my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design


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Springtime Creative Inspiration

Dogwoods - springtime creative inspiration
Dogwoods - springtime creative inspiration Eight consecutive days in the sketchbook and everything is inspiring me! I’m loving the warm spring days. Seeing the dogwoods blooming every time I pull up to the house makes me happy. With three kids to pick up and drop off, I pull in and out of the driveway many times a day.

The dogwoods have sentimental value to me, as I wrote in a post last year,

“They were in bloom the first time we looked at our future home. We posed in front of them when we brought our daughter home from the hospital. The house itself has changed – expanded to fit our family that also includes two sons. But the Dogwoods have remained and every time they bloom, I’m reminded of the early days and that this is home.”

Playing around in my sketchbook, first in ink and then in watercolor. And a little lettering practice. Still debating if I should add ink to the watercolor. It’s a common question I struggle with. Either way I have to wait for it to dry. Nothing worse than adding the ink too early and it bleeds.

Dogwood flower, daily sketchbook
Hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring day!
Eileen

👉 I’m finding it very inspiring, creating my new newsletter “My Creative Collection.” Check out the latest issue here!


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Don’t Stifle Your Own Creativity

Watercolor robin in my sketchbook
Yesterday morning the first thing that caught my eye was a robin on my patio. I was inspired to paint him, but hesitated for a moment. I’ve been painting the beach and beach related things since January. A robin doesn’t fit into my theme. Then I had a break through thought – I’m letting my theme and focus stifle my creativity.

For weeks I’ve been trying to get back into painting. I knew that – for me – working daily in my sketchbook helps bring out other creativity. What I love about my sketchbook is the lack of pressure – draw anything, mess up, add watercolor – it’s all good! But, I had been putting pressure on myself by limiting myself to beach things. Pressure to stay within the theme, pressure to post daily on Instagram.

I’ve recognized my mistake and am changing my attitude. I painted the robin. And tomorrow who knows?

Hey, have you signed up for my email newsletter yet? The next issue comes out soon! It’s called My Creative Collection and is all about the things that inspire me and hopefully will inspire you! You can sign up here. For more information on the newsletter read this post.


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Daily Creative Habits – Take 2

Daily creative habits, sketchbook work, Day 1
Day 1 again. With vacation and other busyness behind me, I’m trying to get back into the creative mode! Back to turning creativity into a habit (again). I played around on my iPad this morning. Later I pulled out my sketchbook.

Drawing on the iPad in Adobe Sketch

I wrote a new checklist to keep me on track.

Creative Checklist:

I know from experience that the daily work, propels me to keep up with the other stuff. How do you stay on track?

Did you see my new “Swimming Laps” pattern?
Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6301733-swiming-laps-by-eileenmckenna

I am a huge fan of the Canson sketchbook, because of the bright white, thick pages that don’t buckle when I use watercolor.
Favorite sketchbook

This posts 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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Swimming Laps – a fabric print

Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6301733-swiming-laps-by-eileenmckenna

I’ve loved the pool since I was little. I swam on a swim team all year round as soon as I finished lessons, and continued all the way through high school. My mother was from the city and can’t swim well. When the family moved to the beach she decided all her children had to learn to swim. I’ve done the same with my kids. They pursue other things during the school year, but come summer they all swim for the local pool.

Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6301733-swiming-laps-by-eileenmckenna

This print pattern was created from swimmers and watercolor areas in my sketchbook, combined and overlapped in Photoshop. I’ve lamented before that I can’t sew, but I’m determined to make something with this fabric – maybe a drawstring bag or headband. I’ve been pinning patterns on my Pinterest board. I just need to find a friend who sews!

Interested in making something with this fabric? Order it from Spoonflower. See my other print designs here.


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A trip to New Orleans

New Orleans sketchbook watercolor

There’s nothing like a vacation to recharge your batteries. We took a trip to New Orleans. I have always wanted to go but didn’t know what to expect.

Highlights included:

  • Delicious beniots
  • An adventurous swamp tour searching for alligators and enjoying the beauty of the swamp. Love that Spanish moss!
  • Delicious dinners of catfish, gumbo, lobster dumplings, biscuits and more. With sweet cocktails.
  • An Easter parade where they threw beads to all the onlookers. A taste of Marie Gras!
  • Street performers of all kinds – even writers for hire!
  • A walk along the Mississippi, where we saw a paddle boat
  • Visit to the WWII museum
  • A walking tour of the cemetery and garden district
  • A trolley ride
  • The French quarter – Beautiful wrought iron balconies, flowers, gas lamps, exposed brick
  • Brunch at the House of Blues

It was a great trip with the extended family!

