MATS: main assignment Week 4 - Wall Art

This week's assignment for Wall Art was to create a piece of abstract art!! yikes! I'm not sure if I've ever done any pieces of abstract art before.

We were given lots of images for inspiration, and asked which one resonated the most with us. I really loved this one by Jill Ricci, so decided to use it as a starting point for my painting.


I first collected some interesting patterns from my collage paper library....
  

and got working....


part of the brief was to work with a restricted colour palette. Mine was Blue and Red, so this is what I came up with...


I carved some more stamps to use! I'm having so much fun with custom stamps.


and here's where I got too into making the piece and forgot to take photos! I stamped and painted in acrylics on top of the collage, did some paint splattering, and then added some 'bling' - some turquoise sequins I had picked up at the art supply store earlier.


part of the brief was to include floral elements (tick) and also some text. So I did some more hand lettering, and added it in digitally.


and here's the final piece!


I am very happing with this painting. In fact I think i am happiest with this piece out of all of them from the course. I'm not sure I would want to delve more into this market necessarily, but it was definitely fun to create, so who knows.

Next week is the last week of the course! Hard to believe. I'm actually excited for it to be over and have a bit of time to reflect on everything we've learned, and also to have a chance to catch up because I've been struggling to keep up with all the info each week. so stay tuned!

Next Week: Gift market
Click here to see last week's main assignment in Children's Books


MATS: Main assignment Week 1

Well I made it through the first week of the Make Art That Sells course. It has been so inspiring already, and I feel like I am back at university with the amount of energy I have for this and also the amount of time I have spent drawing and creating in the last week!

Our first week was all about Fabric design. Our assignment was to use our sketches of berries and casseroles from our mini assignment to create a professional level fabric pattern.

I decided I really wanted my pattern to have a traditional hand-created feel, because a lot of modern patterns have a very flat, 'digital' look to them. One technique I've been wanting to try for a while is creating hand-carved stamps, so I figured what better time to try?! I made a few different stamps which was ooooodles of fun...

strawberries...

some spoons and cake stands...

and some leaves...



and then after a conversation with my husband who always has good ideas, I decided to include a few different things, so I did some drawing and painting too...


Then I scanned them all in, along with some scrapbooking paper I have, and arranged them in Photoshop. I didn't really have a plan for how I would do this. Normally I would do a sketch to work from but I decided to let it come together a bit organically. This is the first piece I came up with...


I really like the '4 and 20 blackbirds' reference, but something wasn't feeling 'right'. I'm not sure if it was the colour scheme or the composition. 

So after I put my little boy to bed tonight I had a glass of wine and started over. I started from scratch with mostly the same elements and came up with this:


And this one feels a lot better to me. As I said to hubby "I'm not blowing myself away" but it feels like it sits better. I'm happy to submit this one. Here's what it looks like repeated:


Had sooooo much fun this week. I've enjoyed creating this work and could definitely see doing this as a fun break from watercolour washes to do some more iconic work.

(see my mini assignment for this week here if you missed it)
Next week: Home Decor. Bring it on!!

Jonah Charlie Tree

This is a commission for a present for a little baby boy. I hope he likes it!

I've been experimenting with using hand carved stamps (all the blue leaves) -- something I've been wanting to do for ages. I've even had the tools hanging around for YEARS and never used them. So finally they have been inaugurated. It's pretty fun but I definitely need to practice! 

Happy holidays!

Startree - watercolours, custom stamps, collage

May your holidays be happy, and your new year be sparkly!

Thanks to all of you who read this blog. I really appreciate your readership, even when there isn't always that much to read!

Here's hoping 2012 has been a wonderful year for all of you. On this side of the pond, it has been a year of highs and lows. Birth, life, and death -- we experienced it all this year. A difficult and joyous year at the same time.

Thinking about the new year illustration-wise, I'm hoping to redesign my website and definitely make it sparkly, including a shop where I can sell prints. Also preparing to have a solo exhibition at the end of next year so I'm really excited about 2013.

And this is our first Christmas with our little munchkin.... so it is sure to be a lovely time.

much love, stars and gingerbread to all of you out there. Stay safe, happy and healthy!

xx

Whaleplay

Weeeeeeeee! Do it again! do it again!
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! (a day late)

This is our first Father's Day, and how lucky we are to celebrate it with our little one. It was a gorgeous day here in Melbourne, and we spent most of it in the sunshine as a family of 3.

This is a piece I started before our little boy came along. I think I was fretting over the background, doing it and redoing it. When you have a baby, I think you fret less and just try to get things done in the little time you have! So I decided to just finish it. I just got it done this morning as I had some unusual time: a sleeping baby but very awake myself!

Hope you like it. It reminds me of how dads are so good at 'horseplay'. I guess this is 'whaleplay' :)

Hearts



Here is a piece I did as a wedding present for a friend. I had a lot of fun doing this and it's wonderful to have a bit of time to do some illustrating that's just 'for me' (or for friends, in this case...)

