I signed up for Lilla Roger'sAssignment Bootcamp. I'm excited! This is a 6 week series of assignments with a warm-up before each one and a place to share completed artwork. It's not a class with interaction from a teacher, but Lilla Rogers is good at inspiring you and getting you in the right frame of mind. For example, the assignments start in February but when you register you get some worksheets about setting up a workspace and making a commitment to the class.
Although I have a studio in my house, it's not a safe place for the baby so I haven't been spending much time there. Her playpen is crammed in the room and she'll play with toys for 15 minutes when I'm also in the room talking to her. The only way I get artwork done though is to be flexible and work anywhere in the house even if it's only for 10 minutes at a time.
So, in the spirit of "setting up a workspace" I've decided to make a lovely Art Travel Box that has all the things I need and some handles. I can keep everything tidy in there and work at the kitchen table, on the floor in the living room, in my studio, or in the baby's room- wherever I have a few minutes. I think it will be fun designing and decorating the box. I was partly inspired by this wonderful birdhouse Rafael Lopez and his son built. Check it out, it's gorgeous! My box won't be so detailed, but it will be handy!
I hope everyone had a happy Christmas! Maybe you got some fun art supplies, books, or even some new art for Christmas. I wanted to share one of my presents- a new phone case with one of the snow patterns I made and posted about earlier.
This is a Speck case from Zazzle. You can upload your own art and it's printed on fabric on the back. The sides are hard plastic and wrap around the front edges. My phone feels so dressed up now!
My friend and fabulous illustrator Tina Kugler tagged me in a blog hop. Please take a minute and go check out her artwork, she has been showing a few sneak peaks of the two new picture books she has coming out in 2014.
1. What are you working on right now?
I've started a picture book dummy called Baby Sings. I've only done dummies for the 3-7 year old crowd and it's fun to work really simply. However..... this dummy definitely involves drawing a baby over and over and over on every page in lots of different positions. And babies are hard to draw! Honestly, all people are hard for me to draw. I just keep at it. Luckily I have a model I get to look at every day. Tessa is 7 months old now!
2. How does this differ from other works in this genre?
I'm not sure it's really different, but picture books are for younger and younger kids these days. And parents are encouraged to read to their children from birth. But there aren't as many books for babies- and certainly not ones that have young babies as main characters, as there are picture books for preschool kids. Of course, you can read to your newborn from the newspaper or an adult novel and they'd be just as happy. But part of the reading pleasure is for the adults too, right? And of course a new mama would enjoy a picture book with a baby doing the funny things that her own baby does, right?
And....... I am going to do some collage using music sheets! I haven't done collage in ages, but this will be pretty simple and hopefully look good. I'll also do big linocuts over the collage.
3. Why do you write what you write?
This story in particular got written because well, I have a baby! And I think about babies, and what they do and why. And what does that noise mean? And is that normal? And isn't she just brilliant?!
4. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Occasionally a story or idea or vision come quickly but mostly the whole darn thing is hard work all the time. Not like manual labor, but more like, "Is this any good?" "What am I missing?" "Do I really have to redraw that AGAIN?" "Why is this taking so long??" But it's ok that it's hard work, because I love a good challenge!
For the last few days I've been making patterns for the fun of it. And it really is so much fun! These were all done on black paper with watercolor and my own simple stamps. There's definitely a snow theme. It snowed a lot this weekend and inspired me, I guess.
I've been thinking for a while about how much I love making grids, patterns, and decorative artwork. So I've been reading about pattern and surface design and wound up buying these two books: Repeat After Me, and Pattern Design and Beyondby Claudia Brown & Jessie Whipple Vickery. I've only read the first book so far. It's about how to design a repeating pattern in Photoshop or Illustrator. The second book is about the business of pattern design. Obviously, you can do all of your work creating the images on the computer, but you can also start with handmade artwork and scan it into the computer. I'm going to try and turn these samples I made into repeats as soon as I have the chance. I'll let you know how it turns out!
I'm ready to print! Hopefully it will turn out well. It's a little challenging for me to find time to print these days, my baby takes about 20 minute long naps and that's not long enough! I will probably be working on this at night after she's gone to bed. I'll post when it's done!
I'm starting a new block in my Colorado series- a winter dog walk. This is kind of what it looks like on the hillside behind my house where we walk our dog. And guess what.... today it's suddenly winter, how appropriate! It snowed about a foot last night and it's snowing really hard outside right now.
It's my baby's first experience with snow! First she laughed, then she was startled and unhappy when it blew in her face. And putting her hand in it was really surprising. Oh, you have no idea what's in store baby.......
