Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Happy Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!  A very Merry Happy Christmas to you from me!

To see all the images from this year's illustration advent calendar for the members of the Finch & Foxglove art collective, take a look here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Process: Advent Calendar Noel Image

Hello! I just wanted to introduce myself in case you hadn't met me before.  I'm Adriana Hernandez-Bergstrom!  I go by Adriprints on my work, and  you can find me really easily with that moniker.  I'm the founder of the Finch & Foxglove art collective, and I did the first illustration on our digital Advent Calendar.

I am a really process-oriented person and I love learning how others get to the images they do.  I hope you can learn a little bit from my process too!

The "Noel Peppermint Bark" illustration started off as a doodle that I did in August or September.  I was at my mom's house playing around with an old watercolor set that I had left at her house in case all my luggage was lost.  In my mind, I was working on a tropical-Christmas kind of theme...

In between then and now, our group came up with a wonderful color palette for our advent calendar.  We looked at vintage Christmas postcards to get us started.  These colors were rich and wonderful, but not really tropical... and I really wanted to use the "Noel" lettering.  So I traced the lettering in Adobe Illustrator with the pen tool, used a color from our palette, and started working on composition with the other illustration assets that matched the palette a bit better.  I had created these assets or icons a few weeks ago by painting in watered down gouache.  They were extras from the greeting card project I did in October, and I did a direct "live trace" using Adobe Illustrator to capture them...

Once I had a composition that I liked, I brought each element separately into Photoshop, converted them to Vector Smart Objects and began to add texture and depth...

I really wanted a rich feeling like chocolate in the background, and at first I tried mint + chocolate with the lettering...

But, as you can see it looked a bit too cold in this version.  It read like mold or marble or something unappetizing.  So, next I tried peppermint, and that is what you see in the final image.  A little bit tastier, I think!

This is just one of the many illustrations in our wonderful digital advent calendar.  Follow along on our Finch & Foxglove Advent Calendar page!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chicken Picnic

This is my final piece from the Make Art That Sells Course (Part B).  It was a revelation for me to just do what I do in response to a brief, and use my icons that were created on a whim earlier this year and then put it all together.  It's a revelation to just be in a flow and making work.

I asked my teammates from Finch & Foxglove for feedback and adjusted accordingly.  It's been really nice to be able to get into a groove and feel like you had a place to turn for a dialogue about your work.

As for process, at the end of the summer I painted these chickens in watercolor and gouache.  This past week I drew most of the rest in marker, brush-pen, watercolor pencil, and gouache.  The textures I've been collecting all year, and I made some more.  I shared some of my textures recently on a live Periscope broadcast too!

I thoroughly enjoyed MATS B as it seems the topics suited me better.  In addition, though, it looks like I've grown some confidence between MATS A in March and MATS B in October.  Cheers to vast improvements and self-confidence!

Also, I'd like to invite you all to follow along with our Finch & Foxglove Advent Calendar starting December 1st.  Watch the advent calendar page here!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ravelry Indie Designers Gift-Along 2015

I can't believe it's November! And, this means it's time for Ravelry's most amazing time of the year for independently published knitting patterns.  This year is no different, and I'm participating as a designer with 14 patterns on sale for 25% off their usual price...

AND, I'm offering a physical prize, too!  I'm offering a giclee (fancy term for high-quality inkjet) print of my knitterly illustration "6 Fabulous English Sheep Breeds".  So, if you're interested in winning it and/or hundreds of other prizes, check out the Ravelry Indie Design Gift-Along page full of information on the super-fun events to come.

  • Prizes
  • Games
  • Contests
  • Knit-alongs
  • Crochet-alongs
  • Machine-Knitalongs

All the details are on the Ravelry Gift-Along page and the magical gift code in order to make your 25% off of my knitting pattern dreams come true is there too!  Have a great time, and I'll see you there!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Santa Barbara Map

I'm still very new to this town, but here's my visual impression of the place so far...

Lots of people doing stuff out in the open all the time.  Bright sunny days, beautiful vistas, lots to do with your family or on your own. Oh, and lots of great cycling.  Have you been to Santa Barbara? What were your impressions?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Scrapbooking: Greetings from the Lido Deck!

I am so happy with this one!  I couldn't believe I got it done on time to be considered for the Make Art That Sells weekly review either.  Our things finally arrived from Germany and it meant we were in super-unpack-cardboard-box-processing mode!  But, I was also in a "making mode" as well as "where the heck is my scanner mode"... and so I made and found my scanner at last.

