Monday, November 29, 2010

Art Swaps, Pirate Ships, and The Talented Chris De Armas

[ Me and my Chris De Armis original water color. ]

I'm no longer an art swapping virgin! The deed took place the other day at American Vintage Tattoo in Orange, around 5:30, with a nice young man named Chris De Armis. I've known Chris long before he was a tattoo artist at American Vintage - since way back in our days at San Clemente High when I was the new girl from Kentucky and he was the greaser kid who worked on cars. He was the only person to come to my very first art show, and now he is the first person I've ever done an art swap with. Poetic, isn't it? 

[ The talented Chris De Armis of American Vintage Tattoo with my drawing in tow. Notice his freshly tattooed neck courtesy of Jack. ]

Now that I've got a taste for the it, I'm going to be an art-swapping whore. It was just like the good ole' days of bartering, except instead of trading a pig for a bushel of wheat, we traded one beautiful piece of art for another. I will have to admit, however, that I made out like a bandit on this deal. I showed up with my sketch (a gold ink on black paper sketch of boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in his prime knocking the lights out of some poor sap - see above), a nice sketch to be sure, but nothing like the masterpiece Chris showed up with: an 11x17 watercolor of a salty, old, classic tattoo style pirate ship in an oval rope frame. (Check it out at the very top.) I think I'm going to have to draw him something else up to even out the trade. Next time you're in Orange swing in to the shop on Katella and say hi to him, Neil and the rest of the fellas. They're all sweeter than grandmas apple pie, and a talented group of S.O.B.s to top it off.

- Amy
Listening to: Lorretta Lynn and Conway Twitty's "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Magic vs. Heat/Thanksgiving Miracles, Jameer Nelson Descended From Racoons, and Yellena James

[Maybe, 11"x14" pen and ink]

Today's Inspiration? These awesome pen and ink drawings by Yellena James. They look like underwater scenes from another planet. She's done work for Nike, K2 Snowboards, and Anthropologie to name just a few. Not too shabby. Check out more on her blog.

- Amy
Watching the Orlando Magic play the Miami Heat. Orlando are so much fun to watch. Especially when they're taking down the hyped up Heat. It's tied now, let's hope for a Thanksgiving miracle! Also, is it just me or does Jameer Nelson resemble a racoon? Google it.

[Allure, 8"x10" pen and ink]

[Allustion, 8"x10" pen and ink]

[Deluge, 12"x12" acrylic]

[Flare, 8"x10" pen and ink]

[Sole, 7.5"x7.5" pen and ink]

[Origin, 7.5"x7.5" pen and ink]

[Relish, 11"x9" pen and ink]

[Simmer, 6"x6" pen and ink]

[Thistle, 7.5"x7.5" pen and ink]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ole Saint Nick Illustration, Deus Motorcycles, and Ella Fitzgerald

Here's a fun little illustration I did for The OC Gazette for the December issue. It's for the kids page. I was trying to think of how to draw Santa without it turning out like the same, ole, redundant Saint Nick. Thus, Santa riding a custom DEUS motorcycle (the Deus Drovers Dog II to be specific), roaring through the night, bugs bouncing off his pilot goggles, and toys hanging on for dear life. This is a bad ass Santa. (Not to be confused with that horrible Billy Bob Thornton movie Bad Santa. How does one go from Sling Blade to that?)

Listening to: Ella Fitgerald's "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Illustratrations, Matt Barnes, and The Smart Brothers

Inspired by Jen's diamond, I made my own for use in The OC Gazette this month. It's an illustration to accompany my Off The Record interview with new Laker Matty Barnes to signify his many different facets. How about his last two games? Our bench is probably better than some teams' starting lineups between Brown, Barnes, Blake and soon Odom again. I see another Larry O'Brien in our future.

- Amy
Listening to The Smart Brothers' Heavens' Gate. They're an amazing band from SD.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

PG-13 Dioramas, Vintage Movie Posters, and More Design

[Front of the LN Directory Postcard.]

[Back of Postcard.]

Here's a postcard I designed to advertise the 2011 Laguna Niguel Directory. The company I work for has been designing it for the last two years, so the design team and I thought it would be fun to make the postcard into a movie poster announcing the sequel of last years directory. I got nominated for the task, while they worked on other ideas. Here's how I did it: I used wikimedia commons and found a copyright free image of a cowboy from a vintage movie poster, then erased out the background and created my own using the paintbrush tool along with other copyright free images I found on wikimedia of dark stormy nights. I found some old movie posters with great type treatment for inspiration, then headed over to to find some vintage looking fonts to use on my own poster. I used the envelope distort tool a lot with lot with the text to get the arched 3D look. 

