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All posts for the month March, 2016

The End

Published March 29, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

EDIT: Ahhh! I totally forgot to include the picture I took of that double page illustration I was working on in my last post after I colored it! Here it is:

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I know it’s just an oddly cropped photo and I have gotten a real scan of this since, but I’m only going to post the oddly cropped one for now to leave the rest of it a secret. Ok, back to your regularly scheduled post below!

Over the end of the past week and weekend I got a few new little things started and one big thing finished. Due to the usual bummer time constraints of last week I didn’t really get any of the projects I was working at Trader Joe’s finished, but I got at least one of them off to a good start. I’m working on a few large drawings of anthropomorphic dessert foods to (believe it or not) replace some of the older large drawings of anthropomorphic dessert foods that are on the side of the freezer case. The old desserts were drawn by another artist before me and a lot of them are of seasonal or discontinued products, so I’m just supposed to just freshen it up a bit with some new illustrations. On Friday I started on some macarons.

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I loved using that muted pastel color palette. When I ever get back to illustrating my very first children’s book story about Pinky Dandy I definitely want to use colors like that for the book.

Speaking of my children’s book work, on Saturday night I went to Comix Thing with Martyn and some friends who were sharing his table at the event. He sold a lot of buttons, and I walked around for a while and was inspired by the variety of printed indie comics, books, and zines at all the tables, as well as some other artwork and merchandise that people were selling. It made me look forward to the day when I can sell my own finished books at an event like that. I also sketched a little while we were there.

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It’s meant to be my same character, Krampus Kringle, as an adult. For some reason he kind of reminds me of Nicholas Cage in that drawing. Here’s the sketch I did later of my other character, Kris Kringle, all grown up. This one is more self-explanatory.

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The reason I decided to figure out what they would both look like older is because on the last page of my children’s book, the page that will say THE END, there is going to be a final illustration of them many years later working as partners. The drawing is based on this relatively well-known image from an antique postcard of St. Nicholas and Krampus.

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I had seen so many Krampus postcards before I ever saw that one in particular. I even own a book that’s a collection of Victorian Krampus artwork. It was that very image, however, that first got me to wondering why in the world those two dudes would be such good friends. Usually friends share a lot of common interests, unless of course their friendship goes way, way back…to their early childhood even. I’ve even seen a couple of vintage postcards where Krampus is riding a motorcycle and Santa is in his sidecar! So basically in seeing them so happy and oddly well-acquainted with each other, I came to the conclusion that they just had to be siblings…and that is pretty much exactly how I first came up with the idea for my story.

Here is my version of the postcard:

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Martyn said that older Krampus looks like Morrissey, which I guess I can see…it’s the silver streaks in the hair. I drew this on red paper with the same black flair felt tip pens and colored pencils (black, white, metallic gold, and a little bit of peach/skin tone.) It looked to me as if that’s probably how the original postcard was drawn. It was really hard to see it while I was drawing under the desk lamp because the pencil, especially the gold, is super reflective. I’m just glad that it scanned ok.

I’m going to hand letter THE END in that same German storybook style calligraphy that’s on the original postcard. Now I’ve just got to do illustrations for the book covers, the title page, and the dedication page!

 

 

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My Three Jobs

Published March 23, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

So I was just going to do another illustration in progress post when I realized that I also have a few cool work in progress photos from my other two jobs. The week before last was the release of the March Fearless Flyer at Trader Joe’s. I usually have very little emotional attachment for the artwork I create at T.J.’s because it’s often so strictly regulated, overdone, and such a long shot from any of the subjects that I would willingly choose to illustrate. Also, due to the frequent impossible time restraints I sometimes either have to crank out something of substandard quality that I would never bother to post here or anywhere else, cut out lots of artwork and original ideas entirely, or just finish the Flyer artwork a week after the Flyer has already landed. This past week was the latter but at least it afforded me enough extra time to actually make some things that I could be proud of.

March is the Spring Flyer so I wanted to make some kind of visual reference to blooming flowers. St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are both this month so I also wanted to sneak in some clover and pastel, Spring-y colors. The boss wanted us to include this Victorian clip art dude from the front page of the Flyer.

