Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Another week of MATS completed. Time is just flying by! This week was all about Children's Book Publishing. I felt quite comfortable this week but did not get a chance to really put the time into it that I would have liked.

In the end I was quite happy with my final piece. It's not my usual technique but it was fun to put together. 

As usual, Lilla eased us into the project with a "mini" assignment. We had to do some BIRD studies. I tried to start off with some realism, but I could not hold back the temptation to turn them into characters and personalities!!

When the assignment was revealed to us the text was a little more serious and 'grown up' than I was expecting and of course none of my sketches were appropriate. Lilla reminded us all to approach it in our own way, and to show case our own unique styles, so I tried to bring some humour into it!

I tend to get REALLY rough with my concept roughs, but I had quite a few ideas floating around. 

In the end I realised that I love to try to get a giggle from people with my illustrations, and felt that the birds nesting in the hat was probably going to get that reaction.


I really enjoyed creating the hand done look last week, so this week I used oil pastels, pencils and markers to create some interest. We were also encouraged to experiment with some hand lettering.

Once I started to colour things up I realised that the hat was a bit too high and created too much space around the sides (which I had intended to fill up with background scenery) but it was taking the focus off the humour a bit.

So I changed hat styles and made the main character much bigger. 

This meant no room for any other background detail, but I really wanted to the focus to be the hat. We are learning to EDIT our work and to realise that we don't need to cram everything into one piece. Maybe our other sketches and ideas will find a home somewhere else.

I also felt the baby birds scattered across the top of the hat were getting a bit lost, so I bunched them up a bit more and moved them away from the black bird to give them more focus.

Last of all - the text. I was a bit nervous about this, so I left it to the end, but was really happy with it when it all came together. I felt like it suited the style of the illustration.

So that's it for week 3. 

Week 4 is all about wall art. This was the week I was most worried about as I had seen from previous participants in this course that it's more abstract and hand created artwork - not really my thing. Our mini assignment is to collect some things for collage artwork. I will cover this in more detail at the end of the week. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Ta-dah! Week 2 of MATS done and dusted. This week was Home Decor week. I loved this category. What a wonderful industry. I'd love to pick up work in this field again. This weeks assignment was to create some plates that you might expect to find in a store such as Anthropologie .

As usual Lilla eased us into the assignment by first getting us to draw.... Bromeliads!! Of course we had to google them to find out what on earth they were, but they turned out to be the most wonderfully odd assortment of plants and flowers. The idea was to encourage a fresh approach to floral artwork.

I was slightly disappointed with my first weeks effort (self critique on that to come when I get the chance!) but I felt I did not push myself enough to get out of my comfort zone. I ended up reverting back to my usual ways at the last minute.

This week I made more of an effort to really spend some time on the studies and sketches before getting to my final assignment piece. It was so much fun to get the paints out and to really play.

I started off really detailed and tried to get a bit of realism happening, but after a while I got tired this approach and went the complete opposite. I started to really enjoy the feel of the paint on the brush and loved to get some colour down onto the paper. I really need to do more of this because I loved it!

I still didn't feel that I had studied the subject enough, so I changed paths a bit and tried out some line artwork. 

This was a bit of a revelation as I accidently used a marker that seemed to bleed into the paper really quickly, so I had to work fast. This was a fantastic way to free things up for me and I really enjoyed just sketching and not thinking to much about an end result.

I now felt ready to takle the assignment. I then used my lightbox to trace some black, hand-painted shapes from the lineart I had created, with the intention of using them as coloured layers in my artwork. 

So these black blobs were scanned and then traced in Illustrator to create vector artwork. Then I coloured them up and layered them to create the hand painted look I was after. 

Why didn't I just hand paint the final art in full colour? I do hope to try that with one of the projects in the coming weeks, but I knew I wanted to really play around with the colour and arrangement in this piece, so this approach gave me that freedom.

I also scanned some of my line art to create some contrasting interest to play with.

I used this sketch as a template to help me layer and arrange all of the elements in my design. Then came my favourite part - COLOUR!

I followed my instincts to begin with but then tried to challenge myself by using some combinations that were a bit more out of my comfort zone.

In the end I went with what felt more natural, but I hope to challenge myself a bit more with colours as we progress with the course. 

I REALLY need to work on some sort of logo for myself, but in the meantime I am bluffing my way through!!! 

It's been a brilliant first couple of weeks, and I have so much more to share, but for now, it's good night! A new week of inspiration dawns!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Phew! First week of MATS2 PART A done and dusted! What a brilliant first week. It's so exciting. Several people in the class have described their excitement levels as like a 10 year old child on Christmas Eve. I'd have to agree with that. Each day I barely wait to see what's waiting in the classroom. There is so much wonderful information and inspiration to be shared.

I was extremely nervous submitting my first assignment. It's so confronting putting your work out there for critique! Here is my finished piece and a run down of how it evolved. 

This week was about BOLT FABRIC and we started out sketching berries and pyrex items.

It was so relaxing to just sketch and play. Although I discovered that I was a bit rusty! (Sorry for bad photo.)

Once we received our assignment (to create a bolt fabric yardage based on our sketches and the berry/pyrex/kitchen/vintage theme) I started to look for ways to inject some of my own style into the piece.

I was drawn to some of the amazing patterns that adorned the pyrex during my sketching and studies and this seemed like a fun way to introduce some character.

Unfortunately I stuggled to then create a pattern with them. There was too much detail in a small space. I still feel like there is some fun ideas in here and maybe the graphics will get a run somewhere else!

So I changed direction a bit...

 Out came the paints and I created some textures and line art to get things going a bit. I am really focused on the children's market so I could not resist the temptation to add some characters. This felt a bit more natural to me and out flowed my yardage....not without a few colour experiments.

This week is all bout the Home Decor market. This is another area that I am particularly keen on, so I am really excited!

Monday, October 7, 2013


I am full of nervous energy at the moment as I count down the hours until I start the Make Art That Sells (MATS PART:A) course. I am excited to get stuck into things, but a bit daunted by the whole concept at the same time! The Facebook group is up and running and it’s already wonderful to be amongst such an inspiring community.

I have moved my work tables into our bedroom, as I was tired of having to move everything out of my work room to set up a bed every time we had visitors. It’s not ideal, but at least now I can leave everything set up and not have to worry about packing all of my work things away - and then finding the motivation to get it all out again!

In celebration of starting the course, I have shouted myself a few new materials to inspire me. I have been meaning to get back to some more hands on, traditional art methods, so hopefully this course will give me the chance to do that.

First day tomorrow, so here’s hoping I can actually get some sleep before the big day! Yippee!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Character Sketching

Here's a bit of a peak at a couple of characters I am currently working on. I can always tell when I am happy with an illustration as I can't wait to colour it up - that's my favourite part!

Next week I am finally starting the Make Art That Sells course! I am very excited, but in the meantime I have been desperately trying to get a headstart on some of my other projects so that I can concentrate on the course. Looking forward to sharing my progress with the course, so be sure to drop by in the coming weeks.