Saturday, April 28, 2012


I helped make the High School graduation announcements for the two beautiful exchange students that live with us.  They were so fun to do.  Very refreshing and fulfilling.  It's nice working creatively with photos every so often.  Most of the work is already done for you; color, value, lighting, proportion, likeness, etc.  It's all just fun finishing and composition work.  I also liked flexing my meager graphic design muscles working with the text.  I like how they turned out.

With Caty's announcement I had complete creative freedom because I made it while she was at school as a surprise.  She loves it, and so do I.

 With Sharon's announcement, she first wanted me to just do the back of the announcement because it was just text and she saw what all I did with Caty's.  She had a version of the front similar to what you see.  She wanted the back to match up with her original front.  But after she saw the finished back we decided to let me re-do the front in the same basic design so it matched up with the back.  She's very happy with it too.  I learned some things about photo editing and practiced some photoshop techniques. Those decorative scalloped edges are just a brush I made.  I felt cool. :)

So... really fun and refreshing!  How much could one charge for making announcements for wedding, high school, college announcements?  :D

Thursday, April 26, 2012

IF: Height + Watercolor

I usually center the images in my blog posts, but with such an extreme vertical format, this seemed a little more appropriate.

I did this little watercolor piece while one of the exchange students that is living with Jamin's family was doing her art homework in watercolor.  Her photo reference inspired me and I had a scrap of long watercolor paper from something, so it worked out great!  It was so great to work with my watercolors again!  It only took me 30min tops to do, but it was so much fun and therapeutic.

Purely watercolor!

IF: Return

This Illustration Friday topic was awhile ago, but I took it as an opportunity to do a few little studies to try a technique where you paint a painting in guache, really THICK.

Then comes the scary part... you pour waterproof ink ALL OVER IT and let it DRY!  It's a pretty freaky process.  Oh, I forgot to mention that you leave all the areas that you want to be black free of guache so the ink will adhere to the working surface rather than the paint, like everywhere else.

Then comes the Magic part!  You run tap water over the whole thing and the ink will fleck off of the painting wherever there is thick paint.  The magic of this process is in the nature of guache paint.  Because it reactivates when there is wet medium, or water, over it the ink on the paint sloughs of as the top layer of the guache painting reactivates.

You can do an entire finished painting underneath or more of an underpainting to set the stage for the finished product.  This is kind of what I did.  I did a rough, simple underpainting, did the guache-ink wash off technique, then did some refining in Photoshop. It was a really fun little painting.  It was even more fun because Jamin, my husband, and I listened to "A Princess of Mars" the first book of the John Carter of Mars series, from  We've had a lot of fun listening to them.

Before this happy resolution to this painting came a few "learning experiences."

Experience 1

This one was going to be a cute little painting, but it was not meant to be.  The paper of my illustration board was rubbing off before the ink was.  Confusing....

Experience 2

Same story, the ink wasn't magically washing off, so I stopped to preserve what I could.

After awhile I was able to carefully scrape off a lot of the ink, but it's still in process.  I learned that the problem was the ink I was using.  It was ACRYLIC ink.  Big, bad no no in the ink off process.  I'm not entirely sure why, but ye be warned!  Higgins india waterproof ink is the stuff to use.  It has been time tested by many in my acquaintance and they swear by it for this technique.  It worked on my 3rd Experience, so it made a believer out of me. :)

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