Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Park Slope Reader ad

Every few months, I have a couple of restaurant review illustrations in the Park Slope Reader, a free, local publication available in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. In lieu of payment for my most recent work for them I asked for ad space for The Nancydraws Shop in the Winter/Holiday issue. That issue hit the streets today! Here's my ad:

In this issue, I illustrated Fonda, a great new home-style Mexican restaurant and Baluchi's Park Slope location, which serves Indian cuisine.

Here's a link to places that carry the magazine so you can pick up a copy:

I have yet to get my hands on the Winter issue myself, but I intend to find one on my way home from work tonight.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here Come the Holidays!

Here's what my drawing table looked like yesterday as I prepared and packaged my gift tags for sale at The Nancydraws Shop. I've posted sets of 3 of the gift tags, each inspired by one of the cards I also have posted:

Adele and Henri at the Skating Rink:

Vintage Ornaments:

An Urban Christmas:

You may also purchase a set of the 3 gift tags for $3.

Don't forget that my prints are still available; they will make unique and lovely gifts to be enjoyed for years to come. The artwork is professionally matted by my parents at their store, The Great Frame Up in North Carolina.

For a limited time, they are offering special pricing on the framing of my prints, starting at $48. If you are interested, please Convo me when you place your order and we'll get that ball rolling!

Happy Holidays,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Link to more from the collage workshop

Here is the link to more pictures of the collages created during the workshop with Hanoch Piven on 11/10/09:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My creation from the workshop with Hanoch Piven at the Society of Illustrators 11.10.09

I was lucky enough to attend a workshop given by illustrator, Hanoch Piven, ( last Tuesday, at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Mr. Piven creates striking yet simple images with objects and is well-known for his celebrity and pop culture caricatures.

The evening began with a brief slide show of his portfolio examples, famous collages from art history, and art created in previous workshops. Meanwhile, all of us were salivating over the long supply table in the center of the room, which was loaded with a plethora of objects and ephemera that we would soon be using for our collage pieces. There were sewing notions, sequins, old tools, construction paper, dead light bulbs, feathers, buttons, jewelry parts, odds-and-ends; all kinds of things, as well as glue guns for assembling our masterpieces.

Our challenge was to focus on the items available to us and "let the objects guide you" as to what our final "drawing" would become, and to play around with and manipulate the objects until we found some inspiration from them. Mr. Piven stressed that we were "drawing with objects," and not choosing items from the table based on a preconceived idea for an image. If we needed a specific concept to get started with he said it was alright to work with the idea of a face or portrait.

I brought all kinds of things back to my table but I soon found myself playing with a zipper. When I unzipped it half way, it looked like a pair of legs running. I decided this was not enough to base my image on but I was loving the "legginess" and thought that if I had more zippers, maybe I could make an animal with more than two legs... maybe an octopus? Luckily I found enough zippers to create 8 legs. After playing around will all of these some more, I discovered that a squid would be best, considering the available materials.

To finish, I cut the head out of paper and made a hole for the eye to poke through. I used the round part of a kazoo, which I had with me since we had been instructed to bring some of our own objects to use. I added a silver, plastic arrow with a feather glued on to represent a harpoon that the squid is fleeing from.

And here is how it turned out:

I was very impressed with how quickly all of the collages came together. We only had about an hour and a half to work, then a half hour to assemble and glue everything down before the display and critique at the close of the evening. I had a great time figuring out what I was going to make and really got into that creative "zone" while I arranged everything. It just made me feel lucky to be an artist. The great thing is, is that anyone can give this method a try and see what you come up with. I hope you'll be as surprised and pleased as I was with the outcome!

An assistant was taking photos of the collages, so I will hopefully be able to post a link with more pictures from the workshop, there were many amazing results.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here's another Halloween costume photo that I found. I believe this was senior or junior year of high school?

I don't think I had a name for this one but I know that I really wanted the white make-up on half of my face to be in the shape of a quarter moon! This was a year that I re-purposed some fabric from a past year's costume. The white drapey fabric that I am wearing in this picture was from a ghost costume that was inspired by one of my favorite young adult novels, Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck.

The main character of the story, Blossom Culp, dressed as a ghost to expose a scam artist who came to town and claimed he could summon spirits. Anyway, she carried a candle and I carried a batery-powered, glowing pink rose instead.

Believe it or not I still have that white fabric and I used some of it last year as part of my "Ghost of a Zeigfeld Girl" costume:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hooray, Halloween!