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All About Portraits

The fourth issue of my newsletter comes out tomorrow and it’s all about portraits. Sign up here so you don’t miss it!

I started “My Creative Collection” to share all the things that inspire me, in hopes of inspiring you! It contains artists and makers, places, crafts and art mediums, tutorials, podcasts, interesting articles, and more. You can view past newsletter issues here.

Thanks for signing up!
😀 Eileen

My Creative Collection


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Back to Daily Creative Habits

Back to daily creative habits. Shells in the sketchbook.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve done minimal drawing and painting. Periods like this seem to be a pattern for me. I think about doing creative work all the time, but I put everything before it – even binge watching shows on Netflix. It’s not creative block. I have tons of ideas. I just can’t seem to make myself pick up the sketchbook or sit down with my paints. And as the days go by it gets harder, and harder.

Experience has shown me that these periods can be avoided if I maintain the habit of drawing daily in my sketchbook. So today as I finally grabbed my sketchbook – I made the commitment to draw in it everyday. Other than making the time, I don’t put pressure on myself to make the results great. I know if I do the work, and play around, good things will come. I already feel happier after drawing these shells that I collected recently.

I first learned about the power of habits when I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.” Back then I had also fallen out of the habit of being creative. I learned from the book that it was harder for me to be creative because I had to make the conscious decision to do it. It was an internal willpower battle every time and was no longer something I did without thinking.

Creative Habits and Gretchen Rubin's book "Better than Before"

Rubin perfectly states it here,
“When we change our habits, we change our lives. We can use decision making to choose the habits we want to form, we can use willpower to get the habit started; then – and this is the best part – we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. We take our hands off the wheel of decision, our foot off the gas of willpower, and rely on the cruise control of habits.”

Read Better than Before.

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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Drawing Digital Portraits

Avery Duran Romance Author, Gay Romance http://averyduran.com/
A client asked me to create a digital portrait of her to use on social media and the website I was creating for her. Years ago I “drew” in Adobe Illustrator using the mouse. I would click for each point and click and drag if I wanted a curve. The limitation with this drawing method was that the illustrations lacked style and a hand drawn look.

Last year I purchased a new iPad. I didn’t get a Pro and an Apple Pencil, because we had just gotten a Wacom drawing tablet and I didn’t think I’d be drawing on the iPad. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out I could draw on it! I guess I wanted to after all.

I made the discovery when I noticed a squiggly line in the notes app and tried writing with my finger. From there I purchased an inexpensive stylus pen. I ordered the one that had the “finest point” I could find. I then discovered – through a podcast – that Adobe Illustrator has an app for the iPad – Adobe Draw. I could draw in layers! And I could send the layered file to Illustrator on the desktop for further refinement!

I’m still getting used to using a stylus. I want to lean on the iPad like a sketchbook for more control and precision. For the digital portrait I did several rough drawings for the client using a few photos as reference. She picked one illustration and I refined it and showed it to her again. She requested some minor edits, which I made. At this stage I refined the illustrations in Illustrator on my desktop and created two color variations. She was very happy with the final result – which makes me so proud. I decided to try my own portrait. No one should have to study their own picture so closely! I may have left some wrinkles off. 🙂

Digital portrait illustration http://www.mycreativeresolution.com

This posts 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!

I started a newsletter – a collection of all the things that inspire me… “My Creative Collection.” Sign up here!


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Zest for Life Citrus Print Pattern

Citrus print pattern - lemons, limes, oranges. Available as fabric, gift wrap, wallpaper
Recently looking through my sketchbook, I found a page of citrus fruits I painted, and thought it was a great start to a print design. I scanned the page, and played around with the elements in Photoshop, to come up with the above repeating pattern design. I’m loving the bright yellow, orange, and green colors!

Sketchbook page:
Citrus fruit watercolor and ink sketchbook page
My Canson sketchbook is especially great for working in watercolor and ink because of the thick weight pages. And I love that the pages are bright white.

Here is the repeat:

Want to purchase this pattern, or see my other patterns, as fabric, gift wrap or wallpaper? Visit my Spoonflower shop here.

I’m on a mission this year to design a pattern a month! See my past designs here.

Want to learn how to create repeating patterns in Photoshop? Read this post.
How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.

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!

My Creative Collection
My new newsletter – is all the things that inspire me, and will hopefully inspire you! Don’t miss out! Sign up here so you don’t miss an issue.