Spoonflower

Final Prep {Surtex 2015}

All I could think about for the last three months was Surtex

Surtex this, Surtex that. 

I'm sure Stephen and Stella were SO over it. And now the show is done. It's hard to believe! 

Let's get back to the last 10 days before the show.

After I sent out all of my promo stuff I buckled down and pulled together some collections. My original goal was 12 collections. As I got closer to Surtex I realized I'd never be able to pull that off, so my revised goal was 8. Then 4. Four seemed like a good number, right?

I ended up designing a Surtex flyer for every collection. I not only used them for my Surtex countdown on social media (40 days > 30 days > 20 days > 10 days), but they became the placeholder on my portfolio site for all of my new work and postcards for the aforementioned promo mailers. Plus it was a good way to put some of my new imagery to use and throw in a little hand-lettering. 

I made 2 flyers for my first collection : 10,000 Thrills



My 2nd collection, inspired by Stella - was about a super girl and her sidekick. It is called Flying High:


My 3rd collection is called Little Explorers:


And finally, my colored pencil florals, Joyful Garden:


Each collection had between 6-9 pieces. When I felt they were dialed I went through the rest of my portfolio and determined what needed to be freshened up and where the holes were. I spent a week refining and creating new work. At the end I had about 85 pieces of art ready to go. I had two portfolio books - one with my new collections, and the other with everything else. Thankfully I had the foresight to order enough paper and ink - because I went through a lot! Here are all the paper scraps after I cut the portfolio pages down to size:


I wanted to go the traditional route of having physical portfolio books to show my art. Call me old-school, but I always prefer being able to turn pages - you can go your own speed, start and stop when you want, start in the middle and jump to a certain page quickly without fumbling around on a screen. Not to mention the pages are big (11x14") and you can see the work very clearly. Plus, when someone buys your art, the page can be removed without ruining the rest of your book. Don't get me wrong - the Blurb books are beautiful - but I consider them more of a supplement to the rest of your portfolio. At one point I had also contemplated using an iPad to show my portfolio digitally. But in the end I chose to just stick with the portfolio books and they ended up working awesome. 

Once the portfolio was done I had about 3 days before I left for New York. I spend that time doing last minute prep such as printing, cutting and folding the header cards Jill designed for our booth swag:


I also made a bunch more pennant flags to give out at the show. Here are a pile of ends cut and pressed, waiting to be sewn onto the felt:


My last goal (and lowest priority) was to make shirts out of some of my own Spoonflower fabric. I bought a cute pattern called the Scout Tee by Grainline Studio and went to town. Sara from The Sewcial Lounge told me the finished shirt is a bit short, so I modified the pattern slightly and added on two inches to the length which ended up being perfect. This is one of the shirts all pressed, ready to be worn:


I wasn't sure what type of fabric to order from Spoonflower - so I ordered some Cotton Lawn. It was a nice fabric, but I have to say - it was still a bit stiff for a shirt. It didn't have a lot of drape, and it gets SO wrinkly every time I wash it. But it looks cute, and the shirts were a hit at the show, so I guess it was worth it!

That's all for the pre-show prep! Stay tuned for another post all about the booth. 

Until then, have a wonderful day!

Desktop Calendar {June 2014}

Wow, I think this is the latest I've posted a desktop calendar! My apologies. By now, you are well aware of the new month, but just in case you are still need of a new calendar, here you go!

Last week I created a space-themed pattern for a Spoonflower contest. I was going between a mid-century style and a fun, dog-themed pattern. I ended up going the more sophisticated route for Spoonflower (which I'll share in a later post), but I still wanted to flesh out the doggy idea.



Here we have Dogs in Space, complete with a rubber ball planet, a meatball moon, and alien squirrels zooming around. This pattern also fulfills another of my creative goals - creating more boy-centric art. Whenever I get a moment, I'll try to put this together as a formal pattern and/or print.

So, again - I am sorry this is so late, but hopefully you get a few weeks worth of use.

To download the June calendar, you can click on the above image and save it to your computer, or you can also find it herePlease note that this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. 

Have an awesome June!

Surtex 2014 {Walking}

Hello!

Well, it has been a week since I've been home from Surtex 2014. And I'm STILL processing it all! Wow, what an experience.

I decided to check it out after I learned all about it in Make Art That Sells - Surtex is a tradeshow where artists sell or license their work to companies who will, in turn, use it on their products. The art consists mostly of surface pattern designs, but there are some stand-alone images featured as well. Since one of my goals is to some day have my own fabric line, I thought it would probably be worth my time to see what it was all about. I didn't necessarily want to have a booth YET, since it is quite the investment, so scoping it out was Step 1 of the process.

