anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘illustration

Mapping Imaginary Islands

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About a year ago I met my friend Paula Flach. We were both at a film festival together, and somehow our paths had seemed destined to converge. Since that initial meeting she has challenged me to see the world a little differently, to appreciate things a little more. She has become an essential part of my own creative process.

Paula and I both have an obsession with islands. In fact we had even applied for a collaborative artist residency on an island this summer. We won’t be going to that residency (obviously), and when I forwarded her the email from the residency she responded with this: “I guess 2020 is an island in and of itself.”

It’s true. This year does feel like an island. Remote, disconnected, solitary.

There are dark and bright sides to islands, they are full of allure and of fear. They are harbors of restorative solitude but also isolation. But they are also magical, special places.

When I first started writing these challenges, I reached out to Paula to ask if she would write a guest prompt that involved islands. She is really good at imaginative mapping, and I thought that this could be useful in pushing our own creative boundaries, in particular during a moment of separation and isolation. If you can’t meet with your friends, if you can’t travel to the places you love, if you can’t find a sense of normalcy, you do the next best thing: you create that place—you make your own island. 

We put together this guide to help you do just that. I hope you enjoy

Imaginative Mapping: Making Your Own Island
By Paula Flach

An island is an easy concept and can yet be infinitely complex. A world unto itself, an island can hold all the opposites, all the lightness and all the darkness within one confined space.

These days, we are required to spend our time exactly there—a confined space. But what could be a claustrophobic idea, can also hold boundless creativity. This is where an imaginary island comes in. A place that you can escape to in your mind, and on paper, and maybe even one where you want to invite others.

  • What would an island for you and your friends look like?
  • What does the island of your social distancing look like?
  • What does an island of solidarity look like? Is it really an island or rather a peninsula?
  • Or what does the feeling of isolation look like?

I have used imaginary mapping to scrutinize my inner life and literally map out my emotions, thoughts and beliefs. Unsurprisingly, it helps to see things a little clearer and creating maps of common places also elicits a feeling of togetherness which is essential for the human spirit.

Today we are going to map our own islands, as an exercise of imaginary travel to get us out of the confines of quarantine and social-distancing, but also to create the worlds we want to exist within.

Island Mapping Inspiration
Whatever island you choose to draw, here are a few  things to think about

  • Is it a single island or an archipelago? Will there be bridges that perhaps connect smaller islands?
  • Are there any ferries going to and from the island?Is the island in the tropics or in a colder climate?
  • Are there mountain ranges on the island? Or lakes? Rivers and bays?
  • Are there any roads, paths or is it all wild?

Naming Your Island
Run wild with ideas when it comes to the name for your island. The name of the island, and the ensuing names of all of the island’s elements, all build a family.

Naming Elements on the Island
Now we get to the details and inner workings of your island. Start by thinking about if there is a  feeling/a sensation/a sight that you long for. Make a bay that bears the name of it.
Then think of natural resources that can be found on the isle. What flora and fauna resides on the island? What kind of weather can you expect there? What is the sea around it called? Any straits that one can sail through?

How to Draw Your Island
If you are drawing with just a pencil you might add some contour lines to give your island an elevation profile. Maybe indicate some mountains, river deltas or lakes.

If you work with watercolors, play with the coincidental flows of liquid on the page. It might produce a wonderful mountain range or a natural bay.

Go Further
Drawing your island and naming it and all of its elements might be enough. But you also might want to go a little further. Here are some ideas:

  • Write a description of the island
  • Write the island’s history
  • Make a list of the flora and fauna on the island, turn it identification chart

Let us all meet on our imaginary islands and watch the waves crash against the shores and the sun set on the horizon.

A version of this post appeared in Creative Fuel Challenge, a newsletter full of prompts/projects intended to inspire creativity and art-making. 

