Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

Posts from the ‘illustration’ category

I began an online class assignment in 2014 on the subject of hand-lettering a quote. It’s a good thing that the class is “work at your own pace;” I have been itching to get back to it and have a new sketch to show for it! This is the central image, I will be adding the rest of the quote and embellishments as I continue.

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A gorgeous sunset from my trip with Kelly to the Chesapeake Bay area in the Fall.

The sun is setting on another year and I have been thinking about goals, both old and new. It’s important for me to remember to celebrate accomplishments first, before moving too far into the goal-setting stage. I found myself ignoring that last week, my thoughts focusing only on what I’d like to achieve in 2015. Taking a moment to compose this post is bringing me back to more positive reflection.

For 2014 I am proud to have welcomed a new rescue cat into my home, The Amazing Mongo! He has a very loving and entertaining personality. I am also glad to have deepened some new friendships and renewed some older ones. I brought my artwork to three craft shows and heard great responses from new fans. I conceived of, produced, packaged, and began selling a set of temporary tattoos in my Etsy shop: “Foodietoos.” My parents and I went on trip to visit beautiful Tuscany and Rome (the latter has a very different beauty compared to the Italian countryside) in the spring, and then visited my brother in Colorado for a week in the summer. (Greg and I spotted a bull moose in the forest one morning!) Friends and cousins came to visit me throughout the year and we enjoyed what the city has to offer. I have been keeping sharp at my freelance day job in magazine production and helped the publication complete some important articles. I’m so thankful to be part of the process each month. I made sure my friends kept laughing. I discovered a new genre that I’d like to explore with my drawings … which leads me to 2015.

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Mom, Dad, and I at lunch in Sienna, Italy in April.

Goals and resolutions are definitely important but I never can actually accomplish everything I set intentions for at the beginning of each year, unless they are very low goals! (Eat fruit. Don’t wait 4 weeks to do laundry.) I have learned to not let myself become discouraged if the way things turn out isn’t quite the way I expected or would have liked them to be. It is too easy for me to get into a negative mind space and start thinking about what I “didn’t work hard enough” at, or “didn’t do enough” of, which tends to dissuade me from moving forward.

Looking back at what I did in 2014 reminds me that I am living a full life and I have to allow myself to be fluid within it … if I only stuck to my goals I might have missed out on some surprises and detours that enriched my year.

In light of that, I’m not going to post any of my specific goals here (Are you surprised? I am, too.) but I will share my general mantra for the New Year: Keep exploring, stay positive, reach out and up. (I stole that last one from yoga class!)

What about you, do you prefer very specific goals or more general ones? Why?

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This is a great year for the Christmas/Hanukkah card! I had these printed up a couple of years ago and they have been listed in The Nancydraws Shop, but this year Hanukkah and Christmas fall so closely together I am hoping this card gets the attention it deserves.

A Hanukkah & Christmas card.

A Hanukkah & Christmas card.

On one side, Adele is trying to wrap Christmas gifts at home, but Henrí has decided, as cats do, to take a nap in the middle of the operation and might have pulled a decoration or two off of the tree to play with.

On the Hanukkah side of the card is a dignified Percival Featherington III, slurping up some Lo Mein noodles with an urban landscape in the background. I know that this isn’t quite how Hanukkah is celebrated, but I have gotten a lot of laughs and good reactions to it.

There are interior greetings to go with each side of the card. The Hanukkah side simply says “Happy Hanukkah,” next to two fortune cookies. The Christmas greeting says “Merry Christmas, it’s a wrap!” With a small drawing of Henrí bundled in wrapping paper above.

Interior greetings.

Interior greetings.

If you prefer one greeting per card, each image is also available on its own card, but this one is a two-for-one bargain, don’t miss out on the perfect year to send some to your dual-religion friends and family!

If you order one card, it is $4; 6 cards for $15; and 10 for $22. See this card and all of my other holiday greetings in The Nancydraws Shop.

If you would like to sign up for my e-mail newsletter, click here. I will announce my Thanksgiving sale via the newsletter and Facebook fan page, but the “Friends & Family” sale code will only be available for newsletter subscribers and for whom they choose to pass it on to.

