winter 2013

Woodblock Chocolate Discovery Workshop

We are very excited to announce that Woodblock Chocolate will be our first WeMake discovery workshop of 2013! Spend an evening with us at Woodblock Chocolate and learn more about the craft chocolate movement. This workshop includes a process tour, exclusive tasting session, and some hands-on chocolate fun.

DATE: Thursday, March 14, 2013

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm (check-in begins at 6:00pm, doors close at 6:30)

PLACE: Woodblock Chocolate, 1236 SE Oak Street

COST: $25

Registration opens Monday, March 4th at 9am.

Space is very limited, so be sure to mark your calendar!

RSVP on Eventbrite

There is a wonderful aroma when you walk into the Woodblock space. Roasting beans and melting chocolate instantly make your mouth water. Burlap sacks full of exotic beans are piled high, waiting to be sorted. Who knew chocolate could be so pure and simple, yet so complex in flavor? 

Woodblock Chocolate is leading the charge in this new American craft chocolate revolution. Like coffee, wine, and beer before them, chocolate is now being crafted and honed into a truly unique experience.

Charley and Jessica Wheelock founded Woodblock Chocolate because they wanted to start a sustainable family business with a culinary influence. ”We were totally inspired by wine and food,” said Charley. “European chocolate has always been the best, but now we’re looking at coco beans more like a wine maker looks at grapes. We’re trying to bring out character from the variety of the beans.”

An interesting fact that people may not realize is that most chocolatiers don’t make their own chocolate. They buy it from another vendor and then start their processes from there. Woodblock practices a bean-to-bar process and are involved through the entire creation cycle.

Cacao beans need to grow in the tropics. Understandably, this is a difficult environment to actually make chocolate, so throughout history the beans have been grown in one place and the chocolate has been made thousands of miles away. ”There is a disconnect between the farmer and the chocolate maker. This is something that we’re trying to remedy.” Charley and Jessica are developing relationships with the farmers they source their beans from. They even send back chocolate so the farmers can taste the results of their crops.

When I asked Charley what he hoped people would take away from this workshop, he smiled and said, “The general understanding that chocolate is not what they thought it was. This is a totally different ball game.”

Space for this event will be very limited so make sure you sign up early. We are so excited to partner with Woodblock Chocolate for the first workshop of the year. See you there!

DATE: Thursday, March 14, 2013

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm (check-in begins at 6:00pm, doors close at 6:30)

PLACE: Woodblock Chocolate, 1236 SE Oak Street

COST: $25

Registration opens Monday, March 4th at 9am.

Space is very limited, so be sure to mark your calendar!

RSVP on Eventbrite

Pursuit of the Creative: Adam Haynes

Portland is in a league all its own when it comes to cultivating amazing artists and illustrators. Just look at our past sketchXchange speakers if you need further proof. Our March event will continue to raise the bar of pure awesomeness and you won’t want to miss it.

Join us at the headquarters of our community partner, Nemo Design for an evening of sketching and inspiration from the talented artist, Adam Haynes

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday, March 1st

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm

PLACE: Nemo Design, 1875 SE Belmont St

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a donation is always welcomed!

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Monday morning at 9am, February 25th

As always space is limited, so be sure to register early!

RSVP on Eventbrite

Adam Haynes is an Oregon-native who currently resides in Bend. His clients include Nike, ESPN, Timberland, Quiksilver, and Deschutes Brewery. Adam has produced yearly board graphics for Gnu Snowboards, an animated spot of his own artwork for Fuel TV, as well as creative for Wired Magazine, the USFS, and Ronix Wakeboards. He grew up with a love for the outdoors and you can see this passion in both his commercial and personal artwork.

Let’s find out more about Adam and how he works.

Can you give us a brief overview of your process? It looks like a lot of your work is a mix between hand-drawn elements and digital processing. Do you draw everything by hand and then go into Photoshop or jump back and forth? Do you ever start a piece in Photoshop?

