I’m not really allowed to discuss what this card means just yet. Perhaps I can come back later and elaborate. But I made this delicious peach card: it’s a peach, and a heart, and a star. Tissue paper, butcher paper, matte medium, on medium card stock. I love how the colors on the peach came out. It gives me a lot of ideas for using these materials to create other cool colors and textures.
A birthday card for Mx. Kitty, psychonaut and psychedelic researcher: a Sonoran Desert toad (Invilius alvarius) and some fly agaric (Amanita muscaria).
The toad, the mushrooms, and the grass are butcher paper; the background is tissue paper and origami paper. Everything is affixed matte medium, except the spots on the mushroom and the toad’s eyes, which are tacky glued. The black details on the toad are ink.
My friend the Coyote really likes his bike.
I made this card for his birthday because it’s hard to shop for a man who has literally everything he’s ever wanted, including this very expensive bicycle. I guess it’s pretty special, but can’t tell you anything special about it, except that it’s worth more than my car. It was easy to draw, because it figures prominently in his Facebook profile; I didn’t even have to creep around dude’s garage to get the picture. Sketched in pencil on black butcher paper, cut with scissors for the big parts and a scalpel for the details. The desert and mountains are made of layers of tissue paper (used purple with a pink overlay to get that effect on the mountains. The sky is a specialty paper left over from some other project, although I can’t seem to recall which one. The paper is bonded with matte medium, which does very interesting things to tissue paper.
This really is the nicest card.
My ridiculous heath issues have put a damper on my creative activities of late, but I have a friend whose health issues are much more serious; she had major surgery today and I decided to make her this card. Get well soon. You know.
Recently I decided that I should stop hoarding paper and just try to use it all to make art. I also have some papier-mâché I might post later, but the projects I have in mind are more complicated than just slapping colors on a balloon, and I’ve only done the preliminary steps.
As always, I see a million ways this could be a better image, but I’m only at about 50% capacity lately, so just being able to work at all was a coup.
The uncorrected proof of my comic book arrived today. I found a missing quotation mark in the text and none of the italics got set, but I think they already printed the run. No big deal; I knew there would be one typo no matter what. No one can edit themselves. It’s a gorgeous thing, this comic book, otherwise pretty perfect. But I have other feelings about it. Maybe tomorrow. I’m not ready to share yet. Besides, I couldn’t get a decent photo in the available light.
So, I was sitting at my desk searching for inspiration. Like, literally searching. I keep some weird bits in the drawers, all sorts of random tiny materials and pieces of projects, including my magic bottle from exercise 32 of The Trickster’s Hat. Some of the elements had fallen off, maybe 2 years ago, and formed a part of the whimsical detritus of the drawer that I always open in search of a working pen, but which never contains a working pen. And I decided to fix the magic bottle. Yes, I did. I fixed it. Then I improved it a little.
Which got me thinking about Nick Bantok’s method, and how he changed my mind about collage. Collage always seemed too easy to me; they’re fun to make but they don’t require as much talent as other media, in the sense that you’re taking pieces from lots of other people’s work and don’t have to create any of the elements yourself. Just discover them. But going through The Trickster’s Hat requires a lot of collage, with enough variation to demonstrate how magazine scraps can be just as basic an element as paint. Besides that, the way I make my comics is in large part a collage system, even though I redraw the lines myself.
Anyway, by the time the magic bottle was finished it was kind of late and I was still uninspired so I decided to try to create an entire comic from magazine scraps. By the time I finished cutting (old National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Atlantic pages) it was way too late to try something else. I think, given more time, I could have produced something a little more cogent, but this does say a few things. I don’t know how successful it is as a comic, but Dave McKean says that any pairing of words and images is a comic, so by that metric it’s a rousing success.
Been so caught up in comic and scrambling to figure out what to do when life leaves little time for comics that my RedBubble shop has been totally neglected. This week I also made 2 greeting cards in similar styles with different subjects for very different occasions. Giving art away is great, because it leaves you room to make more art, and with the flatbed scanner, I need never leave a new design behind. That is to say, these 2 new animal images are now available on a wide variety of fine products in my shop.
First, we have Bunnies in the Clover, in green and pink. An assortment of rabbit silhouettes meander around the cool green meadow. They look pretty adorable on this pillow, although the square products cut off designs sized for T-shirts. You can see the entire design in this print.
The second designs features a woodland creature that would happily eat the bunnies depicted in the first design. It’s the Fox in Clover, and you can see how it strikes you as a pillow, a pencil skirt, an iPad case, a poster, and plenty of other fun products.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing this week in addition to all the stuff I normally do.
Tomorrow will be a more productive day.
At last I can reveal what I’ve been doing with every free second in which I had the ability to focus during the last 10 days! It’s a mosaic collage for my sister and brother-in-law! The had a civil ceremony on Tuesday, and their big wedding is going to be tomorrow. I haven’t given them this gift yet, but I can’t imagine my sister will be spending a lot of time on the Internet the day before she gets married.
I had a bunch of other ideas for their gift, but everything fell through and making something cool was the only reasonable option. I chose a sea turtle because I know they like turtles, and a Vancouver-inspired backdrop because that’s where they live.
