Saturday, September 29, 2012

Picture Story: summer flight

Have I mentioned the calendar? Yeah, that thing. Well, because I'd rather be frantically cleaning the house the week before Christmas (not), I'm trying to stave off the possibility that I will also be trying to frantically finish the calendar graphics (which inevitably end up in sarahkdesigns or sunshinesight).

Anyway: 1 illustration complete as of this weekend! (just imagine that confetti and balloons fell from the ceiling)

I get out of the habit of drawing, I mean sort of. The sketchbook is ever present in my bag, as are the pencils and the pencil sharpener. But sometimes the sketches are for one of those projects that I'll get around to finishing someday... and then, of course, there are all the ideas for future projects and thumbnail sketches and half conceived ideas. 
So, since I'm one of those people who gifts art and makes my own greeting cards, certain holidays compel me to make things. I did these for Father's day (click here). Now, those 2 bluebirds were something I had actually drawn for some illustration that never quite materialized, but they ended up here in this picture. Anyway, I decided I could enlarge them and color in some details to make them 5X7 pictures — that I could give to my father for father's day... and when I was working on them — it occurred to me that it would be cool to use my bird drawings — enlarge them and reprint and recolor or over-render them and convert them into 5X7 bird prints... and then I got busy with cleaning and ninety degree weather (and probably watching tv and sleeping and going to work) — and well, someday I'll get around to that project, right?

But, working on these did rekindle my ongoing love of working with colored pencils. Don't get me wrong, I still love my digital photos and the magic of photoshop, but I can draw, very well, thank you.

So, one day while I was on break at work I sketched out a group of poppies and decided they needed snails — because I like snails... and then when I decided to use that sketch for the calendar — I decided it also needed some birds: bluebirds. Now, I had drawn these bluebirds way back in 2008:
 ...and I was never thrilled with how I illustrated them at the very last minute. So, "bluebirds & tulips" became one of those forgotten / not-so-good illustrations that exists on a file as a PSD, but otherwise is lost somewhere in the catalog of my work. It's a perfunctory illustration, but it isn't stellar... but I thought of it when I wanted to add birds to my poppies & snails picture.

 As usual, I scanned my sketch of the poppies, printed it as a blue page, inked the blue page, and scanned that into photoshop where after some editing it became this:
I printed the image (sans blue background) to color over with prismacolors.
 Now, while I was working on coloring that print-out, I was also working on fixing those bluebirds in flight that I illustrated back in 2008. In the mean time, it occurred to me that my Father's birthday was coming up — and I needed a gift. So, re-doing the bluebirds served 2 purposes: my new illustration & a gift. Because for the purposes of my calendar graphics — all I need is a scan of the picture I have made, someone else can have the original framed and hanging on a wall.
So, I copied the layer with the bluebirds from the original file, enlarged them, blurred over and edited out some details, and printed out an image that I could color over:
 And in the mean time I colored the poppies as well. I scanned both of those pictures into the computer, and after some editing — put them together in a file with some layers derived from my photos of the sky and portions of scans of my abstract acrylic paintings. So, it's finished:
And now it's time to get to work on the next picture ; )

Saturday, September 22, 2012

busy busy busy...

So, it's September now.  And it's a mere 3 months before Christmas.  So, that means that it's time to start working on the calendar. Yes, I am that relative that makes a calendar as a catchall gift for all my relatives every year... I've been doing it since at least 2005.
 Every calendar is as different as it is the same.  After making them for 3 or 4 years I finally figured out how to transfer some of the parts from one year to the next — like the grids and changing the dates — since I do the whole thing in photoshop instead of just coming up with the graphics and sending them off to a printer and paying an arm and a leg to have them made — something which kind of entirely defeats the point of giving out a homemade gift.  At the core, I am a thrifty gifter. Enjoy your socks, eventually you'll need them...
 Anyway, at some point in time I need to know that my 12 illustrations are chugging along the trail of progress.  Since I use the same technique for all 12 — I've found it useful to make myself a schedule — to know that I have 12 illustrations sketched out, that the sketches are scanned and printed as blue pages which will then be inked, the inked drawings will be scanned back in and a PSD file will be created where I fill in the file; I may need to print that out and color over the fills and scan it back in, and eventually, the thing becomes a completed illustration...
But really, everything starts out as a sketch, or as multiple sketches that will be combined via the magic of photoshop:

I drew this one while getting an oil change...

