Monday, February 23, 2009

Bookmark Art

I thought I would share an idea that was passed along to me by a fellow artist.
As a way of marketing my art, I've created bookmarks that I give out at shows, to my students, to friends and family members, or anyone who shows an interest in my art. I think that it's a better way to advertise than business cards since most everyone reads books and, let's face it, business cards usually get lost or end up in the trash.
People seem to like the idea, and it's a little different from what they would usually expect. Since I'm scaling down the size, and not using the entire image, the viewer gets a small sampling of the whole piece - just a little bit of a tease.
I take a scanned image of my artwork and crop it down to bookmark size in my photo manipulation program. I use Roxio Creator and Corel Draw, but any photo program would work for a simple project like this.
After I make any adjustments to color or exposure, I copy the image several times to fill a standard size paper. I then make prints onto heavy, cardstock paper and cut out each bookmark with an x-acto knife.
On the back of the bookmark, I put one of those sticky back return labels with the kind of information that you would normally see on a business card - my name, email address, and other contact information.
If you decide to try this, I suggest you use several different images of your artwork. I've found that people like to pick out a favorite.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

EDM #166 - Draw a fish

This is one of those sketches that I would like to eventually make into a larger, colored pencil piece. It was fun to do and I love the movement - to me, it says that this fish is alive.
I teach a class on animal portraits in colored pencils, and this is one of the ideas that I try to emphasize to my students. Putting a living creature - animal, plant, or human - in their natural setting, gives the viewer a 'story' to follow.
If I had drawn this little guy as a side view, I think he would appear flat and lifeless. By putting this fish in water, and capturing that moment of leaping up to, what - finding an insect for breakfast, escaping a fisherman's hook, or maybe it's to impress that cute female fish that's swimming just outside of the picture?
That's the beauty of this - it can be any of these things and viewers get to make it their own personal experience that way. By capturing their attention with this natural movement, you're inviting them to create their own story. It doesn't matter to anyone how I saw it when I created it - that's my own personal experience. And that's one of the things I love about being an artist!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Insect Art

This illustration was done about five years ago and is one of my favorites. It's part of a Scientific Illustration grouping that I did of four beetles drawn larger than life. It sold in a show put on by the colored pencil group that I belong to - the man told me that he was buying it as a birthday present for his wife, a scientist who fell in love with it.
I love drawing detail and I think animals are a fascinating subject to study and learn to draw. I mostly use photos that I've taken at zoos or museums since it's hard to find animals that will sit still long enough to draw them.
But since photos can make things look flat, I also use toy animals - those small, plastic, molded ones. Some have a lot of detail and it's helpful to see your subject in a three dimensional form. I can even set up little scenes this way, change the lighting, and design the composition. And, to be honest - I get to play as well!
This was done in colored pencil on Stonehenge paper.

Friday, February 6, 2009

EDM #44 - Draw an animal

Meet my dog, Joe. He's a 10-year-old mixed breed that we call "The Dog of the Universe", cause he's just a great guy. Joe's a special member of our family and I really enjoyed doing his portrait.
Have you ever noticed that some of your best drawings are someone, or something that is meaningful to you? I know that I put a lot into this drawing because he's very special to me - I just love him. I think it shows in the finished artwork when you're drawing something that doesn't interest you - there's something missing but you can't quite figure it out.
My students frequently ask me about subject matter - they say that they don't know what to draw. I tell them to draw something they have strong feelings about - draw something that is meaningful to them. It seems to work every time - and I can see it in their work. I think it also gives you more incentive and motivation because you're connected to the work on a deeper level. Try it and see if you can feel the difference.
Joe was lovingly done in soft pastels.

Monday, February 2, 2009

EDM #20 - Draw something "Dad"

This drawing challenge was especially meaningful to me because I lost my father to lung cancer two years ago - he was only 69 years old. This eagle is for him.
I’ve had a difficult time adjusting to life without him, and I feel that this drawing is honoring what he meant to me. He had a collection of eagle statues and plaques - gifts from his family because we knew he felt a strong connection to this bird. To him, the eagle represented strength, courage, and respect for the country that he loved. He retired from the Navy many years ago, but he was always a sailor, and a good man.
My mother passed away 20 years ago - he never remarried and was dedicated to the five children he helped raise - a promise I’m sure he made to her. I miss his words of encouragement, and his unconditional love - but I carry with me all he taught me, and how much he gave to me. This one’s for my father, with love.