my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design


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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.


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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. All are available on Spoonflower.

Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6301733-swiming-laps-by-eileenmckenna Citrus print pattern - lemons, limes, oranges. Available as fabric, gift wrap, wallpaper 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.