my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design


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Designing print patterns – one a month

I’ve challenged myself to design a pattern a month this year. Although I designed a few in 2016, I was not as motivated as in 2015 when I also did my “pattern a month” challenge. I enjoy seeing how my skill and style is developing and evolving. Many of my designs are available on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap. Visit my Spoonflower shop here.

2017 pattern designs to date

Ice Cream Truck Print Pattern by Eileen McKenna www.mycreativeresolution.com  Penguin Polar Bear Christmas print pattern

In 2016 I designed a handful of patterns, primarily using watercolors and hand drawn elements. I’m especially fond of the ink daisies overlaying the watercolor background. I plan on using this technique again.

2015 Patterns. From the start I used hand drawn elements from my sketchbook, but also started using hand painted elements as opposed to “painting” them in Photoshop.

I think the most successful patterns were created after the fact – when I didn’t set out to design a pattern. I created the artwork, and then said, “I like that, I think I’ll use it in a pattern.”

Many of my designs are available on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap. 

Interested in pattern design? I’ve written a few helpful posts you may want to check out:

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.


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Back at it

Making progress - watercolor paintingPreoccupied with other things, I didn’t sit down to paint much this week. So, it feels particularly good to make some progress on this painting today. This painting has been hanging around for a few weeks. It was definitely at risk of going into the scrap pile. But I try to give each one a chance. I know from experience that even the worst beginnings, can surprise you in the end.


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A swimming pattern…perhaps

Swimmers in my sketchbook. An idea for a pattern design.

My goal this year is to design a pattern a month. So as the month starts to wind down, I’m thinking about swimmers.

Last month I created an ice cream truck pattern from illustrations in my sketchbook. It’s available for purchase on Spoonflower here.

Ice cream truck print pattern / fabric

Ice Cream truck treats fabric print on a pillow

In January I designed a penguin polar bear pattern. Available here.

polar bear penguin Christmas pattern with Christmas trees, wreaths, and mistletoe

See all my designs in my Spoonflower shop.

Want to learn how to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop? Read:

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.

 


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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


It amazes me how different the weather in NY can be on St. Patrick’s Day. One St. Patrick’s Day years ago, before kids, it was a warm, blue sky, beautiful day in New York City. I said to myself, “I will never work on St. Patrick’s Day again. I should be at the parade.” The next year, I took off, and as I headed to the parade it was snowing. This year there are blue skies – but it is very cold!

These illustrations are from the year I did a 17 day St. Patrick’s Day countdown. I created an illustration each day. These days I’m working on my beach painting project.

Hope you have a great day!
Eileen

P.S. – The second issue of my new newsletter My Creative Collection went out today. It’s a collection of what is inspiring me – in hopes of inspiring you! Learn more here. Sign up here.


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Finished feels so good!

Watercolor beach painting

I’m thankful for today’s snow day and the break from everyday life. That and a few days of sketching figures gave me the push to finally finish this beach scene with the three girls playing in the surf. I’ve been afraid to finish this one – afraid of ruining it. As I sat down to work on it, I thought, “Done is better than unfinished, no matter what the result.” And the more I work on painting figures, and getting the shadows right, the more I’ll learn.

Stages:

I use watercolor pencils to draw the figures. Just wet the lines and it disappears!

This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, whenever you buy using these links. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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First posts and first creative goals

Sketchbook

Inspired by other bloggers I’m revisiting my earliest posts.

My first post 12/30/13: Happy New Year!

“This year I’m taking my New Year’s resolution to a new level. I’m holding myself accountable, by making a commitment to blog about my progress. In the past I’ve been great in the ideas department, not as good in the follow through! But this time, I hope to draw, paint and create my way through 2014! Join me on the journey so you can witness the successes (and failures) and maybe we’ll both learn a thing or two on the way!”

My second post and a goal: Filling the Sketchbook
Sketchbook

“I plan on filling this sketch book. Although it is a bit daunting! I like saving all my old sketchbooks and looking through them. I even keep drawings that I am embarrassed by. They show me how far I’ve come. I look at old sketches with a fresh perspective and know what is “off.” Sometimes I look at a sketch and proudly think, “I did that?” As I thumb through, I am reminded of projects I was interested in. I can add some of those  to my list for the coming year.”

Present day…
Working in that sketchbook became an important part of my weekly creative practice, and it was a turning point when I started painting in it. I remembered how much I love watercolor! Unfortunately the paper in this sketchbook wasn’t made for adding paint. So when I found the Canson Mix Media sketchbook – that I still use today – I was thrilled. Love the thick bright white pages! In three years I’ve filled at least 8 sketchbooks! Goal reached, and then some!

Did you read:
Does Your Astrological Sign Affect Your Creativity?

This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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Does your astrological sign affect your creativity?


A few years ago I had a bit of an epiphany while painting. I noticed a pattern where on Day One of a project, I was excited and enthusiastic. But on Day Two I was reluctant to work on it, and a bit intimidated. I really had to push myself to continue. Once I got started again, I figured out what I needed to do to finish the painting. It was the lack of a plan – the not knowing where to pick the project up – that intimidated me. The diving in on Day One without a plan didn’t scare me at all. It was fun! Why was this?

On a whim I googled “astrological sign traits” for Aries. I’m not that into astrology, but I couldn’t believe how dead on the description of Aries (on Huffington Post) was.

“Aries motto is “Ready, fire, aim!” It may be backwards for others, but you’d rather figure out what to do while you are doing it. Impulsive actions, however, can bring you your share of trouble. While others are gathering information to make informed decisions, you are already on your way. As such, you could suffer from false starts. In fact, you Aries are so good at starting things that you can be off onto your next project before completing the previous one. As you Aries mature, you learn to slow down your reaction time in order to think about the consequences of your actions.”

Wow! That totally describes me! Whenever I am assembling something and hit a snag, my husband will say, “Did you read the directions?” Of course I didn’t read the directions! Who needs those? (Obviously me, that’s why I’ve hit a snag.)

At the time my solution was to figure out a plan before stepping away from a project. Three years and many paintings later, I still don’t do much planning. I’ve embraced the “figure it out as I go,” at least in regards to my painting and general creativity. I still experience that Day Two reluctance, especially when I’m working on a subject that I’m less confident in, like painting figures. But, I have learned to force myself back into a project. Once I start I’m back in the zone and finishing a painting is so sweet!

Check out your sign’s traits on Huffington Post. Select your sign, and scroll down to “about the sign.” Let me know if anything rings true for you and your creativity.

Sign up for my newsletter – My Creative Collection – a collection of all the things that inspire, in hopes of inspiring you!

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Read:
 19 Books for Creatives 11 Art Supplies I can't paint without


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The first newsletter issue is out!

My Creative Collection issue 1The first issue of my newsletter “My Creative Collection” went out today. Sign up here to get your copy! Above is a little peek at the intro. As you can see I have inspiring plans this month – that I’ll be sharing in a future issue.

😀 Eileen


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Tips and tools that prove invaluable

Watercolor beach painting
When I think about the progress I’ve made in the past two months, there are a few things that standout out to me. First watching videos of other artists painting waves gave me some great tips (which I wrote about here.)

Second, one of the artists was using a flat brush so I bought a couple to try. The smaller flat brush has become invaluable to me.

Lastly, when I started using white gouache for the foam of the waves it was a turning point.

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Read:
14 tips on painting waves in watercolor
 Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor