Saturday, December 31, 2011

Semester Wrap-up Part Two

It seems I'm bound to come out of each semester with one piece of schoolwork with which I'm especially happy (if one can identify a pattern based on only two semesters). This one makes me especially happy because I struggled through this class all semester without a lot of improvement, in my opinion. Never caught on to the technique, never adapted to the short poses, never did anything in class that I liked. I was glad to see that I could apply the things that I learned to a drawing done my own way.

This assigment: create a clothed character, take all your own reference shots, and draw it in graphite or Prismacolor (including a couple of specific types of folds, but I won't get into that). I know there's not much chance that anyone's going to want a finished character drawing in graphite, but I love me some pencil, so I took this one about as far as I could go with it. My teacher recommended I try painting it in the future, maybe watercolor, we'll see. Might be fun. Here it is:

graphite on layout bond, ~13 x 14"

Unfortunately it got a little banged up in transport to and from class, but we'll try to ignore that. My awesome friend Will modeled for me (thanks again!), and was very patient with my obsessive arranging of folds and indecisiveness with the pose. He didn't know ahead of time that I was going to turn him into a dog, that was inspired a little later by my friend and classmate Annie (thanks for the idea!)

Tweeter twooter:

I've made a twitter account for art-related goodies, if anyone's interested. As I am cursed with a complete inability to think of creative names for things, it is @emilylikesart. Follow me! See photos and stuff! For those of you who know me in real life, I also have a personal account (@emilyras), which involves more nonsense and pictures of food.

That's all for now! Happy New Year, folks! Thanks for reading!

Semester Wrap-up Part One

Hoo boy, this post is overdue.

Finals from my second semester! One year down, I can't believe it. If I had an endless amount of money (and if they'd let me), I'd probably stay at this school forever trying to take all of the classes that interest me. Instead, I'm now feeling the crunch of having to pick and choose what I need to take most in the short amount of time I have left. Anyway, here's the wrap-up from Head Drawing:

A workshop drawing from the week before finals:

graphite on paper, ~14 x 16", ~2.5 hours. I think he fell asleep :)

For the last five weeks or so of the semester, we learned the very basics of oil painting. Of the five portraits I did, this is the only one I like enough to post here. Done on the last day of class, we only had the morning to paint, since we had to do critiques all afternoon.

oil on canvas, 8 x 8", ~2.5 hours

And lastly, the final: another self-portrait. I have my issues with it, but it went over surprisingly well in critique, so I was convinced to leave it alone and consider it finished. It's huuuge, so besides my dislike of drawing my own face (why do my features have to be so round?), drawing it nineteen and a half inches tall presented its own problems. Anyway, here it is:

graphite & conté on heavy cream-colored paper, 22 x 30"

I think it looks better close-up, but that's just me. I have trouble backing away from anything I draw, I always spend all my time with my nose to the paper.

Side note, does anyone know how to avoid camera distortion? You wouldn't think that taking pictures of flat, rectangular things would be so difficult.. anyway, if you have any tips, please do leave me a comment or email me at!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Short and sweet

Master copy number two: Jacob Collins' Carolina.

18x24" graphite on nice smooth cream-colored drawing paper

Looks a bit grainy in the photo, that's a shame. Based on both the drawing and the painting - there are some slight differences between the two, but it was surprisingly helpful to reference both versions. Again, a great learning experience. Mr. Collins is an incredible artist.

The end of the semester is fast approaching, so while I'll be super busy for the next three weeks hopefully I'll have some cool final projects to show for it. Back to work!


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Art of Letters

Believe it or not, this post is not about schoolwork! How exciting! You may remember that about a year and a half ago a couple of my good friends got married, and I had the pleasure of working with them on their wedding invitations. It was lovely. After the wedding, they asked me if I would write out their vows so they could put them up in their home. I was excited about the project, but as I'm sure you know, time flies and it's easy to get caught up with things like work and school. When I found myself with a free month before Fall semester, more than a year after they were married, I finally finished them! I'm very happy with the final product, and most importantly my friends like it too <3

Done in dip pen and ink with red watercolor and gold acrylic embellishments (a little hard to make out in the photo) on some nice quality natural-creme colored art paper, 16x20". Some detail shots:

This was my first experience mailing an original piece of artwork across the country, so I was nervous, but it got there safe and sound. Success! (A shout-out to a friend of mine whose how-to video I referred to when packing it for mailing: hi Kevin!)

And as you can probably tell, I'm a big fan of the hand drawn type. Here's an instagrammed sneak peek of some lettering I've been working on for a project I hope to get rolling in the next couple months..

That's it! Thanks for reading!

Some drawings and stuff

Why hello there. It's been a while, and for that I do apologize.. I'd say I've been too busy, or too stressed, but honestly it was the dreaded mid-semester slump that got me. But it's over now, so we won't even bother to talk about it!

Over the past few weeks (oh crap, it's been a whole month since my last post, hasn't it) I've built up quite a stack of drawings from my classes, and to be completely honest with you, oh faithful or randomly-stopping-by reader, I'm just too tired right now to sort through and pick out and photograph and edit and upload and write about all of the decent ones. Most of them are from my clothed figure drawing class, and to be honest most of them are not very good.. that class is a lot of short poses, though we've been getting up to 40 minutes lately, and while I think I'm getting better, none of my work for that class has been very post-worthy so I'll just skip it.