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I began using Pinterest last year as an experiment to showcase my artwork and my illustrated characters’ lives as well as images or subjects that inspire my creativity. I have recently found it useful as a way to collect images for research related to my illustration projects.

I am taking part in an online Skillshare class about hand-lettering, and the main lesson revolves around choosing a quote to draw. I’m using Pinterest to collect the images I’d like to use as style and inspiration reference for when I am ready to begin sketching my ideas. The quote I have chosen is from the TV show, “Dr. Who.” I won’t reveal it right now, but I will share the Pinterest reference board and more about my work as I work through the lessons for the class: Hand-lettering Class Research Pinboard.

 

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In recent months I have been thinking about different ways of getting my art into other people’s hands as a fun way to get some attention for my artwork. Being a self-marketing machine gets pretty dull and repetitive, and for the amount of time I put in, it is often without much reward or acknowledgement from the public. What I do never seems like enough and I always expect, or would like more reaction than I get. So I made a fun challenge for myself and my friends Thelma and Louise (as luck would have it, they were interested). I wanted to give prints of my “Love, New York” artwork away as a fun surprise for the recipients.  I figured what I had been doing wasn’t getting a lot of attention, so why not try something else, and I held the same expectations for this experiment.

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“Thelma,” our intern “Cherise,” and “Louise” after our reverse art heist.

 I have a handful of images for my “Love, New York” illustration theme and one focuses on a woman wearing a leopard-print coat, sunglasses, green turban, and she carries a large orange tote bag. For “Turban Lady,” my idea was to secretly place a small number of  prints somewhere inside of a department store without the employees noticing. I came up with a plan to visit a few of them in Manhattan with my gorgeous volunteers. Each of us were to shop in the store as if we were looking for clothing or an outfit. While in the dressing room, we’d conceal a print in the items of clothing. Each postcard-sized print was inside of a clear, plastic sleeve with a pipe cleaner attached to it for easily attaching to a tag or hanger; they were also sized small enough to be able to fit into a (preferably leopard-print) coat pocket.

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At Store #1 there were a huge number of employees out on the floor which got me nervous right away. I couldn’t walk 3 feet without someone new asking me if I wanted a dressing room or help finding something. It seemed as if they somehow knew I wasn’t really shopping! I got over it and attached my cards to the items, after trying them on, of course. We were sending each other image texts from the dressing rooms! Here’s a cute pair of shorts on me. (Pardon my black socks, I know they are a “Don’t” with shorts.)

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Placing the cards amongst the fashions in Store #2 was much easier, and Thelma joined us at that point, so that meant more free art for their customers. She was even bold enough to place one of the postcards inside of an orange handbag right out on the store floor.

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We had one or two more cards left so we made a third stop and left the remaining cards there.

I included my contact information on the reverse side of the card and asked if the people who found it might get in touch with me and let me know something about them. Unfortunately no one has responded, but we went into it knowing that we might not hear back. It’s entirely possible that with the large number of security cameras around, that people in the store noticed what we were doing and didn’t approach us, but tossed the cards.

Basically what I got out of the experience was being able to act on one of my ideas, a fun afternoon (we went out for wine and a snack afterwards with Cherise), and a touch of mystery. Who knows, I may still hear from someone, so stay tuned for that and my next art giveaway idea!

 

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Fashion Weak

Fashion Week started here in New York City on February 6, and I was freelancing with a fashion-related publication at that time and I thought of this image.

New York Fashion Week is such an exciting time… I have never been to a fashion show
but I like checking out  The Cut blog on New York Magazine‘s website or WWD for reviews and slide shows of the latest designs appearing on the runways.

Even though I have not experienced any of the festivities I’m pretty sure none of the attendees or models are wearing pajama pants!

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A shared post from Pikaland: What does being an artist mean to you?

The organizer/instructor of the online class that I’m taking, Amy Ng, is very active on her blog, Pikaland, which is how I found out about the class in the first place. This week she asks readers, “What does being an artist mean to you?” and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the question here, but make sure you also read her post at the link above.

