Cartographics color the way we see the world when we get there.

A non-exhaustive survey of art and culture in NYC, watercolor

A bit of in-progress work for a travel project— a bit of an arts and culture map via watercolor. I find it sweet and endearing. But then I would; I’ve been working on it for two weeks, and have become rather attached.

Can’t explain it in full, as it’s for a small audience, but I wanted to share just a sliver or slice of what’s been taking up some of my time and best efforts. To be repetitive, I’m so happy to be working at a place that makes use of these, the more vague or difficult to explain (on a resumé) of my talents. Overjoyed they want them, now they’ve seen the work in situ*, as it were.

NYC cartography of culture watercolor map

Continue reading “Cartographics color the way we see the world when we get there.”

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Watery interpretations of celestial superstitions

Watercolor illustration of Aquarius at the UNLast month I created more images using my watercolor paired with digital vectors technique, this time for some editorial illustrations. They were for an article suggesting things to do while in NYC based upon visitors’ astrological signs, which was published earlier this month.

These took a departure from my food illustrations, in that these form complete scenes. It was more challenging, to be sure, and I learned a lot in the process. It was also great fun, honestly, and such a pleasure to be able to create things like this at work. My watercolor half-pans have basically set up permanent camp at the office.

Be sure to check out the full article on nycgo.com— it’s cheeky and fun!
Watercolor illustration of Virgo at the TKTS booth in Times SquareWatercolor illustration of Leo at the NY Public Library
Watercolor illustration of Taurus at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Candles emitting a cadmium glow

watercolor sketch of some candlesThese candles, clad in two layers of glass, reflect and shimmer beautifully in the dim interior and caught my eye. I didn’t spend as much time truly observing them as I may have; rather did a sort of lazy caricature or symbolized portrait of them.watercolor sketch of some candles, in normal colorMy scanner has a really tough time with these new cadmium paints in my kit, so I worked in Photoshop to try to return the colors to how they look on the page, but still not really accurate.
watercolor sketch of some candles, in filtered monochrome colorDecided fuck it and went fully another way with a Nik filter, which produced the monochrome image. I learned from that. While it may be less true to the many colors in the glass, it feels truer. And looks more interesting.

Some gentle little watercolor illustrations

watercolor of a prawn

Here are some illustrations I’m working on for a project. The process involves first doing a pencil drawing of the shape, which I then scan and trace in Adobe Illustrator so I have a clean-lined vector shape. Then I print it out as just a black outline, and tape to the back of a piece of watercolor paper.

Next, I place the sandwiched sheets of paper on a lightbox, and paint with watercolor. Finally, I scan the painted pieces and use the vector shape as a clipping mask to regain the crisp edges of the original drawing.

It sounds like a long process, but it’s a wonderful way to combine the organic flow of the watercolor with the sharp lines of a vector illustration.

If I have time soon, I’ll put some process pics up here, as that probably sounds like a foreign language to anyone not familiar with the tools involved.
watercolor of parsley
watercolor of a fishwatercolor of a cuke slice and some watercress

Materials don’t make the artist, but they can hinder the art

watercolor drawings of banana peopleSome recent spreads from my sketchbook. It is not a Moleskine— I chose a knock-off for this trip, which was a little wider, and had white paper instead of the cream color of moleskines. Unfortunately, though the paper is nice and heavy, this paper lacks the clay coating or whatever it is that makes a moleskine so great for watercolor.

watercolors of NYC iconsOn these pages, the watercolor just sinks in immediately, losing its vibrance and its ability to move around, meander a bit before settling.

The only color here that is vibrant is the cadmium yellow, which is a different brand of half-pan than I’ve been working with, which is more like a gouache, really. (The red on the second spread is mixed with some of that yellow)

It lacks true transparency unless used with a lot of water. A problem, as I tend to paint over inked drawings, whose lines can get obscured beneath it.

A couple of mild disappointments— and lessons!

On messing about with the interplay of color, briefly

abstract geometric watercolor composition

Here are a couple watercolor studies I did last night involving compositions of overlapping shapes. I haven’t touched my half-pans in months, and it was nice to get out the brushes again.

These are related -somewhat- to elements of a small design system I’m in the midst of at work for an upcoming event. In particular the top one, where the colors are doing their natural combinations when overlapped.

abstract geometric watercolor composition , another

This second composition was rather a departure or experiment that, while some interesting things happened, rather collapsed the visualization of the colors’ transparency. By removing the natural order of color interplay, the whole thing flattened out altogether to the eye. There’s no reason or logic to it.

Continue reading “On messing about with the interplay of color, briefly”

Dishing on design!

"Silhouettes I Hate" sketch on fashion

This is a fun little sketch I started while watching Project Runway. It is one of few ‘reality tv’ shows I enjoy, mainly because the contestants (however manipulated, scripted, or edited out of context for drama) do actually design and create the clothing on the show. I love watching the process, and seeing the results.

Here is a repeat of half of a spread I posted several days ago, paired with a new painting that I did on the back of the same page. The markers had bled through, leaving a ghost on the obverse, and once I had the half-pans out, I couldn’t resist painting a new face over it.

 

The newest beneficiary of my catch-and-release program

watercolor painting of a goldfishI’ve been buying pond comets from the feeder tanks at pet stores for years. Because they can grow to be almost as large as koi, I only keep them for a year or two, depending on how quickly they grow. When they reach a point of becoming too large for my tank, I release them into a pond, where they can grow to their full potential.

My favorite pond for this is the beautiful koi and comet pond at the Green-Wood Cemetery, which is very near my house. Anyway, I did this drawing of the newest member in my small fish tank menagerie (which includes 3 neon tetras and a zebra neon). He is currently about the same size as the neon tetras— so tiny!

Serpentines and dots; strategic pops

watercolor and marker sketch, fashion sketchThese went through many stages, and in retrospect I  think the yellow glow in the final (below) went too far, although I sort of like the contrast it adds. But I love monochrome, and when it was all just the blues, greys and pops of red, it was stronger.

Also, with the yellow added, it lost its fine balance of negative space, because that yellow is so intense— it’s a thing! Definitely more particle than wave, as far as light goes.

It’s always about EDITING!

watercolor sketch, fashion

Some fun with fashion sketching

fashion sketch in watercolor

A little sketch I did last week; result of watching Project Runway. After inking and applying watercolor, I went in with an opaque white paint marker, in varying degrees of density. It stays wet initially, especially when you press down and get a big blob, so you can blot with cloth to make it more subtle and soft. Really fun working on this little reversed suit design.