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i am going to start writing with more emoji

Digital culture is replacing words with emojis, and I am fascinated with it! As a visual artist, I know the power of using symbols to communicate, and how they give us nonverbal ways to express our ideas and share our experiences.

I have been reading about the design and history of emojis and icons, and have learned that visual language isn’t as new as I originally thought. My studies reminded me of cave paintings, the Egyptians, Native Americans, Asians and many other cultures who have used picture based language for thousands of years. Even in recent times, we regularly use symbols for bathroom 🚻, danger⚠️, navigation↪️🚸, operating machinery⛔️, and so forth. An advantage of visual language is that it can transcend other languages. If you have ever visited a country where you don’t know the language, there is no doubt that icons helped you understand important information.

snow falling on cabin

To practice this idea, I have started to create my own icons/emojis to tell you all a little bit about my week. This is what the weather was like in Old Washington.

In my personal life, I have been taking a 7-day break from Facebook every month (which freed up a lot of time for studio work and exploring the world of emojis). I thought this symbol was a good way to represent that experience:

animated hand turning off cellphone

It’s interesting how, nowadays, adult coloring books have become bestsellers and Bob Dylan recently won the Pulitzer Prize for literature. (For the record: i think both adult coloring books and Bob Dylan are great!). As our language continues to evolve, maybe in the future, a visual artist can win a the Pulitzer Prize for a work of art written in emoji?Categories: animationstudio life

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a smooth way to transition between colors on a mesh?

I’m learning Blender, and starting to add color. I’m trying to figure out how to create a soft line between 2 different colors on the same mesh.  The best solution I have come up with is to make a UV map, then brush the color by hand.


I’d like a simpler solution. Drawing on the UV map is close, but I would like the transition to be smoother. For example, I don’t want the texture that you see between the bird’s beak and body.

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3D scene with goat, birds, and lighting

I’m continuing to learn 3D modeling with Blender. For this project, I modeled a bird and house, and arranged them with my goat into a little scene.


I’m not comfortable thinking in 3D yet, so after struggling for awhile, I came up with this simple bird shape. This is pretty close to what I wanted.  I still might do some work on the shape of the wings.


I rendered the scene a second time with all of the characters ‘smooth’ instead of showing the geometry. I like both effects, and can’t choose which I like better.


So, that’s my progress report for learning 3D! I really like the way it makes me think about space much different from when I am working on a 2D painting.

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3D goat

I am learning 3D modelling with an open source program called Blender. It’s more like sculpting than drawing, and is helping me think about the volume of objects, and how they fit in space.


It’s also like photography, you need to think about camera angles, and the way light affects your subject:


For this model, I used the artwork that I made in Marcos Lucero’s stencil class. It was a good exercise taking my 2d work, and interpreting it into 3D.