Day One Hundred Forty Four

Oh, Saturday how I love thee.
We spent the day running various errands; pulled down the art show at the public library and searched for antiques. Now, with a belly full of dinner and heavy eyes (oh, joy...I’ve just spilled a cup of tea on myself...)

Where were we?
Right, I believe I was making my way towards telling you today’s word.

com-mend v. To give praise; to applaud.

I thought immediately of clapping hands, and set out to illustrate this action. Having gotten halfway through the preliminary sketch I realized that clapping hands, when illustrated as opposed to animated, looked exactly like praying hands. As I erased the sketch and thought about what else I could attempt to draw, the idea of religion brewed a little bit in my mind, and led me to thinking about the Middle East and the strong call for democracy there. I’d read an article about the place of women in this new movement, and how important it was that the women in these societies are granted the freedoms that an entire young generation of people have been fighting for. Reflecting on how strongly I supported the fight for women in the Middle East, and how drastically different my life is from theirs, I illustrated a character “commending” a veiled woman.

I like the simple way this turned out, although it does take a bit of explaining.

Thank you for reading; I hope you enjoyed today’s post.



Day One Hundred Forty Three

Today was Final Friday, and we headed downtown to check out some of the local art. I saw a few interesting things, and was inspired to use this next week (and this coming summer) to get back into printmaking. I never seem to have the patience to spend hours crafting and producing a single design. The immediate gratitude of other mediums seems to drive me away from the often gorgeous results of silk screening. Maybe when we finally manage to get a real studio (fingers crossed) I’ll be able to set up and really start producing. Until then, I get to whine about it.

Today’s word went perfectly with my recent exploration of illustrating trees. The first began on a whim in the Arts Center print studio, as I began to doodle. Since then, I’ve been working to refine my tree-drawing skills and learning to shade with pen a bit better.

gnarl n. A hard, protruding knot on a tree.

I grabbed a piece of tagboard and began to sketch. The tree slowly grew up and across the page; with me adding “gnarls” as I went along.

As an afterthought, I added the character on the ground. I shaded her dress to compliment the tree, and to darken her a bit.
A rare occurrence: I’m actually happy with this piece. I hope you are too, and that you’ve enjoyed today’s post. Thanks for reading.



Day One Hundred Forty Two

I have no energy.
Dad says it’s the Bukowski; I think it’s the fact that summer is coming and I have no desire to keep working after this semester. Either way, the diet of black coffee and raw almonds isn’t helping much. (Dear concerned parent/s, I’m exercising some artistic license with that one-I think I had a quesadilla today.)  

I’ve been using my fine pen to shade a bit more than usual; everything I draw now taking on the look of wood. I’m rather enjoying the change, although things have gotten darker. I used this technique with today’s piece, but kept the overall look fairly thin and delicate in the process.

gin-ger-ly adv. Doing something very cautiously.  

Immediately, I thought of long, thin fingers gingerly grasping something light and fragile. I decided to go with a couple of Dr. Seuss-like flowers.

I had to make the hand extra strange to cover the fact that I simply cannot draw hands (yet). Ah, well...it’s...interesting.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thanks for reading!



Day One Hundred Forty One

Another strange day today. I believe I’ve entered into the summer way of thinking, where one loses track of not only the name of the current day, but the name of the current month. Oh, well, it’s bliss.

So, I haven’t got much to say about today’s word, so I’ll just begin with it.

wa-ter-tight adj. Closed or sealed so tightly that no water can enter, leaving no chance for evasion.

Immediately, I knew I wanted to illustrate a character in a water-tight vessel under the ocean. Going with a steam punk edge, I added large rivets to create a strange little box to house today’s character.

I added blue pastel to convey a sense of water, and used a lighter bit of blue pastel to cover the area on top of the box.

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed today’s post.



Day One Hundred Forty

Hm. I believe I lost today somewhere. If you find it, please let me know.

Today’s word, although simple, set me off on a piece that changed as I continued to work towards its finish.

bun n. Any of a variety of plain or sweet small breads; tightly rolled hair that resembles a bun.

So, I decided to go with the latter definition, and put a vintage spin on it. I loved the old-fashioned, crazy-high swirls of hair seen often in the 40’s.

Deciding to draw the character from the front, I was only able to show a little peek of “bun” around the side of her head. I like way her mouth turned to a little sly smile. Without a better idea, I added my own name to an art deco-style sign behind her.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thanks for reading!



Day One Hundred Thirty Nine

Oh, boy! It’s pretty late, isn’t it?

