Thursday, October 14, 2010


Dear Blog followers,

This week, instead of a challenge, we have an announcement:
We have recently been swamped with our work on the side, and feel it best to postpone challenges until we can devote more time to them. In the meantime we will be posting our personal work and projects, and continuing the feedback system that way!

Stay tuned for the exciting re-direction!

Jen and Holly

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Holly reveals challenge # 13- Osculate

Dear Jen and Blog people,

I'm sorry for the late completion of this challenge, but alas I don't intend to disappoint!

The word I chose for this challenge is Osculate. The dictionary defines it as, kiss. I laughed when I verbalized the word out loud, to me it doesn't represent passion as the sound has an academic substance. At first I was tempted to illustrate an awkward couple attempting a weird kiss, but last minute changed the image to it's literal meaning. The reasoning for the twisted necks is the second meaning/ definition. Osculate, (of a curve or surface) Touch (another curve or surface) so as to have a common tangent at the point of contact.

I'm pleased with myself... mostly for taking pictures of the process. This is something I've never done. While looking through the photos I realized that the piece could be slightly overworked, especially in the woman's face. Overall I'm content with the illustration, but the final piece is incomplete, I would still like to take advantage of fixing the man's left eye.

Thank you again Jen for yet another great challenge :)


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Challenge #13: What does that mean?

Dear Holly,

This week I challenge you to find the most uncommon, unknown, word you can find in the dictionary, and illustrate it! You can either use the definition as inspiration for the content of the image, or make up your own definition based on how the word makes you feel! But the title of your image will be the word you have chosen.

Can't wait! Good luck!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Challenge # 12: Object Love the reveal

Dear Holly,

I have chosen to answer your challenge by illustrating the material object I love most! I reveal to you: Pandy.

Pandy is my favorite childhood toy. He has more personality then most people, and triggers many happy memories of intense playtime with my sister Lauren.
I tried to capture how alive he is to me... you know when you're acting with toys and you make them move, he's very mobile and when i think of him i think of something that can't sit still. his head has this way of stretching really high, making him look like he's in a different mood. and his body is so expressive. Hence the wild ink lines.

....omg i sound crazy.

I'll stop lol.

Thanks Holly, this was so fun.


thanks for the fun theme!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Challenge #12- Object love


This week's challenge is inspired by a personal frustration which I struggle with on a daily basis, the love humans have with physical objects. I've wanted to do an illustration like this for months now, but never got around to it. I challenge you to capture this concept anyway you choose. As an example I might consider, a man obsessively stroking his i phone, while staring at it with pure infatuation. There's a lot of ways you could visually go about this challenge, but when it's complete I want to powerfully read an affectionate emotion within your piece. Good luck, and like always I'm excited to see what you come up with!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Holly reveals challenge # 11- Secret Wish

I know this is early, but I've been excited to complete this challenge, I can finally paint!! The past three weeks have been hard, and realizing I didn't have the ability to illustrate made my situation worse. I felt very blue and pathetic and I may have started a few arguments that weren't necessary. I never realized that drawing and painting had control of my positive mental health. I know my temporary disability wasn't even close to those who loose their limbs and never get back full mobilization, I truly feel for them!

As for my challenge- The secret wish. I had three weeks to contemplate how I was going to solve this. Without giving away my secret wish, it's something I've obsessed about for the past year!! I can't get it out of my head as my mind doesn't focus anywhere else. Hint- It has nothing to do with fish! Any guesses?? I did my usual watered down acrylics, watercolour pencils and purchased an expensive illustration board. I worked big- approximately 16x20 because my fingers cant work small at the moment.

Thank you Jen... this was a beautiful challenge to celebrate the mobility of my hand!! Loved the concept and am happy with the final reveal :)


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Open challenge: "Get Well Holly" results

Dear blog friends,

Thank you so much to those who participated in our first ever open challenge! All of the entries were fun and thoughtful and your time and interest is greatly appreciated!

drum role............

by Kyle Dumas. challenge accepted ;)

By John-Michael Goertz, lol... yes Holly count your blessings!! love the dark humor JM.

By Georges, 8 years old and so talented!
By Andrew Foerster, website for more cowboys and robots and monsters: check out his sculptures, they're adorable!

By Peter Goertz, facebook to more awesome 'around the world' works of art:
Peter you make me appreciate Microsoft Paint like never before.
This is Peter at Holly's grandma's house. Is that Holly passed out on the ground?! Are you not helping her?? ! lol. The nurse hat on the sun is brilliant. For those of you who havn't seen Peter's work, the sun gives the clue to the theme/ location of each image.

and lastly, a flash animation by ivan ha, apparently the original file of the girl running had much less clothing. Ivan had to reconstruct clothes for every frame! you're welcome holly :D

thankyou everyone!! looking forward to our next open challenge!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Dear Challengers!

