Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Artists Around the World Blog Hop

I was recently very humbled to be asked to take part in a blog hop of artists from around the world. One of the great benefits of having enrolled in online courses like MATS, is the chance to get to know and connect with other designers and like minded artists. The lovely and talented Antonija M. was kind enough to write a bit about me and some other great artists on her blog. Now it's my turn to go on about her! 

I had never met anyone from the country of Croatia, but if she is any indication, I would sure love to visit there some day. We have been MATS buddies since the inaugural Part A of the spring of 2013, all the way through 2 Global Talent Searches ( she was Top 50 last year!), Part B, and Bootcamp. I have come to rely on her keen and thoughtful eye throughout our shared design experiences, as have many other artists. Her designs are instantly recognizable with their clean lines, sophisticated palette and super stylized, yet super cute characters. That's an extremely difficult combination to achieve, but she excels at it, while being a complete original. Just take a look at her amazing work…

She has also designed and developed her own brand lil' ledy, which she plans to debut at the Brand Licensing Europe Show in October. Her description of the brand as "Japan meets Sweden. Kawaii merging with classic harmony" is perfect and I can easily imagine her lil' ledy character on a wide range of product. I can't wait to hear and read about her success there! Be sure to check out all her work and her blog as well.

Ok, now is the part of this blog hop format where I have to talk about myself (ugh) and answer the following set questions. 

1. What Are You Writing/Working on? Well, I've been working on some cute cards for Peaceable Kingdom, developing some little characters for a shop, getting together some pieces to submit to companies, trying to remember how to paint, unsuccessfully entering design contests ;) etc., etc. Here's a sneak peek at a baby card…

2. How Does Your Work Differ from Others in Your Genre? hmmmmm…that's the 50 million dollar question, isn't it? I'm a firm believer that there's not much out there that hasn't been done before. If you don't believe that, perhaps you haven't heard of this thing called Pinterest ;). That being said, every artist needs to develop their own approach/style to have any level of success. I'd like to think that I can put a fresh slant on the mid century illustration that I love. I always try to inject some happy-go-sweet-unabashed-cuteness into my work. Does that make me unique? No, but I hope I do it in such a way that my work is recognizable.

3. Why Do You Create?  I dunno, but I've done it since I was little. There is always something about that rush to see what you can come up with and how it will turn out. I just like to make cute stuff! How's that for an in-depth answer, haha.

4. What is your creative process?  Because my background and degree is in graphic design, I tend to take more of a problem solving approach especially if I've been given a brief. Who's the audience, the message, the best way to visually communicate this, and so on. I'm not a trained illustrator, so I don't just sit down to draw before I have an idea of where or how I'm going to solve the problem. Lilla's technique of getting her students just to sit down and draw first has been a hard road for me to follow, but it has paid off, and I now actually use a sketchbook, and I love it! Anyway, I like to think it through first (like when I'm driving or in the shower…my mind tends to wander and I can think more openly. No, it hasn't caused any accidents, but I tend to forget some turns along the way!) Then I get to any necessary research followed by pencil sketches which I usually just take a pic of with my phone, and bring into illustrator on my laptop. I usually redraw everything there (that's the super tedious part) but lately, I've been trying to incorporate some traditional media into my work. Finally, I do my favorite part, add color, followed by texture, all in AI. Just a stubborn vector girl here. That and I'm not comfortable in photoshop.

Ok, more than enough about me. Let me introduce you to two wonderfully inspiring artists that you no doubt already know about… they are that good!


Tammie is one of those people that I find inspiring on a number of levels. We met through MATS and the happy happy art collective, which I am proud to be a member of, was her brainchild. She has the guts, intelligence and tenacity to take on any task…whether it be going solo at Surtex, to designing a pattern a day for 365 days…. (yeah, you read that right), to her tiny thanks project, 50 asks, producing great pieces traditionally as well as digitally, the list goes on and on and I haven't even talked about her art. Tammie has an uncanny ability to think in terms of pattern, but it doesn't end there. Her colors are so fun, the graphics, so brilliantly joyful… it's an irresistible combination.With degrees in journalism and a law school graduate, believe it or not, she is a self taught artist! I really don't know how she does it all and continues to do new things. Be sure to check out her website and blog for more inspiration.

Tammie got our happy happy alphabet off to an awesome start with the letter A! 


Another member of the happy happy art collective is the charming Denise Holmes! Ever since I first saw her work in MATS A, I have been in awe of her innate ability to infuse pure charm and sweetness into every thing she creates. I so admire how she has developed her own instantly recognizable style. She recently illustrated her first children's book and it should be on every parent and illustrator's "must have" list it's that good! You can pick up a copy here!

I just love her distinctive line work… always just enough, always just right, and her innate use of color is a big part of her signature style. I tend to go a bit overboard when it comes to color and I know I could definitely take a pointer or two (or four or a whole lot more…) from all her work. I don't have a crystal ball, but I have no doubt there is a long line of books in her future, her style is just so sweet and clean with a fresh vintage vibe that I adore. You immediately know when you see a niseemade piece!

this letter T is one of Denise's contributions to the happy happy alphabet… how cute is this?!

