Monday, March 28, 2016

The Birds and the Beetles

Happy Monday everyone!

It's time to get back to a blogging schedule. I'll try my best to do a post on Sunday, but if not then, Monday's the day! 

So I have been working on these entomology prints after contacting some amazingly friendly entomologists (insect scientists) here on campus. Here is one of the best prints to come out of the first set. The insects depicted are called whiteflies, though they are not flies at all. They are tiny, really tiny, yet incredibly difficult to get rid of and a huge nuisance to farmers. Even though they are annoying, and potentially threatening to our food supply, I find them to be quite beautiful. Their delicate, pale yellow bodies, and their gossamer wings show more beauty than destruction, more fragility than robustness. The picture really doesn't do it justice, as I have used very transparent ink to create this print. 

The next print I will be doing is about the bombardier beetle, a local species to southern Arizona. These little guys are amazing! In short, they use specialized organs in their behinds to spray a boiling-hot, ghastly smelling spray. They do this to defend themselves of course, since they are small and vulnerable. They are about the size of an uncooked grain of barley, but this spray is massive, and accompanied by a loud "pop" sound.

Here's a picture of one in action.

I don't have much experience with insects unfortunately' so trying to do a close up that does one of these creatures justice is very challenging. In order to get a better understanding of them, I decided to sculpt one. 

This is not amazing by any standards, and it was somewhat hastily produced out of bent paperclips and some very old sculpy (basically grown-up play-doh). This was not just fun, but it got me thinking about how we learn. A lot of us enjoy seeing pictures and diagrams to help us understand, other enjoy learning through auditory information--podcasts, lectures and such--but how often do we learn by creating? This is different than learning by doing, the way one might learn to change a tire, or knit. Learning by creating, is where you teach yourself, and that's a lot of art. We teach ourselves how to draw, paint, sculpt, even though our teachers might give us some tips on how to hold a brush, or how to use a tool to get a desired effect; this is art school. 

But do we implement that outside of art school? Of course I wouldn't recommend trying to fix a car or build a bridge without prior knowledge, one could really hurt oneself. Yet I wondered, how can learning by creating exist outside art school. Cooking comes to mind, we have thousands of great recipes from all over the world, but someone had to come up with them, and there surely were a lot of failures along the way. A lot of science works this way, the first people to figure out how to build telescopes had to create without any prior knowledge, and that's amazing. Anyhow, I digress, but I think this is something to think about. 

Back to art shall we?

Here are some pictures of a cute little accordion book I made today, it's a little rough, but I think it will be a lot of fun to fill. I'm not sure with what just yet, but some sort of mathematical calculations. 

Gotcha! It's going to be drawings of course! 

Before this post gets too long, I want to share some of the illustrations I have been doing for the poem "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens. I will do a post more about this when it is fished. Basically there are 13 stanzas, and an accompanying illustration for each, as well as a cover page. And these will all be put together in an accordion book! I think this is going to be one of my best projects so far. 

Until next week! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Break Post

I hear today is also St. Patrick's Day, if I'm wearing one blue sock and one yellow sock is that close enough to green? No? Okay . . .

It has been a pretty good spring break so far, I finished a couple of projects, started a couple of new ones, went camping for the first time, and hung out with my mom. Unfortunately it's already Thursday, Spring Break is never long enough! 

I'd like to share some drawings I did while camping, since I don't often share stuff I do outside of school. 

This one of is B. reading after a very long hike. 

This is J. by the fire pit, I thought she was in a very interesting position, so I had to capture it. 

I like to ask people to give me an animal and an occupation, and then I draw the results. A firefighting squirrel, and a fish that's a forest ranger.

This is from a page of ideas for an upcoming illustration project, where we illustrate a poem titled "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." More on that later. 

This is my final poster design for "Design Culture Now." I'm pretty proud of it, it's so simple, yet eye-catching. 

Lastly, as promised, I have my final illustrations for that crazy long project I did two weekends ago. 

Again, this is a pretend article about a vegan restaurant in town, Lovin' Spoonfuls. I took some pictures of the place, the owner, and the amazing food, and recreated it with my new-found Photoshop skills. Every drawing was first done in pencil, and colored in Photoshop, a process far more arduous than I expected. But it was worth it. 

These two pages were also hung up in a display case in a hallway in the art building. All over the hallways there are various display cases were teachers put up their student's best work for a few weeks at a time. Not to brag (but yes to brag), both of my spreads got displayed, while most people only had one page up. Win.

Instead of the usual filler text, lorem ipsum, I created content with reviews of the restaurant. Which was very handy, because I could completely control the length of each paragraph and column, and make them fit in with my spot illustrations (that's the drawings of food). In the real world, with a real article, this would be much harder to achieve.  

That's it for now, talk again soon! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Almost Spring Break!

Happy Tuesday!

Yes, I have fallen behind on my blogging, and yes, it's because I've been busy (like that's news!). But this weekend was particularly crazy, I had a project due on Monday that I thought I could finish by Saturday afternoon, so I went out with friends, planned to go hiking, took lot's of breaks. And then one of those "you know you're in college when" movements happens, the live-in-the-library, eat-from-the-vending-machine, no-time for-showers sort of moments. There was some crying and screaming, some thoughts of dropping out of school to become a beach bum, but in the end I got the project done. And even though it's not my best work, I'm pretty proud of it. I taught myself how to use Photoshop and I learned a lot. I never want to go through that again, so I'm trying to pick my battles more carefully for the rest of the semester. 

I will upload nice picture of those soon! I have InDesign CS4 at home, and at school we us CC, and they're not compatible because Adobe likes to be complicated (?). So I'll have to turn my InDesign files into normal photos--JPG and such--at school. 

In the mean time let's look at what I've been doing in the past couple of weeks. Here are some prototype posters I'm making in a typography class. I know I never mention this class, and that's because so far we have not done anything remotely interesting in it. 


Please click on the pictures so you can actually see them. This is a project is about creating a promotional poster for an art show that took place decades ago and for some reason this has turned int a typography/graphic design project for art students everywhere. Art school, go figure! 

Here is the final final portrait I did in the style of Gabrielle Munter, an expressionist painter. I'm very happy with it, the colors are really fun!

And here is my final astronomy print. Unfortunately I had some trouble with it. Perhaps there were too many colors piled up on top of each other, perhaps I hurried while I was carving, perhaps I printed on wet ink, or perhaps I have somehow angered the printmaking gods. The last color I printed, dark blue, did not completely cover up the yellows and red I had printed first, thus, giving outer space a green tinge on one side and a purple blog on the other. Outer space is not green! I was so sure it would be OK, but alas, I was wrong. All I can do now is move on--and maybe scan it and try to fix it with my new Photoshop skills. . .

That's it for now, promise I'll be back soon!