Today was spent lounging about at the Arts Center; a rainy Monday soaked and dripping in the art of others. As I reached the house, I was hit hard with the kind of rare inspiration to create that is impossible to ignore. After sorting out a plan of action, I spent several hours stretching screens, making transparencies, drying emulsion, and, finally, printing! I hadn’t done any printing to speak of since the week-long Valentine’s Day commission in early February, so this was a long-overdue treat. I came up with something I rather enjoy:

The tree is a sketch I did earlier today, and the lettering behind it is a poem (ick) I wrote when I realized I needed text for this piece. (I won’t bore you with the content of the aforementioned poem.)

So, exhausted and covered in paint, I got to work on today’s post (quickly, before it hit midnight).

Today’s word was something (maybe because I live in Kansas and have learned to live without it) I’ve never really been too insane about, but have always enjoyed.

beach n. Pebbly or sandy shore of a lake, ocean, sea, or river.

I decided to go with a Marilyn Monroe inspired, vintage-y take on the beach. The pastels ended up being a little more garish than intended; I’m not used to so much color!

I’m not entirely sure about today’s piece, but it was fun to create. I think her sunglasses make her look rather odd and skeletal in the face, while the illustration remains rather lively everywhere else...hmm.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thanks for reading!



Day One Hundred Thirty Eight

I’ve spent the last few days feeling an intense need to write. Unfortunately (with the exception of this blog) everything I write either ends up erased, scratched out, or crumpled up... I’m not sure what’s trying to make its way from my subconscious to paper, but it’s definitely an interesting, not to mention extremely frustrating experience. Despite this frustration, today was a lovely day.

Today’s word was a little strange and threw me creatively quite a bit. I toyed with several rather disgusting ideas before settling on a milder take.

in-nards pl. n. Slang The internal organs or parts of the body; the inner parts of a machine.

Inspired by the antics of my four brothers, I was tempted to go all-out, road kill nasty on this one. However, sedated somewhat by a heavenly mixture of chicory coffee and vanilla ice cream, my mood called for something a little less graphic.

I went with a more subtle, funny take on “innards” by emphasizing the absence of them. She seems a bit shy, and a little confused by the fact that she misses her middle. I added the sketchy background to balance out the negative space. Although unintended, it ended up reminding me of the Northern Lights because of how the lines formed into ribbon-like patters.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thanks for reading.



Day One Hundred Thirty Seven

Today was spent how most good Saturdays should be spent; outside getting sweaty and dirty. We spent the day on the sailboat; removing the current covering of the boat’s interior walls. Dusty and dirty, we huddled inside the bow, masks on, scraping away.  

Settling down, exhausted and glassy-eyed, I began today’s piece. Today’s word really resonated with me, and I knew immediately what I wanted to portray. I hoped to avoid the hipster, Kerouac-wannabe take on today’s word and so decided to do an old west take on it.

way-far-er n. A person who travels on foot.

With only a chewed-up pen at my disposal, I gave up on planning and simply started to draw.

 Beginning with the image of the man, I worked outwards from there to create the shaded path. As an afterthought, I added a small moon and a few stars in the sky.
I like his bowlegged stance, and the dusty weight of the trail stretched out in the night behind him.

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed today’s post!



Day One Hundred Thirty Six

I believe today is Friday.
 Looking back, I cannot say how I really felt about this week, but I’m truly glad it’s finally over.
I spent the rainy, dreary portion of today writing a (not so short) short story; only to realize I wasn’t supposed to be writing a short story after all. So much enthusiasm, so little time [to read directions properly]. Ah, well...at least I got an interesting creation out of the deal.

So, after a long day/week/year/life, I settled down in front of the television (because the best art is made while ½ your brain is slowly microwaving) to find today’s word. The “word” ended up being “words”, as I found a set that pulled me back into the winter. As much as I despise the red-nosed, shivering, whiny creature I become in the depths of winter, I really do enjoy the layering; the beauty of being able to wear all of my favorite clothing...at one time...

bundle up v. To dress warmly, usually using many layers of clothing.

I began to draw a Russian-looking character; bundled up close against a harsh winter.

I added sort of outrageous pink pastel to her cheeks to emphasize the sting of a cold wind. As an afterthought, I colored her legs a flat red; the idea of bright colors in the snow (Are they tights? Or perhaps a union suit?) and I think her legs stand out as sort of a strange element. I like the way this turned out, but I’m glad to be heading away from all of this business for a little while.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thank you for reading!



Day One Hundred Thirty Five

Today, I managed to get a hold of some Dektol, and get a bit of schoolwork done. Although it was rainy and dreary, I fought the urge to curl up and sleep. Fighting that urge for a bit longer, I’ve settled down to bring you today’s post.

