Archives for category: “danielle kay”







Here are a couple of my recent doodles, completed during a lecture class to prevent me from falling asleep. I have a robot and mustache(moustache?) obsession, by the way.


So, here I sit in the midst of the busiest few weeks I’ve ever experienced in college. Finals are approaching next week; this week is called “Dead Week,” since everything is supposed to be quiet, full of study, etc. Wrong. I have had projects, papers, and a final exam this week, along with finishing up photos and video that I shot for my Little 500 internship, and starting training for a new job. 

Yes, I have a new job. No more dealing with beginning photography students leaving trays of chemicals on the floor of the darkroom! Lab monitor Danielle is gone. I am now working at the Indiana Daily Student  (IDS) newspaper, doing mainly ad design and also working on larger projects and campaigns. I’ve only had 2 days of training so far, but I can tell that I will have a great time working there.

The worst of my finals are mostly over. I only have one exam left (although it is huge), and the rest of my work consists of a design project and multiple final book projects for my book structures class. It’s possible that I will be up until 4am making books every night this weekend, but I truly don’t mind doing it. I just hope that I don’t end up with a mediocre project since these are somewhat last minute.

I’m really excited about the first project I have planned for the summer, which is to photograph all of my projects that aren’t already in some digital form. This includes all of the books I have made/will make this semester, of which there are 10 or more. I feel like I haven’t photographed anything for myself in a very, very long time, so this will be a nice bit of artistic therapy. I do have a full list of summer goals written out already, and I’m eager to start them all! They mostly revolve around design, revamping my website, making books, etc., but I also plan to go through clothes and everything else I own, looking for donations for Goodwill. There is definitely too much clutter in my life…which is probably the reason for my personal preference for minimalist design. See, that psychology minor didn’t go to waste.

18. Stay up late.
Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.
(From the Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, by Bruce Mau)

I officially became a vegetarian about two years ago; I say “officially,” because my whole life, even as a child, I’ve never been much of a meat-eater. The concept of meat had always made me uncomfortable, and the only way I could eat it was to forget what it was, and the sight and smell of raw meat always made me nauseous. At restaurants I almost always chose a vegetarian meal and I basically refused to eat chicken (for some reason it was the one type of meat that I absolutely couldn’t stand…I still can’t watch my roommates cook it). My first year at college was basically meat-free; I couldn’t bring myself to eat the meat in the food courts on a daily basis, and after that year I couldn’t force myself anymore. It got to a point where I became nauseous after one bite, it was as if my body was physically rejecting it. And bam! I became a vegetarian.

So my original reason for becoming vegetarian was a general dislike of meat, and the concept of eating something that was once alive. As I’ve learned more about the mistreatment of domesticated animals, and the environmental consequences of producing meat, my motivation for being vegetarian has grown to incorporate moral and environmental reasons.

Within the past few years the environmental concerns regarding meat-consumption have been discussed more and more, but it has been hard for me to find information that an average person can understand; many articles I find on the subject talk about chemicals and processes that, as a normal person, I don’t totally comprehend. Today I came across an article that does exactly what I’ve been looking for. It is straightforward, and anyone can understand what it’s trying to say. It’s also the most convincing article I read for vegetarianism as a way to lessen environmental impact. I’ll let it speak for itself.

The article even links to another article about the ADA’s recommendations for a vegetarian diet! As I’m trying to become more and more environmentally-friendly every day, I look for new ways to inspire others to do the same; my vegetarianism is one of the things I’m most passionate about, and because it’s healthy and eco-friendly, it’s something I can teach to others. My carnivorous roommate has even started to eat tofu and other meat-replacements, whereas a year ago she said she “could never eat tofu…ew.”

I’ve been trying to eat one vegan meal each day, because cheese, milk, and other dairy products still do affect the environment. I don’t think I’ll ever be totally vegan, but when I do buy dairy I do my best to make sure it’s from organic farms, where the cows are grass-fed, and not given antibiotics. It’s not too hard to do and I urge others to give it a try.

Choose veggies!

