Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Holiday Card

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday! Here is one more card I put together this morning. Cardstock and silver sharpie mostly, with some photos tucked in, and a nice little ribbon to tie it closed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Card

So I don't think I have ever bought a card in my life. I almost always make my own because I enjoy it, and I feel like it makes it more meaningful. This is the first holiday card I have made this year, and I have a few more to go after this. 9.25" x 4"

Also, I will try to post more often because once a month is just pathetic. I have some work that I have been waiting to scan until it dries, so expect to see that soon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Unfastened Heart (Part II)

A few hours ago I walked into the kitchen where my sister and her friend were baking a pie and was struck with the idea for this cover design. It is my second attempt at designing a cover for Lane Von Herzon's The Unfastened Heart (the first can be viewed here) and I am satisfied with it. It's not quite what I had in my mind when I started, but I am happy with the results, and I think it has the simplistic but compelling graphic quality I was aiming for. I think I prefer this design over the first one I did, but I do still have a soft spot for both of them. Both designs have certain qualities that I like. Thanks to my sister for putting on a sundress and modeling for me even though the temperature in the house is less than warm right now! The line work is a pencil sketch, inked and scanned in. The color is watercolor.

A Memory of Bees

It feels like it's been forever since I really sat down and made some artwork. Visually, I like the way this turned out, but it doesn't really have the same emotional significance to me that some of my other work has, so to me it feels a little lacking (I'm also unsure of the title). That being said, I still think that others might find it to be a successful piece. I hope so anyway since I will be trying to sell it at an art gala soon. This is more or less a collage painting. Materials: Computer paper, newspaper, tracing paper, cotton balls, corrugated cardboard, Elmer's glue, Mod Podge, acrylic paint, and dried flowers on canvas. 10" x 10".

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Little Corporate Design

To prepare for an interview I had recently, I put together a corporate design portfolio with things like websites, business cards, stationery, and that sort of thing. These are a couple of pieces from that and the rest can be viewed here, in my online portfolio. For the most part I am pretty pleased with how everything came out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

As You Wish to Seem

...a man has a false heart in his mouth for all the world to see, another in his breast to show his very special friends and his family, and the real one, the true one, the secret one, which is never known to anyone except himself alone, hidden only God knows where.

I came across this quote in the book I'm reading (Shogun by James Clavell) and although in the story it is used to talk about the deceptive nature of the Japanese characters, I found it be interesting because I think it has a universal truth to it, and I kept it in mind while working on this (you may notice the three hearts and their locations in the drawing). This piece is therefore largely about identity, and the duality in all of us. We all mask ourselves, changing the mask and its qualities depending on the circumstances. The title is taken from a quote by Socrates: Be as you wish to seem. I thought it was interesting when put in the context of a piece about deception, treachery, duplicity, etc. How do we wish to be perceived? And how does that affect how we portray ourselves to others? I used the mirrored twins to represent the idea of duality, a major theme in this work. The visual asthetic for this was largely inspired by Jeffery Decoster and this Belgian artist whose name I don't know. I love their collage-esque illustrations, and wanted to try something similar myself. Hopefully I didn't get too carried away with all the collaging (I have a very hard time keeping things minimal aesthetically-even when it's my goal!).

Also, those of you familiar with my work Dichotomy might recognize one of the sketches from that piece in here. I felt that she was an appropriate addition seeing as she is also from a piece largely about duality. The only part I am still pretty unhappy with are the large green and yellow splatters. If I have time I think I will make some watercolor splatters because I very much like the way my paintings for the snakes and hearts came out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Texture Madness

I've been working on this piece for the past few days. I am pretty pleased with how the pencil sketch came out, but I am up in the air about the coloring. I intended for it to be very texture-heavy, but I'm not sure it works the way I thought it would. I can't decide if it's too busy or not, but it is going to stay like this, at least for awhile. I imagine she is some sort of cross between a shaman/priestess and a warrior. I was going to draw her an awesome staff to go with all her other ornamentation, but I never got around to it. Maybe later...

Friday, September 10, 2010

All The Things I Never Said

This is technically a work in progress that I have been working on sporadically, but I am really struggling with it and I'm not sure where to take it. I am starting to think I may never actually finish it, so I decided to post it as is. If I ever do figure out where to go from here I will post an updated version. Pencil sketches done from photographs that I took, scanned in and colored digitally.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I decided to tackle watercolor again in an attempt to get some work ready for an Art Gala coming up where I will be displaying/selling some work. This piece started as a pencil sketch based off of a photograph I took at my cousins' house. I then started laying in some basic washes with watercolor, and finished the piece by adding details with colored pencils and highlights with white acrylic. I'm not too thrilled with the overall colors or the really intense texture of the paper, but considering how I usually fare with watercolors, I have to consider this a success. I wish there was a little more contrast, and maybe some more natural tones (more browns and reds I think) but I am wary of going back in with the watercolors at this point. The top image is the slightly touched-up and cropped scan. The bottom is the original scan. I picture it in a solid black frame with a white mat, nice and simple to help the colors stand out.