Here is my work resulting from the theme we were given: vintage cruise ship correspondence.  It's a bit of a mash-up but I think between the chosen color palette and my brush pen illustrations which have a late 50's early 60's vibe in them, that it's enough to cover the vintage aspect.   I really wanted a PiƱa colada after drawing this... love those so much.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Group of Charming Cuties

Last week, I had something very interesting happen.  I had a kind of cute-splosion.  I started illustrating for the children's apparel market so I can begin to pitch my work.  I did some short research by looking at my son's clothes and picking out my super-top favorites.... and then it all just flowed.

It was remarkable.  I just worked on Illustrator and out came these characters and their back-stories and little lives.  I kept wanting (and still do) to keep on drawing them and their accessories and interactions...

Next, I want to develop each character on their own!  What do you think?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sweet Tidings to You!

It's only October, but the holiday card making season has just begun.  This week was the first week of MATS B (Make Art That Sells, Part B).  It was a good thing that the course started when it did as I got things somewhat in order and got back into the "making" groove here in our new home.  I set up a workspace on the kitchen table that came in the mail a few days before class began.  We put it together pretty quickly and cardboard boxes became work-space dividers, empty yogurt containers became brush holders, and old palettes from undergrad saved the day!

On a side note, though, does anyone else do that?  Do you leave things for your future self just in case x, y, or z happens?  I left a mini travel kit at my mom's house and unearthed a bunch of my tools last year when I visited during the holidays with the baby's first visit to the U.S.  And lucky for me that I did because I had a great little kit waiting for me this time around when I had nothing but my 2 suitcases for the baby and me after the move from Germany!

The first week of MATS focuses on paper (greeting cards in this case).  And our theme was holiday cookies.  I started the mini using my dipping pen and nibs with Windsor & Newton india ink.

Then, I did some icon painting with gouache.  And later I did some in Copic marker.

Next I put it together in Photoshop and Illustrator and worked on icon placement...

It seemed too brown to read as a holiday card, so I added blue and white to get that winter feeling in there.  Then, I added some extra cookie illustrations within the jar, added texture to a bunch of items (jar, sprig, thread, tag, etc.).  Finally, I put it all together in InDesign and added a few stationery accessories like the gift tags and possible stamps that I thought would work well with the remaining icons.  See the first photo for the final result.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Looks Like We Made It

We did it!  We made it to California, the baby and I, and all in one piece thankfully!  The first flight was a real doozy with lots of crying, squirming, and screeching, but the second flight went very smoothly.  It's our third day here and we're living amongst cardboard boxes and half-empty rooms, but it's really cozy nonetheless.

Our new place is a cottage.  It's the first time we've lived in a house-type dwelling with a yard as a family.  Before now, we've only ever lived in apartments.  It's very nice having a back yard.  And this yard has a beautiful towering avocado tree that's full of Hass avocados.  There are also a few citrus trees alongside it - one's a blood orange, but I'm not sure of the others... must study them.

Today we received a lighter/smaller kitchen table and chairs than the ones that are coming from Germany and so we finally have a place to sit.  We also had our gas turned on so we can bathe with hot water!  Yay hot water! So, things are looking up.

So what's with the rose finch? I've been working really hard on getting my art collective Finch & Foxglove off the ground, and so far we're off to a good start.  There are 8 of us from around the world and we've banded together in order to exhibit as a group at Surtex 2016.  I'm so very excited.  We are very supportive of one another's work, and we also give each other feedback and push our work so that we're showing our best.  It's nice to feel like you're not "going it alone" in the world.

I've uploaded some new work to the Finch & Foxglove site and will be updating my site too!  Here's a sample...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer School Illustrations

We're in the thick of summer here in Munich and it's been non-stop illustration, sewing, and knitting... okay, not so much the knitting because my current knit-along includes very warm yarn, lots of cables, and a steek, so I tend to wait for the weekend for that.

But I've been painting and illustrating and printing and working on building up my portfolio in preparation for Surtex 2016.  I enrolled in the Make It in Design course The Ultimate Portfolio Builder, and also their Summer School course.  These are much more self-directed than the Make Art That Sells courses, but I'm determined!  And, I've really appreciated the personalized feedback that the UPB course offered.  I got to hear directly from Khristian A. Howell herself about her thoughts on my work and website.  That was probably the most valuable 15 minutes of my career.  I found her feedback so helpful and it really makes me want to push my work to the next level!

Here is some of my most recent work...

(Mind you, these are mock-ups and none of my work is actually in production yet... YET!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Super Simple Patchwork Quilt WIP

How do I deal with the stress of moving internationally?  I multitask like crazy, make lists, post stuff for sale... and do a simple patchwork quilt to deal with the need to do machine-like sewing and stash-busting.


