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Entries in artwork (27)

Monday
Sep292014

How to Use Reference Images to Create Awesome Art

What do Monet’s water lilies, Andy Warhol’s soup cans, and the below unicorn illustration all have in common? The answer is reference images. Do you know how to use them to create awesome art? If not, you can learn here. I know a lot about this subject, I promise. Read the full article here.

Wednesday
Sep242014

Dessert Quirks and Confessions

Dessert Confessions

Dessert quirks: we all have them. Even if you don't have established quirks to point to, surely you've been guilty of strange dessert behavior in your life. In which case, even if you don't have a quirk, you've got a dessert confession

This post celebrates those quirky dessert moments and preferences. 

I wrote most of these, but some of them were contributed by readers. So don't blame me if you disagree with the quirk, because I might not have written the one you're focused on. 

Here goes:

Dessert Confessions

Root beer floats gross me out. Not the taste, the texture.

10 layer cake

The word "moist" grosses me out...

...but I can't think of another word that can accurately describe such a cake.

Dessert Confessions

I once bought a grocery store birthday cake because I just wanted a cake to eat for breakfast all week. At the checkout, the cashier said "whose birthday is it?" and I responded "what are you talking about?". And then I realized...

Dessert Confessions

After my wisdom teeth were taken out, I couldn't abide by cottage cheese and jell-o. On day 2, I mashed a cupcake in milk and ate it. And loved every morsel of the mush.

Homemade Pop Tarts

I could eat Pop-tarts every day. I'm not just saying that. I could eat them every single day.

Closeup, Many Cakes

I prefer vanilla to chocolate. 

I find angel food cake a complete waste of my time.

Dessert Confessions

Two words: quadruple stuf.

If I get on a kick, I will eat a dessert every day for weeks on end until I get tired of it. 

Chocolate Bacon Ice Cream

I love eating ice cream for breakfast. I wish more ice cream shops opened at 9am.

Dessert Confessions

I don't like sharing dessert.

I don't like chocolate covered fruit. 

Dessert Confessions

Dunking: not a fan.

White chocolate

White chocolate: love the stuff. 

I once ate an entire sleeve of Thin Mints as a child and have never really cared for them since. 

Dessert Confessions

I know you're not supposed to lick batter that contains uncooked egg, but I do. I haven't died yet.

I don't like flan.

Dessert Confessions

Salt: I put it on everything. Including brownies, cake, and ice cream.

Too many chocolate chips in my cookie and I'm totally turned off. I'd rather have too few than too many.

Dessert Confessions

There is no such thing as "too much frosting". And yet...frosting shots gross me out.

Do you have a dessert quirk? Tell me about it in the comments section! 

Monday
Jun232014

How to Draw Unicorns

So you want to learn how to draw unicorns. Well, you've come to the right place. I have been a professional illustrator of unicorns since 2007, and have been an appreciator and collector of these magnificent beasts since long before that. What I'm saying is this: I'm pretty much the best person to teach you how to draw them.

I'm not going to twinkle-toe around it, because I want to get straight to the good stuff. And by that, I mean creating magic with pen and paper. So here we go:

How to draw unicorns

No superior work of art ever resulted from a lackluster state of mind. So before you get started, you have to get inspired. There are a few sure-fire ways: surround yourself with unicorns you love, read this post about hipster unicorns, watch Planet Unicorn on youtube, or rent The Last Unicorn

 How to draw unicorns

Now that you're fired up, grab some supplies. I am demonstrating simply using a sharpie with pink construction paper, but you can feel free to use whatever medium makes you happy. I have yet to discover how a tiny naked baby can assist in the unicorn-drawing process, but I am a believer, so I am sure that one day I will learn.

How to draw unicorns

Oooh, ooh, ooh. Now that we're suited up and insprired, it's time to get drawing!

How to draw unicorns

You'll start with the horn. It's easy, really: a thin, tall triangle with stripes for the ridges of the horn.How to draw unicorns

Now, add little ears on the sides of the horn. You want your unicorn to be able to hear the clatter of cupcake tins that means you're getting ready to bake, don't you?

