Monday, February 28, 2011

28 Days of Drawing

I can’t say that drawing month was as impactful as my last few lents have been, but I will say that it was pretty fun assigning myself miscellaneous art projects to complete. I did struggle (not surprisingly) with drawing for the sake of drawing though, and ended up creating practical applications: kitchen art, greeting cards and logos, instead of pursing purely artistic endeavors. I guess that’s what the last 10 years of graphic design has done to me, so I might as well just go with it instead of blame it for the destruction of my intrinsic creativity. I won’t get into that though…

A few observations from the month:

-I already draw way more than I realized I did, especially for work.

-As much as it was relaxing (drawing before bed was a great way to unwind), whenever I had expectations for the outcome it become more stressful than stress relieving. I think this can be true for a lot of things in life, “He who has no expectations will never be disappointed”, or however the saying goes…

-I have an embarrassingly short attention span because I actually felt proud when I would get through even half an hour of uninterrupted creative time. Can I blame this on Facebook and the Jersey Shore?

-Apparently my drawing career peaked in high school because there has been little to no improvement since then. Cool. Sean, I’m handing the artistic torch to you bro, make us proudawagis.

While I didn’t get around to the 12MOL logo and my happy pappy roommate chart (again with the expectations and disappointment, or is that just Catholic guilt making another appearance?), it’s okay; it was a fun month regardless of what I accomplished. And since my self-portrait was a bit of a bust as well, I figured that I could at least leave you with a happy pappy self-portrait, circa 2011.

And now on to March: Danne’s Kitchen, which I’ll write more about tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Very Own Museum of Bad Art

Since the self-portrait that I’ve been working on won’t be finished for a few more days, I thought it would be fun/funny/pretty embarrassing actually, to show a few of my self-portraits from high school and college. Yep, I’m really posting these on the internet, oh wow...

First up is this gem that I did junior year of high school. It’s actually a somewhat decent drawing and bears a slight resemblance to me, but really? After two weeks straight of staring into a mirror in Mrs. Cazealult’s classroom this is the best that I could do?

Next up is this one that I did in my painting class at 4C’s. I laughed out loud when I saw it again for the first time the other day. While I think it actually kind of looks like me, what’s with the color palette? I really hope that was a requirement of the assignment…

And then there’s this thing. I forget which class I did this for at MassArt, probably Typography 1, but here it is, Danne made out of type. It is what it is I suppose. Hey, at least I got the size of my mouth right.

A shout out to my brother Sean who sorted through piles of bad Danne art in my parents basement to pull these out and photograph them. Sadly, I was informed by him this afternoon that my Roy Lichtenstein inspired self-portrait drawn with sharpies on a kitchen tile is nowhere to be found.

A moment of silence…

Moving on. Coming sometime this weekend is my 2011 self-portrait, but don't expect to see some sort of artistic progression. So far it's looking like 10 years and a BFA haven't improved my ability to capture a likeness. I've still got a few days though, we'll see if I can make it look like it's fresh from one of those sweet portrait kiosks at the mall.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Handmade Cards

When you’re artistically inclined, it’s sort of an unspoken expectation that you make your cards instead of buy them. I could tell my parents were a little bummed the first year that they received a store bought card from me instead of one of my wonky (but lovable) handmade ones. While I definitely prefer making them when I can, sometimes there just isn’t enough time and I have to cheat and hit up Paper Source (hey, at least they look kind of handmade). Not this month though!

Since it’s drawing month, I’ve been making cards for all kinds of occasions: thank you, Valentines Day, congratulations, going away, you name it. It’s been really fun to make them and I hope they've been just as fun to receive.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Draw Pictures All Day

There seems to be an underlying assumption held by those who aren’t in the creative field that as a graphic designer, your job is essentially to draw pictures all day. This has become such a funny misconception that Veer even made these T-Shirts. While it’s obviously not true most of the time, there are definitely some days—those magical days—when drawing is actually part of the job description, and you’re given the green light to spend most of your day sketching out ideas.

In college, I was taught a design process that encouraged me to develop my concepts and sketch them out on paper before bringing anything into the computer. While I’ve tried to hold true to this practice in the working world, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to sketch things out the old fashioned way. In the last year or so, I’ve made a conscious effort to make time for hand sketching in my design process and not only has it made my sketchbook way more exciting to look at, but it’s improved my work as well.

Below are a few pages of sketches for a project that I’m working on at Jeff Kennedy Associates for some exhibit signage. Although I can get cranky about work just like anyone else, I have to remind myself that a lot of the time I do get paid to draw pictures all day—and that’s pretty awesome.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Georgia O'Keefe of Produce

Just how Georgia O’Keefe exclusively painted flowers, for whatever reason (my vegetarianism, my yearning for farmers market season…), I’ve been obsessed with drawing fruits and veggies all week. Luckily, I didn’t throw away my collection of decorative scrap paper last month because I’ve created this funny library of produce from it:

Next up on my drawing agenda: A “Happy Pappy” (who remembers this from high school?) illustration of all of my roommates (past and present) and my first self-portrait in a very long time…

and p.s. I just noticed that this is my 100th post, horray 12 Months of Lent!

