We have a release date for “Frozen 2!”

Art, Pop Culture

For the first time in forever…we have news regarding “Frozen 2!” In case you missed it, Disney announced the film’s release date on Twitter this Tuesday.

Yep, you read it right Рwe still have over two years of waiting before the sequel hits theaters! While that seems like a ridiculously long time to wait, we know that the end product will be totally worth it.

In the meantime, here’s some “Frozen” fan art to tide you over:

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An Enchanted Retelling of the Tale as Old as Time

Pop Culture, Review

Even though it took me a little while (8 days following the release to be exact) to make it to the movies to see this incredibly anticipated film for the first time, I’m happy to say I have now officially watched Disney’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” twice.

Staying true to the original story, this film was full of the magic we associate with the animated class, while still bringing something new to the table. Emma Waston was, of course, fabulous as Belle, retaining the old world charm we remember of the original character while also furthering Belle’s charisma and fearlessness.

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A round of applause is also in order for Dan Stevens who played quite the believable Beast.

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Aside from the amazing talent and incredible reputations backing up each of the cast members, there were so many other elements that contributed to this film being spectacular, and dare I say, even better than the original…? That might be a debate for another day.

In the mean time, here are (in my humble opinion) the top five changes that made this live action retelling so successful:

Character Development. Characters are one of the most important pieces in your story. While filmmakers already had most of the plot laid out for them, sticking to the original story, it was essential that they add to the characters of Belle and Beast to make them fit for a full-length live action rendition. Adding backstory to both protagonists (essentially the deaths of parents) gave viewers a deeper understanding  of both characters.

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New Songs. Speaking of character development, how fantastic were both “Days in the Sun” and “Evermore?” Did anyone else feel their hearts ripping in half during the latter? Thank you, Disney for giving us new songs to obsess over! (“Be Out Guest” was still amazing of course.)

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Gaston and Lefou: Watching this movie, I realized I didn’t hate Gaston as much as I did in the original. In fact, for a while, I quite enjoyed his role in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, by the end I was wishing to push him off the bridge¬†myself, but I enjoyed the filmmakers’ decision to create a like-able villain, deviating from the always-despicable cartoon version.

And Lefou? He was just hilarious. Enough said.

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Style. While there were definitely differences from the original, I absolutely adored the stylization of the furniture, castle interior and costumes. As I mentioned in a previous post, this story demonstrates Rococo influence, making it absolutely stunning to behold.

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Special Effects. An outstanding bravo to the film’s art department – you guys killed it! In a piece that relies so heavily on fantastical characters it’s easy to become focused on where the fictional representations are lacking. This certainly wasn’t the case with “Beauty and the Beast” ‚Äď the team behind all of the fabulous special effects did an outstanding job. I’ll be waiting any day now for my tea cup to strike up a conversation.

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Clearly, my overall opinion is positive. Unlike so many other movies, I didn’t feel like I was watching the film, I felt like I was experiencing¬†it. Truly an elegant masterpiece that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

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Can’t get enough “Beauty and the Beast?” Check out my story-inspired embroidery piece here and¬†drawing here.

Getting ready to see #BeautyandtheBeast for a second time – this time with mom and grammie! ‚̧ԳŹūü•Ä

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“Wicked” (Touring) – Nothing Short of Spellbinding

Pop Culture, Review

We’re not in Syracuse anymore!¬†

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending my first off-Broadway show: “Wicked,” touring at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, NY.

Although I had read the book, I was unsure of what to expect from the musical. Obviously I had heard it was good, and considering my¬†predisposed love for “The Wizard of Oz,” I was eager to see what the hype was all about.

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One of the many Scarecrow-inspired paintings I created during my undergraduate studies.

If you read the title to this post, ¬†you probably have a pretty good idea as to what I’m going to say. That being, this musical was FANTASTIC, or should I say WONDERFUL.¬†

Everything about this production was spot-on, magical and completely bewitching. I kid you not when I say I sat at the edge of my seat during the entire show. That’s a full 150 minutes¬†of sitting up as far as I possibly could on my child-sized, 1920s-constructed balcony seat, eager to witness, listen and experience every sound and dance move¬†being performed onstage.

