Thursday, April 28, 2011

Patience is a virtue.

And yet, all I want to do is curl up in front of the TV out of the crazy rainy weather here in Toronto. Maybe watch a royal wedding. I am totally looking forward to the Will and Kate nuptials tomorrow morning, who's kidding who. 

On to what's been on the to do list and what is left to do. As I mentioned in prior posts, I've been hand painting shoes for job. Though it was a time consuming and exhausting job I had an amazing time actually painting. I often need to work fast and have the wonder of Photoshop to fall back on if I smudge up an illustration. In opposite fashion I took my time and exercised patience to make sure that the shoe art fit what the art director needed. Removing the "rush" aspect of the process also removed the "frustration" part of it. I felt calm and confident. I learned to adapt my painting style to work on the bumpy surface to create readable images. I'm happy with the way all five shoes turned out and I can't wait to share the whole finished product with you when it comes out.  Until then, you'll have to make due with these shots.

 I have been working on roughs for another illustration job (on paper) and have used the same care to come up with concepts for it. This weekend I will be working on the finals this weekend and will be taking the time to make them perfect. 

I am really pumped that I'm starting to make some income on my Mondays. I am bound and determined to keep up the momentum. I have loads of applications for various things out in the atmosphere and am definitely using patience while waiting for responses. Of course, the minute I hear anything at all it will be all over this blog. 

I'm grateful that my friends are being patient while waiting for their long overdue Christmas presents. I am working on them now and will get them completed before Mothers' Day. Here's a little preview to prove my progress.

It's getting late and I have an early morning of wedding watching ahead of me. Off to bed I go. Nighty night!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Claire Loves... Jillian Tamaki.

Mornin', folks!

This is a quickie post, as I have to head out to the vet in mere minutes. I just wanted to share an amazing find I made over the weekend. It isn't, in fact, Jillian Tamaki as you would assume from the title of this post. I've known of and admired the work of one of Canada's best illustrator's for a long time. Seriously. I want an empire like her's one day. Anyway, Jillian recently had the COOLEST illustration gig I have ever heard of. She was commissioned by Penguin Books to create classic book covers using embroidery. I know... FREAKING EMBROIDERY!! 

From Jillian Tamaki Sketchblog
I have professed my love of all things embroidery since I first started this blog. Jillian's handiwork blows my mind from a technical and creative standpoint. The variety of stitches alone makes me want to pull out my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches and get learning!

From Jillian Tamaki Sketchblog
There are three in the series (Black Beauty as well) and they hit the book stores in the Fall. I am happy for the early sneak peek, but will have a hard time waiting to purchase them. I highly recommend checking out Jillians sketchblog to read all about the process of making these gems and her illustration site to check out the other amazing things she does. As I type and look at these covers it takes my breath away. It's definitely inspiring me to work on my own embroidery more. For now though, I have a kitty waiting to have her stitches removed and three more running shoes to paint (the client must have liked the first one!). 


Monday, April 11, 2011

A little rain won't kill you.

It's Monday again! Every week that passes by I look forward to my Mondays working at home more and more. 

Spring has finally arrived in Toronto, thank goodness. Though there have been a few beautiful sunny days, as with any April there has been some showery days too. Yesterday morning was one of them, and I took the time to start up a painting that I sketched out a few weeks ago. It was meant to be for an art show themed around the weather. I missed out on the submission deadline for the show, but I thought I would channel what was happening outside into my rainy day painting. 

I just finished it up this afternoon. It's called Rain That Comes in Sideways. For some reason I've been looking for a reason to paint up some seagulls and here was a perfect chance. I may not love the rain, but I love the things that come along with rain. Rubber boots, umbrellas, puddles, and splishy splashy birds.
 Of course, like clockwork, my little lady came around for her glamour shot. She's getting dynamic with her posing, sitting up on two legs. Update from last week: Ramona did indeed get a spay (notice the beautiful cone) but Ronaldo and I couldn't go through with the de-clawing. I guess I can look forward to lots of scratch marks in the future.
 I actually based the painting on a frame I had finished last summer. I think it suits it perfectly. I will be bringing it in to a local framer soon to be professionally framed. I will be starting to re-finish frames again now that the weather is starting to improve. I've already found a potential solution to my wind problems from last year. I'll share it with you once I've tested it out.
I'm going back to the drawing board for the rest of this afternoon. It's time to start conceptualizing more paintings and products to create! Enjoy your spring showers!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pillow talk.

Happy Monday! It's a rainy day here in Toronto- the perfect kind of day to be stuck inside working on loads of projects. It's exactly what I am doing today! I had some corrections to make on a map of the world I am illustrating for a kids book. Though only a map, not too creative, it's my first piece to be published in a real life book and I'm as pleased as punch. I will break the news of it's release right here so stay tuned. 

My second project of the day that I've wrapped up is a Christmas present. Yes. I know it's April. I still have a few more presents to finish. I'm hoping to be finished with all of them before the midway point of the year. This is when I really should get started on Christmas 2011 gifts if I want to actually finish them on time. Sheesh. 

Anyway, the present that I finished today is for a pretty important girl- Leanna. Without Leanna I would never have survived a year of back and forth to Mississauga. Not only does she bubble over with positive attitude and is an awesome friend. She also has the car that takes me on my daily trip to the 9-5 office. She deserves an extra special present. So I made her a set of hand embroidered pillows!

The process of making these pillows was, in conception, quite easy. In actual manufacturing, it was much more time consuming. I changed my mind a million times on colours, design, and made mistakes. Lessons learned from this experience: first, the only way I can trust the embroidery floss colour codes is if I keep them organized. Second, is that if I'm blindly trusting the colour codes I should always embroider in the daylight. It would have saved me a bit of time in re-doing if I had followed these two. Third is that I should measure twice, cut once. Or design twice, do once in this instance. When I decided that the mustard yellow I was using was ruining everything it was after I had already added it to both pillow tops. Definitely should have thought that one out beforehand. At the end of the day (or three months in this case) I ended up with a couple of beautiful pillows that I think will look lovely in Leanna's home.  
The last stitch/ behind the scenes
I swear that my little lady Ramona thinks she is trying out for America's Next Top Kitty Model every time I get out the camera. I went to set up the pillows for a shot and look who decides to sneak her way in. I decided not to fight it and let her have her way. Tomorrow she goes in to be spayed and de-clawed (I know- "BOO", "HISS", but you haven't seen my hands or couch) and she is princess for the day.
Look at how she smiles with her eyes.
Here they are on a couch. This was my first experience making pillows and I would totally do it again. Only I'd do it better.
Finally, some catless shots. 

It's my Claire Monday today, and I was sent a job earlier this morning that is pretty amazing. I'm to sure if I can expose the project just yet, but I will say that it's for a charity ad and I get to paint a running shoe for it! The shoe is being couriered to me this afternoon. I'm hoping to get a few more items checked off my to do list before it arrives, so back to work for me. 

Hope you like the pillows!