Monday, February 7, 2011

12 Months of Lent Logo

Although my intent this month is to draw purely for fun, the graphic designer in me can’t help but create something practical. That being said, I found myself sketching out a logo for 12 Months of Lent during one of my drawing sessions the other night, whoops! Giving this blog some sort of branded identity has been on my To-Do list forever but I just haven’t made it a priority. What better way to get it done than to incorporate it into a challenge?

I’m posting my very rough, 1st page of sketches which is basically just a bunch of ideas dumped onto the page (hopefully you get the gist of it). I had initially envisioned it as purely type (with super defined serifs), but once I discovered that if you take the “of” out, “12 Months of Lent” has 12 letters, I thought that playing off the idea of 12 elements coming together to make a whole might be worth considering.

Any ideas/comments/suggestions? What about colors? Anyone want to just do it for me? As I've come to find out, it's impossible to design things for yourself...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kate Bingaman Burt’s Daily Purchase Drawings

I recently came across this great Debbie Millman interview with Kate Bingaman-Burt, a Portland, Oregon based designer and illustrator. Kate has been documenting her personal relationship with consumption since 2006 by drawing an item that she purchases each day. Her book, Obsessive Consumption, was published last year and contains 3 years of these lovely drawings.

I like this project for a number of reasons:

—The drawings are really cute.

—It always makes me feel better (read: more sane) to see that other people put themselves up to unnecessary personal challenges too.

—Like Kate, I’m also fascinated with people’s stuff. Most of my personal photography projects have been focused on telling the story of a person through their possessions.

It’s sort of like if “100 Things” and “For the Sake of Drawing” had a baby, a perfect combination of this year's first 2 challenges.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

For the Sake of Drawing

As I’m sure most little kids did, I loved to draw. When I was applying to art school they specifically told me not to mention this in my application. I’m sure they have to read through hundreds of essays that start with: “When I was a little kid you couldn’t tear me away from my crayons”. I think it’s true for most kids though—even the ones that aren’t artistic prodigies can entertain themselves for hours with just a pencil and some paper.

Unless you decide to become a professional illustrator, I think most people put drawing (and a lot of other artistic endeavors) aside once they reach a certain age. But why? If you enjoyed it so much as a kid, can’t you still enjoy it as an adult?

Yes and no. I think most adults would still enjoy drawing, but what keeps us from doing it (and therefore enjoying it) is the little voice in our head that says:

“I suck, why am I doing this?”
“Shouldn’t I be doing something more productive and less self-indulgent?”
“Someone’s definitely going to make fun of me”
‘What’s the point? This obviously isn’t going to make me rich and famous”

…and so on. But the point is that it doesn’t have to have a “point”. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s meditative, it’s stress relieving, so who cares?

This month I’m embarking on a challenge that’s a little more lighthearted than my last few: I’m drawing everyday just because it’s fun. I don’t care if I have grown-up responsibilities to attend to, if what I draw looks like a toddler did it, or if I ever make it into a gallery, I’m drawing just for the sake of drawing and if they don’t come out too terrible, I might even share a few…

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Up For Grabs

The following items from the Danne Dzenawagis Collection are looking for a new home, any takers?

I have a big box of vintage black and white darkroom supplies that I'm looking to give away (I actually got these from my childhood doctor when I went in to see her about a rash that I was getting from darkroom chemicals haha). I also have an enlarger and am looking to hand that off to someone who will make use of it as well. Let me know! Not only can you have these items for free, but you'll also win bonus points with my mom for getting them out of the basement.

I have these lovely bongo drums leftover from my lounge music phase. They still have a special place in my heart but I'd love to see them go to someone who will actually play them. They've been sitting in my closet since 1998. $30?

The Last 100 Things

Remember when I was brimming with confidence about my ability to purge 400 possessions from the Danne Dzenawagis Collection? You know, when I was effortlessly tossing things into my burgeoning donation pile, bragging about how I hadn’t even left the 3rd floor yet and was still going—make that throwing—strong? Well, my morale definitely dropped a bit when I went down to the lower levels of the house because it turns out that I store most of my things on the 3rd floor where my bedroom is, not in the foyer or the downstairs bathroom...duh Danne. Because of this, the last 100 things have been tough. I’m definitely a little more lax on my standards but I’m still as determined as I was at the beginning of the month. 400 things will be gone!

While this last installment of 100 has definitely been the most difficult, I also feel like it's been the most important. I’m going through things a second and third time, discovering hidden pockets of junk that I overlooked the first time, and most importantly, getting rid of stuff just for the sake of getting rid of it. After all, my goal here is to minimize, not just to give away some old clothes that don’t fit right anymore.

And minimize I have! Although I’m still working through the last 100 items, I’ve donated, recycled and thrown away hundreds of things and even managed to get rid of a bunch of old roommate leave-behinds from the basement. And my email minimizing? My incessant unsubscribing has proved to be successful because my inbox has been empty since lunchtime. Seriously, since lunchtime. No offers from Bank of America, no last minute sales, nothing. It's amazing (and honestly, a little weird).

In a way, it’s comforting to have a mental tally of what I own and to know that I’ve pared it down as much as I’d like to. UCLA neuroscientist Dr. Peter Whybrow, said it best in the “Living Better With Less” clip, “The more you acquire, the more in fact you have to worry about…” and I’m sure everyone could use a few less things to worry about.