Lauren (lobalina) wrote,


If I just cut out the get-home commute, my day was a pretty darn good one.  For the firs time in at least a week I worked on something genuinely cool and engaging at work.  Sometimes I think of myself as a horribly selfish professional, but then I remember I'm an artist and this all seems justified: I only want to work on what I want to work on!  I can't say that it's hard for me to make myself sit down and do the more mundane's more like busy-work, or I get bored very easily, or I spend less time doing that.  I don't try as hard, I guess, but it's more complicated than that -- it's not that I'm not trying hard, it's more that I'm not inspired by whatever it is, and I'm having trouble finding the angle that will allow me to generate a lot of *good* ideas.  But not today!

The nice thing about this job is that is makes me do the things I formerly thought I couldn't...or didn't.  For instance, I saw a lot of wonderful collagey - baroquey - scrapbooky - vintagey artwork out there, all over cards, throw pillows, advertisements, stationary, and I figured the people who were making it had access to those kinds of elements that make up that stuff - vintage bird illustrations, fabric swatches, scrappy papers, specialness that allowed them to somehow combine all these things perfectly.  Why did I ever think I couldn't do it?  A little old paper texture here, a dash of slightly faded handwriting there, an old botanical illustration, a butterfly stamp, salt, pepper, knowledge of decent composition, stir it around with some photoshop functions, and there ya go.

But I'm sounding so flip - it really ISN'T that easy to break it down.  What makes a vintage illustration look vintage?  Sometimes, if you look very closely, you can see some of the things - the non-uniform fading of inks, the limited palette, the "dirtyness" around the edges, the yellow cast of everything, the paper texture showing through, the age spots, the gradients, flaws in the printing.  It took me a lot of studying and observing when I was first working on the Art Nouveau Birds greeting card line.  I still use those techniques, and have added myriad more to creating that delicious vintage feel.  Having the right tools goes a long way, and there are lots of resources out there, starting with dozens, HUNDREDS of free brush sets for Photoshop.  Or make your own brushes!  Good stuff :-)

As I sit here typing, I'm getting more tired, and feeling less like I want to engage in my creative after-work activities...those being sewing and sewing.  I've been sewing every weekend, and am moving closer, finally, to finishing things up.  I'm determind to finish what's "on the table" before I get into the chemise dress for my Barn Owl Gown, but the 10 yards of muslin sitting on the table is looking at me, asking to be made into shirts (which do need to be done before Faire season gets fully underway), and at least the underdress for the gaulle (I may go lawn or voile on that still...haven't decided yet).  I made good progress on my doublet, but haven't worked on it since Sunday -- one more set of shoulder rolls, some hand sewing on the trim, attaching the rings for the sleeve ties, and then that's it.  Shirts, sleeves, and a tallhat will come afterwards.

Speaking of hats, Aranel directed me to a website that sells miniature tophats for dolls, up to 7" in diameter.  Never will I manufacture my own little top hat again!  I'll buy the base and cover it, thankyouverymuch.  LOL.  I love my little tophat, but it was difficult to create, and is quite heavy - I attached a large comb and some ribbons to try to keep the thing on my head, but I have the feeling it's going to give me trouble the whole night through.  That thing is NOT coming off my head, though...the feather is just way too huge to not be "appreciated."

Tags: art, career, costuming, sewing
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