Earlier in July I participated in the fifth annual Portland Monster Drawing Rally. The event is a smorgasbord of artists (75 in all) who donate their time to drawing live at the Portland Art Museum courtyard. As each piece of art is finished, it goes to the auction wall where bidding takes place by drawing straws (with a flat fee for the art).
Proceeds support free school and youth programs at the Museum. It’s a super family friendly event with a kids drawing area. In fact, most of my fun questions come from the 10-and-under crowd as they ogle the process in super-fast-forward speed (each artist gets 1 hour to complete their work).
I’ve done all five drawing rally events that PAM has organized, and each year is different. I’ve tried detailed micron pen illustrations 2 years in a row (hard to finish in an hour, and difficult if you sit next to another artist who is a “vigorous eraser”), black & white magical box contents, and paper pennants with fun lettered sayings.
The boxes seemed to be the most popular so I decided to revisit that form factor this year with a new set of markers – POSCAS! I’m just starting to get the hang of these markers and they were well suited for this purpose. The main challenge of this year were letting various colors dry in between applying new ones, while always switching between multiple boxes. I generally stuck with a theme of “landscapes” but after these few experiments would like to work more on this idea.
Thanks to my brother-in-law, Dan, who made me the wooden boxes!
Inspired/triggered by a contest on Instagram, I used some extra time one day to experiment in a new style on the theme slow down. Some of my work is precisely executed (here, here, here and here) so this was good practice in trying to work in a looser, less calculated way while still creating a systematic style for the illustration series. Below you can see the two sketch rounds before working in Adobe Illustrator to make the artwork above: lemonade, bird’s nest, summer swim, fresh bouquet, night fireworks.
Practicing some more on my iPadPro with different brushes, this time creating a new name and label for an oldie but goodie – Vaseline. The short development history of this product on Wikipedia is pretty interesting in it’s simplicity. Vaseline is one of many products which brand name has become genericized – instead of Vaseline being a specific brand of petroleum jelly, the name is used to describe all petroleum jelly products (more about all that here).
A few years ago I worked on the Icebreakers book – an activity book that combines movement and song to get large choral groups warmed up in a fun way. Developed by a Danish high school classmate and his modern a cappella group Postyr, the book is for sale at Break the Ice.dk.
This spring they published a second edition of the book, so I worked on a new series of diagrams to support the directions for each activity. The style of the illustrations was intentionally loose to allow for easily shaping the characters to various poses and configurations, which focused more on the action of the activity rather than the details of the characters.
Last year I did a short series called Rainbow World, which explored using my daughter’s drawings as inspiration and subsequent re-inspiration. Here is another set of illustrations continuing in this style, this time influenced by an evening in the backyard watering plants. Below is the back and forth we’ve had copying each other…I am curious how long this thread will go.
Earlier this year I worked on brand explorations for Hire an Esquire, an online service for finding the right legal consultant for a project. The illustrations and icons – set on making the legal profession and process of hiring a lawyer seem approachable, easy and fun – helped the internal team decide the overall direction their rebrand should take.
A blocky bold style was used with the companies selected teal and orange palette. With such strong colors, the rest of the elements were kept very simple and used knockouts of white.
Stand-alone icon style was also explored to show how small visual accents could strengthen the brand presence when used consistently throughout their new site. While the final brand look ended up being a little more serious and traditional, the exploration process was key in helping decide how far to push the needle in their field.
For the 4th annual Code/Art Miami event, non-profit client Code/Art wanted a new design for their participant and volunteer shirts. Previously I had made a series of pins and stickers using small icons, but for this project we created a larger Code/Art constellation design in 3-colors that could easily be printed on two different t-shirt colors (purple for participants, teal for volunteers).
The t-shirt features a girl throwing code snippets into the sky to form a Code/Art constellation. Printed at Custom Ink, the design was arranged so that each color on the purple shirt translated directly to a color on the teal shirt to keep costs low on printing materials and time.
Over the last two years I had designed a series of enamel pins and decals/stickers that were given out to participants. These assets were leveraged internally to create a cohesive look for their events – a strong example of how using a few elements consistently can go a long way in creating a recognizable brand look.
Because I still love me a good enamel pin collection, here is a repost of the series of enamel pins and stickers created over the course of a few mini-projects. These were designed for Code/Art participants – girls in their tweens and teens who explore code through art & creativity in guided Code/Art workshops. Read more about Code/Art on their website.
Learning new tricks is hard for old dogs, but recently I’ve been working more on my iPad Pro to integrate drawing on it into my design process. This series was testing out different brushes (finally settled on….regular old pencil) while also working on figure drawing skills. The sketches were then colored and adjusted in Photoshop.
I have yet to break out of the box on the iPad and draw on it differently than I do on paper; I still tend to use all the techniques I used when I drew in real life and had to scan all the parts to create the digital image. It might take a while before I can shift my mindset to a totally digital drawing workspace…now let’s just hope Google Translate did me right on the French translations.
Les Filles Forte – The Strong Girls Quatre Femmes – Four Women Aider les Autres – Help Others Bonne Force – Good Strength