Eileen McKenna Art & Design

Watercolor Art | Creative Inspiration to help you be creative on a regular basis


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Illustrated Map Making

Illustrated map making #the100dayproject Charleston

I’m over a third of the way through my #the100dayproject – illustrated map making. If you are thinking about making a map, here are some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Decide ahead of time the theme or point of view of the map. For example, is it a map of food destinations, tourist spots, local spots, or a personal map?
  • Research the area to make sure you know what the important places are.
  • Write a list of the places that will be illustrated.
  • How many elements are necessary? I’m still trying to determine how many elements make a good map – make it full but not too cluttered?
  • Decide on the style, color palette, etc. I paint in watercolor and often add details in ink. The elements should all be in a similar style.
  • Develop a process. I hand paint the background and all the elements separately and put them together in Photoshop. Text is added on the computer. I create the illustrations at about 3-4” and reduce them. Painting them at this small size allows me to skip details that will be lost when reducing, but also fit some details – that if I worked at 1” I wouldn’t be able to paint or see!
  • Create a schedule. Currently I’m creating one map element per day. Deadlines are my own, but if a map was a commission, it would be helpful to have a schedule. X number of elements created in X number of days plus the time to put it all together on the computer. Allowing buffer time for client input is always a good idea.
  • Composition. Often liberties have to be taken to fit the map. The map doesn’t have to be exact proportions.
  • Create a library of common elements. As I create more maps, I create elements that can be reused – trees, lifeguard chair, beach umbrella. I’m organizing my files to make it easy to find stuff.

So far I’ve worked on maps of:

  • Fire Island, NY – completed
  • Point Lookout, NY – elements completed, all in Photoshop, finalizing needs to be done
  • Nashville, TN – access if more elements need to be created
  • Charleston, SC – currently illustrating the map elements and creating a list

Other map ideas:

  • Long Beach, NY (my hometown)
  • Long Island, NY. Long Island is a large area, trying to think of what the focus of the map would be
  • Maps inspired by trips we’ve taken – Maine or Acadia National Park, National Parks in Utah

How much I’ll accomplish by day 100, I don’t know. I do know that I’ve wanted to create maps for years, but never got past trying for 15 minutes. #the100dayproject gives me the motivation to keep going, work through the process, learn, explore. Starting was easy. Continuing isn’t, but I’m determined to see it through. That can be said for not just the bigger project but finalizing each map. Pushing myself produces results.

My Fire Island map is available for download in my Etsy shop. Click here to visit my Etsy shop where I sell digital clipart, invitations, prints, painting tutorials, and even personalized family trees!
Illustrated Fire Island map | Day 25 #the100dayproject

Beginner Watercolor Painting Instructional PDF "What you need to know to get started with Watercolor" Beginner Printable Introduction

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Painting my favorite candy – Dots

Painting candy packaging - Dots #candy #illustration #food
Uppercase Magazine – a favorite creative magazine of mine – recently had a call for submissions of artwork of your favorite packaging. I of course picked one of my favorite childhood candies, DOTS, to paint. (And Yes, I ate all the DOTS.)

One of my goals this year is to get my artwork “out there.” I’m not necessarily searching for places to submit my work, but staying alert for opportunities, in places that I’m a fan of.

So far:

I view each submission as a victory, regardless if I’m accepted or not. It is an accomplishment to follow through and submit, and in many cases create new art for the submission. And just like the old lottery slogan, “You’ve got to be in it, to win it.”

 

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Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!

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Christmas Countdown Day 22/25 – Bells

Christmas Countdown Day 22/25 - Bells
Paint/draw along with me!
Creative prompts for Christmas countdown #Christmas #creative #advent

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek! The perfect gift for beach lovers.


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Creating an Animation from your Illustration

I’ve been animating my illustrations lately and thought I’d share how I do it. My technique is similar to stop motion – I save an image for each point of movement in the animation. Then I put the images together in iMovie. When the time between frames (or images) is the right speed, it appears as if the illustration moves.

