Portrait Painting Process

Every painting has to go through an awkward phase before it can come out as a finished piece. 

Sometimes it can feel discouraging in the middle of the process when I’m buried in hours of half finished work and all that I have to show for it is the awkward phase. So for this project I took a photo at the end of every painting session in order to watch the progress and see more of an overview before focusing too heavily on the details.

S77 Halloween Hide-and-Seek

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Holidays present an opportunity for the team at S77 to take a quick break from client-driven projects to make something fun and quirky in whatever style we want. This year we took two days to concept, illustrate and animate a spooky graveyard hide-and-seek gif. 

Art Direction + Illustration: Chavilah Bennett
Character Rigging + Animation: Andrew Mark
Illustration + Color: Karl Fekete
Traditional Animation: Sarah Schmidt
Animation: Sean Conner



Urban Scrawl 2015

Urban Scrawl is an annual two-day community arts festival and urban renewal project held in the Franklin Arts District. The event features the live creation of murals, performances from local musicians and delicious treats from local food trucks.

This year I was excited to be chosen as one of the 64 participating mural artists. 

Urban Scrawl 2015 fell on a sunny Saturday in August. Upon arrival I was given a a large birch panel on which I was to paint for the next two days. I was VERY lucky be placed in one of the sections in the shade! 

Having never participated before I wasn't sure what to expect from the festival. It turned out to be better than I could have imagined. The not-unpleasant smell of sunny pavement, acrylic paint and food filled the air, live music played all day and there was a steady stream of visitors. Everyone was happy. 

Photo credit: Karl Francis

Photo credit: Karl Francis

Towards the end of the second day a sudden downpour drenched all of the panels, but it seemed only to encourage the general festivity of the crowd. The live music continued and children and adults danced together in the rain.

It was a joy to participate in such a wholesome, creative event. The end result was a closer-knit urban neighborhood and a diverse collection of beautiful artwork.

The mural panels are to be put up for auction to benefit the George Bellows Artist Grant Program at a fundraiser in early 2016. 

See more photos from Urban Scrawl 2015

Typism Book Two

A piece of my work was recently published in Typism Book Two, a collection of black and white lettering by talented typographers, font designers, hand-letterers and calligraphers from all over the world. The book debuted at the Typism 2015 Conference in Robina, Australia in April. 

Out of 900+ worldwide submissions, my coworker, Karl Fekete, and I both made the cut in the final 193 designs that were published! 

My coworker Karl Fekete and I showing our pages from Typism Book Two. 

My coworker Karl Fekete and I showing our pages from Typism Book Two. 

Behind the Scenes on a Sugar-Coated Shoot

An experimental project created in collaboration with photographer Sara Santillan. 
We had a lot of fun playing with brightly colored candy and makeup for this sugar-coated collection. 

Click here to see the gallery of final shots from the Sugar-Coated photoshoot.

Behind-the-Scenes: Firefox Animations

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My coworker Andrew brought this foxy scarf to the studio during the weeks we were working on the project.

My coworker Andrew brought this foxy scarf to the studio during the weeks we were working on the project.

The image of a half-drawn fox is permanently burned onto the back of my eyelids. 

S77 (the studio where I work) was hired to animated content for the Firefox OS exhibit at the 2014 Mobile World Congress

It was a traditional-animation-heavy project, so I've spent the last three weeks drawing the firefox, over and over, late into the night. 
For this project we animated the fox at 15 frames per second, so for each second of the animation there are fifteen hand-drawn and colored foxes (example below.)
Though the process of traditional animation is tedious at times, the outcome is worth it. The end result is an animation with a certain amount of fluidity and personality that is impossible to fully capture using faster techniques. 

As a studio that is primarily focused on motion graphics, landing a traditional-animation-heavy project was both exciting and challenging for us. 

I have really enjoyed my first experience with hand-drawn animation, I hope to work on more projects like this one. Getting the chance to combine a love for drawing with design and motion is thrilling! Also, I now have a wacom tablet at my work desk and I am in love with it. 

