Friday, March 15, 2013

Long Ago Surrendered...

This week I've been really focusing on getting a lot done in regards to promotion of my artwork. Not everything has worked out as planned, but I'm excited for future opportunities. Right now, I want to showcase my new graphic for my blog, and the journey behind the making of it. I will soon be printing business cards for myself and this is part of that process.

During my education at my college I had to make a branding logo for myself along with a business card, letterhead, etc. This was all part of the learning process, and the name I had come up with was Ixia Illustrations. Ixia is a flower and it lent itself well to the Art Nouveau style I was going for with my name brand. However, as time went on I realized that this particular logo, though pretty, wasn't what I wanted to symbolize as myself. Ixia flowers were just a random flower I discovered and meant nothing to me or to my artwork. It wasn't until one day on Facebook that a friend of mine asked in her status if there was one symbol you could choose for yourself, what would it be? Her answer was a thistle. From there, I began to brainstorm, because her love for thistles was very much like my love for dandelions. I've always loved them, ever since I was a little girl. Yes, they are weed, but a beautiful one! I love picking them and blowing them, and always get excited when I see one. I decided, then, that the dandelion was a perfect symbol for me as an artist, and not just because I love them so much.

"The dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals, and has reached its crowning stage of dying - the delicate seedglobe must break up now - it gives and gives till it has nothing left... There is no sense of wrenching; it stands ready, holding up its little life, not knowing when or where or how the wind that bloweh where it listeth may care it away. It holds itself no longer for its own keeping, only as something to be given: a breath does the rest, turning "the readiness to win" into the "performance" (2 Corinthians 8:11). And to a soul that through "death oft" has been brought to this point, even acts that look as if they must involve as effort, become something natural, spontaneous, full of "heavenly involuntariness," so simply are they the outcome of the indwelling love of Christ." - Lilias Trotter.

Lilias Trotter was a kindred spirit of mine who lived in the late 1800s and she was an artist turned missionary to the people of Algeria. She had a chance to become a great painter of her day, but chose instead to serve Christ in Algeria and spread the Gospel there. Yet, it was because of her being an artist that she was really able to speak to the people there, who loved bright colors, storytelling, and visual imagery, and so her talent was used quite grandly after all, though just not the way she might have originally thought. (You can purchase a lovely book of her images and quotes here) With her lovely images and story of her life in my head, I read this quote above and it really spoke to me. I desired to live my life in that way, surrendered and free, to have what I do with my artwork really express that love and freedom in Christ. I've known my talents and what I "wanted to be when I grow up" ever since I was a little girl, and it has stuck with me through the years, only growing more and more as the time passed. I know this is my calling, and that it will one day take me to a different world entirely from my own right now, and I want my heart and my artwork to express that "readiness" and "heavenly involuntariness." I've long ago surrendered.

So, I decided to change my logo and go ahead with this idea of the dandelion symbol. However, as I began to recreate my logo I was running into issues with the design. It wasn't conveying at all the idea I was trying to get across. I actually dislike designing logos. They are so difficult in their simplicity! They must always remain readable at any size you make them, which means the design cannot be too complex. Yet at the same time it must represent the persons, company, and/or vision. I don't like it very much, and so after much frustration, made the big decision that I won't be using a logo at all. It isn't as necessary for me as a freelance artist, especially now with the world of the Internet, and how you can network and promote yourself in an nontraditional way. Business cards aren't even that necessary anymore when everything is accessible at your fingertips! Once I made that decision, the ideas began flooding in! I then came up with the design that you see now on my blog. Here is a bigger view of it:

The delicate seedglobe surrendering its petals. I wanted this image to convey my whimsical, day dreamy nature while at the same time, showcasing the symbol of the dandelion which is the insignia of my work. One image I was inspired from was this Vanity Fair magazine cover from the early 1900s, an art deco piece that I have hanging on the wall of my room:

I love this image! It is so whimsical and full of movement. The colors are vibrant and the line work delicate. I really wanted to capture this dreamy atmosphere within my own art piece. Strangely enough, though, I've come full circle because it came to my mind my very first illustration that I ever created when I was in school. It is when I really began to understand Photoshop and it became a turning point in my journey as an artist:

So you can see that my first illustration began with dandelions and now on the cusp of my career as an artist, dandelions have made their way in again! Me thinks it is not all just a coincidence. 

