Magical Terrarium of Wishes

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Here is the little terrarium themed artwork i made for the GTS i referred to a couple posts back. Yes. Children’s market. That’s me.

The top 50 (among about 1,000 entries) will be announced tomorrow. You guys should see the spectacular work rolling in. It is re-DONK-ulous! My husband bought a lottery ticket this week too, so we both have about the same odds : ) But i’m just happy to have participated in my own little way. i like to create a little world & pack it full of discoveries. This being intended for kids wall art, i imagined it being the last thing a little girl would see before drifting off to sleep. Your home, your room, your soft bed ~ that should be the place where wishes grow, right? Happy and content amongst your family who love you?

The instruction for the contest was to include words/lettering of some sort and i wanted the words i picked to be very hopeful and positive and empowering. We all just want our kids to feel that they can dream and imagine and someday make those things come true? Right?

Lots of color + Lots of pattern & texture + Sugary sweet little girly character + Magic

Here are some detail crops. Good luck to all those who submitted!

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sleepy snail and polka dotted mushrooms & leaves (because i like polka dots a lot)…..

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sketchy scrolls and swirls making up the structure of the terrarium, plus ferns, leafies and wishes on the wind….

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4-leaf clovers, ladybug, stripey plants, plus fuzzy moth, moss &  grasses taking root, and many teeny pebbles…..

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my bitty fairy with her miniature beads, dozing on a spotted feather, surrounded by wishes….

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and of course she has freckles.

 

 

A Year of Doodles – monthly themed drawing tutorials for kids

My first online, kids-geared doodle program, Doodle Days of Summer, just wrapped today after a super-fun 12 weeks. i have been floored and humbled by the nice feedback you all have sent me! What i thought would just be some fun doodles, ended up being a big confidence builder for kids, and an activity they looked forward to week after week.

So, i am going to keep going!

Here are the details for A Year of Doodles!

The idea is similar to the summer series, but with a few updates/changes.

1) Instead of new videos posting once a week, they will post once a month.

2) i won’t send emails this time, because those proved to be problematic for some SPAM filters. Instead, you will get login info to a group Vimeo page + your password as soon as you sign up. Then, like clockwork, new videos will be posted to that group the 1st of each month. You will have a library of 12 videos by the end of the year.

3) Also different, no printable coloring sheets this time. Instead, i’ll be offering some visuals and ideas for how you can apply each month’s doodle to actual projects…..teacher gifts, greeting cards, iron-ons. There will be a short section at the end of each tutorial that suggests some ways to put your doodles to use as a professional artist might!

IN A NUTSHELL:

- On the 1st of each month from October 2014 through September 2015,  a video tutorial featuring a “month-specific” doodle will go LIVE. Think; hearts in February, stars and stripes in July. The kids can use their doodles to make holiday cards, crafts, and decorations if they like. i will share ideas at the end of each video. : )

- Videos include a super fast-warp speed section showing me creating the doodle start to finish by hand. + a slower, step by step section

- Videos will be hosted on a private Vimeo page online. When you register, you will receive a link to the group page and a password for the videos. Videos run about 25-30 minutes.

-You will have UNLIMITED! password access to all videos, even after the course is finished. So feel free to use the tutorials at your own pace, on your own schedule.

-$35 per individual household/family

****Please note: if you are a camp administrator, scout leader, or teacher and would like to purchase for your group of 6 or more children, please contact me for group pricing. i am happy to provide it!

Feel free to register at any time during the course of the year. Any videos from previous months will be right there on the group page when you log in.

Here’s a little teaser video i had created for the first Doodle Series that shows  a portion of what the tutorials will be like. Take a look to gauge whether the program will be appropriate for your little artist. FYI – Beta testing provided by my 8 year old son was a success! : ) Full length videos will feature the warp speed drawing section with upbeat music, PLUS the slowed down tutorial screen capture section with voice-over as i move through each step. Click the image below to view the video example on Vimeo.


Looking forward to creating with lots of great kiddos this year!! THANKS!

Register Now! 

$35.00USD

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Art + Challenges

Last fall i took a course called Make Art That Sells via the Lilla Rogers Studio. It seemed like a fresh start, and a great segway for me since October was my first month pursuing my art business full time. (If you don’t follow the blog, i parted ways with all of my wonderful graphic design clients and decided to take the plunge into solely focusing only on selling/licensing my artwork – agh!)

