Quick update: Watercolor Portrait of Otto

Welcome to the new year! I still can’t believe it’s already 2017. I just turned 29 (almost 30!) and it feels unreal. I feel very old.

My husband and I traveled to Morocco right after Christmas, and so I’ve been off the grid for almost 13 days. And last fall, I really focused on school and only had time for a few freelance projects. This semester will probably be busier, since it is my penultimate semester (I rarely get to use that word, so I felt obligated to use it here). I only have 3 classes to complete before I receive my MBA in Management!

Anyway, I do have one little project to share: a watercolor portrait I painted for my dad, for Christmas. It’s one of his favorite subjects.

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This is Otto the Old English Bulldog. My dad loves his dog, and I knew a painting of him would be well received. I painted Otto first, but then couldn’t really decide on a background. I knew it would be kind of expected to have him in the yard or in the house, but I thought it would be hilarious to have him set as if he were a king in a royal portrait (with rich fabrics, tapestries, jewels, or intricate architecture). So, with little time to spare, I did some research and quickly painted a portrait background fit for a king.

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I have to admit, this was very hasty. I’m not very proud of the background, but since I had so little time, I had to make it work (thank you Tim Gunn!). My dad treats his dog like a king, so my family and friends immediately recognized and laughed at the context. Some people have said I could keep painting dog portraits because there is definitely an audience for this type of work, but honestly, I do not see that many dog portraits in my future!

I have a huge website redesign currently in the works, so I’ll be working on that as my (cough) New Year’s Resolution. Normally I avoid resolutions because I don’t like saddling myself with obligations, but I really need to buckle down and clean up my website. My web design skills are rusty and I desperately need to add some new work… speaking of which, I’m happy to say that I will have several new wedding clients this year, so look out for some new work!

Stay warm,
-A.K.

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New Work for Loyola University Maryland

Hello! Happy Autumn! My maiden name is actually German for “autumn,” so I have a special kinship with the season. I am trying to stay on top of schoolwork this semester and keep a consistent blogging schedule, but I don’t want to give your hopes up…it might not work out as a consistent schedule, but I will try posting whenever I have new projects on the site!

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This first project is a campus notebook designed to give to prospective students as they visit various universities. It features checklists, questions to ask, a glossary, and plenty of space for notes. I made some changes from the original design, mostly changing and streamlining graphics and typography.

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A new exploration in packaging design, I had the opportunity to design a Google Cardboard headset for prospective students. The original form was a flat, mail-able package with instructions for assembly (iPhone not included!). Once a student assembles the headset, they place their smartphone inside the headset to view a 3D webpage and virtual tour of campus.

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I had the opportunity again to venture into 3D work, this time for a freestanding letter cut-out for display. The project brief was to design a freestanding Loyola “L” that features fun facts about Baltimore, Maryland, on the back flap. It was an interesting challenge to design the standee from scratch, since we had to figure out logistics with paper weight and folding technique. The finished result was very unique and professional.

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Yes, this was designed a few months ago (….) but in my defense, it was a very quick project and I have not had much time to photograph my work lately! This was a project designed for current undergraduate students to send valentine postcards to prospective students. This particular valentine card was my favorite: I had the opportunity to design calligraphy for a custom poem. We printed in 2 color ink (red and black) for simplicity. The valentines were a huge hit and I was happy to be a part of the project!

Well, that’s what I’ve got for now! Keep a look out for a new wedding project (you’ve probably already seen it on my website). I’ve also got another huge wedding project on the horizon, so you’ll be seeing some sketches soon. Thanks for viewing!

-Anne

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Costa Rica Watercolor Painting

Hello! I have a new painting to share with you. It was a gift for my husband’s birthday this weekend, and now that he has unwrapped it, I can share it with you!

