Category Archives: Paper Goods

Bigfoot breakthrough

This is a post I’m excited about, because it marks a new way of working for me.  This summer I’m working away from screen printing supplies, and so am exploring new ways of making art.

I’ve been wondering how I should make color a more important part of my work, because for the past few years my drawings, painting and screen prints have been mostly about the line work.  Any color was there to add interest or define areas, but it was always a second thought, after the form was established through line.

I also caught myself believing that I had to stick to one way of working throughout the whole piece.  For example, if I started painting with a brush, I couldn’t break out a pen for little detailed parts- I had to soldier through with the brush even if it meant screwing up the whole thing.  Or that my pencil sketch had to be erased completely away and had no part in the final drawing- ridiculous stuff like that was sucking the life out of my art work.

All that to say, I’m pretty pumped about experimenting and exploring, and I’m liking what I’m discovering.  It’s interesting, too, because I’m drawing illustrations for a textbook at the same time I’m doing all this other experimenting, and those illustrations are grayscale pen and ink.  Moving back and forth between styles is challenging and frustrating and makes me wonder if I should be doing something different to “assert” my style in the textbook drawings.  Hopefully it will all help me find myself as an illustrator blah blah blah…

If I’m ever able to reconcile my natural loose line style with my desire to draw complex, detailed, narrative drawings, then I will be genius.  Or, as I learned recently from a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, HAVE a genius.  Apparently in the time of the Romans, people thought that creativity came to a person in the form of a genius, sort of like a muse.  People weren’t geniuses; anything fantastic they did was a gift that was bestowed to them.  It takes the pressure for greatness away.

So anyway, my muse visited the other day, and recently my muse has looked an awful lot like Bigfoot.  I’ve been reading a book called Sasquatch:  Legend Meets Science and listening to interesting people talk on the Coast to Coast AM radio show.  (I could fill a blog with the stuff I learn on Coast to Coast.)   There will be many posts concerning Bigfoot in the future, so get excited.

What’s this guy’s story?  Jilted in love?  Lost a friend?  Just lonely hiding out in the forest away from prying eyes?  You tell me.

2 Comments

Filed under Paper Goods

Augusta Market Poster

(click to see larger)

At the end of last summer, Brooke commissioned me to paint a poster for the Augusta Farmer’s Market.  Here’s the premise she wanted:  Digger the Otter (who is the mascot for the market.  I hear they have a guy in an otter suit walking around these days) is a fun-loving, family-friendly party animal who loves scampering around the river and pal-ing around with the market goers.  HOWEVER, there is this mischievous beaver named BLOCKER who DAMS things.  He ruins all Digger’s happy plans and is always lurking around looking for ways to cause mayhem.  Then she was like….”And maybe there could be a beaver in an otter suit….”

Well, I didn’t take it that far.  I’m not sure I could tell the difference between a real otter and a beaver in an otter suit. But I did want to capture the exciting feeling of community at the market, as well as the diversity of the vendors.  It was fun imagining all the characters and figuring out how to fit them into the space.  Oh, and that’s me on the right selling bread!

One of the main focal points at the market is the big fountain that explodes into the air in the middle of the square.  It looks like its coming out of a thing like the metal cages cities build for their trashcans.  Kids play around it all summer, and I feature Digger here flying high on the fountain with a lemonade in his hand.  Blocker is lurking below, plotting, no doubt.

watercolor and pen

4 Comments

Filed under Paper Goods, poster

Kari and Chris Invites

Kari’s wedding invitations were such a pleasure to work on.  She wanted an illustrated, screen printed invite that would reflect her and Chris’ personalities and interests.  She told me a bit about herself and her fiancé, and then I got to dream up whatever I wanted!  Here is one of the initial sketches I sent her, the one she liked the best.  You can see how it became the final illustration.

The added challenge of working with one color only made it that much more fun and I’m quite pleased with the results.  I really like the look of the wildflowers, and I’m going to make some more patterned work in that style.

Even more fun was the fact that I got to hand-deliver the screen printed invites to Kari in Durham when I was there visiting a friend.  I loved getting to meet her and watch her open the package of invites.  I’m excited for her to marry Chris this weekend and start their new life together!

I screen printed the invites on kraft paper, and Kari stuffed them in kraft paper envelopes.   It was a laid-back look that suites the day they have planned.

I took the pictures of the invitations on the deck of the cottage, which, as I have mentioned, is a dome-home.  It’s completely awesome to be living here this summer!  I want it to get a little warmer, though, because the water is frigid, and I haven’t ventured farther into the lake than an exploratory slap at the water.

Later that day, I watched a huge storm roll down the lake.  The sudden violence of the wind and rain was stunning, and awesome to watch from the warmth of the living room.

1 Comment

Filed under Invitations, Paper Goods, Weddings

Aurora + William Sage Green Wedding Invitations

Aurora was my first bride from abroad!  She was so easy to work with, even though we live on different continents.  She gave me such lovely details about her wedding vision that I was able to design these sage green, art-deco informed wedding invitations that we both love.

I’m just starting to recover from the INSANITY last week.  Not only was it Master’s Golf Tournament week here in Augusta, it marked the beginning of a lot of changes for our little family of two.  More details to come on that front.

I didn’t have the energy to think or move after baking at the restaurant  11pm-8am every night…but it was pretty fulfilling to stock the dessert case every day and come back that night to find it empty.   We even had a famous golfer come eat at the restaurant.  I think it was Greg Norman (the “Shark”)(?).  He signed a bunch of menus for people.  When they told me about it, I was like, “…Who?  Is he famous?”  For living in a golf crazed town, I know nothing about golf.  I would like to keep it that way, too.

I knew it was time for a day off when, on my 6th night in a row working that craziness, I looked down and realized I was wearing two different shoes.

I designed a monogram that I printed on the backs of all the envelopes, and I really like how it pulls the whole invitation suite together.

Probably the most time consuming part of the whole process was mixing the ink color exactly right.  The ink always looks a lot lighter in the jar than it comes out on the paper, especially after it dries.  So I’d mix ink, print the image, rinse out the screen, wait for the ink to dry, compare it to the photoshop file I sent Aurora, sigh in frustration,  mix more ink, make sure the screen was dry and print again.   Usually I don’t have an exact color I’m trying to match,  I just fiddle with the color until I think it looks good.  I tried using interior house paint for awhile for this reason, because I could just pick out a precise color from a sample paper and have the hardware store mix it, but the paint always ended up drying (permanently) in my screen.  I’ve heard of mixing floetrol or other substances with the ouse paint to keep it from drying in the screen, but I haven’t been able to find it locally.  If any readers out there have experience with this, I’d love some advice.

Anyway, it was worth it, I’m happy with the results!

The RSVP card featured a little illustration of a serene cow and a peaceful fish.  I guess they don’t realize they’re going to be eaten by ravenous wedding guests.

I always have fun when hand-lettering takes center stage.  Thanks Aurora, for letting me be a part of your wedding celebration!

4 Comments

Filed under Invitations, Paper Goods, Weddings

New Batch of Bookplates

We’re in Blacksburg, VA for the weekend for Leah’s surprise birthday party.   I gave her the amazing cookbook Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce, and a whole slew of bookplates.   It’s a great excuse to bake delicious pastries and  breakfast items all in the name of good health- the recipes all use different whole grains like buckwheat, spelt, amaranth, oats and whole wheat.

These are some of the new bookplates I’ve added to my etsy shop.  They give any book a touch of class.  They’d be a great gift to give kids or adults along with a favorite book.

Personally, I won’t let any of my books out of the house without one.

For a town of Blacksburg’s size, it has a FANTASTIC food scene, and tons of options for local and exotic foods.  Really, for a town of any size, the choices are impressive.  This morning Leah and I made a delicious tour of the town that included,

Oasis, where I got several varieties of thai curry pastes, palm sugar, lemongrass and cherry lambic beer (to use with my new ice cream book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home!)

Annie Kay’s, soooo many whole food options, and grind your own peanut butter.

The Chocolate Spike, absolutely one of my favorite stops.  I always get the dark chocolate ginger bark and the aztec gold truffles.  Really, one of the best chocolate shops I’ve ever been to.

Farmer’s Market, not quite hopping this time of year, but we got some delicious homemade chai tea.  Can’t wait for April for the market to get in full swing.

Bollo’s, pretty much my favorite coffee shop. Home of delicious muffins and scones, and the famous Oat Fudge Bar.

We didn’t make it to Gillie’s this morning, but it is also a favorite.

