wayfaringwordhack: (kicking it island style)
As I mentioned in another post, I spent a hectic couple of weeks doing hand-lettered signs to raise money for Egyptian charities.

I rented a booth at a Spring Fair, held by the Maadi Women's Guild, on the premises of St John's church in Maadi. I decided to give 50% of all sales to charities, and I sold exactly enough to pay for my booth and my framing expenses. I sold one more painting after the fact (and gave 100% to charity) and also got some interest to sell any remaining pieces in a store and two requests for commissions. One of the commission hasn't gotten back to me, and I haven't given my price to the other one. I think once I do, though, she won't accept. She wants me to hand-letter an entire Psalms and embellish it with watercolor. I know what a crazy amount of work that is going to be and won't just give the piece away. Ah, the joys of putting a price on one's time and creativity. I think she will refuse because she already winced when I told her (custom) framing would cost $25. That is crazy cheap, especially for the size of are we are talking about, which is 100cm X 70cm.

Here are some samples of what I did (click on thumbnail for larger image):

wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I fully intended to post a snippet on Sunday; I had photos taken and everything.  But then Junebug got sick (fever and vomiting), and all plans went out the window. He got better yesterday, but we had a guest over for dinner, which took up my time. (And now I just got back from cleaning up after Sprout, who is suddenly sick. :( )

So, quickly then, I finally decided on what kind of style I want to use for the illustrations, so I played around a bit with different media.  One experiment was doing suminagashi with materials on hand a cheap paper, so not the most stunning results:



The super bright spot on the right is a sun dapple. :P

Then I practiced drawing rats and did more sketches in the two poses I'll need in the book:




For fun, I did some symmetrical drawings, using both my right and left hands simultaneously.


No snippet next week because we are taking a trip to the Red Sea. 
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
I worked quite a bit on sketching this week, but I could have concentrated more than I did on the illustrations for my picture book.  I did 18 doodles and only filled one page of my (admittedly large) project sketchbook. I finished the hedgehog, too.  My take-away lesson from the hedgehog is: Planning is important. If I don't plan something, I shouldn't be disappointed or discouraged if the back- and foreground are not integrated.  So, even if I'm doing something to horse around, I might want to think it through a bit more.

Some visuals of this week's work )
This week's goal is to concentrate on the picture book illustrations and do a doodle a day.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
I didn't post earlier due to a crazy busy social calender. I swear we've had more visits and outings since Ti'Loup was born than in all the years prior. This is what comes of getting to know people in real life, apparently. :P

This was a pretty busy creative week for me.  I started a Doodle Book, different from a sketchbook in terminoloy only. The point is to doodle with purpose (and from real life), and by calling the work doodles instead of sketches, the pressure of creating something "nice" and "worthy" is relieved.  I got the idea off YouTube. It seems to be working well for me. The only thing is that I haven't worked in my picture-book-dedicated sketchbook in probably more than a week. I need to get back to that.

I also did some pencil reference sheets, meant to help me get a better handle on the brands and types of pencils I have.

And because I had fun experimenting with ink last week, this week I continued that by starting on a hedgehog:



I might forget to check this, so perhaps there is no point in posting a goal here, but in hopes of making more progress on my project, I'm going to declare that by next week, I will have finished this hedgehog and made at least 10 doodles and 10 project-relevant sketches.  There.  I've typed it up. Now I must come through. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I forgot to take pictures of this week's creative endeavors,* but I remembered to take one of Ti'Loup's quilt. (fresh out of the washing machine; should have ironed it for the photo. :P )  And because [livejournal.com profile] frigg made me laugh with a comment the other day to the effect of "In my mind, your craft room is a pristine space," you also get a bonus of the reality that is my atelier. I did spare you the mess that is the children's side. In fact, their workspaces so are overflowing with their stuff that they always come to my tables... o.O In fact, I had just cleaned the table on the left to install the new tablecloth and the stuff you see there is Junebug's and Sprout's paintings in progress.

