I'm feeling a bit scatter-brained today, but felt it was time to pop in and write a post.
in case you missed it on social media, I'm happy to report that my entire birth flower series is now available in my Etsy shop as art prints.
Along those lines, I was pleasantly surprised this weekend to receive two messages on Etsy from different people in different parts of the world, asking me to design tattoos for them. This is surprising for two reasons 1) this is the first time anyone has ever asked me to design a tattoo, and 2) they both wanted birth flowers.
It makes sense, really. Floral tattoos are lovely, and meaningful floral tattoos are even better. I've actually been thinking of adding some floral ink to my body as well, so this will perhaps kick start me into designing a tattoo for myself.
Commissions are always a bit more nerve-wracking than just me doodling in my sketchbook for myself, but they always grow me and I'm usually pleased with the results. I'm excited to tackle this new design challenge.
I'll let you know how it goes!
This time last year (and the two years prior) I was announcing my participation in the 100 Day Project. The first year I commited to drawing patterns every day for 100 days The second year I decided to draw-what-I-see for 100 days, and then quit after a few weeks because I was in the throes of Ransom's first year. And then last year I committed -- and actually stuck to -- drawing an animal every day for 100 days. It has been a really inspiring project to participate in. It has helped me grow in my drawing abilities, and become disciplined to draw everyday.
That being said, I've decided not to participate this year. The habits I developed by participating in the past are still with me. I still draw pretty much every day. I also have a lot of projects in the works and want to spend my limited amount of free time on those projects.
So I'm proud to announce I will officially not be participating in the 100 Day Project in 2019. But in a way I kind of am, because I am drawing everyday. At least every week day.
Some days I'm working on my state bird series....
Other days I'm working on my nautical coloring book ...
Or perhaps I'll be working on my children's book collaboration ...
Or maybe I'll just be drawing something random ...
I think you get the idea.
I have plenty to keep me busy, this guy included . . .
There are a lot of emotional ups and downs that come with claiming "artist" as an occupation - in any sort of creative endeavor really. Trying to grow as an artist and as a business can be really fun, but also can get pretty discouraging. It's easy to start taking myself too seriously.
I find myself putting too much weight on my art -- I expect it to be beautiful, unique, to define me, and to make me some cash. My drawings just can't hold all that weight. It's not fair to them or to me to ask that of them. Some of them will be lovely gems that I sell again and again, and some of them wont leave the pages of my sketchbook. I never know which will be which when I'm in the process. And I shouldn't worry them about it.
I've been encouraged a bit recently by Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic. I'm in the middle of it right now (it's my current bathroom book, if you must know). In one part, the "Permission" section, she talks about the freedom that can come from realizing that making art is really not that important. There are no art emergencies. The desire to create is definitely something that is innate in every human. It's a fulfilling and enjoyable endeavor, but the fate of the nations -- or even my future -- doesn't hang in the balance.
"Pure creativity is something better than a necessity; it's a gift. It's the frosting. Our creativity is a wild and unexpected bonus from the universe . . . It doesn't discourage me in the least, in other words, to know that my life's work is arguably useless. All it does is make me want to play." - Gilbert
I believe we were created by a god who can be known and named. He created us not because he needed to, but because he was delighted to do so. He's put that in all of us as well.
So let's play.
As many of you know, I published a bug coloring book last year. Well, now I have the bug. This year I hope to publish two new books. The first I've already mentioned. It's a children's book written by one of my dear friends about a nerdy turtle named Finnegan, and his unlikely friendship with a rabbit named Rackle. A solar eclipse is involved.
Right now I'm working on sketching all the pages on my iPad.
I also would like to publish a second coloring book. I've decided the theme: the ocean. I already have quite a few nautical designs, so I like the idea that I won't be starting from scratch. For instance, my newest printable coloring page is this lighthouse.
And now I'm working on turning my mermaid drawing into a coloring page as well.
I have quite a few other designs I can adapt into coloring pages before having so start drawing from scratch again.
In fact, I think that next month I'm going to send the mermaid coloring page as a free download to all my newsletter subscribers. Make sure you get in on that!
Ok guys, there is one thing that has been on my to-do list for almost a year that I have kept putting off. I guess it intimidates me a bit. What is it?
Start an email newsletter.
The thing is, I've done email newsletters before. When I was apart of Artistic Portland (pre-baby), I was in charge of their newsletter and blog. It doesn't have to been anything fancy and it really isn't rocket science. So this is just silliness that I've been putting this off.
So here I am declaring to you -- I have an email newseltter! Sign up for it! There is a little form to the right that you can use (of if you're on a phone you have to scroll to the bottom of the page. You could also just go here). I plan to send out updates monthly. In them you'll see my latest blog posts, designs, new products, and such. You'll get to know me and my art better. And you can unsubscribe at anytime.
