Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Make It In Design Summer School - Lesson 3

So this is our final assignment for the Make It In Design Summer School. I have really enjoyed the creative briefs, playing with materials and experimenting during this time of stretching out of my comfort zone. Our inspiration this week was jewels. 

Uh, hello bead world colliding with my illustrating world - my dream come true! If you are new to my blog, I make my living making beads, so this assignment had my attention. 

During the sketching phase I came up with a very formal floral and gem design, and I will paint it up during the weekend but for the assignment I wanted to stay in the playful and slightly abstract vein that I had explored with the last challenge. With school supply season in full swing I picked up some Sharpie markers in fashionable colors last week and played with them with oil pastels and then lots of doctoring in Photoshop. It was fun to just to let go and I think I came up with a quirky design that would work well for the tween market. 

I must explore this more and come up with an entire collection of bead inspired designs, because that just brings me all sorts of joy!

And thanks to my shop at Society 6 for the cute mock-ups of the design on various products. 

Jewel Skirt Set

And then I whipped up a mock-up of the pattern to see what it would look like as a skirt and paired it up with some cute items from Hanna Anderson and Old Navy. It was fun to see the design come together as an outfit. I could totally see my little nieces rocking this skirt.

With each online course I grow a little more and learn all sorts of new tricks. I'm feeling more confident in the world of pattern design. I've gone from a complete beginner to 'dang I've got a lot of learn' - you know that point when you realize how complex and interesting the design world is and you are just scratching the surface with your pencil? Yeah that's where I'm at now.

Some things I've learned this summer:
1. I love creating patterns and designs, more than I thought I would and I see that as the sweet spot where my beadmaking and illustration skills come together.  

2. I've been asking myself the wrong question as an artist for way too long. What is the wrong question? 

Am I good enough? 

Good enough for what? 

Good enough to make it as an artist, to find success, to make money creating art? I will always have room to grow but all of us are worthy because we have a voice and something to share that is always good enough.  

The real question I should have been asking all along is: 
"What do I love to make?" 

And now I need to stop questioning and just get to the business of making and sharing. 

3. Now I need to explore the trends and class assignments in depth and find more of a marriage between the class projects and my style/brand as an artist. I really went out of the box and explored different media and styles over the summer now I need to focus on creating a brand and look to move forward and grow as an illustrator.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Make It In Design Summer School

A few weeks ago I started the online course offered by Make It In Design called Summer School. It's a trend and inspiration brief sent out every two weeks, there are three different tracks and since I'm a very green beginner in the world of surface design I'm taking the beginner track. Our first week was Tropical Paradise.  I was digging pineapples and zeroed in on them. I worked in mixed media using pencil, watercolor pencils and gouache. 

My goal in making the art for this course is creating designs that I would want to wear, have in my home or give as a gift.  I'm not a whiz at mocking things up so I have these in my Society 6 shop and borrowed the photos from there! 

The fun part of the brief is that it's all trendy items and that has inspired me in my day job - making beads and jewelry.  So here is a pineapple bracelet that I made for myself! I had never really thought of myself as a pattern designer, but I realized I make patterns all the time - they are just in clay rather than on paper.  So working in clay first for each assignment has been a fun a way to find inspiration. 

Tiny pineapple charms.

The second brief was on tribal patterns and I wanted to work with color and texture for this design. The feather pattern was inspired by African prints. I wanted to create more of a collection that would work together so I worked up three patterns in the same color palette and graphic line quality. These were created with Copic markers and oil pastels. 

Here are the three designs and products from my Society 6 shop.  You can also get prints of each of these designs there too. I really think I need to order that big on the top for myself!

And to start this assignment I started with the clay and made beads. This design actually inspired the drawings in both color and pattern. I've wanted to create beads that had that a tribal vibe for a while because it's super trendy in the jewelry world right now, so bonus result of the class!

You can see the galleries and read more about the Make It In Design programs on their website here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May MATS Bootcamp

This month for Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells Bootcamp we were challenged with an editorial assignment with a yoga theme.  We were given an article to illustrate along with all of Lilla's awesome tips for working on the assignment.  The focus of the article were tips for those who find yoga a struggle.  I am going to sketch out a few more yoga, mindfulness, mediation pieces for teens.  This hits home for me as I love mindfulness to work through stress!    

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Make Art That Sells Bootcamp

This month we are starting the MATS Bootcamp with vintage dolls & faces as our first assignment. I love nesting dolls and thought a Little Red Riding Hood would be a fun take.

And then I moved on to Alice & Friends. 

And revisited them as tiny dolls. 

Which led to a page or so of flower sketches inspired by the talking flowers from Wonderland. These are my favorites. 

Which ended up back with nesting dolls. 

These are all just for fun and to warm up for our big assignment for the month. 
Stay tuned! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Black and White Portfolio Pieces

Don't you just love items checked off a to-do list?  One long overdue item on my list was a black & white gallery on my portfolio.

In fact, I was a little crazed last night and updated my entire portfolio.  I'm feeling like it's coming together now with the watercolor samples adding up. I have a Products and Projects gallery showing my work in action thanks to the Make Art That Sells Bootcamp.. And I made a new banner for the website and blog - peek up there. It's a rare day - I'm pretty happy with my portfolio at the moment. It's a nice mix of new work and favorites, all whittled down to my strongest pieces.

Now to get my promo postcards finally in the mail...

Friday, April 18, 2014

50 Shades of Taupe Assignment

Last month in Lilla Roger's Make Art that Sells Bootcamp we were given an additional assignment to work on during the break for April.  We were challenged to play with neutral colors and the first part of the assignment was to paint 50 shades of Taupe. I pulled out my Holbein gouache paints and yummy Arches watercolor paper and went to town mixing up these delicately hued colors.
Lilla encouraged us to make an affirmation using our new found color palette.  I've been smitten with this quote I recently discovered from Van Gogh and decided this was the message that most spoke to me.
I enjoyed painting the quote so much that I did one in another color palette that was shared with us. I love the color palettes from bootcamp because they really push me out of my comfort zone. Now to hang these in my studio!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Printables

Over on the Sketchables this week we are sharing Easter Printables.
First I created a memory card game with an Easter Egg Hunt theme.  I miss hunting for Easter Eggs - my teenagers are long passed that tradition and we don't have many small ones in our family - everyone is growing up. I still dye eggs, sometimes the teens join me.  Teens are funny, they don't want to be treated like kids but there is something comforting about holding on to those childhood traditions.  

And since I had all these fun icons from the card game I decided to design some cute little cupcake toppers too. Hmm, vanilla bean cupcakes.  My only regret - no jelly beans to include in this photo.

Download the printable Egg Hunt Memory Game here and the cupcake toppers here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Make Art that Sells - 1st Class Assignment Complete!

I feel like there should be some fan-fare, a marching band, some fireworks - something to show you how excited I am that I have put together this collection of images from my first assignment for Lilla Rogers' Make Art that Sells Bootcamp! 

I had a little breakthrough about making images for this class.  I separated my sketches into the major images and painted those, from there I made them into images on clear backgrounds in Photoshop so I could play with colors, scale and layering.  It's a really different way of thinking for me, but it opened up a whole lot of possibilities for designing images for products. I've also been painting and finding my way with gouache - there was lots of light bulb moments this week!  Next on my to-do list is to figure out how to make repeating patterns in Photoshop.

If you scroll down and see where I was at a few days ago, you'll understand my excitement. I learned so much in just the first 3 weeks, I can't imagine where I will be in 5 months from now at the end of this class. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Make Art That Sells Bootcamp

So I took the plunge last month and signed up for Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells Bootcamp.  This is a 6 month class to build up your portfolio. We are finishing up our final projects for the first month - cell phone covers with clock designs.  I love the class, I'm learning so, so much - but boy is it a stretch creatively and professionally.

My goal for the class is create a portfolio that bridges the gap between my bead designs and my illustration.  So I'm visiting the themes and motifs used in my beads, but in watercolor and gouache instead of clay and paint. The painting above was a warm up before I jumped into the assignment. I needed to have a practice piece that I could play with and not feel any pressure.  I designed something that I'd want on my Ipod, which is always by my side!

Oh, getting fancy - I did my first mock-up. I have so much to learn it hurts.  Like, hey - try putting your name it on Heather - sheesh!

I did several pieces, but this one is my favorite so far. I'm going to play a little more before our deadline and see what else I can come up with and how to work it into more portfolio pieces.  Like this could be a wedding design of some kind.  I just need to wrap my brain around how to think like that - with icons and borders and such.  Not my language, but I'm learning.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gardening Postcard

This is my latest personal project.  I've had these sketches done since last year, but just now pulled them out to paint.  Some projects are late bloomers. I think I'm going to put him on a journal, he looks like he would make a good garden journal cover, don't you think?

This is the second piece, I'm also working on a third one of the garden completely in bloom.  I'm so ready for spring.  I can see why gardeners spend the winter planning, hope is good when winter seems to go on forever!

The final postcard.  I'm not a designer, so I keep things as simple as possible.  
And in black and white, which is what I used on the back of my postcard.

Now to finish my new website and polish up my mailing list, because it's been years since I've sent out a postcard!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pet Portrait - Westie

This is a custom pet portrait that I created for my aunt.  This is Fintan and he dreams of squirrels as they run around his woodland home.  And wimpers when he can't chase them, he just knows if he could get loose outside he could catch one and play with it.

I'm digging into gouache and having fun with this new medium.  Lots of new ideas to explore!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Just Like to Make Things too!

I have been spending my weekends and evenings sketching and painting since the New Year.  Seeing yet another year pass where I didn't chase after my dreams got to me this year. Enough to make some serious changes in my schedule.  In fact, right now my job is just make stuff, as much stuff as possible, as quickly as possible and have fun doing it.  If it's not good enough yet, it will be soon because eventually I will find my stride, I will develop my language in paint and pen.  Just like I did with block printing. I am jumping in and doing my job, making and submitting. I'm out to find my joy and that's some serious business and there is no time to waste!

I bought the book, I Just Like to Make Things by Lila Rogers for my Kindle the other day, I'm thinking I may need to order a real copy of it soon! (Sometimes that happens when I buy an artsy book, I need to hold it in my hands!) I just started reading it and it's already kicking my brain into gear and has me super excited about illustrating, painting and playing!

Has the new year brought a new resolve for your career?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014