Friday, June 30, 2006

Drawing Q&A

Dear Melody,
These (drawings) are wonderful. I would love to hear how you get past representational to wonderfully stylized like your sketches. I have a hard time trying to get past drawing what I see. Do you start from photos or objects, or did these drawings come straight from the imagination?

Dear Anon,
The drawings that I posted here are from my imagination. Usually inspired by some pattern or design I have seen somewhere and then lodged in my memory banks. Since I also draw representationally, I know from where you speak.
In stylizing a subject I look to those who already do it well and learn from them. Simplicity is so often the key and then dinkin' around is the next step. Have you a dinkin' around tool in your arsenal?
Seriously, altho she is 'old hat' by now, I have learned quite a bit from Laurel Burch. The bird in the palm tree was a rip off of her style, I freely admit, but we have had similar artistic sensibilities for ages, which is why I like her stuff so much.

Yellow Bird

Years ago (late 60's) right after I got kicked out of my first college for not going to class, I got a job as an artist in a company that made gift wrap and decorative bags and boxes for stores. I learned a lot about pen and ink when I was there, and cleaning up a design to make it easy to print. This was the dark ages, doncha know? Rotogravure! I will say no more.

Bodacious Bloomers (the original)


The 60's were big on poster art, and I grabbed (appropriated is the art speak term) ideas from Peter Max, flat bright color and outlines, and tried to paint like him then too.

Juggling Daisies (detail)


Then there were Pucci garments to wear and it seems as I recall this that much of my design sense was absorbed and nourished by stuff that is way back in the last century.

Tropicana


Well. Mother's milk and all that.
So to be more direct and clear, do a drawing and leave out everything but the contour line. Fill in with color. Add decorative wiggly lines, and a few dots. Call it a Melody Johnson.

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  1. No wonder I love your creations so much! I love Laurel Burch, and Peter Max was the bomb. I loved his billboards... masterpieces of art. Was it 7-up? and then there are those of us who look to Melody Johnson for ideas.

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  2. Okay, now it is all becoming clear in my fuzzy little mind. Why I Like Your Stuff So Much. Laurel Burch is one of my idols--I have the piles of her fabric to prove it!!! And Peter Max--well, 'nuf said. I got out of college in the 60s also (did I really say that out loud?) and loved all the wonderful style of art that abounded then--kinda psychodelic. In fact, I wanted to be a hippie (LOL) but that's a story for another day. Thanks for sharing your techniques and inspirations.

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  3. Linda Cline8:33 PM

    And the quilts you made from your drawings are just as wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Seeing others' sketches always makes me want to get out my own sketch book. I will try loosening up a bit and do some of my own dinkin' around also.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Linda Cline8:33 PM

    And the quilts you made from your drawings are just as wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Seeing others' sketches always makes me want to get out my own sketch book. I will try loosening up a bit and do some of my own dinkin' around also.

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