I was thinking last night, about how inspiring Halloween is to me. I often come up with an idea early, maybe in mid-August. This year inspiration didn't hit until a few of weeks ago and I'm finally going to take action this weekend to get started on gathering the supplies that I need. Elaine and I are planning on driving out to a fabric store on Long Island (better deals and selection!) to see what we can find. Luckily I probably won't need much more than some felt to add to and embellish pieces I already own! But I'm not going to reveal my costume idea right now.... stay tuned.

Leading up to the big holiday, I am going to try to post images from Halloweens-past of some of my favorite costumes. I might not have something each and every day, but I'll see what I can do. It will probably continue past Halloween, too, since I'll have to show off my creation for this year.

Here's one of my ultra-faves- Fabulous Bee! I am embodying one of my illustrated characters. Tara is dressed as Thelma from Scooby Doo! I remember that at the party we attended that night there was a group dressed as the Scooby Doo gang that did not have a Thelma! That was a hilarious moment, I definitely have a picture of that somewhere.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great News! Prints for sale on!

Hooray! I goal I set for myself in May has now come to fruition! I have an store to sell prints of my illustrations, and whatever other handmade things I might create in the future. I just finished posting all of my current items for sale.

Thanks to Mom & Dad for helping out with the custom mats and shipping.

Without further delay, enjoy this link while I grab a cup of tea....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How does my garden grow?

I was visiting my friend, B, on Sunday and helping out in her large vegetable and flower garden in Westchester County. B's brother has quite a bit of land around his home (especially compared to what this city mouse is used to!) and he knew she was interested in learning more about farming, so they decided to experiment with things this year. They planted so many different things and it's really too much for 1 or 2 people to handle, which is why they've been asking friends to help out when they can, in exchange for lunch and bringing home some of their bounty.

Aside from the freshly picked veggies and eggs that were laid that day, I brought home a few other morsels to think on in regard to my state of mind about my artwork lately.

Since they haven't been able to work in the garden every week, and can't reliably entice friends and family to give up their free time in the summer, the weeds really are everywhere, but still there is stuff that is thriving; most of the plants just continue growing anyway. This reminds me about how I always have ideas, projects, and chores related to my illustration on my to-d0 list and I never seem to have time to do them all, or to ability do as much as I would like. The garden reminded me that in all of the craziness, good things (like kale and snap peas!) still happen despite the "weeds."

I was also able to relate to something that B said about learning about gardening. She mentioned the various seed packet instructions, and how they tell you when to expect the plants to grow or at what point they will be mature for harvesting. Basically, these things take their own course depending on the conditions; weather, planting location, etc. She said that some plants took much longer than expected, but still grew in very healthy and strong. So that made me think about the fact that some ideas need time or "rest" to take on a life of their own. Not every idea can develop as planned, and the fact that an idea doesn't take off right away doesn't mean that it belongs on the compost pile... it just might surprise you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Illustration Mundo!

A fellow illustrator told me to check out recently. Its a great site for illustrators, a place to connect, ask questions, and pat each other on the back. Who doesn't need that once in a while? They also have an "illustrator search" area for art buyers.

It is free to post a profile image, although the images must be "of great quality" as deemed by the editors of the site. Another great idea and resource for illustrators. Check it out sometime!

Illustration Mundo

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Just keep going!

I am finished with long-ish break from my magazine/office gig and was able to get some good art time in during the past couple of weeks. This seems like a natural time of reflection for me each month; changing gears to be back on a different schedule while trying to keep the momentum going and keep my own work moving forward.

For the past few months I have had many ideas and projects, and at times I am never completely sure that I am working on the "right" thing. I want to show that I can do graphic design as well as production and illustration, so I have some design ideas going, there are a few art gifts I am working on for friends, sketching and rewriting my new story starring Adelé, a series of illustrations of cakes, sending out resumes and query letters, a d
ay of freelancing on a project for my toy designer friends, blogging, planning the opening of my shop, plus unsuccessfully trying to find time to learn new software. And, the boring stuff... updating that mailing list and making some tweaks to my website, etc.

I was able to get small bits of each thing done, and did actually finish a task or two. The big questions that has been living in the back of my head for the past 3-6 months are: How can I get my illustration to the next level? Is one of the ideas I am working on now my "next big thing?" Do I need to alter or enhance my style to gain more attent
ion? It is going to take some time to find the answers to these questions, I know greatness is not achieved without a lot of time and hard work.

It has really helped to keep a list of goals for each week,
it helps to have that structure to help me remember what to do next. I am looking forward to getting my Etsy Shop going ... There's nothing there as of this week, but I hope to post some prints for sale this month, with the help of Mom and Dad. (Thank you!!!)

So, I hope the Etsy shop will help bring more focus t
o my efforts and lead to more web traffic and networking, maybe some $$ along the way. I am glad to have so many outlets for my creativity; when I can't get inspired to work on one thing, I can always switch to something different. I just don't want to let myself avoid what is more important, if only I could decide what is more important!

