Sunday, May 30, 2010

Art Jealousy: Oksana Badrak

Ok, it's way late but I had to share this. Oksana Badrak's work clicked with me. It's gorgeous. Worth a look. I'm always a sucker for animals doing human activities or dressed in human clothes. I love this artist's juxtaposition of realistic images with graphic elements.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Duho Studios

I found these wood panels the other day at Dick Blick. (Sorry about the tininess of the photos. See bigger photos here.)

I am in LOVE.

These panels are made of exotic hardwoods from all over the world. Obviously they are a little pricey but so PRETTY.


Duho makes 5 varieties, but these are my favorites:


Purple Heart.

Zebra Wood.

I could come up with projects utilizing these panels until the cows come home. Dick Blick says they're great for painting, but it seems a shame to paint over them completely, they're so stunning. If I could ever afford to buy them, I'd get them in the biggest size and then I'd do something minimal to allow the beauty of the wood to show through. I love the idea of some type of landscape in silhouette, leaving the sky empty for the wood. Or an intricate abstract cutout. Like I said, I could go on and on.

Excuse me while I go swoon some more.

Things you never needed (or wanted) to know about me.

1. Favorite foods: Mexican, green nectarines, Ruffles.
2. Worst scent ever: lavender, or boiled chicken giblets.
3. Music of choice: Top 40. And I don't care who knows it. I am no longer ashamed. That's what happens when a) you're me, and b) you visit countries where discos are still cool.
5. Favorite color: Robin's egg blue and brown with a dash of red or pink thrown in. I guess that's more like a favorite color scheme.
6. Top 3 things I draw in my sketch book: Circles, animals, and paisley.
7. I wish I were good at: Figure drawing, pattern making, and cleaning the toilet without triggering my gag reflex.
8. Most hated food: Melon, any kind, anywhere.
9. Embarrassing moment: Once in college my skirt rode up under my backpack and I accidentally flashed my granny panties at a car full of boys. I was clear across the street before I realized why they were all smiling at me.
10. Character flaws: Fastidious, perfectionist, whiny, not finishing projects.
11. Strengths: Kind, creative, hardworking.


Today, THIS happened.

It made me very angry.

I was mad as soon as I opened the oven door and saw my ruined loaves of bread.

Then I tried prying them out of the pan and I knew my bread making project had spiraled down into a complete mess.

To make things worse, I'm not really even sure what went wrong.


Doesn't it just stink when you put a lot of time into something and in the end it doesn't work out?

Yeah. Yeah, it does.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Brought to you by the freak letter J

OK, OK, I know I'm not going in alphabetical order. I'm sorry, it's just the way my freak mind works. Some of these monograms really get me stuck (letter C, I'm looking at you!) so I just go with the funnest ones first. It's just better that way.

Here's J:

I debated on even posting this one because it's still a work in progress and the color scheme is needing a redo. That said, I think this letter is turning out pretty fun. I like the chunky paisley it's got going on. I think now it's just deciding how to treat the color. Should I go bright and bold, or should I go a more neutral route to combat all the shapes it's got going? Hmmm. I'll sleep on it.

But you know, the problem with sleeping on problems-for me-is that the solutions come when I'm on the verge of sleep and way too lazy to get up and put it on paper. Or else my brain gets hyperactive and I have bizarre dreams. Last night I dreamed that my parents' neighbor's child went missing and I finally found him laying on a bale of hay on the top of a haystack in a large shed with pigeons roosting in it. His eyes were glazed over and he was all limp. Suddenly I realized he'd been brainwashed by aliens and it was up to me to de-brainwash him. Then I woke up. The whole thing was very freaky.

ANYWAY. The letter J. How did that turn into a discussion of my dreams? I told you I had a freak brain.

In the meantime I know you'll be in suspense to find out what I decide to do with this letter.


Art Jealousy: Jim Tierney

I have a big list of illustrators' and designers' websites bookmarked for times when I feel uninspired or bored. One of the people on my list is Jim Tierney. He did an awesome set of Jules Verne book jackets for a senior thesis. I seriously wish these books were for sale because I want them just to be able to look at them. They're beautiful!

To see the rest of Tierney's project and more, here's the link. It's worth a click.

To Tell the Truth

My husband Josh has a blog now, too! We enjoy watching movies together and Josh likes sharing his opinions on what he watches. I love reading what he thinks about the stuff we watch! He's pretty hilarious, actually.

His first post was Arachnophobia... I think the one coming up will be Mr. Wrong.

He's funny. Check him out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brought to you by the letter A

This is another work in progress. I've been wanting to try hand lettering for a while now. I've been working on the whole alphabet, I'm just about 1/3 done with it. Hand lettering is actually a lot more fun than I expected. It is quite a process; this A has been through several sketches and refinements to get it to this point, but the perfectionist in me likes to nitpick every line and angle.

I don't know the "right" way to go about hand lettering. I knew I didn't want to base my letters off any existing fonts. I started with a small thumbnail sketch. Then I scanned it into the computer and drew it with the pen tool in Illustrator. Next, I printed it out and did my refinements by hand, scanned it back, and repeated the process a few more times.

When I'm setting type, I prefer more blocky fonts like Rockwell but I find that I enjoy drawing letters in a more scripty feminine style.

My goal is to finish this alphabet and end up with a bunch of different monograms! It will be a slow process because I can't bring myself to draw letters all the time. Gotta come up for air. I'll probably have another letter up in a week or so!


Short and sweet today after yesterday's typography rant.

Here's a little drawing I did just for fun. I think I'll add color digitally; it should look pretty neat when it's done. I'm still up in the air about which colors to use. Right now I'm thinking some variation of red and yellow. I have this weird mental block that won't allow me to use cool colors for roses or hearts, so it's been a challenge for me to come up with a warm color combo to use on this.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Five Deadly Type Sins Everyone Should Avoid

1. Over-used, Over-tired Fonts

Choose something else. Anything else. Please. Anything but these three fonts.
Do it for the good of mankind.

Instead of:

You could try:

Instead of:

You could try:

Instead of:

You could try:

2.Stretching Type

This is another thing that a lot of people do. They might not realize that resizing the type by using handles instead of changing the font size can lead to distortion of the type. It’s not pretty.

3.Using decorative type in text blocks.

Ever tried to read a paragraph set in 12 point script? It’s headache-inducing, and if you want someone to read what you’ve written, you won’t do it.

4.Using too many different fonts.

You might want to get attention. This isn’t a good way. Choose only two—at most, three—fonts, and you’ll be much better off.


This is like yelling. What did your mommy always teach you about yelling? Use your inside voice.

Now, if you're wondering how you can avoid these type faux pas, here’s a handy little guide. Apply these steps to your posters or flyers and they will look professional and grab attention without being overwhelming.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Take a look at this.

There is a lot going on.

Here’s the sketch. Much more toned down.

My whole goal with this blog is to provide myself with some sort of forum to expose my “art” (for lack of a better word—I don’t really consider what I do to be ART art.) to the world. It’s been a while since I’ve flexed my creative muscles, and now that I’m married with a baby, it’s a little hard to get out on a regular basis. Plus we are a 45-minute drive from civilization. So I need somewhere to air out the musty corners of my brain.

If I were still in college I would have had critique to rely on. If you don’t know anything about critique, I’ll fill you in a little bit. It’s basically where everyone in the class presents an image, usually part of an assignment, for the rest of the students to discuss. Critique can be brutal. Once I saw a professor take a student’s work from the wall and throw it in the trash, then turn around and tell the student that a career in art wasn’t for them. Ouch. It never happened to me, thank goodness—I probably would have died of embarrassment.

The good thing about critique is that people point out things that you may not have noticed yourself. Even the act of talking to others about your own work helps improve it. Hence the existence of this blog.
So, let’s talk about this thing.

Please excuse the drip of wet glue. Obviously I haven't finished this thing yet.

By the way, the scans and photos I took of this thing really don’t do justice to how incredibly bright the colors are. It’s acrylic paint on paper and canvas.

Now, for the things I like.

The colors are vibrant. The composition is basically successful, in my opinion. I love the way the water turned out.

And not so great:

1. It’s on canvas. I think this would have been way better on hardboard or even just paper.

2. The clouds are weird. I can’t even really put my finger on it. I think they are just too contrasting with the sky or something. Too much white. I don’t know. Originally I thought the white would provide a nice break from all the color but with all the squiggly lines, I think they just compete too much with everything else that’s
going on.