I clone stamped the faces of the cowboys out so I could write "your face here" on them. Which I thought was very clever of me. [*Gives herself a pat on the back.*] The whole idea is that your business could be one of the stars of the sequel to the LN Directory if you advertise in it. 

Part of my inspiration for this was I had just been introduced to the work of photography/diorama-maker-extraordinaire, Thomas Allen, by my dear art-loving friend Oscar. You're probably thinking, "A grown man making dioramas?" Yes, and they're the most bad ass dioramas you never saw at your 3rd grade parent-teacher night. These are PG-13 images full of violence, lust, and suspicion. Check some of his work out below. I tried finding some old books at Books Etc. the day I saw this so I could make my own, but it is really hard to find good old books with illustrations for cheap! If you find any, let me know. 

[Chemistry, 2006. 24 x 20 inches. Chromogenic print.]

[Breathtaking, 2006. 24 x 20 inches. Chromogenic print.]

[Mate, 2006. 24 x 20 inches. Chromogenic print.]

[Knockout, 2006. 24 x 20 inches. Chromogenic print.]

[Three commissioned works Allen did for various magazines.]

[Hindsight, 2006. 24 x 20 inches. Chromogenic print.]

[Distraction, 2006. 24 x 20 inches. Chromogenic print.]

[Unreachable, 2006. 24 x 20 inches. Chromogenic print.]

- Amy
Listening to: Van Morrison's "And It Stoned Me"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crushing on Ron Weasley, Claymation Holiday Creatures, and Press Week

Here's a little graphic I created for one of our clients for a holiday ad they were going to run in our magazine. They ended up choosing another option, but I really loved this little guy that I created. Creating ad after ad gets pretty redundant, which is why I get so excited when Christmas comes, because holiday themed ads are so much fun to create! Claymation-esque snow creatures, snowflakes, Christmas lights, holly... I've become a master at the cute holiday themed ad.

Now to work like crazy so I don't have to work this weekend. Guhhh... press week. Then it's off to the Spectrum with my partner in crime, Sara, to stand in line for some Potter action. We can't help it. I have a little thing for Ron Weasley. It's not something I'm proud of.

What's inspiring me these days? Those hilarious claymation Dr. Pepper commercials with the "I do exist" support group. So clever!

- Amy
Listening to: Pedro The Lion's "The Longest Winter"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thank You Cards, Spavens, and Salty, Sailor Illustrations

[Front of the Thank You card.]

[Back of Thank You card.]

We're on press week so I haven't been getting much art in recently. Looks like I'll be posting some old work on here at least until this weekend when I can put those creative juices to work again! 

I illustrated/designed this thank you card for use at The OC Gazette earlier this year. I wanted to do something maritime themed, and so I thought this thank you card might be a good time to try. So I looked up a picture of a salty, wrinkly old sea captain, got my pen and paper out, and did a quick silhouette portrait of his profile. I scanned the drawing into Adobe Illustrator and live traced it to clean it up. Then I designed the background with the waves and the ravens/sparrows inspired by a fun fabric I had seen a few days before. I'm really not sure if I drew a raven or a sparrow so let's just do what the tabloids do and call it a spaven. Spavens and all I really liked the end result! The caption on the front says "You Be Yar." [Author's note: Yar is sailor speak for a boat that is fabulous/magnificent/awesome/second-to-none.]

[The Thank You card, with envelopes and special Gazette emblem stickers in silver.]

Now it's back to editorial layout for the magazine. I really love doing editorial layout. I just got my new issue of Esquire (well, Jen's new issue of Esquire, but what's hers is mine) and it is BEAUTIFUL! My head is full of new ideas to reform for my own use. Like Isaac Newton said, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." 

- Amy
Listening to: Kings of Leon's "Manhattan"
[I love these Only By The Night home movies they made to promote this album. You can see them all on their youtube station here.]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Inventive Oliver Munday, Envious Design, And Sneaking Into After School Kids' Programs

[ Design/Branding by Oliver Munday for 826DC. ]

Check out this amazing design work by Oliver Munday for 826DC, the D.C. chapter of an organization dedicated to furthering the creative writing skills of students ages 6-18. Munday branded the new location, and it is in a word "superb." I love his type treatment. He uses so many different typefaces and font sizes and yet it doesn't feel cluttered at all. A true pro. 

Below are some of the logos, signage, products and posters Munday created. "The Museum of Unnatural History" is the name of the 826DC store. Bottles of Unicorn Tears, apothecary jars filled with the notorious "missing link" - doesn't it look/sound like something straight out of a Harry Potter book? I may be over the 18 year old cut off for this program, but next time I'm in the D.C. area I'm visiting this place - even if I have to sneak in. A new low? Nope. This place is just that cool.

