Saturday, January 31, 2009

Livingly Challenged by Copperthistle

Vector Software Product Box Template

A great packaging design resource from GhostOfArt. You can fully customize the template with Adobe Illustrator or any other SVG editor.

You can use it for building package design portfolio samples. To use, decompress the *.rar file with WinRar or StuffIt (Mac OS). Download

Two Valentine's Hearts and Arrow

Two Valentine's Hearts and ArrowTwo Valentine's Hearts and Arrow, Valentine Hearts are linked by Cupid's arrow in a store's window display. New York City, January 30, 2008.
Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

School work

We got the boys
these adorable handmade
birdie pencil holders
at a crafts market recently.
This is where they do
their school work every day.
I love that they get
lots of natural light.

Studio Saturday-Out on a limb

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner. Last weeks winner is Elaine Robitaille. Congratulations! You have won a mystery bead or button from Jennifer at Jangles. Send us an e-mail with your address and we will get it right out to you.

I went out on limb and created the tool shown above. This suggestion came from another vendor at a Wool Festival.
I know you are thinking, this woman's a nut job (true most days), that's a tool? This is an Orifice Hook for spinners (not the bike spinners). I photographed the hook on wool roving.

He's an explanation of what this tool does: Orifice hooks are used to thread the leader from the bobbin through the orifice on the flyer of the spinning wheel. Most wheels come with a fairly utilitarian hook, but spinners can choose from a wide range of handcrafted hooks.

I did a search for Orifice hooks and was so suprized at what is out there! Woodturned hooks, Lampworked beads and of course clay. Do a search and see what you come up with, especially on Etsy.
This is something different and fun to make with your art beads. There are collectors out there!

During my search I found this neat book on spinning.
I am trying to learn all the terminology of knitting and spinning for my customers. Wool roving was one I learned and bought lots of, because my daughter learned how to needle felt. It was so amusing watching my daughter and her 2 friends think it is so cool learning how to needle felt. It's good clean fun that requires no electricity! They were so funny to watch. A very talented, patient and equally amused woman (Esther Bechler) taught the girls.

My question for this Studio Saturday is:

What have you gone out on a limb and tried?
Was it a success, a failure or a one time deal?


Share your stories or just leave a comment. I would like to have others sitting out there on a limb with me!

Mine was a success and I will be making more for future Wool Festivals. Now off to make a Diz! Huh?

This weeks prize is two Swirl Heart Buttons in Rose. Just in time for Valentines Day!

The Book of Eclipses

Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz) detail



Solar + Lunar Eclipses



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) s



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) o



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) i



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) j



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) l



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) r



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) t



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) w



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) y



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) z



Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1555) z1



Eclipsis Solis (detail) [the Pulp Fiction remix]



'Eclipses luminarium summa fide et accurata diligentia supputatae, ac figuris coloribusque suis artificiose depictae, quarum rationes ab anno domini 1554. usque in annum domini 1600. se extendunt et ad meridianum Viennae Austriae referuntur - BSB Cod.icon. 181' by Cyprian Leowitz is online at the The Digital Library Department of the Bavarian State Library. (ostensibly: 'Accurate coloured depictions of solar and lunar eclipses covering the years 1554 to 1600 with Vienna, Austria as the point of reference')

The only information I can glean from the web suggests that Leowitz was a Bohemian astrologer and a contemporary of Nostradamus. Most (very very brief) citations mention that his notoriety centres on his having predicted that the world would end in 1584. I think that assertion was made in 1568 and a comment at one site opined that he was hedging his bets by publishing luna/solar data for the time subsequent to the predicted apocalypse (my first thought here is that the author is conflating two publications of Leowitz from different times.) None of these web snippets are worth linking.

I presume that the 1568 prediction was published in Leowitz's 'Prognosticon'.

Just as an irrelevant aside: that word, 'prognosticon', occurs as or in the title of a LOT of books from the Bavarian State Library (and other German libraries too). At first, I thought that these books would be worthwhile checking out; that the title was indicative of 'visual weirdness ahead'. I'm always looking for words or categories or shortcut indications that I can rely on in deciding whether or not to bother checking out a book, because naturally I can only skim a very modest amount from the firehose of digitised material that comes in through my feedreader. It turns out, after trial and error, that 'prognosticon' is, in fact, a useful indicator. When I see it, I don't bother looking unless I recognise the author because these books are invariably illustration-free.

Excerpts or adaptions of 'Eclipses luminarium..' appear in a collection of astrological manuscripts hosted by the University of Heidelberg that was the subject of a previous post: Geomancy Almanac.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Valentine's Day Glitter Heart

Valentine's Day Glitter HeartValentine's Day Glitter Heart, Valentine's Day display in a store window on Third avenue, New York City, Manhatten's eastside. January 30, 2008
Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

Hand carved ship

Once you start carving
it is very difficult to stop doing it :)
I highly recommend it.
I used my trusty Speedball lino cutter
and a Staedtler 2½" × 2½" × ¾"
carving block for this one.
The ships in the background
are from my collection of vintage postcards.

Stewart Sherwood on Storyboards

Canadian illustrator Stewart Sherwood began doing storyboards in the early 60's. Will Davies had formed a studio in Toronto called Associated Illustrators with a group of his fellow top artists. The studio Sherwood had been employed at had just closed its doors, so he decide to call Will and show him his portfolio. "Will told me, 'Well we don't really hire illustrators here... but if you want to sit in the corner...' so I just basically started coming in!" (he laughs) "...and I didn't leave!"

"I just learned so much from Will and some of the others there... the atmosphere... it was just so creative... the development, the transformation of my work was just overnight. I couldn't believe it myself."

As the youngest artist in the room, and having not yet established many contacts, Stewart was grateful just to be in the presence of these others. To help him out the older established artists would send storyboard work his way.


"They used to give me some storyboards," explains Stewart, "because they felt sorry for me... because I wasn't making any money." He chuckles, "I just came in and parked myself in the corner and did samples."

"I guess I'm kind of a commercial artist," he says with an almost apologetic laugh. "They came in with storyboards for me to do and I did 'em! In otherwords, I didn't have any problem doing them for the price they were willing to pay. I viewed it as work - and actually, its good for you because boy, you sure learn how to work fast and how to draw."


Initially, though markers were around, Stewart used chalk pastels. Over time, as he did more and more comps and layouts, he switched to markers. These examples, which Stewart did for an animatic, were done mostly in marker with some gouache paint and black chalk pastel. At roughly 18" x 24", they are absolutely some of the biggest marker renderings I've ever seen - and must have been a tremendous amount of work.

About this project, Stewart recalls that "Lorna Lampert ( the art director on the project shown here) used to call me in a lot because she liked the way I did portraits. And she felt that they looked the way they were supposed to look and that would help sell the concept to the client." Earlier in his career, to aid him in the accuracy of his drawings, Stewart says he first had to learn how to use the 'Lucie' (Lucigraph). During his early days at the Toronto art studio TDF, "the salesmen would come in with a project and say, "we need this back in an hour."

"I had never known how to use the Lucie before," he continues, "and how to find the shortcuts... and it was tough! Because I had learned how to draw and paint - but I didn't know how to work under pressure. And you know, with getting likenesses, its crazy to just sit there and just try and draw the thing."

"But," he says with some qualification, "I think the secret to the Lucie is that you do need to know how to draw. You still need to know how to break the thing down and make it work."


Drawing well and being fast are the two most important qualities a storyboard artist must possess. "It requires a special kind of skill that not too many people have," he wisely points out. "I did a lot of other things in the way of finished art, but I found with storyboards, very few guys could do it."

"I used to watch guys around me who'd be thinking, 'Oh, this is easy,' but then they'd end up doing these wooden-type of figures. Half the battle is to capture a certain kind of feeling in the drawing. Its not just a matter of putting a figure here or there... your drawing has to actually look like you know what you're doing."


"The drawing has to sing a little bit, you know, the drawing, the line and the feeling of it... and if you can capture that in marker or pen or chalk, it doesn't have to be modelled up that much. So long as it captures a moment in time."

Most illustrators are too rigid - they can't get into that."


I ask him when he stopped doing storyboards and he says it was some time in the 1980's. "The biggest thing with storyboards is the deadline pressure," says Stewart. "Often you would end up working nights on them. I did a lot of storyboards because I guess I was a little more money-oriented then," he chuckles. "Later on I wanted to focus more and more on finished art so I guess I kind of sacrificed on that."


"You know," he says thoughtfully, "it really wasn't my favourite kind of thing to do... but I was always proud of the stuff I did. And I enjoyed it, too. Its a special art."

* At some time in the near future, I hope to bring you an entire week devoted to exploring Stewart Sherwood's career.

* Stewart Sherwood's website

The Trendy Bead - Flirt with Fibers

Add in the surprise of fiber beads to your spring jewelry creations for trendy mixed media designs. Pair them with your favorite art beads, mix in chunky pieces of stone or wood, throw in a generous amount of brass or gunmetal chain and filigree to spark your creativity. I love the icy hue of these satin cord knot beads from Yuki designs.

I spotted these cord covered o-rings in the new Rings & Things catalog. They would be fun as the dangle on a pair of earrings or used as connectors in a chain linked design.

Felt beads are easy to make, but you can also purchase them in great color combinations from Ornamentea. Add a whimsical touch by embellishing them with seed beads.
I'm also crazy for these crocheted beads. You can order them in your choice of colors from craftergirl. They are a great way to add visual interest to a design, without adding bulk or weight. I'd love to see these paired on a bracelet with lampwork and wood beads.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Empire State Building Tower and Mast

Empire State Building Tower and Mast

Empire State Building Tower and Mast

Empie State Building Tower and Mast
Empire State Building Tower and Mast.

A dirigible mast, now the base of the TV tower, was part of the original construction of the Building. One attempt to moor a privately owned blimp was successful for three minutes. But during a second attempt, in September 1931, a Navy Blimp was almost upended and nearly swept away celebrities attending the historic affair, while the water ballast drenched pedestrians several blocks away. The mooring mast idea was ultimately abandoned. Empire State Building: Official Internet Site

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

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

Storyboards: "A new and challenging field"

Thanks largely to DVD special features and movie fan websites, the general public today is on a first name basis with the term "storyboard". I ocassionally do cartooning demonstrations for my wife's grade 4 and 5 classes, and even kids that young know exactly what I'm talking about if I say I draw storyboards. I find that kind of remarkable...


Twenty years ago, hardly anyone outside of those working in an ad agency (or, I suppose, a film studio) knew what a storyboard was. Go back 50 or so years, when television was just becoming America's preferred mass media, and I'll bet that even many artists were unfamiliar with the term.


That might explain why the editors of American Artist magazine had Larry Berger, an art director specializing in TV commercials at BBDO, write an article on the subject for their February 1953 issue.


"Television is the newest and perhaps the most challenging field ever to face an artist," wrote Berger. "It has possibilities and limitations that demand new combinations of skill, training and creative thought."

"The agency's TV art director is primarily responsible for planning the visual appearance of commercials. He does this on a storyboard like the one illustrated below. Now it is not necessary to be a top illustrator to render a storyboard, but it is essential to be able to draw what the camera is expected to record."



"It is essential to be able to visualize the best way of displaying the product - clearly and dramatically, and in the most attractive manner possible. It is necessary to do the same for other elements that will be associated with the product - live actors, animated cartoons, puppets or mobiles. Indicating nebulous images isn't enough because the production of the commercial depends to a great extent on what is indicated on the storyboard. If the board isn't exact in its backgrounds, composition, camera angles, and demonstration techniques, the final commercial is not likely to be much better."



"The artist who comes into television has a good start. The training acquired in an agency art department or studio is invaluable - but it is not enough. In print advertising, a man can specialize in either lettering, illustration, or layout. But the television artist must be a composite of all - and that is but a part of his equipment. Remember: a printed advertisement can carry many elements and still be good; there is relatively no restriction to the time it takes to absorb its message. But the television commercial must always stress brevity and simplicity. It must tell its story in eight seconds, twenty seconds, or at the most one minute. Therefore, though the advertising sense acquired through print media is very helpful, the artist doing TV commercials must acquire a television sense as well. He must develop a sense of timing and correct emphasis, a feeling for visual continuity and for harmonious relationships between moving objects."

"Most important, he must acquire the ability to relate a story that will hold the attention of the audience and sell the product."



Berger concludes, "Since this article is directed to artists, little mention has been made of the other people who work directly with the artist in planning TV advertising. This does not mean that their jobs are less important. Television is no one-man operation. What the TV artist can contribute towards better television commercials, what he can innovate in the field of production techniques, will largely determine his future."


"It can, I think, prove to be the most fruitful profession an artist ever found himself in."

It would be interesting to hear from some storyboard artists today if they feel Larry Berger's assessment of their career choice rings true.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Echinodermata

detail - Agassiz - sea urchin




echinoderamata species




detail - Agassiz - echinoderm anatomy



Anatomie des Echinodermes



Anatomie des Echinodermes a




detail - Agassiz e




detail - Agassiz a



Anatomie des Echinodermes b



detail - Agassiz b



Anatomie des Echinodermes c



detail - echinoderm illustration



Anatomie des Echinodermes d




echinoderm species - Encope valenciennesii Ag.




Anatomie des Echinodermes e



sketches of Echinoneus species from Phylum Echinodermata



Anatomie des Echinodermes h



Laganum + Moulinia species - echinodermata drawings



Mellita + Rotula echinoderm species illustrations

Clicking on most of these images will take you to a large version
so note that there are also very large versions available.


Echinoderms (Phylum Echinodermata) are an exclusively marine invertebrate animal species displaying radial symmetry as adults.

Member Classes include Asteroidea (starfish), Echinoidea (sea urchins and sand dollars), Crinoidea (stone lillies and feather stars), Holothurians (sea cucumbers) and Ophiuroidea (brittle stars).

Their extinct ancestors constitute a much larger group and have left behind an extensive fossil record. [fossil pictures]

The images above come from a multi-volume series of monographs from the 1840s entitled: 'Monographies d'Échinodermes Vivans et Fossiles' (Monographs of living and fossilised echinoderms).

Four of the five volumes are available from the Universities of Strasbourg Libraries (SICD) website
(from memory the above images were harvested from all of the books). The author is Louis Agassiz who was mentioned in passing the other day in relation to a previous post - The Embryology of Turtles - which provides a little background and links about him.

Wikipedia // Echinoid Directory // Tree of Life // The Echinoblog