A whole sweetmeat squash propped up smaller subjects so two friends and I could draw them. Starting in pencil, I then drew over the pencil lines in ink. Next step: on a light table I put a tissue photo copy of the line drawing. On a fresh sheet of Lanaquarelle paper I did a looser watercolor sketch using the base drawing as a guide. Scanned individually to be used as PhotoShop layers, I then assembled them in that program. I enjoy the not-quite-registered effect of the separate layers. Celebrate autumn!
Logo design is, at its most pure, about integrating meaning, personality, or implication into letterforms. Most of my clients come to me because I am a lettering artist with the ability to create an entirely unique logo using both ink + digital means. But when I was recently asked to design a logo for a start-up musicians' booking and management company I surprised myself by leaning in the direction of "no-ink, but yes-digital." For this project, the solution ultimately was all digitally created.
The first stage went as it usually does: after discussing the intentions and goals of Nobilis Music Group with its director, I did a visual brainstorming to come up with a variety of approaches. It was after the design treatment of the words NobilisMusic was selected that the word Group was added to the name of the company.
I have worked with this client many times so she understands how pencil sketches turn into finished designs. In this case, she spotted three potential directions in #1, 2, and 5. In a face-to-face meeting we discussed how the logo would be applied to the web site, business cards, and papers. The design that rose to the top was #2. It allowed for the easy addition of Music Group, and the flourished N, we thought, reflected musical flow and motion. Further, the classic Roman capitals convey quality, clarity, and strength.
Beginning with a purchased set of glyphs (in the form of Roman caps), I set them in Adobe Illustrator and then created a vector flourish directly from the anchor points of the glyphs. A bold sans serif font was used for the words Music Group.
Nobilis Music Group specializes in booking excellent musicians for venues in both New York City (all boroughs) and Seattle.
A longtime friendfor whom I've occasionally done calligraphic works came to me with a new project. A friend of hers shared a poem written by her loving, adolescent granddaughter. At once, my friend envisioned it rendered in calligraphy. I rarely do commissions like this anymore but for family or close friends it's a different story. Here is the finished piece done with a pointed pen, black gouache and watercolor:
Colonial Peak and Pyramid Peak at sunset. To see larger views of all photos in this review, please double click on the image.
How does one go about designing an "artful map?" The process is complex and time-consuming but there's no better place to do it than at the North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center (ELC) For this shorter version of the workshop (the original was a 3-day format), participants need to get a fairly quick start, which this year's group definitely did. Some came with reference materials for a map they had already conceived of, and others drew from the inspiration of the ELC's dramatic location for their maps. Below I have posted some of the in-process and later photos of the beautiful work the 11 students did from June 26-28. To view more of the participants' work, and some of the participants themselves, please click on the link below which takes you to a Flicker page hosted by the Institute:
Note: most of the maps will be completed at home, with updated photos to be added here:
The Pacific Crest Trail was the subject of Billie Butterfield's map. She and a friend have hiked multiple sections of the trail. She designed many simple icons to mark events and landmarks along the way. Sections of the trail will be color-coded and shown on the legend.
Not all maps are conventional way-finding documents. Patricia Ressiguie, who is a three-time student of this class and has each time designed conceptual maps featuring images with map elements, combines topographical lines, a short text, and a sleeping baby in this mysterious map. About this one she stated, "Right now I don't know what this one means."
Above on the left you can see Bob Theriault referring to an existing map to help him place the significant geographic points on his hand drawn map of the same general area. He used the tea-dyed paper I provided as an alternative to the white option. His map depicts all the locations of different warblers he has spotted over the years. At home he'll add the title and a key, both elements that define and enhance an art map.
A typical classroom desk looks like Patti Green's, above, during the initial design process. Many reference materials help with creating icons or illustrations of plant or animal species found in the ELC locale. Her pen and ink map with some color added is on the right. The green/blue color of the water is not artificial; the color of Diablo Lake resembles this hue. Patti was inspired by the picturesque Peninsula Trail which is lined with wildflowers, native plants and trees. From the trail is a breathtaking view of Colonial Peak, the lake, and dense forest.
