Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Make Art That Sells - Week 3: Children's Books

Week 3 - Children's Books Assignment

For Week 3 of Lilla Roger's class, Make Art That Sells, it was especially great to be focusing on picture books! On Monday, we received our mini-exercise, and I have to admit I was a bit thrown when our subject was snails. I explored some character options, mostly of the happy variety.

mini-exercise -snail character sketches
Then on Wednesday we received the details of the main assignment. We were to do a cover with hand drawn type, or a double page spread for the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Snail and the Rose Tree. It turns out the story was not happy at all. This snail is ornery, grumpy, and quite judgmental of the frilly rose. He says, “The world is nothing to me. What have I to do with the world? I have enough to do with myself, and enough in myself". The snail says he spits on the world, and future snails crept into their houses and spat at the world. This sounds like some slugs I have known, who invaded my home, and left slime trails on my shoes. I've had to put epson salt along the baseboards. I hadn't seen one inside for over a year. And then, I kid you not, the day I read the assignment, I see a slug halfway up my closet door! So, after that drama, back to the drawing board......

In my version, since this snail thinks he is above everyone, he wears a little crown, (although he has no royal blood). I call him Joffery.

I was determined to get back to my acrylics this week, and sketched this onto wood board. But, as I was still figuring out colors I knew there was no way I'd finish in time, so I scanned it in, and colored it digitally.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Make Art That Sells - Week 2: Home Decor

Week 1 - Home Decor Assignment
For week 2 of Lilla Roger's class, Make Art That Sells we were instructed to study seed pods and unique plants. As a gardener/nature lover I was in heaven! I stopped by my favorite garden nursery/gift shop, and hunted down and observed buds, seeds, and leaves. I took many, many photos.

I did some quick sketches in Illustrator, and played with my old Dr. Ph. Martin's inks, and later in the week sat out in my own tiny garden, and sketched my grape hyacinth and allium seed pods.

Our main assignment was to design dinner plates for stores such as Anthropologie and Crate and Barrel. With so much inspiration, my mind was going in a million directions for this one.

I was drawn to the combination of my navy scarf against the polka dot scarf, and when I found these hanging seed pods during my lunchtime walk at the park, a plate design idea began to take shape. They're so small that I almost missed them, but this week my eyes were trained on seeking out what is often overlooked.

Woad, Isatis tinctoria
I went back to the park after turning in our assignment, and found the name of this plant is Woad, Isatis tinctoria, and it has an interesting history as an ancient source of indigo dye. Maybe this is why I ended up with the blue in my color palette? I like when things all come together. :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Make Art That Sells - Week 1: Bolt Fabric

Wow, wow, wow! What an amazing first week of Lilla Roger's class, Make Art That Sells! This is my first time taking an online course, and I wondered if it would have the feel of those old college days, and the answer is YES! ......and so much more. The organization of the online class environment is excellent, and this community of artists taking the class is so supportive. There's so much sharing of information and resources. It's also quite motivating to see everyone posting up incredible work. I'll have to admit, I've had moments of feeling very intimated since many of the artists have been working in this market for years. Lilla has been tuned in to all our class facebook postings, and told us, "Yes, it's totally normal to get overwhelmed, but isn't that better than being underwhelmed?" That's so true! She understands our artistic natures so well. She 'gets' us.
On our first day we received a mini-exercise to sketch mushrooms and Pyrex casserole dishes. I had pages of pencil and pen drawings in my sketchbook, but then I wanted to try something different as Lilla encourages us to work in new media. I've been saving these colored pencil shavings on a piece of watercolor paper for months. I knew I wanted to do something with them, and here was my opportunity to play.

Week 1 - Bolt Fabric Assignment
Then, on Wednesday we received our main assignment to design a pattern with a vintage kitchen theme. We could also include some coordinating fabric patterns. We were shown so many unique inspiring styles throughout the week that I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go. I ended up going back to my portfolio to ground myself in my own work. This gave me a strong urge to bring characters into it, and the bunnies were born. I found a color palette on Design Seeds, (adjusted it a bit), used some of my own painted textures, and then brought in the colored pencil shavings from the exercise. I had a blast creating this!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A gift for Baby Eva

acrylic on wood
This was a gift for my dear friend, Juana Martinez-Neal. As the days to Baby Eva's arrival drew near, I was hit with a burst of inspiration for this painting. It quickly became one of my most enjoyable pieces to paint ever!

The day before Juana was scheduled to deliver her little bundle of joy she was emailing me words of encouragement for my art career. That's the kind of amazing, always-thinking-of-others friend she is. I was very grateful, but of course, told her "go get some rest, girl! There's a baby on the way tomorrow!" I'm so glad our artistic life journeys have crossed paths via the internets. Everyday I'm reminded....follow your dreams, and you will meet the most extraordinary people.

Trying to decide on a composition was a bit of a challenge as I had a few different directions that I was equally interested in pursuing. In the end it was about choosing the elements that best fit together in this decorative piece.   

idea sketches
I always need printed references

work in progress

As another example of how Juana is always looking to help our illustration community, the last few weeks she posted an incredible blog series with numerous tips on how to put together a prize winning portfoilio.

I highly recommend stopping by her blog to read:
In other news, although the blog has been quiet, I've been busy. I attended the 1st ever, Wild Wild Midwest SCBWI Conference in Fort Wayne, IN. It was an amazing, inspiring event that brought the feel of the big LA conference to our humble midwest as 5 regions from 4 states hosted.
In other-other news, I'm back in school! I enrolled in Lilla Roger's online class, Make Art That Sells, which is a 10 week intensive course covering 10 major markets. I'll have more on this in the weeks to come. So far, it's day #3 of class, and we just received our first assignment, and we're all incredibly excited, and some of us might also be a bit nervous. *points to self* Already I'm so glad I've decided to invest in this course. It will be quite a challenge, and I look forward to pushing myself, and learning so much along the way. As an added bonus, I see many art friends are also in the class. So fun!