Roughing It

Art imitating life

One thing I love about camping is that you have to "rough it." You may not shower for a couple of days and nobody around you even seems to mind. You throw any leftover food into a big skillet and something super yummy is served for dinner. You find hiking around on a trail and turning over rocks very interesting because you never know what you will find.

It's all a big, dirty experiment. That's the fun part.

To me, that's also what's fun about art. You paint and draw and you sometimes don't care (or even know) what the outcome is going to be. As I thought about why Instagram is so much fun for me, I realized that I really like to see how others work. I must be some sort of stalker because I really want to see others' processes. Does anyone besides me make mistakes? How do rough drawings translate into finished works?

So I scrapped my previous blog. Because anyone who subscribes to my newsletter will get first peeks into finished projects every couple of weeks anyway. It's a little boring for me to duplicate my news everywhere.

Unfinished will be where I put my works in progress. Sometimes I will follow up with how they turn out. Sometimes I won't. I'm not making this a place for more deadlines. It will be where I post my muddy experiments and give a glimpse at my imperfections. Because I am full of them.

This also takes a lot of my WIP off of my Instagram, because a very wise woman once told me that (for better or worse) art directors will judge my portfolio from the nine little squares they see at a glance. Most will never scroll. So that's a little tip now from me to you. (Also, if you are an artist trying to promote yourself on IG, limit your personal stuff up there, too).

This week, It just so happens that I am working on a camping project. Because it was something I loved so much as a child.

Getting started with bears, tents, and forest greens.

Getting started with bears, tents, and forest greens.

I start a project with paint (either watercolor or gouache.) This page of icons began with a brown bear, but I wasn't loving it. So I switched to painting with black gouache. That will give me flexibility for switching up colors. So I will keep drawing and then scan everything in and convert it to vector. (And that brown bear will have to go gray scale so that I can re-color him if I decide to keep him.) It's all basically one big experiment.

When you are illustrating for surface, you can start by just drawing wonderful little things that make you happy. It's called a "mini" and it is something I learned from taking illustration classes from the wonderful Lilla Rogers. I do love editorial illustration, too, but on an early Sunday, sometimes I like to just draw for fun.

I am still using Adobe CS3, which makes converting to vector very easy. I have heard that the newer versions of Creative Suite have bungled this feature, so I am really dreading the subscription version that I know I will need to move to when my laptop dies.

So that's my Sunday this Memorial weekend. Hope you are enjoying your day!