Carlie Holland, after many hours of pencil drawing and plotting out of all her map features, arrives at the point where she can ink in her pencil rendering. Her map is a pictorial representation of the daily walk she takes in her home town in British Columbia. Colored pencil application followed inking with a Micron Pigma .005 pen.
Students are encouraged to transfer their map elements by using light tables to see underlying drawings on tracing paper, and tracing their images onto their final paper. Why? In the end, this practice reduces risk, saves the pristine surface of the hot press watercolor paper from multiple erasures, and allows the designer to adjust the layout of their composed maps with a minimum of experimentation on the final map. In five years of teaching this class, I haven't seen one piece of final map paper being scrapped! Students only receive one piece of white paper, and one alternative. That probably has something to do with the success rate. There are no art supply stores in the North Cascades.
Above on the left is Mary Ann Weeks using the light table to transfer her map of Camano Island, her home. Creating maps of home can be fulfilling because all that is meaningful about a place can be represented with motifs, paths, dwellings, and even journal notes. Everything on these hand drawn maps has significance to the designer.
Laura Ridder's map on the left and Leeta Anderson's on the right both depict popular trails on and around the Learning Center campus. Laura used colored pencils and Leeta used watercolors. Both employed the age-old color principle in cartography where land masses are usually represented by warm earthen colors and bodies of water by blues and greens. Both chose prominent, contrasting colors for the trails themselves, thus giving them importance. Both maps will be completed with more color added.
Leeta's completed map. The ridge of mountains at the bottom of her piece represents the view one sees when on the Peninsula Trail loop depicted directly above.
In both the maps above, the designers chose to organize information in boxes (illustrations will be drawn in them). Ellen Tennis' "Camp Hamilton" will be completed as a camp memento gift.
Illustrations of the blossoms of featured trees will be placed in the boxes that create left and right borders of this site map. Tracing paper is a handy material for visualizing layout changes. Sally Theriault also used tracing paper to experiment with color rather than put color directly on her final paper.
Erin Hickey designed her map so that significant animals are featured in various western states. Her color scheme, including the tea-dyed paper, was inspired by vintage maps and other ephemera of the west. The use of colored pencil gave her more careful control in applying color.
Thank you, Lauren (our graduate assistant who took the photos for the Flicker site) and Katie Roloson (our program coordinator) for the many ways you made our workshop experience and the residential experience so outstanding. From the ice water in the classroom to the comfy excursion to the Happy Creek Trail for Saturday lunch, Lauren catered to our needs. To learn more about the North Cascades Institute and their impressive mission and curricula, please visit their website:
I love the challenge of delving into the calligraphic exploration of the name of a business or a product when it is part of a design job. For GreenWell Financial the requirements were that it have some boldness, organic energy, a suggestion of creativity and wellbeing. The owner is a woman, but she did not want a swirly, overtly feminine quality to her logo. After seeing previous logo design jobs I've completed she felt certain that I could hit on the right solution so I pulled out all the tools and a bottle of ink.
Because I felt that the variety of rough versions I came up with offered my client a solid assortment, I'm showing many of them here, imperfect though they may be. The final logo is at the bottom of the column.
As an exampleof a "Personal Letter as Manuscript" the letter below was written by me to the students who had signed up for the mini-workshop I taught on May 2. Twenty students went right to work last Saturday at the Letters of Joy conference at Edmonds Community College. Watching these calligraphic artists launch into writing their letters was a moving experience. I took some photos of their work, but then realized that these were personal letters to real people so I will not post them. Kudos!! to all of my hard-working students.
A vintage Schaeffer calligraphy fountain pen (fine) and colored pencils were used on 8.5" x 11" Crane's stationery. I designed a lining guide that includes borders and boxes for placement of initial cap letters (versals). Gold gel pen was used to enhance the artwork and writing.