Thank you dearly for submitting to the blog. It means a lot to Jen and I!! I’ve reviewed a few of them already and am very excited that our first open challenge was a success!! Hopefully a few more can be submitted before Friday :)

An update on the hand. I’m hoping the cast can come off on the 21st. I started using my fingers this week as they now have strength back. Unfortunately I can’t hold a pencil correctly, that’s my next goal. Wanting horribly to draw and paint again..


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Open challenge to the public!

Hi friends of The Illustration Challenge!

Let's give holly a much deserved break this week for her brave rescue of a bunny and her broken hand!

I challenge you, friends of the blog, to submit a work of art featuring the theme 'GET WELL SOON.' any medium, as always experimentation is encouraged. if visual arts isn't your thing, show us your thing: be it music, photography, home videos... anything goes!
deadline is friday september 10th.
if you're up for the challenge please email work to 72 dpi preferred! please include links to your own blog if you have one so we can promote you too!

thanks for your time!! have a great end of summer!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


This is being written by Holly's good friend Rachel Jantzi as dictated by Holly.

I have horrible news Everyone. YOU WON'T BELEIVE THIS. Remember my bunny illustration I revealed and how much I hate bunnies? Yesterday I was rescuing alongside with my mom a baby bunny a dog was trying to eat. I tripped, fell on my hand and it is officially broken as of today. I get my cast tomorrow. The kicker is it's my right hand. We're going to have to figure out a way to keep the illustration blog going in the mean time... Some people have inquired about open challenges, this might be a good idea while I'm man down. I'm very overwhelmed, was looking forward to your next challenge, it sounds amazing. I'm going to still attempt it, maybe in a week but in the mean time we have to talk when you get back...


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Challenge #11: secret wish

Dear Holly,

this weeks challenge will be fun! infact its more of a game this week then a challenge!

I want you to wish for something, like you would before blowing out birthday candles or seeing a shooting star, and hide your wish in a picture for me to decipher. the goal is to challenge your visual communication skills so that i can guess what you wished for without you having to tell me. because of course, if you told me it wouldn't come true.

restrictions: you can't visually narrarate. ex: avoid drawing holly allergy free on a pony. you might instead rely on metaphors or things that look like things, such as the fire from the candles could form the shape of a pony.

have fun and wish big!! :)

Challenge #10: the reveal

Dear Holly,

I know this is super early, but I wanted to get the project done before I leave for camping this week. I also thought it would be nice to post early and give you a head start on the next challenge since you've been so busy lately!
Your challenge this week for me was so interesting and thoughtful! Thankyou! I am fascinated by the elderly stage of life and the rewards and obstacles that come with it. In particular I've always had a real soft spot for the elderly who have lost their life partner. I considered taking this angle, but since my past few reveals have been downright depressing, I decided it best to not tackle the love theme for a while.

Then I thought about alzheimers. this condition can be so many things depending on how you look at it: degenerative or a return to innocence, confusing or just simple, but often frusterating for both patient and caretaker. At the OCAD grad show this year, I was stunned by the thesis work of photography student Heather Siekierko. Heather's thesis focused on her own grandmother's struggle with alzheimers. Through various visual clues in her photographs of the grandmother and her home, Heather was able to communicate the confusion and struggle of the disease. I have a print of one of the pieces, i'll post soon!

Influenced by this, i chose to illustrate memory loss. My image is of a grandmother, doing what grandmothers are reputed to do exceptionally well: knit. ( the tradition is visually emphasized by the folk- art style the image is executed in.) But this grandmother knits a glove with only 4 fingers, not 5. She's forgotten a finger! her memory loss is contrasted by her young granddaughters sharp memory, she holds up her own 5 fingered hand to verify the mistake.
Holly I had alot of fun with this, and i like this appraoch to image making. Its the first time I've used only gouache for a painting, but I find it lends well to my love of clean composition and contrast. I'm considering using this for my thesis style, but I'd appreciate feedback very much!
ps: the yellow and red might be wayy off, i wasnt able to colour correct on the computer to compensate for my scanner. The yellow in particular is looking a little gross, i'm hoping its just my monitor!
Thanks Holly!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Challenge # 10: The secrete life of the old

Dearest Jen,

It took me most of the day to decided between two challenges for you. My last minute decision is based on an interaction I had had with a senior woman yesterday. We drank tea for two hours while she talked the entire time. My grandmother’s best friend felt compelled and comfortable to share her frustrations of life with me and I was honored to listen. Before yesterday I had assumed the old life was easy, now I’m afraid I’m terribly wrong. For some it’s filled with worry and frustrations. Without dishonoring her private life here is a list of minor frustrations she faces’s:

1- Her son is depressed and currently living with her, out of work for three years. She worries he will never find work again.

