Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inspiration around town

Working on some promotional postcard ideas for fall, and the vast array of pumpkins at Central Market helps get me feeling autumnal. Along with the long grasses, cool mornings, and blue skies. I love all the crazy squash and gourds available now, with names like 'lunch lady' and colors like grey-blue.

And nothing beats a good banh mi from lulu b's, eaten in the cool shade of the oak far as lunch goes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy anniversary

Happy Anniversary
This was a gift for my parents' recent wedding anniversary. The plant is Mexican love vine which sometimes grows on their front deck (and has a great name).

You may have already seen this tea towel resume, but I thought I'd share. So clever!

And I love this home, from the paint colors to textiles to the art and crafts. The couple seem like they'd be fun to hang out with, lots of stories.

Other than that, I am just ever so happy for the gorgeous weather today (crisp morning, sunny but still only 70 degrees this afternoon). Austin fall makes my heart sing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sketchbook Sunday

I've been doing art inventory this weekend, and scanning in images for an upcoming website update. In the process, I found a lot of great sketchbook pages (mixed in with some less great ones), which made me think it'd be fun to do a weekly posting of old and new sketches. With the exception of the first image, these are all from this year. Happy sketchbook Sunday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Links for the weekend

A cortadito from Cherrywood Coffeehouse for a midday energy boost.

  • In December, I will have been in Austin for ten years...! And it's only natural to become immune to some of the things that make your town great, which is why I'm loving the blog abby try again. Soft, dreamy photos of Austin through the eyes of someone fairly new to the city (from what I gather) that make me think, "Ooh, I want to live there." And I do!
  • I'm totally inspired by this year-long road trip idea, leaving time to settle into and experience 11 different US cities. Plus, this design couple plan to continue working with clients along the way, and they'll have their dog with them. Can't wait to read their posts!
  • Wow! Luigi Loquarto is unafraid of color...and it absolutely works for him!
  • And did you know that there is a new Sweet Valley High series out? Because of course you want to know what happens to Jessica and Elizabeth ten years later. For some reason, this was the only series my mother ever put on her banned list, which just meant that I read them when I spent the night with friends in junior high (sorry, Mom ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The squirrels are so casually gymnastic as they snack upside down from the bird feeder. If they decided to come in costume one day and put on a little show before a meal, I wouldn't mind.

Super sketchy birds

sketchy birds
I really don't mean to paint birds so often, but they just keep working their way onto the paper. And right now there are many new ones traveling through on their way south. This morning I spotted another little yellow-bellied warbler and a couple of hawks in my neighborhood. Monday I saw this flash of almost neon orange up in the top of a tree; without binoculars it was tough to tell, but with the black feathers on the shoulders, I think it was a Baltimore Oriole.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Watercolor fairy tales and Chihiro Iwasaki

Okay, these books are now several days overdue, but I had to look through them one more time and take a couple of cover photos. These classic fairy tales (Snow White, Swan Lake, and Red Shoes) were illustrated by the amazing Chihiro Iwasaki. I first discovered her through an interview on Seven Important Things when Hiroe Nakata mentioned her as an influence. And I can't resist checking out a new-to-me watercolor illustrator.

Chihiro Iwasaki's watercolor illustrations are so simple in shape, so beautifully rich and complex in color. She was a master with white space, allowing the white of the page to focus our eyes on the important elements or even using it as the swan in Swan Lake. My favorite of these three is Red Shoes (though I really dislike that Hans Christian Andersen story, like an ultra-harsh precursor to the movie Footloose); she used almost no lines, relying on her many-hued watercolor to tell an evocative story. Her sense of design still feels modern; her watercolor feels fresh and nostalgic at the same time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Objectives and secret hideaways

Yesterday I attended a free workshop called Creating a One-Year Strategic Plan for Artists, part of Austin's Cultural Arts Division series. The session was led by Ben McConnell of Ant's Eye View, using a visual organization technique to help focus our objectives, goals, strategies, and tactics (in that order). And I've got a lot of ideas rattling around in my brain and populating multiple 'to do' lists, so it was a real challenge to organize it onto one page. I'm going back over it today, now that the workshop information has settled in a little bit. But it's extremely helpful to have this easily read chart of what I want to accomplish this next year, how to do it, and how to measure success.

One of the biggest revelations about my objectives came when we partnered up with other attendees; as I was describing what I do art-wise, my partner suggested (in a friendly way) that becoming comfortable calling myself an artist might be an objective. And it's true. Whether it's because I don't have an art school background or because I came to art and illustration late (or rather, I didn't create art in the decade between my freshman year in college and when I started this blog), I'm always very tentative about calling myself an artist or an illustrator. The latest podcast on Escape from Illustration Island addresses this a bit, how students go into art school believing themselves artists but leave calling themselves 'aspiring artists'. As if you can't be the real thing until you are published or have a show. And no one will believe you are an artist until you believe it yourself.

Food for thought. As for the hideaways part of the headline, I saw these little secret garden type benches on my morning walk at Mueller, and I want to go back with a sketchbook and watercolors to do some plein air. That is if I can brave the bees swarming on all the blooming things. (Speaking of Secret Gardens, how awesome is the new Puffin designer series of classic kids books?)
IMG_0023 1

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall warbler

Saw these tiny birds, no more than 3 or 4 inches long, flitting around the trees on my walk this morning. My best guess is that it is a Nashville warbler headed south on its fall migration, but I'm such a beginner birder that I could be way off. Hummingbirds visited my flowers a week ago, and the mornings and evenings are starting to feel a bit nicer. All signs that fall is arriving (slowly), despite the very hot afternoons. Maybe it's time to end 'An Illustrated Summer' and come up with something fun for fall...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A little bit crafty

Yesterday I threw a baby shower for my sister with co-hosting help from a wonderful friend of hers (and many helping hands of family and friends), and it actually turned out quite lovely. And loving. I only have a few poorly lit pictures from the actual event (so typical), which is too bad as the mother-to-be looked happy and beautiful and the watermelon agua fresca was a gorgeous shade of deep rose. But here are some of the handmade parts of the shower (from the top): illustration for the invitation; illustration for the favors (a packet of larkspur seeds to plant on his birthday) and rosettes for diy garlands (group craft project); one of the garlands in action; a blessings table, great idea from my co-hostess to do instead of a game (to be read singly at midnight changings); and small vases made from baby food jars wrapped in washi tape. Only a few more weeks till my nephew arrives!

Thursday, September 09, 2010


The toughest part of this week's IF topic was deciding which sweet thing to go with, as dessert is my favorite meal. Recently I made some mango-peach popsicles that ended up being a beautiful glowy orange...and kind of tasty.