Loose Park is one of my favorite places in Kansas City. Living in the city is nice but it can make you yearn for wide open spaces and Loose Park is that wide open space that gives you a chance to breathe in and breathe out. Another perk to Loose Park is the beautiful rose garden that drops you right into a fairytale. The Kansas City Rose Garden began in 1931, containing 120 roses. The garden now displays 3,000 rosebushes of 130 different varieties.
What a fun menu board this was! I finished it up back in August, but have yet to share any details about it. The Bean 3:16 is a new coffee shop that just opened in Bolivar, MO. They have a big purpose to not only sell coffee but to give back to the community and spread love to others. Beautiful owners with a big heart! When Angel contacted me about creating a menu board for her coffee shop, she knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted the menu to look like a giant newspaper. Coffee + reading just makes sense, right? Plus, her decor is focused around history and what is more timeless than a newspaper?
The concept was a little challenging, because a newspaper has black lettering on light colored paper. And of course a chalkboard features light colored lettering on a black background. But I think the addition of the coffee cup and hand put everything into perspective. It was exciting to see Angel's dream come to life by taking her ideas and making them happen.
As you can see above, the illustration process is a series of layering on different colors to achieve the right depth perspective and form. It was strange drawing a hand that was WAY bigger than life size! But a fun challenge.
Angel had the idea of illustrating exactly what you would be getting if you ordered a "latte", "iced drink" or "frappe". If you're not a frequent coffee-goer, the variety of coffee choices can be a bit daunting. I thought this was a good idea because people can generally relate with pictures even if they don't know what the word means.
All finished! Whew, that was fun. A lot of time and thought goes into these menu boards but the end result is always worth it. I'm happy to have another satisfied customer at The Bean 3:16. It makes my work worthwhile.
Okay, so it's not Monday, it's Tuesday, but I promised you a Part Two explaining reverse macro photography and using extension tubes (Read Part One first), and I didn't want to wait until next Monday to show you.
I must start by saying: I don't really like bugs, they're not my "thing", and this blog is not about bugs! However, the subject of this post is all about bugs. Once you start shooting in macro, you'll understand that it becomes very interesting to see a little creature in all the details you couldn't see with your own eye.
In the photo above, you can see the vine covered in yellow "seeds". At first glance, I thought it was pollen or plant life. But upon closer observation, these yellow "seeds" are little bugs known as aphids. They're not particularly welcome to gardens, a bit of a pest, and ladybugs love to eat them. And that's about the extent that I know about aphids. The above photo was taken with a 50mm lens, which is equivalent to the proportions a human eye sees. As I talked about in Part One, I had ordered a reverse ring (to hold the lens to the camera body in reverse) and also extension tubes (to zoom in even closer on the subject). I have played around with them to find how much detail I could see in those little aphids.
This is just reversing the lens - no extension tubes used.Here is the reverse lens + extension tube #1.Now, the reverse lens + extension tubes #1 + #2And the reverse lens + extension tubes #1 + #2 + #3
Hello Everyone! Today is the launch of this new blog. Now I can finally share what I've been putting together over the past few weeks. Thanks for coming by. I have already started posting about chalkboards and other creative things, so please read on and look around. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions (jazzychalks AT gmail DOT com) or leave a comment below a post. I would love it if you bookmarked this blog or started following through your RSS feed so you won't miss any upcoming articles! I'm feeling inspired and I have a lot to share so I'm excited to make you a part of my journey. Let's do this!
My first experience in commercial art stems back to 2005 when I began sign making for Hy-Vee Grocers. At the time, I was in college and desperate to find a work, so I picked up a job at Hy-Vee in the film developing/video rental department. I thought that film developing was about as creative as my grocery-store-job could get until I began to notice all these hand drawn signs around the store. They weren't necessarily good but they were done by hand! If I had to work at a grocery store, I definitely wanted the "drawing job". To my advantage, the current sign maker quickly transferred on to another store, and I was hot on the chance to speak up for the position.
I really took this job seriously. Every sign I made, I used it as an opportunity to strengthen my skill and gain a better understanding of typography and composition. I visited other Hy-Vee stores and photographed other sign maker's work. My signs were going to represent the whole store (and myself!) so I really wanted to be proud of them.After three years with the Hy-Vee company, I came across the opportunity to move to Southern California and I went for it (there was a boy involved but that's besides the point!). I arrived to CA on a hope and a prayer, a bit naive, not having any job potential lined up before moving. And my series of unfortunate events is another story for another time, but I happened to find a job within a months time.One day while driving, I found myself behind a work van that had a vehicle wrap with graphics promoting a chalkboard menu business. "Intriguing", I thought as I quickly jotted down the business phone number and address. I gave them a call and asked if they were hiring any artists. They weren't, but they said I could bring by my portfolio and they could keep my information on file. I compiled a bunch of photos of signs I had made for Hy-Vee, thinking it would showcase some commercial illustration skills. But what really stood out to them was actually the hand lettering experience I had. They pointed out that it was easy to come by artists but not all artists were quick to pick up on the hand drawn typography aspect of menu board design. That being said, I got the job part-time and was on full-time in one week! Yay!
I really took a liking to creating chalkboard menus. I mean getting paid to illustrate all day is an artist's dream. From the black board paint to the colorful chalk material to the sealant used - it was all down to a science. When these materials collide, it creates pure magic! Easy to apply, easy to clean up and erase mistakes. It took a bit of practice, but I soon realized: I LOVE creating chalkboard art!
I asked a lot of questions about color application and design layouts, and there really was sooo much to learn. And just like the grocery signs, I used every menu board as a chance to make this one better than the last!
I worked at this company for 2 years, creating approximately 75 menu boards from start to finish. I ended up moving back to Missouri in 2010, but my passion for creating chalkboard menus and signs never left me.
And that's when Chalkbird Studio (now jazzyCHALKS) was born. And this blog will be my outlet to express my experiences with chalkboard art, and hopefully a place to inspire those who appreciate this form of functional artwork, too!
Thanks for reading about my story.
Every weekend, Kansas City has a wonderful farmer's market downtown. It is a stimulation for the senses! We usually head down and grab a bite to eat at The Tikka House where we enjoy a curried tikka chicken wrap and finish off with some baklava! MMM my. Then we peruse the isles of fresh, colorful produce. The prices are so reasonable, they can't be beat. I just love stocking up on fruits and veggies that roll me through my weekly meals.
What made the weekend even better, after the farmer's market we strolled over to the once-a-month antiquer's heaven down in the West Bottoms. Every first Friday weekend, about 15 antique stores open up for 3 days only. There is so much to see! I just moved to Kansas City a few months ago, so this was my first time experiencing the excitement.
I made sure to photograph the spooky decor. I just love how you can gather everyday decor items (such as above), in blacks and whites and silvers, add vines or branches, and it looks like Halloween!
This inspires me to be creative with my decorating by altering items I already own. It's fun to see what other minds come up with!
And that's a peek at my weekend :)