Recently I participated in a Monster Drawing Rally at the Portland Art Museum as a fundraiser for kids arts programs. Seventy-five artists donated their time and art in three 1-hour drawing bouts. After each drawing was completed it went up for auction for a flat $35. I was on shift #3 and it was a test of speed and dexterity to draw in the dusk while passerby and other ambitious artists made the table jiggle from bumping it or vigorously erasing.
I surprised myself and cranked out two typographic pattern pieces. The first one was from my daughter’s favorite word du jour (uh oh) took 35 minutes plus the set up time of getting my materials out (Office Depot printer paper on a clipboard and a.01 micron pen). The second (oh my) was completed in 20, the last 5 being used to quickly decide on how to most efficiently fill up the type sections (big dots and sub par stippling).
Kids had fun giving suggestions on the patterns to fill the sections with (hearts, zig zags, leopard print, stars). Usually these typographic terrain pieces are two to three times bigger and take at least a few hours to complete, or more, if I plan them out in advance. It was fun to see that I could do this type of drawing without planning it at all, although the results also showed the haste and split second decision making that took place. While not super pro, it was super fun, and I hope more of these kinds of events happen.
Here are some more spreads from the illustrated book I worked on for Lea Redmond through Chronicle that is coming out this September. It’s a Tandem Activity Book – a journal you complete with other people.
It’s good for just about anybody who can read and like to be creative, although I’ve had reports of non-reading children enjoying looking at the pictures and having the prompts read aloud to them. Pre-order the Tandem Activity Book.
While this outfit might seem a bit fantastical in coloring, I owned a pair of shorts in the mid-90s that are very similar to this illustrated pair. What is even more amazing than that pair of shorts is the pride with which I wore them because they were so cutting edge in my pre-teen mind (the same mind that thought it was ok to wear sweatpants tucked into cowboy boots because A) sweats are comfy and B) I like cowboy boots).
Over the years I’ve worked on pairing type and pattern together in my illustration in various levels of complexity. Of all the kinds of typographic illustration and tests that I do, this is the style I keep coming back to when given carte blanche. Here is the latest iteration of what I am finding rewarding in this realm, and a sidebar story on how it was put to the test in public at the Portland Art Museum’s monster drawing rally.
I am so excited to share a project that I worked on last fall and winter through Chronicle Books. SO EXCITED! Combining creativity, illustration, and a test of my design stamina, this is the kind of project my ilk live for. It’s a Tandem Activity Book – a type of journal you complete with other people.
I love this book because it is good for all ages, and is the exact opposite of going to a coffee shop to “chat” and then surfing on your iPhone for an hour next to the person you came with. This book should be an iPhone replacement in 90% of coffee shop interactions! It also reminds me of my childhood when we made up activities for ourselves that entertained us for hours and days and weeks – it’s a series of mini-games that don’t have a winner or a loser, just fun. Does it sound like I enjoyed this project? I DID.
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A few fun facts from around the internet about the Bureau’s version of famous ships in bottles…
The Good Ship Lollipop
The “ship” in Good Ship Lollipop actually refers to an aircraft which was featured in the song sung by Shirley Temple that takes passengers to a land of candy – immortalized in a very beta music video.
Nicknamed “Old Ironsides” for its indestructible build, the USS Constitution is the world’s oldest naval vessel. In addition to spending time in battle, it has also been a training ship, museum, freighted artwork, and has sailed around the world. Pretty much an overachiever among watercraft.
Known as “Ship Beautiful”, she served in both World Wars in between being a passenger liner, and was the last of the 4-funnel (smokestack) liners.
Considered to be unsinkable, the Titanic managed only 2 hours and 40 minutes of sailing before its demise, taking over 1,500 passengers down with it. Iceberg: 1, Ship: 0.
The Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria
Used by Christopher Columbus in 1492 when he sailed the blue to the “New World”, the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria have been memorized by school children ever since. Santa Maria, the largest of the three ships, was 62 feet long and 18 feet wide and had seven crew members named Juan aboard. Pinta, the fastest ship, was a smaller caravel. Niña, who formal name was Santa Clara, avoided both destruction in a hurricane and capture by pirates.