So, the blanket:





Mess:



_______________
* I did some colored pencil sketches of fruits and plants, and two watercolor "exercises". One was an attempt (following a tutorial) of painting mixed media abstract flowers. I kind of failed on the abstract part. I think I'll take another stab at it is this week. I also did a painting of a leaf as an exercise in mixing colors. While I'm not happy about how my leaf turned out, I did succeed in mixing up the colors I wanted, using those handy watercolor mixing charts I made a while back, which you can see hanging on the left-hand wall in the photo above.  Junebug joined in every now and then, but Sprout did both exercises with me, and we had a lot of fun talking color together. It was neat to hear her repeating Quinacridone Magenta and Burnt Sienna to herself. It is amazing to watch a kid making knowledge her own.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
Just a quick word to say I've started sketching again on my picture book. No photo because it is 3 minutes to 9, and I don't want to turn into a pumpkin...or something.  I have to hit the sack.

What creative things have you been up to?
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
This week, I spent the greater part of my writing time pondering worldbuilding issues, notably the religious beliefs of one of my  main societies. I still haven't finetuned it all, but I've had some ideas that will make the characters' actions and thoughts more consistent, understandable, and, hopefully, believable.

Forcing myself to think this issue through has also had the added benefit of helping explain why my characters have not abandoned ship when their home is under attack. In the past, I always went with the idea (in my own mind) that most people prefer the known to the unknown and are willing to stay in a bad situation out of fear and surety of their status in the world, even if that world is going to hell. That didn't sit well with all readers, however.  Now I have a plan to bring up differing points of view and solutions to the problem.  I'm sure the story will be stronger for it because it doesn't make this so cut-and-dried, black and white, and the characters won't be passive-without-cause.

These thoughts fostered the following, off-the-cuff, straight-from-the-brain-before-I-forget sentences:

    “It was to be a secret, but I see Srila has ways of prying into affairs that don’t--”

    “Enough.” Srila slapped the railing and may have, just maybe, sang a bit of power into the word. “I have the right of the stone. I called the council. For my own reasons. If Ario wishes to address us, she can wait. But since it seems her news is about abandoning our home, it is even more vital you hear me out before making a rash decision.”


In other creative news, I did a little sketch this morning, playing with my style idea for the kids' book, that I'm not dissatisfied with. If I can kick this headache that is sinking its claws into my brain, I just might work on it some more this afternoon.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: energized)
I'm posting early today because I actually thought about photographing my sketchbook while the sun was still in my slice of the sky.  Wonders will never cease.

This week I went off on a bit of tangent and sketched skads of lions.  I started doing a cat head and then got an idea for a story about a lion, so I drew a bunch of variations on a lion's face and ways the mane could be.

So for a snippet, the cat and some of the lions:
Annnnnd, wouldn't you know. The photo upload is not playing nicely. Not going to waste my time with it.

Suffice it to say, I had stuff to share today, and for that I am content.



Ha!  Posted then hit "edit," and it let me post the photos. Go figure.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: energized)
At last, a full week on the creative front.  I finally finised the "Project of the Week" that I've had on my agenda since we got back from our holiday by the sea:  Make Junebug a bucket hat.

I used fabric from my stash, which means one side of the reversible hat is exactly like the last hat I made him, and the other is from one of the hooded towels I made from Sprout before she was born. Nothing like getting mileage out of one's purchase.

The model was not too pleased with having to wear the hat. Naturally.

Photographic proof of productivity this way... )

I also did a lot of research about illustrating children's books--watching videos, tutorials, browsing sites for inspiration--and now I need to get back to finishing up the text.
____________
* Sticky tack is the greatest thing for paper dolls, infinitely re-stickable yet mess-free. Way better than paper tabs that get weak and tear from overuse.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
This week was a bit of this and a bit of that and not a whole lot of anything in particular.  I researched some, sketched some, wrote some, thought some, crocheted none, and only sewed up an unraveling seam on a pair of pants, making no headway at all on Junebug's hat, which was supposed to be my project of the week.

I am proud of myself for resisting the urge to sew Sprout a last-minute Easter dress, though.

Today, we went to Al-Fustat Potters Village to meet with someone who will give me some pottery lessons. I also dropped by a design school in the "village" to discuss taking some courses come fall for jewelry making.


Never dull moment. Seriously, what is this "boredom" thing I hear tell of?
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
While I predicted this past week would be a wash on the creative front, I secretly hoped it would not be so.  I even took the time before our trip to download a scad of reference photos to my hard drive so I could work on my children's book illustrations.  'Twas not to be, though; I only managed one sketching session with Sprout while Junebug napped on our second to last day.

