Week 3 in "Make Art That Sells" - Picture Books

This weeks topic for Lilla's course was picture books. One would guess an easy one for me maybe, as I have illustrated a few books. But you are wrong! To be honest it has been the toughest assignment so far, maybe just because I already did picture books and vowed to push myself in this class. It took me almost all the week to figure out how to approach this weeks assignment.

One reason was the story, which is not a typical picture book story in my opinion, but perfect to stretch the brains in new ways. Lilla gave us "The Snail and the Rose Tree" by Hans Christian Andersen. We could choose to either do a spread or the cover but also do hand lettering. As the story is a bit morbid and kind of has a sad touch to it the thing I struggled with the most was deciding on the style of the illustration. We were to develop a snail character, that is engaging and would carry through a whole picture book. I new I did not want to do a simple snail so I pondered what my snail could be like and how to show that best. In order to not just make it the grumpy old fellow I kind of heard at first when reading the story for the first time, I came up with a hopeless artist snail, a musician that is a bit depressed by nature. Maybe not too original either but I somehow liked it and more importantly liked him. Another thing that needed to be figured out was the character of the rose tree. The story has a lot of dialogue between the snail and rose tree so I wanted to really personify the rose tree. Just one blossom with a face did not seem right though, so I gave my rose tree a rose tree fairy that sums up it's rather idle personality.

I also kept to my vow to work more traditionally so the piece you see below was created in watercolor, colored pencil and ink. The only thing I added in Photoshop is some highlights and I changed the hue of the hand lettered title, as this was done in black ink only originally.
I feel very good about this piece, as I think I pushed further but also stayed true to my voice. Hope you guys enjoy it too!!!

Home Decor Design - Learning new Things

Week two in Lilla's class was dedicated to home decor. A market, I have never worked for before and so many new things landed on my plate. Again we had an assignment, which was to design four plates that would go together as a collection.

As I mentioned in last weeks post, this course is not only about learning new markets but also to push yourself as an artist. So yes, there is a lot of experimenting involved, which is really just fun! I would love to work more traditionally and also explore ink and watercolor, but in a more loose style, than I do at the moment when it comes to picture books. Who knows, maybe it will transfer into my picture book work, but that is still something I have to see for myself.

What I do find hard though and really learned about me as an artist this week, is that working on "expensive" or fine art paper makes me kind of freeze. I just loose the looseness and get worried too much about my lines. So what I did is this:  I got a sketch book with really good paper and drew all my inky stuff into it to scan in later. Yes, I fooled myself, but believe it or not, it did work and I am happy about the results too. After a lot of inking I then did the watercolor bits on watercolor paper but just scribbled away without freezing. I also think keeping the watercolor bits kind of simple helped in not freezing up too. I'm loving those assignments and here you get a peek at my collection of floral plates!
Let's see where the next week in this course will take me!

Pattern for Bold Fabric - Learning new Things

At the moment I am taking an e-class with Lilla Rogers, which concentrates on art licensing and gives a really great overview of many different markets. Week 1 of this really amazing course went by so quickly and I honestly had a blast designing patterns for our assignment. I learned a lot about how to make a bolt fabric collection and enjoyed experimenting so much.
My two designs, of which we were only to submit one in the end, are very different in look and feel. It was extremely hard to decide which one to submit to Lilla for review. I am still not sure whether I picked the right one. But here are my designs so you can have a peak and can decide which your favourite pattern of the two might have been.

The topic of the patterns was kitchen and we had to include mushrooms and casseroles. Lilla encouraged us with a special exercise to loosen up our styles and push boundaries, something I think we all need to do from time to time to grow as artists but tend to forget or maybe even purposefully push aside. I am already looking forward to this weeks assignment and taking an "artistically adventurous dip" into home decor. More to come next week!
Would love to hear which design you prefer and why?

Some Characters - A Monster Girl and a Robot Boy

Last week I had fun playing around with some ink and coloured pencils. I did two characters to help out my talented writer friend Gabrielle Smith-Dluha. I tried to work a bit more loose then I usually do as I felt this was the right way to go with those two characters, a monster girl and a robot boy. It was lovely to push my comfort zone and try to explore working in ink a bit further. I really have to do this more often, but we all know what it is like with a full schedule and life you sometimes do not get around these things. These are all single illustrations I composed into one piece to showcase them a bit better.

I hope you enjoy them!
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