Thursday, June 27, 2013

Character Skethces

A busy week soon behind and a much needed little vacation ahead.  We are having guests from San Francisco, arriving tomorrow, I can't wait to show them around our country! So happy to see them again after almost three years.  

I feel like my life will forever be linked to San Francisco.  Does a person leave that place ind just be fine with it?  I doubt it.  Although I love living here in Iceland close to family and friends, my mind is still very stuck in the city by the Bay.  (Please bear with me my Icelandic friends, I know I talk about it all the time!  You are good friends for listening to me blah blah about it like constantly without rolling your eyes.)  But the city and the people I met there just got a hold of me, and I'm incredible grateful for that.

One of those people I met in California and instantly knew I'd stay in contact with for a long time is Katherine Dieter.  I must tell you a little story of the day we "met" for the first time.  We have mutual friends, Dom & Cyn (love you!) and they'd told me I had to meet Katherine since she's an author and they thought we'd get along great and even create something together.  So Eggert, Dagur and I took a little day trip up North from the city near where she lives in Sebastopol.  We'd arranged to meet at this nice little wood oven bakery in the country (the best bakery).  We arrived there early (I'm always early) and sat in the sun, ate grilled bread and waited.  And waited.  No Katherine.  So I called her and got no answer.  The sun was getting too hot so we drove off with the AC on and I kept calling her and no answer.  So I thought, well, that's that, whatever, at least we had a nice day in the country.  

Later that day when driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, I got a call from her.  She told me that on her way to the bakery to meet me, a huge tree fell on her car and crushed it!  She was lucky not to get seriously hurt.  Coincidentally she had decided to drive her pickup instead of her little car, if she hadn't switched cars the story might have a very different ending.  So she called me from the hospital telling me what had happened and that she was ok.  She also told me that she'd thought to herself this had to be a sign for that it was time for her to start working on her own things and follow her dreams.  I'm glad she didn't think it was a sign that she shouldn't ever meet me!  It also made me think that if something serious had happened to her, on her way to meet me, I'd never forgive myself!  But later we met and have ever since been in contact and I'm so happy for that.  She is a beautiful writer and we've been working together on a project I'm the most excited about.  Which finally explains the character illustrations you see here above and below.  I'll tell you all about it later, but till then... Enough Borzak and his lovely wife :) 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Documentary & Reference Shots

My good friend, Bára, approached me the other day and asked me if she could interview me for her final project from the University of Iceland.  Her project sounded fun and I was so honored she'd want me to be a part of it, plus; she is awesome, so of course I said yes!  The project is a 4 piece documentary interviewing young creatives in Iceland, a goldsmith, a musician, a fashion designer and yours truly. 

Bára came to my studio and interviewed me and filmed me painting, drawing, reading and such.  It's weird being filmed like that!  I don't know if I could get used to it, but luckily I was being filmed by a good friend so that made it easier.  I got terribly self conscious when filming and even more so when I saw the film.  I could hardly hear the words I said, I just thought, oh my, could my face BE any whiter? (It was shot in February when we've had like zero sunlight for months).  So, wear sunglasses if you watch it, will you?

BUT, I think the film turned out really great and I know I'm going to be thankful I'll have that little documentary about this part of my life that's happening right now.  Bára is definitely on the right track and I can't wait to hear what the future holds for her.  You can watch the films here (I'm afraid it's still only in Icelandic, but I plan to have it subtitled and will share it when that's ready).  You can get more info on Bára's Facebook Page Samkrull.  

well, that girl is tanned!

Realising I could be as self conscious as I felt when I watched the film, made me want to take a U-turn.  I didn't like discovering I could get so occupied by how my skin looked or if my eyes were puffy!  We all have so many different faces.   SO, to celebrate my many faces, I'm sharing with you how I usually shoot my references for my illustrations. A mighty good teacher of mine once said that the illustration will only be as good as the reference photo you have, meaning; if you have a lousy reference, you'll get a lousy illustration.  So, the Photo Booth on my Mac has been my best friend for a few years now.  I sometimes shoot many photos a day, sometimes just of my leg or hand gestures but mostly facial expressions though.  And often I convince the people around me to help me out.  It totally makes sense to me that animators have to take acting lessons, it is a big part of your job imagining being in someone else's shoes.  

enjoy...yiikes...(covering my eyes)..


oops!'s my burger..
teachers pet (I wonder what happened to that sweater)
no caption needed
what?? talki'n to me?
do I spot a tooth there?
Dagur can be an excellent model
recognize this from my website?
interrupted while eating breakfast
planting a worm in a box (so obvious)

I think this is one of my favorite reference shots!  I was "directing" Eggert,
not realising I was in the background doing the same gesture ;)

 Would love to hear from fellow illustrators how you usually shoot your references.  Probable a little more professionally than me, no?  :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Promoting and "tweeding"

For the past few weeks I've been working on some self promotion.  Wether you like it or not, it's a part of the job, and sometimes it can be a nice little break from the every day routine.  You just put on a different hat and I kind of pretend I'm not myself, if that makes any sense to you!  "Well, hello there, why don't you check out this Icelandic illustrator, blah, blah...." ...then I nervously press 'send' and take a large sip of my double expresso (or a glass of wine for that matter..)  

I just sent off a bunch of postcards, which I hope will find a home in someones hand that'll appreciate them,...and remember me!  It was nice to send the postcards with the stamps I made for the Iceland Post.  I could get used to only send postcards with my own stamps, ha!  

Thumbelina - just before her trip overseas.

I don't have an art work to share this week, cause I've been spending so much time on so many different things and not enough time on one or two particular things.  But I must share with you a few photos from the Tweed Ride that was held in Reykjavík a couple of weekends ago.  It is a day you bike around the city, wearing tweed outfit or just something really nice, no spandex please!  We (we as in me and my husband Eggert) went last year when it was held here for the first time and to say the least, we had a blast.  So this year, we'd been looking forward to this day for a whole year, and again, we had a blast!  

My view - not so shabby!


Eggert tweeding at Sæbraut

Me and Kjarri tweeding in the rain

Schwinn & Schwinn - true love

That view....phew!

It was really the perfect day, can't wait till next year!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Monster clouds in Reykjavík

I've been making a few cityscapes paintings lately.  I think my perfect work balance is to once and a while make a few cityscapes.  Paintings that I just do for my own joy, just some mindless painting, a peace of mind.  


I walked around downtown a few weeks ago to shoot some photo references for my paintings.  It was cold and windy although that particular day was supposed to be "The first official day of Summer".  Well, one told Summer.  

I love painting Reykjavík and I love painting what I think captures the spirit of it.  It's very Icelandic to see something like here above and below; a glimpse of the sun and perhaps a tiny bit of blue skies.  Sun hitting the houses, long shadows and some MONSTER clouds approaching.

Photo of Sæbraut

If you see Summer, can you please ask it to stop over, even if it's just for a little bit?