Between now and the end of the Spring semester I have an incredible amount of work to do on school and personal projects, so I figured I might as well document their progress. Here are some of the projects that will prevent me from sleeping for the next 6-7 weeks.

The T(ea) Book
        One of the projects due in 6 weeks for my Book Structures class is a partner project, where each pair comes up with their own book concept and design. My partner, Sara, and I, discovered a shared passion for tea, and are making a tea book. This book will contain tea-related imagery (my strength) and will be printed on fabric (Sara’s strength); the pages will be held together with a length of ribbon with a printed quote. The inside of the book will contain famous quotes about tea paired with the imagery. The box will be a canvas or muslin covered slipcase with a lid, similar to a tea box. We will likely stain the muslin…with tea! Because we our book is so simple, we had trouble coming up with a title, but then landed on the simply typographic letter “T.” It will reflect the simplicity of the pages containing text.

The Word Book
         For the same Book Structures class I mentioned above, we need to complete a final book project on our own. I’ve been having a lot of trouble coming up with ideas, and this particular idea is still a very tentative one. I have favorite words in the way that I have favorite songs; I hear or see them and I’m comforted, I laugh, or am prompted to think. The book idea I’m proposing will be an entire alphabet of my favorite words; my favorite word for each of the 26 letters. The page containing the word will have pronunciation, origin, definition and whatever other information I feel like including. I may also pair the words with sketches, imagery, or illustrations, although the book will be very typographic in nature.

        I have no ideas yet for the cover or binding style, but I might want it to look something like a dictionary (although I don’t want to use leather!) This proposal is still very tentative, and I may change the plan at the last minute like I usually do.

       My favorite word starting with “N” is nostalgia, and the letter “O” is onomatopoeia. Pinning down my favorite words for each letter will be incredibly fun….which is why I might stick with the idea; it will be entertaining!

Green Production Posters
     For my Production Graphic Design class, we have a poster assignment in which we need to conceptualize, research, and design a series of 3 informational posters on some part of production. I decided to incorporate another area of interest of mine, sustainability, and will be going through the steps the designer can take to be more eco-friendly in 3 areas: Prepress/Design, Onpress/Printing, and Post-Production. I’m the only one of my classmates researching this topic, and I’m even more excited about it since more businesses and individuals are now striving to be “green,” and the topic is becoming more prominent in everyday life, including the life of a designer.

     I have about half of my research done and am still in the sketching process. I’m still not sure about imagery/illustration, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon enough.
     Rough thumbnails:

Music Business Cards
     I’m in the process of making music business cards for my Dad, to promote him as a musician for small events, rather than for just executive purposes. These cards will be very simple but dynamic, and clearly emphasize music. I’m still in the sketching process, but I’ll start working on them more as my school projects near completion.
      A few sketches:

And of course, my portfolio website is an ongoing project, although it hasn’t seen any changes in quite some time, especially because I now think it’s boring, want to revamp my logo and my entire website design.

Starting shortly, I’ll be taking on some small design projects for friends that will help them out while helping me build my portfolio.I’m also applying for an internship with Blue Line Style for Little 500. If I get the position, I’ll be one of the photographers documenting the events surrounding Little 500 and the races themselves. I have a meeting on Tuesday to learn more about the internship, so I hope it goes well!

Earlier this month, Indiana University’s Counseling and Psychological Services sponsored “Celebrate Your Body Week,” an annual event consisting of activities that promote positive body image and educate students about the dangers of eating disorders and over-exercise. Students were invited to submit work related to the event for a gallery. Unfortunately, I was too busy to get my idea realized and printed before the deadline date, but it did inspire me to address this issue through art. I created this triptych to show the extremes of an eating disorder in a straightforward, simple way, without incorporating a person.

I have unfortunately witnessed the destructive nature of eating disorders in friends and peers from high school until now. I have heard many women (and men) my age become visibly distressed over the pressures of being thin in today’s society. We have all felt these same pressures at some point, but it is truly tragic to see them take over the human mind and transform negative thoughts into self-destructive behavior. It is painful to watch a friend chew gum for lunch, and eat a few crackers for dinner, but it’s nothing compared to the pain felt by those with the disorder. It is important to raise awareness for eating disorders, and educate people about their dangerous consequences so that we can combat the causes.