Listening to: Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonely Tonight?"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Painting Progress, Dr. Doolittle, and Memento Mori

So I finally got painting again! The fear of screwing up all the work I'd done on my portrait of Matt by royally f-ing up his tattoos made me afraid to start, but it turns out my fears were only half warranted. I did end up painting the tats a little too dark, but I'll just keep trudging on and then go over them with a flesh colored wash at the end to lighten them up.

First I drew the tattoos out with a charcoal pencil. I used a 2B pencil, thinking it would rub off pretty easy once I got started. Well it did rub off easy, just in my paint. So I probably won't do that again on the next painting. I'm thinking a white charcoal pencil might be better. Or maybe I'll just wing it and not draw any guides. The photos are a little yellow. The lighting in my room is horrible.

[ Tattoos outlined in 2B Charcoal Pencil. ]

[ The upper half of Matt's sleeve completed. ]

My fern Gorgeous George has become home to some little critters. Mainly, a cricket and this little green bug that was hanging out with me while I painted. He flew over from George and landed on my painting, then he decided to hang out on my hoodie, and then he moved to my desk right beside my easel. When I needed him to move I just put my finger out, he crawled onto it, and I dropped him off at a more convenient location where he could continue to oversee my painting progress. I felt like Dr. Doolittle. I am sad to say that my green friend passed at 11:04 on Sunday night however. I thought he was being awfully quiet and still, so I blew a gentle gust of wind his way only to find that his spirit had left his body. It felt like a real time example of "Memento Mori." He was a friend, he was a mentor, he was a great bug. He will forever be remembered.

[ My late, great, little, green friend. ]

- Amy
Listening to Waylon Jenning's "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Buzz Aldrin, Black Bush, and Space themed Classic Rock

[Buzz Aldrin interview for Off The Record and layout. ]

Here is a layout I did for the August issue of The OC Gazette for my Off The Record interview with Buzz Aldrin. Yep, I got to talk to the Rocket Man himself. We talked about his old hometown of Laguna Beach, what it's like to be "sitting in a tin can far above the moon" about to set foot upon it, and if he get's tired of all the "Fly Me To The Moon," "Rocket Man" and "Space Oddity" references. He was a pretty straight laced guy; very nice, but VERY smart which made it a bit difficult to joke with him as he took a few of them seriously. When a 23 year old girl from Orange County with only 80% of an associates degree to her credit interviews a world renown aerospace engineer and astronaut, a piece here or there is bound to get lost in translation. All in all Buzz was brilliant and a real class act. I would ask a question and he would start reciting his scientific jargon, and even though I was so lost as to what he was saying, it somehow seemed like poetry. I guess he's really making a case for the exploration and settlement of Mars. I wonder if he's seen the "Black Bush" skit Dave Chapelle did. "We ain't stoppin' at the moon! M-A-R-S... Mars bitches!" If you have no idea what I'm talking about, take a little trip back in time to the early 2000's when ole W. was still in office by watching this hilarious vintage Chapelle skit.

- Amy
 Listening to: "Rocket Man" by Elton John

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Logo Design, Tutsi Triathletes, And The Should-Have-Been Collaboration Between The Muppets And Bob Marley

[ logo ideas ]

Here are a couple of logo ideas I did for a triathlon trainer we work with named Melissa. I thought they turned out really fun. The name of her business was TriHappy, and her slogan was "Peace • Love • Triathlon." Doesn't that make you think of Bob Marley and Kermit the Frog singing Kokomo with the rest of the muppets? It's just me isn't it? Anyways, she ended up picking number 4 and 11. We made shirts out of them too which will look really great once they're printed. The only thing I can't understand is how you can be happy when you are exerting as much energy as it takes to finish a triathlon. The shortest triathlon (sprint) is swimming 1/2 mile, followed by biking 13 miles, followed by running 3.2 miles. The longest is the Ironman: swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then running 26.2 miles. And no matter how hard and long you train, you know the recent transplant to LA from the Tutsi tribe in Africa is going to win it. Probably without breaking a sweat too. How do they do that?

[ TriHappy tees ]

I'll leave you on this Thursday with the Muppets singing Kokomo. 
- Amy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Mixed Tape League, Myspace Music Trolling, and How Music Saved My Mortal Soul

My clever friend Zak Schultz had this ingenious idea to start what he called a "Mixed Tape League." 12 members, 12 months, 12 new mixed tapes. Instead of scowering myspace, going from band page to band page to find something new and exciting for your bored-to-death-of-the-same-ole-tunes eardrums, you just look in your mailbox every month for your monthy mixed tape/cd brimming with new music.  Here's a little art project I did for the cover art of my mixed tape. The theme was "Do you believe in Rock N' Roll?/Can music save your mortal soul?" the great line from "American Pie." The song not the movie. Knowing the general age range of my reader demographic, I just want to clarify on that one. I made it using a paper stencil I cut out and spraypaint. Note: paper stencils suck. Try using wax paper or cardboard if you can. Otherwise the stencil starts disintegrating halfway into your project like mine did.