I wrote and sketched thumbnails for a new book. And I did it using an app on my phone while I was nursing and putting my baby to sleep. Hehehe! The app I used is called My Sketch Paper. It's not perfect, and my drawings are very rudimentary, but it sure was fun!
Now I can rework it and refine it. Ooooh, and I had a cool idea for collage elements. This sure is fun!
Wow- Colorado is a bit wet these days. It's sad and incredible the damage these recent floods have caused.
I'd like to donate 50% of sales from my Etsy store to the Colorado Red Cross this week until 9/25. Take a look and see if there's anything you'd like!
Still working on this block, but I am close enough that I can visualize the end! I think it will be a fun print to paint. :)
Here are some colors from Design Seeds that help me imagine it painted. I think I will probably add a strong pink or red also, though.
I've been selling my artwork on greeting cards here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for years. I've now made a "catalog" and had a bunch of new cards printed. I'm going big! Or at least, I'm hopefully going to be selling cards in other Colorado towns. :)
To go along with that plan, I've also updated my website and included a page with images that are available as cards. If you get a chance to look, let me know if the website navigates well for you!
I find myself trapped in a chair now holding still for much of the day while my baby nurses. So, although I'm not getting to make as much art, I'm doing way more reading. And I loooove books! Here are a few of the good books I've been reading lately....
Awesome inspiration and great ideas by author and artist Austin Kleon. Buy (or steal) this book!
I don't think I've ever read the original Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie before- all that sticks in my head is the Disney movie. The book is very quirky and well worth a read!
Listen to this quote- "Do you know," Peter asked "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories."
Fairy tales! I have a big collection of different fairy tale books, but I don't pull them off the shelf to read that often. I've found they are perfect for reading 10 minutes at a time, the way it often works out while nursing.
This is a great novel that I'm really enjoying, Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach. What fun! It's about being a teenage boy, football, dance, cooking, fame, mental illness, tennis, secrets, and scandal. And, well, lots of other things. :)
Any good books you are reading that you'd like to recommend?
These are 3 little blocks for some happy birthday cards. I've already printed them, and as I was pulling the print off of the turtle, I realized I carved and printed the wrong drawing! I first drew this version but thought it was too boring. So I redid it, but I copied the original boring drawing onto the block. As Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh!!!"
I'll post the finished prints soon. :)
I'm learning how to use a coupon code to make a sale over at my Etsy shop. If there's something you'd like, you can buy it for 25% off from now through this weekend. Just type in the code LINOLEUM at the checkout. Here are some of the original prints in my shop.....
I posted earlier about Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search. I entered because I was curious to see what the assignments would be like. The first assignment was to create a journal cover with a vintage playground equipment theme. The word Journal also had to be in the image somewhere.
I had fun trying something different. This linocut is printed on a grid I drew with pencil and painted with watercolor. It has a really different look than my usual, and I think I'll try doing something like this again!
Next, the oddles of people who entered are narrowed down to the top 50. Those 50 people get the next assignment. If I don't make the next round, I hope I will still find out what the assignment is!
Here is the slide image I found online that inspired my piece. Doesn't it look like a fun slide?!
This is a print I made a couple years ago, but it fits this week's Illustration Friday theme so well, I had to recycle it. It's called The Tourists and I drew it while I was on vacation in Durango, Colorado being a tourist myself.
Very soon I'll have a brand new piece to show! Hint.... what black and white polar animal loves to slide on its belly?????
Here is my new print painted! I think it has a good summertime feel. And below is its black and white version. Usually I think the color is necessary to make it look finished, but this one has a nice balance of black and white and looks kind of good unpainted.
Even though I haven't been posting, I've been doing artwork whenever I have time in between taking care of my new baby. Unfortunately, it's mostly been art business and restocking the local stores with my prints and cards. So in the meantime here are some fun and inspiring things to look at!
This is a magical illustration by Aaron Becker from his first picture book, Journey, coming out in August. It looks like a wonderful book and I can't wait to see it! You can watch the trailer Aaron has made here.
This is a fun alphabet by Gyöngyi Balogh that I found on Elsa Mora's blog, Art is a Way. There are lots of beautiful alphabets in her post. And Elsa's work is not to be missed! Here are her paper cuts.
You should really "like" Carin Berger'sfacebook page. She posts the most wacky collections of vintage photos and graphics! This image is from the album Vintage Japanese Magazines. Her own artwork is fantastic, and she posts process photos on facebook as well.
Design Seeds is a blog that posts different color palettes every day. I've been enjoying checking in there and thinking about color because I usually use the same colors again and again. I think I'll try one of these palettes on the next print I paint!