On another note, it feels good to get back to traditional materials. I am frustrated by having to scan it though, because, as always, a scan can't really do the original justice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chinese Brush Painting

Hands down, I struggle with watercolor more than any other medium I have ever worked with. I absolutely love the way watercolors look when other artists use them, but I can never seem to do it myself. Every so often I try again, and every time I am disappointed with the results. This is another such time. I have a book on Chinese brush painting and I have been wanting to try it out for a long time. The other afternoon I finally sat down and gave it a shot. I need a lot more practice (and I need to pay more attention about how to do it properly i.e. how to hold the brush, etc.) but I think it is something I would want to try again, even if I was cursing my ability to use watercolors the whole time!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This is another character portrait I've been working on. I haven't really been doing too much drawing lately, so I decided to finish this older piece to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully there will be more to follow as soon as I find out where my imagination is hiding and capture it! Same as usual: pencil sketch colored in Photoshop.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mr. Wheet

I had big plans for this when I started a couple hours ago. It was going to be super awesome, but I think for now I am going to stop here. Hopefully I will come back to it soon and finish it up. It's a portrait of my high school art teacher, Jeff Wheet, who passed away recently. I started with a pencil sketch to get the lines right (I can draw much better on paper) but I got rid of them once I started painting over them in Photoshop.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Little Character Design

A little over a month ago I posted some old sketches here with the promise to revisit them soon. I know I took my sweet time with it, but finally here is a redone version of one of those characters. Her clothes and weapons of choice have changed a bit, but I like her better this way. I'm playing around with the idea of giving her more tattoos, but I haven't decided yet. Pencil sketch colored digitally.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Little Photography

So I thought I would post a little photography for a change of pace. I've never studied photography, but I do enjoy it, and I have done a lot of amateur photography pieces for school and personal reasons. My camera is the oh-so-not-impressive Cannon PowerShot A520 which really isn't the greatest, but for now it's what I have to work with. I found the dragonfly on the beach in Atlantic City quite awhile ago (it was alive), but I took the cicada (not alive) shots in my back yard about 30 minutes ago.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


So I didn't really have a clear idea what I wanted this to be before I started and I think it shows. I feel like it's pretty weak as an overall piece, but I do like some of the colors that come out in it. I dunno. We'll call it a sketch exercise (since I spent very little time on it) and just be done with it. 4th drawing in 4 days, but it's a lot weaker than the others so I think my streak may be ending soon. This is a portrait of a friend of mine, and like usual, I couldn't get the nose to turn out quite right. Again, pencil sketch colored in Photoshop.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Unfastened Heart

Alright, so I'm sorta on a roll. 3rd piece in 3 days. WHOO HOO! This is one of my cover designs for the novel The Unfastened Heart by Lane Von Herzon. I think I prefer the second design better (with the larger image) but it makes me sad to crop my painting. Pencil sketch colored digitally.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I guess the dog portrait did inspire me, because today I finally decided to color some sketches I had done awhile ago. Like usual, this was made with a pencil sketch that was scanned in and colored digitally in Photoshop. I used old photographs as references for the figures (I found them here if anyone is interested). This piece is actually pretty relevant to my life right now, and I kinda like it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lady Blue Belle

A friend of mine asked me to do a portrait of his dog for his mom's birthday and this is what I have so far. Not really too pleased, but I'm not really sure how I wanted it to turn out, so for now I'm going to leave it and see how I feel about it tomorrow. It is a pencil sketch colored in Photoshop. I think maybe it could use a little more contrast, but that is something I always struggle with in my work. I have been suffering from a need to make something, but a severe lack of ideas, so this project was an attempt to get back into art-making mode. It didn't inspire me as much as I had hoped, but for now it will do.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Old Character Design Sketches

I came across some really old character design sketches today. I never really did much with them, but I decided to post them on here because I am thinking of revisiting them. I have forgotten most of their stories (that's how old they are) but I think I'd like to build off of these originals and get some good character design practice at the same time. (Some of you may remember that I used one of these characters for an assignment recently, which can be seen here, but I wasn't really satisfied with it.) I don't really know when I'll get around to it, but stayed tuned and hopefully there will be some new drawings of these guys soon!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wedding Card

My mom's cousin is getting married soon so I made a wedding card to go with the gift from me and my sisters. It's made from three types of paper and I used a stamp for the image on the inside left panel. The total size is 6" x 6". Now all I have to do is make the envelope and it will be good to go!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I had so much fun making the portrait of Tracy that I decided to do another one. Same process: pencil sketch scanned in and colored in Photoshop. I'm not totally satisfied with the color, but I can't quite figure out what I need to change. I may come back to it later.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I came across some work by a Polish artist named Jakub Kujawa today and was very much inspired by some of his portraits (I found him here if anyone is interested). I decided to take a stab at his style, and as usual didn't quite manage to break away from my own aesthetic. I still like the result though, so I figured I'd post it anyway. It is a portrait of a friend of mine from school. I started with a pencil sketch, scanned it into the computer, and colored it digitally in Photoshop.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chasing The Wind

I finished Chasing the Wind, my second handmade book, this morning. It's a hardcover with a Japanese Stab Binding. The endpapers are Thai Banana Iris paper, which is a little thin, but really beautiful and full of texture. All of the content is written by me. 8.75" x 5.5". 48 pages total. I like the result of the Japanese Stab Binding more than I thought I would, and it was really simple, so I think I will definitely use it more in the future.

The Vine That Ate The South

I have recently become interested in book making and book binding, and this is the first handmade book I have ever made completely from scratch. It was a graduation present for a friend of mine. Most of the content is written by me, although some of it was taken from old conversations I had had with her. It's titled The Vine That Ate The South, which is somewhat of an inside joke between me, her, and another friend. It's three signatures with a coptic stitch binding, and is approximately 5.5" x 5". All of the illustrations were hand drawn by me after printing the text. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, and I learned a lot, so hopefully the next one I bind with a coptic stitch will be even better!


So, introductions: My name is Kelsey Adams and I just graduated from Syracuse University with a B.F.A. in Computer Art and a minor in Information Studies. I have a love for all things art and work in both traditional and digital media. I want to use this blog to showcase my work and possibly get some feedback on it. I haven't decided if I am going to put any older work up on here, so for now some of the work I completed in the past several years can be viewed at I think that's it for now. Stay tuned.