In the Pikaland post, Amy included a quote from Edgar Degas:

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas  

Degas truly sums up my feelings about being an artist. My thought process and visual interpretation of the world are a big part of my creativity. Without the ideas or quirky observations about life my drawings, photos, and collages would not have much meaning to myself or to others, they’d just fall flat. I know that my way of thinking and observing has effected my daily life in the way that I witness particular moments happening around me and then I’m able craft them into a visual treats to share.

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A small selection of my illustrations from over the years…

… and more on this wall. I also looked at my online work.

Recently I began an online class called Work / Art / Play via an illustration blog I’m a fan of, Pikaland. Discussing my work for the class is right in line with the main subject of my blog, finding inspiration and my artistic process. The first assignment was to look at several examples of my work from over the years and try to find common patterns and then the elements of my art that are the strongest.

So far I’ve noticed that I mainly use graphic, flat shapes to compose my illustrations; my work often depicts daily life mixed with subtle humor; I like to incorporate words and multimedia (collage, photography, embroidery, watercolor, pencil, and ink).

Another step was see if there are similarities between our work and the artists we admire. I was surprised to find that all of the aspects I mentioned above are present in some way for my list of favorite artists! Roz Chast, Henrí Matisse, Hanoch Piven, Romare Bearden, Maira Kalman, Alexander Calder, and Claes Oldenberg. (To name a few.)

Parts 2 & 3 of last week’s module were more challenging. Since I only had about a day to evaluate my work and write out my thoughts and analysis, I know I will need some more time to consider these answers. Part 2 was about considering what matters in our lives, not just our artwork, and what we are good at in addition to our creativity. And Part 3 is about bringing the observations from Parts 1 & 2 together to figure out how to create the strongest and most self-satisfying artwork based on these discoveries.

I think blogging about it helps the process! The first week was a very interesting start to what I feel will be a valuable experience. Some great topics came up in the Q&A session as well… such as one of my questions! I asked if I should make the effort to unearth some of my college work, which I have in slide form in my apartment… the originals are a couple hundred miles away at my parents house… if they haven’t sold them. 😉

As it turned out it wasn’t completely necessary to include the college work but I was able to notice some interesting similarities between what I was doing then and a new style that I’ve recently begun working with. I was really into combining watercolors, drawings, and colored pencil back in the day, and after many years of working in a digital style I’ve decided to experiment with the watercolors, drawings, and colored pencils again. I shouldn’t be that surprised, I chose watercolors since I’m familiar with them, but I can see how my skills and sensibilities have matured, while the essence has remained the same.

I will keep working on this and post more discoveries…. meanwhile a new module was released today. I guess I will be a little bit behind on my classwork.

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I made a deal with myself tonight that I’d write a blog post or do some work related to my illustration business before I ate dinner. This is usually my game plan on the evenings that I come home from my day job in magazine publishing and don’t have any set social plans. Luckily tonight I’m making my Mom’s classic pasta salad which does not need to be eaten hot, so I made it first and sat down to write this, so it will be ready for me when I’m done writing.

I always love a tasty, healthy and fresh meal to feed my body and this meal will be a soul-feeder too, I was just on a family vacation a couple of weeks ago and a recipe from Mom’s collection is a comfort for the times I miss being with my family in person.

Working toward my goals and dreams is the ultimate soul-feeder, of course. I never seem to have as much time as I want for pursuing those goals but my thoughts on that lately have been to make the most of what time I do have.

My current project is the creation of original art to sell in The Nancydraws Shop… I won’t give it all away but it has to do with living in New York City as an artist and appreciator of the beauty and unique situations that are part of that experience.

I began some experimental sketches and tests earlier this summer (see the image below), so far I’m happy with the way they are coming along, and feel hopeful that I’ll get a good response. But the process of creating something in a new way is also important, and its helping to bring the fun back into my artistic technique. I am looking forward to seeing where that will lead me down the road.

Now, back to feeding my body, be well until my next post!

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