I joined Rise, Design and Shine’s Folio Focus group recently. I wasn’t sure if or how it would dove-tail with the Fifty Figures project I’ve been chipping away on. I have been using it to push some ideas around with the intention of finding my digital voice. So, the results have been mixed and sometimes rushed. I have turned a corner with Illustrator and it’s all I want to do at the moment.
I took the first Make Art That Sells - A course five years ago. One of the assignments was to make the cover art for Hans Christian Anderson's tale, 'The Snail and the Rose Tree'. Children's book illustration had been my focus since college so I figured I had this one in the bag. However, I was terribly frustrated and didn't even hand in an image that week. I was so disappointed in myself. I think I was doing a lot of comparing myself to the other student's work back then. Many were using Photoshop or Illustrator or both to make beautiful, flat, graphically stunning work and I had no idea how to use the Adobe products ... yet! Now I have embraced my style, learned Ps and Ai although I don't exclusively use them, and found my own voice. So, I went back to that assignment and redid it. I'm not sure this works as cover art but I had much more fun this time!
The 100 Days Project, when I did 100 Botanicals and Bugs, changed the way I drew. I loosened up and found my voice in interpreting vintage botanical illustration and most important, I had fun. TO that end, I have set a goal of creating fifty figure/character illustrations. I will not be doing this in fifty days as is sometimes the rule for these types of endeavors. I hope to gain a richer vocabulary in creating the human form. Here are my first three pieces.
I have launched a new wing to my studio: Graphic Design. The intention is to offer budget-friendly logo and marketing design to small businesses. I specialize in creating a consistent face to the online community. Linking playful ideas with deliberate design. See more information and a price list in my shop
Please don't hesitate to email me with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've been immersed in the creation of the latest Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search competition assignment. I am LOVING it! I realize how much I have learned and how far I have come. I'm going to bravely share my past submissions and go through where I was at the time - creatively and technically. I want to show, mainly myself, how very far I have come in five years!
This make me cringe a bit. We had to design a journal cover with the theme of vintage playground. I did not know or even have Photoshop on my computer. I did not have my own computer or scanner! I had to carefully paint this with brand new gouache and then take it to Staples to have it scanned. I had just taken MATS A (the very first MATS class) and cried every week because I couldn't make my ideas look as cool as some of the more tech-savy artists. The only week I felt good about during that class was wall art because I was a fine artist, that's what I did. But, I completed this assignment with the know-how I had at the time and gave it my 110%. No, I did not make it through to the next round. But, I remember having fun. And I did love my palette. I admired the artists whose work rose above the crowd and used it as motivation to keep going. I knew my voice was forming and I just needed to keep working.
In 2014 we had to design a piece with the terrarium theme and hand lettering. I don't remember much about this brief. This year I had learned some photoshop from a generous and patient friend but I was still quite a novice. I hand painted this piece in sections. The background pattern was in gouache on paper and the terrarium and cup were done in acrylic on wood board. Again, I think my concept was original and my color palette was pretty good but my technical skills were not yet there. I Definitely did not include enough icons to chew on! No, I did not make it through to the next round. I could see the artists whose work was picked and could see why Lilla fell in love with their work.
In 2015 the theme was to design a cup, saucer and paper ware for a tea shop in London. I loved doing the research for this one and really let my imagination go. I had just started an obsession with drawing and painting moths so I went in that direction and used metamorphosis as my theme. Again, I really took my time with this and put in all my soul and energy into this piece. I remember loving the result. Again, I did not make it through the first cut. At the time I was crushed because I truly felt mine could hang with the fifty artists who got through. With time though, I have gained some perspective and can see that I wasn't quite there yet. I should have mocked up my tea cup and I should have included a whole lot more icons. I was going for simplicity and elegance and that's not necessarily what was selling at the time. Again, I kept going and building my skills with gouache, and Photoshop. I went to school to get a certificate in Graphic Design and I took a bit of a breather from the Make Art That Sells community so that I could find my own voice and explore things on my own for a bit.
I really do feel like a completely different artist now than I was then. My skills with Photoshop have gone from an awkward necessity to an integral tool in my tool box. I have also learned to use Illustrator in ways I could never believed I was capable of. I've honed my design skills and continued to push myself towards a more authentic voice.
I'm proud of my design this year. I will share it after July 9th. I think I've come a long way, Baby!
I want to say that I think it was a healthy choice to take a bit of a break from the MATS community to find my own way for a bit. I am thrilled to be back in the fold again. I have taken the Children's Book Illustration class and have signed up for the Money Badass class which starts in August. I'm back with a vengeance!
Oh! And I have fallen in love with my dip fountain pen! I just want to draw and hand letter with it all day long!!!
There are three new diplomas and a certificate in our house!
Please excuse my website as I work on making it reflect the type of work I want to get.
I have moved my studio to a new, sun-light-filled space with great energy and I am getting my mind and spirit ready for the Global Talent Search which starts on June 25th.
So excited for this next phase!
As the days tick down to finishing up my Certificate in Graphic Design program and my worries mount... "Where will this next stone on my path take me?"..."will it take me closer to the art career I've been digging for for years or will it feel like another dead end?"... I listened to an interview this morning with David Gray that really shifted something in me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge David Gray fan. He started as a painting major in college and instead gave in to the real love of his life: music. The way he writes a song from the lyrics to the melody to the instruments he uses has always spoken to me on an artist's heart level. His words that sang true to me this morning:
One of the most fun projects I am currently working on with a group is to recreate a website for a local sustainable farm. I've done a tiny bit of the coding and been asked to be the illustrator for the project, to give the site a quirky, warm feeling. I am loving this project!
Be well and just keep painting...singing...playing...being you!
Last month I set a goal of making art for thirty days. Not necessarily thirty consecutive days, as school work and life are piled high these days. But, thirty days of sketching or producing something purely for my pleasure. I was beginning to get quite sad and missing time to make some art, play with color, muse about form just for the sake of exploration. I'm through day twenty-three and found myself gravitating back to botanicals. I guess that muse is not dead yet.
Here are a few - follow along on my Instagram
Gracie Brave on the shelf in Grand Rapids, MI! Seeing her nestled in the with these noteworthy new picture books on the market is thrilling! If you are local to Grand Rapids get yours at Reader's World on River. Also available thru Amazon.com.