New commission illustration! Its a gift for a women opening a ballet school. A lot going on including a really cool chalk project I did for MTV's holiday party for Music and Logo. It was a really awesome gig with amazing concepts and interesting spaces. I completely get why people go into the party planning and entertainment business its got so many interesting minds! Don't get me wrong, I overheard some really amazing conversations the likes of which I have only heard on Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty....I never knew people were sooo openly catty in real life.
Being invisible had its perks though it meant I was entertained while I drew squirrels, win and win! I hope I get to do more things of that nature.
Off to work on the children's book that consumes all my extra time.
I have been neglecting the duties of writing for the duties of actually working. Sometimes I wish I could just post videos of myself working and give some context for my silence.
What has been going on:
Two weddings that took all my free time. They were lovely, but I lost some serious work time.
Directly following said weddings I had a two week fellowship at VST while the world was going to crap with the hurricane. It was an amazing time I still have some pictures to post. I met amazing people and while there produced the image above. The art above is a subway car overtaken by plants and animals. I am planning to submit it to the MTA, although they do not take submissions, but who cares. It was a good project and allowed me to do a week of solid work.
Another cool thing is this project I am doing this week for MTV. It involves chalk, walls, and 5 hours of doodling. I am not sure what it will produce, but I will take lots of pictures of the process. I think no matter what it will be super cool.
And finally, I am working on a book. Yes, a book with an author and I was actually hired. The project will span the next 4 months and I am already deeply entrenched in the world of the characters. If the book gets published I will be super excited, but either way I was officially hired to work on a book. I can say I did my first book at 30....or at least started it. I always wanted to be a published children's book author in my 20s so I could be on those lists of successful artists in their 20s, but it does not really mean anything. I don't know why this was a goal. I blame communication arts magazine as their glossy pages seem to say, "if you're not in here then you have not actually made it." They sometimes have profiles of artists in different age brackets. Anyway, the point is I am working and can now say that I have a 50/50 split between art and coffee.
I have a few freelance gigs lined up over the next few weeks too, but really want to focus on the greeting cards. I am trying to research companies that might want to licence greeting card rights. I looked into Trader Joe's, for example, but they have an exclusive contract with a company that does their cards. Its a shame because I think their greeting card line is a little lacking in some ways. This should be the job of my agent, but I have not heard anything from her so I thought I would do some independent research. I have some other companies in mind, but once again need to do research.
oh right, we are moving. Again. And again it will probably happen a few days before or after xmas so I am once again going to lose myself to moving. We are moving 3 blocks away if the board approves us and if not we will be living out of a box somewhere in park slope or maybe we can pitch tents in prospect park. Its all rather vague at this point, but we have 5 weeks to get this done or JJ might have an aneurism.
This is a quick update on all things going on. More to come as I actually have time to produce work...probably in January.
It has been this kind of week. I had my mother in town, we looked a million open houses, our ac bill was over 260 dollars and we live in 450 square feet....and I was throwing up yesterday after a 7.3 mile run (this is disheartening because we run 10-14 miles every week and I have never gotten sick like this). I am also having a hard time making any progress on big projects. Its like the summer inertia is paralyzing me, but the only difference between summer and fall is that there is a weather change. It does make me sad I am not a kid anymore. There are so many things that suck about being a kid, but the one thing that is awesome is having vacations that are long and predetermined. I guess if I were a teacher this would be the same. Its not like I can handle having nothing to do, but at least when the vacation is predetermined you figure out how to fill it.
Speaking of which, our next weekend plans fell through so we have to figure out how to make our weekend in the city feel like the country. Anyone got a country estate they want to invite us to?
In college I was really obsessed with a little world I created and I was totally immersed in it. When I felt lonely, sad, or bad about myself I went to place and drew my little characters and it made me feel good. It reminded me a little of when I was a little kid and played with my little ponies. They were the most important thing to me and I can still remember the feeling of joy and escape. So, here we are many years later and I have not drawn a comic consistently for more than one page. I drew this the other day and while I think coloring in panels is not sustainable if I plan to continue it it nice to find a new world. The old one was more college kids awkwardly trying to navigate relationships, being gay, and also being self destructive. It was funny and self deprecating. I want to go back there sometimes and pick up where I left off, but I am not in the same place. When I look at something like this is feels more my speedish. I am older and will be an aging hipster with the potential of child or at least having my friends kids around me. I think I want to explore the dynamics of parent and child and parents in general. The couple in this family is not married, but they have a kid and are basically a modern family with the same age old issues. Its unclear where this is going, but writing children's books seems to be going nowhere right now so a comic might just be a little more liberating. I cannot seem to crack the publishing world even with connections....its rather frustrating. So onward and upward and maybe eventually my agent will return my emails. In the mean time here's Winne.
working on wedding stickers which is a new venture for me, but I am super excited. I have a lot of freedom on this project so I think it will be easier to come up with some great concepts. These are the first sketches. I am going to try to mix watercolor and vector...we shall see.
An illustrations originally done for the New Yorker cover contest. I reworked the illustration a little and heightened up the contrast and turned it into a stand alone illustration. I am pretty happy with this even if it did not make it into the top ten. A much busier week than I have time for. I spent all of today printing cards, which is great, but also it feels bad that I am so behind on the retail card front.
A long time since I have posted anything of note. Life has consisted of running, making coffee, and more running and biking. I have been working 5 days a week (one of the days has been 12 hours so its more like 6 days on coffee land) and then doing a 10-12 mile run on the weekends for half marathon training and just because I can. It has been fine, but leaves me feeling drained of creativity or motivation. Most of the art has been design for our store in the form of menus, posters, and coffee information. All very nice, but no gouache or anything super creative. I was talking with Ruth a customer and mentor and she said I need to do more looking and take the stress off. I am going to try to take the advice and go to some exhibits as well as go to some figure drawing classes. Its hard to feel inspired to just create when there is so much work I feel I have to do. It takes a lot of the whimsy out of things.
