MATS B Week 3 - Scrapbooking


Scrapbooking. I must admit I was kind of dreading this week since I am not a scrapbooker and haven't felt much of a connection to a lot of the scrapbook market. But the mini assignment that was provided was airships- blimps, dirigibles, balloons! love it! I just wanted to have some fun with it at first so I painted up this piece:
Then I got started on the assignment. The truly freeing part about this week was just being able to make a ton of little icons and then puzzle-piece them together. So on Wednesday I painted my shapes and words:
I wanted to go kinda steampunk-light and focus on nautical adventure. About an hour into work on Thursday I realized that Juni didn't have school the next day and my mom was coming to visit. So I pushed hard and finished it up on Thursday night:
I like how it turned out. However I think some things get a little lost since it's all very much a similar tone. My favorite things are the whale weather vane, the birds, and the fact that i got to letter "ahoy-hoy" and "huzzah." On Sunday I was able to sit down and paint during Juniper's nap...
And then on Monday I procrastinated by making these guys:
Can you tell that it's been kinda a grey week here in Dubuque? Maybe some warmer weather and sunshine will add a little more color to my art. ha! Now time to work work work!

MATS B WEEK 2 - Baby/Kids Apparel


ah seahorses! I feel like ive been doing a lot of ocean illustrations for Oopsy Daisy (coming this summer i think)- but I was excited to go at it again in a new way. Right away the idea of "Hide and SEAk" came to me and though i tried to think of other ideas- it just stuck around. So i went with the bad pun. I got to a point with my main pattern where I wanted to settle on the color scheme. Here are some color drafts that I sent around to some trusted illustrator friends and the MATS community to get some votes on:
from this I narrowed it down to the off white and dark blue...

Here I blocked in some potential coordinate color ideas. I was leaning toward the lighter colors but something needed to change...

 Then I switched out the blues for the olives and it felt fresh but kinda vintage and fun! So I went to work and came up with the final....

and quickly realized that this was crazy-boat-overload. So i tweaked it till I had this...

ah so much better! Juniper definitely needs some eyeball leggings asap! 

But wait! there's more! 

So I still had that pretty sweet darker color scheme and some time on my hands (well, a morning at least). So I decided to jump on the llama train (yes, there is a llama train) and made this...

i'm kinda obsessed and now I definitely need to get this licensed and made into a sheet/comforter/pillow set! 

MATS B WEEK 1 - Paper Market

Ah the first week back for part B of Make Art That Sells! I love the fast pace of these assignments and end up being super productive. This week the assignment was to create a holiday card with a toy train theme. After countless thumbnails (actually about 32)- I realized I wanted to just focus on some beautifully colored/decorated train cars rather than on illustrating a whole scene. The main reason behind this was Lilla's voice saying "make a card you would send." For me it had to be simple, interesting, and beautiful. Here's what I ended up submitting:
I think it's cute and I really like the colors I used. I think it would be awesome as wrapping paper. I'm not 100% on the hand lettering and a few other elements- so I may revisit it at some other point. But it's so good to be back at it!

So far so good


whoa- where is 2015 going?! I'm writing this while feeling crazy sick- so let's focus on how awesome this year has been so far:

-The month of January for both of my etsy shops was better than any month in 2014! That was something i was not expecting since sales usually dip a bit after the holidays.

-I've been posting a lot of process and studio pics on instagram and have been gaining 100 new followers a week this year- crazy!

-I finished one commissioned logo piece and am currently working on another.

-I'm in the midst of Lilla Roger's Make Art that Sells Bootcamp which is super fun and making me excited to start Part B of her MATS course in March!

Here's some of the work I've done this year:

Can't wait to see what the rest of this year holds and get over this crazy virus! gonna go drink some tea now.

