The Young Artist’s Guide to Gift-Giving

Young people have a distinct disadvantage when it comes to gift-giving during the holiday season. If you’re in high school, college, or fresh out into the real world, unless you’ve unearthed the long-lost treasure of the Knights Templar or are working five different jobs, your budget is probably pretty low. BUT! One of my mentors, Robert Hunt always says that as artists, we have a special magic power. Like alchemists that transform lead into gold, we take art supplies and turn them into something valuable and desirable. Using this magic power does take a little more time and effort than just popping into a book store to pick up a gift card, but the end result is cheaper and more thoughtful.

Robot Plush and Tomato Pillow

Freshman year of college I went all-out making gifts for my friends. I was running on a sewing high and made vegetable (fruit and grain? I never quite know) pillows and a robot plushie. The fabric was cheap, it took some time, and I got some really nice portfolio pieces out of the project.

Zip-up Husk Corn Pillow

The next year, my sister and I teamed up to send out Santa photos to our relatives and friends. We were able to get a good deal on the photo (since one of our high school friends worked at the Mall-Santa set), and just made copies to mail out. Needless to say, Santa Claus was pleased with a break from whining children sitting on his lap.

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Animal Farm

Animal Farm is one of my favorite classics, and I’ve been working on a book cover and a couple interior illustrations for it. Usually I would paint (as acrylic is my one true love), but I decided to try something new: charcoal drawings compiled digitally. The tooth of the paper and the texture of charcoal feels just right for the illustrations.

Here are a couple of my drawings.

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To me, every hue, shade, and tint of color has personality. They’re like people, really. Some of them are the popular kids–super cool, edgy, and loud. Others are wallflowers at the school dance, hanging out in the background, but adding fullness to the group. The artist concerns herself with grouping all these disparate personalities together to see if they’ll play nice. Some of them are best buds and get along really well with each other (think Harry, Ron and Hermione, Calvin and Hobbes, Shaggy and Scooby Doo), while others fight like cats and dogs when shoulder to shoulder. I’ve found that my colleagues/peers and I are selective… from the masses, we choose a group we feel most comfortable with. A group consisting of complementing personalities. One with whom we share our deepest, darkest secrets while painting our toenails and doing makeovers on girls’ nights. We each develop our personal palettes.

(Here’s some of mine)

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Hand Lettering

 sample lettering

It has always made sense for illustration and graphic design to go hand in hand. A good illustration will be well-crafted and conceptually sound. A really great illustration will do all that and consider the placement of type. It is especially important to be mindful of this in magazines, book covers, posters, etc.

In the past year, and with the influence of some talented graphic designers at CCA, I’ve become interested in lettering — I wouldn’t call myself a pro, but I do like trying my hand at it! Read more

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