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Thursday, 18 July 2013

IDEAS and INSPIRATION

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” 
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist


What a week it has been for this full time student of design!

The pressure has been stepped up with assignments due every day this week. Lucky for me one of those assignments has been to draw everyday for 21 days. For this assignment we were asked to choose an illustrator we admire who's style is something that resonates with our own in some way. The first week we were asked to study the artists work and make direct copies (full compositions or sections if we chose). The next seven days we were to combine imagery of two or more of the illustrators pieces. And the last seven (my favourite part) was to draw inspiration from the illustrator and create our own pieces.

After an extensive search and bookmarking dozens of sites and reading through books and editorials and asking friends and fellow art makers for recommendations I found my artist to study. Her name is Sophie Blackall. She is an Australian who now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has illustrated many children's books (and won awards) and recently had a book published called "Missed Connections". I purchased this book (it became an instant treasure) and truly set the wheels of inspiration in motion. Not only are the pictures delightfully unique, engaging and just so plain beautiful to me, but the subject matter was the stuff of pure idea generation. The illustrations are inspired from an online column called Missed Connections. Here, people leave messages after having a fleeting moment with a stranger that got their heart racing. In posting, they hope this small connection can turn into something else (if indeed the object of their affection reads the column and chooses to respond!) Check out her work here: Sophie Blackall  And by all means, purchase her beautiful book!

I decided to run with the theme of this lovely artist's work and turned to my own town for inspiration. Those who live in Melbourne would be familiar with the mX - a free daily publication handed out at peak hour at inner city train stations. There is a column in the paper called "Here's looking at you".  On this site commuters post up little notes to state a moment of affection they had with a stranger in the hope the stranger will read and contact the publication so that the two can get together to explore what may be. So I went through my newspaper cupboard (yes, I have a cupboard of newspaper to put under the kitty litter tray) to pour over these little love notes. And the inspiration flowed right from here. I chose to create my own original pieces with water colour (no digital work).

Here are my seven illustrations:









I enjoyed creating these illustrations so much that I decided set up a Facebook page for my illustrations.  Please check it out and let me know what you think: Lou Endicott - Illustrator  

(I should mention I have an Instagram account now too! Cats Are Baby Dragons (Inspiration and Illustrations by Lou) )

I have a large community on Facebook that I regularly connect with so it made sense to create a page with my illustrations to share for those who check their accounts daily. The response has been very encouraging to say the least! Many kind words have been shared and I am feeling more and more like this path is the path I am meant to be on.

It's such a beautiful feeling to be actively pursuing a dream as an illustrator and sharing this with others. After all, an illustrator is only an illustrator when they can engage an audience and create a response. Until then, I am simply drawing for my own satisfaction. Which is nice and all, but not the full gamut of the power I feel the pencil can wield. I feel in sharing my work and my dream the power of manifestation can only grow...

I hope wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you are honouring your own dreams and sharing them with those who recognise the magic that you have within.

- Lou




Monday, 8 July 2013

Swing set of Silly

MAKING ROOM FOR NONSENSE AND PLAY

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” 
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Ahhh.... nonsense.  One of my favourite concepts of being human. Children play at this game well. They know that it serves more than to pass time. They know that play is an essential part of nonsense. Just being there in that moment of time. It's not an experience as in something that happened in the past. Its EXPERIENCING. Being right there in that moment. Catching the wind in the face. Laughing from the belly. Feeling the rush of blood flowing through the body.

And enjoying the silliness.

Someone once said to me "life is rarely as serious as we believe it to be". We spend too much time worrying and fretting. The first three months of my course this year I think I spent a lot of time with my head down mumbling under my breath "this is toooooo hard!!" I didn't leave room for play or for the spontaneous. 

I am making a dedicated commitment to being easier on myself and to find a healthier balance of work, downtime and play time. To remember that balance is the key to a life well lived. As Dr Seuss says:

"You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.And never mix up your right foot with your left." 
 (from Oh! The Places You'll Go!)
So to remind me of this balance and this sense of play today I drew a picture of a girl on a swing set. Her pup looks up at her enjoying the sight.

How long has it been since YOU swung on a swing set?  



Friday, 5 July 2013

LITTLE IDEAS WITH LOTS OF HEART

DOODLE IS NOT A DIRTY WORD


"Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas"
(Henry Ford)

I am a huge believer in the power of doodling. That is drawing with no other purpose other than for the feeling of drawing itself. You never know what might appear. My enthusiasm for this process is growing every day and every week. I love seeing people at train stations, or cafes or restaurants going through this process of mind alteration. Because I know that it has value.

