Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Looking Back { More Freshman and Sophomore Art }

am curled up on the recliner in my family's living room with a beautiful view of our hilly yard and our neighbor's field.. A mug of amaretto coffee is steaming next to me, and the busy sounds of my homeschooling siblings are wafting up the stairs in a comfortable chatter.

Right now I am on spring break, and for the first time since last summer, I have a few days with no plans whatsoever. There will be lots of reading, board games, hiking, visiting friends, and the bare minimum of homework and Shoppe work.

My major leaves no time for downtime. In the design program, we are in the classroom for six hours a week per three-credit-hour class. Inevitably, the entire class time is spent on critiques or rambling lectures, so after eight or so hours of classes I have to spend all night doing the actual work. Tack on the occasional necessary night class, the extra requirements for gen-eds and honors, having a social life, networking stuff, and, of course, running my Shoppe-- boredom is a luxury that I'm soaking in right now.

And so, I'd like to share some of the work I made in freshman and sophomore year!

I've already blogged about Drawing I, Drawing II, 2D Design, Color Theory, a project for Typography, and about a third of the good pieces for Photography.

(It's hilarious to go back and look at these old posts; not only have my skillsets grown since them, but my opinions and perspective on school have changed).

3D Design (Freshman)

3D design was, unfortunately, not the world's greatest class. It wasn't a sculpture class, and the projects were all over the place. Some of the other sections had interesting projects (the coolest sculptures made from books!) and others had really, really strange ones (hanging things made from glue, nylons, and toilet paper). Ours were, on the whole, pretty decent.

I'd like to share two of the projects for this class. The first is a sculpture version of M.C. Escher's Drawing Hands.

This was a paper mache project that was supposed to bring a famous 2D artwork "to life." I created an armature of wire and duct tape before attacking it with paper and glue. These little fake hands were enough in the Uncanny Valley to creep out my roommates.

If I were to do this again I would not do paper mache. It's a hassle and creates strange textures.

This thing now lives on my brothers' bedroom wall, adding a new level of creepiness to our family's collection of Escher posters and books!

The project pictured below was supposed to be a sort of kinetic sculpture, but it was mostly destroyed when I left it on a shelf in the classroom to dry overnight.

A photo posted by Shaylynn Ann (@shealynnsfaerie) on

Some of my other projects including sticking rocks into a pile and photographing them, making some tiles with resin (without really good ventilation-- it stunk up the whole art building-- but the tiles turned out alright in the end), and a clay sculpture inspired by Barbara Hepworth. The last one turned out fairly well but I didn't take pictures before I gave it away.

Intro to Computer Graphic Design (Sophomore)

Freshman year was spent on gen-eds and "Foundation Studies" for the arts. We began classes in graphic design during sophomore year.

This first design class was another one which didn't reach my Favorites list, mostly because of several horror stories which have become the stuff of legend to the years below us.

That being said, despite it all I learned a lot about the technical side of using Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. I had taught myself before this, and had missed out on a lot of the logic behind the softwares.

We did weird projects like this vector drawing of the strange paper dolls pictured below. From an illustration perspective, this piece is horrific, but at least I learned the basics of vector artwork.

Our final project was a booklet of all the projects we created. Again, I learned a lot about the technical side of InDesign-- but from a design standpoint this booklet needs help!

Design Systems (Sophomore)

This was our first of many classes taught purely by a GA (the assistants weren't assisting anybody-- they taught the classes on their own on top of doing their graduate studies).

Honestly, I'm not sure what the point of Design Systems was, but I did come out of the class with some really cool projects.

Most of the design work consisted in projects like those above; good for training us to think or teaching software, but not polished work.

But some were pretty fun. One of the projects was to create mashups between animals and objects; I clearly went crazy with this one!

There's a Giraffe+Unicycle (obviously inspired by the Giraffe Unicycles that I want to learn to ride so badly; I can only ride the short ones), a Camel+Ship, a Needle+Fly, and a Peacock+Mirror.

In my opinion, the Peacock Vanity Mirror is one of the most hilariously punny things I've made and I now rival dad for Royal Pun Maker. :)

And my favorite project was this pencil drawing for the final! It's a mashup between M.C. Escher's Print Gallery and Frank Lloyd Wright's famous building Fallingwater.

You know that a project is good when you work with a perspective grid this this!

Typography 1 (Sophomore)

This was the BEST CLASS EVER. Well, one of them. (It's tied with Color Theory, Drawing II, and Illustration II).

I don't have as much to show in the way interesting projects, but I learned so much about the theory and technical side of typography. While taking the class, we all worried over deadlines and complained about the amount of memorization work-- but now that its over I wish all my classes were like this one.

We began with logotypes and somehow I actually designed something slightly macarbe for once...

Then we spent a week obsessively adjusting kerning and letterspacing and then handtracing each sheet three times until it was perfect... I was so convinced that this was a stupid project, until I later realized that tracing each letterform made me intimately familiar with the tiniest details. This became very useful when studying the terminology of typography.

A few projects later, I drew over fifty letterforms with a rough brush dipped in India Ink, scanned them in and created about as many sketches, and worked with provided quotes to make typographic posters.

One portrays the meaning of the word "discordant," the other, "concordant."

We had many exercises on typographic hierarchy. A few projects later, we did presentations for famous typographers and posters inspired by their work for (fake) lecture series.

I spotted my typographer, Neville Brody, "in the wild" while watching NCIS-- one of his typefaces I researched is featured in the opening credits!

Our final project was, of course, the handmade books!!!!!!!! Check out the blog post about the book for many more pictures and some extensive project notes. 

A quick summary of the project: I read and analyzed T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, created a series of illustrations, created a grid system and laid out the text, and printed and bound the books by hand. Sadly, the school kept my best copy and I'm going to try my darndest to get it back when I graduate because I really want it for my portfolio.

Graphic Production (Sophomore)

This graphic design class left me a lot of leeway to take the project prompts and do whatever I wanted, however I wanted to do it. So my classmates and I challenged each other to step outside of our comfort zone and try new techniques.

As with Design Systems, I'm not really sure what the class was about, but still came out of it with some interesting pieces.

First, we created twenty page booklets using a limited color scheme and provided photos and text.

The body copy called for an entire spread talking about the letterpress machine, but despite being a junior right now I've yet to actually see it in person. They keep it locked away in a tiny room and only occasionally have special topics courses on it.

These are two duotone book covers for the (curiously interesting and terribly creepy) book Codex Seraphinianus.

Duotone magazine spreads for an article about an architect.

Then there was this project... two wordless t-shirts. My assigned topics:

"Racism in the economy in South Africa"


"Racism in the economy in Romania"

Because that's easy research and put on a tshirt in one week. The Romanian one was a flop and there's no way I'm sharing it anywhere, ever.

This one, though, was by far my favorite! We were creating posters, album covers, and CD artwork for musicians or bands. I wasn't coming up with any good ideas until I stumbled across the work of Yuko Shimizu and decided to try to emulate some of her photoshop techniques.

I drew the design by hand and then spent about ten hours learning how to mask off shapes and do my first ever digital painting.

Any chance to draw twisting vines and swirly water is fine by me!

The other musician I chose was Lindsey Stirling; I was clearly focused on playing-in-the-photoshop-sandbox when I made this. :)


One of my gen-eds was a music class with a hilarious and intimidating professor. Our dreaded group project was actually very enjoyable; we made a quick stop-frame-animation video for Vivaldi.

The second semester of sophomore year was spent freaking out over the Candidacy Review.

Everyone wanting to take upper level art, design, and illustration courses has to create a portfolio to be judged. They limit the number of people allowed into the program, so the pressure was on. You don't want to have wasted your first two years of college. They worked this up so much-- in classes and at portfolio workshops, they told us that our whole future depended on the quality of the portfolio... if you don't mount every piece properly and cover it with the exact right kind of tracing paper and put each piece in its own expensive plastic sleeve, it proves that you have poor craftsmanship... do you really not have any better pieces to show off this technique? etc.

Yeah. None of us slept much the week of Reviews. 

Happily, almost all of my classmates and I were accepted into the programs we were working for. I now officially have two comprehensive majors: Graphic Design and Illustration. My additional minor is Art History. I'm so glad that the reviews are in my past. The year below us is going through it right now, and I feel sorry for all the kids obsessively trimming and mounting drawings in the breaks between classes.

There is only one more class from Freshman year that I haven't blogged about: Metals 1!!! That blog post will be coming soon. :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Entwife Circlet { Photoshoot }

When Spring unfolds the beechen leaf, and sap is in the bough;
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is on the brow;
When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the mountain-air,
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my land is fair!

-The song of the Ents and Entwives in The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

The commissions that make me the happiest are the crazy, intricate ones that I weave every ounce of magic into that I can. The Entwife headpieces (this is the fourth version) are among my favorites: they are crafted from pinecones, Czech glass, copper oxidized to several rich shades, creamy pearls, and weeping-willow chains.

I was thrilled to have a chance to take such beautiful photographs before shipping this piece out! Four friends joined me in a local park and we pranced around the autumn leaves right before sunset.

The original Entwife circlet was designed for a friend's Lord of the Rings costume just as I was beginning to sell jewelry. Since then, I've made some other variations; see those pictures herehere, and here.

This latest version featured extra wirewrapping and more beads than ever before. I also used six, yes, six, shades of green leaves. I believe it is being worn for a wedding this month!

The details show up better here; thank you to C. for being another model! You can see how much different head sizes affect the way that the headpiece fits.

I will be sharing additional pictures from our photoshoot soon!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Website | shaylynnann.com

I'm happy to announce that my website is up and running!

Well, actually, it's been up and running for an entire semester as a landing page for all my various sites and profiles, but now it's a proper little artist's website with galleries and whatnot. And it coordinates with my business cards.

(The mobile version should be functioning, too).

It was made with the free version of Weebly, and I'm surprised at how quickly I was able to get the site up and running. Some day I will be able to properly design and code a hardcore, custom website just the way I want it, but I'm a long ways away from that right now!

So, without further ado, and with a great dramatic flourish and bow, I present to you:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rosie's Fashion Blog Post {Guest Blogger}

Hello! I'm Rosie.

You may have seen me on this blog before (Shaylynn is my big sister), but this is the first time I've made a blog post myself. 

Today I would like to share an outfit that I designed. 

My fashion style is girly and athletic. I love to wear comfy dresses that look nice and make me feel special but that I can run around in and play. 

For this outfit, I am wearing my favorite dress. It is a knit blue dress that is as comfy as sweatpants. I am wearing a scarf, my boots, and my older sister Shaylynn did my hair. She twisted my hair back into a braided bun.

The scarf is my favorite part because I MADE IT!

It is a silk scarf that started white.


We painted on it starting with a resist that keeps part of the scarf white.

Then we started coloring in the roses Shaylynn helped with. I drew all of the leaves. We got some blue to make the background. It has a frame of orange-ish yellow that has red swirls around it. 

When we were done painting the scarf, we put it in the dryer for five minutes and ironed it totally flat so that the colors would stay. Then we dunked it in water to get out the resist and let it air dry.

You can see the roses and leaves and just a little bit of the swirls on the edge.

In this picture I am wearing Shaylynn's rosary bracelet that is a full small rosary that folds into a bracelet.

There are so many ways you can wear a scarf and it's fun to find them out.

I am learning how to edit pictures in Photoshop.

In this picture I tied my scarf so it makes me think of Paris.

It is fun to swirl around in this outfit!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fairytale Photoshoot

I think, that deep down, everyone has a little bit of Peter Pan inside. We never really want to grow up properly, and we all want a chance to play at being princesses and princes and warriors and fairies and adventurers, now and again.

I'm always reminded of this when I pull out costumes and jewelry for friends, with the useful excuse of a camera in my hands!

This summer two friends and I seized the chance to transition from prosaic college students to spritely faeries and noble royalty for one glorious afternoon. I'd like to share a sampling of the day's gems!

(All of the jewelry is available for sale on my Etsy shop, and if it's sold I can usually make more!)

Of course, we started with an adventure.

"It's a dangerous thing, going out your door--" especially when fences are involved.

Thankfully, no one was hurt, and the fact that these photos of the fall exist make us very happy.

All a summer dress needs is a cloak and some jewelry and it's fit for a princess!

C. is wearing my Aurora Rhinestone Circlet made with champagne colored silk--
inspired by Princess Aurora in the show Once Upon a Time.

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

(from The Princess by Alfred Lord Tennyson)

The circlet is made out of braided wire, and the Enchanted Evenstar necklace was originally designed for a custom bridesmaid set.

I was glad to get a close-up shot of this necklace. It's another Enchanted Evenstar design, and still carries a summery beach feel, even when we are in the middle of the woods. (Then again, another friend described it as a necklace for an Ice Queen, so to each his own).
This rhinestone and white satin headband was on my workbench as an unfinished Aurora Circlet, but the three of us decided that it works very well as a simpler headband.

"This picture is basically a movie poster."
"YES I've always wanted to be in a movie!"

Portrait of a Queen. (I think that some of these pictures need short stories to go along with them!).

Once upon a time...
"She's like Little Red Riding Hood, without the Red."

"Now, an Elf."

I told them to act like a dragon was flying towards them. Their response was not quite what I expected.

The woods here are, to quote Frost, lovely, dark, and deep. But they are so dark and so deep that we were happy enough to stay on the paths at the skirts of the little forest.

One of my favorites-- L. makes a wonderful princess.

The circlet is braided gold wire, the necklace has several flowers and bright green leaves, and you can even see the clasp I forged myself for the cloak. (Haha, you can also see how off the seams on the cloak are, but let's not talk about that, eh?)

A beaded bracelet, and one of the silver rhinestone rings.

This is an armcuff in forest greens!

No play-acting involved: this one IS a spritely fairy, with or without her costume.

Braided cuff and Star Flower ring. :)

After an hour of exploring the woods and depleting the small box of jewelry I brought along, we did a brief "normal people clothing" shoot:

This ring is one of the most difficult pieces I've made. It began as nothing but strands of sterling silver and a stone. Several hours of soldering and polishing later, and it's almost exactly what I wanted! The stone has a tiny bit of wiggle, so it's definitely a technique I need practice on. But this is a piece of actual fine jewelry. ^_^

The park has these fabulous giant stone frogs. We had a Thumbelina moment.

There is nothing quite like summer days and dressing up! Thanks so much to my lovely model friends!!!

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