Sunday, October 27, 2013

Make Art That Sells- Week 3 - Children's Picture Books

This week has been a bit different.
It started off with the fear of illustrating a picture book.  No confidence, right from the start.  I don't consider myself an illustrator.  I am however in awe of illustrators and LOVE picture books.  I have a small fortune invested in books for my daughter.  Seriously, I could open a small library.
Monday: Our "mini" is to draw birds.  I almost put a bird into the week 1 assignment but he was cut...  I think that it's going to be a long week.
Tuesday: I'm full of self doubt.  I'm not sure if what I've done the last two weeks is even marketable.  Would someone buy my work?
Wednesday:  Our assignment is to create either the cover art OR an interior 2 page spread illustrating the Russian folklore "The Language of the Birds".  I'm not feeling hopeful but I'm not giving up either.
Thursday:  I'm liking my sketch.
Friday:  I'm kind of liking my painting!  I'm having fun!  We didn't need to take the story literally but I choose to because it is full of so much imagery.
Saturday:  Now that it's almost finished, guess what?... I'm not happy with it.
Sunday:  I finish my design and upload it to the group.  I'm blown away by the talent of the group taking this class and I'm finally coming to the conclusion that I really don't like my own style.  It's not what I would personally buy.  I always love my ideas and sketches but never the end result.  I'm not sure if this is a curable design disease that I have.  My idea for a cure is to take the 5 weeks after this class and rework all of my designs into a style that I could live with, possibly love.  Wouldn't that be great!  I have a lot to figure out.  Lilla wants us to find our own style.  Now that I have mine, I'm not sure what to do with it.  It's always nice when someone compliments me on my work.  A compliment makes me feel great for a minute but when I truly don't feel the same way, it doesn't mean as much.  It's strange to think that I would be happier if I was the only one that liked my work.  I am however, truly enjoying this class.  As painful as it has been for me personally, I'm still surprisingly looking forward to the next 2 weeks.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Make Art That Sells- Week 2- Home Decor

This week we were designing a set of plates for a company like Crate & Barrel or Anthropologie.  The theme for the plates was bromeliads.  Bromeliads are tropical flowers that come in all kinds of interesting shapes and colors.  I wish that I could say that this week was an easier week than last but because of a flaw in my personality I took an almost identical path.
Monday: Happily sketching my bromeliads.
Tuesday: Still feeling confident.
Wednesday: I've got this one!  REALLY clear vision of how I want my plates to look.
Thursday: What happened overnight?  I'm not sure I'm going in the right direction.
Friday: Ugh!  Seriously, why does the self doubt pour in on Friday?  I start to abandon my original idea and start trying new things.  At this point I've designed dozens of plates.  Seriously, at least 30!  I have some that are super contemporary but I'm feeling like they are not "me".  I send some off to my trusty sister for feed back and she reels me in and makes me focus on my original idea.  (There is a MATS Facebook group that I could be tapping into for feedback but I haven't tried that yet... Maybe next week?)
Saturday: First thing in the morning I finish my plates!  Yay!  The weekend is beautiful and I have the time to get out and enjoy it!

The difference this week is that I actually kind of like my work!  I really wanted to loosen up my painting style this week but old habits are hard to break.  It's a goal of mine though so I'll keep trying!  (Maybe some painting classes after MATS.)   I still plan to rework last weeks fabric design but these plates are staying as is.

Again, I feel like a learned a lot this week from Lilla and friends.  The biggest thing that hit home with me this week was Lilla's advice on designing.   She recommends not jumping right into an assignment.  We are supposed to play first.  She gives us a mini exercise to get us warmed up and I think it really helps.  It also helps to have a ritual before you start to work.  It helps to clear the mind.  For me, I start each Monday cleaning out my workspace from last weeks craziness.   I always get a cup of tea or coffee and I put my music on.   Fresh start.

I also have to mention that I'm taking this class with some seriously talented people and it's so much fun to see what everyone comes up with.  Saturday and Sunday is when the finished designs start to get uploaded and I find that I have no will power to keep from constantly checking in to see all of the finished designs.  It's like opening a bunch of presents.

Week 3 we are working on children's picture books. This is the one out of the 5 markets that scares me a bit.  Maybe it will be good for me.  I'm looking forward to it.  Can't wait to get our "mini" tomorrow. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Make Art that Sells- Week 1- Bolt Fabric

Wow!  What a week.

Lilla gave us a "mini assignment " to draw berries (any kind) and vintage casserole dishes.  Fun!

Keep drawing.  Still fun!

An assignment was given to create a fabric design featuring... you guessed it... vintage casserole dishes and berries.  Yay!  Still having fun.  I really like my idea and I'm so excited to get started.

Still happily painting all of the elements for my design. Happy, Happy, Happy!!!

UGH!  I'm really worried that I'm not going to finish by the deadline!  I start scanning in the paintings that I've completed and I'm not liking how the design is turning out.   Really not liking it.  I start to panic and I want to give up!  I think way, way back to when my college guidance counselor asked me what I liked to play with when I was a kid.  I answered Legos and puzzles.  Why didn't I become an architect?  Why did I choose textile design? Good thing it's time to pick up my daughter from school.  It forces me to walk away.  Later that night, when I start working again, I put on the "serious" playlist to get me motivated to keep going.  This is the music that can keep you from jumping off a cliff...

"Don't give up" by Peter Gabriel
"Keep your head up" by Ben Howard
"Fight Outta You"  by Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals

Music is amazing!  OK, I won't give up!  I pull myself together and remember that I'm not doing this for a grade, I'm doing this for myself!  It's all a learning process and I learned a lot this week from all of Lilla's insight and analysis, from interviews with people in the industry, and from my own self therapy.  One of my favorite things that Lilla said this week was that talent is not finite!  Thank god! Practice, practice, practice.  That's what I tell my daughter all of the time.  She is a lot like me in that we give up REALLY easily.  I need to take my own advice!

I complete my design!  Yay!!
This is what my work space looks like right now...

Here is my finished design.  I was inspired by the winterberry growing outside my window and I thought that I would do a Christmas theme.  The color inspiration came from a vintage Christmas card that was pink, green, yellow and grey.  I do wish that I had more time to work on it.  When MATS is over I think I'll revisit it.
So, I'm now going to clean up the mess behind me and get ready for Week 2  and...  I can't wait!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

School starts Monday!

I'm all set!

I'm really excited and super nervous.  I've done everything that Lilla has asked us to do to prepare.
-My studio (aka the closet) is clean and organized.
-My calendar is pretty clear for the next 5 weeks.  (Let's hope that no major life changers happen during this time.)
-I've pictured myself happily designing things.
-I know what I want to accomplish.
-I'm highly motivated.

Now I just need to get over the nervous thing.   I'll get back to you in a few weeks and let you know how that's going.