Arianna's Mural: Thinking About Color

by Meredith 2. March 2013 05:58

I'm going to start a new phase of Arianna's mural today. I want to fill in the images with a light wash of color. Last night I created a board in Pinterest to collect ideas. I'm leaning towards muted colors of a cool grey-blue and a warm orange-red. The intent is that all the images will have the same color treatment instead of looking realistic (e.g.: I'm not going to make the bears brown and the pegasus white).

I have a swatch of fabric tacked to the wall that I keep getting drawn to. It is a grey blue that has brown threads woven into it so there is a orange-red shimmer to the fabric. The orange and blue are complimentary colors and I like the way they resonate but I want to tone them down so that they aren't super bright and hyper. I want cheery but in a calm way (if that makes any sense).

I don't know if I am going to apply the paint really watered down like a watercolor or really dry like a dry brush. I'm going to mix paint and play around on some paper or canvas first. I'll take pictures after today's work.



Arianna's Mural: Lines, lines, lines

by Meredith 1. March 2013 15:07

Cetus, Pisces, Pegasus, Taurus, OrionBrown outlines are done. Time to move on to blue navigation lines. The lines in the background are supposed to be similar to the navigation lines seen on star charts and various other kinds of maps. Think Dr. Who symbols and Time Bandits time map.

Arianna's Mural: More outline painting

by Meredith 27. February 2013 15:02

Virgo, Lupus, Leo, Pavo, HerculesGot to work on Ari's mural this last weekend. I'll have to take new pictures in the daylight. The process is to paint over the chalk, wash the chalk off, then touch up the lines where the paint washed off too. This makes for lots of bouncing around while stuff dries. I also found I had to go back and forth between working high and low. Painting the high stuff is really hard on my neck so if I keep moving around my neck gets a needed break.

I have no idea when I'm going to get another block of time to work on it. Working with the kids around has been tough. Maddie gets into everything on the table and I'm waiting to turn around and find her painting on the walls. Ari likes to stand up and hang off my legs which makes it really hard to move around. I've set up other things for them to do while I work and that lasts maybe 10 min before I have to break up a fight and hook them into something Argo, Cetus, Hydraelse. Today, I am going to set up some cartoons to run while I'm working. We can all watch Curious George or Tinkerbell while I work.

[Edited to add photos]






Arianna's Mural: Hoping for a productive day

by Meredith 24. February 2013 15:00

Husband and the girls are off to the zoo for the day. I get the house to myself to work on the mural uninterrupted. Yay!  I already got up early and started working on it and I have high hopes for lots of progress today. I must remember not to dunk my paint brush into my coffee cup. Probably should keep the water bowl and coffee cup at opposite ends of the table.

Arianna's Mural: First paint on the wall

by Meredith 23. February 2013 14:56

CetusThere! Now I am committed. The first paint on the walls commits Cetus the Whales to the mural.







Arianna's Mural: To paint or not to paint?

by Meredith 9. February 2013 05:49

I'm itching to start painting all the drawings in Arianna's room but I'm not completely finished with the sketches. My preference in painting is to put something up and then revise over and over again until I get something I finally like. It usually begins with light marks with a pencil, revision with a light colored paint, revision with a med color paint, revision with a dark paint and then start painting it in with some of the color. Then I keep fussing with it until I'm forced to move on. The process is very undisciplined and non-committal. I've had more than one art teacher over the years comment on it, wanting me to be a little bit more certain in my application.

Once I put paint on the wall in Ari's room I can't really fix it. I can do minor touch ups, but he walls are a painted texture and I don't think I have the colors any more. So it is really important that I have the majority of the editing done before I paint. I've set asside most of today to work on it, so we'll see what happens. I'm making myself finish all the character drawings first before opening a paint can.

Anyway, that's where I'm at on the mural in case y'all were wondering.

Arianna's Mural: More sketches on the wall

by Meredith 4. February 2013 14:50

Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, HerculesWall sketches of Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, and Hercules. I was starting to get tired late that night so drawings got more sloppy. I'll have to go back and fix them.

Some of the constellations have stories about how they relate to each other and I wanted the images to be like an illustration of those stories. I also made some changes to the traditional interpretation of how those images are represented in relation to the placement of the stars. For example, Ursa Minor is usually drawn as a bear with a very long tail. I've never understood that look and found if I drew the bear cub sitting with it's nose pointed up, it would match the shape of the stars and not have a ridiculous tail. I also positioned the bears much closer together than they appear in the night sky, but did make Draco's tail curve between them to represent that another constellation does in fact separate them.

The story of Hercules' constellation is that he slayed Draco in order to take the golden apples. In the night sky, Hercules' is facing away from Draco. Again, I wanted these two characters to relate to each other so I flipped Hercules to be facing Draco so that it looked like they are interacting with each other.

Arianna's Mural: Sketches on the wall

by Meredith 30. January 2013 14:41

Virgo, Lupus, Leo, PavoWall sketches of Virgo, Lupus, Leo, Pavo, Cetus, Argo and Hydra.

Sketches on paper are done, now it's time to put them on the wall. I used a couple of different sky map apps on my phone to place the constellations in the room. One of the apps allowed you to set a date and time in the future so I picked Arianna's due date and used that as my reference. A little fudging had to be done in order to get some of the constellations to fit up on the wall (the app showed their placement on the floor).

For next step I applied the feedback I was given by friends and I made some edits to the positioning and orientation of the images so that they flowed together. Because Virgo, Lupus, Leo, and Pavo (the peacock) were all so close together I felt they could be placed together so that they all interacted in some way. In my rendition of these constellations, Virgo is a Mother Earth like character watching over wolf and lion as they play. Instead of just adding a peacock to the pair of animals Virgo is wearing a gown of peacock feathers which also adds to the "of the Earth" feeling to her.

Argo and HydraMore artistic license was taken with Cetus, Argo and Hydra. While doing research I had seen an old star map where the sea monster Cetus was drawn as a whale. As this mural is for a baby's room, I didn't want scary, monsters images on the walls so the interpretation of a whale was perfect.

Argo Navis is an ancient constellation of the southern hemisphere that has since been broken up into three separate constellations (Carnia, Vela and Puppis). As Madeline's room has a ship, I wanted one in Arianna's room too. I'm also enamored with the story/poem of "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" which mixes aspects of the stars with the sea. Argo seemed like an excellent constellation to add and made a nice way to interpret a nearby constellation Hydra. Again, I didn't want to add a multi-headed monster to a child's room so an octopus seemed like a good compromise. If she ever asks we planned to tell her the giant octopus is giving the ship a hug.




Presentation: The Design & Development of Flip the Bird

by Meredith 8. January 2013 19:23

On Wednesday, January 9, I will be presenting at the PDX Adobe - Photoshop & Illustrator User's Group. Here are the presentation details and a PDF copy of the presentation.

"Graphic design and production for an iOS game," by Meredith Cook and colleague. Plus discussion with other users: designers, photographers, artists...

Come hear about the design and development of a published mobile game. The project's graphic designer and its coder will share their experiences. They'll focus on the game's graphics -- including technical requirements, tools, code integration, and the iterative process of development. Download the $0.99 game to your iPad or iPhone today.


LOCATION: TaborSpace, SE 55th + Belmont, Portland, OR. It's a big stone church building where classrooms are now for community use. Enter through the central doors (up stone steps), and look for signage. 

PARKING: Building has its own parking lot in the block to the west. 

TRANSIT. Bus line 15 stops right there.

6:00 Snacks and socializing
6:30 Program
7:40 Break, introductions (brief round robin), and networking
9:00 End

Arianna's Mural: A question posted to FB

by Meredith 25. July 2012 15:37

Which would be better for Arianna's mural: accuracy in the placement of the constellations or an artistic representation? Both elements will be there but I have to choose to focus on one direction or the other. Can't be equal parts of both.

Here are some of the replies:
GP - I vote for artistic. I think it'll be easier for her to go from a holistic understanding of constellations and then apply accuracy, than to go the other way. You can talk to her more easily about constellations is she can grasp the concept, then refine it with accuracy later.
JM - I would lean artistic. Go whole hog one way or the other and stay out of the uncanny valley. If going artistic, make up totally new stuff and stay away from real constellations. Fantasy beats the daylights out of poor representations of reality.
JC - The feminist in me says go for realistic! We need more girls in the sciences, although I'm sure you'll inspire that in her mural or not:-)
MB - I guess I'll be the dissenting vote, I would go for accuracy, how awesome would it be to later look at the real constellations and say that's in my room. to be able to identify and find Orion in both the sky and ceiling (or wherever it would be) To follow the Big Dipper to the North Star. Though I agree with Joe if you go artistic I would totally go whole hog and make up your own constellations that would be pretty cool!
H - I feel like you can capture both! Have you ever seen the old star charts? They show the constellations and then "behind" them the fantastic image of what they are. Plus space is so much more than either fantasy or reality. Why limit yourself?
T - Artistic....they change over time anyways
JS - We have the real sky and star maps for accuracy, and I'm pretty sure it will look cooler with an artistic interpretation. Can't wait to see it!
ET - If you wanted to realistic but different an option might be to use the constellations in the southern hemisphere instead of the ones that we see in the sky at night.
JS - I'm a fan of artistic representation for most things....
TP - Given the intellect of her parents, I'll bet she'll be asking why they aren't accurate.
AV - Artistic, because imagination is what makes a child's mind grow in an awesome direction.
KS - Won't matter in a million years the stars will have moved
SS - I always go for aesthetics, but on the other hand, you wouldn't want anything too different. I can just see it: in 5 years, Arianna asking, "Mommy, why are the stars in the sky all wrong?"
BC - I’d say use the coin flip. That’s how I make all my life altering decisions

My friends are awesome! Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to chew on this and do some more sketches. I'm leaning toward artistic so that the graphics tell a sorry. But I have some ideas on how to make portions accurate. I predict there will be a conversation in Arianna's future that will explain my decisions. Oh, and glow in the dark stars are a must!

About Meredith Cook

Welcome to my repository of creative expression. I'm not a happy camper unless I am making something and over the years I have dabbled in quite a few different kinds of art projects. Some projects come from taking art classes, others are completely hobby driven, and projects like home decor come from a need to customize an item and make it better or unique. The overall theme behind what I do is to learn how to manipulate objects and practice what I know about visual aesthetic and good design. Oh yeah, and to have fun.