Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Born to Rule

It's been a busy time lately, and I'm finally getting around to posting the final version of the collage I began so long ago. You can see how drastically it changed from the initial sketch I posted on March 29th! But that's the nature of art and collage in particular - the thrill of art-making is in the surprising twists of the journey.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

May Cover Illustration

I was fortunate to work again with Janna Netland-Lover of Local Design Group on the May cover of Minnesota Medicine Magazine. The theme for this issue's cover was the subject of organ transplants. Organ transplants are now able to be used on a much wider base of the population for a wider variety of situations than in the past. Janna envisioned an illustration of silhouettes and organs - so I got out my trusty Wacom pen tool and tablet, and away I went.

First I sent her the following three sketches, using the magazines template to position the elements to work with the type and label.

Version One: Patterned background, organs, which are illustrated in pen & ink style are highlighted in rectangular solid shapes.

Version Two: Plain painterly background, organs depicted in realistic medical illustration style, no backgrounds to highlight them.

Version Three: Another painterly background, but in warm colors, and organs are highlighted by rectangles.

Janna chose the patterned background, but preferred the organs without highlighting shapes behind them. So I went to work on tweaking the figures, completely changing a few, and here's how they came out:

I'll post the finished cover tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Sometimes I like to do a digital rough sketch to see how the composition works when I start on a collage. Colors may change, textures will be added, but so far, I'm liking the composition. That rooster needs a new set of legs!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Illustration Friday - "Toy"

I know those 50's toys were dangerous with their sharp metal edges, impractical because they would rust in the rain and they were certainly heavier than the plastic versions that followed in later years, but they could fly to the moon and back with the same awesome dexterity as their modern counterparts!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tricycle girl

Isn't she a cutie? Love the bow, love the trike (with white tires!) - and soon, I'd love to see her in one of my collages!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Although the last part of this expression has been over-used, I had never heard the entire sentiment. When I read the entire quote, it was so much more meaningful and perfect for today.

This little tyke and her feathered companion are available as a print or the original collage in my Etsy Shop.

Thursday, March 3, 2011




I met an angel at a dinner party last week, and she was trying to pretend she was just a normal human being. But I could tell she was special, especially when she got to the part in her story about the seven dogs sleeping on her bed at home while we were having this lively dinner conversation. It turns out that St. Cheryl is a volunteer for Second Chance, an animal rescue organization here in Minneapolis. Second Chance was recognized by City Pages Magazine as the Best 2010 Charity (you can read the article here). Cheryl, like other foster moms, provides a home for dogs who have been abandoned or rescued until they find their "forever home" through the organization.

This is a special cause for me, since I am an animal lover, and now that the economy has forced so many people into tight situations, their pets are suffering, too, being abandoned or put up for adoption. The equally sad situation is that due to budget cuts, many shelters are closing their doors, and the need for private home foster care is so desperately needed.

Alfie and Sidney, above, need a home. You need a dog or cat. Who can't benefit from a little unconditional love and a nice warm hairy greeting committee when you walk in the door? So check out the list of adorable little creatures who need homes on SECOND CHANCE's website.

The next adoption date is March 12th - go for a visit and take your friends! - It will be the Petco in Roseville between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more information, see the website.

I adopted my Suzi years ago and you can see what a difference a little TLC can make with the following photos - her face went from worry lines to snotty confidence. Her TLC made a big difference in my face too, but that's another story:


Several months later

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Night Fall with Snow Fall

This is my front porch at 10:00 o'clock last night. I had to push the door open against the snow piled in front of it to take this photo. (I forgot to adjust the camera, the night and the snow were not this yellow!) Somewhere there are steps winding down to the street. Maybe by spring I will find them. The snow is almost to the top of the porch railing!

I would complain, but aside from the hassle factor, it is a beautiful sight.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Silent Night

As I mentioned in the previous post, I had the opportunity to work on some concepts for the Minnesota Opera, with Amy Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick Design, and here is the second opera visual concept in progress, "Silent Night". This World Premiere opera depicts the true story of a Christmas Eve truce in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I. Such a poignant tale - it began with the Germans lining their trenches with tiny Christmas trees and progressed to the soldiers exchanging chocolates, cigarettes and other token gifts in No Man's Land. Apparently they partied all night long, showing off pictures of their loved ones back home, sharing whatever liquor was to be had, and even playing a game of soccer. When the next day came, the war resumed, but with such reluctance on the part of the soldiers that they had to be stationed elsewhere in order to continue to fight.

This is one of the cut-and-paste thumbnails that I submitted.

Another thumbnail, with postcards fortifying the trenches.

A third version, featuring the soldier in a more prominent position.

In the end, the last version was chosen, and I'll show you the finished result tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Madame Butterfly



Here's the final version - Madame Butterfly awaits the return of her lover.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Minnesota Opera Project

A while back I had the good fortune to work with the very talented graphic designer Amy Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick Design on concepts for the one of Amy's many clients, the Minnesota Opera. Amy thought my collage style of illustration might be a good choice for the upcoming season's brochure and marketing materials, and invited me to submit concepts for consideration. I worked on two of the season's upcoming operas, the well-loved classic, "Madame Butterfly" and "Silent Night", a world premiere libretto based on the true story of the World War I Christmas Eve truce in the trenches of the western front.

In the end, the Opera folks opted to go with photography instead of collage and my fun came to an end, but I really had a good time working with Amy on the preliminary concepts. Speaking of which:

I began with this photo of Kelly Kaduce of Madame Butterfly. With a little Photoshop magic, I reduced those worried lines in her forehead, (if only I could do that with myself) and I reduced the blue hue.


and after

Next I took out my scissors and found my glue stick and created some rough thumbnails with a cut and paste routine. Here's what I sent to Amy, and she decided to go with the last version, which will show in my next post: