Monday, December 16, 2013

Let it Snow!

Buried under a foot of new snow. Now we're really ready for Christmas—well, at least my kids are. You'll find me digging out from under a pile of soggy snow pants, parkas, boots, mittens and hats. Time to stock up on hand warmers…

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Everywhere you go. Even on the blog. This month I found myself  taking some inspiration from the classic carol, Partridge in a Pear Tree. I'm still working on the turtle doves, soon to be followed by the french hens and calling birds.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Make Art That Sells Wrap-up

So what did I learn in Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells class? That, I'm finding, is hard to translate into a coherent blog post. Where do I start? How do I sum it up? Here are my top ten takeaways:

1. Neutrals are your best friend.
2. Make icons.
3. Add details.
4. Break assignments down (aka mini's work).
5. Tell a story with your art.
6. The virtual classroom is so inspiring and supportive (artists are nice).
7. Everyone is where they should be on the journey.
8. Keep making art!
9. Get your work out there.
10. It's fun to have a fairy art mother!

So, thank you, Lilla! I had a blast. I loved how engaged and focused I was. The assignments were inspiring and on-trend. The experts shared valuable insights. The critiques always gave me concrete ways to improve my art, even if she wasn't talking about my assignment in particular. But perhaps the best part was (is) the ongoing community of talented artists who continually share their undying support, knowledge, encouragement and passion. For this, I am the most grateful.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Make Art That Sells - Week 5 Party Paper

For the final week at Lilla Rogers School, she asked us to design party plates, napkins and cups. We were to take our inspiration from Ukrainian and Bavarian folk art. I'm familiar with Swedish folk art, but not so much Ukrainian. Searching the internet, I found some really beautiful paintings by Maria Primachenko, you can find some of her work here. She has a very vibrant color palette and her images are more intricate and detailed than you see in Swedish folk art.

This was the week where I had the least amount of time to complete the assignment, as we traveled to Arizona to visit family. I focused on creating a collection that I would buy for a party. Something bright, colorful and graphic. I would love to revisit this assignment and create new designs that include birds, perhaps in a more typical folk arrangement.

All in all, I really loved this class. Stay tuned for my next post summing up what I learned....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Make Art That Sells - Week 4 Editorial

For Week 4 in Make Art That Sells,  Lilla asked us to design a map of the city or town we live in. The city's name had to be hand lettered. I really loved this assignment, but I got a little stuck on some of the endless possibilities. What should I include, should the scale be accurate or exaggerated, should I put an editorial spin on it?

There are so many things I love about Portsmouth and wanted to include them all on my map, but it was difficult to fit everything in, and render it how I hoped in the tight timeframe. In the end, I chose to focus on the spots I love—the crooked, old buildings in Market Square where I love to shop, the busy waterfront with tugs, islands, bridges (and whales!), Prescott Park, Strawbery Banke (and yes, Strawbery Banke is spelled correctly with only one "r"—not sure why).

During this assignment, I realized I love hand lettering. I spent a lot of time with a brush and india ink, pens and paper, writing Portsmouth time and time again on sheet after sheet. If I had more time, I would have loved to doodle the letters, creating textures and patterns and lines and swirls. So that will be my project for another day, hand drawn lettering as the art...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Make Art That Sells Week 3 - Scrapbook

Whew! I've been so engrossed in my Lilla Rogers class, that I barely have time for anything else (just ask my family). I really love how it's pushing me out of my comfort zone. Having to post my work alongside so many talented individuals forces me to ask myself if I'm submitting the best piece I possibly can in the time allowed. Each week I love seeing all the different approaches to the same assignment.

Last week we covered The Scrapbook Market. I must confess, I rarely look at the scrapbooking section in the craft store. I barely get my photos downloaded into iPhoto, never mind print them out and arrange them artfully in a book with patterned and embellished papers and cool dew hickies. And, to top it off, she asked us to draw vintage typewriters and cameras. Right there and then, I knew it would be my least favorite week in the class. Lilla kept saying how 'fun' and 'easy' these items were to draw. Easy? Umm, not for me. Give me a dog any day...

