Little stone house.
Show & Tell (blog)
Recent little guy for Jamie Magazine. Issue 43! I’ve now been doing gardening column illustrations for at least 30 issues— that’s kind of crazy if I really sit down and think about it!
It’s almost winter, so I’m reading and thinking a lot in gardening metaphors. Lots of burrowing down, planting roots and figuring out where to grow next.
As a teacher and illustrator, the notion of what makes a strong idea gets me very curious. It’s something I think outside of school we don’t talk too much about— so much thought is given to the look of an illustration but what about what it’s trying to say? There are so many illustrators who are so great at concept, it’s dizzying and exciting! As I’m always trying to learn and build my skills, as well as share them with others, I’d love all of my illustrator friends to fill out this survey and learn from each other!
Go take the survey here. Unfortunately it’s cropping my questions weirdly in Tumblr, sorry folks for the external link!
Hey everyone! I put together an inPRNT shop with a handful of work— if you’ve been wanting quality prints from me for a while, now’s your chance (plus they have a $10 worldwide shipping special going on this weekend!). I’m hoping to create more work to put up before the holidays up so I’ll let you know!
This is the first purely personal piece of artwork I’ve made in a long time, and with it I’m going to break away from the norms here and share something. After spending time with dear friends yesterday and talking about process and struggles, I felt compelled to make something and talk about something I usually hide away.
The fact is, for over a decade I’ve been fighting with anxiety and depression. I feel very weird writing this here— it seems like in the online world it’s something we’re supposed to tuck away. It might not be professional, or it could come off as complaining or bleak. But I do not mean this to be, dear readers. I know that we are products of our experiences and the tough critic I am has made me a stronger tougher illustrator. But it is something that has been a struggle, knocked me down and left me feeling lost and isolated. When my work failed or floundered, it became a reflection of myself. Coupled with a mean perfectionistic streak, it’s lately made me question my personal practice to the point that working on anything for myself felt like a waste of time and effort. Doubly strange and hard when I see my students struggle, leap and grow in school, but feeling paralyzed myself.
I still feel very weird writing this. But I feel like it’s important to take a risk and be honest about this part of me to evolve beyond it, and also share with those who work and struggle and feel alone. After all, process isn’t just the pretty sketches but it’s also the rough scribbles.
I write this with a positive note; after finally getting sick of this pattern I am taking strides to fight these issues at their core and separate my well-being from my work, and for the first time in a while I’m starting to feel good (knock on wood). It’s still a long road yet, and I know it’s something I might fight my whole life, but that’s the benefit of art-making— when we can actually get deep within the work, we can learn new things and get lost (and found) at the same time.
Thank you for following me and reading this; even though I may not know you all it makes me happy that I can share with you and fight the good fight. Hopefully there will be a lot more art to share soon—till the next.
Recent illustration for Plansponsor— the topic being investment proficiency, which got translated into learning a new language and alien archaeological digs. Had a lot of fun with this palette!
Last week was Design Week Portland….and I missed all of it! Which is seriously laughable, because there was so much stuff to go to. Unfortunately I got super sick and had picture book deadlines, so I spent a lot of time under covers drawing in bed watching silly television. Next year, Portland! Next year.
I was there in spirit though; I designed a two color poster for WeMake’s special screenprinted poster series. Look how cool they are! Technically we could’ve done three, but I wanted to see what I could get done with just two. Fun playing around with markmaking (brush, scratchboard) and some collage in the form of washi tape.
I need more excuses for limited color in my life!
Doing a bit of this Inktober stuff, straight to ink style!
Dear friends: I know I promised a new project soon, and I am super-disappointed to say I’m having to put it on hold for a bit. I’m going through some things right now which are creatively very frustrating, and juggling freelance, life, teaching and creative fulfillment is not working as well as I’d hoped. It feels like failure, but I must be kinder to myself and just work through it. I’ll explain more soon— I want to be more honest about my practice, beyond just showing the work. Reading blogs like Lisa Congdon’s have really inspired me that way.
For now, I’m getting ready to teach new students (semester begins next week! Crazy) and tomorrow I fly to Minneapolis to see good friends and learn from Victoria Ying and Mike Yamada, two creatives who I’m so in awe of. Hopefully that inspiration will re-energize me!
Talk to you soon, friends.
Lately I’ve been wanting to tackle another ongoing self-guided project but a lot of the ideas I had just weren’t clicking or seemed kind of boring to me. I’ve been thinking of Kate’s CreativeMornings talk on automated projects for such a long time— the idea of projects with parameters and rules have always been fascinating to me but not something I’ve tried much.
So I tried to go back to what I usually do, which is figure out the problems in my work in an attempt to fix them. And one thing I struggle with is the prevalence of figures in my work— sometimes not doing much of anything. Subjects are so much more appealing than objects to me! But I’ve been thinking of how I can use an object more appealingly. I debated just drawing objects that were interesting to me, but that’s pretty boring for me. I want to tell a story or solve a conceptual problem, not just document things.
So I decided I’d play around with an ongoing series I’m titling subject / object— the parameters of which are as follows:
- Decide on an object and draw it to understand its form. Don’t worry if it’s boring.
- Research, brainstorm and treat like a conceptual illustration— nonliteral takes on the object can be wonderful.
- Composition is important! Experiment with technique, approach, color.
- Document the object— if it’s something photographable, photo it. If not, scan the initial drawing.
- One illustration will be completed a month and will be shared here online on the first of every month. Would love to do more, but we’ll focus on quality and not quantity right now.
I’m interested in all sorts of objects, from functional to personal to beautiful and would love if you have any suggestions, or suggestions of tumblrs/blogs devoted to objects for me to pull as potential starting points! I’m starting out with one on my desk right now— an old enamel cloisonné hair comb of my mom’s. I’ll share what I do with it on September 1!
Sometimes when things are blurring by you forget to document. And so it is with Join Together— so I’m borrowing from the internet some photographic evidence of the opening; once I get non smartphone photography from the lovely Autumn Northcraft (who also shot our wedding) I’ll be sure to sum up better. There are really no words for how fun, thrilling and comforting the weekend of our wedding turned out to be. Spending time with faraway friends and family, joining two families together who’d never met, and then being surrounded by this visual representation of friendship and love…. as I told a few people during the opening this in a way was a document of my life thus far and all the people who I’ve been lucky to befriend along the way. I’m a lucky lady— and I feel so grateful. Thanks to all who came out to the opening too— it was the best.
Join Together runs until the end of the month so Portlanders— go see! I’ll share pretty photos of the wedding and opening soon. You can also purchase prints of most of the work in the show— so please support these artists and bring a little of that love into your homes.
Now the big question is (as always with me): what next?
A few recent illustrations for Jamie Magazine. Basil, berries, and beans!
Yesterday team Join Together hung almost all of this show and it’s going to be a doozy. Seriously the show’s so good it gives me goosebumps. We have nearly 60 artists taking part and it covers every wall with beautiful funny heartfelt work! I’ll try and post a little preview of the show soon, but if you’re in Portland on Friday come out to Land, won’t you? More details on our Facebook invite too!
Always with Honor
Kate Bingaman Burt
Ryan J. Bush Will Bryant
Wook Jin Clark
Mary Kate McDevitt
Jared Andrew Schorr
Julia Sonmi Heglund
and me, Meg Hunt
One from the vaults. As usual looks better bigger!