Do things that you don’t want to do

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Opened My Etsy Shop!

Hello Peeps,

It took me about a year to get ready, and then a couple days of putting everything together so that I have six listings on my shop and I hope you find something pretty for your walls and notebooks!

The shop has some of my older prints as well as the newer ones which all have a story behind their artwork which you can read through in the description.

I’m going to add more listings as I make new illustrations and please let me know what you think about the shop so I can tweak things, as I am rather new with Etsy.

Have a look around here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/GabiEitavi?ref=l2-shopheader-name

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Can’t Swim print
cant-swim-print-close
Close Up

Pencil Strokes vs Digital Stylus

So I got myself a new drawing tablet a month ago or so and I just realised I stopped drawing on paper the day I got it, since I could from then on draw directly on a screen. And before, while I was waiting on a tablet to arrive, I bought myself a bunch of art materials so I could experiment more with traditional media. I even bought a fancy watercolour set, which now has not been used for over a month and it’s a shame. Furthermore, since graduationg from art school I stopped doing observational drawings, I don’t even keep a separate sketchbook for that purpose anymore and it’s rather frightening. I think what is vital to keep myself skilled and improving is to constantly draw and project objects and scenes on  a paper.

The worst thing about not drawing every day is that it gets worse. While not drawing enough, you get clumsy and then it’s clearly visible in a drawing you do after a longer break, which is discouraging to continue and if you don’t break through the anxiety of not being good enough, then you’ll draw less and less. It’s what I used to do during the summer break in between art school years. I would cut myself off of illustration stuff altogether to have a rest. Taking a break from drawing every day is fine, unless is a three month break. Not drawing for a quarter and suddenly finding myself at a life drawing class can be a nightmare. It’s like I’ve lost all the drawing skills I had and that flamboyant nude looks like a juicy blob figure in my sketchbook. Not ideal, but frankly, mandatory life drawing classes would take place every week of the semester so there would be no other choice but to suffer my way through the anxiety of blob figures and gradually make them look more like my degree would depend on the accuracy of their anatomy in my drawings.

Now, I haven’t had to do a single mandatory drawing since half a year ago and there arw no life drawing classes to attend since I left Scotland. It’s all up to me. So I stopped drawing from observation, because seemingly, I’m not forced too anymore. And it’s winter, so it’s too cold to go outside. But hey, I’m not a fan of landscapes anyway, I’m a coffee shop snob, lurking in the furthest corner with my flat white stalking on people doomed to look distorted and disproportional in my sketchbook without even knowing.

I made this drawing of my dog Tesla the other day. It was a drawing from a reference, a photo I myself took of him while on a stroll. It’s not an observational drawing but it’s good in giving me confidence to carry on and draw the crap out of that chunky bouquet of pencils I have collected over the last year. Now, that I’ve almost finished rebranding myself, I think is a good time to wake up of my hibernation and go out to draw again. I just really feel like doing it today even. I’ll let you know if it worked out!

Good News! I am preparing a separate room for studio at our apartment, which is now bare walls after scraping all the old and rotten wallpaper off, which took ages, but luckily, the messy part is over. It’s soon gonna be smooth and white and I’m gonna be FINALLY legally allowed to drill into walls and put up some book shelves for books and all the nice stuff I accumulated throghout my life mostly in Edinburgh. Here’s a documentation of the project I had been working on for the last couple of days. Peeling great, feeling greater.

