Thursday, January 27, 2011

What fairy tale characters *really* carry in their pockets ...

Perhaps I've been working in printing too long. Perhaps my access to fun clipart is too easy. Perhaps my brain has too much time on its hands (wait ~ brains have hands?). Whatever the reason, here are a few quirky little business cards I designed for a fairy tale themed project over at swapbot.

The project actually only called for 4 cards, but the mercurial bot at swapbot assigned me two people who live at the same address, and I thought: well, how much fun would it be to get *exactly* the same thing as the other person you live with, so my brain went into overtime and designed 10 different business cards for fairy tale characters. The first six cards came easy peasy. The next two ideas required a little coaxing. The last two were extracted painfully from the dim recesses of logic (who *hadn't* I thought of in fairy tale land that really needed their own business card?). I'm only showing four of the ten here (so as not to spoil the surprise for those on the receiving end), but I assure you there are ten in all.

My favourite is SHOD ~ Our Shoes are Magic. I love it's simplicity. And anyone who knows me knows that I *so* need some magic shoes. My feet and off the shelf shoes have never agreed. And when I do find a comfy pair, they never last. Sigh.

Cloak & Dagger was a fun card to make. Modeled slightly after Mr. Big & Tall, only my version is more like Mr. Big & Tall & Mean with a Very Pointy Stick. I agonized over how to describe their specialization ~ not wanting to be politically incorrect and assign any real-life people to stereotypical henchman status. I quavered over hunchbacks. I still wonder if I chose right. My apologies to any hunchbacks I may have offended.

I blame the plethora of eHarmony commercials for eMagicMatch (tm). Let's hope their legal department has a sense of humour and knows when they're being *homaged*. But how could I resist communication fortnights and personality inquisitions? They were ideas simply begging to be used.

Stepmother Counseling was one of the last two (that were painfully extracted from the dim recesses of logic). They really have got the short straw in fairy tales, I think. Not *all* stepmothers can be bad, can they?

A few hints at what you didn't see ... Cauldrons 'R' Us has a Boil & Bubble special discount ("Now you're cooking!"), Wand-a-Riffic is located (of course) on Waverly Place, and you simply must use Mercury Messengers for when it absolutely, positively has to be there in a FLASH!

There's also an enchanted food detection service called How About Them Apples? specializing in rooting out tainted teas, poisoned potions and fiddled fruit. Crown Cleaners will handle your messes like magic (you can reach them at 555-PAY-DIRT), and Merlin the Mapmaker promises to be precise in scribing a route for your quest, but lists his own location as "next to the tavern, knock twice", which seems oddly vague.

As you might imagine I had quite a lot of fun making these. When the ideas start to arrive I describe the experience as a kind of "free-fall" through my brain. One of the many things I've learned over the years is not to let a good idea get away. You think you will remember ~ but you won't. Which is why I have a shelf full of journals that take me back to moments when I was on a roll idea-wise.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More altered playing cards ...

Over the next little while I plan to post almost the entire deck I created for the series of altered playing cards I worked on last year through swapbot. I'd like to think I eventually got the hang of it, so some of the early ones will be, well let's say "less good", while the later ones will be brilliant. Of course, I jest. There may be some "less good" ones later on as well. I'll let you be the judge.

One of the quirky things about working on a series is that I sometimes get a kind of affection for the parts of the series completely out of proportion with the *actual* quality of the work. One of the set will have a lovely composition, but alas the colours are less than perfect. Another will exactly be the colour I wanted, but oh my, how badly assembled! C'est la vie. Now ... on to the twos!

The two of diamonds is very tactile. Not merely *striped* paper, but quite strongly corrugated and painted a nice deep red. The background paper is *bubble paper*, created (as I recall) at nearly midnight in a tiny hotel bathroom during an art conference with my friend L. We were up well past bedtime, blowing bubbles and giggling, and thinking that the hotel management would be at the door any moment to chuck us out for being too noisy.

The two of spades has nothing to do with fish, except that it gave me an opportunity to use one of my favourite lines of poetry: "And in the heaven of all their wish, there shall be no more land, say fish." It was finding this single line in another work of art that spurred me on to find the entire poem (pre-wikipedia, I might add!). The poem (Heaven by Rupert Brooke) has several other lines that while deliciously vivid are much harder to work into conversation. When (for instance) would be the right time for these lines: "But somewhere, beyond Space and Time, is wetter water, slimier slime"?. I'd like to think that you are (at this very moment) opening a second window on the internet, googling the whole poem and loving it as much as I do.

The two of hearts has two of my favourite things in it. Firstly, the rubber stamp with the pointing finger. I simply can't tell you how things that finger has pointed at in my art over the years. As you see here, I particularly love stamping it on text, to give it that extra je ne sais quoi. And secondly, the line: Always make two, so you can share. I have a terrible affection for everything I make. Really. I *hate* to give stuff away. Not that I'm stingy, but it feels like giving away one of my children. The solution I've developed over the years is to: Always Make Two. At least. Then I can keep one, and give the others away with a happy heart.

The two of clubs is fairly straighforward. It was obviously created during my red / black / white / ivory / tan colour phase. I finally seem to moving on from this limited palette, and other colours are gradually returning. The background paper was made while I was in mad spray-painting mode. During the summer I got *very* excited about spray paint, particularly after I found some great artist spray paint that comes in about 80 colours and dries so quickly that I could spray and stack the pages as I went. I only have 5 colours so far, but I'm looking forward to when the weather warms up so I can *go get more*.

More number sets coming soon!