my creative resolution

Continuing my creative journey into 2015!


Toy Soldier Pattern

When I was a kid I watched the March of the Wooden Soldiers every year. Maybe that’s what inspired the design of my second holiday pattern. (The first was nutcrackers.)

I’ve ordered the Toy Soldier pattern as gift wrap from Spoonflower and I can’t wait for it to arrive! This year I want to be especially crafty and creative with my wrapping. And I plan on sharing my creations on Instagram – I hope you’ll follow along! :)


“Happy Thanksgiving” Animation

Happy Thanksgiving! #thanksgiving #video #stopmotion #animation #illustration #instaart #instaanimation #turkey

A video posted by Eileen McKenna (@mycreativeresolution) on

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!


Nutcracker Pattern – and it’s available as fabric and gift wrap on Spoonflower!

I’m so excited to announce that this Nutcracker pattern is available on Spoonflower and can be ordered as fabric or gift wrap! I just received some Nutcracker fabric and I’m excited to make something with it for the holidays!

You all know how passionate I’ve been about surface design this year! I’ve been wanting to take the next step, and see these patterns in action. And make them available to anyone else who is interested in them. I plan on adding some of the past year’s pattern designs to my Spoonflower shop too. If there is a particular one you are interested in, please let me know (links below).

This Nutcracker pattern is my “November” design. I know it’s jumping ahead of Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t help myself! I’ve already uploaded another holiday design and am waiting to see it printed. I’ll share with you, once I have it in my hands!

My surface designs this year:
January – August
September (includes a tutorial on making a repeating pattern)


Exploring Animation

Tire swing 🌳 #stopmotion #stopmotionanimation #animation #video #tree #swing #tireswing #Summer #illustration

A video posted by Eileen McKenna (@mycreativeresolution) on

This year, I’ve started to explore animation. My interest was peaked by some really talented people, especially Rachel Ryle. Definitely check her out (all links below).

I first started playing with hyperlapse video and stop motion video and created videos that were a painting in progress. But keeping the camera steady while working was a challenge. And stopping periodically to film wasn’t any easier.

Adding details in ink #timelapse #video #hyperlapse #flowers #penandink

A video posted by Eileen McKenna (@mycreativeresolution) on

Had to try another time lapse painting today! #watercolor #watercolorflowers #timelapse #video #flower

A video posted by Eileen McKenna (@mycreativeresolution) on

Next I played with adding motion to my illustrations by creating animated gifs. (Like the tire swing above and my skeleton below.) I was inspired by Illustrator Nancy Liang. (Check out her work in the link below.) I used Photoshop to create the “scenes” (saved as separate gifs) and then would put all the gifs together in imovie. This is a bit tedious because each and every step of a movement has to be a different scene.

I knew their was a better way! I found a talented animator, Emanuele Columbo, on Instagram and asked him what he used to create his animations (link below). How nice of him to share that he used After Effects. And I own After Effects! (It came with a bundle of other Graphic Design software.)

A twenty minute tutorial on youtube by Kriscoart Productions has given me the basics and I’m ready to try After Effects and create a new animation!

But first, as with any animation, you need the artwork to animate. I love the idea of animating my watercolor and ink drawings. My goal is to have an animated turkey by Thanksgiving. Since I’m not cooking this year, I should be able to pull it off!

Below are links to the Animators/Illustrators that have inspired me. What I love about these three is that they all have their own (very different) styles. I’m hoping my animations will be a reflection of me. Animation is definitely going to be a focus of mine in 2016!

Rachel Ryle
Nancy Liang
Emanuele Columbo

After Effects tutorial by Kriscoart Productions


Comparing last Fall’s work to this Fall

As I added branches to my latest illustration project, I wondered, “What was I working on last year?” I asked myself the same question at the end of the Summer and the answer was interesting. When I looked back to Summer 2014, I saw the start of my watercolor and ink style. I could pinpoint that first project where I added the ink details, and something clicked. The first couple of projects from Summer 2014 looked one way, and then a change took place.

Now, when I look back to last Fall, I see that I continued to work in that style. I actually don’t see much of a difference between last Fall and this Fall. To me, the projects are almost interchangeable.

Fall 2014
sunflowerouttakes falltree2 newfalltreefallleavesfinal

Fall 2015
boywithleaves1 watercolorinkleaves finalchangefinalrainbowfeather

But I don’t feel stagnant. I still think I’m growing and developing, and I’m happy to have found my style. Especially, after years of wondering how to find your style!


What’s next?

The day after Halloween, I felt like a kid whose birthday had just passed. I was so disappointed it was over! I really got into it this year, posting over 20 illustrations, on Instagram, within the Halloween theme. And there were more in my sketchbook! “What now?” I wondered. Thanksgiving didn’t seem especially inspiring, although I love Thanksgiving. But then it hit me! Christmas! And I was off and running (for my sketchbook). 🎅🏼


Digital Intervention with Photoshop

For the most part, I like to keep my art hand drawn or painted. The exception is when I’m working on designing a repeating pattern. But sometimes, my 20 years of experience with Photoshop, comes in handy with my artwork.

I painted this tree a couple of weeks ago and thought, “It really needs a boy playing in the leaves.”

Separately in my sketchbook I created a couple of version of the boy, based on my youngest son.

I scanned both, opened them in Photoshop, and started playing around. The possibilities are endless!

I choose one boy and added a shadow so he wouldn’t seem so “floaty.” I also added some extra leaves in an area that looked weird.

I don’t normally use Photoshop with my artwork because the original goal of “my creative resolution” was to develop my drawing and painting skills. But it is nice to have the tools to use, when the need arises!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 464 other followers