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I chose a viewpoint from a restaurant we visited on the road. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant (or even where we were, exactly) but the restaurant had a huge, wooden porch with this view surrounding it. I usually prefer to sketch lightly in pencil first, but I didn’t think this would work well for this painting. Pencil tends to bleed into light watercolor washes, and it can ruin the color work. So I took a risk and lightly painted the outline in light green, because I needed to have some basic idea of where all of the foliage would go. The view was panoramic, and the horizontal orientation of the painting was not exactly the right dimensions for the picture, so I had to change some elements.

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I started adding in more details from right to left. It was especially difficult painting in the high contrasts of light and dark. Dark shadows in watercolor tend to look muddy, and it’s never easy for me to figure out the right balance for them.

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For all of the intense labor I put into the landscape, I was so exhausted by the time I got to the sky, that I painted it as loosely as possible. The irony of course, is that I think the sky looks the best! I always find that the less I “care” about how I’m painting, the better it turns out. It is not easy to kick back and just paint “carelessly,” because there is a certain level of unconscious focus that needs to occur. I can’t explain it, and people have various names for it, like “in the zone,” “meditation,” “in flow,” etc. I prefer to say “unconscious focus.”

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Now that I’m looking at it, I see how compressed the landscape looks. It’s more exaggerated than I thought it would be, but that is not necessarily bad. It has a lusciousness to it, I suppose, even though now I’m looking at all of the flaws. It’s always difficult for me to say “it’s done!” but this one is done!

-A.

Australia Watercolors

Hi all. I’m resurrecting a project from my past – some watercolor paintings inspired by my honeymoon in Australia. I finished one, but not quite the other. You can probably guess which on is incomplete!

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This is a painting of the farmland of Malanda. It was one of our favorite spots. Completely beautiful and idyllic, with rolling hills, lush greenery, and plenty of cows.

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Yes, this is the incomplete one! This was a riverbed in Queensland, on a hiking trail we visited. It had a particularly blue-green color to the water, and the rocks with smooth and white with deep gray shadows. It was quite secluded, except for the flies.

I may or may not finish the second painting…I’m busy working on a birthday watercolor for someone special’s birthday!

-A.

All About Apples!

Hello friends! For some reason, apples have become a favorite subject of mine. I had a few work projects that involved apple illustrations, and I had some ideas for fabric prints with painted apples. I have a few different versions I have been working on, and all are very different from one another.

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One of my projects involved drawing a woodcut-style apple for a logo. I was inspired by 17th century German woodcuts.

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Another iteration from this project involved a different version of this apple.

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And for my personal project, I wanted to design a fabric print of 4 different apple varieties. I have a Golden Delicious, a Pink Lady, a Granny Smith, and a Fuji. My personal favorite for eating is a Granny Smith.

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I hope to have time to clean up these paintings and design a print. I’d love to have aprons, oven mitts, potholders, or tablecloths with this design!

-A.

Asian Nature Motifs

Hello friends. I’ve got a little sneak peek for you! I’m working on some new t-shirt designs, and one of them includes Asian-inspired nature motifs. I drew a tree, clouds, and waves. I’m going to be honest, I was inspired to draw the clouds from the opening sequence of Disney’s Mulan (do you remember the ink drawing at the opening sequence?). I found some ancient illustrations of waves and trees and drew my own versions.

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I’ll show you the finished products when they have been printed. So far, so good!

-A.

Chalkboard Lettering

Hello and happy Friday! It has been quite a long time since I have posted new work. I do have something I can blame for this: graduate school. The last year has been manic; I have taken full course loads for each semester, and I have only short breaks between semesters. This has sadly left me very little time to do artwork, let alone any freelance work. Unfortunately, I’ve had to turn away freelance work, which is something I really do not like to do. I’m hoping I can have some time in my last year of grad school to do some freelance work. If not, well, it will have to wait until summer 2017 (when I graduate)!

I had the opportunity to do some quick chalkboard lettering for work. I designed a “grab a prop” sign for a photo setup on campus, and I designed a sign that illustrates what my department does (for student orientation). It was a fun opportunity, and I hope I have more chances to do this in the future!

