2015 was a big year of transition for me—one of those being a newlywed with a new last name! I initially wanted to continue to use my maiden name professionally, but have found that to be unwieldy and a bit confusing for both me and my clients. So, with this fresh and exciting new year off to a good start, I’ve decided to officially move forward sans”Henderson”. It also felt like a great time to revamp my website, so please stop by & bookmark my new home! You can find my portfolio with all my latest work along with my current blog and a fully integrated shop all here: www.jeaninemurch.com
Many thanks! Hoping your 2016 is off to a fabulous start!
Happiest of Holidays!!
What a year it’s been! This is my holiday card this year, along with some fun illustrated gift tags I sent to some extra-special clients that I’ve had the wonderful pleasure to work with in 2015.
Wishing much love and joy to all this holiday season!
I’ve been a resident of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in NYC for the last 3 years, and absolutely love it—such a vibrant neighborhood and great community! So I was thrilled when w42st Magazine, a free publication & online resource featuring all the fantastic things there are to see, do & eat in Hell’s Kitchen, asked me to create the cover for their “Summer Fun” issue. They gave me tons of creative freedom with this, and I loved illustrating something I have such a personal connection to.
The issue is out now! The online edition can be seen here, and printed copies are free in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and other small local businesses & residential buildings throughout the Hell Kitchen area.
After having so much fun designing my own wedding invitations, seating cards & other details, I’ve been dying to do more! So I was thrilled when my friend, Lindsay, asked if I could help her with a few special touches for her big day.
She had a gorgeous garden themed wedding at the elegant Winterthur Estate in Delaware, and her lovely invitations from Minted had a soft, simple look featuring calligraphy. So she wanted to reflect that in a few other details for the day of.
Her first idea was to use a large mirror in place of programs at the ceremony. I hadn’t seen this idea before, but loved the elegance and uniqueness of it! She purchased a 20″ x 30″ rectangular mirror and I hand-lettered all the bridal party names. This was definitely a new and fun experience for me to create—and I thought it looked lovely set up where guests arrived for the ceremony.
I also did calligraphy for her seating cards and table numbers—I loved the way she presented them, as a small “flower bed”—it fit in so perfectly with the theme!
Lindsay and her husband, Matt, share a love of music and had song lyrics incorporated into their ceremony and a few other places throughout the day. So I loved her idea to letter one of their favorite love-themed lyrics on canvas totes as the welcome bags for the out of town guests. And I loved creating this piece! She had them printed by a local vendor, and I think they came out great!
Was fun to be a guest and get to see all the details in the beautiful setting, and an honor to get to be part of this wonderful couples special day in this way! Congrats to the newlyweds!!
The April assignment for Lilla Rogers’ MATS Bootcamp was to create a poster for her upcoming live arts event this summer in Brighton, England. The focus was to be on hand-lettering—which, of course, I was thrilled about! Though I’ve never been to Brighton, the pier and colorful atmosphere I found in researching brought to mind a fun & carnival-esque vibe, (reminiscent of my beloved Coney Island!) so I decided to play off of that & depict interesting characters traveling by all means to this exciting event. We were given a palette to work with—a bit softer than I’m used to working with, but a fun challenge.
I’ve been taking Lilla Rogers’ online Bootcamp courses, and a recent assignment was to create a piece of wall art, open to any type of scenic subject matter. There was a fun twist to this one—we were to paint on a round piece of wood! I loved getting away from digital coloring and back to my gouache & acrylic paints, and experimenting with the wooden base texture. Since the theme was open, I decide to go with imagery that I would want to hang in my own home. The idea for these dancing dogs came from a postcard I picked up in New Orleans years ago that says “Dance or Leave” ….anyone that knows me knows this is a pretty fitting motto for me! And since getting a puppy a few months ago, I’ve naturally become a bit obsessed with dogs! So, this scene was a natural fit. I missed our classroom gallery deadline by a long shot because of client deadlines & other freelance projects, but I had to finish because I really loved creating this piece. You can see the rest of the classroom gallery here. Hundreds of gorgeous images by my talented virtual classmates! http://tinyurl.com/q4vdwby
I recently had the opportunity to create some custom lettering for a Skyscape book cover. In the end, the cover was killed for a more straightforward direction using a san serif-font, but I had a lot of fun creating this. The story is a sci-fi romance for young adults, so I created a style to reflect the tone. Set against a backdrop of a starry sky, as in the comp shown here, it would have given a constellation-like feel.