How to draw unicorns

Now, extend the face, adding two little "knobs" on the side for nostrils. You want your unicorn to be able to smell it when you bake cookies, don't you? How to draw unicorns

Now for the biggest and possibly scariest step. Draw a long line which starts at the ear and cascades all the way down in a wave, forming the unicorn's back and the back of its hind leg. Whew! How to draw unicorns

Now, starting at the bottom of the middle of the unicorn's face, draw another line--this is the front leg. How to draw unicorns

In the space between, draw a total of 4 legs. Be sure to add hooves at the bottom, otherwise your unicorn's feet will be too sensitive to prance about. How to draw unicorns

Oh, goody! We've reached what I personally consider the funnest part of drawing a unicorn. How to draw unicorns

Add a mane, both as a little puff of hair in front of the horn and between the ears, and a nice cascade of hair down the back of the neck.

How to draw unicorns

Add a swingy tail, too!

How to draw unicorns

Add two assertive dots for eyes. Finally, your unicorn can see your pretty smile! Now, add two lighter dots below, for the nostrils.

How to draw unicorns

Be sure to add a heart near the unicorn's butt. This is a spot from which it draws power and magical love energy.

How to draw unicorns

Hooray! Now you have a unicorn to be your friend and companion. What will you name it? What kind of adventures will you share?

How to draw unicorns

Enjoy the magic of unicorn art!

Tuesday
May272014

Sweet Art: Hipster Unicorns Invade Santa Fe

I've had the craziest day in Santa Fe.

It started in the morning when I went to BODY for a yoga class. It was a dreamy class, but when I exited...there was a veritable sea of unicorns outside!

Well, I rubbed my eyes, shook my head, and chalked it up to a lack of caffeine so I headed over to the Betterday coffee shop, a known hipster hangout and fine purveyor of coffee.

But you wouldn't believe what I saw there... More unicorns! And these ones looked suspiciously like hipsters.

Starting to think that perhaps I was going crazy, I thought I would escape for a while in the soothing dark of a matinee. So I headed over to the Cocteau theater, which happens to be owned by George Martin of Game of Thrones fame.

But I wasn't alone... The Jean Cocteau appeared to have been taken over by yet more fashionable unicorns, and these ones were reading the Santa Fe Reporter, using iPhones, and even name-dropping.

Sensing that I was experiencing some sort of unicorn-induced hysteria, I decided to seek sanctuary at the Cowgirl BBQ nearby, where I figured I would at least see some people in cowboy hats acting southwest-y, and the horses on the wall would not have horns.

Well. I'm sure that you saw this coming, but the hipster unicorns had infiltrated the Cowgirl, too!

Maybe to those who have spent more time in Santa Fe than me, this type of thing is commonplace. But for me, it was a pivotal moment: I felt like I finally understood why they call New Mexico the "land of enchantment".

Tuesday
Sep032013

Sweet Art: Corn Summit

Corn Summit

What do you think they thought when they first spied each other?

Celebrate your love of all sorts of corn by purchasing a print here!

Thursday
Aug292013

Sweet Art: Cronut Dream

Cronut Dream

CakeSpy wonders: when Dominique Ansel (creator of the Cronut) dreams, does it look like this?

Thursday
Apr042013

Cake Byte: New Prints in Store!

Eloise-themed Cuppie

Here's some sweet news: there are a bunch of new prints for sale in the CakeSpy online shop!

While I pause to tell you that sweet news, maybe I should point out a few of my personal favorite products in the store.

Texas Cuppies

You could pick up one of these...

Mac Attack

or this sweet print...

 

Sweet!

or maybe this one!

Check out everything on offer at CakeSpyShop.bigcartel.com!

Monday
Mar112013

Sweet Art: Donut Stop Believin'

Donut art

Just to make you smile, sweet readers, I thought I would post some pictures of donut artwork I've been working on.

Donut stop believin! Smile every day.

This art is part of a project I am working on for this site, chronicling your favorite donuts from all 50 US States. 

Donut art

So, enjoy the art, and feel free to chime in: what state are you in (or from, or have knowledge of), and where can the best donuts be found? Leave a comment on this post, email me, or weigh in on Facebook!

Wednesday
Mar062013

Sweet Times in Lewes, Delaware

Mural

Recently, I had the sweet good fortune of spending nearly a week in Lewes (pronounced "Lewis"), Delaware. I was there to paint a mural for three very lucky little girls in their home. 

I already shared some process shots with you, but here are a few photos of the finished mural. 

Mural Mural in Delaware Mural in delaware Mural in Delaware Mural in Delaware Mural in Delaware Mural in DelawareMural in Delaware Mural in Delaware Mural in Delaware Me and my world Me and my mural

But guess what, my friends? Muraling wasn't all I did in Lewes. I also ate some totally sweet treats.