I decided long long time ago that I would  go exhibit at this big fancy graduate event in London, which I always thought I would have enough time to prepare for (with a  solid month after degree show) and even make some shiny new work to hang on a wall. However, life was what actually happened in between and having my parents visiting for two weeks to attend my graduation left me with a few ”days-off” scattered throughout June. In that time I managed to prepare my spread for a catalogue for our promotional D&AD catalogue (image below) and put together another portfolio, that I actually enjoy more than my degree one (probably because of a very nice textured paper vs shiny, luster paper, still quite nice). No time left for new work though!
We went to London 4th of July, to be up and ready to set up exhibition space early on the 5th. We got a nice spot with some natural sunlight (London gets quite sunny in July, apparently!) and because we booked double-space which cost us around 200 pounds each with 18 people in total, but I was genuinely hoping it would be worth it, as quite a few people were saying it’s a great opportunity to get ourselves out there!
The actual event was not as big as I pictured it to be. Probably only a quarter of a size of a building that I expected to see. However, the venue, Old Truman Brewery it was called, was in a nice area of London, A lot of schools had a single-space shared among more than a dozen of people, which made it quite overwhelming with visual information, hence I was glad we invested into a double-sized stall so each of our pieces had enough space to breathe and were arranged neatly. I’m genuinely happy about the way our group sorted the layout of our exhibition space so that we only have one piece on a shelf and another one on a wall, with some space for business cards as well.
We got to see the private view the first night, which was a great event, packed with people and free food/drinks. Again, I felt a bit lost in the sea of visuals as well as people trying to promote themselves, but that’s what everyone came here for – to show off their best work and to make some good contacts with the right people. Personally, I was not very good with the latter one. Partly, because not that many people would stop by and look at my work specifically, or for a longer period of time, and when they did, I wouldn’t want to distract them from the actual work as well. It’s tricky! On the other hand, I was also too distracted by London myself, and while there, I sometimes wanted to do tourist things more than walk around the D&AD stalls. It’s mostly my fault for not making the most of the event, but overall, I heard some people saying that the exhibiting in the end didn’t seem to be worth so much money after all, given the scale of event, the talks and workshops taking place and the people visiting. D&AD appeared to be more of a marketing/graphicdesign/productdesign event with its commercial twist, rather than artsy event to demonstrate drawing and storytelling skills through visual narratives, that our group was mainly focused on. I felt that we were really not in the right place in some way,however, it was good experience to see everyone else’s work and find that all in all, our stall looked classy AF.
Peace and Love!

 

This is me, now officially a professional designer with a first-class diploma in my hands, possibly ready to dive into the depths of design waters and build my name through some good work. The best is yet to come, so bring it on, world!