So there's something I've been keeping secret..... I am about two weeks off the due date for my first baby!! I am trying to squeeze in some good illustrating time before bub arrives and my life changes. All I know is I am extremely happy all the time and can't wait to meet this new little heart :-)

So if you don't hear from me for a little while, you know why.....!

Picture Show


For the school holidays the gorgeous Hill of Content bookshop in Melbourne is hosting a lovely little picture show in its front window of some original children's illustrations. I've got two pieces in there (below) and am humbled to be sharing the window with wonderful illustrators such as

Jody Pratt
Lisa Coutts
Anna Walker
Sonia Kretschmar
Sarah Hardy

Some pieces are for sale and others have prints available for sale. Contact me if you're interested in a print of one of these babies:


In other news, the final painting for my current book is fresh off the press! I of course can't show you too much, but here's a little snippet. :-) I filmed a stop motion of me creating this painting so I look forward to showing it to you when I can.





Hope all is well out there in bloggy land.....

Hopscotch collection


Late last year a small illustration of mine was accepted for  'Hopscotch' –  A collection of short stories, poetry and artwork for children, published by Jelli-Beanz publishing:






Jelli-Beanz recently did a lil interview of lil me on their hopscotch blog -- A few questions about process and inspiration.  If you're interested, you can check it out here.


And if not, you can just print this out for colouring in! (If you are so inclined)




Hiccups / IF: Capable


These guys are certainly capable of driving this train!

This is an illustration I did for the background of a poster for the Winter Kids Festival happening here in Melbourne in July.

Sometimes, a project goes incredibly smoothly. An idea springs into your head, you sketch it with perfection, and it gets approved in a flash. Other times, you have a few hiccups along the way.

Last year I did some illustration work for the Northcote Kids Festival which was a lot of fun - I got to see my illustrations displayed across 2m high billboards! Quite the thrill. So when they asked me to do some more work for them, this time for the Winter Kids Festival, I was of course very excited.

The great thing about these festivals is thst the imagery is very whimsical - which I love but don't often have the chance to do. I came up with the following sketch which I was super happy with:


Unfortunately, the festival organiser was not super happy with it. Because it is being held at the Newport Substation, an old train station, he wanted it to involve a train (even though my brief was for a boat). OK, fair enough. I did two more (very quick photoshopped) sketches with trains:


But they decided they would prefer to have a more side on view. So, sketch #4:

...which was accepted. To me, this is the least interesting! It doesn't have the movement and energy the others do. But, that is the business of illustration. You don't always get your way. I added a bit more movement into the final, and luckily, I'm happy with the way it turned out! It hasn't been designed into a poster yet, but it will be fun to see my artwork on those big billboards again....

Merry everything!

No matter what you may or may not celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful end to the year, and that 2012 starts out in style!!

It has been quiet here, I know, but there has actually been LOTS happening. I find myself pulling back a bit from the whole blog/facebook/twitter world a bit now. As much as I love the connections and appreciate all of you out there in cyberland, it can be difficult to time manage! (as we all know)

But I am not deserting you completely! The roughs for my book have been approved with minor changes (yay!) and as I move into doing the paintings in the new year, I hope to be able to show you some sneak peeks. I haven't told you much about it yet. For now I'll tell you it is a sweet book with a great message, and is being published by Bright Sky Press in the US of A.

and with that good news I will leave you to your turkey dinners and/or pavlovas, and hope that the holiday season treats you, your mind, spirit and waistline well.

lots of joy and good cheer from this lil blogger xo

Sketches for my secret home

Here is an illustration I did recently for a kids theatre show called 'My Secret Home' by Curious Legends Theatre Company. I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

I thought I would show you a little bit of the sketching process behind this illo. The theatre piece is essentially about a boy's love of books and adventure. I was working with the director of Curious Legends Theatre Company, and his idea was to have the characters jumping out of the book. So here are some initial sketches:


so here is the more 'final' rough sketch I did because it's what he wanted:

and here is the sketch that I wanted... Even though the other sketches were more active, I felt that this one captured the cosy feeling of safety a child has in their self-made fort.

So as you can see, my first choice won out in this case. But it doesn't always happen that way! I was happy when he agreed with me in the end, but I think either one could have worked well.

I did the shading on the animals with graphite as opposed to coloured pencils which I used on the boy, to make them less intense so that they fade into the background more. I really had a great time doing this piece!

I-F: Shadow



I can just picture these two flitting in between the shadows and the sunlight at your local pond. I really enjoyed doing the watercolour background on this, and for the first time in a long time I have added some digital elements (the pattern in the background) which I'm really happy with.

This will be by submission for the Illustrators Australia A3 print show, which forms part of the Northern Exposure Festival. The opening is Friday June 17th, so come along if you can!