3- Her children want her to move to a senior home. The only one she can afford is known for being grimy and dirty.

4- Both her and her significant other’s, knees need surgery, but recovery time for older people is what’s keeping them from doing it.

5- A gang of young teens were caught harassing her over the phone for months. Some of the comments made are unrepeatable- even I was shocked! She decided not to place charges when she found out it was her own granddaughter.

This week I challenge you to come up with an editorial like illustration honoring the secrete life of the old. Perhaps you know of someone you want to honor :)


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Holly reveals Challenge #9- the fixer up-er

Jen and blog people,

This is the fastest illustration I’ve ever created. I promise I’m not going to make a pattern of doing this. I do however have an engaging story that goes along with this piece. Before I continue I must explain a little something about my current situation. I am currently house/dog sitting for my grandma. It’s been very tense for me as Abraham (the dog) is sick with cancer and is on numerous amounts of medication. Between him, vet appointments, keeping the grass cut, watering the flowers, cleaning and working I have had very very very little time to sit and get my head wrapped around this challenge. The number one thing that’s optimistic for this challenge is this house. It's filled with old images and paintings. I chose one framed print my Grandma has had forever. Grandma when you read this, I'm sorry for vandalizing one of your favorite pieces of art and f.y.i the original remains untouched!!

The print has always reminds me of my sisters and I. They are both older and just like in the picture they sport red and brown hair. When I was a young girl I was given a beautiful baby bunny to take home. It was white and I had named it baby. As my parent were packing up the cage I held baby tightly in my hands, close to my face, kissing, petting and nuzzling the soft little creature like any other six year old girl would do. I was in my glory and I was so excited to take her home! It wasn’t long until I realized something wasn't normal, my eyes began to hurt and my skin began to burn with an itchy rage. I masked the pain, praying my partents wouldn't notice. Next moment I made eyes with my mother. She was above me, screaming in shock, hands to her face at the sight of my red bumpy skin and as if it were slow motion, she took baby out of my hands... I cried.

I am forever traumatized from bunnies and from that day I had declared them, among cats... evil. (it is the only way emotionally I can get through they day seeing an adorable creature that I am forbidden to love and cuddle.)

I’ve also posted a picture of myself a few years ago when I had broken the rules of my body and let a puppy kiss my face. I paid dearly- millions of medications later and a few emergency room visits... I’m slowly learning.


Friday, August 13, 2010

challenge #8: the reveal

Dear Holly and blog followers,

this weeks challenge was a total flop. what started with enthusiasm and positivity crashed and burned. but, not without an interested story and a good lesson.

stage 1: jen is super excited to do a great big painting. i love love love just attacking a canvas, especially without a real plan, just letting the image grow as it needs to like a tree. so i turned on some music, threw away my initial drawing, set up my canvas, loaded my giant brush with paint, and began.
stage 2: jens painting begins to dance. as i was painting, i kept adding layers, and with each layer the position of the figures moved. sometimes there were 6 hands hands, sometimes just two, it was very exciting to watch as my subject came alive and seemed to do what i was painting.
stage 3: jen keeps having to remind herself the goal of this is capturing happiness. over time the colours start getting a little muddy.... i think my mind started to drift to past memories and get a little sad as it got later in the evening and the music got more mellow.
stage 4: jen decides the painting needs a jolt. and heres where it falls apart. i decide to add black india ink?! shouldve known this was a stupid idea. ink cant be painted on top of, it just bleeds into the colours and makes everything dirty looking. but i did it anyways. for some reason i felt the painting needed to go this destructive route.
stage 5: jen is afraid. the painting is now really creepy looking lol. its dark and sad, not at all like bachata.
stage 6: jen feels better. at this point i stepped back and looked at the sad wreck of a painting. and that sad wreck, now being on an object 5 feet away from me, made me feel better that it wasn't in me anymore. and i realized that the next step of the painting must be moving on.
stage 7: jen starts again. i covered the mess with layers of gesso, and prepped the canvas for a new image. one that will definetly be happier, because i got out the sadness and am ready to start again with a fresh slate :) not this week though lol.

so holly... lol k let me just say, my intention was not to be rebellious. i really wanted to nail this one. but i think i did. not visually of course. but i did something i love to do, and while i couldnt paint happiness honestly because i just didnt feel it, i think this challenge brought me to happiness by its end: an ending that is followed by a beginning. i feel much much much better, much more at peace. it was wonderful therapy! thankyou!

ahh this feels so sappy.... :P

Challenge #9: fixer up-er

Dear Holly,

this week challenge is inspired by your love of collage, but with a twist. I want you to find an old/ maybe boring, painting or drawing done by another artist and i want you to make it interesting! old plates with prints of kittens, old canvases, calender photos, paintings on tin cans, posters, anything. remember the more boring the original painting the more fun you can make your edits.