4.5" scrap squares that have been hanging around for a while

later that day...

sewn into strips

and today!
nearly done with the quilted top

I still have five more rows to add, then sashing, then quilting!
Lots of progress!  Hurrah for the feeling of pseudo-accomplishment!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

MATS Bootcamp Recap

Another recap!  It's the end of the MATS Assignment Bootcamp unfortunately, and our last assignment was an editorial illustration.  We were given an article about digital nomad-ism and it felt pretty close to home.

I am definitely a digital nomad.  I spend lots of my time traveling back and forth from Germany to the U.S., but also to other parts of the European continent while still maintaining contact with clients and working on personal projects.  I related so much to the advice in the article... it's all about wi-fi and connectivity.

Traveling has been a constant in our lives, but now we're looking at repatriation as a reality.  We'll be moving back to the U.S. in the autumn and I simultaneously eagerly await the next chapter in our lives while mourning the separation from my long-time friends.  It's not our first goodbye to Munich (remember that Amsterdam 6 month dream sequence back in 2011?), and hopefully it won't be goodbye forever.

So where are we headed?  We're going to sunny California!  Don't worry, I'll be writing when I get there, but I'll first be stopping by my mom's place in Florida while we figure out where we'll be living in California.
- - -

Back to the MATS Bootcamp re-cap!

May brought us the crustacean sensation theme as I called it...
I was really pleased with the background pattern and came out with a stoneware plate or tray that I'd buy.

April was the Global Art Gathering poster.  I'm so glad I got to see Brighton in real life... I'd draw the dome differently now that I've seen it in person.  At the moment, it looks a bit like our American capitol buildings. I am still happy I did some painting, though.  The loose style came very naturally to me when used paint and collage.

March we worked on MATS Part A so Bootcamp was on  hiatus.

February we painted on wood.  We were riffing off of Lilla's plate collection and I had been drawn to a central character with foliage.  I'm loving the ladybug character, but I think I could push the whole thing a bit further in one painterly direction with more texture.  Something's missing and I don't know if it's just the mock-up or what.

I took February's assignment further and mocked up some plates too with some of my preliminary designs...

And January we worked on a journal cover. I feel like I've come a long way since our first assignment.  I was so nervous, and I clearly overworked the design now that I can see it with a fresh eye.  I enjoyed every minute of it, though!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Global Art Gathering

Last Friday was the Global Art Gathering in Brighton, UK with Lilla Rogers, Margo Tantau, Rachael Taylor, and Kelly Rae Roberts!  Weeks before the event, we were asked to illustrate a tea-towel based on the theme "Englishness"... I brainstormed for weeks until stumbling upon the rich history and enormous variety of English breeds of sheep.  Here's my assignment...

Once I figured out a way into the assignment I was mega-inspired!  And so, I happily attended the event with no idea what would come.  The event was held at the Brighton Dome which is situated on the same beautiful grounds as the Brighton Pavilion and it's gorgeous gardens.  So many, many beautiful flowers to see...

pretty, pretty blooms everywhere...

Anyway, let me get my head out of the flowers and get straight to it...

- - - Recap of the Global Art Gathering, 2015 - - -

We started off in the morning with an interview-type chat between Lilla & Kelly Rae Roberts.  If you're not familiar with Kelly Rae Robert's work, she does a kind of smudgy, painterly, sweet collage work with rough text and positive affirmations.  I wasn't too familiar with her work or life before the event, but was so happy to learn about her and meet her in person.  She and Lilla said a lot of things that resonated with me:

  • Stay childlike, keep dreaming, and respect your passion.
  • What is it that you love? Have confidence in what you choose.
  • When you can, delegate tasks that are better done by others.
  • When you are fully "you" there is no competition.
  • Avoid burnout/overwhelm by taking it one task at a time and keep choosing the joyful thing each time.
  • In practical matters, try to make everyday tasks joyful.
  • When talking to yourself, use your kind voice.
  • Commit to making the work you want to get.

Kelly Rae also talked about selling original artwork and how it makes room for new things, ideas, and new opportunities!  The lingering question I had about this point was... how do you properly record an original or scan a slightly 3-D object before you sell it?  Is there a proper way to do it?  Also, when selling original artwork, be sure to stipulate that the new owner of the physical artwork is not the copyright holder, that the rights to the image are retained by the artist.

Next, came a lovely affirmation project directed by Lilla, where I learned to embrace my "sassy-ness".

