Stuffed volcano

 © Mikayla Butchart 
A few years ago, my sister saw a stuffed volcano I made even more years ago for my old roommate and dear friend Nick based on drawings he used to do, and she thought it was cute and said she would pay me to make her one. So I remembered that forever and made her one of her own as a Christmas present after I'd saved up enough grapefruit netting. Cha-ching! Best sister ever. Here it is enjoying a quiet afternoon in the parlor before the drive up to Santa Rosa for Christmas.


The Carter Family

© Mikayla Butchart
This was something I made for my Everything But Editorial illustration extension class at CCA taught by Caitlin Kuhwald (recommended!; she's amazing!). The assignment was to design an album cover, and because I've done so many of these for my friends' bands the last few years, I thought I'd try something different for this assignment: not conceptual, not contemporary, and with some ladies for a change. Because I only had a week, I stylized everything quite a bit so I wouldn't have to worry about time-consuming rendering, and I quite like the result.

I could have happily researched for this piece for the rest of my life. Listening to The Best of the Carter Family on the old Fisher-Price record player while watching their old Grand Ol' Opry appearances and sketching western swing dresses, cowboy boot and shirt embellishments, quilting patterns, and Anita's weird ponytail tube? Yes, please! Also, look how cute June Carter Cash is!

If you haven't heard Anita Carter yodeling as a six-year-old, you don't know what you're missing, but until I can find that, this duet with Hank Williams is pretty glorious. Also, watch this! Best. June Carter is hilarious. I could go on (as I said, I could happily get lost in the Carter Family rabbit hole forever), but I think you get it.


Miranda July in person!

Miranda July came to speak and be interviewed at the Herbst Theater tonight as part of the City Arts & Lectures series "On Arts." After the event, while everyone else had her sign their copies of No One Belongs Here More Than You, I patiently waited in line for an hour to have her sign the North Bay Bohemian issue that features my portrait of her on its cover, the one dog-eared, stained copy I have. It literally looks like I ate fish and chips off of it. I apologized for the spot between her eyes that makes it look as though she has a unibrow. She is gracious and sweet and tiny and pregnant, apparently, and I am the most awkward person on earth. I feel like such a person in a line in those circumstances.
Being awkward. Nothing to see here.
But watch the crowd approach!

But now I have this. Squee! I want to make shirts that
just say
Thank you Mikayla, in her handwriting.
No one belongs here more than you, Bayle.


Cooking World Cooking: Beef Burgundy

© Mikayla Butchart
The latest in the Cooking World Cooking illustrations! I think this one is my favorite so far. Yeah, Toulouse-Lautrec cow, you hold those baguettes! (He was later dubbed the hipster minotaur.)


Periscope wine label

© Mikayla Butchart

I painted this handsome sailor for a class assignment for Everything But Editorial, Caitlin Kuhwald's class in CCA's extension program. The assignment was to design a wine label for Periscope cellars, a nautical-themed winery that I think is closed now. The rest of the label I did digitally and I'm not wild about it, but I do really like how he turned out. (And yes, I know that's a telescope, not a periscope.) 


Cooking World Cooking: Oktoberfest

© Mikayla Butchart

Here's another commemorative illustration for a Cooking World Cooking dinner party. Just last weekend a lot of us saw Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in Washington Square Park, so an Oktoberfest homage to the movie seemed appropriate. The blue and white diamond pattern on the globe is the "lozenge" (as opposed to striped) version of the Bavarian flag (I learn a lot when I make these; thanks, Wikipedia). I think the font I used is even called Strangelove. Of course, all these layers of significance were lost on those among us who hadn't seen the movie recently, so if that's you, too, here's the original movie poster:

Coloring digitally worked a little better this time with these flat shapes, and these Cooking World Cooking illustrations have been good practice for me. Another good takeaway lesson from the evening was to mind your wurst/bier ratios so you don't make a dummkopf of yourself. I'm sure I'll get it next time.


Leditor to the editor!