i saw an example of this on Reddit, it was an antique painting of the sea was modified to include a sea monster. if i find the picture again i'll post it for you!

everything is up to you! but make sure to leave some of the original image intact.

internet trouble!

dear holly and blog followers,

silly me, i uploaded this weeks post to my personal log instead of this blog. ive tried putting it up on this site, but can't get a steady internet connection long enough to add the pictures. sooo, in the meantime visit to see the results! as soon as i can i'll add it to this blog!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Challenge # 8: process

holly you are so wonderful, what a nice idea for a challenge! i love self therapy lol. i acually do alot of it, and happily there are many things that mean heaven on earth to me.... to name a few....

-my new apt. i dont think ive ever been as happy as the day i signed the lease. everytime i come home its insta-happy.

- tea and a book/ movie/ sketchbook

- really genious moments! when i strike gold conceptually on a piece i'm working on its the most amazing feeling.

-painting huge paintings....something i dont do enough

- of course good times with good people!

- dancing.


in particular, dancing. i'm not amazing at it, barely passable mayb lol compared to the people i practice with, but as cheesy as it sounds it makes me feel amazing. what i love best is the floating feeling, when i'm on a role following the guy, and i dont have to think anymore, my body just takes over. its the closest i think i can get to not being on earth.

i do salsa mostly, but often the technique gets in the way of losing myself in the song since i'm no pro-star. i trip sometimes. sometimes i elbow someone in the nose. get stepped on. it can be dangerous. but i like salsa for goal-chasing. there are a list of things i keep trying to improve on.

my favorite dance is bachata. for me there is much less thinking, its a songs worth of just expression.

since i've been dancing alot these past weeks, bachata will be my theme for this challenge!

here is my rough! and i bought a huge canvas, something i love working on, hopefully i have time this week to finish. if not whatever is done by friday i'll post and keep working on it on my own time!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Challenge # 8- Heaven on Earth

Jen, due to last weeks challenge as it was so cheerless and depressing, I want to change the tune of your thoughts this week. We must get you thinking more positively. This week I challenge you to Illustrate where you find heaven on earth. It could be a location, someone you love spending time with or basically anything that defines heavenly feelings. I suggest you approach this piece very angelically as harsh colours or brush strokes may not convince me.

-Colour is a necessity for this challenge! Everything else is open.

Good luck!


Holly reveals Challenge #7 - Tame the shame (Perfume)

Perfume was an Illustration project given by a second year professor. We were to read the novel and re-create our vision for a cover design. The one I originally created had similar composting to this one, but painted in acrylic. Sadly I had over worked the face and ended up hating the entire piece as there was no time to fix the disaster. – Do I have still have the original? Yes, but I can’t seem to locate where it’s hiding. When I find it I promise I’ll post it.

I completed this challenge by using collage. I’m not going to lie but declare this was last minute. Frustratingly enough, collage is not the rout to take when under serious time constraint. The black background was inspired by Jen’s zombie background- and everything else was originally full colour . I later blocked portions of colour using Photoshop.

At the end of the day I’m glad I complete this challenge on time, but, re-doing an old project didn’t necessarily make me jump for joy… The number on thing I learned from this challenge is- Sometimes it’s nice to give things a second change. Thanks Jen!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Challenge #7: tame the shame

Dear Holly,

This week I challenge you to 'tame the shame.'

part 1: admit your most embarassing art work, describe it with pictures.... or words if its been destroyed, and talk a bit about why you hate it, what went wrong, ect. this part is KEY!

part 2: overcome the shame by re-doing the project in a way you can show off proudly!

all specs are your call!

enjoy this :) i think its a great lesson in learning how to learn from mistakes.


Jen reveals challenge #6, Zombie portrait

meet zombie jen! btw my inner zombie is a man. sorry if that didnt fit your project specs holly, the zombie was a woman until the last 5% of the progress, when i realized the gender had to be sacrificed for a better composition. ( i dont think gender is very important in describing zombies anyways, theyre sort of emotionless.)

i struggled on this project, because as holly alluded to earlier, i hate scary things. i hate heights, rides, horror movies, but most especially gorry art. yuck! so i was hating this for a while, not knowing what id do with a terrifying self portrait in my room. and then i shifted my zombie thinking from blood and gore to just people, people without hearts. and suddenly, hello exciting concept potential!

and sadly this is how i've wanted to feel for the past two weeks. after a recent breakup, i've reflected how nice it would be to send my heart somewhere far away, somewhere far away where i cant hear it mope. i've also reflected that it would be nice to be mature and set this person free to have a happy life without me. that sort of maturity comes from a very, very very selfless place, and i feel an almost borderline zombie place. because being truly selfless means ignoring your own wants and desires- your emotions.

