Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sketchbook Project 2012 - Part 1

I am participating in the Sketchbook Project 2012 by Art House Co-op. It will be part of the permanent collection at The Brooklyn Art Library AND it will also be digitized, so you will be able to flip through it online in full (it's also on my website.) This post is an advanced sneak peak. This is Part I. Click here for Part II. 

My theme is "Monochromatic."

I present to you, pages 08-23:

I've found every artist has an explanation of their sketchbooking habits (or lack thereof) and here is my (gigantic) explanation:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Book Lady - Savannah GA

The latest Electric Keychain project is aimed towards small/local businesses. We could pick absolutely anything and I picked one of my favourite places in Savannah, The Book Lady.

I was very impressed the first time I visited The Book Lady. Before this, I'd only ever visited one used book store in Costa Rica, and while that was impressive, this was even more so. The stacks of books practically tower over you. It REALLY did look like your stereotypical, fairy tale bookstore. Brown tones, soft lights, brick walls, chimney, cozy sofas, so many books packed in spaces so tight that you may not be able to pass through, a soft note of old paper lingering in the air and an undisturbed silence.

But the most impressive part is that staircase at the back of the store. I've often wondered, when was the last time it was a functioning staircase (rather than a stepped bookcase?) How long have those books been there? Does any one person know exactly which books are on each step? Who lives on the top floor? Did the books populate it up until the top story tenants had no choice but to relinquish the staircase to the books?

For this piece, I'll share some of my technique/process with you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Offbeat Alphabet Q Ñ I

The latest project for Electric Keychain was alphabet letters. You can find them all here (link was broken but is now fixed.)

Letters were given out randomly, though I personally took Ñ since I wanted to do Spanish words for my letters. They were supposed to be humorous or offbeat in some way (not your standard A for Apple) and to me, Spanish sounds more phonetically humorous than English.

Q is for Quiquiriquí (key-key-ree-KEY) = Cockadoodledoo

Ñ is for Ñau (gnyow) = meow

I is for Imán (ee-MAhn) = magnet. I wanted onomatopoeias for all of my words but there wasn't much I could figure with I except for "EY, MAN!"

This project became a venue for colour experimentation. I've worked with limited palettes before but I don't think I've ever done it quite this way and I really enjoyed the results. Definitely want to do more of this from now on.

I started out knowing EXACTLY the colours I wanted for the cat... and nothing else. And then I said hey, let's just use the same colours on all the letters. It may not seem like it but the rooster was the hardest of them all to figure out in terms of colour and I'm happy his worked so well in the end.

These are the original sketches:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Carly Strickland's "Sunshine's Night Out" Book Review

I usually keep posts in this blog for my personal artwork but today I am making an exception, not only because I am a book lover but for admiration towards a fellow artist and friend.

Carly Strickland is a fellow SCAD alumna and one of the nicest people I ever met there. She is also a cherished member of The Electric Keychain Collective. Today, I am happy to share with you her new children’s book “Sunshine’s Night Out” published by Matter Deep Publishing.  

©Carly Strickland
Carly describes choosing her images “based on the most theatrical way to express a concept” which is deftly delivered in the illustrations in Sunshine’s Night Out. Honestly, I couldn’t have described them better.

Sunshine the hamster does not say a single word in this book, but the endearing theatricality of her expressions conveys her thoughts and feelings loud and clear, in a way that even the youngest children can comprehend. With whimsical compositions of display text, she travels through the pages in sequential images reminiscent of comic panels. This succession of images effectively makes the reader feel as if they were watching a sweet little animated movie. 

The story presents a clear beginning, middle and end. Or a conflict, the curve in Sunshine's short but eventful nighttime journey, and a satisfying resolution. Also isn't that fun? Sunshine's having a nighttime journey. SUNSHINE. NIGHTTIME. It's great. I love it.

It is not with the unconditional praise of a friend, but with admiration as a fellow artist that I give Carly and Kyle Strickland’s “Sunshine’s Night Out” a glowing review. Carly, I am very proud of you and I eagerly hope to read more of your books in the future.

Visit Matter Deep Publishing to get your own “Sunshine’s Night Out!”
©Carly Strickland
Gotta love a book that does this with its covers.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween at The Electric Keychain

I am so excited to announce my new project, The Electric Keychain! We are a group of illustrators who want to create art together. For our Halloween launch date, we made costumed self-portraits. You will periodically find new work from us. We are also open to work from contributors, so, you'll also find work by many more artists!

We also have a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account @Electric_Key. Tweets by Sherbert the shocked sheep.

I absolutely wanted to include a book in my portrait and after a wonderful suggestion from Jackie, figured a witch hat would fit right in. Witches have spell books, right?

To follow the keychain theme, we also made it optional to have a key in the portrait and I definitely wanted one.

