Tag Archives: illustration

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.

otto_first

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.

ottopainting

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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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.

asiannaturesquare asiantree
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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

Summery 80th Birthday Party Invitations

Well, summer is usually considered over by Labor Day, but I like to counter that by pointing out that summer technically lasts until the Autumnal Equinox (which will be September 23rd this year). So, to enjoy these last few days of summer, I am bringing to you one of my latest invitation designs.

I was asked by my mother to design an invitation for my great aunt’s 80th birthday party. She wanted something summery and upbeat, and suggested that perhaps sunflowers could be included in the design. I decided to design a hand drawn typographic lockup to contribute to the rustic summery feel, and I drew several styles of sunflowers before settling on the marker style.  A light, peachy pink gradient finishes the background of the invitation.

I designed and illustrated the card, and had it printed on Cougar White 80lb uncoated stock. The invitations were mailed in 70# white opaque envelopes.

auntjane_abovecropped auntjane_anglewords auntjane_justinvite auntjane_lowerangle auntjane_up

I am really pleased with the invitation, and my family loved it too. I think I will try out more illustrations with Prismacolor markers, because they had an unexpected texture that I liked. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy these last few days of summer!

-A.K.

Love Language Idioms for Valentine’s Day

Hello and Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted to design some Valentines this year, but as usual, I started on the project far too late and barely managed to finish the project right before the holiday. I need to give myself more than a month to complete something of this scope, but I don’t seem to get my best ideas until right before the holiday spirit sets in!

valentines_allup

For this series, I designed four different cards featuring a love-related idiom in a foreign language. I envisioned a lettered illustration on the front, plus a witty translation on the inside. I chose a variety of languages (Spanish, French, Chinese, and Russian) and I tried to convey a concrete object from each idiom. Drawing the compositions proved to be more difficult than I thought, but the watercolor painting actually elevated each illustration more than I expected.

valentines_frenchup

The first one completed was the French idiom, “Le coup de foudre.” That translates to “bolt of lightning,” and refers to instantly falling in love at first sight. I wanted the words to looks like lightning coming from a stormcloud, and the lightning to strike a heart. I really love the indigo-violet halo around lightning, so I outlined the words, and once I painted them striking the heart, I realized how similarly they also look to veins. I was very pleased with the result.

valentines_russianup

The second one completed was the Russian idiom, “Po yshi vlubitsya.” That means “up to [your] ears in love,” and means to be completely in love with someone. This one was difficult to execute because of the odd imagery and the composition of the letters. I tried not to be too rectilinear with the composition, but I didn’t want to overdo the fluidity on the Russian characters so that they became illegible. I decided the hearts will have to balance the composition. The ears were difficult to paint, because not many people enjoy illustrations of disembodied ears. But after loosely painting them and attaching them to the Russian word for “ears,” I liked it a lot more.

valentines_chineseup

The third one completed was the Chinese idiom, “(yí) () (sān) (qiū),” which translates to “One day, three autumns.” That phrase means to miss someone so much, that one day apart feels like three years (isn’t that beautiful?). The characters themselves are beautiful, and fit into a snug rectangle, so I had a lot of issues with composition here. I wanted to add leaves to the longer strokes, but since I am not fluent in Chinese, I didn’t know if that could be misconstrued or mistranslated. I painted a lot of leaves and just placed them around the letters until it felt right.

valentines_spanishsideangle

The last idiom was one of my favorites, the Spanish idiom “media naranja,” which translates to “orange half.” It’s an expression meaning your better half or soulmate. I knew this one had to be cute, so I wanted to do thick, happy letters inside of an orange. I am not the best at drawing circles, so this ended up looking more football shaped than round, but I am still happy with the result.

valentines_closechinese valentines_allangled valentines_up4

So there you have it! I am not in time to start selling them this Valentine’s Day, but I’m hoping to clean them up a bit and sell them next year. Maybe if I find more lovely idioms, I’ll add them to the series.

Happy travels!
-A.K.

My Holiday Card 2013

Happy holidays! Our holiday card this year is, of course, travel-themed. My husband wanted to incorporate our new home (Mt. Vernon) into our card to share with our family and friends. I decided to draw a line drawing of the Mt. Vernon monument, and only add color to the holiday string lights that are added every December. A simple hand lettered salutation at the bottom finishes the design.

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holidaycard_closecard

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holidaycard_otherangle

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I also chose to use a festive red ink for the envelope calligraphy. I’m really happy with the result and I am looking forward to designing more travel themed works.

Happy travels,

– A.K.