Monday, November 17, 2014

Fall/Autumn Colors - Inspiration

I'm trying to do a Fall/Autumnal design at the moment - squirrels, foxes, acorns, leaves and so on.
I had a big hit with the fox design (below) a few years ago.  I did a group of six pieces using this palette and it did very well.  The colors are very obviously Autumnal yet the addition of the bright pink accent makes it contemporary and whimsical.
This time I'm looking for a more sophisticated palette - something more geared towards home furnishing. 
I've been noticing a lot of these unusual grey pumpkins on Pinterest lately and the combination of those with the traditional orange variety put me in mind of something that has perennial appeal in Autumn - tan leather and heather grey knit: tan boots and heather grey tights, a grey, chunky knit sweater with a tan handbag. This really conjures up bookish, windblown, collegiate sophistication for me and I'm very keen to try it out!!  I put together a mood board (see above) and pulled my palette from it.  I particularly like the way the greys slightly veer off into taupe/mauve tones.  I think they'll look great against the warm burnt oranges, browns and golds.  I'd also like to add that hint of pale melon in somewhere as a surprise.
Today I'm going to be trying to incorporate it into those little birds and squirrels.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Print and Pattern Designers for Hire Directory - I'm in there!!!

So - a couple of weeks ago I had a nice email from Bowie Style (Marie Perkins) at Print and Pattern, inviting me to appear in her new Print and Pattern Designers for Hire Directory.  
Apparently, one of the most common problems with Print & Pattern is being able to find an artist quickly in the extensive archives - especially if you do not have a specific name in mind that you can enter into the search box.
So in order to enable companies to find designers that they can commission or licence more easily Marie has created an online directory page where each artist can have their own image button.
This should allow busy art directors to find artists more quickly.
The buttons/banners feature the artist's unique designs and link directly to their portfolio website 
rather than to their work on the Print & Pattern blog.  The cost is very reasonable at 100 pounds a year.

Obviously I said yes!!!  Print and Pattern is viewed daily by art directors in our industry and this exposure has real potential to lead to work opportunities. She asked me to make a banner for the page, featuring my name and some artwork, and this is what I came up with!  Hope those art directors out there like it!!   
The directory has been 'curated for quality not quantity' and is a real feast for the eyes, featuring some amazing designers/artists.  I'm very proud and pleased to be included!!  
Above is a screen shot of the first part.  You can see mine on the bottom right!! If you'd like to see all the artists on the Designers for Hire Directory please click here!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I'm the Lovely Ink featured artist this month!

This month I'm the featured artist on Ghost Kitten's Lovely Ink Blog Post.  You can see the feature here.
If you want to receive a free 8x10" printable and desktop wallpaper of this "Choose Happiness " print, sign-up for Lovely Ink here. Every month, Lovely Ink delivers free inspirational art to your inbox.
Please go and have a look.  Some great artists have taken part in this fabulous project!  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Some of my Favorite Artists!!

Back in July, my friend, Anne Bollman, asked me if I'd like to participate in a blog hop and I said yes, of course, not realizing that it was the same blog hop that I'd agreed to do for Melissa Iwai (which is here).
I finally managed to do my part for Melissa a few weeks ago but didn't manage to do it for Anne until now (sorry!).  Since I've already answered all the questions for Melissa, I decided to make this post a feature about some of my favourite artists, showcasing their work and explaining why I love it.  
If any of you ladies would like to continue the 'hop' you just have to write something about me, answer some questions about yourself (see below) and feature two more artists. Here are the questions;
1. What are you working on?
2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?
3. Why do you create?
4. How does your creative process work?
But since I broke the rules, I don't mind if you do too - so no obligation!!!

Anne Bollman

First I'd like to show you some of Anne's stunning work.  Anne is based in Los Angeles. I love her sense of humor.  It's evident in almost everything she does. I think this is why she's so brilliant at doing characters - her sense of fun enables her to create relatable, friendly personalities for almost anything you can think of.  Look at that snail, and the ink blot with 'oops' written in it!!!  Anne has a fresh, clean graphic style that I can imagine on a million products!

Isn't this a beautiful concept - the idea of all the different modes of transportation.  Usually this is a masculine theme (cars, airplanes) so it's so refreshing to see a feminine version - a lemon yellow camper van and a bicycle with flowers in the basket!! Anne also does co-ordinates very successfully, taking elements of the key designs and creating simple repeats to create a broad reaching collection.

