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Garden Alphabet

I stumbled upon a new community yesterday (new to me, I mean): Illustration Friday. Each week, a new topic/prompt is posted, and anyone (all skill levels are welcome) can do some artwork which illustrates his/her idea of the topic, and post a link to it in the community. This week's subject was "Alphabets," and immediately I knew that I wanted to start working on an illustrated alphabet of my own. (Not everyone did something like this, by any means). I had in mind the lovely capital letters drawn by dilettantiquity, but didn't want to blatantly copy her idea. :D So, I thought it would be nice to have a theme (rather than just abstractly fancy letters), and I decided upon "Garden Alphabet." A somewhat pragmatic choice, as it allows me to include plants, flowers, insects and other garden animals. (And I'll probably end up with either a Unicorn or Utahraptor, as organisms beginning with "U" are in short supply; also "X" will be a challenge, although I'll probably "cheat" and go with a Latin name for that letter). Anyhow, I spent ALL DAY (well, on and off, including a trip to the art supplies store) working on a design, and managed to complete exactly ONE letter.

Here it is, in three versions:

My original, in prismacolor marker:

Garden Alphabet: D

My second prismacolor version:

Garden Alphabet: Dv2

Finally, I worked one up in colored pencils, but thought that just pencil was too bland, so I outlined in ink:

Garden Alphabet: Dv3

I like the basic concept, and I think I like the markers better than the colored pencils. Not sure, ultimately, which paper I'll use (I used smooth marker paper for numbers 2 & 3; the colors are brighter and don't bleed - the not bleeding means they have a crisper edge, but large colored areas look splotchier; heavy drawing paper for #1, which has more texture and is not bright white).

Any thoughts about which one of these three you like best? Or which elements of any of them you think look best? Funnily enough, I think now that I've done three that my favorite is the first one, but I'd love to hear other opinions. :)

Oh . . . and in the time it took me to do maybe half of ONE of those drawings, Connor completed an entire garden alphabet of his own, and some of the illustrated letters are amazingly cute (IMO, anyway). Look at "E" for example - how sweet is that?

Connor's Garden Alphabet

Since he didn't label his animals and plants like I did, this seems perfect for holding a contest. See if you can name the subject of each of his letters (you might want to click on the photo to see a larger version at Flickr), and the person (or people, in case of a tie) who gets the most correct will win a piece of original art by Connor (plus something extra from me; not sure what, yet, but I'll think of something nice). He said he'll draw whatever the winner requests. Sound like fun? Sounds like fun to me. :) So, start guessing! Oh, and I'd better screen comments until after the contest is over, so people who come along later can't just build on previous lists.

ETA: We've just noticed that "L" is missing, so don't worry about that one. Also I'm not expecting anyone to get Connor's "X" - it's not actually a real thing; it's something fictional from outer space (from a very obscure film). If anyone DOES get it, you'll get a Connor drawing just for that. :D

ETA2: We now have a tie in the contest. Both judyserenity and azriona correctly guessed 15 of the letters. (And they didn't both guess all the same ones).

ETA3: We have a new front-runner . . . Nicola, LJ visitor, book lover and homeschooling mom, guessed a whopping 18 correctly!

BTW, I plan to keep the contest open until Tuesday, or possibly Wednesday, to make sure that anyone who is away for the holiday weekend has a chance to play. :)


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
Hey, since the comments are hidden, I can delete my first version, which had am embarassing mistake (the alphabet goes l-m-N-o-p) before too many people see it!

My corrected version is:
Apple tree; bee; caterpillar; dragonfly; earthworm (and yes, it's very cute!); fly; giraffe hiding in a tree; hummingbird; inchworm; jay; um-- gnu spelled with a K, maybe?; moth; NEWT; oxalis; praying mantis; quail; rabbit; snake; termite?; unicorn; violet; wasp; xorg ship (I just made this name up); Yellow-bellied sap sucker; Zormidnea the Alien (I made this up, too.)

Very nice alphabet!
Sep. 5th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Hi, Judy! Just a quick note to say thanks for playing, and also to let you know some fun news . . . Connor has decided to draw a picture for everyone who played! So, if you'll e-mail me your mailing address (you can use my LJ address), there will be something in the mail for you soon! (He wants them to be a surprise, but if there's something you really want him to draw, let me know and I'll make the suggestion. Oh! And your total correct was 15, although I was SO tempted to give you credit for "Xorg ship," as that just sounded SO cool (plus, you were the only one who even made an attempt). :)

Anyhow, thanks again for playing! This was tons of fun for me and Connor. :)
Sep. 2nd, 2007 09:11 am (UTC)
Connor has unicorns in his garden!!
Sep. 2nd, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
But of course! (Although why he didn't choose to have a utahraptor in his garden is beyond me). :D Actually, I can't decide which one I'll choose. Or I might be boring and choose something real. If it doesn't take me the rest of my life to do this garden alphabet, maybe I'll do a fantastical creatures (or dinosaurs) one next. Then again, I should just have Connor do one - he works fast. :D