Here are the three animations I created recently – click each image to see the animated movie on Instagram.
Click here to see the animation https://instagram.com/p/Bcx4w_gnIAP/
Flickering candle animation #animation
Elf flipping animation

Steps to animating your illustration:

  1. Create your illustration. It is easier if the animated part is created separately from the non-moving part. For my reindeer animation – the reindeer is a separate illustration from the lights. The same is true for the elf. The background with the present is one illustration and the elf at the various stages of flipping are separate illustrations.
  2. Create the frames for your animation. Save a separate jpg file for each frame. I use Adobe Photoshop to put the illustrations together and to create the animated element. For the reindeer it was the lights lighting up in different ways. For the candle it was the flame moving and changing shape slightly. For the elf it was the elf in different positions, in different places. See my frames below.
  3. Upload the jpgs into iMovie. Place the jpgs in the order you want them to be viewed. Adjust the time between the frames so the animation looks fluid. Make sure “fit to frame” is selected so each frame doesn’t zoom in and out.
  4. Select “Share to file” to save your movie as an mp4 file to post.

Some of the reindeer jpgs:
In the image to the left only the blue lights are “on.” The one in the middle all the lights are on. On the right only the red lights are on.

Some of the Candle jpgs:
In each image the flame is slightly modified. I wanted it to appear that the candle was flickering.

The Elf jpgs:

Let me know if you give it a try!

 

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek! The perfect gift for beach lovers.


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Christmas Countdown Day 1/25

Christmas countdown #christmas #creative #tree

Paint/draw along with me!
Creative prompts for Christmas countdown #Christmas #creative #advent

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek! The perfect gift for beach lovers.


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Creative Christmas countdown 2017

Creative prompts for Christmas countdown #Christmas #creative #advent

Last year I had a lot of fun drawing and painting every day to countdown until Christmas. I even uploaded some of my illustrations as ornament designs. See them all at www.zazzle.com/eileen_mckenna.

Christmas ornaments #Christmas #ornaments

I’ve decided to challenge myself again this year. The prompts are the same – it will be interesting to see how the same prompts can be interpreted differently this year. I hope you’ll follow along, and maybe draw along too! Let me know!

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek! The perfect gift for beach lovers.


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2016 – My creative year in review

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As this year wraps up, what I’m most proud of is not a particular painting or illustration but that after some ups and downs, I’m finishing the year strong. I completed daily challenges in October (InkTober), November (World Watercolor Group’s food prompts), and December (my own Christmas countdown).

Oh and I’m also proud of my Nutcracker pin!

My plans for 2017

  • Beach book – more details on this later this week 😉
  • Another enamel pin – a leprechaun is in the works
  • A pattern a month. I designed a pattern a month in 2015 and it was a great motivator. I learned so much and want to continue to grow in the area of surface design. First up is to turn some of my Christmas countdown illustrations into new patterns.

What are your creative plans for 2017?


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Merry Christmas

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Hope everyone is having a very merry Christmas! 🎄🌟😀 – Eileen

Day 25 . The countdown is complete. Day 24 was just a quick ink sketch of an angel. Christmas Eve is a busy day.

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Some of my favorites from the countdown. Which was your favorite?

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Mrs. Claus

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Day 21 in the Christmas countdown. She’s the woman behind the man in the red suit. I suspect she deserves a lot more credit than she gets. 😂

My childhood favorite Christmas movie is “The Year without a Santa Claus.” Mrs. Claus has a big role in this movie, as well as Mother Nature. Mother Nature’s sons Heat Miser and Mr. Snow were, in my opinion, the best part of the movie. What’s your favorite Christmas movie? My current favorite is “Elf.”


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A visit with Santa

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Day 20 in the Christmas countdown. This was done from a photo of my youngest visiting the Santa at the local nursery. I wish the other 2 had been there because I still have to get this year’s photo. It’s getting a little awkward because the two high schoolers can’t all fit in the chair with Santa. But traditions are traditions. We’ve been taking the yearly photo since my daughter was 2 months old and was asleep in Santa’s arms.