• Design
  • Illustration
  • M Chen Wears
  • M on the side
  • dad
  • Contact


Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

To OFF I go…

August 12th, 2010

This weekend is the Ottawa Folk Festival, and I’m a little more excited about it than in past years… that’s because I’ve been working fiendishly on the event’s t-shirt and program design! I can’t wait to see all the volunteers and staff wearing the duds (sneak peek here, courtesy of Ming Wu :) — plus there’ll also be merch tees being sold.

This is the final t-shirt design:

I’ve shown it on a turquoise background because that’s what the women’s tees will look like (the unisex tees will be heather grey, and the kids’ tees will be red).

They asked me to come up with a design that was clearly music-based, funky, community- and nature-oriented, and not the typical banjo or guitar imagery… so I came up with this Seussian fellow and his critter bandmates.

Behind the scenes, my process went a little like this…

After a few sketches on paper, I did up a rough illustration in Corel Painter (as always, on my trusty Cintiq):

I brought the graphic into Adobe Illustrator, did a “Live Trace”, then cleaned things up a little; that’s what I presented for my first round of mock ups. For the next round, I went back to do a more complete drawing, again in Painter:

And again, I brought it into Illustrator to vectorize and clean it up, plus I added the text. Apparently, the woodpecker on the keys was a big hit at the OFF office :)

As for the program, I was able to use a lot of different elements from the t-shirt illustration throughout. Here’s the cover and a sample two-page spread looks like:

It’s been tons of fun to work on (though admittedly hectic!) — and I am so grateful to have been asked to do it.

Here’s a funny thing: I started up m chen wears a couple of years ago because I wanted to do more illustration. And as a direct result of doing these crazy t-shirts, I have been getting more creative work in my graphic design day-job. I never knew that my side gig would end up feeding my main gig! This particular project came about because one of the OFF staff had seen my shirts.

Just more proof that if there’s something you really love to do, then do it — and it might just grow into something bigger.

horn tootin', m chen wears, music , , , , ,


March 31st, 2010

Just a quick note to blab about a fun project I worked on this week — which includes an illustration of a hockey goal light:

The graphic is going to be used to promote a contest for all fellow Ottawa Sens fans: the winner gets two VIP goal judge seats to a playoff game, right on the glass. Plus a bunch of other stuff like access to a buffet, intermission munchies, and access to the VIP lounge. (Click here or on the graphic above to enter.)

I’m hoping that I can come help get ballots filled out at one of the upcoming games… it involves wearing a construction hat with one of these red flashing lights on top of it and approaching peeps to enter. As you may know, I’m all over helmet-wearing AND hockey, so I hope to make it out one of these days.

In terms of the illustration, I did it in Adobe Illustrator. I drew the outlines and highlights with my Wacom Cintiq, and then all the other elements, I created with the pen tool and my old school mouse. A fun fun job, all around!

horn tootin' , , , , , ,

Lightning Round with my big sis Serena (who draws :)

March 4th, 2010

When we were kids, I took for granted how much my sister Serena would play with me and all the things she did — like creating an entire make-believe game that revolved around me having 100 horses, or spending hours drawing multi-page murals of animals and people on that folding computer paper from the 80’s. I was one lucky kid, and still know that I have the world’s rockingest big sister. Before I get any mooshier, I’ll just move onto the 20 q’s and show you why I’m also so proud of her.

1. How and when did you start drawing?
I don’t ever remember NOT drawing so maybe as soon as I was able to pick up a pen/pencil, I just started doodling.

‘Animalbetized’ name print

2. Recently, you took a year off from the corporate world to delve more into your creative side; what was/were the most valuable lesson(s) from this?
That it’s okay to take the time to be good to yourself and feed your spirit (no matter how scared or doubtful you are about doing so). I’m back in the corporate world which I’m cool with but I’m so glad that I’ve laid some groundwork to keep my creative juices flowing.