Until next time, I will post a sketch or two of Adelé in progress.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Encouraging Banners!

As a last-blast meet-up group event, Gina, the now former leader of the Betty Spaghetti Meet-Up Group of Art and Debauchery organized an event where members make banners to display in a public place. The banners had to have a positive message for the general viewing public to enjoy. I really put my heart into my banner; I love the idea of creating public art to surprise and hopefully inspire people who might see it. (The origin of my encouraging phrase is explained in a post from earlier in the year.) The idea reminds me of a great YA graphic novel I read called The Plain Janes, but Gina found the idea on a website called "Learning to Love You More."

We met around 2pm on May 2 inside of Grand Central Terminal along with one other group member, David, who helped us hang our 2 banners. I was hoping a few more members would show up to witness or hang banners with us, but it all worked out fine.

There were more than a few police men & women patrolling the inside of the building but we actually accomplished our goal without anyone of authority telling us to stop what we were doing! The spot we chose also helped cloak our activities... there is an overpass that connects the main hall to 42nd St., and the since this balcony-type railing area juts out from the main walk-way, it was impossible to spy us from the main hall. Below the overpass was a ramp leading to the Oyster Bar, food court, and lower-level train tracks. Plenty of people were walking on the ramp but apparently no one who wanted to stop us.

After hanging, admiring, and photographing our work, we sat down for a snack in the food court, then parted ways. The banners were still hanging when I left GCT, and there were people taking photos of both banners. Each side of the ramp had a bridal party photo shoot with the banners in the background! So, who knows how long they stayed up there. Gina and I assumed that the cleaning crew or someone who works in the building would spot them by the end of the day and they would be removed. Overall, I found the experience very satisfying, although my living room wall seems bare without the banner.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It Was a Dark and Bloggy Night

I decided to indulge a short-attention span fit by checking out some gallery openings in Chelsea tonight. I had heard that Patti Smith was having an opening tonight. I've never seen her artwork, so that was my other inspiration to get out there. (The prospect of free wine doesn't hurt, either.)

Not only do you get to see great art in Chelsea (if you pick a good Thursday) but there is also great people watching. In the Robert Miller Gallery which was displaying Patti Smith's and Jem Cohen's work I saw a cute and arty couple. They were a man and woman, probably in their 60s, both wearing glasses. The woman had a very wide bob hairstyle that was dyed cartoon-pink and the man had one of those fancy mustaches that curls up on the ends. Another man was wearing what appeared to be a latex helmet/hat that was form fitted to his head. Most of the back of his skull was covered but there were cut-out areas for his ears, which were pierced with large discs, although not the largest ear discs I've seen, mind you.

But, back to the art... I enjoyed Patti's work very much! There were some captivating vignette sepia photos in one room and in another room, provocative imagery of religious sculptures shrouded in clear plastic, taken inside of a church that was being renovated. Another piece that held my attention was a drawing made of tiny, illegible words forming a silhouette shape that was unmistakably of wreckage from the World Trade Center 9/11 disaster.

Back out on the street I had a nice interaction with a fellow who thought I was French! If only! We were both trying to cross the street in the middle of the block, as one does when gallery hopping, and he asked me something in French, then when I did not respond, said "Are you French?" This reminds me of another "Frenchie on the Street" incident. It was a warm spring day, I was walking to meet some friends at a tapas bar off of 6th Ave. with my head in the clouds. As I passed a man walking in the opposite direction he said "Oui, ma Fille!" (he pronounced "oui" informally: "way.") This literally translates to "Yeah, my Woman/Lady!" and ten steps later I realized he was saying "Yeah, Baby!" in French. I was sad that I hadn't had time to react because that was one of the best compliments I've heard!

Anyhoo... back to Chelsea. Another show I enjoyed was Izima Kaoru, a Japanese fashion photographer whose subjects are famous models and actresses from Japan, dressed in couture fashions. The are posed in images/scenes based on their death fantasies. There is no gore or blood and the photography is super-sharp and beautiful. In his other life, Kaoru is a fashion photographer. That was at the Von Lintel gallery.

Of course there were a few other places that I wasn't so moved by or just didn't grab any info so now I can't remember who the artist was. An example of one of those was a show of sculpture that looked mighty familiar, wish I could remember. The medium was metal rods and thick construction wire shaped into twisting, enlarged-dna-like shapes. I also missed out on a group photography show which included work by Nan Goldin and Larry Clark. I went inside, along with some other art lovers, but most of the lights were turned off, I got the hint that the staff wanted us to leave! I should also add,
if you like boob art, check out the Rogue Gallery, with watercolors by Theresa Byrnes!

