Monday, December 19, 2011

This Moment's Inspiration: Keeping Cozy

The holidays can be a source of stress. But in the most positive way, this stress can lead to accomplishment. As a studio, we create, print and then send our holiday greetings. Not an easy task with finals, freelance and festivities to contend with. So with this annual task in front of us, finding the right idea is the hardest part (beyond angels, snowmen and reindeer).

We always have more ideas than time. But it's interesting how these cards come into reality. Sometimes, it's a process complete with roughs, refinements, dead ends, back and forths and finally a card. However this time, it was magic.

We always keep Moleskine notebooks lying around for ideas and inspirations. Even though we mostly use them to create and refine story ideas and notes, sometimes they are used to journal both words and pictures.

On a particularly cold and wet Vancouver day, Guin drew this self-portrait for fun:

She's been playing around with patterns and ink lately, and I thought it was perfect for this year's card. Sometimes the best inspiration is the stuff that's effortless... Pain does not have to equal quality!

We un-zen tangled the scarves to make a better foundation and Guin redrew the patterns. As soon as the linework came together, we did simple computer coloring to color both the shapes and lines/patterns. Then we added a zip tone to create some winter time energy. The result of this is simple:

To everyone we know and love, happy holidays and keep cozy in 2012!

Durwin + Guin

Sunday, November 20, 2011


"Little Big Creatures" 2011, by Guin and Durwin

This past weekend, the Illustration Club at ECUAD (ILL’N Club) put on a skatedeck show. 125 boards later, an amazing show is hung at The Fall Gallery. To participate in this show, Guin and I pulled together a joint deck (there weren’t enough boards to go around so we repurposed one). Sufficed to say, drawing and painting monsters made for a great weekend.

And so, we got to thinking of the merits of collaboration. All of these students got together to put on one helluva show. Guin and I collaborate all the time in art and in teaching. So what's the common theme?

For me it's about vision. As long as the vision is strong, even if people are working at different ends of the creative spectrum, then it's unified. These 125 students come from different points of creative view. Painting and drawing were a big part of the show. But so were sprinkles (the stuff found on ice cream sundaes), carving and pyrography (burning images onto the wooden boards). For creative folks, this was exciting.

For Guin and I, we always get the question: how do you guys work together without killing each other? Unless I am a ghost typing on this computer, then we never resorted to murder to get our work out there. We understand that collaboration isn't about sharing an idea, it's about both of us making the most of an idea. The final vision is greater than our individual vision. Creativity does not have to be a lonely journey to create art. If an idea is a great idea, it can encompass hundreds of people giving their best. Art is, after all, about realizing ideas, making ideas manifest.

But for the record, Guin concepted, penciled, and painted flats. I painted the details and inked the board. We both ate the Mentos.

If you are in the Vancouver area, visit the show (it'll be up until January)! The Fall Gallery (and Tattoo), 644 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 3K4

The show opening, Nov. 19th, 2011 (Photo by Seth Rutledge)

We were also able to "hang out" with Jaime Anderson's board. Hers is the one with the fox. (Photos by Roberta Chang)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Inspiration: Studio Songs

Art and music go hand in hand. A couple of weeks ago, Portishead visited Vancouver. Since they don’t step outside of Europe often, this was a must see event! To do the series “Bonds,” Portishead was playing on CD, vinyl and ipod nonstop during the creation of this comic (it was the aural equivalent of the art). Beth Gibbons even shows up in the dedication for Issue 2!

Together, we compiled a list of artists that always seem to be on repeat in our studio:

1. Portishead
2. Tom Petty
3. Neutral Milk Hotel
4. Sufjan Stevens
5. Cake
6. Be Good Tanyas
7. Wailing Jennys
8. Belle and Sebastian
9. Dire Straits
10. Tegan and Sara

There are many more that are not included here, but these seem to be the most played. Our tastes tend to overlap a lot (Portishead, NMH, Be Good Tanyas, Cake), and can be at odds with each other (Dire Straits, Belle and Sebastian) but it's mostly harmonious around the studio. (Pun intended.) And why Rush and Beck don't appear on this list is beyond us.

So we got thinking... What are the artists that stay on repeat on the iPod in your studio?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Moment's Inspiration: Nature

We love nature. From sea to mountains, we try to take in as much outdoor fun as we can. In the past three months, we trudged through Boone NC, Nashville IN, Santa Monica CA, and Whistler BC. Inspiration fuels the long hours at the desk. And I think that the sunny days, beach spray and mountain snow somehow shows up in our worlds!

This is a little park in Indianapolis that we love to get back to whenever we can. It's a special place to both of us, and is an unexpected find right off a very busy road. It's the perfect place to skip some stones. I remember finishing my very last exam in college and driving directly here to celebrate a little by myself.

Speaking of Indiana, one of our favorite places ever is Yellow Wood Forest, which is near Nashville, IN. It's very close to Brown County State Park, but free and much less crowded. It's just as beautiful, we think. This time we did a trail that went straight up the side of a very steep hill that was pretty intense, especially for flatland such as Indiana. Still beautiful!
We were able to take a few days in California after SDCC this year and got to spend the day at Santa Monica Pier. Durwin is definitely a mountain guy but I love to spend the day listening to the crashing waves and laying in the sun. Unfortunately, my lobster-red legs did not love it so much. Still, I can't get over the novelty of the ocean.

Maybe the most epic trip we've had (at least for me!) was our trip to Whistler. It was one of the more spectacular things I have seen. It was very inspirational and certainly wonderful to get some snow and sun! It won't be our last trip, I can tell you that.

Do you find inspiration from nature? If you post your natural inspiration, leave a link in the comments. What inspires you?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to School

We made it safe and sound to Vancouver. We're glad to be home, in our apartment with all of our stuff. Immediately upon getting home, the Faculty Show at ECUAD went up, so we made our little corner of illustration.

(Hooray for terrible iphone photos!)

We hung next to Jaime Anderson, who is a visiting artist for this year. She's excellent, check her out!

We wanted to show a cohesive body of work in the show. So, we chose the cover and one interior page of the book. It was hard to choose a page to showcase but we went with one that showed nearly all the characters. It was a little bit of an ordeal to get them printed and framed, we had to do nearly all of it long-distance so the frames would be ready the day after we got into town. Luckily, it all worked out and we hung them in the nick of time.

The final piece is the playset. I don't think I've blogged about it before. We really wanted to do something exciting to promote the book, and I've been experimenting with 3D art a lot as of late. The playset came out of wanting to do something interactive, that people could tell their own stories with after they were done reading ours. We showed it at SDCC and it got a great reaction, especially from the kids. It was right about eye level for a little kid and they would stop their parents to come over and see it. One little girl cried because she couldn't take the princess home. It was so sweet! It seems to be a big hit in the faculty show, too. I saw a student put his own little character in the background and snap a picture. Pretty funny. (This will hopefully be a promo item or sold as a limited edition once we get closer to the book's release date!)

I was really happy that we were able to participate in the show. The students don't get an opportunity to see their professors' work very often, and it's important that they know about our practices. Last year, our work was being moved up here with the rest of our things and it took almost a month to get it, so we weren't able to show. Hopefully we'll have even more of a representation from the illustration faculty next year!

(If you are in the Vancouver area, the show runs until September 19th in the Concourse Gallery.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Explanations and Weddings Part 6

Previously: Explanations and Weddings Part 5
Explanations and Weddings Part 4
Explanations and Weddings Part 3
Explanations and Weddings Part 2
Explanations and Weddings Part 1

So, it was time to party! Immediately afterwards, we had a cocktail hour for our guests and signed our license, making it officially official.

Officially official.

Then, while our guests mingled and the tables were set up, we headed upstairs for some bowling!

Yes, that's right. I said bowling. This is one of the main reasons we chose the space. We were going back and forth about it, and then Durwin said, "BUT if we do it there, then there can be BOWLING after the ceremoney!" and so it was sold. We had to do some serious finagling with the alley, since they are not usually open on Sundays, but it was so worth it.

The light up there was gorgeous! And gorgeously captured by Janet Guertin, one of my awesome ladies who takes amazing photographs.

This also happened:

Click to enlarge and see the excellent acting skills of our party.

The photographers put us in some strange positions. But I guess that's just what you do? I think this one was actually suggested by the guy who was running the place. We liked it because the ladies got to rule. The guys liked it because they got to practice their pouting.

We headed back down after that and had our entrance, waving our yay flags the whole time. Which I forgot to mention! We didn't want to have rice or whatever to throw, and we didn't know what to do for favors (most people throw them out, I think) so we decided to create "yay flags" that people could use throughout the night to wave.

We set them out in a bowl by the entrance before the ceremony and included a line in the program about what they were for. They turned out great! People waved them like crazy when we were exiting down the aisle and at various periods throughout the night. They ended up in people's hats, pockets, and stuck in the cake.

I made them in red, gold, and tan. I followed this tutorial to get the general idea of how to make them, but forewent the sewing. They were printed out on heavy paper that I bought from a craft supply store (the tutorial recommended construction paper, but the color fades so quickly that I went ahead and used better paper), 3/16" dowel rods and lots of hot glue. There were "YAY" "WOOT" and "HOORAY" flags to choose from. I made about a hundred for the wedding, and they were one of everyone's favorite elements!

My beautiful cousin Katie, showing her YAY! (Also, she's only 16. Back off.)

There were toasts.

Hilarious and touching, from Dave Guertin and TJ Rutherford.)

There. Was. CAKE.

Instead of just ONE cake, we had a cake on every table. My aunt, who is amazing, made all the cakes you see here and more. Including a regular-sized wedding cake! It was a great icebreaker for all the guests, and I saw people venturing to other tables to barter/beg/steal a piece of theirs. Bringing people together over the power of delicious cake. Mmmm. (And if you're ever in Indianapolis, go check out Roll With It Bakery for some of her treats. You will not be disappointed.)

The tables looked like this:

See those napkins? My mom and I went to a bridal show (shudder) and saw how they had beautiful napkins arranged on the table for some color. They were also about two dollars apiece to rent. We thought, hey! We can make those for less than that, and then keep them. Between the two of us we cut and hemmed 150 cloth napkins from about 10 different patterns. They turned out great, but they were so time-consuming. I would suggest not doing this unless you really, really like to sew and have helpers. Which, I did, so it worked out. My plan is to make a quilt from the napkins. We also made the candle holders from drinking glasses from IKEA (I think they are these), vellum, and the leaf hole punch we used on the invites. I think the total cost (not including labor or the cake) of each centerpiece was about $10. Not too bad!

We also made table numbers using stand-up frames from IKEA and they looked like this:

Cutie pants.

There was dancing!

About a year and a half before the wedding, we went to an old time barn dance and had a blast. Our favorite (and easiest to follow!) was one called "Lucky Seven," which is a pretty simple circle dance that allows you to dance with pretty much everyone in the room. We thought it would be a great icebreaker and allow us to dance with many people at once. We were a little worried that no one would try it, but a huge group of people did!

We had our first dance, and then opened it up to the DJ and let the party go. This was the only part that I was a little disappointed with. We had been culling music for the reception for the better part of a year and were going to do an iPod wedding, but then thought it might be a good idea to have someone to make announcements, and make sure the music didn't stop. The DJ ignored much of what we wanted, and just played what he felt like (I should have known he was trouble when he offered to bring props for the Locomotion, after I specifically said I didn't want any line dances...). It was very frustrating, but people still had a great time and danced their butts off. So, it didn't matter in the end, and no one noticed except for me!

We cut the cake...

Which had this on top:

Made by The Small Object. I highly recommend her, she was an absolute dream to work with and we were able to customize everything about it. It sits on our bookcase now and it makes me smile every time I see it.

Up close with our rings!

Durwin's ring comes from this seller on Etsy and the ring is gorgeous, but I had some communication troubles with him. I love the fingerprint idea, though. It's a great piece.

We danced until they basically shut us down. At the end of the night, Durwin's brother gave us the funniest wedding gift ever.

We had to wear them immediately.

