Monday, July 29, 2013

Project Runway Season 12 Episode 2

In this week's challenge, Heidi pulls out the button bag and selects the order in which the designers get to chose a new model from the lineup. The catch is that each model is wearing a very fancy set of jewelry (necklace, bracelet, and earrings) and they must make a dress to show it off. And, as they keep telling us, the total sum value of all this jewelry is THIRTY. MILLION. DOLLARS. OMGWTFBBQ!

I'm not a jewelry person. The majority of the stuff doesn't appeal to me aesthetically - and even when the design is interesting, I'm unable to see why having a "gem" (of transparently over-inflated cost created by false scarcity and global monopolies) looks better than colored glass. So this one leaves me a little cold. As it turns out, I'm actually in agreement with Timothy on this one - due to his personal philosophy jewelry isn't his thing either.

The best moment of the episode is the very beginning, before the jewelry is revealed. They bring it in an armored truck, complete with serious-faced dudes in bullet-proof vests and black BDUs, who come out onto the runway before Heidi or the models. So for a few moments the designers are led to think they have to do directly with the challenge - like they have to design clothes inspired by the quasi-military look or something. But alas, just jewelry instead.

In an interesting turn, the designers are given pre-paid cards with four thousand dollars on them - which must last for the rest of the season! So they will be in charge of their own budgets. I'm assuming they get to "roll over" any leftover fabric from challenge to challenge, but it's never mentioned either way. Less interestingly, nobody exceeds the "suggested budget" of $300 for the challenge, at least as far as the editors let us know.

Timothy's ethics will only allow him to use deadstock fabric - in this case, Mood lets him rummage through the bags of discards in the back. I wonder if he'll manage to keep that up for as long as he sticks around. Sandro kicks things off in the sewing room by kicking off an incomprehensible fight with Ken, causing Justin to follow through on his threat to turn off his cochlear implant if need be. Boop!

In Tim's workroom visit, he warns Dom that her beachy look could easily turn to a Palm Beach golddigger, Alexandria that her graphic trim could overwhelm the jewels, Justin that he should lose some of his layers of tulle, and Bradon that he should take risks because Nina is already worried he may not have much range. Justin , for his part, states he's going to ignore Tim's advice. Next, Tim is aghast that Kahindo seems to be making a hash of her first time ever working with silk charmeuse, and advises her to shroud the pucked, printed result with some tulle.

And then we get the usual roll of catty comments. Alexander thinks Kate's is unoriginal. Jeremy says Helen's has too much ruching and isn't his taste - and of course edits this comment over a shot of him being surrounded by the ruffles he's sewing. Dom rolls her eyes while Tim worries that Sandro's is too retro. Tim accuses Alexander's of looking too "granny." And Ken delights in the "hilarious face" Tim makes when contemplating Timothy's effort. Tim tries to have a conversation about it, but as soon as he enters into any criticism (like "it doesn't make visual sense"), Timothy simply shuts down. He pretty much just says "uh huh, uh huh" with his eyes glazed over until Tim gives up and wanders off.

Having seemingly ignored Tim, the now thoroughly-bummed-out Timothy now goes around and begs everybody else for advice. He gets a number of design suggestions to his face, and go-back-to-school suggestions behind his back. Helen uses this as a chance to go around and give unsolicited advice to a bunch of other designers - and everybody knows how much people love that! Timothy ends up starting his dress completely over.

With one hour left, Helen is seriously behind everybody else. It falls to Sue, however, to have the next meltdown of the episode after Dom changes the thread on one of the machines from black to green, Sue tracks down Dom and makes her change it back (apparently Sue just doesn't have the time to learn how to do it herself!) all the while aggrievedly kvetching at her about it in an extremely obnoxious and ungracious manner.

The next morning, Helen says that "[her] work next to Kate's looks like a dog turd." But it then falls to Sandro to have the next meltdown, wherein he screams to the world at large to inform him how to make the steamer work, and tries to drag one of the crew on screen to come and do it for him. That poor soul scampers backstage and out of reach as quickly as he can. Sandro ends up sobbing poutily sitting at a sewing machine. Both Sandro and Helen are still frantically sewing clothes onto their models as Tim chivvies them off to the runway show.

