Welcome to Night Vale Listening Party

Allow me to use my blog to shamelessly promote a local event that I’m co-hosting:

The Welcome to Night Vale Listening Party is happening THIS SATURDAY! You don’t want to miss it. Hosted by Matthew Carr and myself, hang out and listen to the 2 latest episodes of WTNV on the stellar sound system of the Lovecraft Bar. There will also be a raffle of official WTNV swag.

graphic design by Valerie Herron

graphic design by Valerie Herron

 

A bit of background info for those of you scratching your heads: Welcome to Night Vale is a brilliant podcast. Influenced by the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, conspiracy theories, and community radio, WTNV is a hilarious and beautifully written production. Narrated by Cecil Baldwin as the Night Vale community radio announcer, WTNV illuminates the strange happenings in the desert town of Night Vale. I recommend it highly, so highly that I think you should listen to it in a group setting!

The Lovecraft Bar is Portland’s own “horror-themed” bar. With tentacles and sigils on the walls, this is the best place in town to get a drink or pot of tea, in my humble opinion. Matt and I thought it was the perfect venue for a WTNV Listening party. So go check it out. What a perfect way to punctuate the romance or disappointment of Valentine’s Day! See you all there 🙂

 

 

Vile Kirby and What the Hell is a PechaKucha?

You can not tell me that my blog titles aren’t enticing. Whether the blogs themselves deliver, who knows. Here’s some more art!

I just finished my first assignment in Advanced Illustration. This one takes some explaining:

For the 1st assignment we were supposed to pair up with a classmate and interview them about their work. Depending on things that they wanted to explore, their portfolio was missing, or things that they absolutely hate doing, we then were to create an assignment for them, being as mean or helpful as we wished.

My buddy Josh Burd (you may remember him from this assignment) came up with a pretty hilarious assignment for me. Because I don’t have a lot of packaging design under my belt, and because I never do anything “cute or fluffy” Josh thought it would be a good exercise for me to design a new variation of Kirby as a character, and the box packaging for its inevitable collector’s toy. Josh named him “Vile Kirby” and instructed me to create him in my style. And that was it.

If you are unfamiliar with Kirby, he is a cutesy Nintendo character that has been featured in a number of different video games, including Kirby’s Dreamland and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. He even has his own bizarre cartoon.

Nintendo's Kirby

Nintendo’s Kirby

 

So this proved to be interesting challenge. Vile, by definition, means extremely wicked or unpleasant. I needed to create a Kirby that possessed those qualities, but retained some of Kirby’s cuteness and some key, recognizable characteristics. I sketched out some ideas and came up with a Kirby I really liked.

IMAG0066

 

I designed the typeface for Vile Kirby’s name and started to design the actual packaging from a box template. The final result was this:

 

Vile Kirby, digital media© Valerie Herron 2013

Vile Kirby, digital media
© Valerie Herron 2013

Vile Kirby box packaging, digital media© Valerie Herron 2013

Vile Kirby box packaging, digital media
© Valerie Herron 2013

 

Then I made a prototype box.

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My cat Naharra jumped in there to model and demonstrate scale. Thank you, darling. I’m not sure if I’ll use this in my portfolio or not, but it was a lot of fun to make. Thanks, Josh 😉

I’m beginning to write my big, scary, thesis paper. I was happy to discover that the paper doesn’t have to cover all of the conceptual territory that the project encompasses (thank all of the gods, my project is way too ambitious) but it is required to be a lengthy research paper that will shed some light on the project. I finally narrowed down all of the research possibilities to this thesis statement:

In this paper I will consider why it is that people need fictional allegories to empathize with the reality of suffering. I will explore the connection between allegory and social responsibility, as well as the ways that some find catharsis and empowerment through allegorical devices.

The first step into research required by my thesis writing class is to construct and present a PechaKucha. What the hell is a PechaKucha? It is a painful exercise of indeterminate pronunciation (my professor thinks it’s either Peh-chuh-Koo-chuh or, hilariously, Peh-chatch-kah) where you must give power point style presentation on a complex subject, limited to 20 slides, 20 seconds each. The idea is that the presenter will be forced to distill their subject matter and will only present salient information. Making the exercise even more fun, we are limited to 4 minutes or less, 10 slides.

So I have to figure out how I will be defining all of my terms, presenting valid examples, and tying it all into my work in 4 minutes or less. Oh, and we will be merging classes. I will be performing this train wreck for two classes total. I suppose after my thesis proposal, this can’t be that painful. We will see.

 

 

 

 

The Wild Hunt (of Portland) and Vending

I’m stoked that I managed to get this painting done this weekend. I know I say this a lot, but I do feel like this one is still a work in progress. Really I would just like another week or two of tweaking it. So here it is:

The Wild Hunt (of Portland) - digital media, Valerie Herron 2012

I’ve been wanting to do a Wild Hunt painting for some time, and there are many different versions that I want to create. This one was supposed to be sort of comical. I brought a few of my favorite Portlanders together for the photo shoot I conducted for the photo reference for this painting. As you can imagine, it was pretty hilarious. My buddy Lupa loaned me all of the fur items you see in the painting (FYI- you can buy these ethically obtained furs and others like them via her website thegreenwolf.com.) I had to later superimpose Fred (who you may recognize from this) into the photo reference. Even though a celestial harvesting co-op or whatever is so much more Portland, compositionally the hunt needed a leader.

