Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 4 tops are finally quilts!

It took until late on Christmas Eve night, but I got them all finished in time. Here is a link to the previous posts that show the process of designing these. In case this is the first post you’ve read, the fabric for all four tops came in a box from an estate sale. These are the first “real” (as in functional) quilts that I’ve made. They’re lap size, about 4.5' X 6' or so. Without further ado, here is Anna with her new quilt and pillow with the fashionable ladies prancing around on the fabrics.These were a surprise for my nieces and nephew, which was fun. I almost had to give one of them held together with safety pins because time was running short. Below is Deborah with the mostly pink and white one.

That is Sarah with the groovy pink, green, and orange designs. I hear that it has instantly become her close companion for TV watching.

That reminds me, I just read a story in Consumer Reports that the “Snuggie” blankets shed handfuls of fuzz with every wash and end up threadbare. Another advantage of quilts.

Caleb’s quilt has guitars, too, plus musical notes on the backing fabric and keyboards on the binding. (He plays the cello.) This photo turned out a tad blurry, but you can see it better in the next

My husband Andy somehow took a nap amidst the cacophony of the group simultaneously playing the card game Flux and working a puzzle.

After making these simple designs with big chunks of fabric which still took quite a long time, I can’t imagine how people make the really complex blocks with a bunch of tiny pieces. More power to them, it’s back to small wall hangings for me!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My “fresh picked” calendar quilt came home

And it looks as yummy as ever. It has certainly traveled more than I have this year as one of the Quilting Arts 2010 contest winners. It has been at trade shows and appeared in quite a few ads in magazines and arrived back here in perfect condition. Thanks, Quilting Arts! The calendars are still available for the reduced price of $9.99 at the Interweave store. The July image is my Handpicked.
The theme for 2011 is “Flavor of the Month.” Yes, that means food, food, food! So, if you feel like quilting some comestibles, by all means enter. Here is the info, you just have to scroll down the page a little.

To see previous related posts, click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recoloring a stegosaur

Here are three more versions of the Kentrosaurus from yesterday’s post. I got some very helpful feedback from my colleagues at PBAA (Picture Book Artists Association), so here goes. First I did a little tail surgery, then altered his body color only, below.
Below, his outline is a dark purple color. For some reason the background colors are brighter, too. Or are they just duller above... who’s in charge here, anyway?!?
Below the line work is a brown. It doesn’t look that different from the purple, really.
The brown/purple lines seem more integrated into the overall image, the black line stands out more... not sure which version I like, actually.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Prehistoric illustration style... opinions needed!

I’ve been working for eons on a children’s book about prehistoric life. Okay, for months and months. The dummy is finally more or less finished after some major revisions, so great... we’ll show it to a paleontologist to avoid any boneheaded errors, then on to the art. Speaking of errors, it’s difficult when the reference books don’t agree on basic terminology. Eohippus? Hyracotherium? Protorohippus? C‘mon guys, the little horses are important, let’s stick to one name already. This is as bad as the whole Pluto-isn’t-a-planet thing. (Just kidding, I’m aware that naming organisms can get complicated.)

Anyway, the first art sample is below, a Tiktaalik trying to decide whether it’s worth the struggle to flop around on land to go after some creepy-crawlies. Or maybe he’s just gazing wistfully and resolving to sign up for some legs.
(Hmmm... a mysterious line has appeared on the two images below... just ignore it, please. I would redo the images, but have managed to lose one version due to one of those “Save As“ snafus.)

I’ve been thinking that the above style is okay but not that dynamic. So below is a stegosaur (Kentrosaurus) rendered with a bolder black line. Better? Worse? Either is okay?
Of course, the fabulous thing about Photoshop is the ability to play with different color schemes, thus using up the time saved (if any) by using digital media. Either color version looks pretty good to me. I'm going to try having more black laced through the entire image to see how that looks. This is just a part of a page, maybe a third of it.
All of the line art and the plant shapes were done in Illustrator with the blob brush. This previous post goes into detail about the blob brush. Then the paths were pasted into Photoshop, filled, colored, and textured. BTW, the texture in the grass is from a photo of reindeer moss. Wonder if reindeer moss had evolved by the Jurassic Period? Or grass for that matter? I do know the reindeer hadn’t!

Friday, December 4, 2009

My inspiration book

Like many artists, I keep images for reference and creative stimulation. One way of doing it is to keep a clip file, which consists of tossing the photos, drawings, etc. into a file folder. Though that works for some very specific projects, for my general collection of mostly catalog and magazine images, a more organized arrangement is more, well... inspiring!

A large binder with page protectors is the basic book. The images are pasted on paper with a glue stick on both sides, then into the page protectors they go. The binder is divided into categories using standard tab dividers. Below are some pages from the Fabric section. While these are clothes, I‘m primarily interested in the color combinations and the patterning on the cloth.
There’s a Jewelry section and a separate Bead section. Every time I look at these, I want to make one.
There’s a Knit & Crochet section, Ceramics, 2-D Art, and several more categories. Hey, at least all these ridiculous catalogs they send me get some use! (I have cut down on the onslaught by registering with, which has helped. It’s an endless battle, though.)
The book is getting pretty full, may have to subdivide. Of course there’s a whole digital clip file on my computer that is getting vaster by the day. Then there are the bookmarked web pages, the blog subscriptions, my bookshelves, the library books...