Above are the few things I have had time for where art and food intersect. I basically have a shelf full of both pickles and kombucha...the gravlox only lasted a few days in my house...I could not stop eating it.
This coming weekend we go away and I hope that I can force myself to just do some drawing and painting for myself and no one else.
I have been working a lot in coffee land and my brain has not been completely focused on art. I have been participating in Blown Covers and Illustration Friday, but not the usual "art for no reason." So for now here are a few of my submissions to Blown Cover that were not picked or better versions of the same concept done by different people were chosen...I am including some personal critique.
4th of July- not a bad idea, but as my bff Ester says there isn't really a story. She thinks in stories and while that is not always necessary for a good illustration I think it is in the case of this kind of contest. Funny joke, but not the best cover idea.
Marriage- Ok, really happy with this idea, but there was a version of this done that was better. In the style of Maurice Sendak, under a chupah and both animals are wearing kippot. It was really excellent. Maurice was gay so it was fitting on so many levels. It is creepy how when people have similar concepts they are really similar. It even has the same two monsters getting married...woah.
The Gays- Fine idea. Another "Thanksgiving" supper was done better I think. This submissions was fine, but not my best work.
Books- I got a little too apocalyptic on this one. This was my first submission and I really did not understand what the outcome should be. I think story is key along with humor and maybe a pun.
I submitted two for this weeks theme of "The Beach" and we shall see how they do. Usually there are some really outstanding artists that submit work. Its amazing because while Illustration Friday is fun and easy going this feels a bit more like all stars. I am not saying that IF submitters are not all stars, but the 12 illustrations chose for Blown Covers are usually so good that I would not be surprised if they made it onto the New Yorker.
This is just a quick look inside the artists studio as it were. I really wish I had more to post, but I think I burnt myself out.
I have been making big projects for myself. I keep raising the stakes and it pays off for a second in my head and then I'm back to square one. I do not have a good reason to make these huge projects only in the hopes that people will see what I can do and maybe hire me. Its hard to make work for attention because you build up ideas in your head of the potential outcome and it does not always pan out the way you thought or hoped it would. I have just been feeling a little more pessimistic than usual. I thought about getting off of FB as I feel like the need for validation there is sooo great. And then if you do not get enough response its a kind of failure. I am going to try to make some work that is smaller scale for a little before taking on the huge subway project.
I think it was also brought on by the death of Maurice Sendak. I listen to all the interviews and feel so connected to these artists and then sad they are gone. Its hard, I am not part of a community of children's book artists and in some ways I want to be. I like the idea of the community, but get concerned about the competitiveness that might be there. I guess I should just be friends with really famous artists....they have nothing to be fearful of. I did apply to a fellowship in VT and if that happens maybe I will meet some other artist types that I actually like.....or at the very least get a lot of work done.
The Coffee World at my finger tips. Well at least the coffee world. Its blown out due to stitching it together from 6 different scans. I might try and oversized scanner....anyway, it a long time, but its done. The countries in reds, browns, and yellows grow coffee or can. They lie between the tropics of capricorn and cancer.
Remember those days when used to draw comics..yeah, me neither. But recently I have thought a lot of the things I used to do or the things I thought I would be doing and it made me start to really look at some of the projects I dropped. I had a graphic novel idea a long time ago that I have been holding onto and waiting for the right time. I started back up with it now and spent a couple hours writing yesterday. I don't know if it really fills any gaps in what is already out there, but it makes me feel better now that I'm getting it out of my head. I have never been good at rendering people in a way that I think will translate well to a graphic novel of this nature, but we shall see. In the mean time here is a comic. Note: this is what happens to ones cartoon drawing skills if left dormant since college (that is 8 years people). I was also in bed when I drew it. I might do more and possibly spend a little more time developing some actual panels.
This has been in my head for awhile and its finally done. Its a grow map of NY made of all the produce that can and does grow in New York State. It is not geographically specific to New York...there is surprising little information on what grows where, but I think its hard to decide what to include. I was not sure if I wanted to just represent what New York State produces mainly (which would mean a map made of grapes and apples) and so I went with what our state grows and can sustain. It is a surprising amount of produce. I think minus citrus we do a pretty amazing job. I wish I could grow all this stuff in my window. I am currently attempting cilantro and lettuce...only time will tell.
New commission piece. This is a building portrait, which I have never actually done for anyone. It was an awesome request because I love NY buildings. The family wanted their apartment highlighted with light and a little portrait of their dog. They wanted the dog outside the building, but it made more sense to me to have him in the window of his apartment as that is the focus of this commission. I am really happy with how it turned out.
I have another commission I am working on, which also involves plants and its really exciting as well as tiring. I mostly do not want to finish it because then it will be over and I want to keep drawing plants, vegetables, and gardens. Someone should really work on paying me full time to do this stuff.
Just a little something while I work on other projects. I have a well paying freelance gig (gasp!) doing something I love (double gasp!) so I am trying to work on that. And of course, the amazing "charity" things I do like Illustration Friday, Blown Cover, and The Billfold (which might eventually pay something).
I also bought some very large paper the other day 25 x 40 for this subway art project. I know this is a project that is not likely to be used for anything, but if I was teaching a class it would the assignment I gave to students. Its a big project, but man the imaginary students would love it.
I also applied to this fellowship so we will see what happens with that, fingers crossed.
Ok, back to work.