Invitation design always excites me.I think it always has because even as a child I was very particular about dimestore birthday party invitations I selected then filled in and sent to my buddies. Next week I'll be having my women's wine tasting group over for our monthly, casual dinner gathering. For this invitation I decided to sketch in pencil a banner design for the email I'd be sending to the group of about 20 friends. For some reason it started to "feel French" so to enhance that I penciled in a few French words. I took a pointed pen, a little vial of India ink (waterproof when dry) and applied ink to the pencil sketch. The next morning I added watercolor. Voilà!
The Artful Map, a One Page Nature Journal is a course held over three days at the North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center (NCI-LC). This year this will be June 26-28, 2015.The class is listed online and registration is open!Click here to go directly to the course description. You may also read the lodging options (these dictate the cost) on this page.
A note about the course title: over the years that I have taught this class, I have encouraged participants to bring their own ideas for maps they would like to make. These may not have anything to do with nature journals. To me it is more important to offer a customized learning experience than to hold students to my original concept of the class. We just haven't changed the name! Going to the NCI-LC is in fact going on a retreat where you will have lots of time to immerse yourself in your work. Maps are labor intensive. The late June days are long with sunlight, allowing time for hiking, eating, walking in or sitting in the forest or by the lake in addition to your working time in the classroom.
I have posted extensively about this course. Please follow the link below to see these reviews and some of my maps done as professional assignments.
One of four maps made for Snohomish County PUD"s Judy Reservoir water treatment plant, this map shows how geometric shapes and map graphics are enhanced by classic ink drawing and watercolor use. The client didn't want any labeling on this map so it is in effect incomplete, Labeling was to be done later, using fonts.
Registration for Letters of Joy, where the class below will take place, begins March 16--not before. Click on the link for Write on Calligraphers to print out the form to mail in for registration.
The Personal Letter as Manuscript,May 1 + 2, 2015, Letters of Joy regional conference for calligraphers and artists. Sponsored by Write On Calligraphers (WOC) of Edmonds, WA. This conference is held at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, WA. Classes are held all day on May 2. Keynote address, vendors and a silent auction will be held in the evening of May 1. A registration form will be available on Write On Calligraphers' website (the link above will take you there).
The Personal Letter as Manuscript will be a two-hour class, as will all of the Letters of Joy classes. I will offer instruction and experimentation in using calligraphic fountain pens as sketching, writing, and decorating tools on personal notes and letters. An example of what I'm talking about appears below. Please check back and keep an eye on the WOC website.
A fine-tipped Shaeffer calligraphy fountain pen, colored pencils and metallic gel pen were used to write a spontaneous letter. Common manuscript elements of a top border, an initial cap and a side and bottom borders were used. No lines were drawn ahead of time; the idea is for a letter to be spontaneous in appearance.
Possible Art Map workshop in southwest Washington State/Portland, OR
There is interest in my teaching a map workshop in the vicinity of Vancouver, WA or other location convenient to those in southwest WA and Portland and nearby communities. Are you interested? Please let me know! Email me via the link in the column to the right of this one. Thank you!! I'd love to see you in class.
January is the perfect month for allowing fresh ideas to come forth. Yesterday, while flying from Oakland, CA to Seattle, I was awed by the prominent peaks of the Cascade Range as they pierced the low cloud layer in all their frosted beauty. Ideas for teaching started coming into my mind like so many flashes off the wing of our aircraft.
Curiously, the good old Schaeffer calligraphy fountain pen flashed into my mind. I've done very little sketching with this pen, but it offers so much as a drawing tool. This morning I pulled it out of a drawer and it was ready to go to work for me. Here's what I drew:
Coffee cup at drawing group meeting. Schaeffer pen (fine tip) and colored pencil.
The regional calligraphy conference, "Letters of Joy," will be held at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, WA on May 1 & 2, 2015. I'll be proposing two new 2-hour mini-classes, one of which will be a little workshop on using calligraphic fountain pens for sketching and letter writing. Why use a calligraphy fountain pen? Because the broad-edged nibs in these pens give us thicks and thins which create more textured sketches. In early days, hand-cut quills were used for drawing, yielding the original quality of varied line width.
As confirmations take place, I will post more detailed information about all 2015 classes I'll be teaching.