While working on this piece, I suddenly became very excited about the project since I only had the opportunity to celebrate Halloween about 3 times in my life back in Costa Rica, the last time being 2nd grade. After 2nd grade, there was a sudden, country-wide rejection of Halloween and people just sort of stopped dressing up and widely giving out candy. Since then, I sorely missed Halloween but working on this project felt like celebrating it in spirit. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ilógica - Illogical

Illustrating on a theme.

A friend pointed out the center of the chandelier looks like an almond.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Discovery of Pluto

This illu is based on an article about the history behind the discovery of Pluto. Basically Pluto was discovered pretty much on a whim and by sheer luck, just like pin-pointing any one of those white dots and suddenly realizing, heeey it's a new planet in the Solar System! Hence why the telescope isn't focusing on anything specific.

 Sometimes I think if I were good at math and hadn't wanted to be an artist I would've wanted to be an astronomer.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

They Draw and Travel Savannah Map

Some time ago I found out about They Draw and Cook, a website where artists post illustrated recipes. Soon after I also found their sister site, They Draw and Travel (TDAT), a website where artists post illustrated maps of sorts.

So I decided to make my own map and what better place to make it about than Savannah?

The map is also up on TDAT!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blues Train Remix

Ch-ch ch-ch ch-ch choo choo.
Couple of updates:
One: Have a Twitter? I have a Twitter! Follow my tweets @tati_dengo 
Two: I have signed up to participate in The Sketchbook Project 2012! So I shall be sharing some pages once I receive it and I can get started.

So I re-made my Guitar Train illustration since I wasn't pleased with how it came out the first time. And now I am!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York Trip 2011

Last week I had the pleasure of going on a trip to NYC with a small group of illustrators from SCAD led by Julie Lieberman.

We met people from all ends of illustration, advertising, editorial, book, artist reps, magazines, newspapers and made some new friends!

Here's a run-down of some of the places we went to. I highly recommend that check these out too if you're in NYC and interested in illustration:

Friday, June 10, 2011

To avoid criticism...

So I just graduated from SCAD (woo!) I will be going to NYC next week and meeting some art directors and illustrators (can't wait!) But before I go, here's a new illustration:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Drawchange Brochure & Guest Blog

A while ago I got in contact with the super friendly Jennie Lobato of drawchange. They are a non-profit organization aimed at giving art supplies to children of low resources in order to show them that they can express themselves through art and therefore visualize a better life for themselves. 

When visiting their website I had a pleasant surprise: they've helped children in Costa Rica! (I KNEW it as soon as I saw those two smiling girls on the homepage, it takes skill and years of observation but I think I can now spot a Costa Rican when I see one haha.)

They asked me to make an "About Us" brochure to educate people about their organization. Here's the outside:

Here's the inside:

The idea was to have it nice and playful but still serious enough for a brochure.

I also had the pleasure of being their guest blogger this week! I shared a cute story from when I painted the mural at the nursery in CR. You can see my guest post here.

For more information on this great organization please visit their website! (And maybe even contribute to a great cause!)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

SCAD Libraries Bee Bookmark!

I was quite happy to find out that SCAD's library was once again having a bookmark contest. I missed out on the last one but now I got my chance and I won 3rd place!

It had to be SCAD library-themed, so I decided bees would be perfect for this since Art The Bee is our mascot and honeycombs make ideal bookshelves for bees, yes?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Elegance of the Hedgehog - Book Cover

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery has a firm spot in the list of best books I've ever read, it might just be the very best one. It is the second book to have ever made me cry (the first one was East of Eden by John Steinbeck) and when just the words on a page have the power to do that then you definitely know you've struck upon something great.

So for portfolio class, I decided to make my own cover for it and here it is!
For the sake of brevity, here's the story in a nutshell: Renee Michel, is the concierge of a posh apartment building in Paris. She is an autodidact with beautifully deep thoughts yet she shows others the image of an ignorant, stereotypical concierge who owns a fat lazy cat and who can do nothing but watch T.V. all day.

So I wanted to portray the existence of the her two identities through the space that she inhabits. The front cover is her true self (the inside of her apartment that nobody sees) and the back cover is the image of herself that she shows to others (the entrance to the apartment, which the tenants get to see periodically). So the front and the back are just different sides of the same room.

I am very, very pleased with the result. I consider this piece to be the culmination of everything I've learned about art and design here at SCAD. It has everything I have been working towards in terms of style and technique. I got the linework, the mark-making, the values, the colours, the textures, the shapes, the perspective, the composition and the type JUST how I wanted them. And that just feels great, to finally have figured it all out. 

And since I enjoy reading so much, I was happy to make a book cover that I would enjoy seeing at the store. See the cat on the ISBN bar? I LOVE it when publishers incorporate the cover design with the bar. They should do it more often!

