MATS Wrap up

Well the flurry that was Make Art That Sells finished a few weeks ago, and here finally is my wrap-up post.

Overall it was a fantastic experience and just looking from the first assignment I submitted in MATS-partA to the last in Part-B I can see how much I have developed, grown and how my eye has improved, especially for things such as patterns which I had never done before.

First assignment - Fabric market (eek!)

One of the areas I feel I grew the most in is the use of colour, especially neutrals, which was stressed a lot in the courses. I think coming from a children's book background I tend to think 'Everything Must Be Bright'! but of course that is not true. In fact having a few neutral colours and just one or two colours that pop give pieces a certain sophistication which I really like.

Ohn's beautiful work and delicate palette

I feel like I put out much better work in MATS-PartB and once I finally get some time, am ready to dive into trying to get more into licensing! I would love to dive into the Paper market most I think - greeting cards, journal covers, stationery, that sort of thing.

Here are the pieces I put forward:

Week 1 - Paper (greeting cards)

Week 2 - Babyware

Week 3 - Scrapbooking

Week 4 - Editorial
Last assignment - Partyware
And 'Bootcamp' continues, which is MATS relaxed - a monthly schedule instead of weekly. I hope I can keep up with it while working on a new book. We will see... Thanks for following along!

Make Art That Sells: Scrapbooking

So this 3rd week in the online illustration course I'm doing 'Make Art That Sells' focussed on the Scrapbooking market. I can't say I was terribly excited about this market - even though I often use scrapbooking papers as collage in my work - but in the end I really enjoyed the process of creating this piece and it was one of my better received in the MATS community! So there you go. Open minds, people, open minds...

Our 'mini' assignment this week was to sketch ink bottles, vintage ones to be specific. This was fun. I actually went straight to carving some stamps. I've really enjoyed doing this for previous assignments, love the texture they create and am loving improving my skills with practice. So here is what I did for the 'mini':

Then we got the main assignment which was to create a design for a scrapbooking paper using the theme of 'correspondence', again with a vintage slant. I think the stamps really helped me with that look.

Thinking about how this piece would sit in my portfolio, I decided I wanted to do something that was more of a pattern which could be used in many different markets, as opposed to something suited only to scrapbooking, which might have text like 'my memories' or 'that summer' etc etc.

I went for a 'love letter' correspondence vibe, and when you think looooove, what else do you think but Paris?! So some French crept in there too. I did some more hand-carved stamps, ink work, fun splatters, and some hand-lettering:


I even managed to use a pressed flower I did in university!!

plus a photo I took of the Eiffel tower when I was there a few (ok many) years ago. Here's how it turned out...

As I said, really happy with this one. I even managed to finish early so that I could have the weekend doing easter egg hunts and gardening in the Autumn sunshine. perfect end to the week :)

Next week: Editorial.

Make Art That Sells : Babywear market

This week was all about baby wear - so right up my alley. Cute, fun, whimsical.

Topic: Pirates!!! Lots of fun!

So first I did some sketching and came up with the idea of doing Pirate Pigs! I made it into a bit of a pattern and everything - was all ready to start painting, and then I realised it's not really very 'baby' like. perhaps a bit of an older child with slightly edgier look and swords and everything??

so I quickly had to resketch as the assignment was upon us to do use our sketches to create a pattern for a baby onesie, and went for the all-out-cute factor.

I added in some hand carved stamps (which I am REALLY enjoying doing) and here's how the main pattern turned out:

I made up a placement graphic (a single image that might be used by itself as opposed to a pattern)

 and put it all together with some 'coordinate' patterns. ta dah!!!

and we're already into this week's market: scrapbooking! check back next week for another post.

Always learning…. MATS Bootcamp : March : Jelly Bolt Fabric Pattern

This month's assignment for MATS Bootcamp was to create a pattern design for the Bolt Fabric market. Topic: Jelly!

I can't say I was super excited by this one. I decided to go for a 70s food theme instead, plus a 70s palette along with it.

here are some sketches….

and here's how it ended up….

Once again I am not terribly happy with this. I have been trying to push myself to work a new way - I've been scanning in my drawings, tracing them in Illustrator and adding colour digitally. But I'm realising that this isn't really what is me. I am keen to use my digital skills but I don't think I am going about it the right way.

and here, I was thinking about what OTHER people might like as opposed to what I would like. 70s palette? so not me. Yes it is good to push yourself and try new things, the trick is remaining true to yourself in the process.

MATS Part B is coming up next month. With a new perspective now, I am going to take it on with the style which I love that I have been cultivating for the last 5-10 years, but freshening it up with some new tips from the course. If I'm going to start doing something in a new style, I want it to come organically, as opposed to forcing myself to do something in a way which doesn't quite feel right, or feel like me.

so, as always…. bring it on….!

MATS: main assignment - Week 5 - Gift market

This week was all about the Gift market - which could be anything really. From little pouches to pencil cases to jewellery to books to tea towels to magnets. So really wide open, and again a range of art being used.

I have to admit that I skipped the mini assignment this week. We were supposed to take photos or make sketches of some collections we might have around the house - things we collect purposefully or not, such as buttons or flowers or pencils. Well I have a pretty good collection of brushes and other painterly things, but I ran out of time and just decided to see what the final assignment would be.

Our final assignment of the class was to create a design for a "hyper-lush" item such as a zipper pouch. We were encouraged to 'throw everything at it' - layer our little hearts out, and even bring in items from previous weeks if they could work.

I wanted to work mostly digitally for this one... It's been a long time since I've done much digital art (for myself) and definitely not vector, so this was pretty fun. Though I couldn't keep it all computer-based!

I decided to build on the Indian-y theme and came up with the idea of an 'Elephant Tea Party'. To start, I drew out a few mandala-type things and indian motifs which I then scanned in and traced in Illustrator so I could change the colours easily.

And then I just built and built it up and up....
I used some of the patterns (in the corners) from last week
We were encouraged to use photography, but that just wasn't 'me'

getting there...
until I came to this....

At this point I posted it to our class Facebook group for feedback because I still wasn't quite sure. The consensus was to bump up the colours to make it more 'lush', so did that, added a few more details, and here's what I ended up with:

And here's how I presented it for the class:

Very happy with this! (finally!) I feel like I've ended the class on a high note and feeling good after some weeks of not-enough-time posts and not feeling like I was pushing myself enough.

We have a few more 'bonus' information posts to the class in the coming days, and then after that I will do a wrap up post here. Stay tuned....

see last week's assignment in Wall Art

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...


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!!