So, I'm glad I went. The little French incident makes me think I need to keep on working on Adelé and brainstorming some stories for her. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fearless & Thrifty for 2009

If anyone out there is reading this... I'm ba-aack! It has been so long since I have posted anything here, I apologize to my blog-starved fans. There were many times over the months when I noticed things going on around me that were inspiring, perfect for my blog. So, in addition to my main idea for this post, I'll try to do a quick review of everything I should have been writing about!

One of the events that always inspires me to tears is the Olympics. It impresses me that the athletes spend so much time focused on training and competing in their sports for years on end. Seeing Michael Phelps reach his goal by winning all of those gold medals in one year was really amazing, but so were so many of the other Olympians.

As a life-long Democrat, I had many inspiring moments during the election season. I'm still not used to the idea that we actually had a woman and a black man in heated competition for the office of President. It has been too long coming if you ask me, so I'm glad we have finally broken that barrier in this country.

Once Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination and the playing field was narrowed, I was ready to get in there and do what I could to help get him elected. I've never been one to send money to politicians or become directly involved with a campaign, but I have believed for a long time in making one's voice heard and playing my part in the government and my community as a citizen and voter. After all, that is an important part of how this country is supposed to work; of the People, by the People, and for the People.

With all of this in mind, I started making calls to the battleground states via's phone bank system. I volunteered some time doing this during the 2006 elections. (Right now, I am drinking some tea out of the mug I received as a thank you for my efforts!) Basically, MoveOn set up a call script and a phone list online. I would log in to their website to gain access to the system and helped to spread the word about who MoveOn was supporting in certain states, and remind people to vote. In the case of the '08 election, I was often calling to ask people if they would be willing to volunteer at their local Obama campaign office.

Many of the calls I made were to wrong numbers, no answer, people who were Democrats but didn't have time to volunteer, etc. But the folks I was able to have some positive interaction with were great. They were fired up and ready to go, as the saying goes, and whether or not they could volunteer, I had some good conversations. I really enjoyed speaking with the people who wanted to do something but didn't know how to help out until they spoke with me and got the information. I also had fun attending one of MoveOn's "calling parties" where you gather at a neighbor's place, have some snacks and everyone gets on their cell phones to make calls. It was fun to meet like-minded people and see how our collaborative efforts made a difference in the number of volunteers we got to sign up. I remember feeling tired from my usual Sunday chores when I arrived at the party but I was very energetic and charged up by the time I went home a few hours later.

Obviously, this all led up to another inspiring moment: ELECTION NIGHT 2008!!! (I know, this is a loooong post! You may take a bathroom or snack break now, if you like.) By November 4, I felt quite confident that Obama would win, although many of my friends were skeptical early in the evening. I went to a bar/music venue to watch the results with a few friends. The place was quite packed as more states returned results, so my friends decided to leave! I stayed because I really wanted to be out and about when the final decision was announced, and it was glorious when that happened! Everyone started dancing and hugging each other. I was a little sad that I had no one to hug, the people near me didn't seem like they wanted to hug a stranger! But I stayed and danced for a while and decided I wanted to be home to make sure I heard every bit of THE 44TH PRESIDENT'S acceptance speech. I waved to and cheered with other happy Brooklynites on the streets as I walked home.

As you probably remember, there was all kinds of celebration in the streets in the cities here in the U.S., but also, ALL OVER THE WORLD! This made me very happy. I remember falling asleep some time after midnight to the sound of illegal fireworks and people chanting "O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!"

Then, of course, the inauguration. It is thrilling to be alive to see all of this history unfolding, even as we are dealing with one of the worst, wide-spread financial crises most of us have ever seen. Which again, is fodder for more inspiration. I have found it easier to feel worried about my higher bills and lower pay, and about how many people are out of work and struggling worse than I am right now. Amongst my friends, I have noticed that it seems to be a time to change paths or forge ahead with new ideas, and that is really rubbing off on me. I know that I want to take my artwork and ideas to the next level, only I am not so sure how to do it. I also need to get a design portfolio going to show people that I can do more than illustration and magazine production, so that I may have an additional source of income.

I think these hard times are causing many people to rethink what they really want out of life. (I really want an overseas vacation but I think it is going to be a while before that happens.) It is one of those times when I have to ignore the obstacles and just go ahead with what I want, or find out what I want, and stay inspired all the way along. Some friends of mine decided on two words for 2009: Fearless and Thrifty. These words resonate with me, too, so that has become my mantra for when I become overwhelmed with "what to do?" I should also keep on bloggin'! But that's enough for now.