Here's some of my process work:

This was the initial thumbnail. I had a very clear image in my mind of what I wanted and the final piece changed very little from this original thumbnail, it is not often that this fact, I think it's the very first time this has ever happened to me in the illu department haha. The only big suggestion I got was to move the cat and then I got all excited when I realized I could put him on the ISBN bar!

This was the comp, I drew all the elements out in individual pieces of paper so that I could play around with the composition more freely.

This is the value comp, as you can see, the values didn't turn out exactly like this in the end but having the comp is useful to give yourself an idea of where you want to go.

This is the colour comp and yes, it's quite sloppy but it's not always essential for it to be perfectly neat since all I needed to know was what colours worked well together. I tend to prefer colour comps that way because then I can concentrate ONLY on the colours without getting distracted by little drawing details. A problem I had is I was too influenced by the colours of the original cover from Europa Editions, so I was determined to stray away from that and make it my own. I did decide to keep the border from the original cover though because that adds a touch of elegance.

And then when all of the above was tweaked, critiqued, decided upon, I drew all the elements, this time around quite neatly, scanned them in, and the rest all happened in Photoshop. 


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chocolate Milk Bottle Design

I have a penchant for consuming and enjoying chocolate and anything else you can make with it.

For Vector Illustration, we had to create a package design for a product of our choice, the most common example being a beer bottle and I said screw that, I want a milk chocolate bottle, a CUTE milk chocolate bottle... with a cute animal on it.

So I decided to use a bear! That was after many suggestions to use a rabbit (Nesquik, anyone?) Funny how all these products are so deeply ingrained in our minds yet we don't realize it until this happens, just like when I made the drawing for the mural and gave the crocodile a thumbs-up (there's a CR product with a crocodile mascot that gives you a thumbs-up.)

This was the original, brainstorming sketch:

My professor liked the idea, so he suggested I take advantage of the cuteness of the bear by turning it into a character (basically turn it into something personable that can sell the product, put a soul behind those eyes), so this is the revised sketch:

There was no need to sketch the body since I planned to make it by using basic geometric shapes on Illustrator to keep the edges clean for a label. 

So after making use of the magic of Adobe Illustrator, I created my ideal chocolate milk label:

I also went on the FDA's website to find out the regulations for Nutrition Facts labels (very interesting from a typographic sense!) though I didn't follow them 100%.

Then I made a mock-up by digitally placing it on the actual container. I used a Starbucks frapuccino bottle because they are very cute and I've always wished they contained chocolate milk too:

A couple weeks ago I mentioned how a wood grain texture can very easily look VERY "Photoshoppy" but this time around I made it work.

I also had fun designing the logo for it. I originally wanted something simple and elegant but from a commercial stand point, even though there's a bear on the bottle and that's reason enough to initiate that spark of "Hmmm, what is this? Should I buy this?," the brand still has to stand out on its own. It became tricky at one point since the syllables "oco" and "oso" were right on top of each other and affected legibility by being so similar.

Also, name is a pun in Spanish. "Chocolatoso" means "chocolate-y" and "oso" means "bear," so there you go. I usually don't use Spanish in my projects but this time I made an exception because: 1) I love puns, 2) the name is easy enough that any English speaker can pronounce it without too much trouble (since I'm in the U.S.) 3) the basic understanding of CHOCOLATE is there for many other languages as well.

"it's bear-y delicious!" 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

50/100 Sketches from Life

Been pretty busy this weekend but finally I'm able to post! This week I will share some snippets from my sketchbook "100 Sketches from Life." Also, if you've seen my website then you probably have seen a lot of these before.

It's been an enlightening and very fun experience so far, and it's great practice, too!

I chose a toned sketchbook for a few reasons. First, it's always been very hard for me to keep a sketchbook. The reason? It's hard for me to enjoy drawing on plain, stark white paper; it's very uninspiring to have this blinding sheet of paper staring at you. (For some reason I don't have this problem with loose sheets of paper.)

I realized this when I noticed I'd be more inclined to sketch on paper that already had something in it, like lined paper or a handout or something. Toned paper technically has something on it since it's coloured and it has these tiny little grains on it.

The other reason is I can use white charcoal on the toned paper, for highlights. This quickly and effectively gives the drawing a sense of volume and dimensionality. This can still be done on white paper but it is not instantaneous as on the toned paper.

For the most part, I've also been careful to choose objects which I find geometrically interesting. It makes the drawing much more fun when you can start off with basic geometric shapes and build it up into a more complex shape from that simple starting point.

There's lots of fruits and veggies too, they're quite fun to draw because of the textures and colour nuances in them. 

So here is a selection sketches from the first half of the sketchbook. You can also find some of these on my website. Enjoy!