I was mentioned in a letter to the editor in this week's issue of the Bohemian, in regards to my cover portrait of Miranda July in last week's issue. What a treat! Here it is:
Miranda, Miranda
Thanks to Mikayla Butchart for her great painting of Miranda July. I have always been a fan of Miranda July, but now I'm a big fan of Miranda and Mikayla! Leilani Clark's interview was great, too ('Floating in the Future,' August 24)—an informed and nuanced profile of one of my favorite artists. Thank you.
Aileen Robinson
Thanks, Aileen. You can also read it and other Bohemian content here


Cooking World Cooking: Tacos de Puerco

© Mikayla Butchart
Here's another commemorative illustration I did for my dinner party friends. After the frustration I had with coloring the illustration digitally last time, I went the opposite direction with this one and used something really familiar, watercolor. Aaahhh. It's been so long since I've painted with it; it's so fast, so fresh. Gouache is still my favorite, but it takes forever to build up and move around sometimes. Watercolor just seemed like such a good listener after months of working on a gigantic gouache poster

This time, Cooking World Cooking was held in a friend's fancy condo in SoMA. My dinner date for the evening and crafter extraordinaire Bayle brought big tissue paper flowers for decorations, and a couple that Chris knows from the farmers' market brought plum wine they made themselves. We made use of the big glassed-in kitchen on the roof terrace and played our DIY version of Apples to Apples on the big white leather couches there. It was all very fancé, and after dinner some of the group made use of the roof hot tub, but I left early to go to a hardcore show in the Mission. It was a hard night to dress for, let me tell you.


Miranda July North Bay Bohemian cover

Miranda July, the Future, North Bay Bohemian

The new Bohemian is out, with my portrait of Miranda July on the cover! They asked that I submit the artwork with just a plain background; the sunburst effect was their addition. I stared at this painting for so long while it was still in process that this background will take some getting used to. Oh, sad cat.

{Bio on the Contents page}


Falling Uphill update

© Mikayla Butchart

The poster is all done! It is so satisfying to be finished! It is now visible on IMDB and on the Falling Uphill website, where you can also watch the official trailer. (Look at all those beautiful fonts everywhere! I wonder who picked them!)

Update 3.12.12

Falling Uphill has been accepted to the United Film Festival Los Angeles. Yay them!

Update 3.29.12

Falling Uphill has been accepted to Seattle's True Independent Film Festival. Congrats to them!


Cooking World Cooking: Shrimp + Grits

© Mikayla Butchart
My old friend Chris (a.k.a. Chrobott, Chrissy, the Waffleman), who is a talented chef and wafflemaker, throws a little dinner party every once in a while with a handful of gals who live across the street from him. They cook a cuisine from a different region of the world every time and call the whole shebang Cooking World Cooking. What a delight. He asked me to come up with a little commemorative illustration for Shrimp 'n' Grits night. Because it was a quickie, I experimented with just painting the outlines in ink and coloring it in the computer. I think I need to experiment with this method a little more, but researching the origins and culture of the dish was fun. Go ahead and give yourself two gold stars if you get the cultural references!

Update: Caitlin, Cooking World Cooking mostess hostess, has started framing these! Oh, she flatters me!
Photo credit: the "lvoely" Bayle


Highlighter Milos

© Mikayla Butchart

You know what doesn't scan very well? Old highlighter.


Falling Uphill update

© Mikayla Butchart
A valuable lesson I've learned from my illustration instructor at CCA is that if your illustration is going to be digitized anyway, there's no reason to paint it all on one page, especially if the size at which it would be comfortable to paint each element varies dramatically, as it does here. Of course, there's no single original when you're done, but breaking this up into pieces was a lifesaver for me. I blew the tiny houses up so they were a comfortable size to paint and shrunk that big gray street down to something gouache and a watercolor brush could cover in this lifetime. The go-cart is a fourth separate piece not pictured here, salvaged from the gigantic painting I started when I did attempt to paint this all to scale on one page. I had to prop my dining room table up on chairs to make an "easel" large enough to accommodate it, which became known as MEGADESK and looked so dangerous that my friends took to checking up on me to ensure I hadn't fallen prey to its bloodthirsty wobbliness. This solution is much saner, plus it's portable. 