The assignment for Lilla Rogers’ Bootcamp class this month was to create a design for bolt fabric based on vintage jello molds.
When we first got the topic, I wasn’t so sure I would really connect and find inspiration in the theme. (I was never a huge jello fan!) But as I started to research and gather up references I realized how much awesome content there is to draw from: retro/vintage baking supplies, dessert dishes, and the interesting shapes, colors, and textures of Jell-O! Plus, the community of artists participating in the class is just so amazing—everyone jumped in right away, sharing their super creative takes on the theme and got me so excited about where this could go!
However, March was an incredibly busy month! I’m still getting my footing as a full-time freelancer—which, very fortunately, has been an incredibly steady & busy stream of client work. And I’m also in the trenches of wedding planning, so I found my time pretty limited to devote to class which is always disappointing. But, in a way it forced me into not over-thinking the assignment, and even working in a new way.
Lilla always gives a “mini” assignment—an opportunity to explore the theme through sketches before really knowing the application of the content. This encourages working with icons to create a library of individual images that can be drawn from to later compose the piece for the assignment. This approach is ideal for licensing collections, as the icons are easy to work with, re-purpose, and create coordinating pieces from. These are my ink & gouache sketches from the “mini”:
This is a really new way of working for me, but I’ve been enjoying it a lot and seeing the difference it makes in my work. But with such lack of time this month, these were the only sketches I got to and didn’t have time for much more after the full assignment was given. Down to the wire with our deadline, I decided to allow myself only to pull from what I had existing. I used several of these icons and grabbed a character from an old project to rework. I usually have some vision of where I intend to go with a project, but this time I only had a vague idea. I liked the thought of the Jello shapes becoming hats or umbrellas, and knew I wanted to incorporate a girl figure. So I dove in head first, with no real “roadmap”, and played for just a few hours until I a pattern emerged. Lilla also encouraged us to try a “nougat” palette, using more neutrals, which I really enjoyed pushing myself to do. This was my final submission.
The class gallery is now live, including hundreds of artists’ submissions. Loads of really wonderful work and super fun interpretations of the theme. Check it out! http://bootcamp.lillarogers.com/bootcamp-march-2014-gallery/
I’ve been pretty swamped with deadlines lately, so haven’t been quite able to keep up with sharing new work. Lots of exciting projects are on my desk, many of which I can’t share for awhile. But in the meantime, I can share some new pieces I’ve been working on for the 2nd Month of Love!
If you follow me, you know last year I was invited to participate in this fun art challenge for the month of February. The brainchild of fabulous fantasy artist Kristina Carroll, it started as a daily sketch challenge with an impressive roster of artists participating. It was such a success that Kristina followed suit with a weekly art challenge— “Month of Fear“— last October, and is back at it again with another Month of Love this year.
A challenge topic is provided each week, and all contributing artists create a piece in response to the theme. I’ve been able to jump in on 2 challenges so far this month. Here, “Favorite Love Story”, for which I created a piece inspired by Johnny Cash & June Carter. My Dad used to talk about how much Johnny loved June, and how he died of a broken heart shortly after he lost her. They certainly didn’t have a “perfect” love, but they had the truest, strongest kind of love—the kind that weathers the worst of storms and can’t be broken, even by death. I looked to the iconic Hatch Show Print posters for inspiration to create a fitting tribute.
This next challenge was to illustrated a fetish. I had to do a little research to find something I could get inspired by, and found myself kind of fascinated by “forniphilia”—a form of bondage and sexual objectification in which which a person’s body is incorporated into a piece of furniture.
I’ve been looking at the work of Erte a lot—hard to believe I’d never heard of him in all my years of art school & art history, but after seeing a framed piece hanging in a friend’s home a few years ago I’ve become obsessed! Been learning a lot from his work about simplifying & stylizing, and finding that sweet spot of illustration perfectly married with design. Was thinking about these things when working out how to portray this concept, and had a lot of fun with this one.
There’s just one more week left….February always goes too fast! Be sure to stop by and check out the blog. There’s a ton of talent, and new work is being posted daily!