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I don’t know why he is a goose-stepping scuba diver with riding pants or what that has to do with springtime…maybe a reference to a certain song from The Producers? Whatever this dude’s problem is, I did my very best to incorporate him into the seasonal theme on the template I made for all of the Flyer shelf signs.

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I redrew him in that same black and white woodcut style and colored in the rest of the template in an attempt to create that whole colorizing effect they used in Wizard of Oz and Pleasantville…like he’s bringing back color and life to the landscape with his scuba diving riding wizard staff. For some reason, something about this seems very post-apocalyptic to me.

Later I also designed a big sign of the same weird dude to hang in the entrance of the store. Here’s my thumbnail sketch:

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Here’s what the final sign ended up looking like. You probably can’t tell from the photo but the guy is somewhat 3-D and pops out from the background.

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Then, as if I hadn’t drawn that stupid guy enough, I also made a chalkboard sign for the entrance of the store. This time I only drew his helmet to mix it up a bit and suggest that maybe he eventually perished in said post-apocalyptic world and was returned to nature.

March to Value Chalkboard

Today I was working on a thumbnail sketch for my next big sign project. It was requested that I just make a giant garlic clove to point to the often overlooked crushed garlic in the frozen section. This will be interesting. So far I’ve drawn a Victorian garlic clove hot air balloon since this company really loves its nonsensical Victorian clip art. I might even donate one of the plastic garlic cloves that I have at home in my craft supplies to use as part of the anchor. Yes, I do have a bag full of plastic garlic cloves at home. You really can find anything at SCRAP PDX.

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After my last shift of the week at Trader Joe’s on Friday I went over to the Vine Gogh painting studio in Sellwood so that Paul could teach me the painting I would be teaching on Sunday. In case you didn’t realize, my second job is teaching part-time as an art instructor.

A little backstory: After six years of working five days/forty hours a week at Trader Joe’s while I struggled to complete my own artwork and serious portfolio stuff on the side, I had a major mental and psychical burnout. I came to the realization that I no longer saw T.J.’s as my desired long-term career, but as just a job to pay the bills and keep me afloat as I work hard on becoming who I actually wanted to be when I grow up. To this day I am still struggling to work all of that out, but my decision to cut back at T.J.’s from five days a week to four days a week at the end of last year has so far proven to be one of the best that I have ever made. At first I was terrified of the pay cut and of the possibility of losing our health insurance, so I made sure that I still worked the minimum 30 hours required to qualify for insurance each week and I found a second job to use as my financial safety net. I had never really thought of teaching art before I started teaching at Vine Gogh–but as it turns out, not only am I really good at it, but I also really love doing it. It’s a pretty fulfilling feeling when someone over the age of 60 tells you that they have never painted before in their entire life and that you have just taught them something that they wish they had known all along…and given them enough confidence in themselves to finally give it a try. After my class on Sunday a woman slipped me an extra twenty buck tip and personally thanked me for being such a big help. I’m pretty sure that I have never gotten that kind of appreciation at my day job before!

I teach these painting classes at art studios in Sellwood and in Tigard. Each class is only about three hours long, so whenever I teach on the weekend I usually still have the rest of that day to work on my own artwork. Both studios have a bar, so people will attend the classes as a social outing, order drinks, and then create a painting as I break it down for them step by step, Bob Ross style. Right now they’re building a second studio right next door to the one in Tigard called Vincent’s Loft. It’s going to have turn of the century, steampunk kinda decor and offer classes other than the usual acrylic paintings on canvas. We’ve been throwing around ideas of me teaching illustration classes, cartooning and caricature, other mediums like watercolor, colored pencil, and pen and ink, and even polymer clay sculpture. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to turn out…it’s just really nice to have something to look forward to again!

The work in progress pictures I have from the painting classes actually aren’t of me or my painting. I just took these photos of Paul in action when he was teaching me one of his own paintings on a small canvas so that I could teach it on Sunday. I guess you could say that they’re more like my notes than anything, but it’s cool to see how he busted this quickie version of it out in like ten minutes.

This is the painting that he was teaching me, Mountain Lake:

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Here’s him working in the same sequence that I later used to teach this painting.

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Note: This is the point where, when I was teaching this painting, everyone took a drink break and let the background dry.

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Additional Note: That highlight on the mountains is a total Bob Ross palette knife technique that we modified for an acrylic paint brush. This is probably the most Bob Ross painting I’ve taught so far.

