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Looking Forward, Backtracking, and a Toast Doodle

 "Drawing Words and Writing Pictures"    Exercise Week #2 

"Drawing Words and Writing Pictures"  Exercise Week #2 

I don't know where May to Now went, but let's just say this season's been a crazy one. One of high highs and low lows. I've been elected Nashville's AIGA Chapter president, completed two freelance illustration projects yet-to-be-posted, gone to Philly for a leadership conference, to San Francisco for the HOW Conference, have caught up with old friends, made tons of new friends, got a new car, and went on a 5 week sabbatical which included disconnecting from social networks (as in NO Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. Flickr and Goodreads were OK), a trip to Baltimore and DC, eating crab, a SPY museum, a week at a Create Comics workshop, a week in Montreal, POUTINE, a week at my friend's farm, catching a REAL HAWK on my arm, riding a horse, breaking my foot, time on a beach, archery, strategy games, more new friends and their subsequent stories of life and adventures, time well-spent with family, buying/reading/devouring/discovering comics and books, deep conversations, non-deep conversations, shitty French-speaking, drawing and more drawing, and SO MUCH DRIVING. And to top it all off I started August out of the gate with two cats going crazy with a serious flea infestation. Talk about a bad mom over here.

Anywho, I'm back on the internets, albeit keeping Facebook and Twitter at an arm's length. I haven't posted on here in a bit of a bit, but life is brewing under the hood. I'm working on updating this site, to push both actual illustration work and upcoming side comics/projects. I'll be back-posting work from two big freelance projects I finished prior to my sabbatical as well as posting new and exciting projects as they happen. And possibly post back-doodles and drawings from the Create Comics Workshop. 

I'll also be posting Lunchdoodles (they're coming back y'all!) and weekly exercises I've been working on with my Back Row Goblins friends (the group of fine people I met at CCS). We're staying in touch and holding each other accountable for practicing and honing our skills. 

2013 has almost half its life left and I'm gonna make more than the most of it.  

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But I'm a Fruit!

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Has it really been a month since my last Lunchdoodle? Sad. So much has been going on though! Crap tons of AIGA stuff, getting ready to head to PA on Friday FOR A WHOLE WEEK, some illustrations I worked on went live this month which I'll be posting at some point, been meeting new people and working on the 'ol social skills (definitely liking some new people more than others), gave up on the Online Dating train(wreck), got to hang out with the awesomest of all 7 month old nephews in SC a couple weeks ago, working on side illos (to be posted), joined a CSA, started running with Lauren again, been cooking and reading and living and loving life. Oh yeah, and I don't have cancer. That was kind of a big deal.

In day to day news:

• In celebration of joining a CSA I bought a juicer. I'm a little obsessed.

• My life is so full of fruits and vegetables right now. It's fantastic. But I still managed to grow a zit on the corner of my mouth. WTF body. Thirty is not equal to 16. Not by a long shot.

• Ran a mile and a half this morning (which isn't near as far as I was running a few months ago, but hey, it's more running than I can do from my bed).

• Saw TWO dead armadillos on the side of the road this morning. In the same block as the one I saw a couple weeks ago. I find this both fascinating and creepy.

• Just realized today that the movie Freaks is free to watch on Amazon Prime. You now know what my evening plans entail.

• My cats didn't throw up this morning! Yay!

It's the little things. Always love the little things.

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Lemons

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Feeling a bit like a lemon today. Trying to put on my rose colored glasses and make lemonade, but it all just tastes like powdered Country Time. Wednesday is a big day and it's looming over me like a dark cloud. And knowing that it's going to muck up the last half of the week just makes me antsier. It's only Monday and I want this week out of my life.

Also, <rant> online dating. </rant> 

But in an effort to rose-tint my day: It's beautiful outside. Crazy gorgeous. I walked to the new Subway (I've got a VIP card. NBD. Be jealous, y'all). My clients are all awesome right now. No one's complaining. My inbox is full of happy. And SPAM. But mostly happy. I have just a hint of sunburn from falling asleep in the grass with a good book yesterday. I have zero plans tonight or tomorrow so I plan on making myself extravagant dinners, taking long walks, drawing the crap out of some drawings. And maybe hop over to Crema later for a half-full (not empty) cup of something iced and caffeinated. 

