Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The sketchbook challenge will resume, but have taken a break to finish some other projects.

Improving my Chest

I purchased this chest from Craigslist last summer. The seller claimed it was "very old," though the fabric clearly dated it as mid-1970's.
Here it is after being stripped, sanded and refinished in a warm pecan stain. It's end destination is my campus apartment.

Home is Where the Heart Is

This is what my garage wall looked like. Dark and ugly. Sure, it is only a garage, but nearly everyone enters the house through this door. One of my summer projects was to do something to make the entry more appealing.

First the wall was primed. Then I wallpapered old road maps in a random pattern. My favorite places are featured; Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Maine, and Hawaii. Pittsburgh is behind the door. 

I have run out of maps, but will take donations to complete my wall. 


Working in my Pajamas

I made this cute nighty from a sheet I bought for $1 at the thrift store. The pattern is a lengthened western-peasant shirt, vintage 1980s, from my stash.


The Great Outdoors

Now that my foot is just about healed, I have been doing a lot of hiking in Plum Creek and Whipp's Ledges with Trixie.

My new-to-me bike, Nelly, for cruising around town & campus.

My lungs have been getting a work-out on my flute. Wallace and I will be playing our first gig in August at the wedding of the beautiful Raichel H.

Only a couple more weeks until school starts again... still time for more fun and games!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sketchbook Challenge – Week 3

Day 15: A Family Portrait

Day 16: Inspiration
The Muse is a myth.  It’s called Art-WORK, not  art-maybe-if-I-feel-like-it.

Days 17 & 18: Favorite Plant /  “Just a Doodle”

It worries me deeply that these drawings look like something by the “Painter of Light.”
Wallace: “What would you do if a friend gave you a painting by Thomas Kincaid?”
Me: “A FRIEND wouldn’t give me a painting by Thomas Kincaid.

Day 19: Something New

Day 20: Something Orange

Day 21 & 22: Something You Want / Something You Miss

I will achieve my goals!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sketchbook Challange - Week 2

Day 8: Favorite Animated Character

What if Snoopy was real? Poor little beagle is chained up, with only a little yellow bird for company.

Not only it is unoriginal to just copy another artist’s style, it is infringement of copyright to copy another’s character. Yes, it’s only a sketchbook exercise, but it was much more fun to do my own interpretation.

Day 9: Favorite TV Show

A PRIZE to the first person who correctly identifies the location of this sketch. Street, City and State required.

Day 10: Most Recent Achievement.

Last year I did the drawings above.  In February I was awarded tenure.

Yes, I realize this makes me an ass.

Day 11  Favorite Candy
Day 12: A Turning Point in Your Life

These sketches are either mundane or very personal, so they are not posted here.

Day 13: A Comic (of a Comic)
Why do blondes talk so slow? So MEN can understand.
Badump-bump. Cymbal Crash!

Day 14: Favorite Fairy Tail
Spelling matters.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sketchbook Challenge

This is my sketchbook.  The book was schwag from Mohawk Papers at an AIGA conference. The cover has been covered with clear adhesive and pages are falling out, as evidence to its heavy use.

A little over a week ago I began a 30-Day Drawing Challenge, which I found on Pinterest.  I apologize to the owner-creator that cannot find the original source of this sketch-note. These sketches all took less than 20 minutes and are not intended to be finished illustrations, but rather creative exercises. In most cases there was a great deal of reinterpretation of the original concept.

Day 1: A Self-Portrait

I’ve done a lot of self-portraits…so many that last April I gave a talk at The University of Findlay about Artist’s Self Portraits (let me know if you want a link to the research). This one, drawn from memory-not a mirror, isn’t one of my best. Something about it looks a little toon-ified, but I tried to be honest in showing the bags under my eyes.

The one I drew specifically for the challenge isn’t very interesting. I like this one better.

Day 2: Favorite Animal

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with vizslas. You can follow my Red Dog board on Pinterest.  I don’t typically draw animals and, since Trixie rarely stops moving, this really was a challenge.

Day 3: Favorite Food

I like pie.