3. Obviously I did NO editing of the color WHATSOEVER. I have a bit of an explanation. Literally just a few minutes before I had gone to the art supply store and found a tube of silver paint. Then I found a tube of MAGENTA paint and of COURSE I had to try them both out. The silver paint turned out really hard to control. I love the magenta, though.

Anyway, I wish I had just picked at least one thing and toned it down. It could have been making the sky all one muted color, making the whales not so silver, or even doing away with the layering effect of the waves, but I kind of liked that.

That said, maybe the saccharine brightness of this whole thing suits some people and I think that this piece could even be cute in a kid’s room.

There’s my little critique of myself. It feels good to know that nobody can rip this off my wall and stuff it in the trash. And I don't mean to break your heart but I've got to end this because my boy just woke up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Personal Stuff. And Poop. Also, I am Very Mature.

Hi. My name is Jessichka. Well, my REAL name is Jessica but Jessichka is a nickname I got during the world travels of my single days and it’s sort of stuck with me. This is me:
To explain about the origins of this blog, we’ve got to go back to a conversation I had with my husband Josh a while ago. It went something like this:

Me: Hey, hon. I think I’m going to start a blog.

Josh: A BLOG? What for?

Me: I dunno… to blog about… things? And stuff?

Josh: What stuff? (He is very patient with my wishy-washy weirdness)

Me: Uh, I was thinking I could blog about, like, my art and my creative interests and stuff like that.

Josh: Oh, OK. Cool. Just don’t blog about personal things like the giant corn flake you found in your cereal bowl three years ago and what your baby’s poop looked like this morning. That’s dumb.

Me: OK. I promise not to blog about baby poo or giant corn flakes... Well, maybe not giant corn flakes but I definitely promise not to blog about baby poo.

Josh: All right. Sounds good then. Go for it.

This is my husband:

I’m in there too, but let’s ignore that for a while and focus on my husband. He is amazing. Pretty good looking, too. But that isn’t the best part. He’s an awesome guy. And I know I’m not supposed to write about personal stuff, BUT…

I just have to tell about this real quick.

Real quick, OK? (To my husband--I’m sorry, sweetie. I can’t help it.)

My husband wants one of these.

He wants it bad. Real bad. So bad he looks at the picture of it at least once a day.
But this is the guy who bought me a computer instead of his 3D Big Screen Man TV of Awesomeness.

Also, this is the guy who put up with THIS. FOR 8 MONTHS.

This is my stink eye face. Yes, he dealt with this for the better part of a year. Poor dude.

You can’t tell in this picture, but I was pregnant when it was taken. My husband put up with 8 months of whining, bawling, moaning, emotional breakdowns, french fry binges, crying, orneriness, mood swings, and raging hormones. It was a long 8 months.

This is also the guy who gets up with our baby in the middle of the night when I’ve had a long day and want to sleep. Then he gets up in the morning and goes to a thankless job, which he is very good at so that I can stay home with our boy. And sometimes he makes me dinner. Yep, I love my husband to death.

You know who I also love to death?

This guy.

He didn’t always look like this.

Once he looked like this:

He came a month early. He stayed in the hospital for two weeks. It was hard. Really hard. We were blessed, though. It could have been much worse.

We would never trade our little monkey for the whole world. Now, our boy is a perfect, healthy, happy, roly-poly baby.

And that’s me in a nutshell.

I once had an English teacher who forced us to read the biography of every author we read. He said it would help us understand why that person wrote what they wrote. And you know what? It totally did. So now I’m forcing you to hear about my life. I still don’t know if it will help anyone understand anything about my idiosyncrasies, but it’s worth a shot.

But mainly, this blog won’t be about personal stuff.

I think.

I hope.

Maybe. We’ll see. But I’m pretty much almost 99.99999% sure that I will not put up any posts about baby poop. Or regular poop. Cow poop might pop up here and there, though. You never know.

Anyway, later on I’ll try to offer an explanation for what happened here:

So don’t get scared off yet, OK? You haven’t seen the half of it!

No, literally. You haven't seen half of this whale masterpiece so you'll have to check back to see the rest of it.