3. Ideal lazy Sunday?
Sleep in a little bit, have a yummy breakfast (e.g. latte, fruit smoothie, bacon, oatmeal with apples and roasted almonds), go for a
walk and/or to the gym, veg out in the evening.

4. You are a HUGE foodie. What’s your favourite meal?
Bi bim bap, various pasta dishes, a good curry or roti, bacon and … oh, you just wanted one item? ;)

5. Introvert or extrovert?
A fine balance of the two with some tendencies towards introvert.

6. You put up a Creative Something Of The Day (CSOTD) on your blog everyday; can you tell us how this came about and how you get your ideas?
In 2008, I decided to leave my job to regroup and tap back into my artistic side. As I this timeline came to an end, I knew I wanted a vehicle that would help fuel my creativity and keep me drawing everyday – hence the birth of my Creative Something of the Day blog. I asked my guy=Marc=”CCS”=”Collaborative Creative Someone” to lend his support by giving me the words and phrases that my drawings are based on. It’s worked out really well (although I’m a few days behind right now thanks to the distraction of the Olympics!).

7. Worst job you ever had?
Probably working part-time in a real estate office in the evenings – BORING – but at least I got to read and draw.

8. If you had the time, what’s something you’d work at improving or learning?
Agh, so many things … I’ll stick to one for each. To improve: time management (I can be such a procrastinator!) To learn: Spanish

9. What is your kryptonite?
Baby animals or anything cute.

10. What’s the last movie you saw in a theatre, and did you like it?
Avatar – although the story was pretty unoriginal/predictable, I still enjoyed and marvelled in the animation/CGI and the 3D effects.

11. Have you made any new year’s resolutions for 2010? Not officially but have managed to get back into the gym regularly, started bringing my lunch more to work and am finally using one of those reusable mugs for my daily coffee.

12. How/when/where do you get your inspiration and best ideas for your illustrations?
Lately, it’s more about “in the moment” – like when I get my words for my CSOTD, or if someone asks me to come up with an idea for a drawing. I usually have an automatic idea/visual for the drawing but like to have a bit of time to mull it over to see what else pops up in my head.

13. You live in Toronto (boooo); what do you like least and best about it?
Love the convenience and availability of everything around and especially all the different cultures and foods. The busy-ness of it all can be fun but can also get on your nerves, like riding crowded subways and streetcars with cranky people. It’s alway a nice getaway to Ottawa where I find things greener, cleaner and calmer.

14. Happiest kid memory?
Getting candies/chocolates from our Grandmother whenever we asked – she always had a stash of it somewhere.

Cover of our uncle’s book, which Serena illustrated

15. You illustrated our uncle’s book (Journey to the West with the Stone Monkey) — congrats! What were the best and most challenging aspects of the project?
Thanks! Best part was being asked to be involved in such a special and personal project. One challenging aspect was making sure the characters stayed true to their traditional interpretation AND reflected my own style. I also wanted to make sure that my uncle “approved” of all the illustrations and was happy to have them accompany his writing.

… and one of the illustrations inside

16. Dream vacation spot (barring logistical/budget limitations! ;)?
I would say Belize, the Galapagos and Iceland are at the top of the list but I’d be pretty happy to get up and go just about anywhere right now!

17. Most often visited website(s)?
Mostly news sites, Youtube and your blog!

18. Chocolate or vanilla?
Give me a double – a scoop of each flavour!

19. What are you most proud of right now?
Having taken the time off to help get myself into a better headspace about so many things.

‘Animalbetized’ single letter S

20. Finish this sentence: “I am…”
I am very grateful for so many things in my life: my health, a caring family, a thoughtful/supportive partner, a strong/close network of friends.

You can find out and see more about Serena and her talent:

Thanks for playing along, Serena — you are huge inspiration and one of the reasons I am where I am! Moosh moosh moosh :)

good peeps, in the memory bank , , , ,

© 2010 Emily Chen Design & Illustration. All Rights Reserved.