Also, right now I'm offering a free printable coloring page to all subscribers, one of my geometric hand-drawn designs. Here's a sneak peak of it.
You could even sign up for the coloring sheet and then unsubscribe after getting it. I won't fault you for that.
BUT you might miss out on future freebies
I plan on sending out my first newsletter in March.
There, I said it and so I'll have to do it!
Our first year in Oregon I drew an ode to the state. It is still one of my best selling designs.
About a year later (2016), I started offering printable coloring pages in my Etsy shop. So I created this coloring page.
That's also the image I used in my shop as the product image. It's okay, but now that I mainly use my iPad to create coloring sheets (drawing digitally rather scanning my ink drawing) I think they turn out a lot nicer. It's been on my to do list for awhile to spruce this baby up.
So I took the coloring sheet, opened it in the Procreate app, and started drawing on top of it. I'm super happy with the new and improved Oregon coloring sheet!
I've also since started using mock-ups rather than relying on less-than-stellar iPhone pictures, so the product image is a lot nicer.
It's now available for download in my shop. I think it's pretty and keep looking at it. Though I'm sure 3 years from now I'll be finding lots more flaws.
I was so pleased this morning to not have a long list of errands to run while Ransom is in school. I’ve been sitting at Solace & Fine Espresso for over an hour now just drawing and such. Before I leave, I thought I’d pop in and share some art.
I recently completed a cute little illustration that I’m really proud of. A mom at Ransom’s school had been following along with my state bird series, and asked me to draw a magpie for her. She wanted to give it as a gift to her niece.
She sent me a few photos as a reference, and I decided to focus in on this one.
First I sketched it out in my sketchbook.
I took a step back and snapped a photo of my kitchen table studio. I get such great light here for drawing and for taking pictures.
I then scanned the drawing, edited it on my computer to erase some stray marks and such, and then airdropped it into my iPad. From there I added color using watercolor brushes in Procreate. I had the picture open as a reference.
I’m really pleased with how the color turned it! It makes me want to go back and add digital watercolor to more of my drawings.
Lastly I added the name.
The original commission included her neice’s name, but soon I’ll have prints available that have the name of the bird instead.
I never would have done this if someone hadn’t commissioned me. That’s what’s so fun about commissions — they are more pressure because i want the customer to be happy, but they always stretch me.
I have my first pop-up market of 2019 this coming Saturday! It's a Valentine Shopping Extravaganza put on my Puplandia Dog Rescue.
Often before a market I'll do a mock-setup at home. I put up my table in my basement and arrange all my items. This helps me remember to pack everything I need, helps me decide what inventory to bring, and makes the morning-of a lot easier. I'm part-way through my mock-setup right now.
This will be my first time to have my bug coloring book at a market, and I'm interesting to see how she does.
I'll have a few Valentine's Day cards with me as well. (You can click on the image if you can't make it and want to buy one now)
Every year I try and develop one new Valentine design. This year's is the "You're So Sweet" card. It kind of makes me hungry . . .
To close, if you're in Portland,Oregon -- happy snow day!! Today is our first (perhaps only) snow day of the season.
Last week Ryan, Ransom and I went to Texas for a sweet visit with our families.
There are so many great pictures I could share from last week, it's actually kind of overwhelming to choose. So as to not leave anyone out and not to bombard you, I'll just leave it with our own little immediate family on the plane.
It's nice to get back into a routine now that we're back, but we are also missing our family and thinking about them often.
I didn't even bring my sketchbook to Texas, but I did bring my iPad and Apple Pencil. I took advantage of a couple of nap times to finish this pattern for a current Spoonflower challenge. The challenge is to create a pattern with a specific, limited color palette.
I was thinking about mountains and suns when creating this.
I then fiddled around with those triangles and circles (because I don't like to waste anything) and also created this design.
Abstracted mountains reflected in water. I'm pretty pleased with it.
In our downstairs bathroom, we have a little note card stuck to the wall asking people to kindly not flush anything other than pee and poop and toilet paper. Ryan has never been satisfied with that little note card, and wanted something with more pizazz (if it means anything to you, he's a 4 on the Enneagram). So he asked me to create something.
He gave me a sketch to work with.
So I drew this ..
i still haven't put it in a frame and hung it over the ivory throne, but hopefully if my little dude is still napping when I'm finished with this post I'll do that next.
I also am thinking of making it available as a downloadable print in my Etsy shop soon, because you see similar such sentiments over many a toilet.
Just wanted to pop in and share.
A place to share the process. A space to be honest about the triumphs and trials of my daily life as an artist and mama. Writing motivates and refreshes me.