Industrious Illustrating #63 – Looking to Summer

Hello everyone! I ended up not updating for two weeks because of final projects and exams eating up all my energy and time when I wasn’t making new art. But I’m back with one more post before the end of the school year!

Speaking of which, one of my class projects this past semester was illustrating new educational materials for the UMich Natural History Museum. I ended up designing a new step-by-step infographic for using their slides and microscopes. Here’s a sample of what one of my microscope illustrations looked like:

The other artwork I’ve been making recently has mostly been fanwork and commission work since that’s what people pay me to make (and I also enjoy making). I do want to work on more original design work, especially after getting my portfolio reviewed by a mentor and realizing that my design work has a long way to go if I ever want to get work in the double or triple-A video game industries, but I’ll likely have to do that later in the summer after I’m done with my internship. In the meantime, I’ll be selling at several fan conventions this summer — Anime Park this weekend, then Motor City Comic Con (the Spring show) and Colossalcon’s Otaku Craft Fair later this month, and the Otaku Detroit Summer Bash as well as Tekko in mid July!

I’m still not totally certain, but I’m leaning toward not continuing this blog next year. I’ve taken on a lot of responsibilities (especially in the last year) that I have to juggle on top of an increasingly demanding upperclassman schedule. While maintaining this column has been nice for tracking my progress as an artist over the years, sharing it with the wider world, and getting a small amount of compensation for my time, I’ve finally gotten enough traction with getting into conventions and cultivating a dedicated customer base that I’d rather focus more on my art and chronicle my development in less time-consuming ways. But I’ll at least for sure continue to be Digipaint’s event planning admin next year, and I’ll also continue to work on myself as an artist and small business owner. It’s surreal that I’m only a year away from graduating college now, but there’s no way that I could’ve stayed in undergrad forever.

Anyway, I’ll go back to resting and recuperating from all the hard work I’ve done so far this year, and I’ll either see you guys again in the fall or if we ever chat at an in-person event! (Or, a third option, if you figure out what my art social media accounts are and follow my art journey there…) Have a great summer!

Industrious Illustrating #60 – Botanical Gardens 3

Hello, and welcome back to another week of Industrious Illustrating! This week I’m going back to talking about my classwork for “Making Science Visible”. We recently finished our botanical illustration project where we each illustrated a plant at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens to be later compiled into a map for visitors to identify plants of interest in each biome with. Our first set of drawings are now printed out and on display at the MBG in the hallway leading up to the entrance of the indoor gardens! I personally did my painting first on paper with watercolors and inks and then digitally retouched the painting, but some of my classmates did their drawings entirely traditionally or entirely digitally. I’d definitely recommend taking a look in the near future to see how we all approached the subject matter!

My work is currently hanging in the hallway at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens alongside the work of my classmates!

Something else I did this week was stop by the UMich Natural History Museum to take reference pictures of their microscopes. Our next class project will be creating and redoing various illustrations for the Natural History Museum’s educational materials, and I volunteered to make illustrations for a revamped tutorial for using the microscope. While I was there, I also asked some of the student volunteers about the microscope’s specs and learned that the base model is a National 215 Microscope. I’m glad that I took time out of my day to gather reference materials in-person, and I’m sure that this will be a unique and challenging illustration project.

That’s all for this week! Next week I’ll be in Seattle to vend at Sakuracon, so I’ll probably be making my weekly arts ink blog post the week after. I just finished finalizing my last merch order last night for the con, so I definitely feel like taking a break from drawing for at least a couple of days (I have 2 orders of keychains and 1 order of prints on the way). To that end, I plan to spend more time with my friends and watch a movie or two this weekend. I hope every one of you guys will also have a restful weekend!

Industrious Illustrating #56 – Botanical Gardens

Hey guys! This week I visited the Matthaei Botanical Gardens with my classmates for ARTDES 364 – Visualizing Science and took a lot of notes on the guided tour. We’re working on a project to revamp the Botanical Gardens’s map, so I made sketches of the general layout and where the different plants of interest are located.

I also took note of some botanical facts that made me imagine sci-fi speculative evolution worldbuilding for my own projects, especially the Indian banyan tree’s ever-encroaching roots that try to suffocate any plants in their path. In my own imagining they become the inspiration for giant biomechanical tendrils slowly engulfing ruins and wreckage from a bygone era.

All in all, I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to learn more about the botanical gardens for various creative projects that I’m gradually working on! Next week I’ll be selling in the Artist Alley at Katsucon in National Harbor, Maryland, so my weekly post will likely come later in the weekend than usual! Have a great week!