My process changes a bit from project to project depending on the client and the degree of polish desired in the final piece. For most commercial work, I start with pencil sketches to nail down the composition and content of a piece. After client approval, I do a tighter pencil sketch on illustration board, and ink with pen or brush. At this point, the black and white line art is scanned into photoshop, and I begin layering in color and texture. Any further changes to the line work are done by hand with light table and ink and stitched into the photoshop file. I never start a piece in Photoshop, I like to have something hand drawn to start off with.

Has your painting influenced your graphic style or vise versa?

Definitely. I like to try out new techniques and styles with my paintings, some of which can then be applied to commercial work. I’ve also started using more contrast and fine brush work in my paintings, and that’s definitely from doing so much black and white line work.

What are some of your favorite materials and tools to use when you’re sketching and creating?

I love drawing with pin striping brushes, sumi brushes, and crow quill pens. And of course, good old Staedtler Lumograph pencils. 

What has been your biggest influence or source of inspiration as an artist? How has your style changed over the years?

One of my favorite illustrator/artists is Evan Hecox. I love his line work and style, and he’s been a big influence for years. My style used to be a lot more similar to his, but over the years it’s gotten a bit more organic, and I hope a bit more my own. Another of my biggest influences is the creator of Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo. His line work and attention to detail is second to none, and the range of his skill set is incredible. His landscapes have had a big influence on my own.

Join us Friday, March 1st for an evening of sketching and shop talk with Adam. Thanks again to our community partner, Nemo Design for hosting. Hope to see you there!

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday, March 1st

TIME: 6:00-9:00pm

PLACE: Nemo Design, 1875 SE Belmont St

Check-in begins at 6:00pm. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a donation is always welcomed!

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Monday morning at 9am, February 25th

RSVP on Eventbrite

The Many Layers of Meg Hunt

Our next sketchXchange guest illustrator is the very talented Meg Hunt. She is a fascinating woman, a full-time illustrator, teacher, and explorer. Meg lives in Portland and has a very impressive client list including: Disneyland, Cartoon Network, Junior Scholastics, Vegetarian Times, Image Comics, Brand New School, Seattle Metropolitan, and the Washington Post to name a few.

Join us as we get the opportunity to explore and be inspired by the wonderful world of Meg Hunt.

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday Night, February 1st

TIME: 6:00-9:00 PM

PLACE: The Left Bank Project - 240 N Broadway

Check-in begins at 6:00pm in The Sting Ray Cafe. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a donation is always welcomed!

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Monday morning at 9am, January 28th

As always space is limited, so be sure to register early!

RSVP on Eventbrite

I recently met with Meg to learn a little more about her her style–check it out.

YPE

You’ve done quite a few self initiative pieces, I really like The Picture Book Report, how did that come about?

MH

I try to do projects that can fill a gap a client might not see, and eventually maybe hire me for. With this particular project I wanted to do a lot more narrative work. I decided to illustrate Alice in Wonderland and thought it would be a fun to invite other people to work narratively, so I began Picture Book Report. At that time I didn’t see a lot of narrative book artwork beyond what was in picture books for kids. I invited 15 illustrators to create pieces of art (geared towards all ages) in response to text that moved, shaped, or excited them. There was a dozen or so guest artists that contributed as well. Three weeks out of every month we posted a new illustration every day along with our thoughts and process. The project went on for a year, but eventually had to be put on hold due to contributors’ busy schedules.

YPE

Did you get the Alice in Wonderland job for Radiolab from that?

MH

Yes. I also got invited to create a piece for Disneyland’s Wonderground Gallery show that they curated for Pixar.

YPE

When I look at your style it makes me feel happy. I love the colors, layers and details, and I get a sense of going into the woods with some of your characters. I also see a lot of your characters with the little pointy shapes is that a signature style?

MH

No, not necessarily— there are certain shapes I go to, much like my color palette, but I don’t stick to one signature thing. Some things do crop up, patterns resurface, and little elements become surprises. If you look a little closer you might find hidden secrets along the way.

