Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Painting Class - What is coming up!

Pumpkin Delight Painting

Quick post - I will be teaching this painting "Pumpkin Delight!" 10"x20" Acrylic on gallery wrapped cotton canvas. It is a 2+ hour class. Painters should show up early so we can get started right away (several steps to this painting :-) Thursday, October 16th, 6:30 pm.

Visit ItsYoursPottery.com for registration - Can't wait to see you there!

BYOP - Bring You Own Pumpkin!

Bring in a pumpkin (we recommend a smallish one) on Saturday October 25th, 1:00 pm We have the supplies! Let your creativity out! You can paint any design or face that you like.

Visit ItsYoursPottery.com for registration - Can't wait to see you there!

I have more ideas cookin' sign up to get Its Yours Pottery's emails so you don't miss a class! You can also follow me on social media - I will announce what I am doing next :-)

Friday, September 26, 2014

How I Worked Up an Art Collection

My Sunshine Collection - click image to view larger.

Happy Friday Creative Souls! Today I am answering the question submitted: How do you work up your designs?

If you listen to Tara Reed's Ask Calls - I am going to steal her line - "It depends." So, I thought I would pick a collection and give you an idea of how I did it, CliffsNotes style :-)

I like putting pencil to paper. I would bet that 98% of my art starts this way. In the past I have inked it first and then watercolor it. *You might like this post: A Peek into Watercolor and Ink Process - read the comments, there are some good tips! For this collection I drew the line art in my trusty sketchbook, one of those nice ones with the fabulous paper! Then, I scanned in the line art. For example the potted flower above is 3" wide by 8.5" tall, 1600 dpi. That is probably a bit of over kill for most products (It is 44" high at 300dpi...)

Next, with the image all cleaned up and no background in Photoshop, I made a new layer (or two) below the line art layer and filled the shapes with color and pattern. I expanded the selection for the fill just a few pixels so that the black line of the line art traps the color.

I am guessing that tablet owners can do this more quickly! If you use a tablet - let me know how you like it - thanks! (Christmas is coming :-)

Peek into Palette Knife Pumpkin Painting
Thank you for stopping by! Looking forward to hearing from you :-)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Leslie Murray

The creator of Murry's Law is hanging with us! :-) I have been of fan of her greeting cards for quite some time! (be sure to click the link below to her artist page on Leanin' Tree). Click images to view larger.

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I was an art major in high school, and I started out in college as a Fine Art major (I had won an art scholarship). I soon realized that artist starve in garrets, so I changed my major to French. Upon graduating with a BA in French, I realized that French majors also starve in garrets. Life is hard when you're a Blonde Person. At one point, I used my French by working at Air France, but I never stopped making art. The point is that you don't need a degree in art or design to do this for a living, because talent matters more. It's not like engineering or medicine. Nobody in our industry is going to look at the diploma on your wall. They're going to look at your work.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?

Inspiration is all around us. For drawing, I can be inspired by the color combination of a chair in the background of a TV commercial. For humor, it can be something comical that my dog does, or childhood experiences of growing up with three sisters (now THERE's a humor source if ever I saw one). Mostly, though, I just think of all the stupid little things that can go wrong every day. I figure if something dumb or embarrassing happens to me, it's probably happened to other people too. I just write down my life and they give me money.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
Before going digital, my favorite medium was always pen and ink. As a kid, I couldn't get enough of Aubrey Beardsley and Harry Clarke. My dad was an illustrator, and he had all kinds of great art books for me to look at. I also love just drawing with a pencil. When I first started doing cards for a living, I worked with watercolor and rapidograph or Staedtler pens, gouache, colored pencil, and/or Pantone markers. Now I work only in Photoshop and draw on a tablet. These days you have to be able to send digital files to your clients and publishers. I love digital. No more running after the FedEx truck at 5:06 pm the day before a deadline with your oversized art all packed up with tape and waving in the wind. Yes, I have done that (WAIT! WAIT! COME BACK!). Also, I save a fortune in art supplies.

What are you working on now?
Of course I'm always doing greeting cards for Leanin' Tree. I'm excited about a new line of cowgirl images they asked me to do. Leanin' Tree has a very large base of Western customers, so I hope they do well. I also have art licensed to MagnetWorks for their art coasters called DrinkBlots , some stone coasters and wall plaques for CounterArt (Conimar), and I might still have some kitchen towels with Peking Handicrafts. I also have some boxed Christmas cards with Paper Magic and a 2014 calendar featuring my character Trixie. Two Town Studios was the agent who put me with all the companies I just mentioned. In addition, I'm also a stock illustrator and photographer, a sideline I started when I was between publishers after leaving Design Design. I'm on Shutterstock, Veer (Corbis), Dreamstime, and Canstock Photo (Fotosearch) among others. The new thing I want to do is framed wall prints. I picture them in little black frames hung by a satin or gros-grain ribbon. I've done some, and I'm looking into getting them produced. Some are humor and some are not. I'm flying kind of solo now, but doing some licensing deals on a case-by-case basis, right now through Two Town, and in the future, who knows.

