Wednesday, January 21, 2015

MATS Bootcamp #1

Our first Make Art That Sells (MATS) Assignment Bootcamp (whooh mouthful!) assignment was to brainstorm with Edwardian Brooches...and then, we were to turn our musings into a journal cover.

This is what I came up with for the assignment:

Here's how I got there...

We got our Mini Brief and after preliminary research, I started sketching like crazy.
sketching like crazy!

ballpoint pen crazy sketches
You can probably already see which direction I chose to follow in the end, but at first I didn't know.  I went in a couple of directions at once. I wasn't sure which idea would work, and I brought some of the sketches onto my tracing table.  Other sketches I painted over, others I traced with felt-tip pen, but I scanned everything first -- just in case it didn't work out.

In the end, I felt I needed to pick a style.  My sketches went generally into three styles:
1) swoopy intricate
2) crunchy colorful painty
3) slightly naive line-art

I went with "swoopy intricate" and then I created two moodboards: an observational one from the research and a style guide to help reign in my madness.

FYI: These mood-boards were from a template from a really helpful Skillshare class with Elizabeth Olwen.  The class really helped me with workflow and technical tips with Illustrator.  I can highly recommend it if you're looking to figure out how to make a repeating pattern in Illustrator.

I focused mainly on plants, flowers, and birds... although I really wanted to try insects I just had to focus.  I really could have worked on it forever.  This is the trap I set for myself.  Infinite possibilities and I just drown.

Anyway, the mood-boards set me on my course and my ship sailed here next.

I played with hundreds of variations with the brooch widgets until I saw a classmate's background treatment, and it clicked for me.  That's what I was missing.  Context!  So, I added textures to the background.  Tweaked the elements some more, and even started a whole new artboard where I tried something completely different, and then cleaned things up for the final mock-up layout.  And, that's how I got to the journal cover and accessories I turned in.

It's been a while since I felt like I was doing something super exciting while I was illustrating.  I still get excited about knitting design, but it had been a while in the illustration department.  Reflecting upon the first MATS Assignment Bootcamp 2015 assignment, that's what I felt.  I felt energized about drawing.  I'm elated that the Assignment Bootcamp community is turning out to be more awe-inspiring and supportive than I could have ever imagined.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Year's Post

Each year, I start by looking back at the previous year and making goals for the year ahead.  This year is no different in that sense. I started by reviewing the work I had made, etc. but, I feel like I am in such a different head-space than I was a year ago.  Everything has changed.  My eyes have a razor-sharp focus on the prize, and the stakes feel so much higher now that I have a baby.

Last January, when I made my list for 2014 I was well into my pregnancy, but I could only imagine my future as a mom in a really vague way.  Here were last year's goals:
1) make some art:  get back into pen and ink, finish digital illustration commissions
2) make some things with yarn: finish hand-knit projects, use machine to stash bust
3) make some things with fabric: continue on the quilting and sewing goodness track
4) blog more efficiently and step away from the internet traps (facebook and cheesy news sites) 
With that nesting energy, I made things like there was no tomorrow.  I hit all of my goals - made some art, knit by hand and by machine, quilted baby F's zig-zag quilt, and blogged more efficiently.  I think I was kind of scared that there wouldn't be time after the baby came.  My fear of having no time to do anything was somewhat justified.  Luckily, I think F is very healthy and pretty independent, so that affords me snippets of time to work here and there when he's playing or napping.

Clockwise from top left: Mitered Detail Cardigan, Ottobre Nursing Top,
Wind & Storm Pullover (now lost at sea!!), Ottobre Kids, Laren Mitts, and the cover of Knit Now

Clockwise from top left: my entry for an artist's book collaboration, Ottobre kids, "playful" hand lettering, quilted zip bags, steeked fairisle vest, knit baby romper from Deramores, and Oktoberfest dirndl skirt & apron
Now I'm looking forward to 2015, and that same innate sense of urgency that came with pregnancy remains in my system.  Maybe it's the hormones? Whatever it is, I feel like I must create right now -- now or never!!  Yes, it's that dramatic a feeling.

Anyway, without further ado... my goals for the coming year:
  • Find my personal illustrative style, and figure out how/where to sell my art work.
  • Sew a few new non-maternity knit tops for myself.
  • Make another quilt.
  • Create another font.
  • Knit a bit.
  • Be a good mom.  (!!!)
Kind of a mixed bag of goals, right?
That last goal is so huge, it threatens to take over my brain. So, in the spirit of getting things done, I break down each goal into action-oriented tasks.  In terms of motherhood, what that means for me, is that I just take it one day at a time.

Happy 2015, everyone!  May it be a great year.