(sorry for the rant, i normally feel very awkward writing feelings down- weirddd- but i guess its necessary in this case. )

and so my desire to be a zombie this week is how i justify this being my portrait!

technique: i origionally was sooo excited to bust out the paint and do a crazy realistic portrait that took lots of time, but time was scarce! and the more i thought about the concept, the more it felt appropriate to take a simple approach. no emotions= no complications.

also i wanted to play with the shape of the heart also being a bird (as per the saying if you love someone let them go), and the shape of the ribcage being a bird cage. the more i tried to draw this, the more i realized simple graphics were the only solution.

note: the feathers mimic broken heart lines!

colours: holly.... this is how i answer your request for scary. i feel the red, white and black give this a dark feeling. plus great contrast. and you specifically said not to make myself a pretty zombie. i think ive drawn myself so unpretty that i look like a man.

the cracking near the head were a happy accident. i worked with many layers of gouache and ink, over hours refining the shapes until they harmonized. (this took much longer then it looks!!! so long my drawing got wrinkly hehe!) but i like this effect, i feel it furthers my concept: zombies have bad skin. and being selfless and emotionless is really just a facade, a cracking one.

hope you like it!

ps: we spoke earlier about introducing a marking scale for critiques called 'the goosebump scale.' (whenever holly really likes something she says she has goosebumps) the scale is 1-5. do your worst!

Monday, July 19, 2010

zombie process

unfortunatly i must start off by requesting an extension on this one! i know its breaking the rules sort of, but i'll be sure to make this one worth it. judging by my schedule this week i know i won't do the vision in my head justice.
and as sooo not me as this challenge is, i feel inspired to really throw myself into this one and so request the extra time. i'm looking forward to its potential to be a very personal and theraputic piece, and also a potential sample for my thesis proposal. lol i hope i'm not building this up to much just for it to not work out as i hoped.

holly i can still post a challenge for you this week, and we can work on ours at the same time. or you can take a little break? let me know what you'd prefer :) it would be so fun to work on one together since i'll be visiting you soon!

i think i might sneak clues as to the direction of this piece instead of being so open with the progress.
the first clue is that its called 'if you love someone let them go'

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Holly, this is a still of one of the Tete a Claques shows, if you havnt seen it before. They super impose real eyes and mouths on doll heads for a very very weird and funny animation. Youtube it and you'll see why it reminds me of your painting!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Challenge #6- Zombie Jen

Dear Jen,

I again thank you for the old meets new challenge, I wish I would have thought about it myself, to give to you. This week’s challenge is inspired by something that I personally have to practice kicking on and off- the genre of an illustration. As you already know, when I do personal work I find myself doing, innocent, beautiful and colorful imagery. (Which get’s annoying after awhile.) I’ve seen you also get trapped in this. Remember way back when we didn't know each other and I gave you a little piece of advice? I told you that the work you did for that particular class was amazing, but too childlike and innocent? Well, you’ve come a long way since and now I’m going to challenge you further. Here it is…

This week’s challenge is a self-portrait of yourself as a zombie. Not a pretty beautiful zombie, but horrifying and nightmare producing. This challenge is particularly inspired by the cover of the novel, Pride and Prejudice and zombies. Personally I think this illustration is phenomenal and I know you and your style well, as you can produce something ten times bette! Keep in mind your choice of colour, as this will play a key role in alarming your viewer.

-Any size


That’s all. Good luck and next Friday I hope to be terrified :)


Holly reveals challenge # 5- old meets new

Holly reveals challenge # 5- old meets new

First of all despite what this looks like, this is NOT a mockery portrait of Jesus! I'm religious and that wasn’t my intention. The portrait is however of someone who just so happens to resemble the “Americanized” Jesus figure, His name is John-Michael. Will I re-think ever painting him again? Yes because if I do, One-hundred years from now when I’m long dead and my artwork is scattered about the world, my painting of John-Michael will be at a garage sale. With my luck some na├»ve old lady will buy it for five cents, thinking its Jesus. She’ll hang it in her living room and be mighty proud of herself. I can't have that on my conscious.

This portrait is maybe the most bizarre thing I've created and I'm excited about that! For the ‘old’ element I was inspired by-Joshua Reynolds, his portraiture is magical in the sense of how alive his characters look, he chose oils as did I for this challenge. The cut paper was my ‘contemporary’ element. If you look closely, the eyes and lips on the face are also magazine cutouts. It took a long time to find the perfect eyes in order for it to be believable. Also the fact that it's a non-serious portrait would be considered contemporary.

