Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Bodies, Our Bikes

Just got my copy of the brand new Our Bodies, Our Bikes book. I am sometimes nervous to see my work in print, how will it turn out in the final form? But this book is quite simply gorgeous.
 Snapshot of my first draft of the cover art above with finished books alongside. The color and paper choice of the cover are so satisfyingly lovely. (It's the little things, like how it feels in our hands, that can really make a book special, you know?) And the graphic design inside is super great too: lush, sophisticated, yet very reader-friendly layout and color pallette. Bravo.
Super proud to be a part of this collaboration. Learn more at the Microcosm Publishing site!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wigwags and Zucchini Muffins

A favorite attraction at the Oregon Zoo is now the wig-wag train crossing signal that's across from the leopards. Sorry leopards, but you don't go "ding ding ding" or have a red light in your belly, do you?

A slightly clumsy attempt to capture the dynamic wiggler bouncing around in the cafe chair while eating her muffin. The proportions are all cattywampus, but the general concept of seat as jungle-gym is coming across at least. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Oh Bacteria, My Bacteria!

I work as an exhibit developer at my local science museum. Folks often ask what the difference is between an exhibit developer and an exhibit designer. Short answer: I read all the scientific papers and figure out how to make the juicy data fun for 8 year olds. And then I coordinate with the exhibit designers, who do everything from color schemes and fonts to figuring out how to make structures that won't fall over when countless 4-year-olds throw themselves headlong at them.

It's mostly a writing and thinking job, but I do get to scribble in the margins to help me communicate my ideas. And I will admit that I've gotten very fond of creating fast scribbles of microbes in fat felt-tip markers. Kind of a zen circle sort of thing.

My big new project, Zoo in You: The Human Microbiome, is just now packing up and getting ready to head to the next stop on its national tour. Look for it in Ashland, Oregon, or San Diego, California, or Boca Raton, Florida, or beyond!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunset, ballpoint pens

Experimenting with new angles on portability in this new life phase of sketching, knowing that my toddler's needs (diapers, wipes, spare clothes, books, snacks, etc) outweigh the bulky kit of art supplies that I used to carry before.

This little series used a set of 3 double-sided ballpoint pens, total of 6 color options, in a super-slim little pocket notebook. Not terribly elegant, but it's enough to keep me having fun!

(Perseid meteor shower star party, Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meanwhile, back at the Huntington...

Years ago, I did a project that was a mix of exhibit development and science illustration work for the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. I'm always delighted when their team gets in touch with me again for new adventures in art.

This time I was invited to mine their collections (rare books, cool old plants, fabulous sculptures, historic manuscripts, elegant furniture) and cobble together into a sort of fanciful patchwork quilt that would decorate the windows of their new entrance and orientation gallery.

The idea was to make it a sort of filagree pattern, that would be applied to the windows as a giant vinyl decal. I drew the images in Photoshop first, then converted the final draft to vector images that could be scaled up to fit the windows.

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I haven't seen it in person yet, but these pics of the installation process are delightfully fun. (Image credit: Karina White.)

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The Huntington's blog, Verso, wrote an article about the project with more fun photos. Fun adventure all around.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

American Visionary Art Museum (too fast!)

During a trip to the east coast in May, I visited the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD. Only had a short time to check it out before I scrambled to catch the train to DC, but it was worth the visit for sure.

No photography was allowed inside, so I just caught a few glimpses of my favorite moments in the sketchbook. (Yay, sketchbooks!)

Really compelling stories of self-taught artists doing impressive work that brought more than one tear to my eye. Hoping I can go back some day soon and dig in deeper.

Monday, May 18, 2015

National Aquarium

During my spring visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, I was so amazingly glad to have a sketchbook on hand. So many amazing critters to admire!

Even paused to draw one of the many historic ships on the harbor. Really interesting town, soaked in history and culture. Would love to explore more of Baltimore.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring, Springing

Portland trees are erupting with lovely blossoms all over town. I decided to challenge myself to an art experiment this weekend: capturing the beautiful pink cherry blossoms in the neighbor's yard using a unusual art tool...being the 16-month-old kiddo.

Step one: Admire the awesome flowers. (Wow, huh?)

Step two: Assemble non-toxic art supplies in the appropriate color scheme (in this case, a gray washable non-toxic marker, a custom mix of red and white tempera paint, a nice soft paintbrush, and a stack of cream-colored cards.)

Step three: Strategically hand art supplies to kiddo during a gap in the incessant going-down-the-slide practice and cross fingers...

Step four: Burst buttons with pride at how nicely that all turned out. Brag on internet, mail originals to grandparents.

Yeah, OK, it's not really that much different than the folks who dip grubs in paint and them them crawl all over the paper...But it's a fun exercise in selecting materials and introducing chaos! (Plus, it's so exciting to watch this grub learn how to re-load a brush with paint.)

Happy spring, y'all.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Modern Bobcat, Ancient Nimravid

Wrapped up an illustration project a little while ago that involved a femur of an extinct "false saber-tooth cat"--Nimravids were carnivores that co-evolved to have the big long fangs that one sees in a Smilodon, but that aren't quite related to modern kitties as we know them.

However, the niches are close enough that I was able to make use of a modern bobcat femur to inform my work...

I was adapting the line drawings that the scientist had made from the original fossil, and creating a shaded version that leaned on the bobcat bone for its structural integrity.

Tonight I'm going to see if I can whack out a stippled chalicothere molar. Ha! Stippling is a notoriously slow way of doing illustrations, since it literally goes One. Dot. At. A. Time. But the results can be nice when you put in the time, and it does have a "timeless" look that comes across nicely in publications. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Scarcely even a baby now

Looking through my sketchbook of late, I found myself thinking--"Oh man, there's almost nothing but sketches of the kiddo in here. I bet folks might get annoyed if I only ever post that stuff..."

And then I did a double-take and decided that I should be proudly embracing this life stage both in person and on the blog. So here you go, internet: some almost-recent doodles of this growing changing toddler. Enjoy!