Before the show, Heidi points out that the "blind judging" is reduced this week by the extent of her own good memory - since she was there when they picked the jewelry, she might be able to recall which is whose.
My favorites were Justin, who made a black dress with an interesting bodice and good movement, and Bradon, who made a very sparkly dress and shrug out of curtain material. Alexandria also worked the similar "glossy red carpet gown" feeling with a dark blue column with a draped neck. Ken and Karen fell a little short of that mark - Ken's teal effort was very generic and seemed too big for his model, and Karen's bright blue thirties-ish gown had odd proportions and badly gapping armpits. Further down the line, Kate made a big, messy, poofy asymmetrical ballgown - the kind of thing you see both on worst- and best-dressed celebrity lists. I'm not a fan of that style for my part.  Sue's black dress is also very busy with ruching all over and is way, way overstyled. Jeremy's dress is pedestrian, and with his floofs around the hem, looks like the dress that at least one designer does with each "unconventional challenge" wherein they drape square of fabric (or napkins or what have you) on the bias down the skirt and always think they've done something original.

Helen, alas, knows that what she made is completely terrible, and it is finally her turn to have a meltdown, as she starts sobbing uncontrollably even before it comes down the runway. They actually stop the show so that Tim Gunn can go over and give her a little pep talk. As it turns out, the model who has to shuffle out in her creation is Timothy's model from last week - that girl can't catch a break!

As for the designers who opted for a less red-carpet-ready take, Miranda and Sandro both went for retro two-piece midreff-baring ensembles - Miranda's in blue, which had a good silhouette and interesting details but ended up looking cheap and hasty, and Sandro's in beige and black lace, which definitely read as campy (though not as much as last week's). In the realm of odd fabric pairings, Kahindo's mesh-over-print cocktail dress ended up being a bit awkward, as did Timothy's graphic pieced blue velvet and white who-knows-what dress. But at least Timothy actually did allow his model to wear makeup this time, and her hair was up (though apparently no hair products were permitted). Alexander and Dom both worked a more floaty, loungewear type angle, in floaty boudoir black with costumey yellow-lined sleeves, and a green and white print, respectively.

Justin, Ken, Alexandria, Miranda, Alexander, Karen, Jeremy, Sue, and Bradon are safe. Well, there go my favorites!

The judges love how Dom's green print coordinates with her assigned emeralds and feel like it's a "new way" of showing off jewelry. However, they think the stiff fabric she put around the hem messes up the flow of the fabric and the headband she styled it with is too much.

They love Kate's "Marie Antoinette" vibe and note that the color is perfect both for the model and the jewels. Her styling is good and they think it looks like a perfume ad - which I guess they meant as a compliment, but when I thought the same thing it was more of a disparagement. Overall, they agree it's the best thing they've seen from her.

Sandro is also in the top. As Heidi puts it, like last week he piled on and piled on and piled on again - but it worked this time. They like the length and the unexpected neutral color of the fabric, but the exact fabric he chose is too prone to wrinkling. And the amount of black lace, and bare midriff, edge it over a bit too close to trashy.

Heidi and Nina are very irritated that Timothy's reverse-halterback makes it impossible to wear a bra underneath. Zac Posen recognizes the blue velvet as being a cast-off from his very own studio! Nina wishes he had made a tuxedo jacket instead. Or even just turned the dress around so the all-white back was the front. In contrast to how he shut down in the face of Tim's visit, he actually welcomes the discussion this time and accepts what the judges are saying.

On Kahindo's behalf they are merely sad. She hasn't done enough. It looks like uninspiring sand art. And she's committed the cardinal sin of dressing and styling herself to look cooler than the model! When they get to see the dress up close, they hate the print even more. Tim explains he shares much of the responsibility for the tulle covering, but they state that the print is so terrible 

When they get to Helen, Heidi is aghast that she attempted to sew fitted breast cups when she's never done that before. Why do you designers always do that, she asks, trying to understand this type of failure she's had to see so many times before. Not only does the model's bust look squished, but there's some terrible "unintentional ruching" (i.e. a completely failed bunched seam) in the back. Plus the panels of some kidn of textured fabric at the top of the skirt are described as "hairy hips." Helen has her second meltdown as she tries to explain how much this all means to her and how doing eveningwear is what she truly wants to do. The judges basically tell her there's no "A for effort" in fashion. She actually manages to pull herself together and tells everyone waiting backstage that she "got ripped a new asshole, up and around my body. Practically I'm split down the middle."

Then she goes right back to dispensing advice! For some reason, Sandro and Helen are trying to get Timothy to change his strategy with the judges. They think he should NOT engage in any discussion or accept any criticism - just say "I stand behind what I made" and clam up. What I want to know, is what makes them think they're in any position to tell anyone how to speak to the judges?

Kate is named the winner. Dom and Sandro are safe. Helen is given the reprieve first - and then Timothy. The green room is distinctly NOT happy to see him return instead of Kahindo. As so often happens in this show, the crazy mess that nobody would be caught dead in is safe, whereas the outfit that seems less terrible is eliminated, due to a lack of some ineffable quality perceived by the judges.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Crickets is the theme for the week. Jiminy! I browsed through my color inspiration saved links and found this 300-year-old court gown. This then reminded me of the faux embroidery I drew for the wizard's robe, so I decided to take a similar tack and make this design look a little like elaborate embroidery.

A guideline from the culinary world is to pair meat with side dishes made from the food that the animal would have eaten. So in the same vein I wanted to include other motifs based on the diet of crickets. I saw that among other things they eat fungus, so bingo - crickets and mushrooms.

And finally, I pondered, what exactly is the difference between crickets and grasshoppers, in physical appearance? To me, the most noticeable was that crickets have much longer antennae. So I made sure to keep them nice and long in my drawings.

It was fun to do a much more free style of doodling for the fill patterns. I haven't done that for a long time. When I was done with the drawing, I remembered that the contest guidelines also stated that this was for a ditsy - so it needed to look good at a smaller scale. Once I shrunk it down, I decided adding in the highlights and lowlights on the "embroidery" as I did for the wizard's zodiac signs would be too busy, so I kept it to a very simple two colors.

Crickets and Mushrooms

This came in 37 out of 172 with 138 votes. My very favorite entry were these extremely cute cartoony crickets (which came in sixth). This was a close second in the cute category - not quite as cute, but more closely following the spirit of a true ditsy, rather than just being a general small-scale print. (Not that mine is really a ditsy either - everything is oriented vertically and all the mushrooms are the same way up.) Another favorite of mine was this soothing grouping with jasmine and ginkgo. On the more graphic side, a floral that activated my sticker-brain, and this scientific and slightly creepy scatter of parts.

Post script: I did some searching online to remind myself of traditional embroidery fill patterns. While doing so, I found this post showing examples of built-in stitches from a machine. It does little trees! And little turtles!! It's a good thing I don't own it or I'd probably have some crazy stitched border around the hem of every shirt I own.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Project Runway Season 12 Episode 1

It's the start of another season of Project Runway! We get to see a little preview of what the designers are like when they're relatively well-rested and in their comfort zones on the "Road to the Runway" episode. First off, we get to see Michelle (Season 11 winner) give her opinion of most, and we find out she has a very strong side cut now - practically a double-wide mohawk.

Following her lead in the "noticeable personal characteristics" group, we meet Alexander, a ginger with crazy little plucked eyebrows, Ken, who has a bowtie tattooed on his neck right where a bowtie would go, and Sue, who with her lady dreds and draped earth-tone wardrobe is missing only some ridges on her forehead to be a representative of a pre-contact Star Trek: The Next Generation alien.

There is also a group of designers who emphasize their painstaking fabrication - hundreds of hours of embroidery, etc etc. I predict over-ambitious designs and time management issues. This includes Timothy, who is big into reclaimed materials, Bradon, a former dancer with an impressive beard, and Justin, who is deaf (but has a cochlear implant so doesn't need an interpreter most of the time). He points out how this is an advantage, since he can just turn it off if anyone gets annoying in the work room.

Then there are the ones with "big attitude." The very tattooed Helen spends more time talking about her competitiveness than her clothes. Dom boasts about how she's going to do so much better than all those previous contestants who have dropped out or otherwise found it more difficult than they thought - and all I can think of is Deadliest Catch, where any greenhorn who says that is destined for an early, humiliating comeuppance. Hopefully things go better for her! Sandro is from Russia and seems to be the sort who likes to stir up trouble, oh sorry, I mean "be a truth teller," just because he can.

Rounding out the group are Angela, who has a cute blonde pixie cut, Miranda, who was an army mechanic for 8 years, Alexandria, whose Swedish origins have resulted not in an accent, per se, but merely sounding muffled all the time, Karen, a red-head whom the editors would have us believe is a cat lady, Kahindo, whose habit of making up nonsense French songs will probably lead to Justin turning off his implant as threatened, and Jeremy, who mostly does bridal gowns.

And the sixteenth designer is Kate, who was eliminated halfway through last season. They introduce her saying that's she's a really nice person, followed up by a "greatest hits" montage of her bitchiest comments from the interview room. Nice, editors!

The first challenge is to make a look out of a parachute - after they all stand on a runway, watch skydivers parachute down, and then run and scramble to get the discarded chutes, of course. The editors, in a 1-2 punch, then show, in slo-mo, over and over, Kate falling on her face to get the yellow one. I wonder what she did behind the scenes to get this treatment!

The time in the workroom flies by, since with sixteen people to follow nobody gets much individual time yet. It's clear, however, that everyone thinks Timothy is full of crap. He tries to live a completely "sustainable" life, which is a worthy goal, but he goes about it in that very navel-gazing, preachy way that ignores the impacts on others around him. (Like, he thinks a wood-burning stove is more sustainable than using electricity? And if everyone were living sustainable lifestyles, who would ever buy his clothes at a rate that would allow him to support himself?) Case in point: he reduces his poor model to tears by making her go down the runway with no makeup, no hairstyle, and no shoes. (Though he himself wears sparkly stilettos, of course!) He has some "story" cooked up for his garment and tries to make his model do this really elaborate choreography down the runway, which she of course skips without telling him first.

But before that happens, we have to get to the start of the runway. Tweaks to this season's judging: though Tim Gunn has always been at the judgings, he will now be permitted to speak and clear anything up that he wants to, and at ONE point during the season, he will be able to override the judges and prevent an elimination. Also, now the judges won't be informed which look is which designers until after they've seen them all, potentially allowing them to make their initial impressions without being clouded by liking or disliking the designers as people. And finally, they will get to come see the top and bottom garments up close before putting in their final judgements.

Overall, I think the more casual looks were more successful than the dressier ones. You can make an outfit in nylon look convincing for daywear, but the evening gowns just looked like gowns made of parachutes and not something anyone would actually wear out.

In that daywear category were:

  • Jeremy: multi-color cargo pants and white shirt. My favorite look!
  • Kahindo: purple dress and purple-and-pink pleated skirt, somewhat like a tennis outfit. Cute but a bit stiff.
  • Helen: a bunchy and stiff pieced sun dress. Like her model went on a picnic and didn't come back for a month.
  • Alexandria: very sporty and graphic sleeveless dress. Probably my second favorite.
  • Karen: a dress with interesting graphic piecing, but terrible fit issues. Like a muumuu that had shrunk unevenly in the wash.
  • Angela: cute pink & blue raincoat. Good idea since the fabric doesn't look out of place, but a bit sloppily executed.
  • Dom: a cool jacket and an interesting skirt with allover ruching (or micropleating). Probably the look that seemed most like something you could wear out in everyday life and not seem weird.
The dressier looks were:
  • Sue: a big bunchy pink sack. Looked like what you would make given a parachute and five minutes.
  • Bradon: fairly nice dress with blue in front and a floating pink train, but still screamed "parachute" to me.
  • Justin: hot pink dress with a full floating skirt. I thought this had the most successful movement of all the looks.
  • Kate: a very fussy, busy, prissy little yellow dress.
  • Alexander: an unappealing graphic dress that rode up in between the model's legs.
  • Ken: big ruffles on top, pencil skirt silhouette below. One of the more successful dressed-up looks.
  • Miranda: a nice colorblocked dress, but uh-oh - it was mostly made of the black "supplemental" fabric. So she did her best to avoid the challenge, essentially.
And in the WTF category:
  • Timothy's overworked concept was burned and crumpled in the front and origami folds in the back. War in the front, peace in the back. The back was nice. 
  • Sandro sent his model out in a pair of shorts that didn't fit, and, well, let's just say that when the model didn't have her hands in front of "herself," a black censor bar was required. That probably made Timothy's model feel a little less mortified.
Jeremy, Kahindo, Helen, Alexandra, Karen, Dom, Justin, Kate, Alexander, and Ken are safe. Timothy and Sandro are obviously in the bottom, and in fact Angela is too. Miranda is initially in the top, but when the judges realize (and Tim Gunn emphasizes - he says as a teacher he'd give her an F!) how little of the parachute she used, they move her to the bottom. Bradon is in the top, and bafflingly so is Sue. For some reason the judges think that shuffly pink amoeba is sporty and elegant.

They point out to Timothy that he'd do better advocating for his philosophy if he actually made something appealing. They manage to avoid talking about what Sandro's pinup-inspired shorts DON'T cover. They like Bradon's story of making it look like the dress is being worn skydiving - flow lines across the front torso, billowing in back. They think Angela's looks like a disposable raincoat, and on closer inspection see many construction flaws.

Miranda is given a warning but is also named safe. Bradon wins! Sandro is safe, leaving Timothy and Angela. Alas, Timothy is in, leaving him to totter off the stage and breathe a sigh of relief as he removes his ridiculous heels. Poor Angela is out.

Instead of a normal "next episode" preview, we get a montage of the most shocking out-of-context clips the producers can muster. There will be camera smashing! Missing people! Crying! Yelling! Famous judges! See ya next week!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Horses through the ages

This week's theme was horses. There are a lot of interesting kinds of horses but I struggled with an interesting presentation for horses. Finally I just idly scrolled through my previous designs, to see if anything struck me as a jumping-off point to make a coordinating horse fabric. I came across the petroglyph-inspired cranes, and thought ah ha! Let's do the same with horses. But then I remembered - weren't there some famous cave paintings of horses? Ah yes, Lascaux! And then one other art-history-plus-horses moment pops into my head.

When I was a kid, we had a set of art monographs. I was, of course, the most interested in the ones the Ninja Turtles were named after. And of those, I liked Leonardo da Vinci the best. One of his sketches stood out to me - Neptune with his Hippocampi. I tried copying it one time, at least the hippocampi, and I remember that my mom saw it and praised it as being "full of life." I feel a guilty twinge that I can't remember if I pointed out at the time that I had indeed copied the poses, not invented them (in case it hadn't been evident...).

Back to the present day - I decided a mashup was in order - Leonardo's composition done in Lascaux style! And speaking of copying, boy, nothing like trying to mimic the styles (or poses) of great artists to really learn how good they were. I almost gave up about halfway through but stuck with it.

Lascaux by way of Leonardo

This came in 52 out of 244 with 189 votes. The layout is not so great - it's really in that deadly category of merely an illustration, minimally worked into a repeating pattern. Probably having at least one other large motif to alternate with would help. For the textures, in the background I have the eucalyptus leaves I've used several times before, and on the horses a simple checkerboard pattern I've also used before. I'm really pleased with the effect of the checkerboard here.

There was at least one other design that referenced the myth of horses being Neptune's creation - which was, cleverly, a coordinating design to the warrior design that won the Greek myth contest.

