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Thursday, February 28, 2013

How An Illustration Is Born

Last December I was contacted by art director Corinne Ferreira at Brain, Child magazine to do a full page illustration for an article entitled Invisible Family. The story was about a lesbian couple raising a family and stumbling across all sorts of gender-biased road blocks.

I thought it might be interesting to share my process on how I develop an editorial illustration - I know I really enjoy reading other people's processes.

So I started with a black and white value sketch since the AD had sent me a sketch of what she had in mind. This is not usually the case, part of the fun of being an illustrator is developing a bunch of different ideas and solutions that tell the story. I sent two sketches because she originally had the baby in utero and after reading the story, I wanted to show the baby as a bundle in their arms.

I also sent six quick color story options:

She picked number 2 and wanted to go with the baby in utero, so I went to final gouache painting here:

Et voila! That's what goes on behind the screen in my studio. Hope you enjoyed this look behind the work.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nigella Lawson

Did this little painting of Nigella Lawson last night to get myself warmed up for the big list of projects I have for this year. Also, because I admire her and I've been watching The Taste every week. Have you seen it?

Last night there was a great quote about her:

"Nigella is a very resourceful woman...after the nuclear apocalypse, if one person comes climbing out of the rubble with a knife between her teeth, of the four of us (judges on The Taste), it'll probably be Nigella." - Anthony Bourdain

Now that is a compliment.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sketchy Weekend

Taking that Push Through It advice, I spent the weekend drawing, making, dreaming, and scheming again. Here are a bunch of warm-up sketches I did - follow my instagram for more photos from my studio.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Style Section: Like A Canary

I love this photograph. I love the colors, I love the styling, I love the softness, I love the dress by Free People's senior designers for a limited edition line.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Push Through It

I've been feeling really tired all the time. Even on weekends, I feel sleepy all the time. I'm not sure how to get more energy, but I really need to in order to get things done outside of work! I was talking to my friend Marianne about being exhausted all the time, and how does she do it with the extra long commute and the three babies under 5, etc. - and she said simply, "I just push through it." The simplicity of that statement pulled me onto my feet.

So I'm going to try this mantra out, so that all these ideas can be made reality. Let's push through it together - whether it be the exhaustion, or the learning curve, or the 10,000 hours we're working on to master our craft. But if you have any other tips about getting more energy or needing less sleep, pleeease feel free to share. I need the help!

And with that, happy weekend, friends!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The End Title

I'm working on lettering for an end title project, and in my research I discovered some really beautiful collections on Flickr and the incredible Movie Titles Stills Collection created by designer Christian Annyas. There is some really great lettering and typography used for those end titles, and I'm glad the internet exists to help keep the work alive.

Here's an explanation for why the end titles came to, well, an end:

In the early days of cinema almost every film had it’s own ‘The End’ title. The reason for this was that the credits were shown at the beginning of a film. This changed in the sixties when only the most important people like actors and directors were mentioned in the opening credits, the rest of the cast and crew would be mentioned during the (now often minutes-long) closing credits.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hot Party Show

Here's a new piece I did for Light Grey Art Lab's Hot Party show! The show is in celebration of Light Grey Art Lab's first anniversary, so I'm honored to help such a great gallery celebrate in style. According to the blog:

Happy Birthday to us! Light Grey Art Lab will soon be one year old and we've got a new exhibition all lined up to make sure we celebrate in style! It's called HOT PARTY, and it's all about the art of the par-tay!

HOT PARTY features larger-than-life confetti installations, miniature birthday cakes, high flying flags, and delicate paper sculptures, transforming the gallery into a party-themed wonderland. The exhibition’s goal is to create an atmosphere of excitement and suspense as each artwork captures “the moment before the party”.

Opening Reception:
Friday, February 22nd
7- 10 PM

Light Grey Art Lab
118 East 26th Street #101
Minneapolis, MN 55404

You can also buy this piece online in their shop!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Those who matter don't mind...

...and those who mind don't matter. Just in case you needed a reminder, a push, a reason to take that chance.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Style Section: Dior Spring

I just discovered this Christian Dior Spring 2011 collection, and I was blown away. This collection designed by John Galliano was inspired by one of my favorite illustrators, René Gruau. Gruau worked for Dior in the 40s and 50s, so I loved seeing that era influence in the styling of the models.

It's illustration come to life. It's incredible how evocative of paint strokes layers of tulle be, with swinging silhouettes echoing Gruau's incredible confidence of line. And the Stephen Jones' hats! Be still my heart.

Source: Christian Dior Spring 2011 collection

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy in Love

In honor of the holiday of love, I wanted to share these super pink and lovely shots from our impromptu anniversary/engagement shoot with Christina a couple weeks ago.

For our seven year anniversary in January, Ryan gave me an awesome Geronimo Ballon. A three foot wide balloon and twelve feet of frill required an impromptu photo shoot in front of the Paul Smith store in West Hollywood. This is when having talented photographer friends is handy. Also, always have plenty of ban.do's at the ready.

I loved this shoot so much. These are just a few of my favorites.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends. Hope you find yourself madly in love with your life today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Invitation Inspiration

I've been working on my most important design project yet for the last month, and I finally dropped it all off with the printer earlier this week. Yep, our wedding invitations.

I'm happy with the way the design worked out, and now it's just waiting for proofs. It's been a dream project, and I can't wait to hold the final in my hands.

For now, I wanted to share my inspiration - this image of a fancy zebra pretty much sums up the feeling of our wedding, along with the colors for the invitation. I'm not big on matchy-matchy, so atmosphere and emotion is what I like to lead the design. I also look to things outside of graphic design and wedding world for inspiration.

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my process, and I promise this will not turn into a wedding blog.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Foodie Call: Lemon Glazed Blueberry Scones

I was looking for a good lemony baked good recipe when I stumbled across this blueberry scone one by Tyler Florence. This is my favorite kind of recipe - a short ingredient list, a small skill to master (crumbing cold butter into flour), and fresh in-season fruit. Plus it takes 20 minutes to bake, so you'll be in scone country in no time.

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze
Recipe from Tyler Florence

Blueberry Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Then add the cut butter to the flour, incorporating with your hands - you can use a pastry blender if you have one, but I found it works best if I just use my hands. The mixture should look like course crumbs. Fold the blueberries into the batter, careful not to break them in the mix. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together to incorporate, but don't overmix.

Press dough out into a rectangle about 12 long by 3 inches wide by 1 1/4 inches high on a lightly floured surface. Cut the rectangle into fourths, and then slice diagonally across each fourth to get a classic triangle shape. Place scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Let scones cool while you prep the glaze.

You can make the lemon glaze in a double boiler, but I just use a pyrex 2 cup measuring glass and the microwave for a little bit. Whisk confectioners sugar into lemon juice, then add the zest. After mixing, add a tablespoon of butter and pop into microwave for 30 seconds. Bring it out and whisk the butter until it melts into the glaze. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle it over the scones. Let set before serving.

And voila! You're set for breakfast for the week! Happy Monday.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Style Section: Valentino Dreams

The details on Valentino's Pre-Spring 2013 line is the stuff that my dreams are made of - like wearing an English garden in spring.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

On Being Fearless

Practicing my calligraphy again. So glad I finally bit the bullet and took my first class this last October, even though it was an hour and a half drive away after work and on Monday nights. But I'm in the hustle period of my life, so I've gotta werk.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I'm Reading in February

So I did pretty well on last month's reading list; I finished Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, cooked a good bit through Meatless, and am finishing up Tempestuous right now.

This month, I'm into starting a business, new fiction, and rediscovering Nigella Lawson.

From top left:
The $100 Start-up, Chris Guillebeau
Exposure, Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
Creative, Inc., Meg Mateo Ilasco & Joy Deangdeerlert Cho
How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson

Have you read any of these? Do you have something to recommend to me for next month?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Foodie Call: Lemon Almond Cake

Have you been watching The Taste? It's like The Voice meets Top Chef with a much much better panel of judges - including one of my personal idols, Nigella Lawson. The debut of the show re-ignited my interest in her many volumes in my cookbook library, including How To Be A Domestic Goddess.

This weekend I was looking to bake something sweet that would use up things in my kitchen and keep well during the week for a little smackerel after dinner. That's how I stumbled across Nigella's lemon & almond cake. Lemon and almond are my favorite flavors, so how did I not discover this cake until now.

This cake is amazing. It's the humble, thick-crumbed kind of cake heavy with a syrupy lemon sweetness that's not sugary but certainly satisfies the dessert spot.

Adapted from How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

1 cup softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup of sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
8 inch cake pan lined with a piece of buttered parchment

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together butter and sugar until almost white. Add eggs one at a time, with a quarter of the flour mixed in after each one. When everything is incorporated, gently stir in ground almonds, almond extract, lemon zest, and juice.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check on it after 30 minutes to make sure the top isn't burning - if it is, cover it with foil. The cake is done when a skewer comes out cleanish - "you want dampness but no battery goo". After you remove it from the oven, let it cool for five minutes before turning it out.

Nigella recommends wrapping it in a tin foil and leaving it for a few days to get it really nice and dense. If you can hold out for that long. Either way, sift confectioner's sugar on top and serve alone or with berries (I used blackberries, Nigella recommends raspberries).

Serves 6-8. Or yourself, eight times. You'll get no judgement from me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Cards in Shop!

I'm excited to share two more new cards that had debuted at Renegade in December, but I'm just now getting them up in the shop.

First up is a birthday card - because I find that I like to be well-stocked for everyone's birthdays. One of my resolutions this year is to send more snail mail - especially cards to celebrate the special days in all my friends' lives. You can pick up this set up here.

This card was an idea from a friend's husband, that was so clever and good I got permission to make it a reality. Ever get a thank you so good that you wanted to say back "No, thank you"? Well, I've got just the card for you here.

Thank you so much for all your support in the shop! My etsy shop just turned one last month, and it's been an incredible first year. Thank you thank you thank you to all of you who bought something!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Style Section: Black & White & Yellow

There's been a lot of pink going on around here, so my eye just needed something clean and simple. Mostly black and white, with pops of yellow. This gal looks super chic while catching up on her correspondence, doesn't she?

Source, Via

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