Probably the most popular thing we did was the movie posters. Since the theater was an actual working theater at one time, there were huge movie poster frames outside the entrance. We had to do something awesome, of course. So, Durwin decided to surprise me with something epic. (I asked if he wanted me to do it and got a "NO, GO 'WAY" in response. So I let him take charge, and I was so happy I did.)

Here is the epicness!

I could cry, it's so awesome.

And in it's natural habitat:

People FREAKED OUT. It was fantastic. It was really the cherry on top of the whole thing! (Other than, you know, ending up married and whatever.)

Just a perfect day, tape to tape. And thus concludes this wedding series! Now let's get back to real life, shall we?

Vendors and Suppliers:
Venue and Catering: Fountain Square Theater (in-house catering)
Photographer: Let's Do Shotz Photography (with additional amazing photos by Janet Guertin)
Dress: Vera Wang, purchased at BleuBelle Bridal in Savannah, GA (sample sale, y'all!)
Jacket: Custom by Wai Ching (If you live in or near to the pacific northwest, GO TO THERE.)
Headpiece: Heknowsmyname on Etsy
Rings: Chris Parry on Etsy, Tiffany & Co. (my band), Diva Diamonds (for my ring, via Amazon)
Makeup: MAC, done by my friend Joy Katkic
Hair: Done by Cary Neeley of Mary & Friends
Shoes: Originally these completely beautiful ones, but then random last-minute silver sandals from Baker's (oh well...)
Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Various. I let them buy their own, because they are grown-ass women that already know how to purchase a dress themselves that looks good. I recommend you do this.
Cakes: Marie Moody of Roll With It Bakery
Topper: The Small Object
Flowers: Bought wholesale and done by my step-sister-in-law Erica Bournstein
Invitations: Designed by us, printed by

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Explanations and Weddings Part 5

Previously: Explanations and Weddings Part 4
Explanations and Weddings Part 3
Explanations and Weddings Part 2
Explanations and Weddings Part 1

We headed to the theater and split up to wait for the ceremony to begin. They had a great waiting space there for the bride (and one for the guys, too, I am assuming!) and so I waited and tried very hard not to throw up.

I was very nervous!

The kids got their last minute briefing:

We decided not to have one flower girl, or one ring bearer, as to not hurt anyone's feelings (left to right: Rosie, Mya, George, and Sage). Instead, we played a song and had them all dance up the aisle before the ceremony. They were a little nervous, so they mostly marched up stone-faced, but it was still cute.

Oh, and the FLOWERS. Erica, who is Mya and Sage's mom, is a florist and offered to put the flowers together. I told her a vague idea of what I wanted ("Color! Awesome! Things!") and she took my terrible instructions and delivered fantastic results.

Monkey tails! Totally beautiful flowers! Love them.

TJ, my Lady of Awesome, keeping our rings safe on her thumb and pinky.

Then, before I knew it, it was TIME.

Durwin coming down the red carpet, with me getting ready in the back!

The ceremony was a little bit of a blur to me. I was so focused on not totally crying that it went by so quickly. And I didn't even notice that the mic we had paid extra for was never hooked up! So probably no one heard us. It didn't matter, though. We heard everything and that's what counts!

Things we did:

Unity Candle Ceremony: You know, like you do. We just did a quick one with two white candles. We found an awesome candle holder that we still use at home.
Filipino Wedding Traditions: We wanted to include these as a nod to Durwin's heritage. We did the exchange of arras, which are 13 gold coins passed from Durwin to me. We used this to symbolize the commitment of both of us to contribute to our new family and a promise to provide for one another. We also did a veiling ceremony, where a veil was placed over both of us to symbolize us being "clothed as one."

Ring Blessing: Instead of having just two of our bridal party members be in charge of the rings, we had them start at the end and be passed down the line, as each person touched them and gave them their blessing. It was a great way to have everyone put a little energy into them.

We each chose a reading and surprised the other. I had my good friend and Mayor of Dance Beth Post read "I Like You" by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. It's a very sweet little book, with great illustrations. I suggest you buy it for someone you like. The part that really got me was:

On the 4th of July I like you because it's the 4th of July
On the fifth of July, I like you too
If you and I had some drums and some horns and some horses
If we had some hats and some flags and some fire engines
We could be a HOLIDAY

We could be a CELEBRATION

We could be a WHOLE PARADE

See what I mean?