Written by Anna Brones

April 24, 2020 at 13:09

2018 Desk Calendar with Papercut Illustrations

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I have always loved calendars. In fact this year, I’ve had three different calendars hanging in my office. Not because I need multiple reminders of what day it is, but because they all feature different artwork that I wanted to surround myself with as I work. Good daily inspiration.

When I was younger, I used to make calendars for Christmas presents, drawing a grid for the days of the week and separate illustration for each month. My parents would take me to Kinko’s to get color copies made so that I could give them away to all my family members.

This year I decided to revive the tradition (but with the help of a professional printer). But I wanted to do something just a little different.

Over the course of the years, I have found that with calendars that I like, I’ve often cut off the month/days once the year is over so that I can use the artwork, either to frame it or send to a friend. Why not have a calendar that’s made to be used in this way?

That’s what my 2018 desk calendar is. After the month is over, you’re intended to cut along the line on the back and turn it into a postcard. I’m hoping it inspires some handwritten notes, because who doesn’t like getting mail?

The calendars are 5×7″ and feature one of my original papercut illustrations every month. They are printed on recycled paper in Seattle, Washington. Each calendar is handwrapped, making it easy to give as a gift.

You can order a calendar here.

Written by Anna Brones

November 1, 2017 at 12:21

Witch Fika

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“…to be a witch is to be a woman with power in a world where women are often otherwise powerless.”

– Annie Theriault, The Real Reason Women Love Witches

I read a few articles this week about witches (like this one), and it inspired this Witch Fika papercut. Gather up your coven and get together for a coffee break. You’ll be a more productive and efficient witch.

Written by Anna Brones

October 31, 2017 at 10:45

Posted in Portfolio, Women

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Comestible on Shortlist for Stack Awards 2017 ‘Best Use of Illustration’

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Ever since I read about a writer’s goal for 100 rejections a year, I have been trying harder to do more submissions, whether they are for writing, for residencies, for awards, etc. The idea of course is that if you aim for 100 rejections in a year, somewhere along the way, you’re going to get a response that says “yes” instead of “no.”

I decided to submit my indie food zine Comestible to the Stack Awards 2017, a selection of awards for independent magazines. These days, the indie mag scene is strong, and every time I go into the bookstore I am amazed (perhaps slightly overwhelmed as well) at the high caliber of content and editorial vision that is out there.

I submitted Comestible to the Best Use of Illustration category, since I think that’s a large part of what makes the publication different. The food media space is inundated with gorgeous food photography, and when I started Comestible I wanted something different. Every issue has featured my own papercut illustrations as well as drawn illustrations by some of my favorite illustrators, Jessie Kanelos Weiner for the issues in 2016 and Molly Reeder for the issues in 2017.

How shocked was I when I learned that Comestible had made it onto the shortlist of magazines for the award? Quite shocked! I am honored to have it be a part of a group of such incredible publications with creative and unique artwork. Check out the full list here.

Yet another reminder that it’s always worth it to put your work out there.

Image: Stack Magazines

Written by Anna Brones

October 25, 2017 at 12:03

New Project for 2013: ‘The Culinary Cyclist’ Book

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kindvall_ConectingTheGoodLife_bike-1

A new year inevitably means new projects, and I have a few already lined up for this year. Planning for 2013 has been a lesson in putting energy into the right places and simply letting things happen… So it’s with great excitement that I let you in on the first one: the forthcoming book, The Culinary Cyclist. Yes, a real book. Remember those?

As these things often do, the idea for The Culinary Cyclist started over a round of kale smoothies (I am not kidding). Portland-based writer, cycling advocate and all around woman-that-makes-shit-happen Elly Blue and I were talking about the latest projects with her independent publishing company, Taking the Lane Media. This of course resulted in a bit of a brainstorm, including a discussion of local food and bicycles.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Anna Brones

January 3, 2013 at 07:26

Paris vs. New York: The Video

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I have always loved the Paris vs. New York print series, a simple representation of the difference between the two cosmopolitan capitals. This video pulls it all together.

Written by Anna Brones

September 27, 2012 at 06:00