I went down to Mt. Tabor Theater to meet with the organizers of the Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball. They showed me my vending space and  I started to get super excited. I really have to thank Aaron, Jesse, and Joe for being so helpful and flexible with all of my planning and obsessing.

It’s next weekend, folks. You don’t want to miss it.

Now I must go to sleep. This week is going to be insane…

Crowley and the Deep Ones

I have the pencilling and inking finished on what I’m now calling “The Crowley Trinity.” My puns have gotten out of hand lately, and I blame The Bugle entirely. Anyway, here’s a sneak peek at the triptych:

I’m debating on whether I want to finish these in aquarelle or digital painting. What do you guys think? I’ll sleep on it and see how I feel.

An in-studio assignment I have coming up is to create a wallpaper pattern. The goal is to create a pattern that can essentially be tiled and applied to things like iPhone and laptop covers, wrapping paper, notebooks etc.

Each one of us got a prompt to use as a theme for the assignment. Lucky for me, my prompt was “Creatures of the Deep.” I spent the last hour drawing deep sea critters:

 

and naturally, I had to include the Deep Ones:

I must admit, these turned out way more adorable than I had anticipated. I’m going to scan these, and create a tile pattern in Illustrator. Wish me luck, Illustrator and I don’t get along that well.

I’ll keep you posted as these projects develop 🙂

Moon Raven Designs, Crowley update, and Video Art

Every once in awhile I like to write up a little something about fellow Pacific Northwest artists who I know or purchase items from. – There is currently one looooooooong over due for the amazing Vajra, proprietress of Conjure Oils. Soon to come!  –

Today I received my package from Moon Raven Designs. I’m so stoked on it I thought that I would share. Mike and Diane Doyle are self taught jewelry artisans in Victoria BC, Canada (still totally the Pacific NW!) They specialize in metal casted animal jewelry.

First, I wanted to complement Moon Raven Designs on their packaging. I’m a sucker for this sort of simple and elegant (and dare I say a bit gothy?) design:

And here is my necklace:

This is a silver, antiqued crow skull. The forehead is pitted and the metal blackened in the recesses. It’s 1-5/8″ long,and even though its pretty durable, it feels light as a feather.It is mounted on an adjustable black cord with four solid brass nickel plated beads that are spaced with two blood red translucent glass beads.

It’s pretty much my new favorite thing in the world.

I ordered this 10 days ago, which is super fast from Canada. I had one question I sent the sellers which Mike answered for me in minutes. The folks at Moon Raven Designs shipped it the very next day, complete with a tracking number. Plus, it was very reasonably priced, as are the other items I was drooling over in their online shop.

If you didn’t catch the link, you can find Moon Raven Designs’s Etsy store HERE. I highly recommend these folks.

I will be starting my thumbnails for the Crowley triptych tonight. I am super excited for this series. I have already shot two model photo-shoots for reference, and I’ll be shooting the last one Thursday.

This is going to be a busy week. After classes Thursday I will be doing the aforementioned photo-shoot and all day Friday I will be filming for my friend’s music video. More details when the video is nearer to finish. Oh yeah, did I ever mention my love of making film art?? I’m still a Neophyte video artist, but I really enjoy writing, filming and editing.

On that note, I leave you with this RIDICULOUS (silent) animation I made my very first semester of art school:

Digital Painting

I am not super skilled at digital painting, but after taking a digital painting class I am way more comfortable with it. I will be utilizing the digital medium way more often. Here are my two favorite I made in class and my final (the last two images):

Portrait of Josh Burd (classmate)

photoshop, 2011

Illustrator, 2011

photoshop and illustrator, 2011

Oberon

photoshop,illustrator 2011

The Joanie B. Titles

This was an interesting project. It was apparently inspired by a personal friend of my Professor’s, art rep Joanie Berstien. When artists contact her asking for representation, she sends them a list of phrases that they are to create illustrations for so she can get a sense of their work. This is a long list of clichés, things such as “Relax and Rejuvinate” and “Love and War.” We were supposed to choose a few items from this list to illustrate. The point was that we would all come up with different ways to illustrate the same ideas. Much like the Commons assignment, this assignment was also challenging for me. I felt way out of my element. But I must say, I was pretty happy with the results.
“Wine Country” ink and goauche on drawing paper
Both sides of my family are from Sonoma County. People generally think of Sonoma County and they think of all the beautiful vineyards, all the rich countryside. My family is from the other side of the tracks, full of Hillbillies, Hippies, and Ghetto. Poverty, crime, and addiction problems everywhere. So this was a little homage to my roots.
“Think inside the Box” ink on drawing paper
Pretty self explanatory. I draw a good portion of my inspiration from historical art.
“Swamp Thing” ink and goauche on drawing paper
This one is my favorite. Another huge aspect of my work is the figure and an element of fantasy/mythology.
I think these came out a little smarmy for my Professor’s taste, but they generally went over pretty well.