Even if it was the 999th of July

Even if it was August

Even if it was way down at the bottom of November

Even if it was no place particular in January

I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me...
Durwin had our friend James come up and read what was probably the best reading ever. I was literally in tears over what he had chosen. If you know me, you know that I have memorized nearly the entirety of the Simpsons (at least seasons 1-10) and have a deep abiding love for it. So, he chose the best lines from the show about love and marriage. It was AMAZING. As follows:

Excerpts from the Book of Homer on Matrimony and Love:

Now what is a wedding? Well, Webster's dictionary describes a wedding as: the process of removing weeds from one's garden.

You know something, folks, as ridiculous as this sounds, I would rather feel the sweet breath of my beautiful wife on the back of my neck as I sleep, than stuff dollar bills into some stranger's G-string.

Love isn't hopeless. Look, maybe I'm no expert on the subject, but there was one time I got it right.

For you see, marriage is a lot like an orange. First, you have the skin... then the sweet, sweet innards...mmmm...innards...

From now on I'll never leave the room without saying how much I love you and... this takes a long time. Maybe a pat on your butt will do...that's it.

I've got a problem. Once you stop this car, I'm going to hug you, and kiss you, and then I'll never be able to let you go... And I never have.

And a bonus reading from the Book of Ralph:
I choo choo choose you.
And that is why we got married. Pretty much.

We exchanged our vows, which we wrote ourselves. Then, our officiant called it, we kissed, and that was it! We were MARRIED!

And how did we feel about that?

Woot indeed!

Next, we PARTY!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Expanations and Weddings (Part 4)

Previously: Expanations and Weddings (Part 3)
Expanations and Weddings (Part 2)
Expanations and Weddings (Part 1)

The big day arrived on Sunday. My girls and I headed over to Mary & Friends, a fantastic area salon where our officiant, Cary Neeley, cuts amazing hair. He cut my hair since high school and still does practically every woman in my family. He is amazing! I highly recommend him to do your hair and then marry you off.

They bought me food but I didn't really eat anything all day. The mimosas, though, they really helped out with the jitters!

While we were getting beautified, the men were off getting dressed and Beth, our Mayor of Dancing (her official title) gave haircuts to those who needed them.

The men were doing odd things with their shoes, mostly.

After we were all beautified, we headed back to my mom's to get dressed. I came downstairs and was very happy to be ready to go!

The pink background is the color of her dining room walls. Isn't that awesome?

It was about 900 degrees that day, so the precious little red jacket I had made to match my shoes didn't get worn at all. But, my feet were all swollen from the heat so the shoes didn't fit, so it didn't matter anyway!

(It was an awesome jacket.)

We then headed to the Indianapolis Art Museum to take photos. We considered this venue at first, but it was very much out of our budget. What I wanted the most was to capture the grounds in the fall, in the cool setting, so we got to do that for free!

We decided to do a "first look" photo since we were going to see each other before the wedding. When it was party time, we didn't want to be caught up in a million photos that would delay the dancing, so we got most of them out of the way before hand. Durwin and the men got there before we did, so I had to hide behind some bushes so he wouldn't see me before it was time. People kept walking by me hiding like a bridal ninja, and they wished me a confused "congratulations" before walking off. I liked to be the bride ninja.

The photographers positioned Durwin in front of the famous LOVE sculpture and I snuck up behind him. When we saw me for the first time, it was like magic.

It was definitely a very emotional moment as we realized that this was the day we would really be starting our lives together as a family. I'm actually really glad we got to capture and savor this moment. I didn't know it would be so great!

After I didn't have to hide in shrubbery anymore, we took some photos inside...

And we took some outside...

This has to be my favorite picture EVER.

I love our bridal party. They are really our closest friends, and such fun and creative people. It was the greatest to be surrounded by them that weekend. And I love that Joy chose to rock a tux. She looked hot! (I don't think I could have convinced my friend Evan to don a bridesmaids dress, though.)

Finally, it was time to head to the theater. I was getting more nervous by the minute. We piled back into the van and headed off to get married!