Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Basic Shapes in Illustrator CS

In Adobe Illustrator, you can paint both the fill and the stroke of shapes with colors, patterns, or gradients. You can even apply various brushes to the path of the shapes. For this logo, you’ll use a simple method to reverse the default fill and stroke of your shapes, painting the fill with black and the stroke with white. Full tutorial

Helix Nebula, Gaseous Envelope Expelled By a Dying Star VIDEO

Animation of a 3-D model - created from Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based data of the Helix Nebula
Helix NebulaHigh Resolution Image 3.62 MB(6145 x 6623 pixels). Credit:NASA, ESA, C.R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt University), M. Meixner and P. McCullough STScI

ABOUT THIS IMAGE: This composite image is a view of the colorful Helix Nebula taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the Mosaic II Camera on the 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
The object is so large that both telescopes were needed to capture a complete view. The Helix is a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous envelope expelled by a dying, sun-like star. The Helix resembles a simple doughnut as seen from Earth. But looks can be deceiving. New evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular to each other.
A New Twist on an Old Nebula, Helix Nebula with Annotated FeaturesOne possible scenario for the Helix's complex structure is that the dying star has a companion star. One disk may be perpendicular to the dying star's spin axis, while the other may lie in the orbital plane of the two stars. The Helix, located 690 light-years away, is one of the closest planetary nebulas to Earth.

The Hubble images were taken on November 19, 2002; the Cerro Tololo images on Sept. 17-18, 2003.

Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to celestial objects like galaxies and nebulas. These objects are so far away that astronomers cannot see their three-dimensional structure. The Helix Nebula, for example, resembles a doughnut in colorful images. Earlier images of this complex object — the gaseous envelope ejected by a dying, sun-like star — did not allow astronomers to precisely interpret its structure. One possible interpretation was that the Helix's form resembled a snake-like coil.

Now, a team of astronomers using observations from several observatories, including NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, has established that the Helix's structure is even more perplexing. Their evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular to each other.

Copyright Notice: Material credited to STScI on this site was created, authored, and/or prepared for NASA under Contract NAS5-26555. Unless otherwise specifically stated, no claim to copyright is being asserted by STScI and it may be freely used as in the public domain in accordance with NASA's contract. However, it is requested that in any subsequent use of this work NASA and STScI be given appropriate acknowledgement.

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Coby Whitmore in 1947

My OCD kicked in after yesterday's post so last night I found myself scouring the few magazines I have from 1947, looking for the P&G ad in which Ken Lay's "Betty" made her appearance.

I found plenty of Coby Whitmore illustrations - sometimes as many as four in a single issue of Ladies Home Journal - but no sign of "Betty".

What my search did reinforce was just how popular and prolific Whitmore was with both editors and advertisers during the late 1940's. Think about it: how many illustrators today or even back then could flip open a national magazine and see their signature on four illustrations throughout a given issue?!

Upon expanding my search to issues from '46 and '48 I did find this ad below for Ivory Snow (a Proctor & Gamble product) with a Whitmore signature attached. Could Ivory Snow have been the product for which Coby Whitmore painted "Betty"?

These pieces have joined plenty of other late 40's Whitmore illustrations in my Coby Whitmore Flickr set. Why not take a few minutes to go enjoy the work of this mid-20th century master?

Monday, July 30, 2007


Some artists produce mediocre work because they just can't do any better. Others produce it because they're able to get away with it.

Jack Davis is a highly talented artist who has done beautiful work over a long and stellar career. He also churned out enough lame, half-hearted work to decimate an entire forest.

Davis' talent was obvious from the start. Note the confidence, humor and strength of the brush work in this early contribution to MAD magazine:

Davis was still producing excellent work for MAD decades later.

During those decades, his distinctive style became wildly popular. His work appeared everywhere, from the cover of Time magazine to cheap advertisements in the back of local newspapers.

Davis worked at lightning speed, and apparently did not believe in turning down assignments. He obviously knew the difference between good and bad drawing, but you might not know it from some of the work he pushed out the door:

Every artist is born to confront this same temptation. Artists need to eat and deadlines are remorseless. If a client will pay for a hasty, second rate job, why should an artist ever do more? A great deal depends on how an artist answers this question.

I've previously quoted the great illustrator Robert Fawcett, who was no stranger to this temptation. Fawcett fought back:
The argument that "it won't be appreciated anyway" may be true, but in the end this attitude does infinitely more harm to the artist than to his client.
Ben Jaroslaw, who worked with the famous illustrator Bernie Fuchs, recalled how Fuchs responded to the opportunity to coast along doing repetitive, lucrative work:
All the local art directors kept calling up saying, I want Bernie! I want Bernie! But Bernie got tired of doing pictures of people holding drinks and just said, "shove it."
Another illustrator who worked with Fuchs, Bob Heindel, made a similar observation:
I know Bernie has tried to choose his assignments, and I know he has done some work he is not so proud of....That's how you learn. But you learn to protect yourself, and mostly if you care about it you learn to protect your work. Bernie was always very protective of his ability. Not that he was vain-- quite the contrary. But he knew what he had. And he always wanted the opportunity to do his very best.
Jack Davis has had a wonderful career, but his legacy would be different if he had been a little more protective of his great ability.