Other designs referencing specific cultures included Chinese, Javanese, and Swedish. (I was dimly aware of those Swedish "Dala horses" but didn't realize what a "thing" they are - they were referenced in a TON of entries!) I also really liked this design in a damask layout but with batik textures and this very minimal but folk-artsy take.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Project Runway Season 11 Episode 14 (Finale Part 2)

Well, the next season of PR has just kicked off - so I guess I should finally get back to my long-neglected recap of the final episode of session 11. (Here's where we left off...)

In preparation for the finale shows, the three finalists commence with the editing and remaking. Patricia in particular knows she needs to create some kind of cohesion. They all get another trip to Mood to help with their efforts. At this point, Stanley seems to have his remaining work under control, and Michelle is feeling good, whereas Patricia is struggling the most, with four outfits yet to make.

At the makeup consultation, the emphases are on sexiness for Stanley's girls and more color for Michelle's. And for hair, less mess for Michelle's and horsehair in Patricia's! Then we get a little check in from the season 10 winner, Dmitry, making a dress for Heidi.

Then, the final consultation with Tim. He tries to convince Michelle to leave off the clip-on compass from one of her looks as being one steampunk gear-turn too far, but she gives him the "I'll take it under advisement" stonewall. Tim tells Stanley it looks like all his clothes were purchased from a vintage store, which Stanley takes as a compliment, though I'm not sure that's how Tim meant it. Tim is very worried about Patricia, who is dealing with unexpected holes in her leather pants and has lost track of all kinds of things (scarves, chiffon) in her disorganized area. Much smirking commences from the other camps.

As the model fittings begin, Stanley appears to be back in the weeds again. He's actually constructing garments on them as he goes. He's short on the fabric he needs for a long skirt. Michelle is very annoyed at her competitors' seeming lack of preparation. Stanley is still pattern-making! Patricia is still coming up with a cohesive collection! And sewing hundreds of sequins! In contrast, Michelle is just putting in zippers.

At this point, their ex-contestants/helpers leave, and we are treated to a little family visit. Patricia's two children do the twist with her. Michelle is joined by her brother and her husband. Stanley's partner and mother show up, and his mother wishes she could stay and help with the sewing. Tim feels bad when he has to swoop in and take them away again.

They have to have everything they want taken over for the show packed up by 5pm. Michelle helps Stanley do his packing - he still has four dresses and a shirt to finish, and at least a little work remaining on every single other look! Well, he'll just keep sewing backstage.

The day of the show, they get up at 2am. Michelle puts on a crazy Kentucky Derby style hat. Backstage, Stanley immediately puts all of his dressers to work sewing. Michelle just has a little steaming and pressing to do, and kindly loans four of her dresses to Stanley as well. If the editing is to be believed, Stanley is still sewing models into dresses even as Heidi is in front of the crowd introducing the show. Of course, since many of the eliminated designers are actually sending out shows as decoys, he could actually have still had a good amount of time left depending on what order they went in. Hard to know!

Michelle's show is very much as we saw in the three-look preview: urban warriors, lots of outerwear. Stanley's is all black and gold and shiny. I believe he described it as "urban opulence." Interestingly, his models have a noticeably faster walk than the other two shows. Patricia's has lots of prints and textures, and seemed the least self-conscious of the three.

Weirdly, there are giant screens at the back of the runway, projecting images as the models walked. I was trying to figure out if these would have been picked by the designers or just done by the producers without talking to them. Stanley got pictures of buildings - OK. Patricia got nature photos - looked like a screensaver. And during Michelle's, they showed closeups of fabric...and pictures of balloons? Yeah, I doubt the designers were involved in that.

For the final judging, Michael Kors has returned! He gets to give his opinion without knowing how things have gone for these three throughout the season.

Michael and Nina like Michelle's looks, including the "bleeding heart" sweater Tim was so worried about. Kors loves her fabric choices. They are reminded of Robin Hood, in a good way. Heidi is kind of meh on the whole deal and doesn't like the silhouettes. And they think the compass is silly, by the way.