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I Like Turtles

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So I don't have a lunchdoodle to post, BUT I started experimenting with coloring in Photoshop last night, which is something I don't often do. I'm also playing with how to bring in black and white line art. I've been reading through Dustin Harbin's process/how-to posts which are wonderfully helpful! His work is fantastic and I especially love his inking and coloring styles. Not to mention his humor. I've never set up work for print purposes, and have no immediate plans to do so, but feel like it could be a good skill to brush up on. This is a doodle I worked up a few weekends ago. It's based on the idea that people may push you to make decisions, be they in work, health, life, or relationships, at a faster pace than necessary. Sometimes it seems we live in a society of rabbits. While moving quickly can be the best route, other times it's ok to *not* want to be the rabbit. I like turtles.

Also, I signed up for a motion graphics course on Skillshare yesterday and signed up for an Adobe Cloud account to give After Effects a spin. Skillz on skillz on skillz yo.

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Butterflies

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I've been absent on the Lunchdoodle front lately. A lot absent. With a lot of reasons I suppose. Last week, this week, and I'm quite sure next week are leaving me with a motherload of emotions. Not little emotions either. Like a T-Rex is going to burst out of my stomach Alien-style emotions. I've spent an evening or two on my couch crying to my cats only to be smiling and laughing the next. I've run the gamut from Misery and Exhaustion (a lingering sinus infection that will. not. leave.), Fear (multiple trips to Vandy for expensive imaging, and another scary appt next week), Sadness (the death of my cousins' grandmother and the Boston marathon bombings), Delight and Giddiness (an upcoming date and the conversations that have surrounded it). It's been a bit of a whirlwind. Butterflies can't even begin to illustrate.

On top of all these feelings, I've got a calendar that is and has been packed with a TEDx conference, birthday dinner, a grill out with friends, happy hours, a concert tonight, AIGA meetings, and day to day work. Life is full right now. In all the best and worst ways. :)

And I'll be honest.. an Olympics (or two) have maybe gone by since I've been on a date with anyone. I might be more nervous and scared (but certainly more excited about) it than I am for next week's appointment. Seems Scary can come in good AND bad packaging. 

And if you've got a happy-thought or wish-for-luck to throw my way on both counts, I'd be most appreciative.

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Hold on to yer butts

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I'm taking myself out tonight to see Jurassic Park.. in 3D.. on IMAX. You have no idea my level of excitement for this. It's palpable. I will have popcorn for dinner. I will enjoy 3D glasses. And jump out of my seat at all the moments. That T-Rex is gonna be HUGE. GAH I can't wait. This is better than all the holidays rolled into one.

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Dog as King

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In celebration of Easter and in antsy anticipation of the extra guilt I'll be feeling for leaving the church this past year, I felt it would be nice to do some spiritual research. While I've officially renounced my beliefs in the J-man (that's *my* personal belief, and I'm not even beginning to think or assume that I'm right), I DO like the idea and believe that there is something out there larger than myself. Whatever name He/She/It goes by, I feel that there's a bigger energy at play. So I signed out a couple books from the library and am TRULY enjoying this book: God on Your Own : Finding A Spiritual Path Outside Religion.

The current chapter I'm on is delving into the history and concept of God as King and King as God in various religions throughout the ages. The problem is, I can't seem to read those lines without thinking "Dog as King" or "King as Dog." And let's be honest, dogs would make better deities than some I've read about, and a better kings too. 

SO a Dog King I drew. Complete with biscuit minions, a frisbee follower and a disgruntled cat. Because even with a dog for king, there's no sense in hoping for or expecting a totally peaceful nation. Meow.

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Aimes-tu ma jolie jupe jaune?

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Sort of based on a phrase from last night's french lesson. Learning colors and clothing. Won't even go into full detail of the the rabbit trail that led to this. Consists of a college memory involving a homemade yellow banana lamp, barrels of monkeys, Rhonda Wall's 3D fine arts class, and me being too naive to know what the word phallic meant. And not realizing the definition for another 3 years. I'm still embarrassed about it.

So barrels of monkeys, yellow banana lamp, yellow skirt, Duolingo french lesson, today's lunchdoodle.

What a tangled web my mind weaves.

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Too Soon

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Are you ready to ramble? Good, cause that's what's about to happen.

Today's lunchdoodle is kind of an unrelated by-product of a convo I had with my sister last night. You see, when I first moved to Nashville six years ago, I didn't know anyone. Nobody. I had one friend who, as a coworker on a small team, was kind of a default thing. And she was out of town. And this was a time when I had confidence IN SPADES. I was brimming with it. So I went out to a stand up comedy show. By myself. And sat in the front row. By myself. At a table for 4, BY MYSELF. Which proved to be golden standup material.

The opening act pointed me out in front of the whole, packed, house and asked why I was alone. Wasn't I good enough to have a boyfriend? Or regular friends? What was I, a loser or something? I explained I had only been in town for two weeks and didn't know anyone. His response, in front of everyone:

You have serious balls. I couldn't even do that.

That's right. Balls. Testicles. Cojones. I had em. Not really cause I'm a girl, but you get the idea.

The problem is, somewhere along the way, I lost those "balls." My confidence has taken several hits and I've become far too comfortable with my inner homebody. From online dating, friends moving, a boy here or there, chasing cars I'll never catch, "saving money," whatever the reasons have been, I've essentially gradually self-neutered myself. And dammit. I WANT MY HYPOTHETICAL BALLS BACK.

So that's what I'm setting out to do. Hopefully I'll meet some new people, make some new stories, or at least try some new things. And possibly create some more totally unrelated but by a thread-themed-lunchdoodles.

***Segue***

The drawing above has completely filled my lunchdoodle notebook!! Tomorrow I buy a new one. A new sketchbook. New lunchdoodles. New stories. And (re)New(ed) confidence(s).

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Levegitation

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I'm really not sure where this idea came from. ::Shrugs:: Vegetables at a slumber party playing "light as a feather," eating junk food, creepin each other out. I dunno. I can't explain what goes on in my brain sometimes.

It's Friday!  I can't focus on anything at all for no reason at all. It's gross outside and is going to be gross this whole weekend. Rainy, chilly and gloomy. I'm dog sitting for a friend which means I'll get to enjoy some QT with a large dog, but also means I'll be driving all over creation back and forth from my apt. to his. I'm equal parts excited and exhausted thinking about it. But hey, it IS the weekend, chores aside. And gosh darn it, I'm going to enjoy every rainy, dog-filled moment of it.

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Des Poissons

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I've been a little absent on the Lunchdoodle front. My apologies. I've been spending my lunchtimes either going out or reading. Sorry excuses, I know. Good news is, I only have one and a half pages left of my lunchdoodle book! Which means it's time to buy a new one. Thinking I might splurge on a watercolor Moleskine. We'll see.

In other news, I'm re-learning French on Duolingo. I studied all through high school and for a few years in college. Even made it my minor before my design class schedule suffocated all chances of taking anything else but design classes. It's been fairly easy getting back into it and my favorite are how random the practice phrases are. So many of them make zero sense, but I like that. 

A fun one I had last night was:

"Des poissons mangent du riz" or "Some fish are eating rice."

Couldn't help but draw it. I think these lessons will be providing quite a bit of lunchdoodle inspiration!

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Fruits in Suits

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I haven't lunchdoodled in a short while, but I've been doodling and drawing for sure! I just have to get to posting some stuff. This past week I decided to start working up some illustrations based on a doodle I made YEARS ago, about 2008ish or so. I started out just making them into characters in illustrator, as you can see below. I also had/have plans to work up some other fruit-themed doodles that are not in suits. 

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Yet as I got going with the Fruits in Suits, I thought it was be way more fun to work them up in the style/theme of classic movies.. particularly spy movies. A genre I'm mostly unfamiliar with, but am having a grand time getting acquainted with.

I spent a few hours working this one up today and would be lying if I said it wasn't fairly challenging. But challenging in a good way! It's fun and certainly a learning experience. I also signed up for this class on Skillshare which should help me out. Sharpen mah skillzzzz. Mad skillz. 