Here are some heads from head drawing class, though. We're getting some delightfully long poses in that class now. The fella with the beard was an all-day sitting, so minus lecture and demo and breaks and lunch, we got like four hours I think? Pretty nice. Numbers two and four are from workshops, so they were only ~2 1/2 hours. I can't get much done it that time, especially when working with graphite, but it's still good practice.

#1 charcoal

#2 charcoal

#3 graphite

#4 graphite

graphite on fabulous, smooth, cream-colored 80lb drawing paper

Now this last lovely lady here was a master copy homework assignment. The drawing I chose was by Tony Ryder, whose website is here. Turns out I can't find an online image of the drawing I copied, and I seem to have misplaced my scanned version (from his book An Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing) so just imagine what I drew, but way better. His work is amazing. I definitely learned a lot while doing this.. it's worth the time (this took me the better part of a weekend, so it does take some time), if you're interested in working on your drawing skills on your own, to do a master copy. I thought I wouldn't get much out of it, that it would just be like copying anything else, but nope. A great exercise.

And slightly off topic, remember those t-shirts I mentioned? Well here they are:

I think they look pretty good, no?

Thanks for stopping by! I always want to say stay classy after writing that...


Sunday, September 25, 2011

She can be taught!

Got off my bum yesterday and went to a make-up Head Drawing class. Single pose, 6 hours (minus a few breaks). I was not prepared for that. However: success! A drawing that actually sort of resembles the person who posed for it. It's a nice moment when you realize that you may actually be improving..

18x24" on overworked newsprint (gotta start bringing a few spare sheets of good quality paper to class with me), charcoal pencil and a little vine, with bonus diagrams by Han. (Have I raved about him yet? *rave* Very skilled, a great teacher. I learned a lot yesterday!)


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Little flour sack friends

They look so happy! Except for that last one.. but he'll be alright.


An assignment for clothed figure drawing, studying folds, stretch & compression, overlap, and wrap-around. Black conté crayon (and a little white) on newsprint, ~6x8 inches. I can't believe I finished these a whole day before they're due AND blogged about them! Maybe I've been replaced by a pod person. But then I'd know about it.. right?

-emily (or pod-emily)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's week 3! You know what that means..

For those of us who can't manage to post more than once a month (this guy, pointing at self, obviously), it means SCHOOLWORK DUMP!

First up: Clothed figure drawing. Six hours of awesome demos from an fantastic teacher (who makes drawing look like the easiest thing in the whole world), sketching a model in fun outfits, and frustration because a) folds are hard, b) learning to use charcoal in a new way is hard, and c) drawing is not the easiest thing in the whole world. (You can see some of my teacher's work here.)


Second: Head drawing. Starting with the bones, which seems to be a good place to begin, especially for those of us who didn't know what the hell a zygomatic arch was. Got a great teacher for this class as well.. I'm looking forward to the rest of this semester. (My head drawing teacher's art can be found here:

Our first homework assignment: skulls with labels, 18x24", charcoal pencil. (Copied from a couple diagrams.. can't claim creative ownership of these bad boys.)

And some stuff from class. Remember, your face floats around away from your cranium! Everybody's just a ball and geometric face-shape!



I swear her eyes really were this huge and far apart.

 And here's a little sneak preview for an upcoming homework assignment that I'm actually having fun with, despite being totally freaked out about it at first. Something about a teacher saying "Be creative!" always makes me nervous and shuts down the creative center of my brain for a bit. A good quality in an art student, right?

Poor little guy!
Okay, that's it. Back to homework. See ya!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hey look, a post.

Hey folks!

So it's been a quiet summer, art-wise. Life-wise, it's been one of those short, busy, mostly cloudy, what-the-hell-happened-to-my-summer summers, but I'm not complaining. Well I am, kind of. Class? Work? I miss being a kid and having no responsibilities. (You: Shut up, we all do, get to the point.)

So! A friend, I'll call him 'Danny', gave me a sketchbook last Christmas. It's been aging on my shelf since then, so I think it's ripe and ready for use. Goal: to fill it. Started out strong.. made it four pages. But still! I'm leaving it out on my desk (or maybe my floor), with pencils tucked inside, as a reminder. Thinking of adding a post-it that says 'HEY YOU LAZY DRAW SOMETHING' ..yeah, I yell at myself a lot in note form.

Anyway, here it is.

the sketchbook itself (amazing!)

studied grids and typography briefly in my summer class

what happens when I let my brain wander

copied from a Robert Longo drawing - check him out, pretty amazing charcoal work

doodles in preparation for ..something

One other random thing: I designed a logo for the Tumbleweed Wanderers a couple months back. Coming to a t-shirt near you, if you're near one of their shows. Which you should be.

made of real twigs! or rather, photos thereof. so if you saw me scrounging around at Indian Rock.. yeah, there was a reason for that.