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One fun fact about chalkboard lettering: it is very difficult to add any sort of detail with a blunt piece of chalk. I also spent a significant amount of time huffing and puffing all of the chalk dust that accumulated on the work space. But, I discovered how helpful it is to blend colors with your fingertips – it was like being a kid all over again!

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I will be back soon with more recent work!

-Anne

Valentine’s Day Card: Moon & Stars

Every year, I try to do a little personal Valentine’s Day card on time. It almost never works out. I always start too late on them, and barely finish them in time for the holiday. I’m lucky if I’m able to send a handful. I have my ideas and sketches done way ahead of time, I just can’t get them finished, printed and mailed. So this year I’m doing something a little different.

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I’m going to design a card just to give to my sweetheart. My husband is not mushy or sentimental, and I don’t think he would really like the “you’re the peanut butter to my jelly,” offbeat Valentine’s Day cards. Over the years I have seen some interesting valentines, but a lot of them are what he would describe as “twee hipster silliness,” and I would have to agree. It’s difficult to find a valentine that is short and sweet, funny or actually heartfelt. Sometimes modern cards feel too forced, awkward, or “ironic.” So this year, I’m taking an inside joke from the both of us and turning it on its head.

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So when we first started dating, I jokingly asked my husband, “How much do you love me? More than the moon and the stars?” And he laughed and said that was an absurd question, because he didn’t really have feelings for the moon and the stars. It became a sort of “romantic comedy” absurd phrase we’d say when we were joking around. I decided to letter “I love you more than the moon and the stars,” and to make it really sweeping and romantic. The funny thing is, it could actually be romantic, and I can see an audience looking at that and saying, “Oh wow, that’s exactly how I feel.” I actually love the moon and stars, and think it could look very beautiful. But when I give this card to him, I think he will chuckle. He will know how much I love him, but he’ll appreciate the sweeping look of the letters and know it’s supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek.

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I used gold and silver metallic Sharpies in the final version. I attempted to use colored Sharpies (yellow, pink and blue) but it did not look right at all. I ended up doing 4 different versions. Maybe someday I’ll vectorize this and actually make it look good, but this is what I could do for today! Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you can find the perfect card, because that is a rare treat!
-A.K.

New sketchbook!

Hello! So, there isn’t that much new in the design/art world for me. Except that I got a new sketchbook. I had to buy a new one after my last one fell apart at the binding. It may have been from repeatedly shoving it in my backpack, but the notebook wasn’t really built to last. Anyway, I’m fairly picky when I choose a sketchbook: the paper should be white (not yellow), thick enough that I can’t see pen lines through the other side, good binding, plain cover, easily lays flat, and it needs to be the perfect size to fit into my purse. After I found the right one, I had to begin the arduous process of transferring my important sketches from my old sketchbook to my new one.

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My new sketchbook has a lot of my future wedding collection sketches. I have a lot of themes I’d chosen, and 2-4 designs per theme. I’ve only really designed 2 of my collection so far, but I’m hoping once I have more breaks during school I’ll be able to work on it more. I also have sketches of my future pricing guide, and some branding projects I started. I’m still waiting for some inspiration to strike me so that I can name my new blog, and then design branding for it. I really can’t wait to get started on it, but I definitely need the perfect name!

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New sketchbooks are exciting because of all of the blank pages I can fill! I need to keep my resolution and continue to draw every day if I can. I spent most of yesterday drawing and I loved it. I can’t share the illustration yet, because it’s a surprise present, but I will share it later on!

-A.K.

New Brush Font

Hello! I’m diligently working on some infographics, and decided I wanted to use a very specific brush font. So, on Sunday, I played around with my Sumi black ink and bamboo brush and designed a quick font.

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I’m going to scan them in and make sure all of the letters are the way I want them. It was really fun and spontaneous to do this little project, and I’m hoping I can have more creative bursts this year. I still need a name for this font…Let me know if you have any ideas! Since this is for a food/taste related subject, I like Acerbic, Savour, and Tincture. I purposefully used the British spelling of “savor,” because I think it looks more elegant. 🙂

-A.K.