As an HCI major with editing and journalism minors, to say I’ve done my fair share of website and periodical design would be an understatement.
News and magazine layouts are some of the most fulfilling pieces of design work I’ve done. In addition to my work at the Whitworthian, I took an internship in the summer of 2019 at The Spokesman-Review, designing web layouts for their Further Review features, and I quite enjoy designing fictional magazines and websites on my own time.
The magazine cover shown here was a fun project. The design process included first picking a theme and “mood”, then the name reflecting that, then the colors and fonts, and so on. The result is a brand guide I could use to produce further issues of Nosh—although I’ll not wax poetic about my love of brand guides here. See last week’s post for that!
The website mockups here are another project I used to challenge myself with mood and branding. The objective was to create three different moods using only color. Everything else—fonts, photos, logo—are the same. This, too, shows the importance of consistent branding and vision when approaching a design. (There I go again with the brand guides…)
I made this teapot when I was a junior in college. I wanted to create an artwork that was expressive and unique but also functional. As I built up the clay, I learned a lot about myself as an artist and I had a chance to experiment with different ways to create textures in clay. One of my favorite parts of this teapot is the spout. The design on the spout was inspired by woodworking patterns I found on Pinterest. I feel that this piece accurately represents me as an artist. I deeply appreciate that with clay I can create art that has a functional use in life.
This pot was made as a challenge to myself as I was learning how to throw clay on the wheel. I wanted to see if I could accomplish something that would challenge and push my skills. This is still by far the largest piece that I have made on the wheel.
I made this vase when I was first learning to throw on a wheel. This piece started off as an experiment with raku to learn more about the technique. I enjoy raku because it is a more traditional way to fire ceramic pieces.
For this piece I was exploring melting glass into a ceramic form. In high school I experimented a little by placing marbles into the bottom of a vessel before being fired for the second time. For this project I used broken pieces of fused glass instead. Overall, I think it worked much better. The colors blended better and are more vibrant. On the outside of the vessel is carved “Warren G 20’” referencing what dorm I stayed in my first year while attending Whitworth.
For this vessel I focused on varying the texture in preparation for another, much larger piece. In the end it turned out just how I wanted, so I kept it. The aspect of this piece that is most favorable is the sleek line between the glazed and the unglazed areas. In addition to that the varying shades of yellow throughout the exterior of the piece compliment the bare stoneware.
This was made for the kitchen in my college house. Having seven guys means a lot of cooking so a utensil holder was useful. This design was in process as the Pandemic set in, so I was unable to refine it to perfection. However, the flaring lip coupled with the rolls on the exterior add to the holders form.
Costa Rica’s high-elevation cloud forests are rich with diversity. Birds found there are often found nowhere else or are restricted to a narrow range of habitat in the highlands of central America. The birds are colorful but easy to miss in the high canopy. Ecotourism helps bring people closer to the amazing species found in the cloud forest, which in turn helps conserve the delicate ecosystem. The opportunity to observe these birds in Costa Rica is one I will not forget and will continue to explore in my lifelist series by illustrating the diversity I saw there.
The resplendent quetzal is a stunning iridescent green bird. Adult males have long tail streamers and bright red bellies. Quetzals rely on wild avocado trees, colloquially known as aguacatillo, for food. They carefully select the ripest fruits, swallow it whole, and regurgitate the seed. When they drop the seed it can germinate and grow into a new tree, helping to regenerate the forest and provide food for other birds and animals that eat them. Quetzals are frequently found in indigenous central American culture because of their unique appearance.
Collared redstarts are a part of the large group of New World warblers of the Parulidae family. They are curious and energetic, flashing their lemon-yellow belly and rusty crest amongst the lower story of the cloud forest.
Blue-gray tanagers have a habit of gleaning for insects by looking underneath leaves and branches. Their plumage is a soft gray, tinted with many shades of blue that are especially prominent in their wings. Their large dark eye gives them a sweet, inquisitive expression that is a joy to paint. This one is depicted on the flower stalk of a Billia hippocastanum tree. The bright sunset pink of the flower contrasted nicely with the muted blues of the bird.
Brilliant hummingbirds are one of Costa Rica’s specialties, and the lesser violetear is no exception. Compared to the tiny Anna’s and Rufous hummingbirds I’m used to seeing in the northwestern US, these blue-green hummingbirds seemed huge. I was fascinated by the way they fanned their banded tail in territorial display at feeders or prime flower spots. Their namesake violet “ears” added to their display. Learning to differentiate between the green hummingbirds as they raced between the trees was challenging but these were one of my favorite species.
To round out this presentation, I decided to design an environment I hadn’t yet explored: retail. I transformed my own logo and branding into a fictional “athleisure wear” store called Mariah Athletics. This project combines my love of black and white with my identity as a student athlete, and stands out from other stores because of the use of script.