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
I hate long walks on the beach. Blah blah thunderstorms, blah blah glass of wine by the fire, blabity blabity what? This isn't Match.com? Oh, er, ahem. never mind.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I'm a night owl who loses track of time when I'm drawing, and when I finally look up, it's 2:00 a.m. I get up whenever my eyes open, which can be anywhere from 8am to 10:30. I then proceed to the coffee maker and begin drawing funny pictures in front of my 52" plasma TV while still in my robe and pjs. If the doorbell rings during this time of my day, I do not answer because, well, blonde eyebrows. Dueling Banjos guy. Enough said.

What is your favorite food?
How can I pick just one! Chocolate covered cherries. Cherry Garcia ice cream because it tastes exactly like chocolate covered cherries. And Reese's peanut butter cups. I believe in putting my dentist's children through college.

You can find Leslie:
Artist - Leslie Murray | Leanin' Tree

THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Friday, September 12, 2014

Social Media - Working for Me?

Happy Friday Everyone :-)

This is another topic sent in during a previous giveaway on this blog - thanks! So, "how well is social media working for me?" It depends on how you look at it.

FREE works fantastic for me! Yes it does take my time, but no printing, postage, paying for advertising space....over time I have added more social media to my plate than when I first jumped into Twitter.

It may help you to know and to take a big easy breath, that I only used Twitter when I first started to hangout and advertise through social media. I was looking to promote my CafePress store back then, profits went to my local food bank. You can start any where, I don't know that Twitter is the best place. Just start where you are interested. Take on one social media site at a time. When you are ready to, add another one. Consider what it is you want to get out of social media.

I got on Facebook a few years after Twitter. A friend kept pestering me back then. She would say "Twitter is like a cocktail party and Facebook is like a lemonade stand." She was saying I needed to be on both. Maybe a year later?, another friend said I HAD to join Pinterest so I did. I jumped into Google+ about a year and a half ago I think around the same time I started blogging. For the life of me I can't remember when I set up Linkedin... I think before all of the other's but I didn't do much with it. Now I am quite active in a few Linkedin groups.

So BY FAR the blogging gets the most activity. I promote the blog on all my social media sites. As I write this I am pushing 4,000 page visits a month. (Some visitors will visit more than one page, most don't). The blog provides a great landing place to interact with people. It is a handy place for listing useful links. I never expected the #PatternParade blog page would do as well as it does :-) BUT most discussion occurs in Linkedin groups and Facebook groups. The majority of blog traffic comes from Linkedin and facebook - I assume from the groups, especially since Facebook filters who sees your posts and who doesn't.

You should note that as I write this I only have 59 blog followers. That is quite a contrast to almost 4,000 page visits a month. Something to keep in mind if you start blogging. Low blog (or no) followers doesn't mean your blog isn't working.

Also of note, I have only gotten business from Twitter! I have picked up a few graphic design clients even though I only promote art licensing on Twitter. Pinterest (for me) has the best click through rate. I haven't seen any benefit from Google+ yet, I don't have many followers. I do like having another "plug" into the Google machine (one of the reasons I chose Blogger for my blog).

This year at Surtex, a lot more people recognized me - I assume that is from social media. I can't figure out how else they would know who I am. Also the reason I posted the current photo above a few weeks prior to Surtex. That way people could recognize me :-)

Summing up this longer than usual post! Social media works great for me! I am getting out of it what I am looking for - connecting with all of you :-D

THANK YOU for clicking on the affiliate links when you are interested in purchasing one of those products. It means so much to me when you help support the time I spend blogging.

Looking forward to your comments! Maybe if you are all interested, I could talk about blogging specifically.

You might also like "How I Pay the Rent" post.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Shelley Brant / Figgy Pudding Designs

Click images to view larger.

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I wasn't one of those kids that grew up drawing much at all.  It didn't occur to me that it might be something I would do for a living or even go to school to learn.  I had my sights set on being a veterinarian, a truck driver like in smokey & the bandit or a professional roller skater.  When I went to college, I took two years of general education classes until I was forced to choose a major.  I picked art and figured I could change it when I knew what I really wanted to do.  The next two years went by pretty quick and I ended up with a BA in graphic design with a fine art emphasis from The University of Northern Iowa and it's turned out pretty great so far.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I don't consciously seek out inspiration.  I think I'm sucking in visual inspiration every minute I'm awake.  It comes from everywhere, tv commercials, the internet, nature, fabric patterns, cartoons, graffiti, store windows...everywhere.  That's what I find cool about art- people take in mostly the same imagery and spit out totally different interpretations.  

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I work digitally, in illustrator, for my job.  I paint for fun.  I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to paint more for my job.  That's the secret to career success- figuring out how to get paid to do what you'd do if you weren't getting paid, right?  I  am also pretty darn crafty.  I love cutting,  gluing and glittering.

What are you working on now?
I make art and manage the daily workings of Figgy Pudding Designs.  I represent three artists besides myself.  I sell or license those designs for use in the craft, paper and seasonal markets.  I also work full time for a factory that manufactures products for the craft and hobby industry.  I do a lot of product development,  trend research and art direction in that position.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I think I'm biologically a night owl, but my husband gets up at the crack of dawn, so I've become a morning person...whether I like it or not.  Turns out I can really barrel through some work in the morning, so it's all good.

What is your favorite food?
I could probably eat taco salad every day.  It's the perfect meal- it has everything you need right there.  I love a good "walking taco" (taco salad in a Doritos bag) for those of you that didn't grow up in Iowa.  I also love all things German, like schnitzel and spaetzle with sauerkraut- K√∂stlich!

You can find Shelley:



THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D
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