I started out by purchasing a bunch of origami paper and this 11×14 board. I sketch out the islands in pencil, tore up the blue paper, sketched out the turtle on notebook paper (you can see a bit of it in the upper right hand corner) and generally chose colors for things.
Using matte medium, I began to mount the squares onto the board to form a background representing mountainous islands and their reflection in the water. I used a bunch of metallic and foil papers, which don’t photograph that well, because their colors change depending on the light. I would sort of like to make a shirt out of this design, but I’m not certain how well it will translate.
Then I began the turtle. Using my original sketch, I cut out a silhouette, and then I created stencils for the individual pieces of the turtle by slowing dismantling the sketch. You can see the diminished remains of the sketch to the right. The metallic background paper is orange, with green streaks if you turn it in the light.
Here, the turtle is complete. Just the details on each flipper took about 20 minutes. The turtle itself probably took 4 or 5 hours. It wasn’t as easy to do such fine work as it used to be; my body doesn’t want to sit for that long at a stretch, and my eyes don’t want to focus on tiny details, and my hands tire easily, especially cutting small pieces like the skin texture. Now the sketch is in 50 pieces scattered all over the office.
Somehow I neglected to photograph the process for the man and woman riding the turtle, but if you scroll back up you can see them, although I wonder if their colors ought to be brighter and more contrasting. Well, like everything, I learned a lot. If I did it again, it would be different and possibly better, but there’s no way I could do this again. Maybe another animal.
So, all in all, the completed project probably took close to 20 hours. I lose track of time when I’m working. Sometimes I have to keep Netflix playing, even though I’m not watching, just so I have a way to mark the passage of time and remind me how many hours I’ve been sitting there.
Congratulate my sister on her nuptials if you know her!
The day before we left on our epic Grand Canyon adventure, I was at Target looking for things to entertain kids when a thought occurred to me. The Man doesn’t use printed maps anymore, depending entirely on his phone for directions, so I thought it would be fun for the kids to buy a state map and mark our route on it as we traveled. It could provide a sense of perspective that you don’t get from a 5.7 inch diagonal display (The Man is a fan of his ZMAX phablet).
But what would we do with this map afterward? Would its destiny be to moulder amongst other forgotten relics of road trips past?
Perhaps influenced by my Trickster’s Hat experiments, I had another idea. I saved up all the ephemera from the trip (national park handouts and such) and printed out a couple dozen photos. (When was the last time I printed out photos? Maybe 2006! We didn’t even print our wedding pictures.) Then I mounted the photos on the map.
As it turned out, there wasn’t room for the ephemera. There were empty spaces, but none big enough for the inset maps or other things. Instead, I printed out a second round of photos with small details like flowers, petroglyphs, and animals, and added them like marginalia.
Then I remarked the route, color-coding it by day so you can easily see where we drove on each leg of the journey. We were gone for 6 days, which allowed me to make the color code a rainbow. Then I bordered each photo with the corresponding color so you can easily see on which day any particular image was taken.
This project is perhaps a bit craftier (rather than artier) than the stuff I usually do. As evidence, I present this glue product. I wasn’t sure what to use, so I asked the Cat, who is an accomplished scrapbooker. She recommended this stuff, which is a very sticky glue loosely affiliated with a waxy tape. You just run the device over the thing you wish to glue and the glue transfers effortlessly from the tape to your picture, and doesn’t wrinkle the paper like some glue does.
You have to be careful because it is extremely sticky. If you run the device over a spot you’ve already gotten glue on, it can jam the works; and once you place your image, it’s pretty difficult to get it back up again, so you need to get it right the first time.
I had the map professionally framed, because it’s a weird size and there was no way I could buy a frame off the rack. Although lately I wonder if I ought to learn how to frame things myself. They mounted it and made it look quite professional, and I picked it up this afternoon. The kids loved it. The framers loved it too.
As mentioned before, this book calls for many collages. After a while they all sort of blur together and I didn’t enjoy many of the later ones. I wanted more drawing, more painting, less cutting out, less pasting.
The prompts were different, but I’m not sure the results were substantively so.
It became routine for me, to sit up at night chopping images from magazine and gluing them down.
Some of them were uplifting, but toward the end I was just phoning them in and not getting much out of the experience.
And now, for a slightly creepy interlude.
Following instructions, I turned out two slightly unnerving projects. Above, the Idyllian Summoning Fetish, exercise 24. This was another one that required me to go buy junk at Goodwill: take a doll or action figure and modify it until it’s unrecognizable as the thing it started out as. This thing used to be a Barbie doll. My husband, whose response to 99% of my art is, “Ooh, pretty,” took one look at it and said, “That’s kind of terrifying.” So, good, an emotional response. I’m thinking of sending this thing to Nick Bantock. It’s certainly too bizarre to display in my home. The exercise also instructed me to create a descriptive card, as you’d see in a museum; I connected this item back to the country in exercise 7.
The next page in the book also resulted in willful weirdness. For part one, readers are instructed to cut parts of faces out of magazines and reassemble these disparate pieces into a new face. I choose people of different ages, genders, and ethnicities and ended up with a fellow who might have some difficultly getting a date.
The second part was the same, except that the parts couldn’t be from actual faces. So, I have a man whose nose is a hook, whose eyebrows are binders, whose mustache is a forest. Overall, the results are pretty weird, but it does teach something about faces and proportion.