Day 4: Favorite Place

This isn’t a real place, but my favorite place none-the-less.  I’ve been having a lot of doubts in my faith lately, mostly centered on the nature of heaven. I’m seriously afraid that if heaven does exist, I’ll be spending eternity floating on a cloud. This is what I am hoping heaven is like.

Day 5: Best Friend

Wallace Hooper is the funniest guy I know. Funny Ha-Ha, and Funny Peculiar.

Day 6: Favorite Book

The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes.
I loved this story as a child, and the lesson was ingrained into me. Wallace was washing the dishes as I sat down with my sketchbook.

My favorite book is actually To Kill a Mockingbird, but the imagery from book covers to the movie is so iconic, it left no room for interpretation.

Day 7: Favorite Movie

I'd unravel any riddle

For any individ'le

In trouble or in pain

I would not be just a nuffin'

My head all full of stuffin'

My heart all full of pain

I would dance and be merry

Life would be a ding-a-derry

If I only had a brain

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back to the Future

It has been over a year since my experiment to delete my Facebook account. The first few months were difficult—I suffered online withdrawal—which proved to me how seriously addicted I was. After a while I began to sense an incredible liberation from the yolk of connectivity.  That summer was wonderful and free. When school started back up, I realized the necessity Facebook as a way to make information available to students and communicate within our Graphic Design Club. I have no friends (don't be offended), but do use the site to post internships, articles and follow several professional organizations. With accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter, networking is possible without drama and with minimal wasted time. Pinterest is a nice place to spend time for inspiration and when I am feeling self indulgent.

For a while I seriously contemplated making “At The Art of It” a full-fledged activity, but several things kept me from stepping it up. I realize the time required to making regular posts isn’t something I want to commit to. But more acutely is that every blogger becomes subject to commenters who thrive on tearing down the author, usually anonymously. My ego is too fragile for that!

This week I am finally working on a re-designed of BeekmanStudios.com. My previous website was sorely outdated, with many broken links and use of old “tables” coding.  I am set on learning Adobe Muse and using it to build the site which will serve primarily as an online portfolio. A launch date of July 15th is set!

There are other creative endeavors underway, so while I do plan to return to my blogging, it will be simply a way for family, friends and associates to check out my artwork and projects. No ads, no proselytizing, just sharing some of my prouder creations.

“Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more news and entertainment.”

Friday, March 30, 2012

Anti-Social Networking

Over the last year, have struggled to balance my use of social networking; Of course I had a Facebook page, and then there was Twitter, GooglePlus, LinkedIn and a few Google groups too. It was getting overwhelming, keeping all these accounts straight, and now I've got to keep track of MeetUp, and Pinterest too? I rationalized that I needed to be on all these sites. In my field it is important that I to stay up to date with trends in technology, design, and popular culture. I was networking, building a circle of contacts for my career, and providing information to my students. But what I actually got was more and more stressed. I put up with whining, vulgarities, politics, drama, music videos that I don't watch and vague, cryptic status updates. "Enough is enough!"

In December we got rid of our satellite connection and it has been incredibly liberating! I have not missed watching television at all. I'm ready for the next step and just deleted my Facebook account. Today I spent over 3 hours collecting the phone numbers, email and birthdays from each of my nearly 200 "friend's." I then untagged myself from hundreds of photos and comments, downloaded photos that I want to retain and bookmarked several dozen websites I will want to revisit. In the next few days I will need to contact my family and friends who may not know how to get hold of me outside of Facebook.

It sickens me to consider how many hours, perhaps even days, I have spent on social networking sites over the last five (or more) years. What could I have done with that time? What might I have read, drawn, written, created? I've got a shelf full of books to read, a box (or two) of fabric to stitch, a dozen or more notebooks full of story ideas, and plenty of empty pages in my sketchbooks. There's a new pair of running shoes and a dog that needs exercise. My flute and a harmonica are waiting. And I've got a blog should any of my REAL friends want to see what I am up to or comment on my musings.

