Tag Archives: illustration

Illustration Friday : Scattered

The Nightmare Carrots gather with other assorted evil vegetables to mourn the loss of their fallen leader. You may or may not remember what happened to him last week. His shreds will later be scattered on the evil compost heap.

© 2011 ruth blohm-hunter

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Daily Sketches : More Blue Owls

Right now, Sir is in a developmental phase where a lot of things are ‘scary’ to him. He tells me on a daily basis that certain things (animals, toys, etc.) are scary, but he isn’t really able to tell me why. He also calls us into his room at night to tell us that he is scared, but he can’t always pinpoint or put into words what is scaring him. It is heartbreaking and frustrating.

He often talks about blue owls being outside at night. When I ask him what they are doing out there, he doesn’t really have an answer. He just tells me that they are scary. So, I decided to do a little character development with his blue owls. When he saw my owl sketches from yesterday, he agreed that they were not scary at all. He liked them and wanted to look at them.

I am working on some ideas with these two owls. I plan to draw the owl on the right showing a range of emotions, while the owl on the left will remain mostly stoic, occasionally reacting the other owl’s emotions.

watercolor + ink

watercolor + ink + digital background

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Eyes on the Prize…or Something

So, you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been saying a whole lot lately. It has pretty much been all show and no tell around here. Sorry about that. I’ve really been focusing my energy on drawing every day and it hasn’t left much time for writing. I’m working to strike a balance though, so rest assured you’ll be getting regular doses of my insanity levity again soon.

I often find myself having trouble focusing my creative energy. My brain is always in about twenty different places at the same time and I have a really hard time accomplishing anything because I’m always thinking about what I want to accomplish next. I have actually seen this personality trait developing in Sir and it is kind of frightening.

In an attempt to rein myself in, I have taken some big steps toward getting focused and actually accomplishing my creative goals. First, I started working on getting my portfolio online. I have gotten hung up on a couple of steps in the process, but I am hoping to have it live in the next week or so. Second, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. This is something I had been debating about for a while. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was qualified to formally declare myself an illustrator. Then I discovered that my region’s conference is next month in Gettysburg (One of my absolute favorite places, I often go there when I’m feeling distressed and, for some reason, it calms me and helps me get centered again.). I took this as a sign that I should just bite the bullet and do it. So, I did.

As much as I am looking forward to the conference, it also has me feeling a bit frantic. I opted to have my portfolio reviewed and that means, well, I need a freaking portfolio!

Enter the near-constant sketching and stressing.

I am currently working on some character illustrations while trying not to get too distracted by all of my other interests, ideas, and responsibilities. Wish me luck!

I will be sharing some of what I am working on soon. Please feel free to offer any thoughts, critiques, etc. Currently, Sir is my only source of feedback and, while he is my target market, it would probably be beneficial to hear from people who can offer a little more than ‘Those are owls. Those owls are blue.’ Heh.

photo : card-carrying member by yours truly

 

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Daily Sketches : A High-Strung Owl

Lately, Sir has become very interested in owls. When it gets dark, he starts pointing at trees and saying ‘There’s an owl over there.’  According to him, these owls are blue and, occasionally, scary. I’m not sure why he thinks owls are scary, but I wanted to do a sketch for him of some non-scary owls. This is what I came up with – two owls, not scary, but one of them is easily scared. Heh.

(My mother used to react this way whenever I sneezed. She would then accuse me of sneezing loudly on purpose just to scare her. Uh, yeah.)

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Illustration Friday : Contraption

Recently, I had a run-in with some baaaaaaad carrots.

They.Messed.Me.Up.

Not only did they make me sick, but they also gave me nightmares. And they weren’t just any old nightmares, they were nightmares within nightmares.

This band of Nightmare Carrots has a leader, a head honcho, if you will, by the name of Evil Carrot. You can see his early incarnations here and (with some evil cohorts) here.

To be honest, I have no idea how to fight an evil carrot. I’m thinking that employing the services of an evil rabbit might work. Sadly, I live quite a distance from Caerbannog, so I’m hoping the contraption above (also known as a grater) might work.