Anyway, i had read someone post about this course online. It promised to help artists get into the right mindset and learn necessary protocols for getting their art out into the world and in front of manufacturers. i met so many beautiful people during the course! It has been an incredible gift to be able to connect with so many people in my field. i don’t have a ton of artist friends locally – so developing this network of others doing exactly what i am from all across the world has been a turning point. That alone was worth the cost of admission.

Anyway, the folks at Lilla Rogers also hold an annual design contest (GTS) to choose their next artist to sign/represent. Many of my new friends signed up, and despite the hives i get when anyone mentions the word “competition,” i decided to join in, if only just for the comradery and fun. We were given a terrarium theme and asked to make a wall art piece to submit.

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This is not the piece i submitted. : )

See, my biggest challenge as an artist is to reconcile the fact that i have a few very different styles.

i’ve tried to choose just one and run with it. It hasn’t worked. The piece shown here is more the style of my personal work vs. my commercial work. It’s what i might hang in my home, but not what i want to pursue professionally when it comes to selling my work. Not that i wouldn’t license work in this style….but it’s not my focus.

For licensing and product, i really want to work in the children’s market…..books, kits, toys, decor. i LOVE creating for kids, teaching kids, being inspired by kids.

Kids are my jam.

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The piece here shows my love for messy ink sketching, and drippy, tonal, texturey watercolor. It is also my philosophy.

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“To grow something beautiful is work. Nobody can do it for you.”

Yep. i feel it everyday as i try to grow my little art business. It is so much more than painting pretty, flitty pictures. It’s a lot of work in figuring out exactly who you are and what you want to put out into the world. Then digging in to sleuth out the ways to make it happen.

Worth it, for sure.

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i will share my official children’s market submission with you next week once the competition gallery goes live. But for now, you can pick up my “personal” lil baby piece in my etsy shop. Or, if you want a larger or framed, or stretched canvas piece, you can grab one in my Society6 shop.

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Thanks guys!

xo, s

Fun Sketchbook Giveaway!

The summer has flown by in a flurry of late nights with the baby, early mornings…with the baby and the big boys (why don’t they understand how great sleeping in is!?), projects, deadlines, lots of video editing (Doodle Days) and Lord knows what all else. i feel as though my productivity putting out fresh art has slowed so much. i feel like i haven’t posted nearly enough pretty things for you all!

SO! A Giveaway to close out this crazy whirlwind of a summer, and encourage you guys (and myself) to crank up the creativity this fall.

i painted the cover of a cute little sketchbook and want to send it off to one of you lovely people. If you win, you have to promise to post your first sketch in it onto my facebook page, ok???

To enter, simply comment here saying how you will fill the pages…sketches? marker drawings? portraits? poems? doodles? There’s no wrong answer! i’ll use a random number generator to choose a winner from the comments next week. Please comment just once : ) But SHARE the post with your creative friends, so they can take a chance too.

xoxo, s

Pencil Portrait: Sisters

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No matter how many years pass or how many painting and sketching styles i try out along the way, i think i will always continue to do plain old pencil portraits. i love them so. These cutie patootie sisters were too precious not to share.

Drop me a line if you’d like to give a portrait gift for a holiday or special occasion. i’ve done quite a few for fellas looking to make their kiddos’ mama cry that happy, mushy cry.

Who Inspires Me! – A Bloghop

Last week, an amazing artist named Mary Tanana asked me if I wanted to join her for a bloghop. The bloghop is entitled,  Who Inspires Me. Mary chose me!? as one of the people who inspires her, which was about the nicest thing ever. Click HERE to read Mary’s post.

I met Mary last fall while taking an online course through Lilla Rogers Studio called Make Art That Sells. The course helps surface designers suss out their strengths in the various markets available for licensing. Anyway, we developed quite a friendly community during the course and i am so proud and lucky now to count Mary as a friend. Her design company is called Groovity and her designs are intricate and colorful and often folk-inspired. She is fabulous. Just look at some of her work – my favorites – below!

Gorgeous color, balance and POP!

