Tag Archives: mixed media

Illustration Friday : Lesson

I started out writing a lot of blah-blah about this submission – trying to explain my reasons for posting something so un-lesson-like for this week’s topic. None of it was very important or relevant.

Suffice it to say, the lesson was in the process – in trying something new, working out the details, and determining how to create a new series based on an idea that I’ve been kicking around for a while.

It needs work, but it will get there.

Oh, here’s one more lesson – my verkakte scanner totally screws up reds. The color in this piece is so off. (And there’s your Yiddish lesson for the day. Heh.)

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baby godzilla and the Birthday Pact

I don’t think that it’s any big secret that I like to make my life more difficult than it needs to be. I’m constantly pushing myself to do more, be more creative, be more impressive. When I fail at this, things get ugly. But when I succeed, it feels awesome.

Sometime last summer, I made this pact with myself that, whenever Sir’s friend’s had a birthday, I would make their gift (and Sir would make a card). I started off pretty strong, but by the time we got to November, my train went off the track.


The more disappointed I got with the situation, the harder it became to find the inspiration to create anything. Birthdays became a source of stress for me and I felt totally defeated as I dragged myself to the store to buy the latest Leapfrog gadget to pass off as a reasonable alternative to a handmade gift. I did, however, keep up with Sir’s handmade card-making. I have to say, he’s getting pretty good at it too.

He’s a reluctant artist, that boy of mine. But we’ll find his muse, I’m sure of it.

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to design an invitation for her son’s first birthday party. The theme? Baby Godzilla. Yes!

I drew the invitation digitally, colored it by hand, and then (per my friend’s request) used a photo of the birthday boy as baby godzilla’s face. It was so much fun! It also inspired me to finally get back up on the horse and make good on my birthday gift pact.

In true Ruth style, I waited until the night before the birthday party to get to work. It took me several hours of sketching, planning, painting, cutting (made far more difficult by the fact that I lost my X-acto knife handle and had to cut using only the blade and my bare hand), and gluing, but I did it!

Each element was cut out and glued in separately. The cars, the buildings, baby godzilla, and the clouds hanging in the sky are all individual pieces that I drew on watercolor paper with pen & ink and then painted using watercolors. Each piece was then cut out and placed inside the shadow box.

I have to say, this was the most fun I have had on a piece in quite awhile. There is something about taking a bunch of small elements and putting them together to make something bigger that is very satisfying. I really should do it more often.

Today, Sir had another birthday party. I realized at about 5 o’ clock yesterday that I really should start thinking about a gift, because you know, why not wait until the night before the party to think about making a gift?

After dinner, I frantically calmly dashed sauntered into my studio and sat down with absolutely no idea what I was going to do.

Okay, I have one white shadow box. Oooookaaaaayyy….hmm. Here’s a mat to put it in. It’s white. I don’t like that. Let’s paint it blue. But, you have no idea what you’re going to put in it. A mere triviality! Blue it is! Okay, a blue mat. Now what? Flowers! Okay…draw, draw, draw, paint, paint, paint. Flowers, voila! Hmm…needs something more. Let’s look at some pictures of the birthday girl, shall we? Wow, that kid is adorable! I should draw her. Ugh, I can’t draw people…too bad she’s not a dog. Eh, what the hell, let’s give it a go!

And that, dear friends, is (mostly) how I ended up with this sweet little flower girl shadow box. Okay, there was a little more to it than that – like several little girl sketches (some of them quite bizarre-looking) and even more hand-cutting without the assistance of my X-acto knife handle (where in the hell is that thing?).

The flowers I drew, painted, and cut the same way that I did for the pieces in the baby godzilla shadow box. I added some glass beads to give them a little depth and sparkle. The illustration was done in pen & ink then painted with watercolors.

I came in just under the buzzer on this project, finishing it half an hour before Sir and his daddy had to leave for the party. I hope the birthday girl loves it!

photos : baby godzilla shadow box and little flower girl shadow box by yours truly

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Illustration Friday : Stir

This piece and others in this series are currently available in my Etsy shop. All proceeds will benefit Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.

sakura : mixed media shadow box (detail)

Initially, I had a completely different idea for this week. But, I guess you could say that recent events have stirred me to action and pushed my work in a different direction temporarily.

This is the first mixed media piece that I have done in quite awhile. It is part of a series of illustrations that I created to benefit relief efforts in Japan. Some pieces have already sold, but others are available in my Etsy shop. ALL proceeds will go directly to the Red Cross.

Please consider purchasing one of these pieces or making your own personal donation, if you haven’t already.

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Happiness Resides in an Electric Car

Please allow me to have a mom moment (I promise, there will be some art/design content. Just bear with me).

At nearly two years old, my son is already a huge They Might Be Giants fan. I’m sure this is due in part to the fact that he had quite a bit of fetal exposure to TMBG as my laptop speakers were often pressed up against my gigantic pregnant belly while I worked and sang along to favorites like Ana Ng, Birdhouse In Your Soul, and James K. Polk.

True story: on several occasions, while listening to TMBG in utero, Sir would start kicking along with the music.

Before Sir was born, I found out about They Might Be Giant’s kids’ album No! And shortly after he was born, I discovered Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 123s, both of which come as a CD/DVD combo. We owned all three before he was even a month old. He’s been listening to the songs nearly everyday since. Within the last few months, he has started watching the accompanying DVDs and has become completely obsessed. He doesn’t watch a lot of television and very few shows actually hold his interest for more than a few minutes. His TMBG DVDs hold him in rapt attention, however, and I can’t say as I’m surprised.

The animations are so well done. They totally appeal to my designer’s eye and, combined with the music, completely mesmerize my son. John and John are presented as puppets that are made from (as far as I can tell) knit sleeves, over a cardboard (?) tube, with some felt details. Simple but brilliant. They were designed by Robin Goldwasser of Deeply Felt Puppet Theater (John Flansburgh’s wife and one of my newest heros. Heh.) Honestly, I could go on all day about what I love about these DVDs…but I won’t.

Recently, I finally got around to buying him TMBG’s third CD/DVD set Here Comes Science. We had heard all of the songs on Pandora over the past few months and they’re pretty fantastic. Sir particularly likes ‘Bloodmobile’ and ‘I Am a Paleontologist’. We sat down to watch the DVD the other day and, while Sir wasn’t quite as engaged as he is with the other two DVDs (the subject matter is a little above his head, after all), I was not let down. Visually, TMBG has hit yet another one out of the park. I loved the whole DVD, but my true favorite is the video for ‘Electric Car’.

It was produced by Tiny Inventions and if I could work with anyone in the world, I would want it to be these people. Hell, I wish I could be these people! They take everything I love and turn it into one gigantic freaking ball of awesome! *sigh* /fangirl gushing.

Seriously, check out their web site. And then email them to tell them how awesome I am and that they should make me a part of their team ASAP.

And check out the video too…

photo : Electric Car screenshot from tmbw.net

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