Friday, August 31, 2012


Louie the duck.
Chiaroscuro literally means light and dark. Some objects in the image are very dark while others are beautifully lit. I've always loved chiaroscuro and when my two year old wanted me to take pictures of some of his favorite toys I decided to give it a try. I don't consider myself a photographer. I just have fun and snap lots of pictures for inspiration. I don't have any fancy photography equipment. In fact, all I used for these shots was a window, an iPhone and a very giggly two year old. I think they turned out rather nice.
The Wes man. 
I love the bright shimmer of his hair and the fact that you can't see the messy playroom behind him. 
Mr. Bear
A little worn, a little matted but full of love (and probably boogers).
Here is how to create some of your own chiaroscuro photos:
  1. Select a window with very bright direct sunlight. I chose a window on the West side of our house just before sunset. 
  2. Place your subject in the middle of the beam of light. 
  3. Set your exposure to the brightest area on your subject. If you are using an iPhone like I did tap the screen so that the blue focus box is on the brightest area. Wait. You should see the exposure change so that the background appears darker and you can see detail in the highlights.
  4. Crop and adjust the contrast if needed. I only had to tweak these photos slightly so that the background was true black.
If you need a visual Mr. Giraffe has volunteered to be an example.
Well done Mr. Giraffe. 
Post links to your photos in the comments if you decide to try this. I would love to see them!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bunny Character

I'm working on more illustrations for Winter Promise. The stories for their readers are cute and full of characters. It can be difficult to bring life and personality to each character. I try to include siple elements to make each character unique. This bunny is Aunt Lacey. She is nice but proper and defiantly dislikes clumsy porcupines who walk through her washing. I gave her pearls and an apron for her proper, organized side and a cheery sunflower to show she isn't disapproving all the time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Love Cake

It's true. I do love cake but I also love my son and learning new things. I thought this picture of Wes was adorable so I popped it into Photoshop, brightened the colors and added text. I just couldn't find the typeface I pictured in my mind. I normally stay away from hand lettering because of my terrible penmanship but I live in a create-everyday-try-new-things world now so I gave it a shot. I created a new calligraphic pen in Illustrator and drew the letters on the angle I wanted. I think it turned out nice but I have a lot more to learn.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Small Dog = Big Personality

Here is today's creation for you. Why is it that small dogs always have the biggest personalities?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rat Cop

I've mentioned how much I like illustrating for Winter Promise. If you needed one more example of why it's so fun here you go. Rat Cop. That's right I got to draw a rat as a cop. Too fun!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fawn Illustration

I have another Winter Promise illustration for you today. They sure keep me busy! This sweet creature is Fawn. She's lost her mother. Can the creatures of Pine Hollow help her? I hope so!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fox Illustration

I've been doing a lot of work for Winter Promise. They are creating new language arts workbooks and I've been doing all the illustrations. The stories are fun and the characters are adorable. I'm really enjoying it. This sneaky guy is Rascal Dickens, a troublesome fox bent on pestering the little critters in Pine Hollow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rock and Roll Nursery Art

I love lime and navy for a baby boy's room. If we have another baby maybe we will do a rock and roll themed nursery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


One of my favorite trendy colors is coral. I have no love for coral on it's own especially in clothing. It tends to really bring out the blue in my skin tones and make me look a bit corpsey (is that a word?) But pair coral with mint, aqua, dusty blue or warm grey put it on a pillow or a card and I'll snap it up in a second.  
Here is some actual coral that resides in my bathroom.

Monday, August 20, 2012

One Creative Year

Who: I'm Christy Beckwith an illustrator, graphic designer, greeting card writer and mother of two little boys. I love to create visual imagery that is whimsical, charming and oftentimes humorous.

What: One Creative Year is a personal blog project where I have challenged myself and anyone who will join me to create something everyday for one year. It doesn't have to be big. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be a daily process.

Why: Great idea aren't born in a vacuum they come through hard work, talking to others and a lot of just plain doing. Committing to creating something everyday is the first step in becoming great at your craft. I plan to use this year to explore new methods of image creation, new patterns, textures and unexpected color combinations.What do you want to be better at a year from now? What have you always wanted to try but never dared? Now is the time to try. If you fail you can just make something new tomorrow.

How: If you want join me place the image below with a link to this page then send me an email with your blog link. I'll post your link in my sidebar. Then create and post your work and check back here often for inspirational posts and creative discussions.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Elephant Nursery Art for William


I made a little elephant poster for William today. You can have one too if you like. Just click the image and edit the text. Hope you like it!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Illustration Friday: Teacher

I have several friends and family members who are teachers. I don't know how they do it. I've been in front of a classroom full of children. It's terrifying. I am in complete awe of any one who can be at ease in a classroom setting and who can teach children with energy and passion. That is truly an art.