Feeling a little bit #wicked!!! ūüíö

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Whether you’re a Central New Yorker currently debating whether or not to buy tickets for the show, or someone considering seeing it on Broadway in the future, here are three reasons why you absolutely, positively should:

MUSIC

I’ll preface this subsection by first saying that I love music and I love musicals, BUT sometimes, just sometimes, there are musicals that start to lose me¬†in the second act, whether it be through an over-played dramatic number or a rhythm that just doesn’t catch. The great thing about “Wicked?” All of the songs are great! Catchy with character, all of the musical numbers directly contribute to moving the story forward, while also conveying an impact and overall experience that acting alone would fall short of. Some of my favorites included “Defying Gravity,” “One Short Day” and “The Wizard and I.”

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SPECIAL EFFECTS

I don’t care who you are – special effects are fun. Especially when those special effects are portraying a young girl’s transition from bookish outcast to the Wicked Witch of the West. No joke, the end of Act 1 gave me goosebumps. There’s also a lot to be said of watching Glinda fly in on a steampunk inspired bubble.

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STORY

Finally, I’m always one for a strong story – it’s what drives effective communication and makes for the most memorable¬†entertainment. Whether you are a fan of “The Wizard of Oz” or not (though admittedly, it helps) this musical supplies audience members with a strong story, as magical as it is relatable. Themes of¬†love, friendship and the search for identity make this show accessible to all ages. And truthfully, aren’t you just a little bit curious about how the Wicked Witch comes to be? No? How about the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion then?

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Outside of my top three, there are also countless other elements that make this show amazing, including but not limited to costumes, lighting design and the immense talent of the entire cast.¬†All of which goes into my saying that I couldn’t have been happier with my “Wicked” experience – the show was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

If you ever have the opportunity to see it, I highly recommend you¬†do so. After all, it’s not every day you get to defy gravity.

*Respecting the request of the theater and production, the author refrained from photography during the show. Photographs of the show featured in this article were retrieved from Google Images.

Talking about Rococo, Tea Cups and “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Pop Culture

“Beauty and the Beast”¬†releases in theaters today and dear God I couldn’t be more excited! Although I may not be able to make it to the theater¬†for a few more days, I’d like to celebrate this happy day with my latest art piece, a colored pencil drawing inspired by the Rococo art period, a movement that is very much visible¬†in “Beauty and the Beast.”

First thing is first: what is Rococo? Having been an art major in college, I took my fair share of art history courses and would be more than happy to fill you in.

While most of us have at least heard of movements¬†such as Impressionism (You know, the blurry French paintings? Monet?) or Cubism (think Picasso) ¬†the term Rococo isn’t quite as mainstream.

An art period that unfolded in late 18th century France, Rococo strongly concentrated on light and very much intricate detail. You may be familiar with this piece, “The Swing” by Jean-Honor√© Fragonard:

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Well, at least you’ve probably seen it here:

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(Needless to say, Rococo is a wee bit flirtatious).

If not, perhaps you’ve seen my personal favorite of the period “The Embarkation for Cythera” by¬†Jean-Antoine Watteau.

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Either way, you get the picture.

Rococo. It’s light, its airy, it’s pink-hued and it’s intricately detailed. It’s also a style which I’m very much reminded of as I eagerly await the release of ¬†Disney’s live-action”Beauty and the Beast.”

Debate among Disney-enthusiasts has not yet revealed a conclusive answer as to whether or not the fairy tale is meant to be set in the Baroque or Rococo time period. Either way, we know it’s French and it’s beautiful, and maybe that’s all we really need to know.

All of which brings me back to main point, which is to share with you my latest drawing, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast”¬†aesthetics.

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Although they’re no Mrs. Pots and Chip, these tea cups stand up in their own right (literally and metaphorically speaking).

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Inspired by an image I came across on Pinterest, I loved blocking in the variety of colors with Prismacolor pencils.

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The smooth texture was later achieved by blending the pigments together with a blending pencil.

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Hopefully you find this drawing inspiring – I know you’re just excited about tonight’s movie release as I am – and stay tuned for future “Beauty and the Beast” inspired artwork!

(Something tells me there is going to be a lot of it.)

Reviewing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (No Spoilers!)

Inspiration, Pop Culture, Review

I’ve been so busy writing Christmas and Fall inspired posts that I haven’t had the chance to reflect upon Fantastic Beasts. Having seen the film two weeks ago, I’ve been itching to write down my thoughts on the film and share them with the creative and wizard-loving community.