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ummm…awesome, cool, contest-winning fun!

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Fabulous textile pattern that looks like the most awesome blanket ever crocheted, right?

Mary’s eye for color and intricate design is only surpassed by the sweetness of her personality – plus, she’s funny! Give her a follow on Instagram or Facebook for a little daily color in your feed.

My part on the blgo hop is to answer a few questions about myself, and then name 2 more people that inspire ME….and then i pass the buck forward….you get the idea.

First things first, the questions:

QUESTION #1 – WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

Well, right this VERY second, my desk has this on it.

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i have been making kids pencil portraits forever, even before i was working full time as an artist. i will never get tired of it. Kids faces and eyes and smiles are so pure and so joyful to capture.i’ve actually been working on my very first series of painted kids portraits, which will be revealed soon. ; )

In a more broad sense, i’ve just finished 2 BIG projects, that i can’t talk about too much yet! Such a total bummer for someone like me who stinks at keeping my mouth shut. i feel like my instagram and facebook feeds have been so dull the past few months, bc all the new stuff i’ve been making is not quite ready for sharing yet! Ah well, i will just say that 2015 will see some fun new products and textiles-y things that might be recognizable : )

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Besides those projects, i have been making lots of doodles for my kids summer video series, Doodle Days of Summer. In fact, i’ve been spending a big chunk of this year putting together videos and demos. And while i don’t feel comfortable calling my online offerings “classes”, i settled on “workshops” as an acceptable substitute. They are comprised of video demos, and me sort of sharing my own way of working. It’s not the right way or the only way….it’s just the way i’ve come to know ; ) Right now i have Doodle Days of Summer (which will be archived and made available permanently once the summer session wraps), Layers of Color; a painting worskhop, and Character Sketch Workshop; a demo-heavy offering that shows how i create my characters with pencil. It’s a lot of behind the scenes and sharing of what goes on here when i am making art. All the links are right over there in my sidebar of you want to read more! : )

QUESTION #2 – WHY DO YOU CREATE WHAT YOU DO?

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i love stories. i’m a sap. i love to tell a story with a sketch, commemorate a milestone with a painting, capture an emotion with a sketch. i used to think i just liked making pretty pictures. But i know now that the pieces with the most meaning for me, have a story behind them. Sometimes it’s my story.

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Sometimes it is the story a customer is trusting me to put down in color and paint and type.

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i love a good quote. i love a sassy, detailed character. i love an abstract painting that reminds me of a song or a day.

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Maybe it’s because i have such a wretched memory? i really do. It’s criminal what i forget. But being the mush sentimental person that i am, i just love to save a memory for future day. That’s why i create the particular art that i do.

…and also- sidenote – i like a bit spontaneity. i like a bit of messiness. i like a bit of “not taking yourself too seriously.” So my style of art is those things too. : )

QUESTION #3 – HOW DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?

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When i sketch, it is because i saw a certain photo with just the right cheek curve, or a child wearing a too-adorable outfit, or eyes that are just especially full of sparkle. Then i quickly, scribbly capture it in my sketchbook. It’s recording people in their best moment.

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But when i paint, it’s often very much a journey. It happens organically when the paint starts hitting the paper or canvas. The most i might have when i sit down, is an idea in my head of some odd colors i want to try.

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i wish my answer to this question was way more interesting. But i speak the truth. i try to only draw or paint when i really feel like it. i make a bunch of crud when i’m not feeling in the zone.

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SO!!! now for my challenge to choose a couple of artists who inspire ME!

It’s a tough call, because ever since taking the online course, i suddenly am surrounded by a beautiful community of gifted artists! Many of us are tagging each other along this blog tour – so its should be pretty great to follow as many posts as possible. Lucky me, i got to snag Sarah Ehlinger of Very Sarie and Rachel Schafer of Rachel Schafer Designs. They are both so amazing, i was almost too shy to ask! But these awesome peeps said “yes!” So off we go.

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Sarah Ehlinger. Is. Ridiculous.

Her work is bright and fresh. She has worked for clients like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. Her color sense is all at once whimsical and sophisticated. How does she do that? She is gifted, that’s how. : ) Here are some of Sarah’s pieces that are standouts to me.