Please be sure to check out her website and blog for more cuteness!

Well that concludes my officially longest post ever! It was a pleasure to share the work of these talented artists!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Cute Characters" for Tigerprint!

I decided to enter the Tigerprint competition for "cute character." I never have much luck at all in these competitions, but this one appealed to me. I mean if I call my stuff shamelessly cute, if not this contest, then what?! Anyway, if nothing else, I have a couple new birthday card ideas for the portfolio, so nothing wasted! Which one do you prefer?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Global Talent Search 2014

I really can't believe that it has been an entire year since the first Global Talent Search. It's funny, I really had no intention of entering last year because I knew I didn't have a chance, but when I heard the subject matter, "vintage playground," I couldn't resist. Besides, being a first time MATS student, the entry fee was waived, so I figured, why not? I put a ton of time into it… not saying that that necessarily showed, but I was one of the fortunate ones that made it through that first round. 

It was a great journey and I learned a lot about what it means to put yourself out there, which in the world of art, is a scary but necessary step to any level of success. When the opportunity came around again, it was one of those things that was hard to resist. I knew I would miss being part of it all, regardless of the outcome. Unfortunately for me, the timing was terrible. The brief was to come out the day after I was on a family vacation and I would be left with 24 hours to do it once I was home. I decided to just go for it in the hopes that I could come up with something anyway.

The brief itself, little terrariums, wasn't exactly in my wheelhouse. I like to do stuff with characters and this seemed more suited to those who work more with botanicals and flowers. Plus she mentioned paint. ugh. Plus she categorized it as "wall art." ugh. I knew I was in trouble. 

With limited time, I tried to stick to what I'm most comfortable with (vector) and tried to make it more of a little environment (a.k.a. world) and of course, meant for kids. I decided to include a waterfall and castle, as opposed to filling it with various plants and flowers. Not that I don't love plants and flowers, but there are soooo many people that do that better than me. I like the palette I ended up with, but I still question why the heck I made the little people green. I mean what kind of martian pea pod did they escape from?! Or are they just from the Emerald City? who knows?!?!?! These are the things that you don't have time to consider when you're doing a project from start to finish in one day. I'd show you my sketches, but they are even crappier than usual and I'd be too embarassed!

Anyway, even though I didn't make the first cut like last year, I am glad I played along and entered! There is always something to be learned. I'm happy with my piece, but I would have loved to develop it further, especially in terms of rendering, textures, real paint, etc.Best of luck to the final 50, many of which I know from MATS courses! Amazing pieces one and all and enjoy the journey!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

happy happy alphabet R!

I was happy that I got assigned the letter R in our ongoing group alphabet project over at happy happy, because, that's right…I got to do a bunny (rabbit…) Kinda made up for the sulkiness that was the letter "I", ha. Don't ask me why I thought of a rickshaw and I seriously have no idea if they are used in Rampur, but it sounded kinda exotic, so, with no further research, I went for it! Of course, someone has to be a passenger, so I thought a snooty, uppity raccoon lady was the perfect answer. Rico reminds me of some character that Indiana Jones might bump into on the streets right before some boulder starts chasing him down. Be sure to check out the rest of the alphabet here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MATS Bootcamp final assignment…have a cuppa

July marked the last assignment for Lilla Roger's #makeartthatsells bootcamp. This particular brief was a bit of a departure from the ones prior. We were to make some art that we would like to hang on our own wall or give to a friend, that had to do with a favorite beverage. I'm not one to give or hang my own work, so this one left me stumped for a while. Eventually, I settled on doing a lettering mishmash…more is more, right?!? I can only hope, haha. It came down to crushed ice or coffee, so I settled for my morning must-have, since I didn't think I could do a whole lot with ice. I started by brainstorming a list of as many different coffee related phrases as I could think of. It became pretty long list and surprisingly, I ended up using them all. I decided to use "have a cup of awesome" as the focal point of the lettering part, and went from there, fitting each phrase around each other, like putting together a puzzle. As you can see from my sketchbook, it's a pretty ugly process as I just kept erasing, fitting, adjusting, etc. until I got it to a point where I traced it over. 

As you can see, at one point, I considered having a guy drinking from the mug.

My original plan also included having these two little cameos of my coffee dude on both sides of the cup at the bottom. The best laid plans don't always work out…not only didn't they fill the space quite right, it was just adding too much madness. I couldn't axe them entirely, so I kept the bright eyed one and slapped it on the mug. This left me with some space to try and pretty it up, so I researched what a coffee plant looks like, and added those super simplified branches. I doubt anyone would recognize what they represent, but they soften it up overall. Color-wise, I was originally going with a brown background, with multiple colored bright lettering, but it was way too crazy. I started toning it down and accidentally made the background a soft aqua, and I really liked it, so I kept going with it.

Make SURE you check out the gallery for tons of amazing pieces!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

don't let this one pass you by...

There are a lot of stupid "national" days, but this is most definitely not one of them. Two words… I'M IN. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

have happy 4th!

have a happy 4th of July! Hope you enjoy food, family and fireworks!