The first thing I’m going to say is this: Go see the movie. If you have not yet seen it, but believe that you may possess even just the slightest interest in doing so, then stop reading this and go to the theater immediately.

Because my overall review is that Beasts was, truly, Fantastic. 

Clearly very different from the Harry Potter story, this film brought something new to the table: A plot line and experience of the wizarding world seen through the perspective of an adult, littered with maturity and the vibrancy of early-1900s New York City.

Though I could absolutely rant and rave about this film, I’ll keep it simple with my top three¬†favorite things:

1. The Beasts.¬†Anyone who reads this blog knows of my love of mythical and fantastical creatures.¬†If you loved watching Harry fly over the lake with Buckbeack, or perhaps secretly wished for Norbert’s prolonged residence in Hargrid’s hut, then you will love the creatures brought to you in Beasts.¬†While the niffler provides sufficient humor, the thunderbird emanates wonder and encourages imagination.

With so many other creatures also presented during the film, the beasts are a large part of what makes this film fantastic.

2. Character Development. Without a doubt,¬†Eddie Redmayne makes this film. Socially awkward and enraptured by seemingly “dangerous” characters, Newt Scamander is a character for whom you find yourself rooting for.

Also captivating is our first muggle/no-maj main character, Jacob, who adds an immense amount of humor to the periodically dark storyline.

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Sisters Porpentina and Queenie also make for well-developed main characters, playing like-able, as well as complete and total opposites.

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3. Storyline. This storyline, while playing into Harry Potter, was also completely fresh. It was also a great balance of light-hearted humor and serious, symbolic themes. Although this was her first screenplay, J.K. Rowling has outdone herself once again.

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This year has been a big one for the wizarding world, bringing us the release of  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as the beginning of this new Fantastic franchise. Ultimately much more pleased with this film than I was with the Cursed Child play book I look forward to seeing it one more time before it leaves theaters and ultimately encourage you to do the same.

Early Christmas gift perhaps?

Until then, so the fan art begins…

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A Fantastic Beast Menagerie: Magical Creature Artwork of 2016

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

Fantastic Beasts comes out this week and I couldn’t be more excited! Needless to say, we Potter fans are eager to explore New York City through J.K. Rowling’s wizarding eye.

For me, however, the most exciting part of this film will be the creation of more fantastic beasts. Or, more accurately, the materialization of the beasts mentioned in the Harry Potter novels but left out of the coinciding films. I.e. The niffler:

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After all, anyone who reads this site on a regular basis knows that a solid portion of posts are centered around my own artwork, especially that which features fantastic beasts inspired by the Harry Potter films.

Today, as I share my excitement for this film’s release, I’m adding to this fantastic beast collection, sharing my most recent drawing of a thestral.

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Created in pen and ink, I knew that the black and white color scheme paired with the sketchbook quality would give the drawing the eery yet beautiful vibe that those of us who know what a thestral is have come to associate with them.

With Beasts getting ready to hit theaters this weekend, embrace your own excitement and check out photos of my other Fantastic Beast pieces below!

Dragon: Colored Pencil and Watercolor

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Hippogriff: Cotton and Acrylic Paint

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Phoenix: Colored Pencil

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Mandrake: Colored Pencil and Ink

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Getting Excited for “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

This past week, the internet has been losing its mind and weeping tears of joy over the recently-released, exclusive photographs of the upcoming live-action film Beauty and the Beast.

Released by Entertainment Weekly, the photographs capture the magic that the mass audience has hoped and dreamed would encapsulate this visual retelling of the much-loved, classic story.

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Needless to say, Disney lovers are much anticipating the March 17 release date, unable to contain their enthusiasm as they count down the days.

Unsurprising perhaps to most of my readers, I happen to be among this crowd and plan on seeing the¬†film in theater.To showcase my excitement, I’m sharing my most recent hand embroidery, an original piece inspired by this upcoming film.

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Featuring the enchanted rose that is often used to symbolize the Beauty and the Beast story, the embroidery is constructed of running stitches, back stitches and french knots, and completed in a hand-drawn style, similar to some of the other hand-embroidered pieces that I have shared in the past.

Due to the style, the piece was relatively quick in the making, taking approximately two weeks from start to finish.

