Friday, December 20, 2013

Ending the year on Print and Pattern! Five times in 2013!!!

What a great end to a great year!  Marie at Print and Pattern - - featured my Advent designs and I couldn't be happier.  Thank you so much for being so helpful and supportive this year Marie!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent Challenge 2013!!!

Well - that was a monumental feat!  12 Christmas themed designs before Christmas!  I think I'm supposed to have done 25 but really...!!
A couple of weeks ago I'd been staring at a blank screen, wondering what designs to do next for Christmas when I stumbled across this!

It was such a relief to have someone plonk a whole list of ideas in front of me and I felt a sudden rush of enthusiasm.  I've done so much Christmas over the years but I usually work to very tight themes.  This was so broad reaching, covering so many different images that I really enjoyed it.  I've never done an elf before, or a snow globe, or a Christmas jumper - and the angel and the snow-scene were quite novel too.  It was a challenge making such diverse imagery hang together with a cohesive palette and style but I found that a few common elements, such as the holly, the snowflakes and the pine frond, had so much mileage when used in such different contexts.  I could cheerfully carry on with this until I reach the 25 but it would be about mid February by then so I think I'll stop here.
Faye posted the reindeer image on her blog  as day 15.  You should go and have a look at the other pics she posted - They range from designs to photos to children's artwork and are just great!!!!  Such a lovely idea Faye.  Thanks!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Card for your Mummy by Marian Heath (and me!)

If you need a Christmas card especially for your Mummy then here's the card for you!!  It's designed by me and produced by Marian Heath  - a card company in America with a lovely range of cards.  You can buy this one online at the following link!  Put in a search for 'Christmas Mother'.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I'm Going To Surtex 2014!!!!!

So I dug deep into my pockets and bought myself a booth at Surtex next May!!!  BOOTH 447 folks!!!! Don't forget!  I am sooo excited.  I haven't been back to New York since I left 5 years ago and I can't wait to go.  
I'm going to blog about all the preparation and the build up as I go along.  This is the situation now!

So far I've got -
A place to stay - my lovely friend's apt in down town Manhattan (I can't wait to see her again!).
A free plane ticket - husband's air miles - yes! (though not booked yet).
A booth - choked on the price but will be worth it.
A lot of work but not enough.
12 years experience living in NY - no probs finding my way around.
A map showing where the booths of all my new arty friends from MATS will be.  Can't wait to go for a little wander.

I haven't got -
An ipad - I know, I know.  I don't want one either but I'm going to have to get one to show my portfolio.
A very clear idea how to present my work aside form the iPad.  Binders, Look Books, Blurb books (?).
A clue how to decorate my stand - where do I get vinyl banners in Italy? Should I get extras?  Printed cushions, framed wall art?  Should I have it shipped to NY? Should I rent a shelf for a mere $150 (I think that's the rate!) What are the rules about hanging stuff etc?
A clue whether to bring someone to help me or not.  Do I really need to pay a day rate just so I can go for a wee once in a while?
A decent logo.
Postcards, business cards etc - waiting for logo!
A website with a products page - must do a few adjustments to website in general.

So -  a few things to throw me into a blind panic - wish me luck!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas and Halloween on Print and Pattern!  
I've been checking Print and Pattern - -  everyday for the last few days, keeping my fingers crossed that Marie had selected some of my Christmas designs to show and today was my lucky day!  There they were - new designs and photos of the CR Gibson range.  I was so pleased.  It really made my day!!!  Thank you Marie!
Last month my Halloween designs were featured but I was so completely consumed by the Make Art That Sells course that I didn't post about it.  I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween with them but I didn't manage to - this testifies to the intensity of that course as ordinarily I'd be shouting it from the rooftops!  Click the links under the pics if you'd like to have a look at the features!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells - Summing it Up!

So here it is in all its glory - the result of 5 weeks of hard labour on the Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells Course.
What can I say?  If you're thinking about doing it just get your credit card out and sign up!  The last course I did was my degree and that was a long time ago.  Since then I've been working as a designer and I honestly wasn't sure if I needed to do a course, thinking I'd probably covered most of the course content in my day to day working life.  However, every single time I'd go online, on Pinterest or Print and Pattern or someone's Facebook page, references to this course would keep popping up and the reviews were always great - and they were often written by really talented designers.  There was talk of painting and sketching and breaking out of those 'comfort zones' (I'm breaking out of my comfort zone when I use the phrase 'comfort zone' - it makes me think of Simon Cowell).  There was lots of discussion about growth and joy and being who you are - and I began to think - hmmm - this is about more than just making cute pictures to sell.  This looks suspiciously like a route to self discovery - to finding out about yourself as an artist;  what inspires you to create with real enthusiasm, what defines your taste and makes you unique, and why that has a massive (commercial) value!
Years of sitting at a computer drawing flowers and snowmen can unlock some of these answers - there is an awful lot to be said for just showing up and putting in the hours.  But when you're sitting alone everyday with a singular objective of pleasing (and hopefully selling to) an often imaginary client you begin to fear experimentation.  There have been times in my career when I've felt like a design cranking machine, a chameleon changing to suit the environment with no authenticity.  Authenticity - trueness to myself - this is what I wanted to buy into and that's why I signed up because it seemed to me that Lilla Rogers was holding the key!
And she was!!!  She sold it to me in exchange for five weeks of the most intense, focused creativity I've ever experienced and it was brilliant!  I'm still doing the post-mortem and I've yet to figure out how the pieces of the puzzle fit together - how I can incorporate all this bubbling knowledge and enthusiasm into my day to day work life.  One way in which I know it's had an immense impact is that I'm painting again.  After more than fifteen years.  For that alone I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lilla.
The other way in which it's impacted my life immeasurably is by exposing me to a great big group of new friends!!!  Massively talented arty friends!  They're dotted all over the world and through the MATS Facebook page we've been able to connect with and support each other through-out the course and beyond.  It really is indescribable how valuable this community has become to so many of us.  Having the opportunity to ask advice, show new work, support fellow designers and just feel great warm waves of encouragement is so motivating. This summary is my post for our Blog Tour, where we are featuring each other's work and blogs in rotation. This week I'm really happy to show you the work of Jennifer Wambach and Emily Dyer.  Below are some of their designs for the weekly assignments.  It's amazing how varied our interpretations of the themes were.  As you can see we approached the assignments in completely different ways, showing each other very different artistic viewpoints of each subject.  Emily does a lot of cut paper work and used this technique in her Language of the Birds illustration, creating a darkly nostalgic effect that went very well with the tone of the story.  Jennifer's book cover inspired her to write a really funny blog post about getting drunk before you create and quite a few of us said we wouldn't mind joining her!

Jennifer Wambach -
Bromeliad Plates by Jennifer Wambach
Language of the Birds by Jennifer Wambach

Emily Dyer -
MATS Assignment Week 2 – Finished Project. Version two without background texture.
Language of the Birds by Emily Dyer

Berries and Pyrex Fabric by Emily Dyer

My new MATS mates and their blogs - have a look!!!

Aisha Khan -

Martina Lenhardt -
Melissa Doran -
Sarah Gager -
stephanie corfee -
Son Atwal Sonia Atwal -
Sarah Ehlinger -
Jordan Vinograd Kim -
Jen Burbridge -
Carolina Coto -
Eva Marion Seyffarth -
Anna Whitford -
Mary Tanana -
Melinda Hopkirk -
Renske de Kinkelder-