(Also, I'd love your thoughts on my various letters, if you're so inclined). :)
Sep. 2nd, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
I thought all of your Ds were beautiful! Like you, though, I liked the first one best.
Sep. 3rd, 2007 01:03 pm (UTC)
This one is my favourite: http://www.flickr.com/photos/herebedragons/sets/72157601808120428/

What a lovely idea for an art project!
Sep. 2nd, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
Guesses & opinion
I like the first Dragonfly best too, but I like the way it's written better on the second one - maybe because it's in black, not green, and I really like the swoop of the "y" on the second version. It's loopier, like how a dragonfly would fly.

Anyway, for Connor's contest:

Bee (or bumblebee)
Praying Mantis
Quince (Is that a bird, or a pie?)
T??? (some sort of bug)
Sep. 5th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: Guesses & opinion
Hiya, S! As I think I already told you, you had 15 correct (which is pretty good, I think; I doubt I'd have guessed that many if he hadn't told me what they were). :D Also, he's decided that he wants to draw something for each of the contestants, so if you'll e-mail me your address, we'll have something in the mail to you very soon! Thanks again for playing. This was great fun for me and for Connor, and he's sitting on the couch drawing away right now! :)

Also, thanks for the feedback - I think I agree with the black letters looking better, and I'm going to redo this letter to reflect that. I think having them all like that (with the "small" part of the text in black) will help unify the look of the whole alphabet - because I don't think I'm going to do all the letters in green; I'm thinking that I'll use two or three colors, alternating). I hadn't noticed the loop, but I'll make sure that when I do the new one that it has a really good loopy "y." (That's just my regular handwriting, so I wasn't paying that much attention; but you're right, the loop is good). :)
Sep. 2nd, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Overall I like your first drawing, but I think it would look even better if you had the "D" of the first drawing and the "ragonfly" of the second. :)

My guesses of Connor's drawing coming up...
Sep. 2nd, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
from Nicola
OK, this is too much fun I just have to try:

a - aster
b - bee
c - caterpillar
d - dragonfly
e - earthworm
f - fly
g - geranium
h - hummingbird
i - inchworm
j - jay
m - moth
n - newt
o - orange blossom
p - praying mantis
q - quail
r - rabbit
s - snake
t - tarantula
u - unicorn
v - venus flytrap
w - wasp
x -
y - yellow bellied warbler
z - zinnia

Nicola: http://back-to-books.blogspot.com/
Sep. 2nd, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Guesses for C's pic
african violent??, bumblebee, centipede, dragonfly, earthworm, fly, gladiola?, hummingbird, hmm inchworm?, jay?, uh komodo??, hmm monarch?, praying mantis?, quail, rabbit, snake, unicorn, wasp, x-ray??

I was trying which obscure scifi movie that X could be from, but I was only coming up wtih "The Trip to the Moon," "Killer Clowns from Outer Space," and "Plan 9 from Outer Space." "The Trip to the Moon" spaceship was definitely cylindrical... It looks like just about any rocket ship from the 50s/60s though. :D Like something from "The Twilight Zone."
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
Re: Guesses for C's pic
Hiya, P! You had 13 correct, which is probably more than I could have guessed if he hadn't told me the answers! :D Ooh - you're right, that does look like something from the Twilight Zone (and Connor watches that show whenever there's a marathon on T.V.), but no - it's from a really crappy Godzilla movie. In any case, the good news is that Connor wants to draw pictures for ALL the contestants, so I'll be putting something in the mail to you very soon! (You haven't moved, right? I'm pretty sure I have your correct address).

Thanks again for playing! Connor and I both had a lot of fun with this. :)
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
Re: Guesses for C's pic
Not bad not bad. :D I was hoping to be a front runner, but dang. No way I was going to come up with 20. I struggled as it was with the 18 I came up! lol

