Recent Studies, Recent Art

Sorry for the lack of blog updates these past months! I decided early this year to focus my efforts on learning and creating more artwork to add to my portfolio, stores and Instagram pages. I’ve also been helping out an animator with an informational video on a tight deadline. I’ll talk more about that in an upcoming post.

In order to produce more personal work, I began to set some time limits for myself for each piece and, as a result, I became much more efficient and produced more work in a few months than I did in an entire year. I realized a lot of what slowed me down in the past was overthinking things. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally still do but I’ve been trying my best to push past it. I totally get that ubiquitous t-shirt phrase, Don’t Overthink It.

Letting go to draw whatever came to mind and trying out whatever style was also very freeing—I was coming up with ideas far more often. Too often, sometimes, but that’s a good thing, right? My main struggle these days is I have trouble trying to stick to a single subject matter and style because I love to explore. It would be nice to be recognized for my style. I’m not sure if I have one yet. Maybe one day.

Because I’m constantly trying to increase my knowledge of technique, I followed some tips I picked up from my Schoolism classes and I started to do more light studies, studies of animals, action poses and backgrounds. I began to notice improvement to my finished pieces which I’ll save for another post. I felt like I was able to produce them a little more easily than I had in the past. Although I was pleased at how some of them turned out I know there will always be room for growth. I did start to think: Wow, did I really do that? There was a time when I would make numerous studies and still feel like I wasn’t advancing. I was embarrassed to share them so often I didn’t. To me they weren’t good enough—I made the mistake of comparing myself to others. We are often hardest on ourselves, right? I’ve since changed my perspective and instead try to learn from those artists I admire. Below are some of the studies I’ve been doing this year.

Light Studies:

Exploration of Shapes, Expressions and Line of Action :

Landscape Studies From Photos and Paintings:

Animal Studies:

Thanks for looking!

Some Recent Commercial Work

Thanks to a referral I recently got to work on an fun project producing vector art for a short animation. It was an educational video for a pharmaceutical company on the subject of leadership. One would think it would be a little dry but it actually turned out to be quite entertaining! It was a collaborative process involving a small creative team of people.

Due to confidentiality I won’t be able to share all of the assets (there was quite a number) nor the final video but I can share several final images, the iterative process, and even some of the rejected ideas. A few ideas were shelved, either because they were a little too playful, or didn’t serve the final message as well as others. Not all ideas end up getting used but it’s all part of the process on getting to that final stage.

Some Scenes Used in the Final Video:

Roughs of Some Approved Scenes:

Images and Ideas That Didn’t Make the Cut:

Dinosaurs, Raccoons and Cats, Oh My!

I've been a little behind in my blog posts this year because I've been spending my time learning. In addition to reviewing some of my old Schoolism classes, I took on some new ones over at Skillshare. Some classes include designing patterns—one in Photoshop, the other in Illustrator. I'm still trying to decide which best fits my workflow but now I have more options. I always thought that some of my character designs might potentially work well either as patterns or standalone images on products. I'll let you be the judge! :)

Illustrations for an Academic Manuscript

Occasionally, I get a commission from an industry I wouldn't normally expect but I am always interested in learning from a new experience.

In this case, a friend was kind enough to recommend me to an assistant professor at a nearby university. She was looking to include some light-hearted illustrations to recap each of the sections of her tenure report on nursing, something I knew very little about. Working with an academic pushed me out of my comfort zone somewhat because I'm used to collaborating with someone who is also creative but this time I took on most of that responsibility while she provided all the expertise on the subject matter. She had never worked with an illustrator before so this was to be a new experience for the both of us.

Instead of a design brief I was given her report to read and see what images I could come up with. (Already outside that comfort zone!) Unfortunately, due to my limited knowledge of her field, some of my initial ideas didn't quite fit with what she had in mind so I had to do some additional research to be able to come up with something that would feel more sincere and believable. A lot of ideas were bounced back and forth before we narrowed it down to the following illustrations to accompany each of her sections. I think the collaboration went well.

Her Teaching Style

Instead of a conventional teaching image with a teacher at the head of the class pointing to a blackboard or diagram, she wanted to convey the collaborative nature of her teaching style with her nursing students. One such example was that she sometimes does what she calls 'silly demos', using muffins or pound cakes to illustrate different types of biopsies.

Road from Concept to Infographic

This was a tough one to finalize. She wanted images to express the journey to and from collaboration. In the end, a process map was the best way to show the concepts of education and leadership leading to collaboration, and collaboration potentially resulting in healthy living, a long life, and the funding of ideas or research.

One-Panel Stories

For the topic of Service & Caring in her report, she had three areas she wanted a visual representation showing service to the communities:

Department: Committee Work and Planning;

Professional Communities: Nursing and Higher Education; and

University Faculty: Volunteering and Collegiality.

While brainstorming ideas, fond memories of Calvin and Hobbes came to mind and I created these little humorous vignettes using a little girl and her toy minions to act out the scenes. My client loved it!

This experience really reminded me how much I enjoy drawing cute characters and scenes. I've noticed that a lot of my sketches tend to either the cute or somewhat humorous. As an artist, I'm inspired by a lot of things and I often wish I could do everything under the sun but perhaps I will stop fighting that desire and just go with the flow. :)