© 2011 ruth blohm-hunter

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The Birthday Train

Those of you who have been hanging out around here for a while may remember the Birthday Pact. The rest of you can either click that link over there…or not, whatever, your choice. Anyway, I have been so-so in keeping up with my commitment to making gifts for Sir’s friends. Honestly, I just tend to run out of time and it’s much easier to run to Target. Heh.

Fortunately, I actually did have time to make something special for one of Sir’s friends whose birthday was yesterday. I asked his mom what kinds of things he likes and I plucked the following from the list to work into this piece: trains, fruit (mangoes and grapes), and ‘airplanes with the trail behind it’. Heh.

Here is the finished illustration (I actually included his name at the bottom, but I cropped it off of the scanned copy).


watercolor + ink on paper

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Illustration Friday : Hibernate

There are a lot of beautiful places in my home state. Recently, one of them was named the Most Beautiful Place in America.

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore is situated in the Northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The unique terrain, marked by lakes, streams, forests, sugar sand beaches, and towering dunes was carved by glaciers. But the Chippewa tell a different story.

According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear’s determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou Island) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day. The “bear” was a small tree-covered knoll at the top edge of the bluff that, from the water, had the appearance of a sleeping bear. (Source)

There, now you can say you learned something today. Heh.

As a child, I visited Sleeping Bear with my family. Early in the trip, I got sand in my eyes and, honestly, that was all I remember from that particular vacation. When I was in college, some friends and I went snowshoeing there. I remember it being a tough hike, especially since I had never been on snowshoes before. When we made it to the top of the bluff, the view of Lake Michigan was amazing. I took some snapshots on my old bottom-of-the-line 35mm camera, and they didn’t even begin to do the scene justice. This is a place that just has to be seen (preferably without sand in one’s eyes) to be believed.

This little illustration certainly doesn’t do it justice either. As much as I liked the concept, I just couldn’t seem to get it to work the way I wanted it to. I plan to revisit it in the future though, as I have some ideas about changing the perspective, etc.

I have also come to the conclusion that I need a new scanner. This version looks nothing like the original illustration and I place the blame squarely on my scanner. If anyone has any recommendations for a good, reasonably-priced scanner that can scan watercolors well, please do let me know.

 

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Illustration Friday : Ferocious

Years ago, when the Mister and I were still in college, we started on a long journey of ill-fated impulse buys. This illustration was inspired by one of them.

About 15 years ago, shortly after moving into my first apartment, we were strolling through the aisles of Meijer (as we were often wont to do), when we happened upon the pet department. Oooo, I thought to myself, I want something soft and cuddly and cute to love and take care of! And now would be the perfect time because I have my very own apartment! Yay!

Ugh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been able to rationalize, on the spot, a bad idea…well, I’d still have less money than I have spent over the years on said bad ideas.

And so, the deal was sealed. I was buying a hamster (and all of the supplies required to care for a hamster, which is really more than one would think). We flagged down an employee to fish out our new little fluffy friend and in no time, he was in his travel box and we were headed back to my dumpy lovely little apartment to get him all set up for his new life of adorable unbridled cuteness. Aww.

On the way home, we named our new ball of love and fluff Fulford. Aww.

Fulford sat quietly in his box as we carefully set up his new abode, complete with running wheel, water bottle, food dish, and toys on a bed of comfy wood shavings. We even tossed in a nice toilet paper roll for him to hide in, because, well…aww. Yes! He was to be the cutest pet on the face of the planet. And we would love him and feed him and play with him every day. Aww.

Then, the screaming started.

Neither I nor Big Sir had ever owned a hamster before, so we were both blissfully unaware of a hamster’s ability (or in Fulford’s case, propensity) to scream. As I attempted to pluck him from his travel box, he backed himself into the corner of his cardboard prison and began screaming in a most unnatural and high-pitched manner. Then, the little f*cker bit me. And he drew blood! WTH?

Now, I’m not sure if this was Fulford’s first taste of human blood or if he had played his vampire game with unsuspecting pet department employees in the past, but one thing became clear very quickly. This hamster was bloodthirsty and EVIL. He was not the cute little pile of fluff we thought we could put in a ball to cavort happily around the apartment. NO. This hamster was not to be trifled with.

Any attempt to put a hand in his cage, whether to feed him, give him a toy, or fish him out for cleaning purposes, was met with constant screaming and teeth-baring. It was so bad that I had to buy a pair of leather gloves to wear when taking him out of the cage in order to protect my hands from being peppered with hamster bites.