Here is an interesting TED talk on the power of doodling: Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

So I thought I would share the process of a doodle I did yesterday in class. The class was an interesting one. All about the advertising campaigns and strategies. So my intent of doodling was not to relieve boredom but to let creative ideas flow through. At the end of the class I had a meeting with a group of other students to discuss an assignment on promoting a product. By then my ideas were really starting to flow and I by the end of our meeting I had drawn up preliminary sketches for billboards for this new product.

I think the initial doodle that I did in class - which had nothing to do with the assignment, just put my creativity into first gear and allowed ideas to enter into my mind quicker. When I came back to the doodle later while on the train home, I decided to add in ink. I lost track of time and space drawing the hair at this point. I have to draw more hair! So much fun! I was pretty happy with this sketch by now. So much so that I decided to come home and add colour and an environment to this doodle.  Here is the process:

The pencil doodle:



And then the train doodle (adding ink and pencil shadows):




And then added colour:


I could have left it at that. I liked the pop of red against the cool green. But I decided to put her in an environment suited to her body pose.
Here she is:


I call her "Backstroke Maiden". I think she's rather lovely. Peaceful and going with the flow.

PASSAGE OF TIME

A WEEK OF DRAWING - in reflection

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” 
― Mother Teresa


This has been a jam packed week of study for this little graphic design student. I have been in the thick of learning about the design industry, publishing, tech specs for finished art, advertising and of course my favourite subject of all, illustration. I also was on TV for a little feature part (and I mean LITTLE!) for the Australian TV show Offspring.

And I have been fortunate enough to spend time with old friends that mean the world to me.

In betwixt all of these classes, assignment work, study groups, readings and catch ups with beautiful people, I have managed to find time to let my imagination out through dedicated doodles. I admit, some of them were created initially during class! In fact, I find that I concentrate better in class when I have my lecture pad in front of me to take notes and a blank page of a journal next to it to let the subconscious go into flow mode whenever it needs to reset and focus. It's almost like my ears prick up and I take in more of what is being said when my hands are occupied and the "stuff" in my mind has an outlet. Perhaps this allows more info to come in? Info goes in. Imagination flows out..? A theory worth exploring anyway!

My imagination keeps surprising me with the imagery and ideas that are being brought out. As I am given regular practice to this creative flow I am feeling that the blocks I once felt are smaller.  My first post on this blog stated that I was setting out to find creative flow. And finding it I am! 

I have seen a theme emerge this week as the passage and the passing of time. The over riding feeling that is coming through me is to seize the moment. On a train, in a cafe, before bed...  whenever I can. Draw, draw, draw. Practice, practice, practice. And to notice everything around me. Be awake and aware. And alert. The world needs more lerts...

I am feeling more and more that my future dream is to be an illustrator. Drawing fills me with purpose and light and gives me hope that my future on the other side of this student journey will be one filled with pens and pencils - and hopefully work!! Being a student this year is a challenge financially. I am embracing living only on the basics and seeing my sketch book as my palace of promise. But it is a nice thought to imagine not worrying about how to pay rent or feed myself! Ha!

Here are some of my drawings from the week. First up: Little Red Riding hood as a child.



And here she is as a teenager (on her phone of course)


And again here she is as a mother:


The next doodle is an image that popped onto the page before I knew what was what. 

As a side note to this next picture: One of my favourite artists of all time is Brian Froud. Brian worked extensively with Jim Henson creating the creatures from the film The Dark Crystal (among other things). 

He writes in his book Good Faeries.... Bad Faeries that "My paintings are not illustrations drawn from specific stories or folklore texts; rather, they are images painted intuitively, springing directly from visions guided by faery muses, a paradoxical mix of chance and intent".  What a great teacher Mr Froud is to artists like me, finding their feet and their flow.

Here is what appeared:

I am starting to see a style for my figures emerge. I almost am at the point where I would like to name them. They are humanlike - but not quite humans. My proportions and scale are purposely different to real life. They are innocents. Trusting and open. Of this earth, but perhaps not of this world. Not sure what it is about naming things. But I guess it's giving a life and a license to creations. This next doodle I call "One woman's journey".




And here is "One man's journey":






And my last doodle to share with you this week was inspired by my daily commute on the train.
The caption for this one is "Sometimes I want to dance on the train like a pixie and shake up those asleep".




Happy weekend to you readers. May you find your flow, your people, your creativity and dance your own unique dance. x