YPE

I’ve heard you do a lot of Rubylith work to create your designs, that’s pretty old school. The nice thing about it is that it gives you imperfect lines. Do you use that process for everything or just in your silkscreen work?

MH

I’ve been trying to work with it both in my digital as well as my silkscreen process. When I silkscreen I like to make my layers by hand. Although I have created some layers digitally, I prefer the imperfections of cutting the rubylith or inking by hand. The technique is like working with relief printing in a way—working backwards from a sheet and carving details away. There are certain things I could certainly do digitally, but I probably wouldn’t. I have one technique where I carve lines at different angles then scratch off all the little cuts, this is a texture that I wouldn’t easily be able to replicate digitally.

The process of using rubylith is unique. I try as much as I can to do things out of the computer before bringing them in so I can cobble together what I want and not feel like I have to be beholden to digital processes.

YPE

Have you always been an illustrator? Did you start out as a designer.

MH

No, I feel like the most non-designer person out there! When I was in high school someone from the School of Visual Arts came in to speak about illustration. That’s when it clicked for me. I went to college for illustration, then switched over to a combination of illustration and printmaking. At one point, I thought illustration wasn’t for me and that I would just work as a screenprinter- then realized the prints I made were illustrative, and I could make illustration work to suit my needs.

YPE

What school did you go to?

MH

I went to a small art program at the University of Connecticut. It was a good inter-disciplinary program, I got to use many techniques and explore a lot. It was a scrappy and small department but I was lucky enough to find three mentors working in entirely different ways. If I had gone to an art school I would have probably just stuck to one focus.

After graduating I hit the ground running. At first it was a lot of hard work, and it took a few years before people would actually seek me out. I have a very go-getter attitude and always try to self-initiate things to get the work I want. So I worked on personal projects, sent out postcards and self-promotions to potential clients, and researched new avenues for clients to find me. It was slow the first year, but ultimately worth the hard effort.

YPE

So what’s the tool of choice?

MH

That’s a hard question— I don’t think I can narrow it down to one. Lately for my sketchbook I’ve been using water-soluble carbon and a waterbrush which is fantastic. I’m getting into using acrylic inks, and I work with pencil, brush, ink and in the computer. I have a hard time condensing it down to one art supply though!

YPE

If you can do anything what would you want to be doing? Or do you have a dream client?

MH

I want to do everything! More book covers, package design, animation, and 3D tangible objects/products. I like building things with wood and laser cutting, as well as exploring working with different 2D and 3D materials.

As for dream clients, there’s not really one specifically— there are just so many amazing projects out there I’d love to be a part of. It would be great to work with more motion and narrative projects, textile work too. I can’t narrow it down to one focus.

It’s so important to continue evolving my practice so that I can can do the kind of work I want to and feel satisfied with in the long run. I love freelancing and can’t picture not doing it— it gives me the opportunity to work for both large and smaller clients, so it’s a nice variety. I’m fortunate that I can pick and choose what projects I can take on. When you first start out you feel like you should take everything on… Learning to say no has been tricky, but I’m slowly realizing what’s important to me and what I want to focus my time on.

YPE

Anything you can say to an inspiring illustrator.

MH

Attack things with strength and dive in— you can’t go into anything halfheartedly (it’ll show). Self-generated personal projects are good. Don’t put work you don’t want to be hired for out into the world. Be prepared for it to be hard and difficult at first, but also be excited about it too.

We hope you will join us as we get the opportunity to explore and be inspired by the wonderful world of Meg Hunt

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday Night, February 1st

TIME: 6:00-9:00 PM

PLACE: The Left Bank Project - 240 N Broadway

Check-in begins at 6:00pm in The Sting Ray Cafe. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a donation is always welcomed!

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Monday morning at 9am, January 28th

As always space is limited, so be sure to register early!

RSVP on Eventbrite