Last week best pal James and I took some art projects up to his dad's house in Petaluma and called it a residency. He has just started being represented by Hang Art gallery in the city. Stalk him here


My Two Jobs

© Mikayla Butchart
Feeling a little overworked/like a capital C today. Look at how wiggly and pathetic my circles are! 


Wayne Coyne in person!

I accompanied Editor Gabe of the North Bay Bohemian and his daughter to the Harmony Festival, where Gabe took pictures for the paper and we met Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, who performed tonight. But first, lots of waiting backstage.

{My favorite kid, hippies, and Flaming Lips stage dancer costumes.}
We finally found him in the wings of the stage while another band was playing. I brought a print of the portrait to give him (made in a rush, and beautifully, by Electric Works in SF), and he signed the Bohemian for us. He asked what the rabbits were about, and I said sometimes he has rabbits dance on stage. After sitting for hours backstage among racks and racks of Wizard of Oz–themed costumes, I realized in hindsight that the costumes change, and they're not always rabbits. I also realized I was telling Wayne Coyne about live Flaming Lips shows. I will seize any opportunity to be awkward. He thanked me for making him look so wise and dapper. 

{One for him, one for me.}
{Wayne's giant hands, at rest.}
{An Electric Works print of my painting. Wayne got one, too, that I signed for him.}

{We meant for Wayne to sign this for the North Bay Bohemian staff, but oh well.}

And then it was time for the show, and I got to know Gabe's daughter quite a bit while Gabe took photos closer to the stage. She is one of my new favorite people. You feel very purposeful when you're with a two-year-old. Who am I? I am this person, holding this kid. And hot dog, what a spectacle! Confetti cannons, giant balloons, fog machines, the giant hamster ball, the giant hands, all the glitter. Between songs, Wayne would talk to the crowd, and at one point (I don't remember the context), he said "I like rabbits..." I just know my name was on the tip of his tongue. 

{I mentioned it was Harmony Festival, right?}

Update 6.15.11:
{Bohemian, June 15-21, 2011 issue}


North Bay Bohemian Hot Summer Guide cover

The latest issue of the Bohemian is out, featuring my portrait of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips! This is my first Bohemian cover, and I'm so honored and excited to have been asked. The Lips are the big attraction at this year's Harmony Festival (the roses are a little nod to Santa Rosa, where the Harmony Festival is held). And nobody doesn't love a white summer suit. 

Behold my cactus costume, on the Contents page.


Falling Uphill update

I've had a chance to see an early cut of the film and get a lot more photos of the actors, so I'm working out some refined sketch ideas. The title text is totally placeholder but the amount of space that the credit block will eventually take up is one of the things that makes this composition complicated. There's a montage of the two main characters driving around the city in one of those yellow go-carts tourists rent, so I finally have a good way to show them from behind! The buildings in the color sketch are very Bernal Heights; I was worried they were too small/single-family-home to be recognizable as San Francisco buildings, so I experimented with zooming in and depicting rooftops and the upper stories of the two- and three-story apartment buildings with bay windows you often see in the Alamo Square/Nopa neighborhoods. The director thinks the color option "feels like the right one," and I think he's right. I like how the figures fill up the bottom of the color version's frame, but we'll need to zoom out a bit to show more of the go-cart so it is recognizable. Onward!

© Mikayla Butchart
© Mikayla Butchart


Exciting new project: Falling Uphill film poster!

Guess what? I've been asked to design and paint a film poster for an upcoming movie called Falling Uphill. You can watch a trailer here. Yay! I was introduced to the team via the cinematographer's fiancée, whom I lived and went to school with in Paris ten years ago. The writer/director and his co-producer are young and live in San Francisco, and the film is set and shot here, so it's a really exciting project that I'm honored to be asked to contribute to. They reiterated to me that it was important for them to show a resident's version of the city, rather than the postcard version of it that is so often repackaged, so they were careful not to include any Financial District skyscrapers or tourist landmarks in the film. It's mumblecore, and sort of romantic/coming-of-age comedy, so we're brainstorming on ways to show a somewhat abstracted version of the city that captures this offbeat element. The director also wants the characters shown from the back. Hmm. Tricky, very tricky. I sketched these while I was on the phone with him, and we'll talk about them in our upcoming meeting.

© Mikayla Butchart