Baked Oatmeal, Lewes, DE

First up was a breakfast of baked oatmeal at Café Azafrán. This does, I realize, veer slightly toward health food, but it was sweetened, and it was so freaking good that it needs to be mentioned. Somehow, the geniuses at this cafe have turned oatmeal into a baked brick of lightly sweetened deliciousness. It had the texture of crumb cake, and remained cohesive enough to handle, but had the taste of oatmeal. It was a splendid breakfast, and they will serve it with milk or yogurt (or just plain). Unfortunately the photos don't do it much justice, so you'll just have to trust me: it's well worth a try.

Dutch History Museum, Lewes

Although it is not food related, I should tell you that Lewes has a dutch history museum, and over the entryway...well...that looks a lot like a unicorn to me! Clearly, I was meant to mural here.

Back to the sweet stuff. Lewes also has a bakery. It's called Notting Hill Coffee Company, but it has a big sign above the store that says Lewes Bake Shop.

Now, instead of asking what I tried here, you should ask "what didn't you try?". Because it is the primary bake shop in town, and I was there for DAYS. So I got to try a lot. 

Including...the "Ooey Gooey", a treat all their own which is described as "not a twist, a danish, a biscuit, or a sticky bun...it's all of the above!".

Lewes Bake Shop

Visually, they look like a twisted cruller.Lewes Bake Shop

But taste-wise, they defy one definition. They're definitely ooey gooey. More solid than a doughnut. Not quite as sturdy as a biscuit. COVERED in gooey caramel icing stuff. Oh goodness are they good. It's possible that more than three were consumed during the muraling time.

Lewes Bake Shop

This bakery featured a lot of sweets made with pastry dough rolled into sticks--including the "gorilla stick", which included a chocolatey nut mixture...

Lewes Bake Shop

As well as the "Lewes Creation" which had a cinnamon-sugar-apple mixture smeared in the middle.

In both cases the pastries are surprisingly light and shatter when bitten, but are very pleasant in the mouth, indeed.

Lewes, Delaware

Lewes Bake Shop

For breakfast treats, the croissants could not be beat. Here's the "Swiss Almond" one, made with a mixture of almond paste inside and almonds and chocolate on the outside. Yum.Lewes, Delaware

Similarly delicious, though quite different than the croissant, was a sticky bun. Served in generous slabs and rich with caramelly topping and nuts, these yeasty rolls made mornings happy in this wintry seaside town. Lewes, Delaware

The bakery also does coffee in several flavors (they are beyond happy to let you try all of them) and they do all sorts of flavored hot chocolates. My favorite was the one where they double the chocolate (no, really). It sounds like it might be too much, but trust me, it's not. 

Oh, what a delicious trip! Thank you, Lewes, for the sweet memories.

Places mentioned:

  • Notting Hill Coffee, 124 2nd Street, Lewes, DE; online here.
  • Café Azafrán, 109 Market Street, Lewes, DE; online here.
  • Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes, DE; more info here.

Interested in your own CakeSpy mural? E-mail jessieoleson@gmail.com.

Wednesday
Jan302013

Sweet Art: Two Paintings are Twice as Nice

Custom order

What follows is a fantastic story about sweet art...and one of the biggest artistic compliments I have ever received! 

It all started about five (!) years ago, when I was commissioned to do a custom painting of a cupcake, a banana, and a John Deere tractor. It's pictured above. It was a fun piece to do--the person who asked for it explained that the cupcake was for her, the banana was to represent her young son, and the tractor was for her husband. So it was a family themed piece!

Well, that was that, and then a few years passed. Then I was contacted by the same customer, who wanted a new piece to give to her husband for their upcoming anniversary! This time, could I re-do the piece from before, but with a berry farm backdrop? 

korte

Well, OK. So I did it, and apparently it went over well, because then I received another note, asking--"could you do another?".

Custom painting re doI immediately felt panic--had it been damaged in shipping? Had I done something wrong? But no--apparently, the recipient had loved it SO much that he was scared of even the possibility of losing it, so wanted another, so they could display one, and keep the second as a family keepsake.

Now if that didn't make me feel special, I don't know what would have!

So I did a second painting. With slight differences, because, you know, cupcake paintings are like snowflakes--no two are *quite* the same.

Anyhow--I just thought I would share that sweet story, because it sure made me feel good, and I thought it would make you feel good, too. And, you know, it gives me a chance to show off my artwork. 

Custom art available - email jessieoleson@gmail.com for more info! Other items for sale here.

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