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So while we Disney fans still have another four months of waiting to overcome, there is a lot to be said of the inspiration that is created by anticipation.

In other words, expect to see another Beauty-inspired piece from me before the film hits theaters!

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Wizarding Wear

Art, Pop Culture

Lately, I have been getting back into fashion-drawing. Something that inspired me to do so was reading “The Character Vault” by Jody Revenson. This book accompanies two other books (“The Creature Vault” and “Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and Beyond”) that were published examining and explaining production of the Harry Potter¬†films.

This last installment is intriguing because it examines the costumes of all of the different characters, as well as their wands, makeup applications and costuming tactics. A few of the photographs in this book stood out in particular, and inspired me to recreate some of the wizarding wear in pen, ink and colored pencil.

The first is the outfit worn by the Beauxbaton girls, specifically Fleur Delacour, when they make their entrance into Hogwarts during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  I love the powder blue.

The second is one of Minerva McGonagall’s. Professor McGonagall has always been one of my favorite characters and I love the Scottish influence seen in her robes and hats.

While “The Creature Vault” still remains my favorite of the series, all three of these production-focused books are excellent and I would recommend them to any¬†Harry Potter¬†fan. I would especially recommend “The Character Vault” to those who, like me, possess an interest in fashion and costuming.

I See the (Embroidered) Light

Art, Pop Culture

You know that scene in Tangled when Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are on the boat during the festival of lanterns and Disney, yet again in true-Disney fashion, inspires you and makes you feel like a kid again? Of course you do. Or, at least you do if you’ve ever seen the movie.

If not, here’s a 3 second recap to catch you up to speed:

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Probably the best-loved scene in the movie.

Inspired by this scene I decided to approach the lantern imagery from a graphic stand point and reproduce it in a nontraditional medium. I wished to recreate a lantern in fiber, specifically embroidery.

This is what that process looked like:

  1. I began by creating a quick sketch with pen on white cotton.
  2. Then, I started filling in the colors with embroidery floss using hand embroidery.
  3. Next, I painted in the background with acrylic paint. This is what the piece looked like following one layer of paint, but thought this was too boring.

Rather then having a static background, I decided to add lanterns in the distance. This is how the piece ended up:


In the future I think it would be fun to sew my own lantern and use wire to make it three dimensional. I will have to keep you posted if and when I decide to try this out!

Outlandish Apparel

Art, Colored Pencil, Pop Culture

The second season of Starz’ “Outlander” has yet to disappoint. Faithful to Diana Gabaldon’s “Dragonfly in Amber,” the show’s second season has been full of action, drama and absolutely fantastic costuming. (I think most of us are familiar with the red dress.) eae3924265bbc6273bc7a536511743bf

Although the series is associated with Scotland, the French setting has provided for some phenomenal visual feats. I find the set to be authentic and captivating, but more than anything else this season, I have been enraptured by the costuming.

When I was younger, I possessed a far-away fantasy of one day becoming a fashion designer. I was never serious about this pursuit, but always enjoyed drawing clothes.

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Fashion Sketches, 2011

Although my interest began in high school, I was further inspired in undergrad when I was exposed to fiber art. I instantly fell in love with the medium, having found a way to utilize fabric and other fibrous materials artistically without becoming a designer.

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Fashion Sketches, 2011

It was during my surface design course, and later weaving pursuit, that I didn’t spend a lot of time drawing clothing but instead, sewing, weaving and embroidering art. I even painted a series of odd costumes, with the painted clothing constructed of materials other than fabric fabric.

Therefore, it has been quite a while since I have tried my hand at fashion-drawing. Inspired by “Outlander,” I decided to tackle the clothing of an era I had yet to try: Eighteenth Century, France.

While the drawing featured below is not based on a costume from the show, the era and country were obviously direct inspiration.

If I were to compare the drawing to any of the pieces worn thus far, I would say it is most similar to the dress worn by Claire’s new friend, Louise de La Tour. (I do just love the ruffle-esque bows, don’t you?)outlander-louise-de-rohan-season-2-official-picture-outlander-2014-tv-series-39420032-1948-2598

As the season proceeds, I can only hope that we continue to witness fabulous historic costuming. Realistically though, I happen to think we will be returning to Scotland sooner rather than later. Dinna fash though, no spoilers here!