I’ve started to split my time between my own art making and a new creative endeavor, Bright Art Studio. I turned our lower level spare room into a studio, and have started teaching classes for preschool-elementary aged kids. If you aren’t local to Portland but still want to follow along, I have a blog just for the studio where I’ll detail some of our projects and point you towards resources and inspiration for creating art with your own family.
I’m still trying to figure out how to best organize my time — to balance working on developing and planning for classes, while also working on my personal art business (not to mention my most important job title — Mommy).
I still hope to pop into this blog once a month (used to be twice a month). Today I want to dump a bunch of Merry Manatees on you. This sweet guy is my holiday 2021 design and is available in all manner of products. Here are some of my favorites. (I’m sharing this with you now, before Halloween, so you can be prepared and not have to worry about inevitable shipping delays and supply chain issues as Christmas gets closer. AKA If you see something you love, order it now!. Click on the picture to get more info.)
And I'll end with one more cozy image, more matching this season.
Earlier this summer I finished the above tattoo design, and just couldn’t leave it. Being a book lover myself, I love an opportunity to create bookish designs. So I tweaked it a bit to create this, which you can grab as an art print in my Etsy shop (and soon a sticker!)
It made me reflect on my other book-y drawing. For instance, this one below was my first and still one of my best-selling designs. I remember drawing it in my sketchbook at a coffee shop about 5 years ago. It's still my bud.
And this next I created in Procreate last winter. I remember working on this when there was snow on the ground (which is rare here in Portland, Oregon) and sitting with Ransom on the couch, watching Dino Dana.
I’m surprised I don’t yet have a book pattern. Bookish wrapping paper sounds like a lovely idea.
Here’s some fun book wrapping paper I found on Society6 . . .
Have you read any good books lately?
I've embarked on a fun new collaboration with Slinger Inc. to offer some of my designs as temporary tattoos. I felt like it made sense. I already create tattoo designs, but not everyone is ready for the lifetime commitment. These should last about a week or so. I've ordered some for myself and will definitely let you know how they turn out!
Here's a look at some of the designs that are available
I think a venus flytrap tat would be pretty awesome.
I'd like to introduce you to my newest pattern of honey bees and lisianthuses.
Which of course sprung from my Lisianthus and Honey Bee Wreath. I turned all the separate elements into vectors and created the pattern in Affinity Designer on my iPad
Ransom (age 4) has been drawing tons of awesome robots. I kind of want to make those into a repeating pattern as well.
They're pretty awesome, am I right?
While writing this post, my head is bopping to some French Pop, its pretty fun. You might want to check it out.
I've been having the blahs this week about my art.
Thankfully, when I'm not having the blahs (I guess I could call it having the ahhs or ah-ha's) I put systems and schedules in place to help me accomplish the goals I have for myself. For instance, I want to learn more about using Affinity Designer, so Fridays are my learning days and I spend time every Friday learning. Right now I'm going through a Skillshare class about that. I also am working on a children's book with a friend, and Wednesdays I try to spend time working on that. So even when I don't feel like it, every day I have something to show up to.
Last night, I was thinking about my blahs and having a grass-is-greener moment (maybe I should be a fitness instructor..working in a library could be fun...being a mail carrier seems nice...). I then questioned myself -- decades from now what would I regret not pursuing right now? Immediately I thought -- art. I want to keep pursuing this thing I have with art -- as a designer, illustrator, teacher and/or whatever is next.
For now, I'm going to keep showing up to my art even when I don't feel like it. I've been doing it long enough to know that the blah's don't last, and showing up consistently always leads me back to the ah-ha's.
Thinking about these quotes are a good motivator for me when I'm in the blahs . . . I've turned to them for years.
This is also helpful. An illustration from Gingiber...
Ok, pep talk done!
In my last post I left you with a to-be-continued regarding a floral wreath of lisianthuses.
Well, I've since landed on a center for the wreath.
For awhile all I had was the bee, but knew that I wanted some kind of wording as well.... I could only think of trite bee puns, like "bee happy" or "bee present." For as much as I love this illustration I wanted some special words and those didn't cut it.
Well, then in my church community group we spent one evening as women talking about the desire we have to unveil beauty. One phrase from the bible study stood out -- beauty nourishes
"Beauty may be the most powerful thing on earth. Beauty speaks. Beauty invites. Beauty nourishes. Beauty comforts. Beauty inspires. Beauty is transcendent. Beauty draws us to God. As Simone Weil wrote, “The beauty of the world is almost the only way by which we can allow God to penetrate us . . . Beauty captivates the senses in order to obtain permission to pass straight through to the soul . . . The soul’s inclination to love beauty is the trap God most frequently uses in order to win it.”
Beauty is essential and misunderstood.
Flowers aren't beautiful for nothing. I feel in the context of this illustration the beauty of the flowers nourishes the bees and vice versa.