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Gorgeous frenchy-french soiré invites that sarah designed and then styled into a glam photoshoot. She is literally good at everything, man……even…..

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…making enormous patterned paper flower displays for her booth at Surtex this year! Yes, she MADE those huge blooms out of paper….and everything else you see there in her stunning booth!

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Oh, and this? just a crazy, stunningly textured watercolor she dashed off during her morning meditation recently and posted to facebook….no big whoop. WHAT!?!? She just leaks pretty artwork out her fingertips, i think. : )

Give Very Sarie a follow on Instagram or Facebook if you want a bit of silent awe to be a part of your future days.

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And last, but certainly not least we have Rachel Schafer up to bat.

If you think i’m exaggerating when i say that this girl is inspiring, just click here and take it all in. Yeah….she is the bomb diggity.

Rachel’s work is FUN! It is professional and brilliantly executed too, of course. But when i think of it, i just start smiling. There is a joy and a GO FOR IT type attitude in her designs. It’s not wishy-washy. You are seeing her unique vision on the page, people!

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Strong shapes, confident, well-edited color and fresh layout abound in this gelatin-inspired pattern.

This fanciful awesomeness from our course together where we were challenged to design a HYPER-LUSH makeup style pouch. Rachael hit it out of the park, right?

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 10.45.14 PMThen finally, this….because i dare you to keep from smiling when you look at it! It’s magic when a person can convey joy in 2 dimensions, using only color and form. but here it is. JOY.

And did i mention she’s a lefty? i learned that on her website. Whaddya know!? Lefties are some of the best people.

So, go visit Rachel’s site, stalk her Instagram and jump on her Pinterest bandwagon. You will be so SMILEY that you did.

 

lost in the sauce – painting something different

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Sometimes being an artist is deadlines and measurements, and technical files and clerical work. Sometimes it is execution of orders and commissioned paintings with specific parameters and color schemes. It’s ok. Every job has boring-but-necessary parts, enjoyable parts…and then stinkin AWESOME parts. i got to make a painting (above- Sparkling Water) purely for my own self expression recently and it was pretty stinkin awesome.

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i let myself evolve a little, without being afraid that i’d lose my audience. Because we all evolve. It’s fun. i love change. But when you build your brand on a certain look, a bit of fear creeps in that you need to stay the course and give the people what they want. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for evolution.

But i posted the new art on facebook, as i am apt to do….and people didn’t UNLIKE me. Whaddya know? Lots of folks really liked this it even though it is something new and different. Phew.

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i’ve been feeling a real bug to explore muted color and transparent color and mixing of watercolors and acrylics a lot lately. i’ve also been messing with portraits like you wouldn’t believe. (i will share soon!)

It’s wonderful to be able to trust yourself enough to change and experiment. i am going for it full-tilt now that the band-aid has been ripped off.

 

back to school fun

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i put together a pre-made collage of my favorite artworks for you all! i sized it to fit on Staples brand composition notebooks. All you have to do is print/cut/and glue or decoupage it down to the cover. Use matte medium. decoupage medium, or Mod Podge to stick the print down and then coat the top. When fully dry, Mom and Dad may want to spray outside with a clear coat of sealer to cut down on any remaining “stickiness” and give it a tough protective layer.

The download is here. Have fun this new school year!!

xoxo, stephanie

When is it done?

In the typcial ebb and flow of business, i’ve been crazy busy for a while with deadlines and projects and to-do lists….but now find myself in a quiet time. The quiet time is simultaneously scary, paralyzing and welcome. i’m a person who functions well under pressure and on a schedule, so i really have to work to maximize my “down time” and actually get things completed. To that end, i decided i’d work on a personal collection i’ve been envisioning for a while. It’s a series of soft, loose watercolor portraits with some of my sketchy pencil/ink sketches overlaid on top.

Here is the watercolor portrait practice i posted recently…stage 1, if you will….no sketched bits added yet….

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See, to me, it is not finished.