They are amazed at Patricia's artistry and how she made everything from scratch. Michael actually liked the plaid suede shirt that looked so unpromising in the work room. "Art teacher's on an acid trip!" he crows. Heidi mentions that she saw the whole crowd light up with smiles, but Nina isn't having it and now SHE doesn't like THESE silhouettes.

They can't quite figure out who Stanley's target customer is. Michael thinks the finale gown is too "Dancing with the Stars" and too long for the model. Zac Posen is inspired to say that "women love things that twinkle" - no surprise there seeing as how he does almost all red carpet wear himself. Heidi points out a few places where she saw evidence of last-minute sewing. Nina is annoyed that even though she point-blank told him to pair the bejeweled shirt with black pants instead of the matching skirt, Stanley left it as it was. Also, Stanley's paid-for embroidery can't stand up to ones Patricia made herself, and overall his work looks too much like stuff directly from a catalog.

They decide Stanley was better as a team leader than an individual designer, and is clearly out of the running for winning the show. It comes down to Michelle's more salable items versus Patricia's artistry. Nina is clearly set on Michelle, but Heidi points out that they shouldn't just be picking the designer most likely to be a commercial success. In the end, Heidi is outgunned, and Michelle is named the winner!

I wish her the best. I suspect the next we see of her (in fashion, rather than reality TV), she'll be making a dress for Nina for some event during the next season's finale...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Three summer designs

Welp, got another few designs to catch up on! Happy July!

Furthest back, the theme was something based on the Shakespeare play "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which additionally had to use only these colors:

Color by COLOURlovers

I unfortunately got sick on the days leading up to the deadline, so I had to keep my entry simple. I focused on a few key motifs: the flower that cast the spell causing people to fall in love with the first being they saw, Bottom's donkey head, and fairies. (I didn't realize until I read the Wikipedia article on the play that the flower - called "love-in-idleness" is actually explicitly a pansy!) Then it was just a matter of putting those in the classic "scattered grid" layout. The background is actually polka dots, of the yellow shade on the gray background.

Love-in-idleness, fairies, and donkey heads

This came in 95 out of 160 with 92 votes. Pansies, fairies, and donkey heads, unsurprisingly, all turned up in many other entries. My favorite fairy-centric design was the repeat of wings followed by the dancers; for pansies this one (which came in second), though this airier one (that came in eighth) is my next favorite. There were also a few general floral entries that were less literally specific to the play but (obviously) used the color scheme, including this one which was my favorite entry overall (and came in ninth), this doodley one, the midcentury style flowers, and the leaves. There were also some more ambitious designs that showed toile-like vignettes from the play, like this very lush illustration (that came in third), these two more modern takes (which came in first and fifth), and this one that looks like it should be the endpapers for a deluxe printed edition.

In other news, when browsing around for inspiration, I found this handdrawn logo that I really like - except the name of the play is misspelled! Oh well.

Next up - citrus! One of my favorite beverages is Earl Grey tea, which is flavored using the essence of Bergamot oranges. So I went with that. Fun fact - the tea glasses I drew in this design are the ones once used by Captain Picard to drink that very beverage. (Which I myself am drinking as a type this - yes, I drink hot tea even in the summer heat, why do you ask?)

Earl Grey

This came in 302 out of 403 with 34 votes. I liked the crumpled paper design, the one that looked like it was made with potato stamps, and one that reminded me of a vintage orange label. This one with cartoony oranges also stood out since it had a more subdued palette. Plus I liked this Escher-like lime rind.

The last one to catch up on was the picnic theme. I had a hard time coming up with an interesting idea for this one. I didn't want to do any kind of overhead picnic landscape, since I've noticed that the majority of my designs feature green - so no grass or trees this time! Finally I thought of the reverse - a sky above a picnic, with clouds in suggestive shapes.

Picnic in the sky

This came in 199 out of 260 with 33 votes. I really want to redo this one day using 3D renderings and more subtle lighting/shading to really make it look like photo-realistic clouds. Gingham was a popular theme, and my two favorites were the dishes/flatware and the strawberries. I liked the design featuring clover. As for those overhead/landscape type designs of picnic scenes, my favorites were the dancing fruit and the bear and deer eating together.