my creative resolution

Continuing my creative journey into 2015!


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A Pattern for June – Echinacea

 

echinaceapattern
Just in time for me to design a pattern for June – our Echinacea bloomed. They are one of my favorite flowers. Today I’ve been painting them like crazy! Yesterday I drew a few of the flowers with a really smooth Pentel gel pen in my super smooth Strathmore pad. Today, I scanned them in and arranged and painted them in Photoshop. Hope you like it! :)
strathmorepad

See my past “monthly” patterns here:

 


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For my Dad – a painting of memories

dadscard
A few weeks ago I was walking through Barnes & Noble when the book “Wherever You Go?” by Pat Zietlow Miller and Eliza Wheeler caught my eye. I love Eliza Wheeler’s illustrations. I loved that she created worlds and scenes. I was really inspired by her work.

I wanted to try to create my own scene and I decided that a homemade card for Father’s Day was the perfect project. As a parent, I can’t help but think back on my own childhood and some treasured outings with my dad. The yearly trip to his office in Manhattan was a highlight for me – the subway, a street hotdog, his office at the telephone company, etc. I also fondly remember our Saturday morning trips to the beach. My mom was working one summer so it was just the two of us. My dad was the one who taught me to body surf.

The interesting (and unintentional) thing about my card is it really represents my dad – the city boy who ended up settling by the beach. The little boy who went to sleep with the subway rattling outside his bedroom window, who now goes to sleep to the sound of waves crashing.

I am hoping to paint more scenes in the future.

My steps:
1. Pencil sketch. 2. Ink 3. Watercolor
pencildadink


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Some paintings are easy…and then there is this one.

finalsunflower
When I say that some paintings are easy, I don’t mean that there aren’t layers and layers to add, and details to fill in. They just feel easy. Each layer and detail added makes the painting better and better. And you know it, as you’re working.
startofsunflower
But this sunflower felt like childbirth – ha ha. It was the petals! I needed to add something. I wanted the petals to pop – and I didn’t want to add ink details this time. I tried a few grey brushstrokes on each petal, but that didn’t do it. I took a huge risk and added a blue outline to the edges of the petals, all the while thinking, “I’m probably ruining it!”
blueoutline weirdblue stillneedssomething
I wouldn’t say the blue outline ruined it, but the petals still needed something! I added more yellow. I added more white. In the end I added ink lines to the petals. Oh well! :)


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A morning dedicated to painting outside :)

rainbowfeather
It’s officially Summer and the kids are home, which totally throws off my routine. As I struggle to get a new schedule together, a priority is having time to paint and draw. The other morning I dedicated to painting, and because it was so nice out, I set up on my back patio.
tableoutside

It felt great! Everyone was still asleep and the weather was beautiful. I had tons of inspiration photos from days prior – a trip to the beach, a stop at a little lake, and an amazing sunset. When I looked down at the blank piece of paper I felt totally at peace. There was no stress about what I would do, I would just let it happen. And I quickly got into a groove. I even turned a test scrap into a feather! (See first pic in the post.)

Sometimes we can be so productive, if we just give ourselves the opportunity to do so. 

blank

I’m hoping to have more mornings like this one! :)


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A Sunset and Gouache Paints

watercolorsunset
I’ve wanted to try gouache paints for a long time. Since reading about Illustrators who used them, and having no idea what they were. [Gouache paints are opaque watercolors.*] Two months ago I bought a little box of paints to try, but still hadn’t opened them! The other day on a whim, I decided to give them a try.
gouache

I’d heard gouache were like watercolor, but thicker, and can create more saturated colors. I was inspired by the sunset after a storm recently (see the photo below), so it seemed the perfect time to try them out.
sunsetphoto

I’m not sure I needed to, but I used “India Ink” for the trees. I wanted as dark a black as I could get. In retrospect, I should have at least tested the gouache black to see if it could achieve this. I love the richness of the colors the gouache paints gave me!

Gouache description, courtesy of Blick:
Gouache is an opaque watercolor paint. Whereas transparent watercolors allow you to see the “white” of the paper below the paint, gouache can be applied in solid colors. This allows an artist to paint in layers from dark to light.
Gouache dries to a matte finish, which makes it easy to scan or reproduce electronically, since there is no glossy shine. Designer’s Gouache traditionally offers colors blended from a number of pigments, but some lines of Artist’s Gouache offer single-pigment colors. Student Gouache will have working characteristics similar to Designer’s Gouache, but with lower pigment concentration, less expensive formulas, and a smaller range of colors.


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Six tips on developing your own illustration style

bananas
I’m writing this post because I would have loved to come across this information 1, 2, 3, even 5 years ago. There is plenty of information out there are on learning how to draw and paint, on techniques, and even on cartooning, but not much on how to develop your own drawing, illustration, or painting style.

I now know why there isn’t a lot out there. It’s because…
the recipe to developing your own style has three key ingredients:
YOU, TIME, 
and WORK

If you are committed to finding your style – whether it be painting, illustration, or another medium, here is what you need to do:

  • Make time to draw (or paint) several times a week – even for a few minutes
  • Be open to inspiration all around you (take lots of photos)
  • Create work that is personal to you
  • Take notice of artists, whose styles you like, and try out elements of their style that speak to you
  • Watch videos of how other artists work and try out any part of their process that interests you
  • Periodically look at your work (as objectively as possible) to make note of what is emerging as “your” style. You’ll notice milestones along the way.

As you try things you pick up from other artists, these techniques will either stick or won’t, as you continue working. And you’ll naturally modify and adapt these techniques to become your own.

If you are putting in the time and working almost daily on your craft, your style will start to emerge. But, style isn’t a fixed thing, a final destination, it’s always evolving, as you put the time and work into your craft. And it’s worth it. :)


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Sewing project with my own fabric design

sewingmachine
I’m not much of a sewer, but I’m excited to try and make something with the pattern I designed. Seeing a pattern as a fabric is much different than seeing it on the computer monitor. You start to think about what you can make with it. If I printed this pattern again, I’d make the pattern much smaller, so it could be used as a band of detail on a bag, or something like that. At this size, I’m thinking of making a pillow or even a pillowcase. Any sewers out there? Any ideas?

I’m excited to have the sewing machine set up in my studio. My daughter has to show me how to use it. I’d love it if she would take the reins and start sewing tons of cute things with fabric I design. We’d be a great team. She seems to have other plans for the summer. Ah teenagers! :)

BTW – I didn’t win the “Sandcastles” Spoonflower.com contest. I still feel a sense of accomplishment – I finally uploaded a design and ordered fabric with my own pattern. I’ve wanted to do that for years!

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