The graphic style of the store design combines simple, geometric elements with brushier fonts and accents to create a high-contrast, eye-catching environment. I wanted this environment to be a mix between high-end athletic wear stores, like Lululemon, and a messier, graffiti like style. The simple color palette and the sans-serif font in the logo and sign give the high-end vibe, whereas the script font and graffiti textures provide a bit of an edge.
For almost half of my life, I have wrestled with a form of OCD that is fixated on my skin and hands. Being an artist and having this disorder has created a vexing dichotomy: I see my hands either as a tool that can be exploited by my OCD or one that can create beautiful things. Much of my personal digital illustration work explores this complicated relationship. Visually inspired by the cutouts of Henri Matisse, these bright colors and whimsical shapes create overtones of hope and healing, as well as a sense of escape from the feelings of anxiety that often accompany this disorder. This visual aesthetic of color and playfulness bleeds into a lot of my other work as well. When I design something, I want it to remind people of the joy and beauty in the world that exists alongside whatever struggles they are encountering. I pull my illustrations into my design work to bring in an element of human touch and connection that we so desire.
These works both tell stories related to struggles with mental health, and how those struggles can feel for individuals living with anxiety or depression. “Mr. Blue” is meant to reflect how depression can make an individual feel like a ghost of themselves. It also shows the effects of untreated mental illness over time, with the figure becoming more and more overwhelmed by depression. “Anxiety” is meant to illustrate what it’s like inside the mind of someone who lives with anxiety. Specifically, the constant internal conflict of making the right decision, when ultimately it feels like there is no true solution to the problem being faced.
My pet portraits are all commissioned. I use Procreate and a variety of brushes to achieve detailed portraits of peoples beloved pets. I’ve done 100+ pet portraits in the last year and a half and have sold pieces through Etsy, Instagram, farmers markets, and craft fairs. Being able to use a reference photo and capture specific animals’ unique features has been a challenge for me as an artist and I’ve noticed my illustration skills improving from doing these. Each portrait is completely original and personalized to the client’s needs.
Find me on Instagram @camrynscutecreations or on the web at http://camrynbreneman.com or look me up on Etsy at camrynscutecreations
Topics that have interested me and influenced my artwork have encompassed many academic fields. The main thing I have come to recognize about myself is that, though strenuous at times, the research used to discover meaning within the work I create is the most impactful part of the creative process. I never really know where these theories will take me, but the ability to quickly edit and create art in large quantities is what mainly drew my interest towards screen-printing.
Printmaking has been the most influential studio course that I have taken during my career at Whitworth, influencing the research and interests I have continued to pursue. Being given the option to repeatedly take the class for credit has only aided my effectiveness in creating and developing ideas through the printmaking process.
The prints included in this post are one of the initial trial-and-error process prints I went through to learn about the relationship between different 2D objects. They explore how orientation can change our perception of the objects. The initial idea was that these different shapes would help create a perceived 3D cube on the 2D page. Most of the research I did on this topic took me in the direction of phenomenology and Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, as well as artists Josef Albers and Robert Mangold. The combination of these sources and the creative process is what led to different iterations and designs in this series, as well as influenced my need for in-depth research throughout my creative process. This impacted not only my artwork but also my entire Whitworth experience, making the liberal arts experience even more crucial for my education.
In this selection of works, I’ve focused on expressing various ways that mental illness can manifest and impact the tone of life. Interior Space delves into this from a more positive perspective. Having personally dealt with anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphia for significant portions of my life, finding comfort within myself and my body has been quite a challenge. This print represents the surreal peace that arises (on a good day) when significant work in learning to accept yourself finally pays off. For me, learning to see my interior world as a sanctuary that I carry with me has helped me be less afraid of the outside world and my place within it. The use of sparkly stickers and cutesy motifs in concert with sharp black shadows and contours serves as a metaphor for the intensity with which many of our dreamy and playful hearts have to push against dysfunction.
While the benefits of healing can be immense and profound, A Thousand Sordid Images was conceived out of frustration over the problems that persist. Despite the endless other characteristics that define me as a person, it often feels as if the messy parts of me are the only aspects I present to the world. The woman portrayed in this image appears interesting and confident, with her tattoos and unique interior design choices. The metal leafing on her underwear emphasizes the brazenness with which she presents her whole self, and brings a vivacious energy to the statement she is making about her identity. The woman’s bold presentation of herself makes the sink, overflowing with black liquid, even more noticeable and strange. It could be argued that the eerie mess makes the whole image more interesting or compelling, or that it distracts from the positive aspects of the character the image represents, leading her to appear messy, dysfunctional, or irresponsible.