Advertisements depicting unrealistic Photoshopped bodies on actual healthy and beautiful women are certainly not helping the problem (see link below). Nor are the general requirements for editorial and fashion modeling, which are (according to my internet research), between 5’8″-6’0″ in height and 90-120 lbs. Those are nearing Barbie’s unnatural and slightly emaciated proportions, and create unrealistic ideals for young women, not to mention the low self-esteem women feel when they see these magazines and wonder why they can’t look the same way.

A huge mistake by Ralph Lauren’s advertisers shows the odd desire for disproportionaly skeletal women in the fashion world:

Campaigns for real beauty and fashion shows incorporating more “plus size” models are starting to appear, and I can only hope that they continue to push the emphasis towards a healthy body, rather than one that is unnaturally thin. V Magazine is starting to help, by showing that women larger than a size 4 are just as beautiful.

This is an issue that I will continue to follow, and I will do my best to use my photography and art to propel modern society’s image of the ideal body away from where it currently resides and towards something more realistic, and less dangerous. I urge others to do the same.

Because I am lacking in photographic inspiration, and can’t think of anything new to shoot, I’m going to play with old images. I love monochromatic images; black and white will never go out of style…but sometimes I want something more. I recently discovered the beauty of duotone images. Duotone refers to a halftone reproduction of an image, where one color is superimposed over another. When one of these tones is black (as in grayscale/black & white imagery) and one tone is a specific color, you can get some really fantastic subtle effects. I’ll manipulate one of my images for the sake of comparison:

Here is the original monochromatic photo        

This is an obvious duotone photograph, where the superimposed color is an red-orange (specifically PANTONE 166 C) I rarely see duotones with this intense of a bright color…it seems more common to use extreme colors when they are cooler tones, like the example below.

So…yep that’s blue (PANTONE 2915 C to be exact). Pretty extreme for a portrait, but it can be really dynamic for cold landscapes and the like. Now, for subtlety.
Now this one also has a blue tone (PANTONE 544 C), but it is a lot more subtle. It just gives the image a cool feel, rather than screaming HEY LOOK I’M BLUE. Anyway…I like it. There are places where it can really enhance a photo in a quiet way.

This effect is perhaps my favorite. The superimposed color is a light beige/brown, called PANTONE 5835 C. It is a subtle warmth added to the photo. Not immediately noticeable or bothersome, but it adds a nice effect to the portrait.
You might think you see this all the time, with sepia and hue-adjusted photos, but it is a different effect. Hue adjustments change all the tones of the photo (shadows, midtones, highlights) to reflect that color. A duotone is a combination of two tones, that create a more natural effect. The highlights generally remain white, and the darkest shadows stay more or less black. Hue adjustments and sepia of course have their place in photography and digital manipulation, but I am a huge duotone advocate. It works within an image rather than overlaying an obvious effect on top of it. 
So, if you’re wondering how to do this:
1. Open an image in Photoshop
2. Change the color mode to grayscale, to make the Duotone option available  (Image>Mode>Grayscale)
3. Change the color mode to duotone (Image>Mode>Duotone)
4. A box will pop up where you will choose your color
5. In the “Type” box, change the selection from Monotone to Duotone (Yes, there are other options there…you can do Tritone and Quadtone too!)
6. Click on the white box for Ink 2, and choose your color. (You can change your color options under the “Book” tab. I stick to PANTONE Solid Coated, because it is a common system used among professional printers)
7. Press OK, and you have yourself a fancy Duotone image! You can always go back and change your color in the .psd file, by getting back to the Duotone menu.

In the box that comes up after clicking on “Duotone,” you’ll see a small box next to your ink selections with a diagonal line through it. If you click on it, you can adjust the curve of a particular tone. If you know how to use the Curves adjustment, you might want to try this out. You can adjust specifically where you would like to see the most color (midtones, highlights, etc) with this feature. It gives you a lot more control over the use of color in your image.