Since I was walking the show as an artist, there was some etiquette to keep in mind - most importantly, don't linger too much in the booths. The artists who were showing spent a LOT of time and money on being there, and they were there to generate business and make connections with potential customers. Having long conversations with walkers could potentially detract customers from their booths, so out of respect, we needed to make our chats short and sweet. And if someone walks up who looks like they're there for business, excuse yourself and come back another time.

Though I knew there would be some dream clients there, my goal wasn't to get business - since they were there for the Surtex artists. I didn't carry a formal portfolio, though I did make a few "mini" portfolios which consisted of twenty of my Moo business cards clipped together - to hand out JUST IN CASE I happened to meet a potential client. There were a few moments I could have taken advantage of, but I was too much of a wimp to sell myself. NOTE TO SELF: Work on pitching my art; have confidence in myself!


My "mini" portfolios and shoulder bag, created just for Surtex
I also made a quick shoulder bag consisting of my Science Fair fabric from Spoonflower. I figured that might generate some attention, so why not? Plus it was fun to sew again. It has been too long!

Lauren and Tammie, two of my fellow Happy Happy Art Collective artists were there showing their work for the first time (woo hoo!) so it would also be a good opportunity to support them (not to mention MEET them)! I ended up rooming with Muffin (another Happy Happy artist) in an Air BnB apartment just a ten minute walk from the Javits Center where Surtex was located. It was a great location, not only close to Surtex, but within walking distance of Times Square where we hung out in the evenings. It sounds like many of the Surtex participants found hotels close by Javits - which is ideal, since they were most likely hauling stuff to and from every day.


Muffin and I in front of the Javits Center on Day 1
Once we got into Surtex, we made a beeline to Tammie and Lauren's booths to say hi. We had never officially met, after all! Both ladies had wonderful booths. It was obvious that they took a lot of care and consideration in selecting what art hung on the walls and how they showcased their portfolios. Again, being conscious of blocking potential customers, Muffin and I set off through the aisles of Surtex. 

It didn't take us long to bump in to some of our classmates from Make Art That Sells! We anticipated a sort of MATS "reunion" (can you call it a reunion if you've never actually met?), but I was still blown away by how many people I recognized from class. It was so fun meeting our fellow "Matties" in real life. There was a lot of business card exchanging and hugs, and I loved every bit of it. I also got to meet several of my illustrator crushes: Helen Dardik, Elizabeth Olwen, Zoe Ingram, Dinara Mirtalipova and Allison Cole, to name a few! And I got a hug from the one and only Lilla Rogers. Wow. I was surrounded by greatness!


Elizabeth Olwen, Muffin, Jill and I
On Day 2, Jill joined us from Massachusetts! After doing our round of hellos, we decided to buckle down and walk the show with intention. Aisle after aisle, we took notes about the decisions artists made when designing their booth. Some of the things we noted:

  • Portfolio : Loose prints vs. bound book
  • Booth sign :Standard Surtex sign vs. design your own
  • Products with your art in the booth
  • Flat wall vs. bracketed wall
  • Corner booth vs. middle aisle booth
  • Tall table vs. short table
  • Code or number all your art for future referencing
  • Brand every print
  • Walls : Banners vs. framed art
  • Show personal work or original art 
  • The buzz : License or buy outright

Some of us also had an opportunity to participate in Lilla's MATS meet-up. A few things I learned from that session:

  • If buying outright - What is the life of the product? In other words, when can I get it back again?
  • As you make money, invest it back into your business
  • When you have a large body of work, display some on your website, but save some to only show potential clients. 
  • Have a worksheet for your customers which lists all the categories/sub-categories so they can check off their interests.
  • Always ask for a little more.

MATS meet-up with Lilla Rogers
On Day 3, Muffin, Jill and I walked a bit of the National Stationery Show, which was right next to Surtex. Talk about overwhelming! We were there for a couple hours and I don't think we got through 1/3 of it. I would have actually liked to have spend more time there, but my flight back to Wisconsin was beckoning me. I did see enough, however, to realize there are a lot of independent stationery companies - and many of them are wonderfully creative. Oh - and gold foil is trending. We saw it everywhere! 

