would be worried too if a two year old was behind the wheel!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Sketchbook...

More from the sketchbook... after my fashion drawing from studying medieval attire, I had the itch to get out and do some actual drawing from life. There is nothing like studying the real thing! I had inspiration and motivation again from the Sioux Falls submission, one of their "kingdoms" in the hospital that they needed art for was an underwater land, which would of course mean that if I got the job to do some pieces for them, I would need to draw... fish! And there is NO better place in Atlanta to view underwater life than at the Georgia Aquarium (I believe it is the largest one in the United States right now). The place is absolutely incredible... so I packed up my sketchbook and pencils and erasers and headed down.

Being a little shy about people watching me while I work, I was a little hesitant as first to jump in... there are lots of tourists at the aquarium, especially during summer months. However, I managed to find little nooks and (fake) rocks to sit on and get to work. Once I got started I was too interested in studying the shapes and movements of the fish to really worry about if someone was looking over my shoulder. My favorite had to be the sea dragons... they were amazing and beautiful! Every once in a while they would light up, too, like a firefly. I will do more with them should I get hired to do any art for the hospital, with their theme being medieval kingdoms, a sea "dragon" would fit perfectly! I also was surprised at how much I enjoyed sketching all of the non-moving things... the different shapes of all the coral and rock formations were all fascinatinating to me.

Although getting into the aquarium is not a cheap visit, I could not have gotten the same results from looking at fish in a book... it was definitely worth it to me to study these magnificent creatures up close!


For these sketches, my inspiration was a project that I was submitting to Sioux Falls, where the theme of a children's hospital there is castles and kingdoms... Robin Hood type stuff. I thought it would be fun to study the dress from that period, so I went to Borders and got myself a book with small black and white ink pen, realistic looking illustrations of fashions from the era. I was particularly drawn to all the different kinds of hats. The shapes, the sizes... all very interesting to draw! I drew inspiration from studying the book and designed some of my own hats, keeping with the same shapes and styles from that time period. Believe it or not, some of these I really did not elaborate on too much... it's hard to believe that people actually wore those big, uncomfortable things on their heads all day long!