In April-May I began a massive clean out of my art studio. After over 40 years of collecting projects and resources, I have decided I have “been there, done that” and I know what I want to concentrate on from this point forward.
So nieces and nephews were the benefactors of all sort of fun things, but also, there were a few projects I really wanted family to have. While I donated a large amount of raw children’s furniture to a new church nursery, I held out a few pieces for my nieces and nephew. This was the result.
This table top was their Grandma’s farm with the chairs celebrating a childhood cat (a nod to their daddy – and Grandma still has cats on the farm) and the hummingbirds ever present in the summer.
Giving thoughtful gifts that strengthen relationships
Teaching kids how to have giving hearts
And especially involving others in the joy of doing something creative (because I believe EVERY person is creative!)
These loves coalesced a month before Mother’s Day this year when I saw this book sitting tucked away in a little store. It was like fireworks went off!
In April of this year my mother had 22 (in June #23 arrived) grandchildren ranging in ages of 17 to a year. 14 of them are under the age of 12, so this was perfect. It even had 22 blank pages!
With a little logistics work, it happened and I got it back in time to present one of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts of all time — from all of them! (This, another book, is now my second favorite – I believe this one tops it.)
Here are some delightful excerpts:
Simeon gave grandma a colorful superhero cape – it was fun to see some of the kids use that same concept on their pages. Kids are so creative!
Lizzy knows Grandma loves her hummingbirds so she drew one and pasted it in. Several of the older kids wrote notes on their pages.
My introduction to the mixer brush in Photoshop CS5 did wonders for my pleasure in digital painting. However, I still prefer my brushes and canvas.
Homework: create a mood utilizing light and multiple reference photos.
First one is of a nephew and the second is of King, my niece and nephews’ cat. (BTW, these look wonderful printed on canvas paper and framed.) Things really clicked for me when I completed King’s eye and it looked real.
Our Typography final was a 4 week project to create a book. I chose to print mine on one sided canvas paper (meaning I had to sew the pages back-to-back) and to bind it with leather (for durability.) I also sprayed each page with a Krylon protective spray.
This book should be able to endure many, many years of loving hands flipping through it.
Read the book “10 Commandments of Type”.
Retype the 10 commandments (rules).
Illustrate the rule with typography.
Illustrate how to break the rule.
Put all of this into a book format.
In other words, we were to have 20 typographic illustrations, 2 of which were required content.
Simple enough, but I was not interested in re-typing a book that did not impress me (I never did read it all.) So I came up with a whole different take on the same concept and turned it into a gift for my mother. Since 20 pages were required and I have 18 nieces and nephews, the subject matter was pretty much a no-brainer. The rules were turned into “Boundaries” and “No Boundaries”, which seemed an appropriate word for kids.
The pages were laid out in a spread format, so each spread (the boundary on the left and the broken boundary on the right) actually went together. Something that is not noticed when each page is read separately in the slideshow below.
The photos are all my own and taken in 2010. The writing is also my own and strives to capture something specific about each child.
During this process, I fell in love with these kids all over again. This has to be my absolute favorite project I have ever done at the Art Institute. How in the world will I ever top it?!
I ended up making two of these. One I turned in to my instructor and the other I gave to Mom as an early Mother’s Day gift. Keeping something like this secret just isn’t in my skill set.
To continue on (see initial logo rebrand) with the themes of Annie’s Homegrown, which are organics, earth-friendly, recycling, and kid-friendly, I chose to make the packaging simple.
With their current packaging, which is 196o’s psychedelic tye-die, I believe they are trying to hark back to a time that speaks to those values. However, their message only targets a very small group of people between 50-60. Maybe. The problem with this type of message is that a younger generation won’t relate and an older generation might take exception, depending upon their experience with the youth of the 60s.
So I chose a more modern approach to the concept of “all natural” with minimalism and using a recyclable cardboard box. Then it was a matter of designing every side, top, and bottom of the box. This included photographing the product (and eating any broken crackers… you can not have broken pieces in picture, for heaven’s sake!)
The only thing I would change is the recycling emblem – from green to white.
The teacher suggested I send them a copy of this. Hmmmm. This is so opposite of the colorful tye-die, but you never know.
In addition to the package, we were to design a magazine ad. Once again, I went with simple and used one of Annie’s current taglines.
Since this week was about typography, we were required to create a magazine layout consciously using type. I could not help it, it was such fun creating my calendar a few weeks prior, that I reached into the work I had done with the vintage children’s books and went from there. So if this looks familiar, it is because it is similar to one of my calendar pages and plays off the book “The House that Jack Built” from The Gutenburg Project (a site I have fallen in love with!) However, it was not a previously created homework piece! I want to be very clear on that!
For a full description of the project, feel free to click on the pdf link: