I'm embarking on an attempt to do more regular digital painting projects and adapt portraits into a more illustrative style. The way I used to train my skills for traditional media was to do portraits, so I'm going to attempt to do the same for digital media.
Sometimes it can be very useful to revisit an old work and do it over again with your current skill set. My fly girl (inspired by taking people literally when they say "that girl's so fly") is a visual pun from 2014 that continues to be one of my favourite ideas to date. I decided to give her a 2016 makeover with my improved abilities and I'm really happy with the clean linework I produced.
It's been quite some time since I've gotten so absorbed in drawing that I've lost track of time, and even longer since I went from a sketch to clean art in a matter of hours. I've been happier with the quality of my present body of work, but I've sorely lacked the speed I used to have two years ago. On the other hand, perhaps taking more time with the process has produced the quality of linework that I can do now. It makes me look forward to the years ahead and the improvements that I'll have made by then.
I've been getting back into gouache portraiture lately, and fanart is my way of developing new painting styles before branching off into doing my own thing. I find it quite challenging to create faces from scratch, and besides, some people out there have the most interesting features to paint. One of them is Grimes, of course. I've been interested in her music for a while now, and I think she's a camera darling.
I'll be heading off for postgrad studies soon, but I'm tempted to bring my paint and paper along so I can do more portraits of men and women who interest me. I'd love to do a painting of Twiggy (because of those eyelashes).
I got myself a new Wacom recently (my old Wacom is at least half my age, and doesn't work very well any more) and decided to try experimenting with a digital drawing style. I'm taking a short break from my regular style with digital work and I'm going on to draw more girls with unnaturally large eyes. The whole point of this is being able to expand my repertoire of things I can do, so progress from here should be fun!
For my final year project I've been working on plenty of illustrations (you can find them on this section of my site) now that I've nailed down all the research I've done over the past two semesters on Greco-Roman mythological figures.
This has been one of the more intense, complex projects I've ever worked on while in university and because of the need to quickly distill my research into digestible pieces for my upcoming critique I've come to rely on mapmaking in showing the depth of my reading and the areas of interest that I've touched on while putting the project together.
I made this map to explain the research areas that inspired the aesthetic and content of my project, based on my fascination with planetary systems:
While continuing work on the Moirae Deck, which I've also integrated into my project, I needed a simple way to explain how the figures I feature in the cards are related to one another as well as a means of deriving a numeric system for my card deck à la the traditional 76-card tarot. Greek mythological family trees are terribly complicated, so I produced an abridged map:
I wouldn't mind going into more depth with mapmaking and expanding my repertoire of things I can do with the visual techniques I know. Unfortunately work calls and I do have to finish the startling amount of illustrations I have yet to complete or polish. I'll be dedicating a section of my site to my final year project as soon as it's complete, and the temporary page I have at the moment will be adapted to fit the final content. Cheers!
I've never been excellent at sewing or craftwork, and I've been absolutely fine with this from the get-go. As long as I could stitch the pockets of my school uniform on my own whenever they happened to tear (they tore a lot because I hoarded coins, I was a veritable Shylock in my youth), it didn't exactly matter to me that my stitches looked as if someone had crudely sewn them in blindfolded.
So it came as quite a surprise when I was fabric shopping in Chinatown last week with B and found some very on-trend grid fabric in a stretchy, drapey mix. This kickstarted my dormant urge to make some clothes, especially since I shop and resell on Carousell fairly often and I've noticed grid patterns being popular in the past year. I really wanted a black base with a white grid (most of my clothes are black, and I'm notoriously picky about clothing), but this was selling for $6 a yard and the shop assistant and shop owners were all really friendly and helpful!
I impulse-bought a yard of cloth ("If it fails, I'll turn it into a drawstring bag") and traced a top and skirt pattern using some dresses and separates I've got at home that fit handsomely. Here's what I did, so you can try it yourself. I'm poor with sewing terminology and I don't know the names of half the stitches I used, so this might help people who are complete beginners like I am. Alternatively, it might confuse you more.
1. Lay your favourite separates out on drawing block paper and trace around them. Cut these out, and now you have a pattern to cut your cloth with. This is the best time to remember what you like or dislike about the fit of these clothes (i.e. if the skirt is too long, shorten your template a little bit) so you can make something that you think is ideal for you.
2. Pin these cutouts to the cloth (don't skip this step, especially if you're clumsy with craft like I am) and cut around them to create pieces to sew together. Don't forget to leave allowance for hems and seams! I usually leave allowance of about an inch. Grid fabric is surprisingly helpful – you can use each grid unit as a helpful way to measure allowance.
3. When you have all your pieces (you need two of each! A front and back! This is not the most obvious thing if you're me), look carefully and think about where you need hems and where you need seams. Think about how everything is supposed to come together before you start sewing. Unpicking is the fastest way to demotivate yourself.
4. Start by pinning and sewing hems first, and then move on to seams. The cloth I bought is quite similar to swimsuit material, and it didn't fray. Consequently, neither did my nerves.
5. If you're feeling particularly lionhearted, pin your seams first and then slowly pull the pin-infested garment onto your body to check the fit. I'm still alive, so you can do this too. If it fits well, go ahead and sew your seams and don't forget to turn the garment inside out unless you dig visible seams.
6. By repeatedly sewing hems and seams, you should eventually make it to the final product. Hopefully, if you kept a clear head on your shoulders and took some time to visualize the process before starting work, your homemade clothes should have turned out surprisingly and pleasingly successful. If not, you can always make a drawstring bag from a failed skirt or top!
Here are the most important tips. Firstly, try to buy cloth that doesn't fray. Drape a length of the fabric you want to buy over your arm to see how it falls. Avoid fabric that falls awkwardly. If it looks suspect draped over your arm, it will look suspect on your body too. Secondly, make sure you visualize where every hem and seam is going to go, right down to which side of the cloth faces outwards. Do this judiciously. Thirdly, keep your sewing patterns so you can improve on them the next time you feel like making something! Write notes on the patterns for future reference on how to improve the fit of subsequent garments. This is why I recommend drawing block paper – it won't tear as easily.
I found a slim silk belt at home, so I've turned that into the shoulder straps of the top and the drawstring waist of the skirt (which I've tucked under the top to make it look like a dress). I got a lot of compliments on my grid set when I was out for dinner the other night, and it's incredibly fulfilling to wear something you made yourself (especially if you pricked yourself in the process and bled on it. Don't worry, I didn't).
The next time I'm out in Chinatown I'm going to pick up more fabric and try making a swing dress with a mock neck! I might go ahead and do a proper tutorial on that too, so if you like that kind of thing, come back and read about it sometime.
I've been having some trouble coming up with a good logo that encapsulates the way I approach design and illustration, and expresses what I'm about in a simple typographic glyph or image. I was looking for something that could just incorporate my initials without being anything too fancy or clever, but I also wanted something that had a little kick to it.
This is from my first amateur brand identity project where you are your own client. Being my own client was honestly more exhausting than having an actual client who knew what they wanted. I made this back when I was a painter, really into negative space and utterly ignorant about how to use type. I'm still a painter, I still appreciate negative space and I'm not the best typographer but I can't unsee bad kerning once I notice it.
So, I was fortunate enough to be struck with a brainwave today when I was revamping the rest of the site.
I ran this past several of my designer friends with a sharper eye than mine, and I'm pleased to report that they agree with me – this does encapsulate the slightly unsettling bent my work tends to take without being overly illustrative. I may tweak the letterforms a little more (oh, look at me, still an amateur typographer!) but on the whole I'm very glad. Making myself a proper logo has been on the backburner for a while, so it's a relief to finally get it off my chest.