The word was a funny one, and a word I wouldn’t normally want to illustrate. But, as this blog is meant to expand the limits of my creative skill, I decided to forge onward.

light show n. A display of colored lights in kaleidoscopic patterns, often accompanied by film, slides, or music.

I sketched a simple character singing into a mic and crouching low so as to emphasize the lights behind her. Then, I took multiple colors of pastels to really play up the psychedelic nature of light shows.

I’m not quite sure how I like today’s piece; I’m unhappy with my current drawing pens, as they tend to run and blur details. Ah, well, there’s always a next time.

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed today’s post.



Day One Hundred Thirty Four

Today ended as all days should end-under a blanket with a hot cup of tea. Sleepily, I fetched a piece of tagboard, pens, and a few pastels. I flipped through the pages of my old dictionary and settled upon a rather ordinary word.

ap-ple n. The round, red, yellow, or green edible fruit of a tree.

I thought about the word apple, and the imagery surrounding it. Deciding against a simple pastel sketch of an apple, I thought more about apples and their various uses. Then, I hit upon the idea of an apple, atop a head, being used for target practice. Giving it a little twist, I decided to have the person balancing the apple be enjoying the tension, and smiling in an almost mischievous way.

I like that she seems to enjoy the (imagined) reaction of the viewer and the (probable) hesitation of the shooter. I used thin lines of pen to give texture to the background, as I was going for an out-in-the-yard-against-the-shed look. I also like the addition of the goggles (as if they’d provide any protection).

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thanks for reading!



Day One Hundred Thirty Three

It was gray and rainy today. I sat at my desk, working in the dim light as the rain dripped down from the cloudy sky. It wasn’t a spring rain, though, but a harsh, cold and icy reminder that winter has yet to be entirely over. I spent today lounging, reluctantly working through what seemed like endless assignments.

In search of a bit of energy; seeing the potential for some form of life in the creative spark, I sat down to find today’s word. It was an interesting one; offering little in the way of a definition but still opening a wide door.

con-trap-tion n. A gadget.

I thought a lot about how to use this word, and decided to integrate it into a character as opposed to having a character interacting with a “contraption”. I settled on a robotic arm (who doesn’t love a good amputee??).

I like the way the sturdy, cold and heavy look of the arm contrasts with the lighter, softer mood of the flowers. The elements (flowers, tough girl, robot arm) seem to work together by virtue of the fact that they are somewhat at odds. Building off of yesterday’s Gorey background, I experimented with the use of differently spaced groups of parallel lines to add depth and movement to the character’s surroundings.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thanks for reading!



Day One Hundred Thirty Two

Today was a good day. Although, any Monday in which one does absolutely no work automatically counts as a good day but I think this one was good despite (and partly because of) that fact. So, I returned home to throw a record on the turntable, brush the notebooks, jewelry and odd antiques from my desk and start in on some art.

Today’s word delighted me. I loved the way it sounded old and unused. It fit right up there with words like “jitter” and “bop”. Sure enough, a Google search later, this word was (approximately) in prime use from the years of 1940 to 1945.

table--hop v. To go from one table to another in order to talk with one’s friends such as in a restaurant.  

I loved this! I decided to illustrate a café at which some table-hopping was occurring. Inspired by Edward Gorey (though not nearly anywhere within the same spectrum of artistic talent) I used cross-hatching to convey a sense of nighttime and depth.

As I finished, all I could think was Oh, boy. This man must have used so many pens... I kept the color confined to the match to emphasize the action taking place. I like the subtlety of the woman sitting at the table, partially hidden by the “gentleman”. I can just imagine a drawn face; red lips pursed beneath narrowed eyes as she watches her date “table-hop” on over to another lady. Hah!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; thanks for reading!



Day One Hundred Thirty One

We spent today (or at least the beginning of it) setting fire to a vast expanse of prairie. As it is time to burn the native grasses to allow them to grow back taller and fuller the next year, I headed out into the country to photograph this taking place.

Returning home exhausted, windblown and smelling strongly of smoke, I sat down to work on today’s piece.

I decided to launch right into the art today, without thinking too much about what exactly I wanted to end up with (which is ironic, considering today’s word)...

care-ful adj. Exercising care; cautious; watchful.

I threw aside my pencil (and with it my ability to edit the piece along the way) and picked up an old pen. I went with the idea of a character being careful and whimsical at the same time, and decided to illustrate a balancing act.

I like the simplicity of this piece, and may continue to work with this idea so as to polish it further. (Maybe a pencil would help, after all...)

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Have a lovely Monday!



Day One Hundred Thirty

watt n. A unit of electrical power represented by current of one ampere, produced by the electromotive force of one volt.