 Sometimes sketches that were done for other purposes get sucked into the calendar graphics project, and they get converted into

 Sometimes I forget that I used a sketch last year and just use it again...
 And sometimes something that was drawn for last year's calendar didn't get completed in time, so there it sits waiting for the next year...

And then blue pages get inked:

So, if I'm not sleeping or at work, then I'm probably sitting somewhere coloring a drawing or at the computer moving pixels around on the screen. But this year, I will not be finishing everything at the last minute. It doesn't mean I'll be enjoying my December, just that I won't be hastily completing pictures.
; )

Have you started your holiday preparations yet?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Where have I been?

It is apparently exceptionally easy to get out of the habit of blogging. Probably because blogging is kind of hard. I mean, if I went out and took fabulous beautiful photos every week and spent a lot of time on "social media" making nice with everyone else - then people would visit here and leave nice comments.  Or if I was famous - well, I imagine that simply helps — assuming it's like good famous and not D-level reality tv also ran famous or something.  If I was into fashion — you know, I guess that's what the young ladies do... except that just not my thing.

So, I'm guilty of not blogging here and I do openly admit that not writing anything and just posting a something on tumblr seems to be a lot easier. That and tumblr is searchable so random people have a greater chance of finding your content. 

But anyway, it's September because I dropped off somewhere in August. It would be nice if I had some story or pictures about some fabulous vacation. But I don't. I didn't go anywhere. I was somehow busy between work and life and home.  There was a lot of overtime (aka 6 day work weeks), and some home drama. The latter I should have probably not mentioned, because apparently it's an unmentionable thing. It's not a divorce or domestic incident or fire or natural disaster, and no one is injured or ill or fired or boozing it up or anything particularly interesting... it's one of those dumb things that apparently you're never supposed to speak of. And I know this because I have mentioned it casually to a number of people that I know and they look at me as if I just told them that so-in-so is (insert scandalous thing). 

Let's just say that in the month of August, as I have been doing in very small increments for the past year, there was a sudden burst of cleaning... because someone seems to have a little problem parting ways with things that ought to be thrown away. Before there were tv shows we just called it the Mess. There's less of it now. There may have been some words exchanged and some strained faces every time Wednesday rolled around. And I may have gone on clandestine missions and snuck garbage bags out of the house, but there ought to be a clear path to the fuse box. And we are no longer not throwing out junk mail, because that was some moronic bullshit. If I am writing out a check every couple of months for the garbage man to come take away 3 bags of trash every week, then, 3 bags of trash are going to leave every week until I run out of stuff that needs to go.
Otherwise, in another 10 years we would have qualified for an episode of one of those shows, although we don't have any cats or rats or insect problems... although someone may be crushed to death someday by totes of craft supplies.

It's difficult to explain to non-relatives how there have been arguments and hurt feelings and dirty looks over throwing away empty shampoo bottles and milk jugs and  plastic bags.

So, that was August: work, cleaning, and exhaustion. Also, it was still too frigging hot.
And now it's September.
Anyway, I have been drawing and writing on and off when I'm not trying to catch up on sleep or think of how to better organize the thousands of things we have in this house... and one of the things that I endeavored upon was a new etsy account. Yeah, I know, like I really need another one.
esotericSarah — my photography will be slowly matriculating there because I actually opened the account with a completely different intention, and maybe, just like I thought last year - I'll get back on track with that project in January when my schedule clears out...
I laugh as I type that. But all the cleaning that I did in the month of August and throughout the past year was a bit of a journey in an attempt to live a happier, neater, better life; with some level or organization and planning. So, while I may look back on my summer and recall it being too hot to do anything and spending a lot of time with a the vacuum cleaner and a spray bottle of cleaning fluid - it was a path towards a more functional home and a more functional home life, where things get put away and there's a place to put things that we actually use.

Plus, I have 12 pictures to draw in less than 3 months. Eek! Good thing I have most of them sketched...
Hope everyone had a good summer!