Look at these gingerbread men/women/  They're skiing on candy canes and they've just come from their ginger bread house!! And their candy canes are making a heart shape!  And the trees are lollipops!  So much thought and humor has gone into this concept.  You can see more of Anne's work here.

Betsy Wood

The next designer I'm featuring is Betsy Wood who lives in England.  I love her work.  It's incredibly trend-driven and clever.  Look at how she's used foliage as the fox's tale, the owl's wings and the peacock's tail. And the simplicity of the animal shapes - they're so uncluttered but are full of personality!

And this! The lettering is really varied but cohesive and I love the bird shapes, especially the one facing his tail.  Each one has a different voice too!  

Are you blown away by this?  I was when I first saw it!  Look at the details!!  So original, such variety.  There are layers and layers of disparate imagery here, all held together with incredible skill and understanding of color and composition.  Look at the hole punch circles, the stag emblem, the arrow on the owl's chest, the cameo brooch, the vintage wallpapery ground.  Amazing talent!

Isn't this a lovely idea for the GTS Terrarium project!!  You can see more of Betsy's work here.

Rebecca Jones

Next is GTS finalist Rebecca Jones. She's English but lives in Melbourne, Australia. She's an absolutely brilliant illustrator and it's no surprise that she made it to the final stage of the competition.  Rebecca creates the most appealing characters imaginable and sets them in worlds that are both vibrant and delicate at the same time.  There's something light and lacy about her style that exudes femininity without being at all girly or twee. Rebecca has an incredible imagination and I always find a subtle surprise in her designs. In this one it's the watermelon slices on this little girl's dress!

This design is FULL of delightful surprises.  This is Rebecca's entry for the first round of the GTS. Look at that house in the tree with the ladder!!!! The squirrel running up the side of the jar!  The linear toadstools tucked into the background, the gently floating seed pods around the edges!! And look at the bear's face!  I want this to be a story to read to my children!!  

How pretty and delicate is this!!  You can see more of Rebecca's work here.

Flora Waycott

Here's Flora's beautiful work.  She's English/Japanese but lives in New Zealand. She's also a GTS finalist and it's no surprise in her case either!!!  Flora also has a delicate, illustrative style.  Her characters are massively appealing and beautifully proportioned.  She often uses a gentle color palette (I tend to think of it as European) and well observed, hand drawn, linear icons.  Look at these little women.  Creating appealing adult, female characters is extremely difficult as they can either look too young or not pretty enough.  I think these hit the perfect note.

Flora is very inspired by nature.  Her floral studies are beautiful.  She's half Japanese and I think this comes across in her work - something about the simplicity and cleanliness of the imagery.  There's nothing heavy or over complicated.  Very few, well executed elements make a really strong impact.  You can see more of Flora's work here.

 So - there you go! Aren't they all incredible!!!  Good luck Rebecca and Flora with the GTS and good luck to Anne and Betsy with your wonderful designs! xxxx

Monday, September 15, 2014

Need a mid-year diary? Buy one at WHSmiths right now (I know the designer!)

We went to England for a couple of weeks in August and I thought while I was there I'd just pop into WHSmith's near my Mom's house and see if there were any of my designs in there.  And yes!!!  I found them.  Cute aren't they!  I like them sat next to each other on the shelf.  The colours look nice together!  So if you fancy one, you can probably find one there right now.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm featured on Ali Benyon's Blog today - 'How to Get Work as a Freelance Designer'!

Today I'm very excited to have been featured on Ali Benyon's brilliant blog.  She's featuring three artists over the course of this week in a post called How to Get Work as a Freelance Designer -  so please look out for Miriam Bos on Wednesday and Dawn Machell on Friday too.
Please click here to read my answers to her well thought out questions and see a few samples of my work (above are a couple that she used).
Thank you so much Ali for asking me to participate! xxx

Friday, September 12, 2014

Artists Around The World Blog Hop!!!

Before I went away, I was very pleased to be invited by my friend Melissa Iwai to participate in a blog hop called 'Artists Around The World'.  Unfortunately it's taken me more than a month to do my part as I was away for the first few weeks then came back to a back log of work to catch up with.
However, here I am finally doing it!  First I want to tell you about Melissa and show you her work.  You can see more on her website here -  and her blog here
Melissa is an illustrator and author of children's books. She very kindly gave me signed copies of two of her books at Surtex and my children, aged 3 and 9, adore them, especially the one she wrote herself - Soup Day.
The piece below is something Melissa developed from the cuckoo clock assignment in Lilla Rogers' Bootcamp.  Look at the stunning colour palette and the magical, dreamlike quality it lends to the piece.  There is so much to love about this - the rounded, perfectly proportioned characters, the depth created by the tree in the foreground, the soft, pink blurry clouds and the delicately patterned hill in the background.  And the crooked houses!  There are so many well-thought out, beautifully executed elements to this piece.  It's so original - I adore it.

This is Melissa's business card and I think was her submission piece for the cuckoo clock assignment.  Again, the palette is to die for (the orange hair and dusky pink sweater), the character beautifully appealing and the concept ingenious.

And look at the animals too.  It's obvious why her artwork is perfect for children's books.  I also think it would translate in a heart beat to so many other markets but from what I can gather she's so in demand, she's barely had time to consider them!!  I think it's on the cards though!

So the next bit is me answering some questions so here you go!!

1. What are you working on?
I started embroidering this Summer and decided to do one of the Bootcamp assignments (based on cups and drinks) in applique and embroidery.  I enjoyed it so much that I started a group of four pieces and as yet haven't finished them.  That will be my first priority this Autumn.

2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?
Oh - I don't know.  I think my work is quite sophisticated, even when the subject matter is young.  I tend to use quite grown up womenswear palettes as I was a fashion textile designer for years.  My taste is definitely very feminine but not delicate.  I like bold colour and imagery.  I'm also drawn to vintage references because of my history with textile design.  I love vintage fabric (the embroidery above is made with old bed sheets and tablecloths) and I love mid-century modern illustration - the crisp graphic styles that work so well with Illustrator.

3. Why do you create?
Because I can't not!  When my children were very little I made a point of being available for them a hundred percent for at least the first year and didn't work much at all.  I loved being with my babies but by the time I was able to find time to work again I was craving it.   If I was stuck on a desert island I'd start weaving bits of grass and leaves together, drawing in the sand and decorating pebbles before long  - and I'd be sat starving and freezing in my very nicely decorated shack!

4. How does your creative process work?
My creative process ranges from chaotic to militantly organized.  I don't keep routines well but am forced to by my children's school hours.  If I could choose I'd get up at midday and work through the night.  But I can't.  My husband takes my kids to school so as soon as I leave I start checking email, Facebook etc on my phone.  Then I get dressed and try to be in front of my computer by 10.00am.  I work right through until 4.00pm everyday, taking a break to eat lunch, read a book, or just lie around staring at the wall for an hour at some point.  I desperately need to incorporate exercise into this routine so next week I'm joining the gym.  Aaargh!  Let's hope it doesn't turn into a monthly charitable donation and that I actually go!!
I write myself a to do list every Monday and tick it off during the week but I don't have set tasks for each day.  I just do whatever's a priority or what takes my fancy.  I also try not to leave trailing ends anywhere. If I start something I like to finish it before I move on.  That's where I'm militant.  I'm also very organized with storing information and artwork.  It's all very regimented and thoroughly backed up.  I don't plan automatically but when I do, I make very comprehensive, no stone unturned, type plans.

So that was me!  The next bit is to tell you about two other artists and their work.  I've chosen my two good friends Bari J Ackerman and Wendy Brightbill.  They are both painters but approach their artwork very differently as you'll see.

First Bari!  The words that spring to mind most when I see her artwork are 'cornucopia' and 'abundance'.  Bari is a designer for Art Gallery Fabrics and her paintings translate beautifully to her collections.  She's somehow managed to create a magical blend of impressionistic floral imagery, digital imagery and contemporary fabric design that's uniquely hers.  Just look at the palette in the second painting!  Stunning.  Below is a picture of her striking booth at Surtex and once again you can see the abundance of colour and pattern in the peacock and the complementary patterns. You can see more of her beautiful work on her website here and her blog here.

Now Wendy!! Wendy's paintings (so far) are more abstract but she is starting to create more figurative pieces that are beautiful too.  She often combines delicate lacy or geometric motifs with great, joyous sweeps and swirls of color and texture.  Her palettes tend to be very sophisticated and the overall effect is  layered and explorative.  The two stunning pieces below are typical of the gentle, layered complexity of her work and I can imagine either of them as wall art in a very contemporary but feminine setting.

Wendy also designs digitally and you can see how her palettes and overall style are consistent even while the commercial subject matter is wildly different.  I really love this design. Those animals are just like real children. You can see more of Wendy's beautiful work on her website here and her blog here.