Now that I have had time to process my Surtex experience, I know that it is something I can definitely handle. I will be able to produce a body of work to have a successful show. My hesitation at this point, aside from the expense, is whether or not I want to put all my eggs in this particular basket. There are many markets of which to focus my illustration, but dedicating a better part of my year in preparing for the surface pattern and licensing segment kinda makes me nervous. I have been hearing from various Surtex artists, that there is the potential for work outside of licensing, such as publishing, so that is good to know. My other option is sharing a booth with the other artists in the Happy Happy Art Collective, which I know would be amazing. Ah! So many decisions! 

To wrap up, I am very happy I got to experience Surtex. It was complete eye-candy, and it was delightful meeting so many of the artists I've admired over the last few years. I loved hanging out with my Happy Happy sisters (we missed you, Denise!) and I'm glad I was able to share the experience with them. On the other hand, it has given me a lot to ponder, and I think it's going to take me a while to figure out my game plan. 

Until then, thanks for sticking through my super-long Surtex re-cap! If you're interested in learning more, be sure to check out Lauren's, Tammie's, Jill's and Muffin's blog posts about their Surtex experience.



Tiny Green Worlds {Spoonflower Fabric}

Life has been crazy-busy here. But when I realized the Spoonflower theme was terrariums, I had to make time for it!

But I didn't have time to do all the research and preliminary drawings like I usually do. I decided to jump right into Photoshop and start drawing. This is the first time I've ever skipped the sketching process and started on the computer. It is not my ideal, but I have to say, the spontaneity was a bit exhilarating! And since the design was very organic, it worked well with drawing on the tablet - I didn't have to worry about super straight lines or perfect spacing. I could just roll with it!


This was my final pattern block. When I set it up as a repeat it looked like this:


I think it turned out pretty well! There is a lot of detail in each of the terrariums, so I have to keep the design on the bigger side in order to appreciate it all. 

There is still a bit of time to vote in this week's contest, so head on over to pick your favorites!

And speaking of patterns, I am heading to NYC this weekend to check out Surtex - the surface pattern & textile licensing show. I am looking forward to seeing the setup to see if this is something I'd like to pursue at some point in the near future. Not to mention I get to finally meet my Happy Happy Art Collective friends and other artists I've met online the last few years. It should be a fantastic experience!

I'll be back next week to tell you all about it!



Walter the Whale {Spoonflower Fabric}

I'm back with another fun Spoonflower pattern! This week the theme was Whales. Apparently, whales are going to be the next big thing in 2014...

I liked the idea of making a happy whale with a big, toothy smile. That's when I decided to sketch Walter the Whale. Since whales have such a big expanse of nothingness, I added a little dotty design element for visual interest. 



We were given a color palette. Initially I liked it, but when I started putting the colors together I had a hard time getting them to gel how I preferred. So I decided to forego the cream all together and used the rose-y color sparingly. I was hoping for more contrast with the rose and raspberry, but unfortunately, it got kinda lost...


And here is my final piece!


As you can see, Walter is having a blast frolicking in the sea. If you're feeling inclined, head on over to the weekly Spoonflower contest and give Walter some love! There are a LOT of super whale designs - apparently everyone wanted to get in on the whale trend!

Have an awesome weekend,



Mad Science {Spoonflower Fabric}

I was super excited for the latest Spoonflower challenge - it was a Science Fair theme! Something you may not know about me is my love for Science (biology and anatomy, specifically). I took several science classes in college, and thoroughly enjoyed drawing things I saw under the microscope. At one point, my Zoology professor actually suggested medical illustration as a career path for me. I was really interested in that idea until I found out there were only a few universities in the U.S. where I could get that highly specialized degree. Oh well. Such is life.

Fast forward to last week when I was working on sketches for this pattern. I was having a blast creating little Science-y icons!



For this composition, I wanted to create a more organized pattern. Rows of icons could be cool...but how could I make it more interesting? I decided to first create a hex pattern which was a nod to molecular structures, THEN fill in the hex shapes with my icons.


When I was working on my sketches, I had a pale yellow - red - light blue - black color scheme in my head. I applied it to my pattern, and I was very happy with how it complemented my icons. It has a sort of vintage feel which I love.

If you're feeling inclined, head on over to Spoonflower and vote for your favorite Science Fair designs - it is so interesting seeing everyone's interpretations!

Have an awesome weekend!



Bedtime for Bunnies {Spoonflower Fabric}

Though I didn't have a lot of time this week, I managed to squeeze another pattern in for the weekly Spoonflower contest. The theme was so fun, I hated to pass it up just because I wanted a few extra ZZZs. Which is ironic, considering the theme was 

Bedtime!