Nevertheless I tried. And tried again. I wasn't so successful with the typewriters. I had a few cameras that were passable. But, designing the page was actually pretty fun. I put a mid-century spin on it with some retro shapes and fonts. I snuck my line-drawn cameras in with color and pattern as camouflage. In the end, I was satisfied with my work. It made me realize I can, and should, do more with hand drawn images. Was it gorgeous and layered with dreamy washes like many of the other artists' work I saw? No. But I think that's not my style—even though I admire that quite a bit.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Make Art That Sells B - Week 2 - Baby Apparel

Did I say how much I love my Lilla Roger's class, Make Art That Sells? I mean I really, really love it! The graphic designer in me responds well to the specific assignments and the concrete deadlines. Last week we explored Baby Apparel and were asked to create camping-themed clothing for babies. So many fun possibilities and so many ideas! I have many more concepts I'd like to execute at a later date, but here's what I came up with for class:

Final submitted for Lilla Roger's class assignment

Alternate colorway

Alternate colorway for girls

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Back to School!

Last week, at the very last minute, I signed up for Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells online course (Part B). I think it was the fact that she's covering the Paper and Baby markets that sold it for me. Here I am, 10 days in, and I couldn't be happier—I'm like a kid in a candy shop. So much gorgeousness and inspiration, not only in the course material, but also from all the amazingly talented students who are also taking the class.

Week 1: Paper
The first assignment was to create candy and ornament icons, and from those, design two holiday cards, choosing one for final review. Below are a few snippets from my process, as well as the final card I submitted for the brief.

Some of my sketches and inspiration

Snowman rough

I'm fond of this snowman, but I didn't feel it fit the original assignment of incorporating icons. It's something I'll come back to, however. I'd like to add texture in the scarf and fine-tune the background.

Ornament card

I was trying for the retro vibe in this card. The  ornament shapes are fun, but ultimately, I cast it aside in favor of Hot Chocolate.

My final. All in all, I'm happy with how it turned out. And Lilla featured it in her review, so what could be better than that?!

Monday, October 7, 2013

French Lessons

It's no secret that I love French Bulldogs. Really love them. I don't own one—yet. Perhaps someday soon. But in the meantime, a girl can dream, right? And of course they all speak french…

Friday, September 27, 2013

Foods of Endearment

For a while I've been wanting to create some cute designs that illustrate the silly names we call our babies, children, significant others. Isn't it funny that so many of these pet names relate to food? I think these would be adorable on baby onesies and feeding bowls—maybe cards? I have a few more ideas in the pipeline: pumpkin, jelly bean, gum drop, cupcake, buttercup. I guess those will have to be in my next post. Along with a NO PEANUT icon for my daughter who has allergies. Enjoy!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Animal Types

Using type symbols, characters and patterns to create some math critters.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Geek Repeat

Back in June I created a pattern for the Geek Chic fabric competition at Spoonflower called 'Math Mob'. I really love the characters, created out of math symbols, and wanted to create a collection based around this design. I think these patterns would be great as notebook covers, what do you think?

Feel free to check out my Spoonflower Studio here. I'm still a newbie, but should have more in the shop soon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Late Summer Inspiration

We have a small, landscaped fish pond in our backyard and every year we buy a water hyacinth to add a little ambiance for our gold fish. This year was no different. One water hyacinth. And for the first time I can remember, it actually bloomed...

Isn't it gorgeous? The top petal is almost like a peacock feather with the deep blue and gold eye. Apparently they don't like to be alone, because one water hyacinth turned into about twenty water hyacinths. They completely took over the pond—and they're all blooming! The frogs are happy, but I can hardly see the fish any more.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fruit Prints

At the end of this summer, we're embarking on a kitchen renovation—which alternately excites and terrifies me. So many possibilities! So many large and minute details, at times it's a bit overwhelming. The other day I found myself daydreaming about what kind of art I'd like to put on the walls (or should I say wall, because we're hoping to tear down a couple). Wondering in front of the computer usually leads to designing...