Friday, August 30, 2013

Like Oaks for Turkeys

Mount Pisgah Arboretum is gearing up for their famous Mushroom Festival at the end of October, and they've invited me to do the festival poster and tee-shirts again this year. The theme: turkey-tail mushrooms with a flock of turkeys wandering through the habitat.

Now, turkey-tail mushrooms like to grow on stumps and dead branches of oak trees. Since I no longer live near the gorgeous oak savannah habitats at Mount Pisgah, I headed up to the Hoyt Arboretum one gray and drizzly morning to wander through their fine collection of oak trees, in seek of inspiring oak compositions. Here's what I drew.

 More Mushroom Festival poster adventures to come!

4-T Trail Hike

Way back at the beginning of August, my friend Gretchin threw a birthday party which involved inviting all of her friends to go for a hike! The 4-T Trail uses a combination of public transportation and hiking paths to make a loop from downtown Portland up through the west hills and then back via the south waterfront. * A principios de agosto, mi amiga Gretchin organizó una excursión por el sendero 4-T. Pasamos por el centro de la ciudad hasta la cima de las colinas del oeste, usando una combinación de transporte público y senderos rústicos en el bosque. 

Most of my time was spent walking and chatting with the wonderful people at the party, but I did get in a few sketches at the main rest stops. * Pasé la mayoría de mi tiempo caminando y charlando con la gente en la fiesta, pero también dibujé en algunos lugares donde nos paramos para descansar. 

When we returned home after the hike, I thought I was headed straight for a nap. But--surprise!--there was a block party going on that had a live band in the street. We ended up hanging out with more nice people and enjoying the music to finish off the day. * Al regresar a la casa, yo intentaba descansar. Pero--¡que sorpresa!--había una fiesta en nuestro vecindario, incluso una banda tocando en vivo en la calle. Pasemos un rato charlando y escuchando la música antes de terminar el día.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Scribbles from the Past

We're doing some house-cleaning and rearranging of late, and as I go through notes from old illustration projects I'm finding some amusing memories in the mix. Scanning a handful to share here!

This was an illustration project for a paleontology exhibition at the San Bernardino County Museum. The early sketch here is just exploring the general look of brown with white highlights on parchment-toned paper. For some reason I'm totally charmed by this early doodle.

From the good old days when I was drawing a lot of fossilized rodent teeth under the microscope! I focused on projects like these for about two years as an undergraduate, and occasionally revisit that subject matter when researchers start knocking at the door. Something about the simplicity of this pencil sketch, with the grid marks helping me keep in all in scale and the light touch on the shading, makes me happy.

Another undergraduate doodle, again with the rodent teeth (this time it's the chewing surface of a tooth from a vole). Once the graphite draft gets all worked out, I'd do the final illustrations in ink on plastic film with a steel-nib pen dipped into a jar of ink, totally old-school. Each of the little wriggly lines on this scrap is me testing the pen after a fresh dip into the ink to make sure it's not going to leave a big ink blot . (I suspect that's why the partially finished drawing here was turned into a test-scrap--blob attack!)

None of these scraps of paper are terribly important, really; but it's sure fun to look back at them and remember the experience of building up to the final illustrations, scribble by scribble.