Monday, May 23, 2011

What I've been up to: gift plates for the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes

For the second year I was proud to be asked by the Maryland Jockey Club to create gift souvenir plates for the owners of the horses entered in the 136th Preakness Stakes!  I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately but I wanted this to remain a surprise until the presentation day so I didn't want to show anything online.  I took some pictures as I worked, which I'll share here.  I'm not a very good photographer but I hope you'll get the idea!  I loved doing this work and I hope you enjoy taking a peek at the process.

First, I like to tie the plate design to the Preakness logo.  For each year, there's a new one.  This is the 2011 logo design and a few of my sketches based on making the plate tie in with it.

Logo image source and design information
A few rough sketches in Photoshop
Final design choice.  "Triple Vision" was used for design purposes only and was not a Preakness runner.

I printed the design out a couple of times and created templates for the top graphic and the jersey and cap.  The horse's name would have a guideline only and be painted freehand.  The paints I used are Folk Art Enamels, which are acrylic paints designed to be used on glass and ceramics.

Top graphic template
After the template
The ribbons on the top graphic were created using templates as well.  The type at the bottom was painted freehand using a guideline like the one in the center area.  At the time this picture was taken I had already scraped off the guideline.  Smoothing edges and scraping off guidelines was done with an X-acto knife.
Freehand painting of the horse's name
The last step is painting the jockey's silks
Bad lighting and photography aside, this is what
the final product looked like.

The painting of these plates involved a lot of scraping and repainting.  Any time a letter looked bad or I damaged one too badly trying to perfect the edge I had to scrape it off and start over.  I found that the freehand painting of the horses' names was the hardest part of the painting because it was difficult to space the letters properly with each other and to space the name as close to center as possible.  The letters also have to be pretty close to the same size.  Due to all my "perfecting", each plate took approximately 5 hours to paint.

Here is a picture of all 14 finished plates!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I missed IF!

Well, I tried but it was no use.  I missed submitting anything (again) for Illustration Friday!  The topic was "safari" and I had started sketching ideas so I'm posting the sketches even though the deadline has passed.  As you can see, I was getting a little bit hooked on giraffes.
These were all done in ballpoint pen.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lesson from "Lesson"

"Ever seen one of these???"
So....I got so busy with posting my Illustration Friday illustration for "Lesson" and then enjoying other artists' submissions and blogs that I forgot that I had cookies in the oven.  Oops!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Lesson"

I don't know what the lesson is that I should be taking from all the things that have happened recently in the world and in the United States.  Maybe everybody's lesson is different.  Who knows?  Creating this was comforting in a way so maybe my lesson is here somewhere.

For a follow-up lesson, click here!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quiet Time Doodles

This is my latest sketchbook page, done quickly in a bit of quiet time.  I was so disappointed that I didn't have my trusty ballpoint pen with me but I had a felt-tip.  There are things about the felt-tip pen that make it trickier than a ballpoint though.  You can't make really light lines to lay out your idea;  every line is dark.  And felt-tip blobs a little bit and you tend to get little ink spots on your hand if you rest it on the drawing before the ink is dry.  You can't really get a feel of shading as well with a felt-tip either.  All that being said,   it was still fun to sketch with and perfection isn't an option because, like the ballpoint, there's no erasing!