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Nashville Post Pt. 2

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Remember that post a few weeks ago, with the illustrations I was working on for the Nashville Post's Leadership Issue? Well they're in print! And I'm way super excited! And they turned out so nice! They were supposed to run much smaller, but I am so delighted to see them full size. I'm hoping to get a few copies to keep for myself. Maybe one to send to my folks. It's so gratifying to work on illustrations for an article outlining the history of the company I work for. Feels a little full circle-ish. To be here long enough to be part of the history (6+ years!) and then get to actually DRAW pictures celebrating that history. Feeling excited, honored, and maybe a little verklempt. 

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That's so Pigeon

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I've been slacking a little this week on Lunchdoodling. Been reading at lunch instead. I'm behind on some books and have been spending all my evenings working on freelance, so I've needed a little lunchtime change of pace. But today I'm back. With two birds of.. well.. feathers. You can't deny pigeons and ravens have very different personalities. One is seemingly bubbly and excitable. The other brooding and dark. I bet they get on each other's nerves. Ruffle each other's feathers? They're buds. Sometimes. Maybe?

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Sloth in a Bubble Bath

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This past weekend was a pretty productive one. I got about halfway through a sizable freelance project, baked and cooked a bunch, ran errands, dominated some laundry. All from the comfort of my sweatpants. Sweatpants make even the busiest weekends feel lazy. Felt very sloth-like despite being productive. My favorite slothtime activity, when I really am being lazy, are bubble baths. Sloths really miss out living up in the trees. If they were doing it right, they'd live in much closer proximity to bathtubs. Bathtubs with LOTS of bubbles.

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Best Buddies

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Went to the zoo this past weekend for both general and lunchdoodle inspiration. And just for some general sunshine-filled-zoo-going funtimes. Cause who doesn't like the zoo?? Of course, EVERY animal I encountered was my favorite. Especially any and all large cats, monkeys.

And everyone knows the best spot to scratch a cat, especially a large cat, is the base of the tail. Monkey knows what's good. He'd rather be friends than lunch.

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Jim Sherraden Sketchnotes

Have I mentioned before how great it is being a member of my local AIGA Chapter? Oh I have? Let me just say it again, Nashville's chapter is fantastic. Less than a week out from Dana Tanamachi's talk and I get to enjoy (dare I say revel in) another talk by Design Hero, Jim Sherraden of Hatch Show Print. He spoke to the history of Hatch, and how he resurrected the dying business and has kept it going all these years. The presentation was full of stories, amazing visuals (duh, Hatch Posters), much thanks, and excitement for the future. It's so refreshing to hear someone with so much love and passion, for not just his occupation in the design industry, but also for the history of letterpress itself.

Last night's presentation was the kickoff in a new AIGA series (co-hosted/sponsored by Emma) and should be the first in many inspirational, informational and downright exciting talks by local designers in Nashville. If this first round was any indication, the Nashville creative community is in for treat.. after treat!

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Ingredients

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I've been cooking a lot lately. Today's lunchdoodle represents what I hope to make tonight: homemade pizza with Guinness caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, goat cheese, and possibly roasted cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. Might be overkill, might be delicious.

I'm also hoping to blog a bit about my cooking experiments here. And am thinking of incorporating illustration more than photos. And actually designing the site a little. Could be a nice little showcase and a creative outlet free of pressure, free of clients, free of computer screens (well, the cooking/illustrating part anyway). I've attempted food blogging in the past, but focused more on baking which I do significantly less of nowadays. We'll see if this sticks. It could be fun. Or it could be a pain in the ass. 

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Buddha Brain

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I've been reading this book, The Buddha Walks into a Bar, and just love it. This is the second Buddism book I'm working through and what I love the most is every time I have something I'm thinking too much about, struggling with, or if there's just too much clutter in my headspace.. I pick up where I left off and generally find some chapter or paragraph that puts everything into perspective.

Acknowledge the crazy thoughts, the turmoil, the pull and push, and then move on. It's refreshing. Anyway, that's where my mind is at today. Working on being mindful and letting my brain take a breather in Buddha's hands.

Also, I had a surprise root beer float at lunch today. It was lovely.

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