Editorial Illustration: How to Succeed at Becoming a Digital Nomad

Most artists that I know are very nervous about drawing people. Unless, of course, they have a signature character style that comes naturally to them. I’m of the former. But, I must say that I will always be game for reaching outside my comfort zone. So, I welcomed our last MATS Bootcamp Class "mini" assignment which was to draw people. If we wanted a bonus mini, to draw people using technology!

Here is a snapshot of my first stab at people:

I love these cool kids, but once it was confirmed that we would be doing an editorial piece, I  wasn't so sure that the style really fit the article that we were to illustrate: How to Succeed at Becoming a Digital Nomad.  After some research, I started thinking about what it is I like about this kind of illustration. For me, I am drawn to those editorial styles that are simple, flat, minimal in color and typography focused. I’m also a fan of collage and I really like illustrations that are more conceptual than literal. Check out these cool examples from Pinterest:

editorial illustrations 2

My first plan of attack was to draw the 10 essential items needed to succeed at being a digital nomad.

Power cord, phone, notebook, headphones, sim card, and battery (duh!)

Power cord, phone, notebook, headphones, sim card, and battery (duh!)

Then, I decided, since I am a digital nomad, that I would make my illustration a self portrait. 

I really do have a dotted bikini, but I don't usually work in it. There's a first time for everything.

As you can see, I stayed pretty literal. And gave myself pink hair. The horizontal format of the piece was a bit awkward to work with at first, but once I dropped in my hand lettering, it kind of all came together.

As usual, there were very many different interpretations of this assignment. We had 150 class submissions and you can check them out here:

Next up on my development calendar is another round of MIID Summer School Modules 1, 2 and 3. I'm excited to have access to the latest trend reports and also the camaraderie with fellow students from all over the world.  I am very proud to share that my some of my work made it into last year's summer school look book. Here’s to summer and making art all year round! 

Cajun Crustacean Pattern Mash Up!

Wow this months bootcamp assignment was fun. As a tie in to Lilla Roger’s MATS: Creating Collections for Home Decor Class beginning in June, she gave us the assignment of designing plates with a crustacean theme. Now, I hate shellfish, but adding googly eyes made it doable for me. Juxtapose that with the hot trend of a colorful, modern pattern background, and I'm in! Here is some of the visual references provided to us. I absolutely love these decorative plates at Lula’s Pantry.

Our mini assignment was to draw crustaceans in all their spidery, crusty and pointy glory. Check! Did you know that the potato bug is considered a crustacean too? I added turtles to my sketches because they’re cute. We were told to think about rendering these in dark colors like the inspiration above.



But wait, that’s not all! There was a second part to the mini assignment, and that was to create gorgeous patterns in color. I am  a big fan of color, and I've been experimenting with different palette. Here’s one I liked comprised of these inspiration tears:

So we put the crusties together with the patterns and created some lovely home decor pieces. I went bonkers and created a zillion. Here are some of the out-takes:

I also did some cartooning for my own delight!

In the end, I chose the three best designs that filled our design brief objectives. I call my Cajun inspired dish ware line “laissez le bon temps rouler.” So fun.

Today, Tuesday, the class gallery is open for public viewing! There are over 250 submissions and everyone did a fantastic job. Have a scroll through the many different takes on a theme here.

Until next time, Soignez vous-autres (Y'all take care)!

Rock bands, dinosaurs, and pom-poms, oh my! Influences for April's Bootcamp assignment

This was a fun one, you guys. The April brief took it up a whole nutha' level in making this a real world assignment: a poster design for the upcoming Make Art That Sells Global Art Gathering, a live event being held in Brighton, UK on June 12th, 2015.

Here is an excerpt of the brief:

Create a single design that works as both a poster and a postcard, for the ADVERTISING market.

The poster should be designed at full size 20” wide x 30” high, portrait.

[as for the style] consider where the poster will be used. It will be displayed on the seafront and around the city of Brighton, which is a highly creative place. The poster should appeal to men and women, and to a very hip crowd. … Ensure that your lettering is clear and legible.

We were given copy to include, and a specific color palette, which I think is lovely.

As all of our Bootcamp assignments begin, we were given a “mini” of hand lettering the words: THE GLOBAL ART GATHERING. Okay. So, this is right up my alley. I love typography and I love writing. I send hand written snail mail ALL THE TIME. And, I’ve been practicing my lettering a lot over the past year, to beef up this section in my portfolio:

So, this is where I brought out my pens, paints and markers. Lots of this is crazy doodly junk, but I did find a few useful sketches.

Sketches, books and COFFEE!

I have pages of this stuff!

My most time consuming study was this script lock-up which I later refined in illustrator using anchor points and bezier curves. I'm glad I spent the time because I'm really proud of the way it turned out in it's final rendition.

Brighton is so interesting! I WANT TO GO TO THERE.  Look at all these gorgeous images I found!

The Brighton Pavilion

Brighton Pier Amusements

Brighton Pier Ferris Wheel and Seagull

The pier is like our Santa Cruz pier, only 1000 times cleaner, arty and way more sophisticated! If I have my geography right, one of the most interesting tidbits that I “dug up” is that Brighton has an association with dinosaurs and fossil discoveries.

