This was a deeply personal project that gave me the opportunity to explore mixed media work. I’ve always loved mixed media—it gives me the best of the tactile creation that comes with traditional work and the endless possibilities that comes with digital creation. For this project, initially for a contest, I wanted to explore the connection I noticed in some of the more memorable losses in the past two years. During my last year of my undergraduate career at Michigan State University, both of my grandparents died. It wasn’t something I really had the time to deal with emotionally at the time, and I’ve always been the type of person who grieved privately. The news of both passings reached me via text message while I was in the middle of something—I was at work when I heard about my grandfather and in the middle of a group project when I heard about my grandmother—so I had to push the issue aside to finish my degree. A year later, I really wanted to let some of the emotions play out in this piece. Emotional pieces are not always easy to do, but I think that is the beauty of art in that it gives us that chance to let old emotions finally breathe.

I started each piece in pencil, and then added color with watercolor pencils and a portable wet media brush. Next, I scanned each into the computer and added additional vector details via Adobe Illustrator and text via Adobe Photoshop. The freeware font is called “Daniel” by Daniel Midgley. The process for each piece took a few hours, but I was really pleased with the resulting mix of messy and neat, flowing and abrupt. It’s the most personal piece in my portfolio by far, but definitely a good creative exercise.


View full pdf here: Birds by Kristin Phillips

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