Eventually, Big Sir and I both began to fear him.

Aside from giving him food and water, I mostly ignored him. I dreaded cleaning his cage and after the deed was done, I went back to completely leaving him alone. I didn’t even make eye contact with the little bastard, lest he begin screeching like some kind of crazed fur-covered banshee. He hated us. And we hated him.

Sometime in October of that year, he began a regimen of extended wheel-running. He would run for unnatural amounts of time. I’m not sure, but he may have been bulking up in an attempt to escape from his cage and kill us in our sleep. Fortunately, his plan never came to fruition.

On Halloween night, I went to bed as Fulford was entrenched in one of his wheel marathons. In the morning, I awoke to find him dead, an ex-hamster, if you will. He was still in his wheel, his legs outstretched in running position, as if his Dark Master had come to retrieve him in mid-stride…on Halloween night (because, you know, he was evil).

 

 

 

 

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Daily Sketches : Aww, Kitties

These are some sketches for this week’s Illustration Friday topic ‘ferocious’. I know, I know, these kitties are cute, right? I assure you, these kitties are not what they seem…

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Friday Favorites : Mesmerizing

This week’s Illustration Friday topic was ‘mesmerizing’ and, honestly, there were many entries that I could have easily stared at for days. But, then I wouldn’t have been able to pick my favorites to share with you. And that would be sad. Maybe. Right?

 

Mesmerizing by Kathleen Jennings

This looks exactly like a page out of a vintage book. So well done.

 

 

Mesmerising by Suky Goodfellow

Wonderful use of colors and texture to create the swirling tendrils of smoke.

 

 

Sin Título by Belén Moreno

Beautiful and truly mesmerizing.

 

 

Mesmerizing by Caitlin Rose

Nice to look at and educational. It doesn’t get any better than that. Also, I love the expression on the little fish’s face.

 

 

Mesmerizing Koi by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

So tranquil and beautifully rendered.

 

 

Mesmerizing by Roberta Baird

I have always loved Vincent Price and his expression is captured just perfectly here.

 

 

Mesmerizing by Gynux

Such an excellent expression – truly captures the essence of being mesmerized.

 

 

Mesmerizing by Jane Grant Tentas

A great interpretation of the topic and so nicely done.

 

 

Mesmerizing by Nelleke Verhoeff

Completely mesmerizing. Just try to stop staring at it. Really, go ahead, try.

 

 

Mesmerizing by Bethanie Murguia

Such an adorable illustration – the dogs’ inquisitive posture is captured so well.

 

 

Mermaid by Audrey Ang

The colors, the textures, the details – what’s not to love about this one?

 

 

Mesmerizing by Ray Ferguson

If Smokey knows what’s good for him, he’ll back out the door very slowly right….NOW!

 

To see more great illustrations check out IllustrationFriday.com. And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.

all images © their respective owners – if you wish to have your thumbnail removed for any reason, please contact me.

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Daily Sketches : Acorns

I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing some linocut prints and I finally got around to buying (some of) the supplies for it this week. I am now in the ‘sketching out ideas’ phase of the project.

I’m thinking the Detroit Skyline may end up as a linocut print too.


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Friday Favorites : Boundaries

This week’s Illustration Friday topic was ‘boundaries’. As always, there were tons of amazing submissions. And, as always, I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites. But, I did. And here they are (my apologies for the lack of commentary this week)…

 

Boundaries by Vincent Desjardins

 

 

 

Boundaries by Monica Indelicato

 

 

 

Boundaries by Corey McCarty

 

 

 

Boundaries by Maja

 

 

 

Boundaries by Wilme

 

 

 

Boundaries by Lori Weitzel

 

 

 

Boundaries by Bill Nagel

 

 

 

The Pequod by Ernie D’Elia

 

 

 

Boundaries by Aino Anto

 

 

 

Boundaries by Stephanie Smith

 

 

 

Boundaries by Carla Martell

 

 

 

Boundaries by Nikki Cooper

 

 

To see more great illustrations check out IllustrationFriday.com. And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.

all images © their respective owners – if you wish to have your thumbnail removed for any reason, please contact me.

 

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