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!