Brighton Pier dinosaur postcard, 1947

Awesome. That got me thinking….

Tea Rex?

During the development phase of this project, we were in the throes of redecorating our home office a la “Fillmore Room West.” My husband has a great collection of concert posters that heavily influenced my designs.

I had also attended a Pom-Pom making workshop as Makeshift Society, SF, and that got me thinking about confetti, and festivities and general colorful fun. I took some really great photos that day.

Pom-Pom remnants

You can see how this creative expedition infiltrated my mind to produce one of my final selections later in this post.

In the end, I exhausted every inkling of every idea that I had in order to come up with these three designs:

Tea Drinking Dino at the famous decorative railing on the Brighton Pier

I loved this design the best, but thought that the next one fit the whole concept better.

I love this hipster art maker!

After taking polls among my friends, family and classmates, I chose to submit my hipster arty seagull. Thanks, everyone for your awesome feedback, especially Dionne and Martina, art directors extraordinares! I love this little guy and his art maker tattoo. I had great fun with the textured, layered background, the fancy swirls in the famous Brighton Pier railing, and of course, the hand painted typography. I think this poster design really does capture the energy of the event. We'll see what happens next!

The class gallery went live today. There were 300 submissions from our class of 700; so many different takes and mediums. I think you will enjoy having a scroll through these inspirational pieces:

Click here to check out the beautiful posters!

The prize for winning the competition is, naturally, to have your poster printed and displayed out and about Brighton, a corresponding postcard printed and distributed, $500.00 and the pièce de résistance, a one-on-one portfolio review with artist agent, Lilla Rogers. Wow! I could use all of those things. For now, I am very happy that I have three great new portfolio pieces. Thank you Lilla rogers and Make Art That Sells Bootcamp for the amazing opportunity!

Brooching the Subject: a Study in Edwardian Jewelry, Steampunk Fashion and Hamsters

Whelp, our first month of Bootcamp is coming to an end. It was just the creative kickstart I needed for 2015. I was on the road for 3 weeks, so having an assignment with a hard deadline kept me accountable. Oh, and the subject matter was super fun and, coincidentally, educational!

Our "mini" for the first week was to draw lots and lots of Edwardian brooches. Now, I love me some sparklies, but I didn't know what made a piece of edwardian jewelry 'edwardian.’ Enter the internet:

Deriving its name from the era of Prince Edward VII (1901-1910), the notorious playboy of the British monarchy, this period became known as a time of lighthearted luxury. The end of the 19th century was a time when the rejection of the industrialized, “machine-made” jewelry caused an about face in fashion and design almost overnight: jewelry went from large and ostentatious to ethereal and delicate, borrowing feminine motifs from 17th and 18th century styles. Typically, an Edwardian brooch is very ornate, symmetrical, contains garlands or vines, colorful facets & opals and fine, tarnished metal work. Notable footnote: Outside of England in all other parts of Europe, this era is also known as La Belle Époque. Good to know!  Look at the gorgeousness of all this stuff I found on Pinterest.

and here are my sketched interpretations:

Some vintage baubles that I spotted at a consignment shop in Virginia:

During my trip, I met my step sister’s granddaughter for the first time. She is 4 years old and has a male pet hamster named “Wendy.” Isn't he/she cute?

I just had to sketch him/her:

And finally, our assignment: to create a journal cover using the drawings we did of our Edwardian brooches.  I came up with two designs: 

One pretty belle époque lady:

And one adorable french hamster surrounded by a wreath of sparkly gems and “carats:”

As this bootcamp class is part of Lilla Rogers’ MAKE ART THAT SELLS series, I chose to submit the journal cover that I was most likely to buy: "Le Beau Chou Chou" which means, "the pretty little pet" (I'm  a sucker for animal characters!)

One more thing. During my second week in Virginia, I was invited to attend Marscon with my friend who was doing recon to see if her steampunk jewelry booth might fit in next year. That was a fun unexpected surprise! What a bunch of lovable nerds. Here we are dressed for the occasion. My friend, Lois of Victorian Magpie put together the corseted outfit I am wearing in this picture.

At the conference, we attended a Shakespearan reading of Star Wars.  I also attended a discussion on the influence of history on what we call “steampunk” today. Guess what? The Victorian and Edwardian eras most definitely had an influence on this style. While the jewely movement of the Edwardian era was a direct backlash to innovation and machine made products, we mustn't forget that starting with the Victorian era, great advancements were made in science changing 19th century society in profound ways.  The most obvious innovations were trains and ships (both steam driven) as the primary methods of moving goods, materials and people. Hence, steampunk! Here are some photos from the conference.

This is a Colonial Jet Pack Man. Duh.

So there you have it. Full (sparkly, symmetrical, vine covered) circle! UPDATE: The Bootcamp gallery went live Tuesday, January 27th. Check out all the fabulous classwork and everyone's unique interpretations on the same theme.