One of my very favorite cartoonists, Leonard Starr, once said that writing and drawing a syndicated daily comic strip was like "running in front of a train." He laughed,"you'd be surprised how good a drawing starts to look at 3:00 in the morning." The pressures are real. So where does an artist draw the line? When facing similar temptations, I often think back to this wonderfully instructive passage from Starr's comic strip, On Stage:

We are all entitled to lie down a little, but make sure you know how to count to nine.

Volkswagen Beetle classic "Bug"

The last “classic” Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the production line at VW’s Puebla, Mexico, plant on this day July 30 in 2003. The car, part of the 3,000-unit final edition,
was sent to a museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, where Volkswagen is headquartered. 2003 : Last classic "Bug" rolls off the line

Description Volkswagen Beetle photographed in USA. Source Own Work, Date 7/17/06, Author IFCAR. Permission All Rights Released

Licensing: I, the copyright holder of this work (IFCAR) , hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

Volkswagen Beetle From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Volkswagen Type 1, more commonly known as the Beetle, is an economy car produced by the German automaker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003. Although the names "Beetle" and "Bug" were quickly adopted by the public, it was not until August of 1967 that VW itself began using the name Beetle in marketing materials.

It had previously been known only as either the "Type I" or as the 1200 (twelve-hundred), 1300 (thirteen-hundred) or 1500 (fifteen-hundred), which had been the names under which the vehicle was marketed in Europe prior to 1967; the numbers denoted the vehicle's engine size in cubic centimeters.

In 1998, many years after the original model had been dropped from the lineup in most of the world (it continued in Mexico and a handful of other countries until 2003) VW introduced the "New Beetle" (built on a Volkswagen Golf platform), bearing a cosmetic resemblance to the original.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Volkswagen Beetle

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Something to do on a rainy day...

I wanted to bring in some color to the studio today
and thought of these great tissue paper pompoms
from Martha Stewart's site.
Nothing like hot pink and orange
to brighten up up a room!
They are very easy to make,
you can find the instructions here
It has been raining all day today...
but what was a typical rainy afternoon
turned into huge cherry size hail falling from the sky!
It was a sight to be seen AND heard...
Thankfully it only lasted a few minutes,
and now back to the rain :o)

Baby shower gift

I recently finished a tote for my good friend Mariana.
She's having a baby shower in a few weeks.
I plan to fill it up with goodies
for baby Ana's room.
I embroidered
one of my little ink bird designs on the tote

and the rooted flower design
on the zippered pouch.
These are some simple cotton onesies
that will go inside the tote
along with a few more things I have to finish.
I kindly asked my friend Mariana
not to visit my blog till after her baby shower
to keep all the goodies a secret, so shhhhhhh :o)

Coby Whitmore's "Betty"

Received in Friday's email:

Thank you very much for maintaining your website of illustrators! Thanks to you, I was able to identify an illustration I found.

My name is Ken Lay and I'm an art director in Cincinnati. I worked for a design firm called Hulefeld Associates that started in 1939. They had been in the same building for about 50 years. The company was bought out in 2002 and the new company promptly moved us out of the old building. During the move, I found this illustration under a bunch of old "office art" that had found it's way to the basement over the years.

It was all being pitched in the dumpster, but "Betty" was obviously a fine piece of art and very charming to boot, so I saved her. The back of the frame also had a wonderful inscription:

"Merry Christmas, Frank (Hulefeld) and may this encourage lots of good work in 1947. Coz"

There was a signature, but it looked to me like "Cody Whitney." The name "Coz" on the back was also confusing. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were staring at her, and she said "I think it's Whitmore." so, I started googling "Whitmore" and variations of "Cody" (Cosby, Coby, Corey, etc.). Finally, up comes your site with "M. Coburn Whitmore" and Betty's creator was found! We collect antiques and paintings and were thrilled to see Betty came from such a respected figure in illustration.

We call her "Betty" after the framers label on the back-- "Betty Brown Framing"

We have tickets to the Antique Roadshow which is filming tomorrow in Louisville, KY. We're taking Betty to see what they say about her.

We'd love to have the ad or short story she originally appeared in. Hulefeld Assoc. did a lot of work for P&G, so I imagine it was for a cosmetic product or toiletry of theirs.

I know it's asking a lot, but if you could post Betty's story to see if your readers have ever come across her, I would appreciate it and would be happy to pay for the sheet.

Update! Ken emailed me this morning with the following:

Thought I'd give you an update on Betty's adventures. We enjoyed the Antique Roadshow, and despite waiting in a very long line, got Betty in front of a Roadshow appraiser. The appraised value was $800-1200!

Based on the estimates we'd seen for his larger illustrations, we figured $300-500. It was a nice surprise, though she'll remain where she's been--watching over our kitchen.

Well readers? Any thoughts...?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Japanese Flora

japansese fruit tree

lotus blossom

purple flower

orange flower

These images come from ten albums of flora containing more than 700 images from the Museum at the University of Tokyo: honzo database (english home page). [via armchair aquarium annex].

I *still* don't have an asian language pack on this computer so I can't say anything more about these, although the year 1708 is mentioned - I've cleaned up the background in a few of the images but didn't adjust anything else. Click on the images above for greatly enlarged versions.

Later: Jenny kindly informs us: "It is herbalism or pharmaceutical sciences. In 1708 Ekiken Kaibara wrote the book of "Yamato Honzo"(Japanese herbalism).before that Japanese learn from China. Honzo-Zufu , picture book of herbs by Kanen Iwasaki".