This is a view of a succession of terraces at our hotel as seen from our terrace.  The perspective was so cool that I started to do a very precise sketch with pencil and then realized I wouldn't have time to finish something accurate and detailed. I defaulted to a charcoal stick. Sadly, I had only my "cheap" sketchbook with me; its smooth paper doesn't have any tooth to hold charcoal so it is very smudgy and loose:


I also planned to make headway on Junebug's sweater but I had to rip out the rows I had on the sleeves (again) and start over because I'm sure they will be too small. I still have hopes of finishing it before May, though. :P

Today I did some doodling* with the kids and broke out the sewing machine to fashion some eyeholes in a sleep mask for Sprout, who wanted to pretend she was a Mousquetaire (Musketeer).
_________
* I set it up as a Double Doodle activity, but Sprout soon started doing her own thing. And of course, give a one-year-old markers and "do your own thing" is the de facto name of the game. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I finally got pictures* before the sun went down, so for once, you will get a true snippet.  I have been hemming and hawing over what age range I intend this for and have still to make up my mind 100%. That decision is of supreme importance, as I'm sure you can imagine. Artwork and text hinge on the target audience.

A few photos )
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Valentine's Day, 1980, my older sister came home from school with a drawing for my mother. It was of a heart, a long heart, a bit pinched at the top and stretched out on the bottom, like a fought-over piece of taffy. My mother laughed. Not a nice laugh.  And when I heard her, my heart hurt for my sister. Even before I saw my sister's face, I knew that my mother's laugh had done something to her. Sure enough, I never saw my sister draw again. She was 7.

A while back, an aunt of mine mailed some pictures to me at my mil's house. Because I was impatient to see them, I asked my mil to open the envelope and show them to me via SKype.  Enclosed was a drawing I had done when I was 7.

miq giraffe 7.5 yrs

When she saw it, my mil laughed. Not a nice laugh.  "Ha! Look how big you made the giraffe! You sure don't know anything about proportions, do you!?" Knowing that my mil is not artistically inclined herself and being well over the age of 7 myself, I was able to dismiss her jibes, but part of me thought, How hurtful would that laughter have been to me as a child?



As it was, I was pretty chuffed at how well I had done without a reference photo, without Wikipedia around to let me know that giraffes don't eat apples. And I know from up close and personal experience just how big giraffes are, so the joke is on her, so to speak.

And then this, from a journal entry 23.04.2013:
I also want to do some rough sketches for Beanie and the fish book idea I have...I remember now that once upon a time, while I was at university, I thought about writing and illustrating children's books. A forgotten dream! Another thing I let people discourage me from with tales of "It's too hard/near impossible to break into."  And instead of using their "helpful," well-intentioned discouragements to work harder, I took their comments as a veiled way of saying that I wasn't good enough and left it at that. I could have used them as fuel to practice and improve.



Instead, I gave up, thinking, "Well, my passion isn't deep enough. Guess that means it isn't my calling."



Well, to hell with well-intentioned discouragements and misplaced laughter. I'm trying my hand at it anyhow.  To quote again from that journal entry: Don't fold. Resist. Keep trying. Get better.

wayfaringwordhack: (art: energized)
I was a sketching fool this week, so much so that on Thursday I thought it must already by Sunday and time to post something.  I also pinned a ton of reference photos and sketching exercises to help me work on a style that will appeal to kiddos as well as myself. I have never excelled at "cartoony" illustration and I'm not sure that I will this time, or even that I want to. Whatever I come up with has to be me.

As usual, I didn't get around to taking photos, even though I have some stuff that is non-spoilery and would have worked for a snippet.  I, however, take a photo of a craft I did with Sprout and will share that instead:

Behold, unicorns:

IMG_6561
IMG_6565
Sprout is very into unicorns at the moment (in fact she just used the magic in her horn to transform me into a unicorn, too), so when I saw this craft on The Artful Parent from the book Happy Handmade, I knew I had to do it with her.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
Lots of sketching this week and planning and researching for my storybook. No images to show. Maybe next Sunday.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
A couple of years back, I got an idea for a picture book.  Because I had so much else going on and because I lacked a clear plan for the stucture/presentation, I shelved the idea after making note of it.