The two Dollhouse paintings were made by printing the same linoleum plates onto two separate canvases. I then experimented with altering the color palette from one to the other in order to impact the mood of the image. Both were painted in sweet, cheerful color schemes and the overall style and size of the house is one of luxury, comfort, and elegance. When looking closer however, many of the details in the home seem off in some way. The abundance of untouched desserts piled on the kitchen counter, floor, and table, the wasp’s nest hanging like a chandelier in the living room, the gaping hole in the floor of the upper right bedroom- all of these elements contribute to an unease in the otherwise pleasant environment. This house illustrates the complexity of being raised in a family that holds a significant amount of privilege, appearing functional and content, yet is plagued by mental illness. The sweet color palette and youthful imagery (stuffed animals, cartoon hearts, frosted desserts) paired with dark and nonsensical narrative elements are key to the purpose of these paintings. They reflect the mind of a child as they gain slow awareness of the deep problems within what was once thought of as a perfect dollhouse life.
One of the things that first drew me to graphic design was the visual interplay between images and text. The following examples display two different approaches – handmade and digital – to this image-text relationship.
Spread Your Wings is a handmade collage that conveys its message through medium, color, text and imagery. I layered elements found in magazines over a stylized, hand-drawn background. The finished product uniquely allows me to combine my love of quotes, photography, graphic design and fine art. While most of my work is created digitally, I find the process of making things by hand therapeutic. For this reason, I plan to incorporate collage into my future designs whenever possible.
Inspired by the Seattle Children’s Theater world premiere production of Black Beauty, this poster was created to advertise the play in a fictional setting. The story of Black Beauty is a tale of animal cruelty and hardship told from a horse’s perspective. This juxtaposition is depicted in the horse head image because it combines both real and fictional elements, much like the story itself. Using the head shape from one of my own photographs, I added the graphic pattern to resemble the style and form of the large horse puppet in the play. Additionally, I chose to make the eye detailed and realistic to represent the narrator and to instill an emotional connection with the viewer. Limiting the color palette to gray and black unites the text with the image.
This design is dedicated to a late friend and teammate Deante Strickland. Some of my fondest memories with Deante were playing basketball all over the Portland area. Whether it was working out in the muggy SEI gym or playing a high school game at Central Catholic, Tae was always running circles around defenders. The silhouette depicts Deante’s number “11” emerging out of the Portland skyline. I created one of my light-hearted illustrations of Deante to represent his laid-back character and contagious smile. I also included the quote by Martin Luther King Jr to represent the perseverance that Deante displayed throughout his life. He persevered through people that doubted his short stature, his attitude and his dedication to academics. After two years of junior college ball Deante played for two years at Portland State before graduating. He was planning to go back to school to earn a masters and play a season of football at Portland State before he passed.
J. Bloome is a mock floral event and décor company. I used my illustration style to create a logo that people will associate with the company. My greatest challenge was to combine simplicity with uniqueness. I tried to accomplish this by using soft lines and a limited color palette. I used a limited color palette with the peach and cream. I used splashes of green to make the brand more dimensional. Color is important to this design, however it can also be displayed in black and white without losing the association to the company.
I created this logo for PlumCrazy Photography last summer, and it was the first full project I had done with branding, from conceptualization to completion. It was a great process of discussing with the client what was needed, and then taking the thoughts and ideas that they had envisioned for their company and representing them in a visual way.
This was a project I designed for my old high school’s recording of their spring production of The Little Mermaid. Due to COVID-19 regulations and closures, they were only able to perform on opening night before the rest of their season was shut down. They were, however, given permission to do one last performance of the play without an audience in order to record it. I had the privilege of designing the artwork for the cover of the CD. My brother is a senior this year and it was his last performance in the pit orchestra with the school. I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of this experience with him, and creating the cover design was a lot of fun. The shape of the CD definitely posed some challenges initially, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone as an artist, and I believe that is important. I partnered with PlumCrazy Photography, the company that produced the video, to finish the design.
This was commissioned by a family friend and his Podcast team in Utah. The hand design and inner circle of the logo was already established by the time I got to the project, but I created all other aspects of the design. I set the text in the arc of the logo and added the outer rings, and I created the YouTube banner from scratch. This freelance job was a great exercise in communication with a client and how to complete work in a professional and timely manner.
I was recently gifted an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as a graduation gift, and I have been creating illustrative designs like crazy. I find this method to be a great way to combine my interest in illustration with my love for typography in fun and engaging artworks. I hope to use this new tool in the future to aid in my branding and logo creations, possibly transferring designs I create on my iPad to Illustrator and turning them into vectors to add more of a hand-drawn feel to some of my designs.
This was another product of my new iPad and is another example of the combination of illustrative images with text to present a message to the viewer. Being able to focus on the details of a design through the hands-on approach of using the iPad has been extremely helpful in my design work.