Thanks Jen, that was the weirdest thing I’ve created in awhile!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Holly’s Process - old meets new

Holly’s Process- old meets new

Last night I scrambled for my oil paints, as I couldn’t remember where I’ve hid them. I soon realized they’ve collected dust for many years. I’ve only done one oil painting before. I’m technically a beginner. After hunting for and borrowing supply’s (thanks Grandma and Jim for the varnish) I became really excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve challenged myself to a good old realism painting. I painted for many hours through the night, not making much progress, I felt scared and slightly panicked. Perhaps I’ve jumped the gun on this and maybe I didn’t clearly think how I’m going solve the “new” portion of this challenge. It wasn’t until this morning when I figured it out. I’m classic for working like this. I can’t solve anything until I’ve started the task. The picture above is a hint on how I I’ve decided to solve the challenge! I may have gotten myself into trouble on the concept, but when I reveal I’ll explain it in full! I’m extremely nervous for fridayl! Must continue painting now…


Friday, July 9, 2010

I challenge you! #5

Hi Holly!

This week I went to the AGO drama and desire exhibit, and was so blown away by the old classics. Such big talent. It made me a little ashamed that I've been neglecting life- drawing and painting over the past few monthes. I reflected that sometimes I resort to stylization not for the benefit of the concept but rather because its a quicker solution, and one that is harder to criticize.

These thoughts inspired my challenge for you this week! I don't know if you feel the same way about your work, but I'm sure this one will be good practice regardless! (keep in mind this one is more of an exercise, don't worry if you're out of shape and the piece reflects it, just focus on the learning component!)

This weeks challenge:

concept: old meets new

requirements: atleast one hand-done element of super realism, preferably inspired from a traditional painting style or movement. please specify which movement/ artist inspired you! atleast one element of a contemporary technique

medium: the super realistic element must be done in a traditional medium... oil would be great, but i know you only have a week. other options might include conte, charcoal, oil pastel... ect the contemporary element can be anything, but preferably a medium that contrasts the realistic one!

any size!

have fun and i can't wait to see what you come up with!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

jen's invisible results!

here it is! my intention was to sculpt the feeling of blindess as i did this blindly. i chose to use a person as my subject, this being a human experiment. i'm very happy with the distortion that i unknowingly created, especially in regards to the over sized hands and small feet. i felt, that while i was briefly in the dark, my hands were the most important tools i had, and my feet were the most shy as i was afraid to move around. i also noted while doing this that i kept my eyes pointed up to the ceiling, and find it interesting how the sculpture repeated this! wow come to think of it, this pose was the exact pose i had while sculpting!
thanks holly, this was soooo much fun! id take a picture of the invisible gel attempt, if there was anything to photograph lol.
i'll post your challenge soon!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

invisible: jen's process

oohh man i have so many ideas for this i don't know what direction to take! invisible could be a state, a feeling, it could be used to describe an emotion... the lack of something... blindness...

hum! well at the moment i'm really interested in the meaning connected to medium. i've been considering doing a sculpture blindfolded for this one, relying completely on the sense of touch rather then sight to capture the sense of invisble. i was inspired to take this approach after learning that towards the end of his career, degas turned to sculpture as he started to loose his eyesight.
what i'm stuck on is what to sculpt. obviously sculpting a blind person might be a bit too cheesy...

on the subject of blindness, about a year ago i found this great book called 'the black book of colours.' its all in black, with english and braille, and the pictures are linear and slightly raised so you can explore them with your fingers. it describes a blind child's defintion of colours.

here is some text from the book :

Thomas likes all the colors because he can hear them and smell them and touch them and taste them.
But black is the king of all the colors. It is as soft as silk when his mother hugs him and her hair falls in his face.

the concept of this book is so beautiful, and i love the idea of exploring the non-visual qualities of visual terms.

with this train of thought i'm off to go sketch!


Holly, this was such a hard challenge! i temporarily abandoned my sculpture idea, and fiddled for what felt like days on other concepts. i went to curry's in search of a miracle medium to solve the solution, and the girl working there recommended that i try painting with clear modeling gel on top of plexi glass. sounds cool! so i tried it, but soon realized that with this medium it's better to let it be what it is, rather then try to control the texture. somehow ending up with an invisible abstract painting was a little too fine-artsy for me lol.

so i turned to sketching again, had an okay drawing... but by this point i really just wanted to sculpt. so curry's, 2 pounds of clay, and a blindfold, i was ready to start.

i love it! i can't wait to post. it was the most fun 15 minutes of art i've ever had. i kept the time short because i was afraid i'd blindly overwork it. i think with sculpture its always better to have it raw then overworked.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Challenge # 4- Invisible By: Holly Long


This week I challenge you to illustrate the concept ‘Invisible.’ This is difficult as everything illustration is the complete opposite. Try your best to use this description to stretch your imagination to it's furthest extent. I expect great things from you and I believe you can solve this challenge beautifully. As my last challenge was open for me, I’m going to do the same for you, any size or medium. That is all I have to say about this, as there isn’t much involved. I wish you the best of luck and like before I’m looking forward to the reveal in a week.


Holly reveals third challenge

The ‘weight’ challenge was complicated to solve. I struggled for a few days on this and felt afraid that I might not solve it on time as my schedule kept me busy and distracted. However, I’m more then happy with what I’ve achieved. I have had more fun with this challenge than anything I’ve done in years. Even if it’s not what Jen had in mind, I cracked myself up with laughter and hope and pray she will appreciate the end product.

The process was very simple. I already had in mind that I was to draw Sumo wrestlers, but I had no clue into which medium I would further display weight. That was truly what stumped me. I considered slacking oil on a canvas and getting the challenge over with, but that would have been the easy way out. I allowed myself more time and thought into this challenge and finally I considered doing something so stupid it was genius (this is my opinion of course). I went down to the beach, gathered a bunch of rocks with smooth forms on either side and tried to imagine the sumo wrestlers fighting on these rocks. After a half hour of searching I found the perfect match almost identical. Long story short I took them inside and made them come to life. Photographing them in the end seemed like the more logical way of completing this challenge. In the end I would argue I managed to convey weight both, visually and physically.

Thanks for the challenge Jen!!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

i challenge you holly!

Dear Holly,

i think you know whats coming. i've threatened to make you draw sumo wrestlers in pastel since we first thought of starting this blog. HOWEVER! since you gave me a very interesting challenge last week, i feel the need to make my challenge more fun.
So, this week, i challenge you to create an art piece that communicates 'weight.' you can use any subject matter, and medium, so long as the viewer who sees your piece has one thing on his mind: wow that thing feels heavy.

the purpose for this challenge is to push your visual communication skills in an area you avoid. you excel in all things light and delicate, but i've never seen you tackle the opposite, and am excited to see how you will go about this.

this challenge was inspired by a book i've been reading 'the art spirit' by painter robert henri. one of the pieces of advice he gave was: when painting winter, dont paint what it looks like, paint how it feels. therefore, aim to make the viewer feel cold when looking at the painting. infact feeling cold while doing the painting might help. this blows my mind conceptually, and i hope you enjoy the challenge!

ps: weight can be interpreted physically, emotionally, mentally... as long as it is HEAVY and not light. the medium you chose should be one that promotes this.

no other restrictions! any size any colour!
can't wait!! :D

jen's reveal!

here it is! my finished piece! materials: pen, ink, acrylic, gouache.

as per holly's comments below, i definitely agree that working outside comfort zones helps to show you your strengths. in general i think i've come to realize that i do well with minimal compositions. i love designing the page, and find i can really focus on this the less i have to cram in.

thanks for the fun challenge holly!

Monday, June 21, 2010

artist discovery!

side note, i stumbled across the artist Octavio Ocampo and am in love! isn't this gorgeous? this is the feeling i wanted in my bees project. i wonder what technique he used.

Jen's process

This challenge screams research me, and luckily its such an interesting topic! go holly :)
I'll be using the blog wall as a brainstorming center. So far i'm still looking into different animal mating rituals.
Did you know? (lol i feel like a kids tv host)
-the western grebe bird does a snake dance to win its mates? possibly this could be compared to the oh so sexy body wave dance move lol.
-the blue heron brings sticks to the female heron's, to prove they'll be useful in helping build a nest. how practical.
-the satin bower bird decorates his stick house with stolen goods. the females chose a male based on his decorating skills!
-many species use songs and/ or fighting. apparently the loud songs require alot of energy and is a signal to the female that the male is healthy. sounds very dramatic, like a musical. hmm a musical scene could be an interesting setting for the image!

i find it interesting how each animal species has its own way of attracting the females based on their lifestyle, temperament and needs. however, within the humans species there are a variety of techniques that are used to lure women. its almost as if the human species has a variety of types of humans. for ex: not all women go for the guy with the stable job and house. and not all women go for the musician.

ok, now to find a way to integrate a male attraction technique with animal references!


i stumbled across this picture of a crane doing a mating dance around a female crane. Look at all the effort he's putting in! And she's standing there looking thoroughly unimpressed. This reminded me of dance clubs. I love dancing, but yeesh is it ever annoying when you just want to have fun and dance but guys are prowling for pickups. I really like the sequential narrative of this image, and i think i'll use a similar style in my piece to show the beginning, middle, and end of the 'love story.' stay tuned for more!


i drew up the sequence that i had in my head. its still in the bw stage, i'm planning to add colour... any thoughts holly? Too Marcel Dzama? i love doodling like this, especially when people watching because working small and high contrast makes for the best likeness. but i usually avoid this style when doing finished pieces because i'm worried it looks too mainstream. its so hard to tell with my own work whether or not its being influenced or if its me. perhaps i can jennifer-ize it with something crazy. medium suggestions? i'm open to an experiment!

for colours i was inspired by a particularly beautiful ttc transfer i got the other day. check out the gorgeous orange! it looks so lovely with the charcoal black and beige!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Animal instincts - Challenge # 2 By: Holly

Animal instincts - Challenge # 2 By: Holly Long

Hello Everyone,

This is extremely exciting as we come to our second challenge! I'm supper thrilled to come up with a concept for Jen and I know she'll do great on this one :) This next project is regarding something that I had noticed and in result have been pondering the last couple weeks. It's about the odd behavior of humans and how at times our nature isn't much different from animals. Now this is strictly opinion and before you make judgment I wish to tell the story that had inspired me for this weeks challenge.

A few weeks past I was out with people for food and drinks. After I had enjoyed my splendor of food I started to look around and entertain myself with people watching, as I often do. I stumbled across couples that were probably on their first date. The guy looked awkward… something about his body suggests he was trying to impress her. At first I didn't catch on, until it dawned on me. This is no different from a typical national geographic cover. By puffing out his chest the guy was trying to show her how dominate/ beautiful he was. I automatically thought about seals, birds, elephants, monkeys... and how creature of both sexes have their own way of impressing one another. Beautiful isn't it!!

Now for the second assignment:

Jen- I challenge you to come up with a ‘beautiful’ illustration regarding this specific interesting display of human nature. Have fun with the figure!

- Portrait 4''x7''

-Medium of choice

-two colours only (this doesn’t include black and white)

- Rough work- if you have it!!

Good luck Jen,

Holly :)

Holly reveals first challenge

Yay! The reveal of the first challenge... how exciting!!

I'm going to start off by saying, this banner was very difficult for me, as one thing personally conflicted the idea of challenge, the use of bright primary colours. In my opinion red,yellow and blue suggested the complete opposite. These colours blocked my imagination to beautiful butterflies and birds. Unfortunately I couldn't get this out of my head and I soon became very annoyed with myself. I wish now I would have known that Jen didn't listen to her own instructions with colour lol, because I learned I dislike being forced to specific colour- (Hence revenge for the next project) :P

The Dragon Masked girls, represent both Jen and I. Throughout this project I was determined to find a key link to something we both struggled with- this wasn't easy. I with long thought eventually decided to illustrate that we both are driven to do great things and everyone should look passed the blonde hair and see the fierce side of us!!! As for the type- shame on me, I didn't illustrate it. The entire piece was done in three parts. The final is an acrylic and watercolour drawing that was cutout and scanned into Illustrator where I placed the type.

Thanks for this challenge Jen, It definitely was one :)


Jen's first challenge results

its the big day!!! the results of our very first challenge. i see that neither of us got around to posting progress lol. next time :D For now i'll just describe the adventure that led to my banner:

So i was quite stumped on how to illustrate the idea of a 'challenge.' When you think about it, there arn't many non-cheesy visual metaphors for 'challenge.' After giving up on that angle, i decided to change gears and focus on how our blog is about entertainment and showcasing of work to hopefully our future many fans. that led me thinking about theatre, which led to curtains. which led to hair... something we sort of have in common being blondish. because we have this in common, and because we're often on the same brainwave, i thought it worked having one curtain running across our heads and doubling as hair.
Holly is the one on the right looking up at the words: i challenge you. This is because my banner will be the blog banner when it is my week to challenge her.

For materials i used graphite, yellow ink, white gouache, markers, letter stamps, and drawing pens, all on wood.

i completely forgot that this was supossed to be a complementary palette. so when i finished i had a white face done with gouache with red hair, and decided that somehow the faces were going to have to go green. gouache can go a little funny with media on top, so i decided marker would probably be safest being the dryest and smoothest of the materials i had on hand. it worked great! i was even able to do subtle colour shifts on the rosy parts of the cheeks and the shadows under the eyes with a combination of markers. i definetly recommend trying this out on your own!

Can't wait to see yours Holly! And your new challenge!
Ps: Feel free to replace the temporary banner with yours when you're ready.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the first challenge

Dear Holly, and our one fan so far which is myself,

i challenge you and i to make a banner for our blog! We'll alternate the banners depending on who is presenting the challenge that week!

- must be 8.333 x 2.375 inches, 72 dpi
- illustrate the words: i challenge you
- colour palette: complimentary (going with the theme of two people making the other shine brighter hehe!)
- medium: as many as possible, like everything on your art shelf

deadline: Friday June 18th

lets get cooking!
ps: document/ post your process and research! but make sure to keep the grand finale for a surprise at the end.