vintage color studies

vintage color study | Pinegate Road

In high school I took my first painting class my sophomore year. During that class, I filled up a sketchbook (or two) of watercolor samples, strokes from different paintbrushes, and learned how important it was to practice and classify the different tools and techniques you use in a particular set of skills. I still have yet to manage this with calligraphy, but it’s definitely on my someday-list! I love looking back to this sketchbook to see not only how far I’ve come as an artist, but also to look back at how those fundamentals in practice and color theory really trained me as an artist before I ever knew that graphic design existed. When I saw these vintage color studies, I immediately thought back to this class and how much I miss working with color in a tangible way. Just check out the tonal quality of these colors. I’m pretty into it. Also, picking tones from physical practice is something that you just really can’t emulate in the digital environment. Add more water to a color, or drop a home-mixed black right in; that’s just all sorts of crazy when you’re used to one-click attainment. I don’t know if I’m ready to bust out my old watercolors—and I’d be really surprised if they were actually useable and not completely dried up at this point—but these are helping me reevaluate how I got about picking colors. Annnnnd I really miss painting. Just putting that out there.

vintage color study | Pinegate Road

vintage color study | Pinegate Road

vintage color study | Pinegate Road

vintage color study | Pinegate Road

How do you go about picking colors? Do you usually find inspiration online, or do you look to things physically to figure that out? While I don’t think I’ll be losing my online research anytime soon, it’s always nice to look to alternative routes, right?

Sidenote, that calligraphy is killer.


ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | the inspiration | Pinegate Road

Today, I think we have a real treat for you all. Maybe you’ve noticed that over the past couple months Pinegate Road has started to delve a little into design theory, and a little bit more on practice. This might be my thesis’ influence, but this deeper discussion on design and meaning has been popping up all over it seems. I think everyone’s getting a little bit curious about their own practices, so looking deeper into the how’s and why’s is only natural. A couple months ago I was happily struck by one of Rashi’s posts on iteration—she realized that she was fed up with ‘good enough’ and wanted to move towards ‘great’ with her design. She found that through not settling, and creating a couple more iterations, she was able to feel like she really accomplished something with her final design. Paired with my thoughts on inspiration, Rashi and I decided to create a collaborative project where we would be ‘inspired’ by the same image, iterate through the process, and present our work. Showing our process, and how we work as graphic designers is something that we both wanted to explore more, and showing how the same inspiration can find its way into the work of two different projects is really just the cherry on top. This will be a four-part series that we’ll be presenting on each of our blogs every other Wednesday, so I hope you’ll join along on this tandem creative adventure!

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | the brainstorming | Pinegate Road

For part one, Rashi and I are both working from the image above, photograph by Ruby James. When I first start working on a project, I like to start with a word map to get all of the perceived meaning out of my head and onto paper. From here I usually start to find themes in my thinking and start to pick up on how the project might start to shape. When working through this process, I really started thinking about beauty, turning sadness into happiness, vintage aesthetics, and empathy based on that golden tear. After getting this out onto paper, I came up with a few ideas from which to work. The thing about my process is, is that I almost never end up creating what I set out to in this section. While I decided to create a sympathy card, small tweaks in my un-written process happened that lead me to think about the saying: “Sorry I’m not sorry.” This is a favorite of my friend Megan. She’s pretty much fearless, and this describes her attitude towards life in so many ways. While not rude, she’s always going to be herself, and she’ll never be sorry about showing that. As I started thinking about it, I realized that this saying was really turning around a sympathetic reaction—perfect reflection in regards to the golden tear running down the woman’s face in the photo.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | the iterating | Pinegate Road

I started off doing what I normally do: I letter. I went through sketches and tracings, and more sketches to work out the lettering for this project. When I got through a couple versions,  I realized that it just wasn’t feeling right. The tear is creating a flowing line, almost geometric, and I wanted to bring back in the vintage feeling as well as some gold elements. I decided to create a card that had the saying printed in a bold sans serif, with a gold overlay, in an envelope with some vintage-inspired fabric as the liner. You know, because I have that kind of thing laying around here. Really.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | happy mistakes | Pinegate Road

FAIL. This is one of those happy accidents that happens when you get into the thick of creating. When I tried to iron on the gold overlay, it crinkled up the paper, and melted the ink leaving these deep wood-like grooves in the green part of the card. While the gold might have looked pretty neat, I was so intrigued by how this accident created a pattern that flowed with the fabric I was using for the envelope liner. Sometimes, you just need to embrace these kinds of things.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | The Letter | Pinegate RoadITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | fabric-lined envelope | Pinegate RoadITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | The Envelope | Pinegate Road

From here, I assembled the final piece and mailed this letter out to my friend Megan, who inspired the saying. While disperate from the original photograph, I think the intentions ring true to how it inspired me. I even added a little bit of gold with the washi tape on the envelope, as well as a note of the script with how I addressed the envelope. With an open-ended project goal, I was more interested in following where the process lead than trying to dictate it based on my initial thoughts. What I learned most importantly from this project was to embrace mistakes, and to practice creating without the fear of failure. When there was no end goal, I was free to have fun and work on a whim, and I was able to send my friend a rad note that will possibly make her day. That kind of makes it all worth-while in my mind.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | part one | Rashi's Work | Pinegate Road

I hope you enjoyed this first part of the new collaborative project! Hopefully this might inspire you to look into some of your own creative processes a little more closely to learn some valuable lessons about your work, and about yourself. Head on over to Bucket of Squash to see how Rashi was inspired by this photograph, and check in soon for another iterative inspiration in a couple weeks!

ART THAT’S INSPIRING | lulie wallace, painter

Lulie Wallace - Art That's Inspiring - Pinegate Road

I think one of these needs to come home with me. Today, I’m completely transfixed by the beautiful color and texture found in these paintings by Lulie Wallace. I was happy to find out that she is an artists who practices in Savannah’s sister city, Charleston. For more on her and her work, check out her website. These are seriously so good, and there are many more where that came from!