Friday, May 20, 2011

Product Prototypes... and Why You Need to Read Your Printer Manual

Part of my final for Decorative Illustration was to create prototypes for all of the products I have designed throughout the semester. It was a lot of work cutting all of the greeting cards by hand, and it made me grateful that if I ever do this as a job, the companies will have proper printing and laser cutting equipment to deal with all that so I can stick to the designing and let a machine do the manufacturing.

T-Shirt Design:

Birthday Card Prototypes:

Baby Birth Card:



Holiday Card (just a fun extra to go along with the paper placemat and napkin coordinates):

Paper Gift Box:

Lesson Learned: Know your printer! I rarely used my inkjet printer in the past because I thought it was broken. There was horizontal banding in all of my prints, and realigning and cleaning the print heads and nozzles wasn't fixing the problem. It wasn't until I reviewed all of the printer settings that I realized my printer defaults to "speed" instead of "quality" for all prints. Once I switched it to "quality," all of my prints turned out beautifully with no gaps! 

St. Basil's Cathedral... and a Tip for Traveling Artists

For the final project for my Decorative Illustration class, I created a paper box. It is a little gift box that someone might get in a souvenir shop.

My design was inspired by a trip I took to Russia last year- I used photos I took at Red Square in Moscow for reference. For the bottom of the box, I made a collage from scanned images of tickets that I had saved from places I visited in Moscow and around the Kremlin and Red Square.

Here is the box design template:

And here is the printed box prototype:

Lesson Learned: When taking photos of your travels, don't leave out the details! I took a couple of standard tourist shots of the outside of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, but I also took dozens of pictures of the details in the paintings and patterns inside. The tourist shots are great for my photo album, but those photos of the little details that caught my attention have served as a great source of inspiration for me when it comes to color and pattern design in my illustrations.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saris, Patterns, The Princess and The Pea... and Tips for Setting Your Story in a Foreign Land

For the final project for my Children's Book Illustration class, we had to choose any story and plan a 32-page picture book illustrating the full text. I chose the classic fairytale The Princess and the Pea.

 I decided to set the story in India, since I love the look of the palaces there and the thought of illustrating an Indian princess just seemed so beautiful to me. I really love the colors of Indian textiles and jewelry and wanted to be able to work with that in my illustrations too.

Now, I have a full book dummy of rough sketches and text layout for a 32-page book, and two completed interior illustrations plus a cover illustration! This was such a fun project and an incredible class- I can't wait to take Advanced Children's Book Illustration in the fall!!

Here is the cover:

One double-page spread:

One single page illustration:

Lesson Learned: When you decide to set your story in a foreign country- RESEARCH is absolutely necessary! I pored over dozens of books at the library- books on Indian architecture, art, and fashion... I even found an entire book about saris that had diagrams about how to wear them for different occasions, which was very helpful in dressing the princess. There were some incredible books about arab patterns- I photocopied just about every page because all of the patterns were so gorgeous and inspiring when it came time to design my own patterns for the borders of my illustrations. Of course, internet searches were helpful too, but the best internet research I found wasn't from Google Images, but from YouTube. I watched clips of Bollywood movies and found some great inspiration for costumes and colors!

I spent more time researching than I spent painting- once I had it all planned out the rest was easy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Christmas Music, a Snoring Dog... and a Lesson on Patience

Well, I finally finished my big final project for Illustration 3! It was my first time ever using Adobe Flash, and I hated it and loved it at the same time. As the time went by, I found myself yelling at the computer less and cheering more- it's really exciting to see your illustrations come to life!

Here is the non-interactive vector illustration created in Adobe Illustrator:

And now for the exciting part... click here to see the finished interactive Flash illustration!

Roll over parts of the illustration with your mouse and click on stuff and it will come to life. Here are a few things you can try:

1. Click on the christmas tree to change the song
2. Click on the star to turn the christmas tree lights on or off
3. Put the mouse over the open doorway to see who's hiding there; click to see what he has to say
4. Click on the frame on the wall to change the artwork
5. Click on the pillows on the couch to change their color
6. Click on the curtain rod to open and close the curtains
7. Put the mouse over the open window to see who's outside; click to hear what he has to say
8. Click on the lampshade to turn the lights on or off in the room
9. Click on the doggie to hear him
10. Roll the mouse over the gifts to make them rustle; click each one to hear what's inside!

Lesson Learned: PATIENCE!! Flash was such a frustrating program for me to use at first, but that was just because it was all brand new. Now that I have a better understanding of it, it's actually a lot of fun! Don't claim to hate a new software just because you don't understand it- once you figure it out and make something great, you might just end up loving it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bouncing Ball.. and a Lesson on Precision

Here is a simple bouncing ball animation I learned to make in class last week using Flash:

I'm working on an interactive environment for my final now. It's an illustration of a living room at Christmas time, and when you click on things, they animate. I finished the illustration last week- I'm working on the animation now, and I'll add sounds next week! I'm excited!

Lessons Learned: Illustrating by hand can be loose and spontaneous, but using computer software to create art, and especially to animate requires understanding of specific tools and processes or it will not work. There is no such thing as loose technique in Flash animation- each action must be thought out carefully and the processes completed perfectly in order for the animation to work. It can be very frustrating at first, but just take a deep breath, learn from your mistakes, and you will eventually start to memorize the simple processes and be able move on to create more complex and exciting animations.