Creating a Fantastical Group Photo with @TurnstyleCycle. #MoveDifferent

note: photo is intentionally blurry. keep reading.
It's not every day I receive a proposal like the one Rich Downing of Turnstyle Cycle sent me last winter. He was looking for a group shot of his team (ok, no problem, I can do that)... but with a twist. Here were a few of his ideas:

Tentative Proposal
Team photo of a fantastical scene, with the goal of creating an image that looks more like an album cover for Empire of the Sun than a standard fitness photo. The final product may include a scene with the following elements:

- Cycle instructors riding bikes that are half animal
- TRX instructors swinging TRX straps as if they are weapons (balls and chains)
- The backdrop of an enormous Sun that is eclipsed by Turnstyle's unique "Instructor Halo"

Ummm... ok! I didn't know exactly how this was going to be executed but it sounded like way to much fun to pass up so I said yes. I did some photo illustration back in school which I loved but had not had an opportunity to do since. Rich had seen some of that work and liked it so he knew what I could do (I explained to him that it would not look totally realistic but luckily that was the point!). 

So we set to work. I had to figure out all of the elements needed for the photo and collect them. To get the instructors, we set up a shoot at Turnstyle's location in Kendall Square where I shot them individually on a white seamless. 
Turnstyle's Laura Mucci was both model and make-up artist for our shoot
The animal photos were gathered through stock websites and the background pieces were photos I already had (Swiss Alps!) or I created them in Photoshop (it turns out there are a ton of "Night Sky" Photoshop tutorials online, so freakin' cool). 
custom sky background created in Photoshop
These wolves were a sweet find on iStockPhoto
remember my trip to Switzerland?
It finally all came together and they decided to use the image to help promote the launch of their second location at Ink Block in the South End! Are you ready to see the final non-blurry image?? Just click to their website and let me know what you think :)

4 Boston Marathon Handmade Gift Ideas

The Boston Marathon is in 4 days and I could not be more excited to cheer on all 36,000 people running on Monday! With so many Boston Marathon themed items in shops all over the city and online, I wanted to highlight a few handmade goodies I've come across that were inspired by the infamous upcoming race-
This gorgeous 2014 Boston Marathon Print is by my friend Jenn of JHill Design which is part of her Sports Map series. Through April 31, get FREE personalization- just order the personalized print and use code RUN2014 at checkout. Include the year or the runner's time, runner's name and bib number.
Bev Feldman of Linkouture designed this lovely chaimaille bracelet complete with handmade runner charm. Bonus- she's donating 20% of sales of the bracelet to the One Fund!
I discovered this print in a blog post by the designer, Lindsay of Warren Tales, that said she was inspired by my Boston Marathon photo project- I was so flattered! I love the fun font and concept of this marathon route print which she is offering as a 9x16" and as notecards.
Running the marathon? Stop by Old South Church on Boylston Street and get a handmade scarf! The Old South Knitters group started a Marathon Scarf Project this year asking knitters to donate handmade scarves in the BAA yellow and blue for the athletes. As they said on their website, "In this year of Remembrance and Hope, our vision is to wrap each runner in the love poured into stitches of handmade blue and yellow scarves. We promise to wrap runners in your love until all your scarves are distributed."

What are your favorite Boston Marathon finds?

Product Photo Shoot: Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

This is from the product shoot I did for Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design. She wanted some colorful, fun photos of her work, hand-dyed yarn, for her new website. Since she dyes all of her yarn and even spins some too, we did photos of not only her finished products but what goes into the process as well.

Product shots and maybe a head shot or two are all that she wanted but I convinced her to pose for this photo illustration with her tossing her yarn in the air. I couldn't resist, and she loved the final result!

Pretty Paintings by Janet Hill Studio

Sometimes my seemingly random Google Analytics source stats lead me to some pretty odd websites but this one was a true find- Janet Hill Studio. Her paintings are just so sweet and pretty; her info page sums up the work nicely, "She explores the magic and the beauty in everyday life." Ahhh... Here are some pieces from her Etsy shop:

Limoncello Under the Lemon Tree

The Fontaine Sisters On The Boardwalk With Their Dogs Prim And Proper

Hot Chocolate

In the words of Tina Fey's Liz Lemon- "I want to go to there!" There are so many more worth seeing on her website, I highly recommend a visit.

Inspired by Gorey and a Swap

edwardLove illustrator Edward Gorey? Well, so do I! So when my friend Jaye of Thirteenth Story suggested we do a Gorey-inspired ATC swap, I immediately started sketching. I love some of the ways Gorey draws women in various period clothing and also his book "The Doubtful Guest," which features an intrusive creature known as "it," so I knew I wanted to include similar characters in my drawing, as well as some interesting text (like in "The Glorious Nosebleed"):

atc illustrationAs you can see below, Jaye really went all out with the crosshatching (which I wussed out on) so I told her we'd have to do another round! She agreed:
atc aceo illustrationI love what she came up with for my ATC and Apollo does too (a new Thirteenth Story fan is born!). Thanks again Jaye!beagle puppy dog pet animal

Illustrated History of "Born in the USA"

My dad sent me a link to this very cool illustration project by New York artist, Ward Sutton. 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" album and Sutton illustrates the impact it has had over the past 25 years. As a kid I remember my dad having the album on repeat (specifically the song "Born in the USA") but I never really knew the history behind it. It's an interesting story and Sutton chose a very interesting way to tell it.

Here are some excerpts but I highly recommend checking out the whole thing:

New Banners

It's Friday night and guess what I'm doing! Partying, going wild, living it up? Wrong! I just finished creating two new banners I'm ordering from Instant Sign Center just in time for show season to start. I was a bit of a wuss with the size (they're only going to be 10x24") but it is my first time doing anything like this so I'm excited. No more handwritten-in-Sharpy signs for me!

What do you think?

Happy Friday!

My coworkers and I decided earlier this week that we were going to eat lunch outside on Friday and even though it is about 10 degrees colder than we'd anticipated, by gosh we're gonna do it! This is the funny time of year when people around here insist on putting away their winter coats and start wearing flip flops purely because we think we SHOULD be able to even though it is still pretty damn cold out there. *Sigh.*

On an unrelated note, here are some new illustrations inspired by dramatic female poses:

"Flamenco Dancer"
Inspired by an amazing flamenco dancer I saw in Sevilla, Spain.

"Blue Angel"
Inspired by Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 movie Blue Angel.

JP to Me

These were the illustrations I had in the recent JP to Me show in Jamaica Plain, MA. I hadn't taken and pictures of them before the show so I had to wait until I got them back to post!

Green Street Station
This is my stop. I have been taking the T regularly since I was about 12 so I have spent a lot of time here.

Seaverns and Centre
This is a drawing of Centre Street circa around 1992 including Videosmith, Hailers Pharmacy, the Hallmark store and Woolworths. Sometimes it seems strange to me that these stores are not still there.

Jamaica Pond
I grew up down the street from the Pond and was a frequent visitor. It is a great place to walk, jog, boat, relax and enjoy nature.

Escape...or Place I'd Rather Be...

"Mal Pais" Pen&Ink/Colored Pencil

I did this illustration of my favorite photo I'd taken in Costa Rica four years ago. I was staying in a surfer camp in Santa Teresa where there wasn't much to do besides surf, watch people surfing, hang out in a hammock or drink out of coconuts. I didn't know the people talking in this shot but I am certain they were discussing surfing. It was a nice place to be at the time and a great place to think about being now during the winter.