Three cheers for duotone!! Hopefully I’ll have some NEW images up soon that showcase this technique in all its glory.

One year ago today I had completed the first month of my 365/Photo a Day photography project. In noticing the date, I realized that I never reflected on that project except to various friends and family, and I never fully got closure on this project (I use the word closure, as this project was quite the relationship).

So, the 365 project, started January 1, 2009 and ended December 31, 2009. I took a series of photos every single day, and chose one to edit and upload to flickr as that day’s photo. I never missed a day of shooting, although I did get behind on editing and uploading, and would end up processing 2 weeks worth of photos in a day. But still, I got it done, and now that I’ve had a month to sit and reflect on it, I can tell what effects it has had on me and my work. I tried to summarize it in 4 main points:

1. Because I was shooting every day in roughly the same location, I had to train my eye to look for interesting things in everyday objects and in scenes you wouldn’t normally photograph. It is now easier for me to find a good photograph almost anywhere (and by good I mean aesthetically pleasing, not necessarily meaningful).

2. It’s okay to have some crappy work. In the first couple months of this project I would get so stressed out on the days I had no inspiration or couldn’t find a decent subject. The photos would turn out mediocre, some even terrible. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t make a good image every single day, or why I would run out of ideas so quickly. But I realized that most of the time, out of a rut comes something great. I’m a firm believer in learning from mistakes, in life, but especially in art. Of all the bad photographs I took, I learned what not to do, or what doesn’t work. It’s a constant cycle of learning and making mistakes; I then understood how important it is not to get discouraged by less than perfect work; every artist goes through this cycle repeatedly.

3. I became so comfortable with my camera, that it became an extension of my eye, rather than a bulky box in the way of my vision. Using my camera every day was at first a struggle, since I hadn’t fully explored its technical aspects, and had relied on “guess and check” since then. Making images every day really trains your eye to see variations in the photo based on exposure, depth of field, ISO, etc. rather than “it’s too bright.” I started to see in f stops. Just kidding, but seriously. Anyway, I began to understand the relationship between my vision, the camera, and the actual produced image, which sped up the process of getting my idea realized and opened up the possibilities of things I could do.

4. Once I became more comfortable with the technical aspects of my photography, the real change happened. I started to see improvements everywhere, now that I wasn’t burdened by my lack of technical knowledge. My composition of images improved, and other aspects like that, but more importantly, ideas improved as well. As it became easier to translate my ideas into an image, my ideas began to take a different form. I moved from just trying to create a beautiful or interesting image, into a work of art; I started to see how I could make my work conceptual, evoke emotion and get people thinking. This project brought my work to an entirely new depth; of course I still create images for their own sake, like landscapes and macro and all other neat things, but I now have the possibility of doing something more. Before, I had so much trouble translating emotion and concepts into an image, but the constant photographing and forcing myself to learn new things brought out a new level of inspiration and thinking.

So, that was a longer than I expected, but I guess I didn’t realize until this moment what an impact the project really had on me. I could extend this list into an entire book, but for the sake of everyone who might end up reading this, I’ll keep it short(ish).  A few things I didn’t include in the main list: increased self-discipline, more comfortable in my own skin (way too many self portraits due to lack of friends who like modeling), twenty times more comfortable with Lightroom and Photoshop than I used to be, improved editing/processing skills, and of course, now I don’t totally freak out when I’m in an artistic rut; I know that inspiration is a cycle, and it will come around, probably at 3:35 am on a Monday night.

I urge all artists to do a personal project like this, even if not exactly the same thing. It has its ups and downs, (at times I wanted to chuck my camera across the room) but getting through it and really giving it your best shot has unbelievable effects on the mind and the artistic process.

The set containing my entire photo a day project is here on flickr

Recently I’ve been experimenting with some stop motion animation/editing. I figured,  I take hundreds of photos all the time, might as well turn them into something new! Here’s the most recent one, called “Hovercraft Malfunction,” made up of 269 photos, compiled in iMovie.