Working on this project took me out of my comfort zone. I can honestly say it was an extremely valuable, fun, rewarding experience... aaaand I will never look at a fox the same way. 

These 15 individually drawn frames make one second of animation.

These 15 individually drawn frames make one second of animation.

From sketch to final: a gif of the entire process of the first Firefox test animation. This animation was not used in the final.

From sketch to final: a gif of the entire process of the first Firefox test animation. This animation was not used in the final.

We received these photos from our satisfied client as he oversaw the exhibit construction in Barcelona, Spain.

We received these photos from our satisfied client as he oversaw the exhibit construction in Barcelona, Spain.

The Firefox OS exhibit at the Mobile World Congress 2014, Barcelona, Spain. (in this photo I can see six screens that are playing the fox animations!)

The Firefox OS exhibit at the Mobile World Congress 2014, Barcelona, Spain.
(in this photo I can see six screens that are playing the fox animations!)

UPDATE (November 2014)
S77 received a merit award for this project at the CSCA Creative Best. 
 

My Work in Times Square NYC!

The final design mockup.

The final design mockup.

My work is on the newest, highest-resolution video display screens in Times Square! I have the "Oh my gosh, I made that!" feeling. 

S77 (the studio where I work) was contacted by EXPRESS for a quick-turnaround project right before Christmas break. Our job was to create a "screensaver," a 15-30 second looping video that could be played between ads on the giant LED screens at 1552 Broadway. 
With very little direction on the design end, my coworker and I started turning out a wide variety of styleframes, hoping the client's feedback would give us a better idea of what they wanted to see. We sent everything from 3D type-based renders and photo-based styleframes to simple, two-color swiss-style looks. 

Inspiration and some snippets of the original styleframes that my coworker Nate and I created. 

Inspiration and some snippets of the original styleframes that my coworker Nate and I created. 

Out of all the styleframes they gravitated toward one of my 2D textured designs, but they wanted me to make it feel more "city" so I spent the next day making new styleframes based off of their remarks. The result was a very simple design with ambient movement to compliment the stationary EXPRESS logo. 

The screensaver design went up just in time for Christmas and New Year's Eve and will continue to play between ads during select times through the month of January 2014. 
It's strange to think that a design I helped to create has probably made it into the background of thousands of tourist photos. Something I designed added to the chaotic, exciting atmosphere that is Times Square! They will never know it was me... 

December Gallery Hop

After displaying my portrait work for the first time at the September Gallery Hop, the opportunity to show my work for a second time fell into my lap on short notice!
At Brother's Drake Meadery a scheduled artist had to back out just days before the December Gallery Hop, I heard about the open space from my boss and jumped on the opportunity. With a timeframe of 24 hours to get my collection together and hang everything, it was a rush to gather everything! I have my friends David and Michelle to thank for helping hang the show.

See more portrait work in my portfolio.

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Handlettering: Holiday Invite

This year I had free-range on the invitation design for S77's Holiday Happy Hour! 

I was inspired by traditional Victorian lettering with its beautifully ornate, complex and over-the-top designs but at the same time I didn't want the invitation design to feel stuffy. To keep it playful I decided to hand-draw the invitation with ink, embracing the small discrepancies and imperfections that give it a hand-made look. 

I started with a rough pencil sketch on grid paper, then scanned it and created a custom grid in illustrator based on the sketch. I printed the grid and drew a clean version with a .003 pencil, then inked with a  .005 micron.

I started with a rough pencil sketch on grid paper, then scanned it and created a custom grid in illustrator based on the sketch. I printed the grid and drew a clean version with a .003 pencil, then inked with a  .005 micron.

After the entire piece was inked, I scanned it then masked and colored the final in Photoshop.

After the entire piece was inked, I scanned it then masked and colored the final in Photoshop.

...then I carried the invite design into the gift tags. 

...then I carried the invite design into the gift tags.