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Happy trees.

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That’s it! Seriously, this whole thing only took him about ten minutes. It took me just under three hours to teach it (on bigger canvases than this, though.)

So Vine Gogh has been a very good thing for me so far. Although a second job generally means more work, I feel that it has actually allowed me more time to work on my third, last, and most important “job” that I have–making my children’s book. I really have been treating this more like a job than ever lately because that is what I want this to eventually become. I no longer want to be stuck in this place where I have to rely on doing something that I find boring for the majority of my time in order to make a living, and as a result am forced to treat my own artwork and true passions as just a cute hobby whenever I can get to them. I’ve devoted most of my life up to this point to becoming a serious working artist with my art as my main profession, so I’m still just doing whatever I can to shift things around until I can finally feel like I have achieved that goal. It’s been a very interesting ride so far.

Here’s some few work in progress photos from my latest pages.

The pencil drawing. This photo is cropped oddly but you can see about where the center fold of the book would be (it’s going to be a double page spread.)

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Inked over the pencil:

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Pencil lines erased:

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I hope to either finish the coloring on this tonight or come really dang close to it. I will then have pages 30-31 out of 32 completed! After that I will only have the cover, title page, and dedication page art left to go (and formatting all the text…but at least I will have some help with that part!) Yup. Takin’ names.

 

 

An Opportunity Lost/The Show Must Go On

Published March 16, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I have been avoiding my blog for a little while because I’ve been feeling really down lately. I tried writing about all of the reasons for my latest despondency last night…I think I got close to 2,000 words but then like some kind of emo kid I decided not to post it after all. It felt good to get it all out of my system, so perhaps I knew all along that it was really more for that purpose than for anything else. After all, this blog is meant to be about my works in progress, not so much about the things that occasionally threaten to hold me back.

One of the major things that happened to me over the past week that I will mention here briefly is that I was finally offered that dream job that I have been wishing for since I was fresh out of college. Then after several days of pure excitement over what I believed was going to be the beginning of a new, highly anticipated, and much happier chapter in my life, I was forced to decline said dream job over petty money issues that are all completely out of my control at the moment. I had full support from my family, friends, and even my boss, but in the end I realized that my hands were tied financially and that I would not be able accept the amazing opportunity. The timing just wasn’t right. Between my husband still trying to find his way at his newish job with the magazine and as a DJ, our rent suddenly skyrocketing almost immediately after I decided cut back from five days to four days at Trader Joe’s in order to teach painting classes and work on my book, and us still in the midst of trying to purchase our first home, there were just too many unknown and potentially volatile factors for me to add on one more thing to the pile. Because of all of this I have found myself pretty locked into the role of having to be the stable and reliable one…at least for a little while longer until we can figure a few of these things out and let the dust settle a bit.

So although this was a completely crushing blow for me when it happened, I’ve just been trying my best to keep my hopes up for any more opportunities that may come along in the future. I also haven’t stopped working on my book. An interesting discovery that I made while I was working on my last illustration is that when you are very depressed, it is unusually difficult to draw a happy facial expression. Every smile tends to look like a sneer or pained like it’s being forced for a photo. I definitely had that problem for the first time while drawing Kris in the image below. It took some serious working out, but I think I fixed it well enough. A tired looking smile still makes sense on Christmas morning.

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I actually am already working on the coloring of the illustration after this one, which I plan on finishing tonight. I might not post the next one in sequential order though because I don’t want to give away the ending.

 

 

 

Leap Day Victory and a Newer New Tattoo

Published March 2, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Here’s just a quickie follow up from my last post. I will make another more informative post at a later, not-so-distant time.

I finished that illustration I was working on last week. Thanks to Leap Day I was still able to accomplish my personal goal of completing it by the end of February, even though I had totally forgotten about Leap Day so maybe that’s cheating. Whatever, I’ll still take it.

Here’s the finished scan:

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Also, I got ANOTHER new tattoo from Sarah Crosley at Oddball Tattoo. It’s of a Brian Froud goblin, Flootsim the belly button lint nabber from the book “Goblins!” I swear that I’ve had the tattoo appointment for several weeks and that I didn’t just get this to suck up to any certain workshop-teaching people, but it is a funny coincidence.

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