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Final Day at ECA

Wow. What a year.
It’s too difficult to sum up this vast amount of time spent on all these projects, ecpecially the picture book. However, crossing the finish line doesn’t feel as assuring as I thought it would be.
Ona and the Black Hole, the same Ona that first introduced herself to me last July, is now sitting on the shelf, of my degree show display, waiting to meet her audience. The book got printed back home, in my home town Klaipeda, by printers that my friend works with, they took a good care of the printing proccess. Sure, the colours went a lot darker than those I saw on the test prints, which took me a while to cope with, but taught me a good lesson not to take my badly calibrated shiny laptop screen for granted. Now my next financial goal (after the wedding and the Old English Sheepdog puppy) is to get myself an external
screen that could show me the real colours, like for real.
After all, I put in too much work into it not to be happy with the book just because of the colour palette turning to the dark side. Oh well.  Everything else, apart from that bit, turned out excellent, they even put on the matt lamination on the cover which gives it a nice feel.
Getting the book printed felt rather final for a moment, but then there was a whole world of loose sheets and bits of paper an sketchbooks to tame and put into nice little (or big) books of research. Oh, and the archive – even more beautiful set of books that sum up your creative process. I quite enjoyed making these, especially after spending that whole lotta dolla on stacks of fancy inkjet paper.
The most challenging and out-of-my-comfort-zone stage was the actual display that I had to design from scratch, or, from bare mdf boards that I had to paint, which told e a useful lesson to not try to save money on cheap paint. My mdf skins look rather crap, but I hope it’s just that little perfectionist screaming inside me to be heard. The good news is my work pops out quite well and distracts from all the drips and blobs of unwanted paint.
And so much mounting. There’s no blade sharp enough to keep my foamboads from getting destroyed by my impatient hands. The bright side of it is that my stuff mounted on a foamboard looks best it can and those out-of-reach 90 degree angles in the end look pretty sharp there. And my dear little Ona. Looks scared and beautiful screaming from that cover, just as I imagined her too.
The final moments felt quite heavy first but then suddenly the joy begins to kick in. I think.
Have you ever felt over the moon on your birthday? Well, I have, a week ago! I would not consider myself a book worm, although the one I got for my birthday brought me to my knees. So on Friday morning the mail man handed me in a parcel with a green tag that saying ”artbook” on it. Took me a while to grasp that, but the moment I flipped the cardboard packet and read the name of the sender I knew exactly what is inside.
”Song of the Sea. Artbook’ straight from the Cartoon Saloon.’ In my hands it looks even better than online. And feels so too! Thick blue book, heavy with pictures and light with text. The artbook covers most of the creative process behind the multi-award winning animated film ”Song of the Sea” that was released in 2014 and has been inspiring me ever since. It tells a lot about the initial ideas for the animation and different alternatives for scenes and characters developed by Tomm Moore himself with Adrien Merigeau and dozens of other people alongside. It’s like sneaking into the backstage of a good musical.
The animation is saturated with Irish mythology, towards which I have always had romantic feelings. Most of the characters are based on Irish gods and goddesses, and even though I am not very familiar with them, a lot is told through the narrative in the film. However, having read about the character concepts which are briefly covered in the book, I have even more appreciation for the animated piece. The film shows beautiful allegories between the grandmother of the protagonists and Macha, who is the owl queen and originally the goddess of war in Irish mythology. Another one, heartbreakingly majestic is between a sailor father who is a widow and a mourning rock Mac Lir, the god of the seas had lost his beloved one and had been turned into a rock by his mother Macha who couldn’t stay to see him suffering.
There is indeed a tremendous amount of work done in order to communicate these parallel stories to audience of all ages, but also, there’s so much that slipped through my eyes while watching the film that I had only realised while digging into the artbook. If I had watched the film dozen of times there would probably still be loads to discover and I am so looking forward to doing it. It has already had a high influence on my style and in a way, the use of color, however, I think the book communicates this specific and beautiful mindset that people who worked on the film had, this incredibly sensitive approach to storytelling, that I would love to adapt in the long run.
The ”Song of The Sea”, is an ode to the Irish folklore, inspiring me to look at my own roots and maybe create something involving Baltic Mythology. It imight be just as rich and poetic and with a good dig in and a fresh head I think I could possibly do another picture book, the Lithuanian folklore-themed. That would embrace my homesickness which is hopefully close to the end. Wish me luck!

Greetings from the Black Hole!

It’s been a while since my last blogpost and in a meantime I managed to get half way through my picture book. My protagonist Ona is already in a black hole and is trying to find the way out as well as get back her alpaca toy Kao, who had been kidnapped by naughty alien creatures! Well, happy days!
Here are some of the latest sketches for the alien design. Can you guess which ones are gonna make it to the final book?
By the way, have you heard the recent news? Gravitational waves, baby! It is such an exciting time to be working on a space-themed picture book. Science made a big announcment a couple weeks ago – they have managed to capture gravitational waves between two merging black holes. Apparently, gravitational waves are one of the cornerstones of the relativity theory, so our beloved Albert must be so proud of us up there! One thing for sure – my picture book has little to do with the actual science, though, I hope it will inspire children to learn more about space and black holes, which I am a hearty fan of myself!
While working on a picture book about the black hole, I have found out that black holes are actually not that black – instead they are rather dark blue. Also, they have some weird native creatures in them. And another thing – there are black holes within black holes, how cool is that? Black holes are very neat and tidy things – they like to sort everything that gets sucked in and have a special tunnel for all kinds of things, from stardust, to planets, to children. Yes, Ona escapes ones of these by a mere luck! I could keep going with my descriptive bragging, however, a picture paints a thousand words, so here is some line work for the actual double-page spread.

SMLXL

 

While writing this post I realised that I drew all the aliens naked for the final spreads of the book, although I think they look so much more interesting in their space outfits. So glad I remembered to have a peek at the sketches so I can edit the pieces before it’s too late and before it haunts me forever!