Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stone Arch Bridge Drawings

I am thrilled to be asked to illustrate the poster for this summer's Stone Arch Bridge Festival. It takes place Father's Day Weekend every year and attracts thousands of people along the Mississippi River near its namesake. Well, the poster is due by the end of February so going out to take reference shots was challenging. There's deep snow up to Gold Medal Park by the Guthrie to get a shot, more snow down the river road, bitter winds on the bridge itself and the steps down to the river were closed for the season. Hmmm. It took three trips.

So I ended up doing sketches incorporating bridge angles I liked, trying to bring in part of St. Anthony Main, considered the train that once traveled on it back in the days of the flour mills, and also the energy of the river itself. I couldn't get down to the river so I created an alternative view. We illustrators can tweak reality.  I wanted something a little dramatic, majestic and with a flow to it. I made a ton of sketches, refined them, narrowed it down and presented two concepts. They picked one and made one change to remove the train and have people walking, biking and running on the bridge.  So this past week I've been building the layers of my drawing on the computer and trying different color palettes. It's almost done!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Home Sweet Home for My Poppy Rugs
My Poppy rugs have a wonderful new home at Erehwon Retreat  in Tampa, Florida. The proprietor, Henry Young, emailed me about his interest for my rugs for his restored bungalow and cottage he rents to guests. He wondered if they would work outside under the covered porch in front of the door.  I mentioned that I was giving mine the 'Minnesota Winter Test' and that it was doing well in the elements. Turns out, Henry had lived in Minneapolis and was involved with The Guthrie Theater. What a nice connection!

I looked at the website and was so happy to see the two homes and read more about Erehwon Retreat and view the pictures, video and see the current Tampa temperature. Well, it looks very inviting for a winter weary Minnesotan.  You must check out the link to see the gardens, too!  The yard features native Florida plants that look spectacular. I love that they use native plants.  It certainly follows many of the Arts & Crafts philosophies.

After receiving my shipment, Henry kindly photographed my rug at the front door. This is just how I imagined my rugs to be used when I designed them. I'm so happy they went to such a wonderful home.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Creating Cross Overs

One of my goals has been to expand my designs to other categories.  This shows how my Dandelion art looks on a card, a print and fabric.  My illustrations have always been first printed on cards.  I create my pencil design, scan it into my Mac and redraw everything in layers and choose color palettes.  I experiment with layout, cropping, colors and then put it into my card format for A2 envelope size. I print them out and get the colors I like before committing them to a printer for the card line.

Then I take the design and create an 8x 10" giclee print on fine art paper.  I love the rich flat ink produced by the professional printer and how it almost resembles a silk screen.  They have a richness that regular digital printers on regular stock can't compete with.  Sometimes the colors do change a little between the two different printers but not a lot.

The next step has been to take the image, create a pattern and submit a digital file of it to Spoonflower for fabric. I'm still learning how big to make the repeat, seeing how colors print differently and on the different fabrics from cotton to linen to upholstery fabric. Can't you picture dandelion deck pillows made from this fabric?

I haven't made a dandelion design rug yet but that would be the next cross over.  It would make a fun summer rug, don't you think?  It's great fun to be a 'surface designer' as the business calls it when you create designs for different products from the same base art.