I've hope you've enjoyed my story on the process of this piece and that you enjoy looking at it as part of my blog design. My business cards will be incorporating this new design as well and the way I see it now, this image represents me as an artist. It may be unconventional, but it fits perfectly.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sherlock and The Phoenix Comicon

Well, after years of people telling me I should enter art contests, I've finally have. I'm sure it is no surprise that it is a contest in connection with the Phoenix Comicon. I've only been to the comicon once and it was my very first time experiencing the event, and I have to say I loved it. (Of course.) In 2011, I went with my family and friends and got to dress up as Padme Amidala, hear Leonard Nemoy, Adam Baldwin, and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) speak, have fun with Doctor Who fans, and peruse lovely artwork and nerd merchandise of all varieties. (Firefly and tea?! Who could ask for more: Serenitea) I've been wanting to go back, but haven't had the chance. However, in my email I get the latest Phoenix Comicon news, and it was late last month that I found out about the art contest they do annually for the comicon. You see there are different memberships for the comicon, Full Day pass, Sunday pass, Saturday pass, Volunteer pass, etc. When you purchase a membership, you get a badge to wear during the comicon, and on these badges they have all sorts of artwork. When I went, I was happy to get a lovely piece of fan art of Quorra from Tron: Legacy on my badge. So, apparently they hold a contest every year for local artists to compete and get their artwork on these said badges. I was super excited when I found out! I would love more than anything to get my artwork on a badge for the Phoenix Comicon. It may not seem like such a big deal, but to me as a fan, I love it. If there is one thing I will never lose is my love for fans precisely because I shall always be a fan myself. I've sent in my piece, then, and I shall know soon if I pass the First Stage of the judging process. This contest has three stages of judging, which is one of the reasons why I'm blogging about this now. If I get through the First Stage, then in the Second it is up to the public to vote. I will need the support of all you in that part of the competition, so I'll keep you updated on the whole thing.

Now on to my actual art piece. I would have thought up lovely ideas for Avengers or Star Trek, but I figured that they would most likely have many entries about those as well as other comic book related material. I decided then to go with Sherlock Holmes because first of all, I love it and secondly, all things Holmesian have risen to popularity. With the release of Guy Ritchie's excellent Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law version to the modern retellings in BBC's Sherlock and CBS's Elementary, everyone is crazy for Sherlock Holmes and his loyal companion John Watson. I've recently become a huge Elementary fan, so I thought it would be perfect to create a Sherlock Holmes piece. I thought it would probably be more fitting to keep it in Guy Ritchie's universe, though, with the visage of Robert Downey Jr. So, I came up with this idea:

It was a little bit of a challenge because they require you to have the art piece in two different sizes, horizontal and vertical, so I had to make sure this design worked in both. 

I actually had to recreate the smoke for the two different versions, but I think they both work well in composition and movement. I must always have movement in my piece! As for the rest, I kept with the metallic, artsy, grunge theme of Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, with the shadowy color scheme, ink-styled drawings, and lots and lots of texture. Another thing I kept in mind is one of the things I have observed about previous badge art for the comicon which is that they usually chose art pieces with a lot of contrast and/or color. It makes sense, seeing as a lot of comic book artwork is colorful and graphic. So, with that in mind, I added in the punch of red in different elements to really draw the eye across the piece and engage the viewer. I think it came out very punchy and graphic, and I love the texture of it. I've titled this piece: Sherlock Holmes: It's Elementary. With the puff of his pipe, Holmes can solve any crime in the streets of London (or New York), and it is all just elementary

I hope to be able to announce more good news as time goes on. Thank you for viewing and I hope you've enjoyed this!


I'm excited to announce that I have made it to the second round, which is the voting process! I will be needing every vote I can get, so please come and vote for me at:

Here are the directions:

1. You can use your Facebook or Twitter to login, but you can also create your own unique login name with your email and they'll send you a password. 
2. You are able to vote for me every day, so it isn't just a one time voting process.
3. Voting is open until April 21st.

Thank you so much!


I'm thrilled to announce that I won the contest! A shout out thank you to all who have voted for me and made it possible for me to win this contest. My artwork was used for the "Press" Badge, which is fitting. You can view the winners Here. Thank you all!