Sunday, October 27, 2013

3rd Week - Make Art That Sells - Children's Book Illustration

So - this week was children's book illustration, something I've longed to do for years.  I've always thought I'd do it in a clean, graphic way in illustrator and have even played with ideas in the past.  But we were given a Russian folk tale to read and illustrate and there was such a sense of melancholy and nostalgia about it that I thought it needed to be soft and layered, almost dreamlike - like the magical Czechoslovakian films that would sometimes be shown on a rainy afternoon when I was little.  I thought the obvious way to achieve this would be with Photoshop layers.  As it turned out, there were 45 of them.  I thought my computer would just explode in my lap with the exertion.
I just loved this assignment - apart from that little boy's face which I drew about 50 times - and I sat for literally hours on the sofa, lost in this world I was building.
Of course at the end I had a million doubts - was it too sombre, was that little boy too much of a cliche, was that gold colour too dominant, the teal too dark?  I fiddled with the fine tuning for an entire day until I'd lost all perspective.  Ultimately though, I'd say this week was revelatory - it's led me to consider that maybe I could do this.  Maybe I could approach a publisher and say 'What about this?'
I didn't manage to sketch much this week as I had a freelance deadline but the ones I did do played a big role in the final piece.  Sorry about the poor quality photos!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

2nd Week - Make Art That Sells - Home Decor

Well - this is what I did this week - plate designs based on Bromeliads (no - I didn't know what they were either - they're Amazonian succulents!).  This assignment was really challenging.  Any surface pattern designer will have to design using florals at some point in their career.  Some excel at it, others do it formulaically, others try to avoid it.  I actually really enjoy designing florals but struggle to find a way of doing it that excites me.  After a slightly bewildered start where I questioned every approach I tried, I went with my instincts and lost all sense of time exploring!  The process of sketching a bizarrely unusual flower, creating my own patterns from the patterns within, and basically just seeing something NEW in a fresh way was exciting!
I made a big point of using Photoshop and scanning work in because I caught myself writing on a thread in the MATS Facebook page that I don't want to go back to using Photoshop and I hate scanning.  And I thought - why do I have this restrictive internal censor? Why am I making rules and building obstacles for myself?
I don't know whether I succeeded in meeting the brief.  I don't know whether these are so busy you wouldn't dream of using them as plates, or so brightly coloured you wouldn't want them interfering with your carefully planned decor - but I know I enjoyed doing them.  One of Lilla's key themes this week was about transmitting your joy to your designs. A couple of my fellow students advised me to 'do what makes your heart sing' and 'do what is your joy and your heart' when I admitted that I was bit lost.  Thank you Eva and Stephanie!  I called the group 'Song' because it really was the design equivalent of singing for me - loudly, enthusiastically with real happiness!
Here are some of the sketches below - some I scanned, some I re-sketched straight in to Photoshop.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

First Week Of Make Art That Sells - Bolt Fabric!

So first of all - this is the end product of an INTENSE week!  And before I go any further - it was GREAT!  If you're reading this and debating whether to do Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells Course or not - then don't hesitate - DO IT! 
This is my design with two co-ordinates, intended for the bolt fabric market.  It's a vintage kitchen inspired piece and in doing it I've overcome a huge hurdle that I've been grappling with for a while - how to loosen up in Illustrator.  I love painting and I've longed to achieve free, sweeping brush-stroked effects in Illustrator but never made the time to sit and figure it out.  I worked in Photoshop (where it's possible to be far more painterly) for years but since changing to Illustrator I don't want to go back because the technical advantages of Illustrator are so great - particularly in terms of scale and colour changes.  I've been generally leaning towards this in my last few design groups but this brief gave me the perfect opportunity to explore this goal properly and find a solution.  Many vintage kitchen textiles beautifully combine flat, graphic, screen-printed colour with brush stroked, sketched mark-making.  I love the Vera prints because they do this to perfection.  
A vital part of the problem solving was the initial period of just sketching.  I always work straight into the computer as it's fast and this is the first time in forever that I've really enjoyed the freedom of painting and drawing then managed to translate that to Illustrator.
I feel like I made a giant leap forward this week.  I just cannot wait for next week! Have a look at all the sketches below - spot the bits that made it into the designs!