Handlettering

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Handdrawn type is harder than it looks. Especially for someone who refuses to use rulers or straight edges.

The lovely thing about hand-lettering and typography is that it is done by hand. This leaves room for slight imperfections and crooked lines, which I can’t help but appreciate.
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I have been toying with some drawing apps on my Android phone. Experimenting with cursive fonts that I have been overlaying onto photographs I have taken. The example at the top was actually done on paper, then photographed for a similar process.

AMPERSANDxyz now on Instagram.

instagramcollageFINALMaybe I’m a little behind the times, but I’m happy to say that Instagram is new on the list of my favorite obsessions. As thrilled as I was to have a simple photo filter app on my new phone, I am definitely more excited to see things through other people’s eyes all over the world.

Feel free to follow me @chrissyjoxyz for snapshot of what Im currently working on, things soon to be added to the shop, and a good amount of random stay-at-home-mom excitement.

old sketchbooks.

drawsomethingFINALcontrast1Sometimes when I’ve run out of creative energy I feel the urge to look through my sketchbooks. Forgotten pages of quick sketches and magazine cutouts serve as some great reference material for projects I don’t know how to start. Last night, I stumbled upon a stack of my old sketchbooks from college and high school. To be honest, most of it is useless to me now, but it reminded me of my frame of mind–or maybe my motto– in art school. Just draw something.
askewbookfinalTAPETEXT2I don’t know if I had a finished product or work of art in mind when I filled these few hundred pages, but when I look back at my doodles now, I remember exactly where I was in my life, where I lived and how I felt.  At one time I had eight full-sized sketchbooks in progress at one time.

My Drawing Anatomy for Illustration professor in college highly influenced my obsession with always having paper and pencils at hand. In just a short little comment, that may have gone unnoticed by most students, our professor shared with the class that he, as a practicing professional painter, never went anywhere without his books.
longbookstrio2bRIBBONTEXTI began to draw everything I saw, and especially things I wanted to simply remember. Above are two rough Prismacolor marker sketches I did when I moved to Center City, Philadelphia. I vividly remember the second one, done from my apartment building’s front steps in early evening. I had just walked down Pine Street and purchased a few single bottles of beers that were completely out of my price range, and spent time watching people walk home from work, drawing little things I saw, (oh, and drinking), and enjoying my alone time in the city.

I’m taking the time to revisit my old sketchbooks, and maybe I can find something that inspires me for projects I have planned. It has always been my goal to integrate my own work into my Etsy shop, although I also find a certain kind of inspiration from vintage. Even if, for right now, “just draw something” means, Just Draw Something Again.

can’t keep me from vintage.

newfebtapeTEXTIn my efforts and time spent creating and crafting, I have neglected to list my recent vintage finds at AMPERSANDxyz on Etsy. Well, until now that is.

Although I consider myself an artist first, and a collector second, I cant help but be drawn to items from the past. And, to be honest, the majority of my shop is made up of retro pieces  It’s hard not to appreciate the design and ingenuity of common household objects or fashion of the generations before.  Some were mass-produced, yes, but each and every item has a great artist (or artists) behind it.

Feel free to visit the shop at AMPERSANDXYZ.etsy.com.

the artwork of dan eells.

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Recently, I received an awesome package in the mail from the multi-talented Dan Eells of Philadelphia. Inside were two original watercolor pieces, a mixed media collage and two glossy stickers of his digital work.  I have been a fan of Dan’s work since I stumbled upon some of his collages through mutual “art friends” on Facebook. It isn’t often that you see an artist who is completely confident in nearly every artistic medium, and still has the ability to unify them with a common weirdness.

Source: dieells.tumblr.comDan Eells’ work brings old printed images into the modern era with strange juxtopositioning and bright bold colors. His ink drawings when combined with watercolor allow you to see portraits and animals in a unique new light. Although, a lot of the surface may remain untouched white, the amount of detail in what is drawn or painted is overwhelmingly powerful.

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I was immediately reminded of his art when I randomly acquired a giant stack of vintage National Geographic magazines from the early 70’s to late 80’s.  By sending Dan a small stack of these magazines, I am the proud new owner of several of his pieces!  I couldn’t be happier.

To find out more about Dan Eells, follow him on Tumblr at DIEELLS.TUMBLR.COM.
Some of his paintings and printed work can also be seen at daneells.com.

experiments with shrink plastic.

As an artist, I can safely say I love every medium. Now, I’m not saying i have every craft supply completely figured out or the end result will be a masterpiece, but a love just the same. In this past year I have experimented with embroidery, rediscovered my excitement for printmaking, and even tried to sew a summer dress for my daughter. Not everything has worked out as planned, and I am well aware that I have no business touching any 3-dimensional material such as clay, ever again.

Today I found a new craft material which I foresee a lifelong love affair with. Shrink plastic. You might remember shrink plastic marketed as Shrinky Dinks from when you were a child. A thin sheet of plastic which can be drawn or painted on, cured in your oven, and resulting in a shrunken, thicker, and more vibrant version of your work of art. Shrink plastic has since grown up and many adults see it as a medium for scrapbooking, decorations and jewelry.

On almost every website that offered a shrink plastic tutorial, testing a square before your actual design was highly recommended. But guess what? That’s not exactly how I roll. I lieu of my sister’s upcoming birthday, I decided to make her a necklace featuring her beloved Great Danes, Abby and Emma.
abbyandemmanecklace-blog2As it turns out, I was completely thrilled with my first attempt using shrink plastic. I chose to use only standard black Sharpie markers, instead of getting all crazy with color for fear of making a muddled mess. Some of my sister’s Facebook photos of  “her girls” were used as reference. I ignored the enclosed instructions of an oven temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit and decided to play it safe at 275.  I did however, seal both sides with clear glossy varnish as suggested by many. Overall, I see a lot of shrink plastic in my future.

I bought my shrink plastic from Artistic Supplies on Etsy.

hello there.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve written on a blog. That being said, things are a hell of a lot different these days. All of those late nights in high school spent memorizing html and css script are gladly behind me.

A lot has happened in those years, but since the August 2012 opening of my etsy shop, AMPERSANDxyz, I’ve strived to build a larger internet presence  By creating this blog, I hope to share some of my recipes, daily findings and crafty ideas. Ready, set, go!blogyall