Afterward, we learned about branding and embracing our individuality with a talk from Rachael Taylor, Margo Tantau, and Joanne Hus.  That was really informative, and I took lots of specific notes about improving my website.  So much to do!

Rachael spoke a little about making sure your work is registered with A(c)ID or similar in case the need should arise as it did for her in her landmark case against M&S back in 2012.  I remember her case -- it seems to have been one of the first high-profile "artist-being-ripped-off-David vs. Goliath" type cases to use Twitter and social media to bring attention to the matter.  It was funny to hear her annoyance, more so in that M&S chose one of her simplest designs and it would've saved everyone the hassle had they just done their own version.  (Your positive attitude shined through, Rachael!) She was a joy to chat with and is as sweet as she sounds on paper.

At lunch, I chatted with Flora Waycott and Trina Dalziel who are much further along on their illustration journey and are a real inspiration to me.  Both work with lighter colors and softer palettes than I do, but I just love their style and composition!  So beautiful!

After lunch, Lilla went over a slew of color trends and textures... and then the review.  I was certain that on a regular day, my work wouldn't have been reviewed, but as luck would have it, Lilla Rogers reviewed all the tea-towel designs!  Yay!  She noted my anthropomorphic sheep in her comments.

The whole event was so personalized and special.  Each of us received these lovely totes made by Rachael Taylor and there was so much care put into everything.  Lilla signed a copy of her book "I Just Like to Make Things" and even hand-wrote our name tags...

I am so grateful to have had the chance to attend.  I'm not sure if I'd have been in the U.S. whether the opportunity would have afforded itself, but there it is.  I just happened to still be living here in Munich!

After the Global Art Gathering we all landed at the North Laine Pub
I feel like I could write 10 posts on the event, but I'll end it here.  I loved meeting my fellow artists with whom I've shared a digital classroom for the last six months. In fact, meeting everyone in person was the highlight of my trip.  It can be very isolating to work as a freelancer for so long.  I missed them the moment I had to leave the pub as it was nearing on 9pm which is bed-time for our boy.  I walked off abuzz with new ideas, new friends, and a positive outlook on my future career as an illustrator.

Hopefully see you all soon fellow illustrators and artists!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fancy joining a KAL?

Hello my fellow knitters,

I’m running a KAL for my pattern Wind & StormThe first 10 peeps who commit to the KAL will get a free copy of the pattern. All other participants will receive the pattern at a discounted rate. And for all participants that complete the pattern, I will do a raffle giveaway!

This KAL is to celebrate the re-release (this time self-published) of the Wind & Storm pattern which was originally published by Knit Now in Issue #30 in 2014.  I'm nearly done with the self-published version which will have its official release in the fall (mid-September) but I’ll have it up beforehand as a soft release and for the purposes of this KAL.

The KAL key dates are as follows: 
Start: June 15, 2015 
End: September 15, 2015
Yarn and knitting requirements can be found on the pattern page for Wind & Storm.
And, feel free to use the image above as your project image place-holder until we officially start the KAL! It's great to have people knitting the same thing as you and when you run into questions or issues, we all help each other!  It's a lovely experience if you've never done one before.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Feeling Crabby

Our little guy has been having lots of teething days.  On those days, he moans and groans and drools.  He is so sad and gloomy.  I suffer with him.  Teething sucks.   That inspired me to illustrate this one...

I learned tons about combining Illustrator's vector shapes with textures in Photoshop in this Skillshare class by Matt Kaufenberg.  I started out with a pencil and marker sketch.

Then, I found something that has been so freeing to me... sketching in Photoshop.  I know it's a weird hang-up for a traditional illustrator, but I hate wasting paper.  And, when you sketch a lot, you inevitably end up using loads and loads of paper.  And, no matter how cheap it is, you kind of feel the weight of how many trees you've decimated on your creative journey.  Okay, maybe it's just me.  In any case, it doesn't pain me to do sketches on layers in Photoshop.  Not. one. bit.  So, off I went!

I started off using traditional shapes for figure drawing (can't help my training!)...

 I knew I didn't want to go this route.  I have had a kind of artist's block when it comes to drawing babies.  Every time I attempted to draw my son, it came out so weird!  I wasn't happy with any of the results, so I just focused on expressions he makes when he's in a funk...

I had a breakthrough with that big head up top.  I then pushed the exaggeration of the size of the head even further.

After drawing the top one, I said out loud, "aww."  And that's when I knew I was onto something!  So, off I went using the techniques from the Skillshare class, and the end result is the first photo from this post.