Other Panda Worlds

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Quickly becoming a fan of the NYC FC soccer team

Good evening/morning Panda people!

This past Saturday, my beau and I went to watch an NYC Football Club soccer game against the Montreal Impact. We unfortunately lost 3-2, but it was a really great game regardless and we had an amazing time. The tickets were relatively cheap, $35, and they were in the side bleachers section. Given that is was a beautiful summer day in NYC, it was indeed hot and very sunny out. But it created a gorgeous atmosphere to watch the game in and the view was much better than I had anticipated. I could literally see the sweat shimmer off the players' faces. All in all, good times.
Maxwell wishes he could have watched the game with us this past Saturday.
The newly renovated Yankee Stadium was in its full glory not for baseball but for soccer!! :)
Love, Erica

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Cousin's Save the Date card

Hi Panda People!

Back in April, I got to design my cousin, Alexandria and her fiancee's Save the Date cards. They met online, I believe via Facebook. They wanted their cards to reflect how they met and be reminiscent of how at the beginning of their relationship was mostly online because of their long distance apart, she lived in Kissimmee and he in Miami or close to there at least. 

So these are the final design for their October wedding save the date cards. They were double sided and on heavier stock with a gloss lamination on them to enhance the colors. The front of the card is a mock facebook message chat box with their main dates and location information. I though it'd be fun to have instead of the text in the message boxes, it could simply be images that would relay the main message of an engagement between 2 beautiful people. The back of the card had a fun narrative illustration of how her fiancee popped the question on her, albeit I'm not 100% clear that is how he actually did it, but Alex has tells me my illustration is a perfect romanticized version of how it went down, which is pretty fitting when you think that their whole relationship started online as well. 

"She Said Yes!" - Save the Date - BACK (Final)
Facebook Message - Save the Date - FRONT (Final)

Here's a little bit of the process of how the art for the card was made:

I started off by making a list of words that include emotions, feelings, and words that encapsulate what I'm trying to achieve with a project (ie. hitched, facebook, cute, romantic, modern, online dating, etc.). Sometimes I do this step before I draw or after I draw, but I always try to look for some inspirational art or photos that fuel my ideas and help emphasize the words I've written down. Then I come up with a few or sometimes a lot of tiny sketches called 'thumbnails' that just get the gist of the concept of the art. I came up with the above 4, and few other miscellaneous sketches that weren't as strong as these 4 that I decided not to show you guys. 

Front of card's refined line sketch
Back of card's refined line sketch
After I talked to Alex and Patrick and we figured out which concept(s) they liked the best, I gather up the final text that needed to be included on the cards and sketched up refined line drawings of the winning concepts. I usually just block in the shapes of the general space the text will take up on the page, like how you see it in the sketch of the front of the card. I don't think of what the text will look like font-wise, I just think of it as purely designing shape and composition alongside my drawings and try to figure out the text details later.


Here are a few examples of the hand drawn text I did for the card. At first I wanted to hand draw their names for the front of the card, but soon realized it just didn't look very organized and I couldn't get the shape of their letterforms to fall into a nice shape. It was too organic for the more modern, sans serif feel I got from looking at a facebook chat box. As for the back illustration's hand drawn text, I knew I wanted a swirly font that had a lot of swashes (the curly cues of the letter that connect them to th letter in front of and behind them, ie. the curly loop that connects the 'e' and 's' in 'Yes!'). So I went to different font websites like dafont.com or myfonts.com and found some great fonts that I liked. I took pictures of the words I needed in these inspirational fonts and then tried to base my hand drawn type off them, while adding my own flair (ie. the heart dot for the 'i' in 'said').


After I figured out the finer details, I moved on to color studies. I do as many studies as I feel I need to have enough variety to show Alex and Patrick. For the front of the card it was more like 6 studies, but I'm only showing these 4 because they were the most finished. I started and did not finish a lot of color studies because I could tell from the get go they weren't going to work. Sometimes I just have to see things that blatantly don't work in order to get to the colors that do work well together. I try not to limit myself and try everything, but choose to only show you these 4 I showed Alex and Patrick.

For the back of the card I really only did one color study (above). I do my color studies in the art materials that I anticipate using for the final illustrations. In this case, I used watercolors, caran d'ache water soluble crayons, and colored pencils.

I did do a few studies to see what kind of background I wanted the back of the card to be on. I used photoshop to change Patrick's shirt color and the dialogue bubble with the rings and the screen of the laptop. I also made the shadows, Alex's hair, shorts, Patrick's hair and pants much darker to bump up the contrast I wanted to achieve for the final color illustration.

Lastly, I paint the final illustration elements at about 2x the size of how they will appear on the actual card. That way I can guarantee that when they are reduced in size the art will still be crisp and sharp around the edges. I paint each element separately so that I can layer them on top of each other in photoshop as I know that I will have to color correct each image after I scan them. When I scan my paintings the original colors are always portrayed accurately by the scanner and on the screen of my computer so it takes some finangling in photoshop to get the colors look more true to how I painted them and I usually enhance colors where I can to brighten up darks spots and clean up stray mistakes I've made in the original paintings. Above you can see the raw scans of a few elements for the card. The sunburst background got much lighter in the final design. I touched up the vignette of Alex and Patrick a lot because the scan came out much bluer than I wanted it to be and the watercolor paper I painted it on ended up buckling a little when it dried as you can see behind their heads (there's an annoying shadow where the paper didn't lay flat as I scanned it). 

All in all, it takes a lot of preparation to finish a final illustration and even after I paint the final illustration, there still is a lot of work to prepare the files for the printer who will print the cards on the paper stock. I have to take into consideration the type of paper stock, how heavy the paper is, how much ink may absorb into the paper rather than lay on top of the paper and what kind of lamination the card will have. All of those aspects and more go into my decisions to how the print file is set up. And it's much tougher when I'm not the one talking to the printer myself and feeling and looking at the actual paper in person. But I did my best. 

And here's the printed card I got in the mail shortly after I gave my cousin the print files:

I'm pretty happy with how they printed out and my cousin and her boo are too. I can count that as a job well done. 

Thanks for reading this very long process post, everyone. Happy Sunday to you all!

Love, Erica

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Monday Night, Bath Time!

Summer time in my apartment is tough for Maxwell. I only have a small window A/C unit in my bedroom and for some reason, he doesn't like hanging out in there during the day very much (maybe it's too loud for him?). He happily chills in the living room that is usually hot and stuffy and humid because the windows are open to help circulate the air. By the end of the week, Maxwell is stinky from all of his sweat. Monday nights in my apartment are consequentially deemed BATH NIGHT, to Maxwell's great dismay.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Flying Kites

I went picnic'ing at Prospect Park with a few friends and my cousin on Saturday. It was the most beautiful summer weather out. And there was just enough of a breeze to fly kites. I haven't flown one in years. The experience was exhilarating and I had a great rush of child-like excitement and energy running around trying to get my kite to go as high as it could get.