…and Tractor Supply Co, where I was THISCLOSE to buy a little chick for $2.49.  Not sure why I hesitated, but it’s probably best I did considering that our little house is in our landlord’s back yard and he might not appreciated the sudden appearance of a chicken coop next to his motorcycle shed.  Someday, someday soon I will have a little flock of chickens, and a goat and a rabbit and a whole menagerie of functional pets.

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Paper Goods

Whale Submarine!

Check out this never-before-seen glimpse of the inner workings of whales and the men who man them!

Ok so you’ve seen this before, but I’m here to tell you that the screen printed version is now available for purchase in my etsy shop!

Each whale is so large it had to be printed in three sections with three different screens.  The paper measures 26″x40.”  The whales took over my kitchen table and then the whole living room!

I’ll compile a few ways people display it in another post, but it fits in a 27″x40″ poster frame which you can get for pretty cheap.  The top and bottom deckled edge of the paper show a little bit if you go this route.  I really like the way mine looks, cut out and mounted on foam core.  If you don’t want to frame it or cut it out, you can use clips to hang it on the wall like above.  I’m also planning on printing some more sometime with wavy blue lines around them like the whale men in the calendar (January).

I really loved drawing this cutaway, and I plan to do more like it in the future.  I want to make more and more complicated drawings of scenarios and people and places that no one has ever seen in real life.    I imagined what these whale men would do and think, shut up inside the whale like sailors on a submarine.  A few thoughts:  The captain is a little overwhelmed; he’s very capable but this is his first captain gig and he’s a bit afraid of the rest of the men.  So he stows away in his office a lot.  The crew is furious that they are being served squid for the 100th consecutive day, and the cook (who does the best he can) is pretty hot-headed himself.  The one guy that likes squid is trying not to draw attention to himself while still enjoying his meal.  A famous composer/conductor was talked into coming on this voyage and has whipped these sailors into shape- they now make the most beautiful whale sounds in the sea.

I hope these prints find a home somewhere where people stand around thinking and talking about the stories that they see in the whale.

7 Comments

Filed under Paper Goods, poster

Screen Print Bookplates

You can purchase the items featured in this post in my etsy shop.

Books and me…we go way back.  My mom loves to tell me about when I was three and she was pregnant with my little brother; twice a week we’d go to the library and stagger home with massive stacks of books.  We’d snuggle on the couch together and read all day until we both succumbed to the inexorable pull of the mid-afternoon sleep.

Now, books are my favorite thing to give and receive.  Eric is always begging me to remember that right down the street there’s a library that gives away books for free.  Libraries ARE awesome, but there’s nothing like cracking open a book so fresh that it keeps trying to slam closed on you.  There’s nothing like writing your name inside that front cover, or on a bookplate, as the case may be.

Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea of bookplates.  I’ve made a few that I’ll share with you now, but there are so many more to come.  I started with a loopy cursive one for my friend Susan, who loves books too.  I made another version of this for my mother, too.  I know they’ll put them to good use.

I went a little nuts with there.  I got so excited about the many different paper/ink color combinations, that I made them  enough bookplates to last them the rest of their lives.  They’ll have no fear of book snatchers or cases of ownership mistaken identity.

I also made Susan this snarky mermaid bookplate.

Her version had her name in blue coming out of the water at the bottom of the print.

For my brother, who now that he’s out of college explains to us that “he reads” when we ask what he’s doing with his time, I made a little version of him.  He’s cosy in a library armchair, complete with glasses and cowlick…though I’ve never seen him wear a bow tie.

His version has his full name printed at the bottom.

And finally,  the last one I’ve made so far is this image of people dancing around the fire in the woods at night.

I think a bookplate can make any book into an heirloom.  It definitely elevates it somehow, when you care enough to label it this way.  Any book given as a gift gets like, ten more gift points if it includes personalized bookplates as well.

And finally, a confession: occasionally when someone lends me a book i think subconsciously, “Well, they’re not asking for it back, they must not care about it. I better just keep it til they ask.”  Rude, right?  Really, they probably just forgot who they lent it to.  I do that so much that I’ve started making people sign my books out on a notepad posted on my book shelf. But I think the solution really lies in…BOOKPLATES.

Check back for more bookplates soon, and in the meantime, wander on over to Etsy to see the latest additions to my shop.

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Paper Goods