My sister, Shenandoah Davis, released her third album, Souvenirs, earlier this year. Shenandoah (or Shenni, as she is known to her family and past acquaintances of her pre-20s) asked me to create an illustration inspired by the lyrics from her album; she sent me all of the words to her songs and left me to sort through the poetry and see what image I would pull out.
My friend Ben Weger emailed me a sketch of what he wanted for his King of All Creation album artwork, along with the words "I envision something very creation-y. Birds, sky, earth. I kind of see a starburst frame with a primarily sketched circular center with maybe some water color undertones and the title across the bottom in some handwritten old-school cursivey goodness? I don't know if that even translates lol..."
I love emails like this because although Ben was uncertain if he had effectively communicated his vision for the artwork, the entire picture popped into my head as a finished work--all that was left to do was to actually make the artwork in real life.
I started out by drawing the "creation-y" scene out in pen on paper, then scanning it to add the watercolor effects digitally in photoshop. Creating the entire image on paper would have been risky with a design like this--if the tree needed to be a different color or the sky needed to be a deeper shade of blue, I would have had to re-do the entire piece from scratch. By coloring digitally, I was able to alter hues and textures much more efficiently.
I also don't have a lot of experience with watercolor, and my experiments with the medium usually turn into brown mush-lands of trash. Photoshop watercoloring is much safer with my skill level.
Earlier this year, Dave and I drove up to the historic PAL theater in Vidalia, GA to see our friend Brian Ernst achieve one of his dreams--to record a live, two-disc album. I think that Brian had mentioned his plans for this album literally every single time we saw him for the past four years, and it was always clear that his passion for this project was immense.
When Brian asked me to design the artwork for his first live album Any Given Saturday, I wanted to showcase all of the tools that help make his performances so enthralling. One of the coolest things about watching Brian perform live is seeing him expertly switch instruments like a woogly octopus, stomping on his looping pedal while simultaneously dropping a didgeridoo on its stand and swinging a guitar over his head.
In a very quick hour, the design concept went from a sketch and a conversation to hurriedly tossing a bright green sleeping bag (improvised green screen) in the driveway and photographing each of Brian's many soundmakers. The resulting album artwork features every instrument Brian used at the time of the live recording. As a constantly travelling musician, he tends to have instrument turnover from tour to tour; I love the idea that album captures a unique moment in Brian's collection of tools both through the music and in the design.
Today (Valentine's Day)(also my sister's birthday; have a good one sis!) was definitely one of the weirdest days of my life. Five days ago, I posted my Make-Out Practice Pillows on my blog and made an Instructable for my creations. Three days ago, I started getting dozens of press requests from big news sites like Huffington Post, Metro, and UK's Daily Mail. They had seen my pillow on a number of share sites like DesignTaxi and Buzzfeed.
Yesterday evening I was on an Australian morning radio show--they interviewed me about the pillows and we all had a good laugh about the "kissing cushions." My creepy creations were featured on Tosh.O's blog and Perez Hilton. Suddenly, only a few days after I sat at my sewing machine and stitched these pillows into the world, the CPR mouths had gone viral.
It has been a suuuuper long month for me. The problem is that I am not very patient. Dave and I are buying a house (hopefully we will be closing on Thursday), and as soon as we decided what house we wanted I was ready to move in--we were already packed up, and what's a girl to do without her art supplies?
Like I said...it's been a long month. All I've done is pack, clean, and dream about the wonderful place our first home will be. I didn't feel like I had anything to blog about, because I didn't feel like I was doing anything interesting.
But alas! Now that I look back on the last month, there are some exciting things that I did (other than fall in love with a cute house)!
As you have learned on every single page of my new website, I am Emily. And I am an artist and a designer. SURPRISE, I am also a BLOGGER now. woah.
While I have done a lot of advertising and marketing for other people and businesses, I've just never done it for myself at all. I love to think up new creative ways for people to get their name out there. But my own name? My services? It feels weird to me. I may be the least put-myself-out-there human in America. I don't have a lot of ambition for professional success or building a career.
I recently made some business cards for myself. They are my first real-official-serious-adult-professional business cards, but now I have a hurdle to face: I am incredibly awkward talking to people, and I am even more awkward trying to tell others about myself and why I could possibly help their business through design. Most of my clients find me because of word-of-mouth (I have happy customers who are AMAZING at talking about me, thank goodness), and I wanted a way to thank them for sharing my name while representing my skills and uniqueness with my possible new clients.