My Mixed Tape track listing:
1. "Home" - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
2. "My Father's Gun" - Elton John
3. "If Only You Were Lonely" - The Replacements
4. "She's Already Gone" - The Shys
5. "The Perfect Space" - The Avett Brothers
6. "Fairytale of New York" - Dustin Kensrue
7. "I Summon You" - Spoon
8. "Ain't No Easy Way" - BRMC
9. "Oh My Sweet Carolina" - Ryan Adams
10. "Her Command" - The Growlers
11. "Genius" - Kings of Leon
12. "It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry" - Glasvegas
13. "I Wish I Was The Moon" - Neko Case
14. "Road To Joy" - Bright Eyes
15. "What Ever Happened" - The Strokes
16. "These Days" - Nico
17. "The '59 Sound" - The Gaslight Anthem
18. "Ten Years Older" - Jarrod Gorbel
19. "Hard Luck Story" - Whiskeytown
20. "Mix Tapes/Cell Mates" - Rocky Votolato

- Amy
Listening to: Don McClean's "American Pie"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Clint Eastwood, OMG Tattoos, And Living Vicariously Through Others

Those of you who know me know that I have long been pondering and coveting a Clint Eastwood tattoo. Yes, Clint's ugly, wrinkly, slanty-eyed mug somewhere permanently emblazoned on my flesh. It sounds crazy, but if it's one thing I've realized after three tattoos, it's that they're not as serious as I once thought they were. Sure, they're forever, but that doesn't mean that every one you get has to have some deep and philosophical meaning. I realized recently that the tattoos I like most on others are their "random" tattoos or "mistake" tattoos. Like my friend Tim has a smiley face tattooed on his knee cap along with a tattoo that got sabotaged after a fuzzy drunken night (it was the Las Vegas sign that was supposed to read "The Fabulous Las Vegas," but now reads "The Fagulous Las Vegas"). Or my friend Ryan, who got "Play it Loud Fuckers" tattooed on his foot one night when he was on drank. He says he'll have to get it removed for his grandkids, but I say those are the ones that give us character. Or I saw this girl who worked at the makeup counter at the mall who had a portrait of Lon Chaney as Frankenstein. I can't imagine that has any emotional meaning to her, but it was nonetheless awesome

[Figure 1. Eastwood oozing cool in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.]

[Movie Poster for The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.]

Which is what got me thinking that I really wanted a portrait of a really iconic pop culture figure. Whether it be real man, or myth. After much deliberation and many worthy candidates (Humphrey Bogart, Bob Dylan, John Wayne, to name a few), only one remained in my mind: The Man Without A Name... that is, Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. This Eastwood Leoni masterpiece is a tradition in my family. My twin sister and I are often referred to as Blondie or Shorty, and the film along with it's sequels are often on the bill for our Forced Family Fun Nights. Aside from all of this, who oozes rugged cool and confidence more than that character [see Fig. 1]? The poncho contrasting with his cowboy boots and hat betraying his vagabond lifestyle, that skinny little cigar clinging for dear life between his tightly clenched teeth, those eyes fixed in a perma-squint on the wide open horizon, that intrepid contrapposto stance, need I continue? 

I still have yet to make the final decision, as I am running out of places that I'd want to get inked. I don't want to be covered which is proving problematic, seeing as I have so many ideas for tattoos I'd like. Until I'm sure one way or the other, I'll just oooh and ahhh over these guys' amazing Clint tattoos. First two are my faves.

[Kyle J. Ligenza's tattoo by Jamie Cross of Nightmare Tattoo]

[Tattoo by Cecil Porter. Won best of Show in 09 in Mesa, AZ.]

 [Matt Lang's Eastwood Tattoo by Dave Wallin.]

 [Eastwood Tattoo by Nick D'Angelo.]

 [Outlaw Josey Wales Tattoo by Ryan Cook. If I got this one I could get "Hell's Comin' For Breakfast" in a banner below him. Best line in the movie.]

 [Another one from Ryan Cook of Anchor Tattoos and Piercings, this one of Dirty Harry.]

 [Clint Eastwood tattoo by Remigijus Cizauskas.]

 [Clint Eastwood tattoo by Brandon Bennett of South of Heaven Tattoo.]

- Amy
Listening to: Deer Tick's "What Kind of Fool Am I?"
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