Sunday, July 29, 2012

Some New Artwork and Thoughts About Projects

All these pictures were taken on my iphone and processed with instagram. You can follow me if you want too! My user name is redherringjeff.
 My friend Connie from Life Uncork'd is pretty awesome. Summertime is full of berry, peach, and apple picking and Connie is right out there...and she makes wonderful jam. For my birthday, she gave me three small jars, and we've been enjoying the heck out of them. Especially Olive and I...especially Olive. Ha-ha-ha!
 Working on handmade commission pieces and personal illustrations at the same time allows me to experiment with different color combinations and techniques in a way that I may normally not be able to. My emotional stance towards this learning process has changed a lot over the years.  In school there was a lot more "wild" experimentation, with strong colors and heavy washes. Now as I work I think more about control and thin washes effecting how the colors work together.
 A couple of weeks ago I put a shout out on Instagram and Facebook mentioning that I was going to be doing some marker drawings as warm-ups and asking friends and followers what they'd like to see. There was a great range of suggestions from Olive dressed as a Super Toddler to Batman trapped in Candy Land (complete with sweets and disaster). I'm pretty happy with this little drawing of Pinky and the Brain, I thought it might be funny to sort of switch their positions...
 We're getting work done on the Fairy Tale book and Calendar. I have drafts of several of the stories from my writer friends that are working with me on it, and about a third of the book illustrations are put together. Here's a little teaser of the witch from The Seven Ravens. It's really cool seeing this project come together, and I'm looking forward to sharing more bits of it with you over the next month.

Thanks for stopping in! Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,
Some things I'm into right now,
Tiger in a Jar:  Tiger in a Jar makes beautiful, rich videos and photosets featuring among other things handmade products and lifestyle. If you like quiet moments in the midst of adventure, this is the place for you.

PBS Digital Studios: A network of web originals from PBS on YouTube. I've been really enjoying their idea channel show, as well as musical remixes like this one featuring Mister Rogers.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

6 Hours

All these pictures were taken on my iphone and processed with instagram. You can follow me if you want too! My user name is redherringjeff.

I love my kids, and I love being home with them. As any stay at home parent can tell you though, the hardest part of that job is that you never get a day off. For me, nap time is spent working or cleaning and there is very little time left for personal projects. I talked to Mrs Handmade about this the other day, and we hatched a plan for some time set aside for those things that I don't have time for, and also time to just be alone. On the Design Mom blog last week, Gabrielle Blair talked about being alone and included this wonderful little video about it.

So I've managed to get out to Bread Co, or the library and get some work done on the blogs, or in my sketch book. and it's been really great. My wife is pretty rad.
Speaking of rad, this past weekend Mrs Handmade had another a day of babysitting each week with one of our friends. My head exploded. What a perfect, simple idea that would be great for everybody. Why hadn't we thought about it sooner? Six hours home alone. Six hours to get some work done...during the day. This week was my first "day off" and while it felt a little indulgent at times, I made an actual dent in my work load. And then we went to see "Brave" after picking up the girls. And it was great.
Here's a little peek at my six hours...
9:30. After dropping Amy off at work, and the kids off at the sitters I sat down to frame some calendar prints for the shop and watch the "new" Conan movie. The movie had just the right amount of fluff to make actually paying attention to what I was doing possible. Also, in case the R rating didn't warn you, this is not like the older Conan movies, and I wouldn't watch it with kids. There's a lot of boobs and blood.
11:00.  I spent 20 minutes in my super messy studio looking for picture hanging hardware that I'm sure I have. I briefly considered both cleaning up the studio and going out to buy the hardware. Ultimately I decided to just let it go and work on sketches for the fairy tale book and calendar...
 Eating lunch while listening to Neil Gaiman read "Stardust" and sketching ideas for "The Emperors New Clothes".  I'm thinking that instead of going with the traditional Rococo inspired designs that I'll do Napoleonic empire clothes with 20th century Arts and Crafts sets.
1:30. After lunch, back down to the studio to rework some drawings for a barbecue competition team shirt I'm working on. One of my instagram followers said I need to post more of this type of stuff. What do you all think? More artwork? Is there anyghing in particular you'd like to see here on the blog?
 3:00. I caved and went to buy hardware on my way to pick up the girls. I just know that in the next couple of days I'll find the stuff I already's not like I wont use it all or anything, just frustrating that I wasted so much time looking for it. Ha-ha-ha!
4:00. I picked up the girls at the sitter. They were glad to see me, but sad that they had to leave their friends. Ha-ha-ha! Life's so hard when you're a kid. We went and picked up Mom, and then went and saw Brave. The movie was great, and I think it's unfortunate that Disney did such a terrible job marketing it, because it wasn't the movie they made it out to be. 

And that was my "day off". Over all, a pretty good and productive day, and I hope you enjoyed spending it with me. Is this something you'd like to see as a regular feature? Are there things that you'd like to read about that I'm just not thinking of? Would you like to see more tutorials, reviews and shows? Let us know in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!
Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,

Things I'm into right now:
Thundercats. I finally got to see some of the new Thundercats cartoon, and it's pretty cool. One thing that's interesting to me is that this is the second cartoon that I've seen recently that borrows a lot of it's themes from the A-team. 
Neil Gaiman Books on tape:
I'm listening to "Stardust" right now, and have "Coraline" to listen to while I work next. One of the cool things is that Neil reads his own books, and he has such a wonderful, English voice.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Photo Round-up For The First Week Of July

All these pictures were taken on my iphone and processed with instagram. You can follow me if you want too! My user name is redherringjeff.
We love the Muppets. When the Muppet movie came out on DVD we asked our followers on the Facebook who their favorite Muppet was, and then had the girls draw a winner out of  hat for a marker sketch. Steve Johnson, Co-Creator of the Qags game system, produced by Hex Games, told us his favorite was Gonzo. So I did a drawing of Gonzo playing Qags to give to him this past weekend at Die Con in Collinsville, IL.
We ordered a couple of new dresses for Abby from Olive Juice Kids, and they are pretty awesome. They are high quality, really cute and have a European design sensibility that we really love. Abby was so funny, we opened the box which was packed with all these great details (check out my instagram feed to see some of them) and tried both dresses on. Here she's waving hi. Ha-ha-ha!
Abby and I went to the Homegrown Etsy Show at the Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis last week. She saw this Giraffe shirt by our friend Amanda of Sprouted Designs and just knew that Olive would LOVE it. Olivia has been really into Giraffes lately, she has four toy ones that she carries around and talks about. I love it that the first person Abby thought about at the show was her sister, and she really didn't suggest getting anything for herself until the end when I brought it up.
One of the things that's amazing about Abby turning 4 is the focus that she's developed. All of a sudden, she will sit and draw and color for long stretches of time. I love it that she's so into making things.
Check out those fingers and toes! Abby drew this person standing under a rainbow the other day in sunday school.
Working on story breakdowns and character designs for the 2013 Handmade family calendar and book of tales. The idea is pretty ambitious, but I'm really excited about it. Are there any fairy tales that you'd like to see included? Let us know in the comments! 

Thanks for stopping in! Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,

Some things I'm into right now,
Olive Juice Kids:
Super cute clothes and accessories, made in love in the United States that have a wonderful European sensibility.
Doctor Who:
We're only two episodes away from the end of the current season. It's a really fun "Family oriented horror show." Exiting and often heartwarming, Amy and I have been watching an episode  most nights for the last couple of months. Fortunately, there's about 30 years worth of episodes left to catch up on while we're waiting for the next season. :)