Stella's bedtime routine is VERY important - if we happen to miss something, she is right there reminding us what we forgot. She is quite the task master when she wants to be! I decided to use her bedtime as my inspiration for a few sketches.


Is it weird that I put bunny slippers on a bunny?



For this contest, Spoonflower provided us with a color scheme. Usually I love limited color palettes. This one, not so much - the yellow and purple were really intense. Oh well - those were the parameters and I was going to make it work!


One thing I discovered during this process, was, even though I am getting better at setting up square repeat patterns in Photoshop, I can't seem to figure out other types of repeats - namely half-drop. I have a couple books that I've been referencing, but these novelty patterns that are a bit more complicated are really tripping me up. If any of you have any tips or resources, I'm all ears! 

And of course, I have to plug the contest! Head on over to Spoonflower and give my Bedtime for Bunnies pattern some love! Thanks!

xo


Gems + Geodes {Spoonflower Fabric}

Hello!

This week I decided to create an entry for the current Spoonflower contest. The theme was Geodes and Gemstones.

As I've mentioned before, my typical subject matter consists of flowers, animals and Stella - NOT stones...or anything geometric, for that matter! I thought it would be a fun challenge.

After researching what EXACTLY gems and geodes were, I decided I would focus on gems. I drew a whole page of these cute little structures!



After I brought them into Photoshop, I set my palette and tried to figure out how to show the gems' dimension without adding too many colors. My solution was some crosshatching!



By layering the colors of my basic palette, I was able to not only add dimension, but some nifty tones with the "transparency" the crosshatching created. My eyes were watering like crazy from drawing all of these fine lines, but I am really happy with how it turned out.

Tomorrow Spoonflower voting begins! Be sure to head on over to the contest and check out all the awesome selections. If you're interested in my other Spoonflower patterns, check 'em out right here.




Great Barrier Reef {Spoonflower Fabric}

Once of my 2014 goals is to do more patterns. I would love to get some work in the surface design category, whether wrapping paper, fabric or home decor - so I figured in order to make this happen, I need to make more patterns! 

I love assignments - they challenge me to create something out of my usual wheelhouse. So I decided I would start partaking in Spoonflower's weekly fabric design contests. I've been meaning to spend more time on Spoonflower's  lovely site, especially now that they offer wallpaper and gift wrap options, so this would be a win-win. 

The theme for the current design contest was Great Barrier Reef. If there is one thing I don't draw a lot of, it is fish - or any water creatures, for that matter. I usually prefer a hairier subject matter! But this is what the challenge is all about, right?

I started out by drawing a lot of coral - so many beautiful colors, shapes and sizes! I was having a lot of fun.



I decided at that point that I was going to stick with the coral - no fish. I liked the idea of focusing on the underwater flora. Inspired by these IKEA glasses one evening,


I found my color palette!

And here is the full Great Barrier Reef design, in all it's glory:



If you're digging it, I'd love your vote over at Spoonflower! To vote in this week's contest, please click here. Thanks!

I have to say, this was super fun. Though I wasn't particularly thrilled by the theme at first, I am really happy with how the pattern turned out. It just goes to show, it is worth going out of your comfort zone once in a while!

Have a great week,


Pattern for Spoonflower

Yesterday, as I was driving along the 4-lane highway back to our house, I was amazed by the number of butterflies flying across the road. I felt really bad driving 70 mph through the cloud, smooshing the poor creatures left and right. They just seemed so happy, frolicking back and forth between the flowers, when all of a sudden, BOOM! Good-bye little butterfly.

Well, that really bothered me. So when I got home I felt inspired to draw them, to at least preserve their memory, as the highway was slowly becoming a butterfly graveyard. As I'm doodling the Sulfurs (that's what the little yellow ones are called), my mind is wandering to the idea of designing my own fabric. (Something I think about quite often). Just then, a Tweet pops up on my computer screen announcing free fabric swatches on Spoonflower for 24 hours between today and tomorrow. I couldn't believe it. I was literally just thinking about that!

I've never used Spoonflower before, but I've often considered it. So I figured, this was fate. I ended up making my butterfly doodles into a full-blown repeating pattern, which I uploaded to Spoonflower today. Now I'm super excited about the possibilities. I love the idea of making Fuzzies...or now tote bags...or other sewn products...out of fabric that I actually designed!


Here are 4 colorways of the pattern. I ended up sending the upper left one off to Spoonflower to get produced. Repeated, it would end up looking like this:


Couldn't you just see a pillow made out of this? Or a comfy armchair? Can you tell I'm a wee bit excited?