Merit Badges

merit_badges

I recently applied for a design job (spoiler: I didn’t end up working there), and the funnest part of the process was creating an unconventional cover letter!  My strategy was to take all the design skills they were looking for in their ad posting, and turn them into personal merit badges that I have earned over the years as a creative talent.  Above is a copy of the letter (with the company blurred out in case you were feeling nosy!).  I had such a blast making this–even though the job wasn’t the right fit, the person interviewing me really took delight in my drawings and made the experience very enjoyable. Not to mention I have all these fun drawings to reflect my artistic and design abilities!  Some of my favorites are posted on my website if you want to take a closer look.  Also, in case you were wondering about the Bigfoot, this company highlighted their love of Sasquatch in their ad, so I couldn’t help but pander a little bit (not to mention include a link to my old Bigfoot painting).

The Drought

McNeil_drought

 

I was recently asked to contribute a piece to the California College of the Arts Alumni and Faculty show. The theme we were to tackle was that of the ongoing California drought. It was interesting to see all the different takes that artists had on the situation. I usually aim for a more light-hearted look, and this was no exception.

Introducing Paper Moon Magic

poster_1000

Welcome to Paper Moon Magic!

My line of spiritual magic products were inspired by the alchemical articles one can find in botanicas; items which serve as good luck talismans, cures for all kinds of psychic ailments and heartbreaks, and occult devices to bring you whatever else you might deeply desire.

Having become acquainted with these colorful forms of self-empowering witchcraft in my Mexican-American upbringing, I wanted to update and transform these items into something meaningful to a new audience: the long time urbanite who feels disconnected from nature, other people, and even one’s self.

This project is deeply meaningful to me in my search to feel connected, I hope its charms find its way to others!

As always, you can see more at: meechelle.com

 

Thesis: Paper Moon Magic

 

Logo Stickers

After several weeks and months of planning, sketching, painting, and screen-printing, I am excited to finally start assembling my illustration thesis project.  For my thesis, I have designed and created a line of spiritual magic products, complete with a brand logo. My line is called Paper Moon Magic. It was inspired by the products one can find in botanicas (and markets like the large one in Mexico City profiled in the book Sonora: El Mercado de la Mágia, which was a huge influence one me), items which serve as good luck talismans, cures for all kinds of psychic ailments and heartbreaks, and occult devices to bring you whatever else you might deeply desire.  Having become acquainted with these colorful forms of self-empowering witchcraft in my Mexican-American upbringing, I wanted to update and transform these items into something meaningful to a new audience: the long time urbanite who feels disconnected from nature, other people, and even one’s self.

 

In blog posts to come  I will profile each one of these products….Come back very soon and there will be more!

Dodos!

I have had the pleasure of designing and illustrating for an amazing band, The Dodos , over the years*.  This is my most recent contribution:

dodos poster

I created the design and hand-lettering. The artwork was done by Victor Cayro, who also provided all the artwork for the new Dodos album, Individ. His stuff is amazing and you should check it out. The drummer, Logan, and I screen-printed these by hand. Get them while their hot!

 

*more of my Dodos work can be found at my Behance site!

Editorializing

Thumbs_ppocket_relief

 

After a long winter holiday break from this blog I am excited to share what’s been going on. Over the the last few weeks I spent a lot of time brainstorming what my illustration thesis is going to be.  I did a bunch of research and reading, as well as desperately searching for a theme that would actually make me excited and happy to work on it for the next 3 months. As usual, inspiration came in at the 11th hour, the weekend before my first thesis meeting was to commence.

But this blog entry isn’t about thesis, exactly. (I will get into that in future posts).  It’s more about my creative process and creative blocks, and being genuine to who I am as an illustrator.  The thumbnail drawing above was for a class I took at CCA. The assignment was to illustrate an op-ed piece  in the NY Times, about ISIS stealing antiquities and selling them in order to fund their activities. ( see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/03/opinion/isis-antiquities-sideline.html). I had a few ideas:

 

Print

 

but the fake hieroglyph was by far my favorite. I wanted do it in a relief style, kind of like this:

relief

(but not using a crappy photoshop filter).  It never came to pass, however, as my professor vetoed it. “Too funny,” he said.  Ultimately, I ended up with this:

grenade_vase_final

Yup, a grenade/vase. It wasn’t a bad solution. In fact, I received kudos for its concise simplicity and immediate symbolic readability–key features for a successful editorial illustration. But would I ever put this in my portfolio or want to be known for this kind of work? Nope.

I suppose I wouldn’t mind being known for this type of thinking. I actually love mashups. But there was something about this that smelled too much like work (instead of serious play) and it shows.  Maybe I am not the right illustrator to do a story about ISIS, and that’s okay. At least this taught me more about the kind of artist I actually want to be.  I may not be cut out to do every editorial out there, but I do have a unique vision of the world, and can editorialize in my own right.

Which brings me back to my thesis. Over the break, I actually found myself slipping back into this “I should do the kind of work people expect me do so I can get paid” mentality, brainstorming a few clunkers that would have never made me happy or bring out the best in me. Luckily, I snapped out that (hopefully for good) and decided on an idea that I think will be a lot of fun and serve as a strong personal statement. I will unveil it shortly so stay tuned!

 

 

Tracing Bigfoot’s Steps

As promised here is my journey through Bigfoot country.  I commenced by reading the wiki entry for Bigfoot. More specifically I looked at all the footnotes at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry, which was a source of much entertainment. I decided to go with the anecdote about Bigfoot’s distinct odor problem, which inspired the following scribbles:notes

 

(more…)

From Thumbnail to Final

bef_aft

Consider this a teaser for an upcoming blog post, where I show my process of going from thumbnail sketch to final painting. The piece was inspired by an article (a supposed first hand account) about the legendary beast, Bigfoot, and his even more legendary b.o. problem.  Coming soon!