One more thing that has been neglected since I've been on-line; my bed. It's got something that no website can ever provide, big fluffy pillows and a husband I love.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Deadlines and Closet Space

Anyone getting into Graphic Design and Illustration must be aware that they are entering a deadline driven businesses. Unlike the stereotype of the artist who works at their own pace when the mood strikes, commercial artists must always be aware of time. Newspaper ads must be submitted on Wednesday by noon in order to run in the Saturday paper. The September issue of a magazine is being put together in June. And Christmas cards that will be signed, sealed and delivered in December are due to the printer in April. When digital print-on-demand came along in the 1990s, designers didn’t need as much lead-time, but deadlines still loom on a daily basis.

Clock watching isn’t confined to the final hours of a project. Most designers must keep a daily log of time spent on every job. Timesheets are used to record hours worked down to the quarter-hour. A work log will show that from 9:00 to 9:45 the artist answered email and checked online networking sites, from 9:45 until 10:30 they were occupied with a meeting with an art director, and from 10:30 until 12:15 they flowed and formatted fonts in a brochure. It is essential that these records are accurate so that the design firm or agency knows how much to charge their client for services. It is critical for freelancers to know how much time they spend on a project in order estimate accurate quotes for future jobs.

With printed work, deadlines are rarely flexible. If the files don’t get to the printer on time, it just doesn’t get printed. A newspaper are especially strict — if an advertiser reserves space and doesn’t deliver the material to fill that space, that company may be billed for that ad space anyway. Seeing a big, white block where your ad should have been is not what the designer has in mind when they think of white space.

With web projects, deadlines may bend more easily. Once the work is approved it literally only takes seconds to upload files to the Web. But this can create another sort of problem — the never-ending project. There are horror stories of websites taking three years to complete! In that time design styles and technology has changed so much that the site is no longer cutting edge, but more cutting room floor.

Time is like moving into a new house with a lot of closet space. Delighted to be out of a cramped space, you might think, “I’ll never fill all these cupboards!” But of course in a matter of just a few months, you find your storage stuffed. The project will expand to fill the allotted time. Like a woman dressing to go out for the evening, she may start getting ready hours in advance but will still be fixing her hair when her date arrives.

Without a deadline there is no incentive to complete a project. Other things will take precedent, and suddenly you find yourself re-grouting the bathtub instead of working on that layout.

For many designers and illustrators, the deadline won’t stick if it is self-imposed. This is why a personal goal to get a portfolio website launched by June 1 fails. But meet an art director who wants to see samples of recent illustrations for a potential job, and that site suddenly becomes a priority.

The first thing to do with any project is to set a firm date for completing. Select a date that is far enough in the future that it will give enough time to complete the work. Twelve to sixteen weeks is ideal. Any longer and you end up thinking you have plenty of time, you put it off and put it off only to wake up one day and realize the due date is tomorrow.

Many designers enjoy the thrill of working under time pressures. There is an undeniable adrenaline rush that comes with racing the clock to get a project completed at the last minute. However this constant stress can also causes early burn-out in a career. To prevent procrastination and the pressure of trying to finish a project at the last minute, one final deadline isn’t sufficient. Having interim dates for various steps helps the designer to stay on track along the way.

Rewards and punishment are great incentives. Money is a powerful enticement to stay on track. Some contracts go so far as to state that if the work is not completed by a certain day the client doesn’t have to make the final installment or gets a price reduction. A promise to clean the office refrigerator if you don’t get the job done on time is a great motivator, but may have your coworkers secretly hoping you can’t meet your deadline. However, be careful of punishments that force you to do something that will only lead you to more procrastination.

State Highway Commissions offer incentives road construction bids: if a project is completed before the deadline, contractors get a bonus for every day the project comes in advance. Offering a bonus to a writer or programmer to deliver early may help you get work done faster. There is the danger of poor quality in the rush to get the biggest bonus possible, so use this with subcontractor you know do good work to get your project pushed forward on their agenda.

Self-promotional work is especially prone to the deadline-lacking death. Many people need an external motivator — someone else to hold you accountable to getting the work done. Ask someone to nag you. This could be a coworker or big sister who will ride your tail. Give them permission to call you weekly and demand a report on your progress.

For illustrators, critique groups can be useful. Not only do your peers offer great advice on you work, you will be pushed to get something done to show at the next group meeting.

Finally, plan a celebration for when the job is done. Reward yourself with some time off when you get a big project done, but don’t forget to schedule time for cleaning the fridge when you get back!