Thankful indeed


Wow- so I ended up making 22 new illustrations for my #25thankfuldays thingy I did during this holiday season. Somedays I made two a day to prep for going on vacation, most days I made one a day. It was fun and enriching to think about just a few of the things I am thankful for (this could have been #1,000thankfuldays). Anyhoo- here are my faves from this little series:

Thanks for following along- hope you have wonderful holidays! I know 2015 is going to be full of exciting new adventures- can't wait!

MATS Part A - Round-up


Welp- here they are. My first five weeks of Lilla Rogers's Make Art That Sells course. Looking at them all together- i feel proud of what I made. My favorite is week 2's whistling goat plates and I think my weakest is week 1's root veggie pattern. I feel so fortunate to have been in 4/5 of Lilla's reviews (week 1 did not make it). I went into the course knowing that there was a high likelihood of not having any of my work reviewed. She talks about 15-20 pieces every week and with a class of about 200- well- you do the numbers. I truly feel like I learned so much while she talked about other people's work- that even if my work was not talked about- I would not have felt too disappointed. Creating this work propelled me into mega-productivity. Besides these 5 pieces I made a bunch more work in the 5 weeks:
The recipe, teeth, gems, and reef illos were re-worked from illustrations I had already made. Space cats and doll patterns were completely new, and the botanicals were for Audi Magazine. I also did a site-redesign and kept up with sales from my etsy shops and wholesale accounts. Basically the past five weeks proves my theory that I am most productive when I am juggling lots of gigs. Although I don't think I can quite keep up this pace 100% of the time- I am starting a 25-day holiday thankfulness countdown. I'm illustrating 25 things I am thankful for this holiday season. You can follow along on instagram. Here's the first one:

MATS WEEK 5 - gift market


The final week of Make Art That Sells focused on the gift market. So fun! We illustrated "hyper lush" zippered pouches and were free to also include a few other products. Lilla had us gather and illustrate our collections (or things we love) early in the week to use for the final. Since I don't really collect anything I ended up illustrating bouquets I had made back during my florist days. For my extra products I didn't want to just re-use the same bouquets from the pouch so I created 3 little critters to "wear" the bouquets on their little noggins! Here's the first version where I included basically everything I had and the kitchen sink:
I felt so fortunate to have Lilla review my piece and make some suggestions on ways to improve. I needed to focus on one color-way and design the page a bit more. Here's what I came up with:
I really love the more muted version- and the page layout feels fresher. It was a great note to end on and I feel really excited about the months ahead! (And MATS part B in the spring!!)

MATS Week 4 - Wall Art


I am in disbelief that four weeks have already gone by. Last week was wall art- I challenged myself to stay away from my typical process of paint/scan/photoshop collage/edit/add detail. I wanted to do it all by hand. I found last week fun, invigorating, agonizing, and difficult. For some reason- even though this was supposed to be our "free and easy" week- I really struggled. We each had a color scheme based on our bday (mine was blue/green), we needed it to be square, abstract, include some floral imagery, and a word or phrase. We were also encouraged to use collage elements. To me this felt like more "restrictions" than the previous week's "illustrate Tortoise & Hare, use hand-lettering" assignment. But I can see how many people found the wall art more enjoyable.

I'll show you what I ended up with- and then the steps that got me there...
There are many layers of gesso on this bad-boy- but I actually really like how it turned out. Although it feels different than my other work- it still has aspects of it that resonate with the other pieces. One of the hardest things for me was choosing a word. I didn't want to go super-inspirational and I didn't want to go too obscure. "Forage" fell perfectly in the middle between "Discover" and "Paidia & Ludus" (hub's suggestion). 

I started three canvases at once- all covered in a patchwork of green/blue inky squares. Here are parts of the two that did not make the cut:

There are elements in each that I like- but I'm so pleased with the minimal imagery and maximal texture I was able to get in my finished piece. I'm currently in the home stretch of week 5- can't wait to show you how this Make Art That Sells part A ends up!

Also- if you haven't seen my website update (full of new work)- check it out HERE!

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