Thanks Connor! Yes, I still live in the same place unfortunately. lol
Sep. 5th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC)
Re: Guesses for C's pic
Hey! I was robbed. I got 14. That's not including the fly. Not that I won though. lol Well, I did since I'm still getting a Connor original print! ;D
Sep. 5th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
Re: Guesses for C's pic
Did I miscount? I'm still seeing 13. But I don't wanna rob you of a point! Which 14?
Sep. 5th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Guesses for C's pic
Oh wait, no you're right. I was counting centipede which of course isn't right. Doh.
Sep. 2nd, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
A - anemone
b - bee/bumblebee
c - caterpillar
d - dragonfly
e - earthworm
f - fly?
g - ?
h - hummingbird
i - inchworm
j - jay
k - katydid
m - moth
n - newt
p - praying mantis
q - quail
r - rabbit
s - snake
t - tick
u - unicorn
v - vetch (as in 'crown')?
w - wasp
x -
y - yellow-bellied sapsucker??
z -
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
Ooh! You came CLOSE woman! Your total (after the couple of additions in the other message) was 19 - just one shy of winning. BUT, the good news is that you're STILL a winner after all; Connor is going to draw something for all the contestants. Will you pop your street address to me again? (I know I have the house number, but I'm not sure about the zip code). Something will be in the mail soon. Oh, and hopefully I'll remember to send those postcards for Jacob. I got several of them for him on our cross-country trip.

Thanks for playing! This was a blast for Connor and for me. :)
Sep. 3rd, 2007 05:54 am (UTC)
P--praying mantis
V--Venus flytrap
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
WHOO HOO! Congratulations, sweetie! You are the winner, with 20 correctly guessed! Very well done! As you might have already read in the entry I just posted, you are the only one to correctly guess "Firefly" and I think that's what pushed you over the top! In any case, congratulations again, and let me know what you would like the subject of your drawing to be. I can't promise he'll draw EXACTLY what you want (he's a temperamental little artist), but he should come close. Plus, you'll be getting other fun stuff (in fact, I even got something today with you in min). :D Please e-mail me your address, since I KNOW that I don't have it yet.

Thanks again for playing! This was great fun. :)
Sep. 3rd, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
After a second look:

Sep. 3rd, 2007 06:05 am (UTC)
OK I'll give this a try.

A ?
B bee
C caterpillar
D dragonfly (or damselfly)
E earthworm (so cute, I think it's my favorite of the bunch)
F fly
G gladiolus?
H hummingbird
I inchworm
J ?
K ?
L missing
M moth
N newt?
O ?
P praying mantis (very nicely done)
Q quail (our state bird)
R rabbit
S snake
T tick?
U unicorn
V hmm violet or venus flytrap?
W wasp
X that mythical thing you spoke of ;)
Y ?
Z ?
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
Hiya, Becky! Well, you came pretty close - you guessed 17 correctly, which is more than respectable (maybe you have some insight into the minds of elementary-aged boys? :D). The good news is that Connor decided to make EVERYONE a winner, and he's going to be drawing something for everyone who entered the contest! You haven't moved recently, right? (I think I'd have remembered if you had); if not, I still have your address, so I'll be putting something fun from Connor in the mail to you soon.

Thanks for playing! This was tons of fun for both of us. :)
Sep. 5th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC)
Oh, how sweet of him! How cool! And no I haven't moved. :)
Sep. 4th, 2007 02:36 am (UTC)
LJ is weird! I have no permission to reply to my own (albeit screened...) comment


I have *no* idea whether or not these are right - I'm just throwing them out there!

g - gladiolus (sp?)
o - oleander
z - zinnia
Sep. 4th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Ok, here goes:

A - a flower
B - bee (not a bumble bee though)
C - caterpillar
D - dragonfly
E - earthworm
F - fly (inside venus flytrap which is closing in on it)
G - garden plant of the glass lily variety
H - Humming bird
I - insect
J - Jay
K - coyote
L - Lost fly (possibly inside the venus flytrap)
M - moth (mothra?) near the moon
N - newt
O - orchid
P - preying mantis
Q - quail
R - rabbit (possibly with vampire tendencies)
S - Snake (called Solomin?)
T - tick
U - unicorn
V - venus flytrap
W - wasp
X - xtra terrestrial plants from Killer Klowns from outer space
Y - yellow plover
Z - zoological species

fingers crossed :-)
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
Hey, sweetie! Just a quick note to let you know that you didn't win the grand prize (you had 16 correct, and the winning number was 20), but Connor wants to make ALL the contestants winners, so you'll be getting a super-special Connor original in the mail sometime soon. :) (Are you back in Australia yet? Or do you want us to send it somewhere else? You weren't taking a long trip this time, right)? I did particularly like some of your answers - the vampire bunny, for example (he was listening to that last week), and I really wanted to give you "yellow plover," because his bird definitely looked more ploverish than warblerish. And YAY! You solved the mystery of what happened to L - the fly who got swallowed. :D

Thanks again for playing . . . Connor and I both really enjoyed this, and hopefully you did, too. Give M and A some hugs from me, okay? (And have some for yourself *hugs*).

Sep. 10th, 2007 10:35 am (UTC)
Hugs received all round and more being sent to you, C & K.

Am very excited to be receiving Connor art - to our house in Aus please, although we're not quite back yet.

Aviemore was lovely and I've not read a single LJ entry yet to catch up.

V x
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
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