TTTPL Gift Bags

Last week we revisited a popular project: Handmade Gift Bags

As you probably already know, I am a member of a small die-cutting collective.  We own a table top die cutting machine that moves between studios as it is needed.  Depending on who I'm talking to, its name is Delila the "Die-Cutter" or "The Beast".

It is a marvelous toy for which one can purchase infinite die blocks....

and even have custom ones made..... 

It is made by AccuCut and is marketed primarily for Educational Institutions and Stationery Stores.

It operates by placing the paper on the foam bed, covering both with Plexiglas and then turning the hand crank so the tray slides through the roller which presses the foam down, exposing the die which then cuts the paper against the Plexiglas.

Here is a picture of the die block that makes the gift bags...... the shiny circle in the right hand lower corner is a music CD included for scale.

Here is the shape of the paper after it comes out of the die.  This image is made from large scale photographs printed on matte photo paper.

The die cuts the paper and scores all the folds required to make the shape.  Here are some pictures of the finished pieces from this latest session of Tending to the Pilot Light.

We had a lot of fun designing our bags and then decorating them with all the fantastic supplies available here at MacKomics Studio!!

I look forward to creating with you soon!

TTTPL Drawing, Doodling, Do it!

In this series, we explored the art of drawing, doodling, illustration, cartooning - pretty much putting pencil to paper and playing with the outcomes.

I started the class with reminding students that we already know how to draw.  Any one you see out there, drawing something, is drawing what they know.  Not every illustrator can draw every thing.  I can draw dog heads until the sun goes down... but draw the body? no way! same goes for lots of stuff.  I can draw a face straight-on, but try and get a three quarter view, I can not do it!  That does not mean that I couldn't learn through observation, practice and critique from others.

So we started at the basic beginnings.  I created some mini lessons from my experience and from this book:

Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim
You can order this book through The Raven Bookstore!  or by emailing your order to them at books@ravenbookstore.com
I just love it.

First we drew a circle and discussed how to make it look three dimensional.  We talked about choosing a light source direction and about leaving a sliver of white on the darkest side to give it that extra 3-d effect.... the reflection of the surface back onto the object!

Using cross hatching and bands of shading, adding a shadow, thickening lines, etc.

Then we took a lesson from the Drawing Lab book and drew random blobs and made them into creatures

We talked about three dimensional cubes, parallel lines and how to interpret a shape with certain rules that would always be the same.  (Perspective without using the word "perspective")

We looked at scale - using the same object to define different sizes and settings

Then we took a common shape (the can of food), and by changing its scale and form slightly, we derived numerous other objects.

Once we had created a three dimensional vase or cup, (preparation for a face.... a can shape but more narrow on the bottom) we talked about cartoon ways of indicating features on a face, shortcuts that illustrate major shadow areas.  Shadows are defined by plains that block the light source... the top lip has an overhang, the nose, the chin... etc.  Using methods from earlier in the evening, we worked on these features.  Noses, ears, eyes, lips... all very easy to apply with a few strokes

We combined them into a face, using the "draw the second eye with the paper upside down" method to double fake-out the brain which is trying to make the second eye symmetrical with the first but always puts it too high or too low because it sees a "Face", not a composition.  Really! It's true and the trick works!

I apologize for the disparate levels of photo quality here... some images are scanned on a flatbed and some were taken in evening light indoors... bah!


We then did another project from the Drawing Lab book and made our own Modigliani - style faces:

Next, we did some quick lessons on single point perspective, drew simple leaves and feathers and one easy heart shaped bird image trick.

Look at all these sketches - aren't my students fabulous??!  ANYONE can draw, and.... anyone can draw well!

This was probably the most exciting Tending to the Pilot Light I have ever taught. Being able to organize my drawing, doodling, illustration, sketching experiences, to share all these tips and tricks and see the light go on in people's eyes was just fantastic.
I played some more with the faces....
click to enlarge

I look forward to creating with you soon!

TTTPL Art Journals Final

At last... photos from the final projects in our Art Journal Series

Each of these unique books is full of pages and pockets and envelopes and ephemera just waiting to be discovered.

Students combined various paper types and sizes, as well as other materials like the glassine library pocket shown on the right, above.

The final pieces are amazing!

We used 5 x 7 matte board and frames to create the covers.

Envelopes and other little pockets were sometimes sewn right into the binding

Maps, music paper, collage and painted decorations were included.

Here is another glassine pocket decorated with rosettes painted on book pages.

Here is an example of one of the accordion fold sheets incorporated into the design.

Here is a double page foldout with a vintage book chapter heading used as a decoration.

Detail of the pages.

Here is a quick pamphlet fold book made in one evening by a very creative student!

The finished project gave students a vessel in which to keep adding and creating!

One more interior picture with saved fortunes and a library card pocket detail.

This was a long project and many people were unable to come back and complete their interiors.  If you are one of these or would like to begin anew, please give me a call and we can collaborate.

I really enjoyed facilitating the process, witnessing the compositional choices and reveling in the collective satisfaction from creating such amazing pieces.  My students are fantastic!

Have a great week

I look forward to creating with you soon.

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