Teaching Thursday: Photo Booth Backdrops

Those who follow me on Pinterest know that I have a fairly bloated board called “Need to Make” that is full of DIY projects of all kinds. One thing that shows up a lot on this board is photo booth backdrop tutorials. Backdrops like these are a fun addition to any casual get-together or even formal events like weddings. I once helped make a photo backdrop out of cones of wax paper that ended up being a gorgeous frothy background for the bride and groom at the head table. Be warned though–backdrops can take forever to make! If you give yourself plenty of lead time, you can use those nights spent binge-watching Netflix as mindless backdrop-making time too. Sounds like my kind of DIY!

Multicoloured Balloon Wall from PopSugar

Let’s start off with an easy one. The hardest part of this DIY is finding the helium with which to fill the balloons. Then you just tape them to the floor with varying lengths of ribbon until you’ve made a solid floating backdrop. Recommended pose: Charlie’s Angels.

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Teaching Thursday: Perspective Drawing

It’s time to gain some perspective. Ha! That was a terrible joke. But it doesn’t negate the fact that a solid understanding of perspective is essential to artists, even if you want to paint like Picasso. You need to know the rules before you can break them and these tutorials will give you a head start. Perspective drawing is definitely a skill I need to work on, so let’s go!

One Point Perspective Drawing by Student Art Guide

Student Art Guide is an indispensably valuable resource for young artists that I stumbled across a few months ago. It is based on school curriculum and on helping high school art students to build their portfolios. This article is for those who have never tried perspective drawing before and includes several videos and exercises.

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Teaching Thursday: Type Games

When you go to graphic design school, the biggest learning curve is in figuring out how to use type correctly. From kerning to justification to hyphenation to choosing compatible typefaces, it’s no wonder that type is one of the most difficult things students in my program have to master. Today on Teaching Thursday I’m sharing three games that will help you to hone your type skills while having fun!

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Teaching Thursday: Food Styling

Hello everyone! A week passes so quickly and it’s time for yet another Teaching Thursday post. Today’s topic was inspired by some research I did for my pairing book project, for which I needed to photograph ten different kinds of hot chocolate and cookie pairings. After several hours of heating and reheating hot chocolate, lying in sprinkles, and wiping up maple syrup, I had gained a lot of respect for food stylists and photographers. So if you’d like to show off some of your culinary creations or just take better photos of your lunch for Instagram, check out some of these tutorials!

Digital Photography School Tutorials

This website features several articles about the art of food styling and photography. The ones that I found most helpful were Food Photography – An Introduction, 10 Tips to Improve Your Food Photography Styling, and Food Photography Techniques and Tips. They also publish an ebook called Snapn Food if you’re willing to spend a few dollars.

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5 Reasons Why I Photograph My Life

There’s something about the knowledge that spring is coming that breathes life back into me. Although I love the cosiness of winter, the warmer months motivate me to bring out my camera and capture beauty. I have always enjoyed photography but I became obsessed with it two summers ago when I purchased a DSLR. I wanted to get a head start on learning manual photography before I started my graphic design program that fall. Since then I’ve (kind of) mastered manual mode, purchased a couple of affordable lenses, and spent plenty of time reading tutorials and completing photography assignments for school. During those two summers I discovered something even better than just being able to take “pretty” photos–the fact that I was capturing memories. So with that in mind, here are my top five reasons that photographing your life is important!

Practicing will make you a better photographer

There is something really gratifying about improving your photography skill so that the photos you share on Facebook come closer to matching your vision. If I see a beautiful landscape, I want to be able to show others just how incredible it actually was! I’ve captured a lot of shots that make my heart super happy simply because their colours or composition are pleasing.


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Teaching Thursday: Papercutting

Welcome back to another edition of Teaching Thursday! Right now one of my school projects involves creating a typography-themed calendar using cut paper. I don’t have much experience working with cut paper, other than a snakes and ladders safari-themed illustration project that I did last year (see header). So today I’ve gathered a few resources to inspire and instruct both myself and you in the fascinating art of papercutting.

All About Papercutting

It’s always helpful to see an overview of a certain skill before attempting it. This website has plenty of articles featuring unique papercutting designs, news from the community, and freebies. This should give you an idea of the designs that can be made using paper and how it has blossomed into a recognized art form.

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Review: Huion L4S LED Light Pad

It’s a fact of life that when you need a light table, you really need one. This week I needed to ink over a dozen different scenes and characters using my rough sketches and a blank sheet of paper. I could have used the childhood tracing trick and taped the sheets to a window but wanted to be able to ink on a horizontal surface. So I found a glass-topped coffee table and set it on top of a rubber tote, then put a desk lamp underneath and shone it upwards. It worked, but it was warm. My parents noticed this ridiculous assemblage and ordered me the Huion L4S LED Light Pad off of Amazon as an early birthday surprise.


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Teaching Thursday: Inking Lineart

Over the past few days I’ve been working on an animated book trailer project for Illustration class. The approach I have been taking is to sketch out the rough scenes and then use a light table to ink lineart on a new piece of paper. Then I scan them in and piece them together in Photoshop before colouring. One thought that has stayed with me throughout this process is, “Man, I need to get better at inking lineart.” Today’s Teaching Thursday post features tutorials that I’ll be studying in order to improve–they might even help you too!

Ink Techniques with Francis Vallejo

First things first: let’s get inspired. This is a video in which illustrator Francis Vallejo demonstrates three different ways to ink traditionally–pen, brush, and a combination of the two. I’ve often heard people lament that inking takes the life out of a drawing, but Vallejo’s gorgeous finished artwork proves that wrong. Even if you’re not interested in learning how to ink, watch this video to see a unique style and a beautiful artistic process.

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