Well, school's starting up next week, so I hope to have stuff to post on a more regular basis. And pages from the sketchbook! And maybe a couple of other personal projects that are in progress! We'll see..

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hot hot hot

My dad loves peppers. When I was a kid, whenever I traveled anywhere, my brother and I would always look for some exotic or regional hot sauce to get for him. As an avid gardener, he inevitably got into growing them, and now his backyard is filled with pepper plants. Since his birthday and Father's Day fell within three days of each other this year, I decided that instead of making him two cards, I'd make him twelve. That makes sense, right?

Don's Peppers, a selection of the varieties he's currently growing:

 Some close-up angles..


..and an overly-filtered shot of the ink drawings.

These are all under ~5x5 inches, pen and ink and watercolor on watercolor paper with some improvised text that I just made up as I went along. Originally I was going to try and laminate them or something and attach them to sticks so my dad could use them as markers in the garden - he decided he didn't want them to get messed up, so I'm working on framing them for the kitchen instead.

Thanks for checking in! I hope everyone's having a good summer.. I'm trying to get a couple more personal projects done, but an art history class and work are keeping me pretty busy, so we'll see..

Oh yeah, and everybody in the Bay Area - come out to Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason in San Francisco this weekend! I don't have a booth or anything, but I have a couple of friends who do, and it's always a good time. Lots of awesome stuff, I promise.

Renegade Craft Fair, July 9 + 10, 2011, from 11am – 7pm


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I don't know how I did this..

..but it's done. And I'm very happy with it. And if you know me, you know that I am rarely "very happy" with the things that I do. My chiaroscuro final, conté crayon, ~18x24":

I changed the hair above her face a bit, in an effort to calm down her forehead (I know, I know, I just said I was "very happy" with it..), so if any of you guys saw this in class, let me know if you think it's an improvement. I'm not sure I changed it enough, but I'm pretty worried about messing it up at this point. Anyway, I had a lot of fun in that class, besides the post-lunch energy crashes and the occasional "that's it, I can't draw" kind of days, and I think I learned a lot. Time for a new set of challenges! But first, a month to relax and work on stuff that's not assigned by a teacher. Yay!


Printing with Linoleum


One semester down, somethingmumblegrumble semesters to go! But still, one down. I'm pretty damn excited about it. Also exciting, this post is about linocut, which for some reason I'm now obsessed with, even though I learned how to do it like 9 years ago.. maybe because it's less equipment-heavy than screen printing and is easier to do in my limited workspace. Also, it's awesome. And messy. And fun. And a little bit dangerous. Ever broken an Xacto blade before? Neither had I. I'm glad I wear glasses.. just in case. (Also, don't buy the off-brand blades. Learned my lesson.)

ANYWAY. True to the open-ended nature of my illustration class, our final project assignment was to come up with an illustration project, then complete it, start to finish. The project I came up with was (of course) a fake gig poster for The Tallest Man on Earth, based on the song "The Gardner." The concept is a little direct, I know.. I started out with a more complicated idea for a triptych which I had to scale back for both practical and creative reasons. Still, I'm pretty happy with it. I decided to go with the linocut (even though our assignment was generally to use one of the media - mediums? - we had used in class: pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic) partially because I wanted an authentic distressed look, i.e. not created in Photoshop, and partially because I love printmaking and wanted to see if I could be successful in carving the linoleum - this is by far the biggest project I've ever attempted with it. Enough jabber. Photos!

A few versions of the final product:

These are all 10.5x24", printed on a couple types of paper in assorted colors (off whites, creme, blue, gray, and brown). Black block printing ink (Blick brand, I believe) for the print, and watercolor or acrylic (or both) for the embellishments. I printed 18 and they are all different.

Some process (I'm fast becoming obsessed with taking pictures..):

My final layout on tracing paper

                                         Linoleum cut to size..                ..topped with transfer paper & my layout..

 ..traced and transferred.

(This was the first time I've used transfer paper, and yeah, I know it's not entirely necessary and you can make it yourself for cheaper but maann it's handy stuff.)

Above: On the left, the design is inked in so I know exactly where to carve (can't make mistakes at this point) and on the right, after days (days! I lost the ability to bend my right index finger!) of cutting - finished!

Below: Detail shots of the finished carving.

I painted on some of the paper before printing on it, just messing around to see what might look good:

Then: printing. Presented its own problems. I don't have a baren, and was convinced I could find a substitute around the house (ended up with an old bottle that I knew would someday come in handy) and in the end it worked out pretty well.

So. All done. I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out.. and they were a lot of fun to make!

silver acrylic embellishments

Many thanks to my friend Will for being my dead guy-model and for loaning me his linocut tools!

Also, I have to mention the awesome Nick Morley, a great artist and printmaker in London. I think I spent an entire day reading his blog Linocutboy's World - I may have been in class that day, heh - and I just bought a set of lino tools from him, which arrived today! Hooray! Can't wait to use them!

Also here's the thing: I have like 10 of these left, and I really don't need them lying around here collecting dust and not being appreciated by anyone (besides me). Want one? Lemme know. Free or best offer!

That's all for my illustration class.. next up: Chiaroscuro. Short post, I promise. Thanks for reading :)