Since I don't seem to have my novel-writing brain cells (desire) back yet, I decided to dust off the picture book idea and illustrate it as one of my creative goals for this year.  That's what I've been doing this past week.  I don't feel comfortable sharing them, though, so just a verbal report from me until I do something else. :)

Who else is trying to get off to a creative start at the beginning of this new year?
wayfaringwordhack: (art: energized)

I did lots and lots on the creativity front this week.  What I did not do was take photos. :P  Actually, I photographed a couple of things, and since this "Snippet" and not "Whole Shebang" Sunday, it'll do.
First off, the annual(ish) urge to rearrange furnishings struck, and we have a new layout for the living room and the kids' playroom, which used to be the formal sitting room:
IMG_4867
IMG_4871

More stylish before, yes; more functional now. :P

I made time, for the first time in forever it feels like, to set up some art activities for Sprout. It started with her having a leap in skills that was brought to light, I think by my flurry of blind contour sketches.  I drew myself by looking in the mirror and she asked who it was a picture of. I told her it was me; "No," she said; "that's not you. I'll draw you."  She then proceded to draw me a couple of times and then moved on to doing family portraits.  What is exceptional about this is that she did faces complete with all the features in recognizable "formats" position, inside "face" shapes, whereas before, all her representations had pretty much been scribbles.  There was no middle ground that I saw.

Here she is, painting a family of flamingos:
IMG_4911

The only photos I took of my artistic efforts are the dinosaurs I did for Sprout:
IMG_4939
Close-ups of the dinos )

This coming week, I plan to get back to my oil painting as well as doing a few drawing prompts.  I want to get back into a daily sketching practice, which I think I followed this week.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Oops! Forgot my other creative endeavor for the week, which was doing a pastel drawing of a pumpkin, following this tutorial.

Since I didn't have a pumpkin of my own, I did a rough copy of hers, but I decided to use oil pastels at first. I have a very limited range of colors and would have preferred to do it a bit differently than it turned out. I wasn't completely satisfied, so I did it again, using chalk pastels as recommended. I have a few more colors, but none like she showed. Still, I like the result better.

pastel pumpkins
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Lots of sketching this week. Copying some ideas outright (the horse below, frex), following a tutorial (the mouth), outright doodling, drawing with Sprout (sea creatures); all in all, working with different techniques... Speaking of techniques, when I mentioned gesture drawing last week, I meant "scribbled line gesture drawing" as seen here and in this video.  I can understand why some artists say not to rely on it (encourages messy lines), but I think I'll try it a bit more as a way to get over my brain's perfectionist tendencies.

A sample of what I did:

sketching samples

And I did some blind contour sketches of J, hilariously bad ones.  I'm going to try this exercise at least two or three times this coming week and am posting this week's effort so I'll be able to judge my progress.  I actually like the aborted one that is serving as a new icon.
I promise these look nothing like my husband )
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
Or should I say "Sundays."

I haven't been that productive in the creating department these past couple of weeks, despite taking a couple of sketchbooks and art materials on our vacation.

While in the States, I did a couple of pages of blind contour sketching and will share the only semi-blind contour one I did because I like the wonky way it turned out, an effect I couldn't have done deliberately. It is a good example (read: lesson to me*) of how something can have visual interest because of "mistakes" when the same subject would be ho-hum if it was accurate in proportion, etc.

semi-blind contour - lamp

I remember learning about blind contour drawing during a drawing class I took as an elective at uni, but I don't remember learning about gesture drawing, which I discovered while browsing Pinterest (to get back into Art Mode so I can finish the painting of Sprout).  So, this week, in addition to making playdough with Sprout and creating dinosaurs out of it, I did two rapid-fire gesture sketches:

gesture drawing 02.11

__________
* I already "know" this lesson, but like most things I know, I have to be reminded of them from time to time.  I even own an example of this lesson.  In Mayotte, we bought a study of a typical scene of island life and later saw the painting that the artist had done with corrected proportions, etc. While the study spoke to us, the painting didn't at all. You can see the one we bought in this post. And these are links to a redone study and a (tiny) finished version.

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