It COULD be finished. It’s a portrait alright. But to MY vision…it is still incomplete. I haven’t yet fully realized my goal.

i often post works in progress because 1) i like sharing process, 2) people usually enjoy seeing them (i know i love watching other artist’s process pics!) and 3) for practical reasons. i’m not always popping out finished artwork every day, so sharing progress is a good way to stay in touch when i have lots of half-baked artworks going and nothing complete to share : )

Here’s the thing; folks on social media who see a work in progress will often tell me to “STOP!!! Call it done! Put down the brushes and pens, lady!” And trust me, i get it!! i often hear these very same phrases in my OWN head, truth be told! But deciding when an artwork is done is sort of a tricky business. Is it done when it looks “pretty enough?” Is it done when the majority of people you show it to say it’s done?Is it done when you get a “feeling” that it is? Is it done when it matches what you had in mind? hmmm…..

Being a working artist who obviously wants to sell my work, do i listen most intently to the folks who support me and my business? Their input is super important to me! i mean, i certainly respect and am grateful for these folks. i wouldn’t exist in this career without them! So, i sure do hope that the art i make is something they love.

Or do i listen to the small voice in my head that says….”hey, remember that idea you had before you fell asleep the other night? Don’t you want to find out how that would turn out? Don’t you want to follow through on your creative vision?”

Agh! What is the answer!?

Is there only one right answer?

i could go ’round in circles for days wondering on this one….and i have. On the one hand, i don’t want to water down my artistic point of view. But on the other hand, i am mindful that getting to make art everyday for my business is a blessing, and it IS as much a business as it is a creative exercise.

So, having said all this, i think i’ve come to the conclusion that:

- client work is a careful blend of my vision and the client’s heart – so mutual agreement and respect about done-ness is a-ok in those situations. i mean, one of my favorite things to do with my art is take on commissions that help folks tell their story…i can’t do that from inside myself and without input. Sharing that experience with a customer feels like nothing else.

- but, personal work has to be guided by my inner voice, and i have to feel free to try whatever i’m feeling…even if it doesn’t work out…..even if i “wreck it.” : )  i don’t ever want to stop at the “safe” stopping point just because i was afraid to try the new idea or wacky technique….or just because i thought the safer route would sell well, etc. That would kill my spirit.

So i guess my conclusion is that there is no ONE way that is always right, at least for me. There is a little room for wiggle.

What do you all think? Is there room for wiggle when calling your art “done?” Is it lacking authenticity if your customer helps in the decision making? Or is that part of the beauty?

i really want to hear! : )

CHARACTER SKETCH Workshop

This is the summer of workshops, i suppose!

i recently wrapped up my very first online painting workshop, called Layers of Color. That was intense! And registration is now open for a fun kids Doodle Days series this summer. These have prompted quite a few requests for a character drawing workshop to come next. So here it is!

i LOVE drawing characters and it is absolutely my go-to art form when i’m sitting on the couch or waiting in the car while one of the kiddos finishes a “car nap.” Faces are just the best inspiration out there…and if i’m being really specific, KIDS’ faces. The wide eyes, lashes, and button noses with a sprinkle of freckles? They kill me : )

So in this series, i’ll be showing you through words, step-by-step images, and a few fun speed-drawing videos, how i build a character. You’ll be seeing me create in pencil, in my own sketchy style. Scan through my instagram page for all the faces and character sketches i post. It’s not an anatomical figure drawing class, folks! : ) It’s pretty loose and whimsical. You’ll be seeing characters like these come to life…

There will be 10 lessons. Each lesson will include pencil-drawn character sketches whose completion will highlight a certain “focus.” For example, i will draw a cute mother and daughter duo to highlight the differences in proportion between adult and child figures. In another lesson, i’ll draw a few precocious children to highlight how to achieve different facial expressions. There will also be a lesson focused on drawing hands,  feet, and hair. Those are always toughies that people ask about.

There will be a touch of whimsy in a few of the lessons where i’ll draw an animal character, a fairy, and a little monster. And a useful lesson is included on how you can draw a character whose face is loosely based on a photo.

Finally,  i’ll include a little insight on developing your own unique style as you go.

LAUNCH DATE: June 30, 2014

STRUCTURE: This workshop is being offered via a password-protected page on my website. All lessons will be accessible from day 1.

It is self-paced. Work your way through the lessons in whatever time-frame you like.

ACCESS to the Classroom Page and associated videos is UNLIMITED. Once you are registered, you can always come back and login

Cost: $48

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