And writing this out makes me think of another tattoo design I'm working on for a friend. It's just a rough sketch right now, but it's reminding me of the beauty of a mother's body for her children (birth, milk, snuggles, wiping bottoms etc)
And our bodies help little bodies navigate big rocks.
I just finished up a lovely little tattoo design. The client wanted a tattoo inspired by the flowers in her bridal bouquet, lisianthus (such a sweet idea, right?).
First I sketched out some lisianthuses in Procreate.
Then I arranged them in various crescent configurations (as per her request).
After getting some more input from the client, we finalized the sketch and I created the finished design.
I think it's such a sweet little semi-circle, so after sending her the finished design, I continued to play with it. I've since turned it into a wreath.
Now I have to decide what to put in the middle. I'm leaning towards a bee. Stay tuned!
I had never even heard of a lisianthus before this project.
I feel like I have a lot of different projects floating around in my head and on my iPad . I'm going to use this post as a way to lay it all out and give a progress report on what is currently going on.
It's fun how one project can spring board another. A bit ago, I designed a Washington state sticker (which is now available) and it featured the state flower, rhododendron. I then focused in on just that flower, and created a stand alone design of the rhododendron (also now available as an art print)
Thanks to Liz Kohler Brown, I learned how to turn my drawing into a vector and created a rhododendron repeating pattern in Affinity Designer.
It was pretty well received on social media (and I'm pretty proud of it) so I went ahead put it in my Redbubble shop.
I'm going to springboard a pattern collection from this. I finished one more so far, this leafy one. Not sure about the colors, I don't think it matches the original rhododendron pattern enough... we'll see. I hope to create 3-9 more patterns to complete the collection.
I'm also still thinking about that whale shark. I would like to create a pattern collection around that illustration as well. This is what I have so far.
Finally, this week I was asked by a customer on Etsy to create another beluga whale card. So I whipped this design up and think it's pretty precious.
Looking at those cuties just makes me smile, so hopefully it'll make the recipient smile as well.
Oh, and I'm also working on a tattoo design, because it's the time of year again when people are showing skin and wanting to show of some new ink as well
Things I'm hoping to learn more about in the coming months -- wholesaling and creating more with vectors. My handy Skillshare membership will help me with that. I deemed Friday to be my learning days, so I better get on it!
I enjoy making art with my son almost as much as making art on my own, and on this blog I like to share about both. This past Saturday, we were feeling crafty. Ransom loves ocean creatures, particularly sharks, but we'd made plenty of sharks already so we decided on an octopus. He's super inspired to make something when his project can become a "toy" when it's finished, rather than just a pretty picture.
So we pulled out our trusty paper plates (so many things you can make with paper plates!) and he painted one purple. After it dried, I drew the shape of its head and he cut it out. We used some streamers for tentacles (in a pattern -- he enjoys using patterns like his mama). Then we made it come to life with some googly eyes.
We thought we were finished after that, but oh we were just getting started.
We noticed the leftover paper plate was kind of like a headband. Why not decorate it with googly eyes? Everything is better with googly eyes.
Then Ransom decided this wasn't just a googly-eyed headband, this was an alien. Well, then the alien needed a body, so we pulled out another paper plate.
And taped on some pipe cleaners for hands and legs.
"Hey, it's also an alien costume!"
It so fun when our projects evolve into something totally different than what I first intended.
And check out his sweet drawings behind him on the fridge. Watching him draw and create just gives me so much joy!
Also featured on the fridge is a collaborative piece -- he turned my whale shark sticker into an ocean scene.
One of my bestselling designs for the past 6 years has been Oregon.
I thought it would be cool to do some other states in the same style, but just have never gotten around to it.
One of the things I love about selling on Etsy - selling directly to customers rather than using a third party like I do with Redbubble - is the ability to hear from the people who are buying my art. One customer asked me recently to create a Washington and Colorado sticker in the same style. I thought that was a great idea, so I dove in.
First I started working on my neighbor state, Washington. Like I did with Oregon, I decided to include the state bird (Goldfinch) and an iconic mountain peak (Mount Rainer). I also included the state flower (rhododendron) and other iconic things such as fir trees, ferns, and clouds -- all things that us Oregonians are also very familiar with.
Here are a couple of process pics followed by the finished design.
I'm really happy with how it turned out. The sticker isn't available yet, but will be soon.
Now I'm working on the Colorado design. It's coming along a lot quicker, since I feel like I have somewhat of a formula down now with state bird + state flower +iconic mountains +doodles.
Here's my initial sketch.
And a peak of me working on it this morning at Jola Cafe while Ransom was in preschool.
And of course now I want to rework my original Oregon design, because I drew it 6 years ago and so now find parts of it cringe-worthy...
But Oregon is indeed such a beautiful state. Yesterday we saw a lovely waterfall, played at the beach and were home by bedtime.
Yeah it was windy. And so lovely.
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.