This term I'm taking two classes that use the computer to create artwork. One is teaching the Adobe software, "After Effects" (for making short animations), and the other is giving me lots of practice -- and challenges -- in using Adobe Illustrator. I saved this class for last, of the required art classes in my degree program (yes, I'm almost finished), because I knew it required use of Illustrator, and although I took an Illustrator "how-to" software class earlier, I feel like that was just a brief introduction, and I have so much more to learn.
Well, I'm starting to learn things, now, while needing to use the software for various projects in the Digital Illustration class. Some of this is though trial and error, and some is with the good help of the lab assistants in the art bldg computer lab, as well as help in class from my teacher.
Here is a recently finished poster. The assignment was to make a poster of a famous scientist of the 20th century. So I chose the inventor of the rocket, Robert Goddard.
Hello! Just wanted to post a few animal drawings up here . . .
Here is a fish, swimming along . . . through a digital image sea . . .
and a long-tailed cat . . . I wonder if he'd like to go fishing . . .
or maybe feathers look more appetizing . . .
The birds drawing is color pencil . . . and the buzzing bees below are made with wax crayons.
What animal would you like to draw?
For the final project in Figure Drawing, we were to create a large picture with several figures, and it was supposed to tell some kind of a story.
I decided to make a children's art illustration, since that is one of the fields I'm interested in developing my art for.
But at the time I was working on it, there were just a few days available to complete the work, and I would be taking a trip to San Francisco (taking part in a song competition!) over three of the four days. So wasn't sure how to make the picture large . . . it needed to fit in a small suitcase.
So I ended up making a series of panels, that would go together to tell the whole story.
The work is done in ink and color pencil. Here are some of the panels:
As you can see, the "story" for this picture is about communication--
old ways and new ways :)
It took a lot of tries to get the sketch accurate for the swinging child; and I could tell the figure drawing practice I'd had in the class was useful :)
Here is the whole picture; I put a "frame" around the panels (like window panes) to finish it up- this is something added after the final presentation in class; I just barely had time to complete photoshop edits and get the panels printed for that . . .
Something I noticed after completion was that the kids look like they're dressed for warm weather, but this is a winter tree (!) Also, I think it needs more branches . . . so maybe I will do some edits to this digitally, in the future, to develop the illustration and make it be spring or summer. But overall, it was a good project and I liked making a children's art illustration that is also a story in itself.
This summer I took a class in figure drawing. I did find it valuable to draw a multitude of images from different poses by models; some good growth as an artist. Here are a few sketches/drawings:
Here is an ink wash sketch; this was something new, too . . . I haven't "drawn" quickly using a paint brush before. Usually when painting I am slower than with drawing. So this was a good experiment, to try going quickly.
For the drawing on the right and the two at top, we were given a long time to work on the drawings. The man sitting on a stool was one of the few drawings made with a clothed model. Most were without clothes, for purposes of learning how to draw human anatomy, and although my art interests are more for drawing clothed figures, as students we quickly got used to observing and drawing nude people (or maybe I should say I got used to it; many of the others had been doing figure drawing before). One of the benefits of this class was to become more aware of details in human anatomy; this helped with doing the final for the class-- a large picture with several figures in it, in some kind of narration context. But my favorite thing was being able to/"required" to do nothing but draw for three hours twice a week!
In my Graphic Design Explore class we went to visit a printing resource center in Portland.
The Independent Publishing Resource Center is a place where anyone in the community can come and use the equipment for making prints/publications, with payment of a user fee. There are also workshops to help in learning how to do various printing methods, and for graphic design and bookbinding.
When we first came in, we saw a vending machine for "zines"-- it looks like there weren't any zines in it at the time, but it looks very unique and spiffy.
In this resource center for artists writers, and anyone else interested in using it, printing can happen in several different ways. There is a large area for letterpress -- type cases with many fonts, presses, and supplemental tools such as a "corner rounder" and stack cutter.
Here are some photos of the letterpress area.
Besides letter press equipment there was an area for making silk screens, and also an out-dated form of copy machine, a Risograph. The Risograph uses actual ink, not toner powder. So only one color can be used at a time, such as with silk screen.
Here is the silk screen area:
And to help with preparing projects, or to make prints using a photocopy machine, there are a few computers and a scanner available for use.
We were given a tour of the IPRC, including taking a look at their large library of "zines." Our tour guide explained all the opportunities at this resource center-- besides using equipment there is also education available for how to use these various printing methods.
The Independent Publishing Resource Center, in Southeast Portland, is open Tues through Thurs 12 pm - 9 pm and Friday through Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm. I think it is a great idea, to have a place where these graphic design tools can be accessed by community members at low cost, and training is available for how to use the printing methods. They are not as often used for art and desktop publishing as laser printing is, but using them could be just what is needed for a certain project.
Have had some photos up in a group photo show for the past month and a half-- it is still up, but this weekend will be the last couple of days. There are some really interesting photographs in this show, including some printed on both metal and wood!
The show is at Touchmark Village, in Vancouver, WA -- this is a retirement community, and they have a beautiful community room with a grand piano where the photos have been hung.
Here are photos of the photos :)
The black and white photo of the ocean and cliffs, on the left, is printed onto metal. No frame is needed, and it has a kind of glossy appearance. The metal-printed photos were by Faun Scurlock. She has been selling her photography at Vancouver Farmer's Market.
The tree photos on the right are ones I took this past year . . . In fall I was focusing on taking picures of leaves, in winter it was "winter trees" and in spring, all kinds of flowering plants.
There was a series of carnival horse photos -- these were impressive, and each one was a little different in its coloring. These photographs were printed onto wood boards-- vertical planks set side by side. The artist, Penne Fossa, had them printed at an architecture firm, to her specifications, and this unique surface added an interesting look to this set of photos.
The car photos here were all from the same car -- the one in the center had some coloring effects added, and it is really vibrant. These pictures were by Liz Nye.
It seemed like wherever I went there were more flowering trees, or bushes, or flowers in the grass . . . so I did get a lot of pictures. Here are some of them . . .
Above is an early spring tree picture . . . and below is one that is much later, in full bloom.
The first day of this school term, we were given our first assignment for Graphic Design II.
It wasn't very difficult . . . we needed to go buy a chocolate bar. I almost couldn't believe my good fortune . . . I think this was the best assigment ever, and after class I went to several stores, in search of chocolate . . . we needed to take pictures of the bars and the displays, too.
The idea was to use it to look at how the packaging was printed and put together, and to use the chocolate inside to put into a unique wrapper (that we each would design).
We could choose a country to use as a theme in making the design, and I decided on Iceland. I liked the idea of using an image of the Northern Lights somehow. There were several steps in the project, including marketing research and creating a "persona" who would be interested in purchasing your product. My persona was an "Urban Art Lover" -- someone who likes to travel and also loves beautiful artwork.
Then we all designed wrappers, printed them out and put them around the actual candy-- Voila! chocolate products that were our own brand designs.
Then we took a picture of the product, so others could see it in a photo.
This term I'm taking a class called "Professional Practices." It is for students who are pursuing degrees in either web development/web design or graphic design/art. And the beginning of our term happened to coincide with "Design Week"-- which is a Portland annual event where a myriad of designers and artists "show their stuff," network, and learn/discover what others are doing, or explore deep topics of interest to the art/design world (such as "empathy").
Our teacher encouraged us to go see what's happening at some of the Design Week events, and to make it even easier to do that, he planned a visit during our class time to one of the events-- and we didn't even have to go across the bridge to Portland to attend, because it was an event held right in our area, Vancouver, WA. Yes, this was an official Design Week event-- not a wannabe or competitor-- and at first many people in our class thought it would be in Portland, but we were pleasantly surprised--and rejoicing-- to know that it was right here (no, we didn't have to drive in busy traffic on the freeway to Portland and wander the maze of big city streets).
And I think we may have felt just a tinge of local pride . . . hey, there are some pretty awesome artists and designers in Vancouver, too, so we liked being at a local graphic design company.
The name of the company is "Gravitate." It is in downtown Vancouver. I took a lot of photos, so will put some of them here, and try to also tell about what happened during the event.
The first thing when you go through the door is this impressive entrance area . . . I like it! It has an interesting appearance and the wood brings a warm feel; it is spacious and I wonder what is up there ; it will be fun to go up and see . . .
At the top of the stairs were my fellow classmates and teacher . . . and the professional designers at Gravitate . . and a collaborative art project set up on tables.
What could be better than to have an opportunity to draw and make designs, while being introduced to this graphic design company?
I didn't read the instructions . . . the tiles were calling to me . . . so I just started in-- and unfortunately found out quickly that pressure on the pen makes a tear in the painted surface. However, the hosts at Gravitate were not too worried about this . . . they said they will repaint/patch up things if needed. I loved doing the drawing, and was happy that they had set up something like this that we could all take part in.
There are lots of kinds of drawings . . . loose, organic, and also more geometric.
Lots of opportunity to mingle . . .
And the Gravitate people were giving tours of their workspace . . . I went on one, and here are some photos of various parts of their building. My thoughts on leaving later on were, if I were to work in an office I'd really like to be in an office building like this!
You can write on all the walls in this room . . . it's made for using dry-erase markers.
One of the guest panelists for this event was Dene Grigar, from Washington State University, Vancouver. She teaches emergent technology, creative media, and digital culture, and brought along a project from her class. Anyone at the event could try out this virtual movement set-up, manipulating virtual objects that you could see using the goggles, with hand controllers.
I'm guessing that the workers at Gravitate have some opportunities to take exercise/play breaks, since they do have a ping-pong table, and also some workout equipment.
I'm glad we could go together as a large group of friends (our classmates). It was also interesting to meet some new people. After the opening artwork and visiting there was a great panel discussion, with four panelists-- who were associated in different ways with design. Besides Ms. Grigar from WSUV, the other panelists were David Hackney, Creative Manager at Hewlett Packard; Rebecca Kennedy a Vancouver city long range planner (with vision, and problems to solve for the future); and Tony Kuypers, Senior Art Director at Cinco, an advertising agency in Portland.
I enjoyed hearing the discussion and also doodling and taking notes. While listening I made a drawing of the four panelists, but unfortunately, that sketch has since disappeared (with some of my other belongings that were in a now-missing backpack).
The event at Gravitate was a good opportunity to learn more about what this graphic design firm is like. I hope they do this again for Design Week. Maybe this event can continue to creep across the Columbia, and Portlanders will be joining the Vancouver commuter traffic to come see the amazing artistic events over here . . .
Gravitate specializes in web graphic design work, for use in marketing online. This is a very useful type of design; if you need some help with your web graphic design, you could inquire here: www.gravitatedesign.com
During last term I worked on a publication project . . . it is a guitar instruction book, written by a guitar teacher -- it's something I'm doing in trade for lessons. I started on it, getting about 1/3 of the content created for a project in my Publication Design class, and will be continuing to do the rest. There are some illustrations in the book, to go with songs, and in a few other places. Here are some of them: