Monday, February 25, 2013

Hydrocolloid Pantheon: Agar Lady

Here's my second image of my Hydrocolloid Pantheon series: Agar Lady! The first one was Gelatin God (scroll down to see him). Hydrocolloids are those wiggly-jiggly substances that are fun to eat: jellies, marshmallows, that sort of thing. Hydrocolloids can be derived from many different sources. Mammals, fish, algae, fruits, and more!

Agar is not well known in North America. But in Asia (and East Asia in particular) agar has been consumed for hundreds of years. The origins of agar can be traced back to China between 710-794, when a substance very similar to agar was created using red algae.

Agar Lady is surrounded by agar foods such as anmitsu (cubes of agar served with fruit and red bean paste -- upper right), yokan (firm red bean jelly -- upper left), sago gulaman (little balls in a dessert drink -- middle left), jams, preserves, and ptich'ye moloko (bird's milk -- sort of like a meringue or souffle that is made into cakes and candies (bottom right, by the lady's shin). 

I designed Agar Lady to be a companion piece to Gelatin God. I used some of the same colours and designed them to face opposite directions. Here is some of the process work for Gelatin God.

I have a few options for the next image in the series. There's pectin, which is extracted from fruits and is used primarily in jellies, jams, and preserves. There's gum arabic, which is the hardened sap of the acacia tree. It's best known as the binder used in watercolour paints (it's water soluble) and is used in printing and lithography. There's the work horse hydrocolloid called locust bean gum; taken from the seeds of the carob tree and used as a sweetener, as a chocolate substitute, in shoe polish, insecticide, and many other things. We've got guar gum, made from the ground endosperm of guar beans. It's used a lot in commerical bakery to give dough greater resilience, better texture, and longer shelf life. My final candidate is carboxymethyl cellulose, which is synthesized from a chemical reaction. It's used in toothpaste, laundry detergent, eye drops ice packs, and other places where a hypoallergenic and non-toxic hydrocolloid is needed. 

Yeah, I'm seriously nerding out on this. I've actually broken down the visuals as follows:

Gelatin: primal god + Regency England
Agar: Asian + the sea
Pectin: Pomona, Roman goddess of fruitfulness + orchard
Gum arabic: Artsy and colourful, Rainbow Brite-like or Polychrome, L. Frank Baum's colourful nymph girl character from the Oz books + acacia trees
Locust bean gum: Husky workman, maybe Industrial Revolution era 
Guar gum: hearty baker or baker-lady. Rosy cheeked and cheery
Carboxymethyl cellulose: sci-fi look, space age. Maybe a vintage space look from the 50s or 60s. Molecules!

Process work:


-- Julia
Portfolio site

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My work's in Carne magazine, issue 20!

Cover by Victor Castillo

Carne magazine is a darned stylish digital magazine that celebrates and promotes art and design. Their February issue (available for free download with music by Culture Cry Wolf!) is stuffed with some super sweet images.

Here's a list of all the artists involved:

 Check it out! It's like those glossy/matte artsy magazines at Chapters that cost twenty bucks, except this one is free, free, free. And comes with music to listen along to as you flip.

-- Julia

Portfolio site

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Latest Macleans!

This one should be out on newsstands some time this week. The subject was a lifelong lover of horses. She rode them, owned them, painted them, bred them. My first time drawing horses. I think the painted one I put on the easel looks a bit chunky :P.

-- Julia
Portfolio site

Friday, February 15, 2013

Adventure Time Valentine's card

Adventure Time Valentine's card
Here's the card I made for Valentine's this year! My boyfriend and I have recently discovered the magic that is Adventure Time. Such a fun, charming, hilarious show! We can both be super crusty and this show makes us happy :).

Good ol' Dido-cat is in the background, as usual.

Some of the other cards I've painted for family and friends.

-- Julia
Portfolio site

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Village Voice: 2012 Year in Review

Queen's Jubilee! Michael Musto's 2012 Entertainment Highlights

The Village Voice is the great-grandaddy of alt-newsweeklies. As you can imagine, I was super-pumped to work for them! 

The job was to do a series of illustrations depicting various entertainment highlights of 2012. Starring in those highlights was the inimitable Michael Musto, who has written for the magazine since 1984. Musto is famous for his "year in review" pieces, where he dresses as various celebrities and graces the cover and inside pages of The Village Voice -- often quite gloriously in immaculate drag

So I got to do a bunch of portraits of Michael Musto as the Queen, Mitt Romney, Alfred Hitchcock and Honey Boo-boo, not to mention Gandalf, Bilbo, and a pair of adventurous dwarves! Too much fun. 

Here are a few, when they appeared on the Village Voice's site: One and two!

Firstly there's Musto as the Queen, as seen on one of those lovely commemorative plates. Complete with doily. And deliriously happy corgi. I love corgis.

Next, there's...
Mitt Romney choking Big Bird. Michael Musto as Mitt Romney.
Musto as Romney, choking the feathers out of Big Bird as BB tries to hawk some PBS mugs and tote bags!

And then there's...

Michael Musto as Alfred Hitchcock in a bathtub with a raven.
Musto as Hitchcock, enjoying some bath-time.

Followed by...
Honey Boo-boo creating her go-go juice! Michael Musto as Honey Boo-boo.
Musto as Honey Boo-boo, mischievously spiking the party punch with that deadliest of deadly cocktails: Mountain Dew and Red Bull. Go-go juice, indeed! I enjoyed making Musto's face plump and doll-like, sort of like a Cabbage Patch Kid. Or Chucky.

We conclude with:
The Hobbit -- Michael Musto as Gandalf, Bilbo, and two dwarves.
Musto as Gandalf, Bilbo, and two dwarves. I love the creepiness of having his face on all the characters, and having them all looking at the viewer. And we all know that I never pass up the chance to draw food! The art director's favourite Musto of them all was Gandalf-Musto!


Hope you like them!
-- Julia