Posts tagged ‘experimentation’

MATS round up

My 5-week Make Art That Sells online course with Lilla Rogers came to an end last week, and though it was hard to keep up with updates as the class was in-progress, my experience was too great not to share a bit in hindsight!

The course covered a different market each week: paper goods, baby apparel, scrapbooking, editorial, and party paper. Lilla created a fabulous “classroom” environment with her daily blog posts, interviews, videos, and a private Facebook group for all participating students to connect and share work in. She shared invaluable insight and tips for each market, and gave challenging assignments & constructive critiques each week.

I’ve already shared my assignments for week 1 and week 2, but haven’t been able to catch up with updates since! Our scrapbooking assignment was based on old typewriters and cameras—a personal favorite! For the editorial piece, each artist was to create a map of their current city. And the party paper theme was folk art. All super different and fun—was so great to explore such varied themes and markets! Some sketches and my final pieces included here, as well as a roundup of projects from all 5 weeks.

ScrapbookSK

WEEK 3: Sketches inspired by vintage cameras & typewriters

LiveYourStory

WEEK 3: SCRAPBOOKING Create a page of art to be applied to various scrapbooking materials, based on the theme of old-fashioned communication

Jeanine_Henderson_NewYorkCity_1B_WEEK4

WEEK 4: EDITORIAL Create a map of your current city

FolkArtSK

WEEK 5: Folk art inspired sketches

Jeanine_Henderson_FolkParty_1B_WEEK5

WEEK 5: PARTY PAPER Create a paper plate & napkin set based on folk art motifs

MATSroundup

Round up of all 5 weekly class assignments

 

It’s fun to see my growth as I look at my body of classwork. Coming in with nearly 10 years of experience doing illustration & design, mostly in publishing—I loved the challenging assignments & learning about new markets. Most of the themes were new subject matter for me, and the approach of working with icons to make versatile pieces that can be applied to a range of products was definitely very different for me. And, the community of artists from around the world who participated was invaluable—encouragement, feedback, and just seeing so many different styles & takes on the same assignments each week really inspired me to strive for better work each week. It really was like being back in art school!

I’m really excited to take what I learned and further develop my portfolio for licensing and surface design. I surprised myself a bit with what markets I was most drawn to, and my brain has exploded with new ideas and subject matter to dive into. Plus, as a special gift to her students, Lilla offered a free 6-month membership to MOYO—an online directory of artist specializing in surface and pattern design. Please stop by to give my portfolio some love there—and stay tuned to see some new work posted soon!

 

love-me-on-moyo-1

 

 

 

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Let’s Go Camping, Baby!

I’m a bit behind with this post, but still wanted to share my assignment from last week for Lilla Rogers’ class. We explored the Baby Apparel market, which is a new territory for me. My work is a somewhat whimsical and kid-friendly, but I haven’t ever specifically created work for the baby market. Lilla’s also teaching us the importance of creating work from separate icons, which is a bit of a different approach for me. So, in a really fun challenge, we were to create a design and a few coordinates with a “camping” theme that could be applied to textiles and other baby apparel. I tried to push myself to simplify imagery to would read graphically and translate to various formats while still keeping the quality of my natural style. I had a lot of fun with this, especially with color palette and creating the coordinate patterns. A few images here of the process, sketches, and final presentation.

BP_MATS_wk2_baby01 BP_MATS_wk2_Baby02 BP_MATS_wk2_Baby03 BP_MATS_wk2_baby04 BP_MATS_wk2_baby05

 

 

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Christmas in October!

I’m taking Lilla Rogers’ 5-week Make Art That Sells online course. Lilla reps an impressive roster of artists, specializing in so many markets I’m interested in—papergoods, home décor, gifts, baby apparel, and more. Each week, she provides a creative assignment as well as tips and insights on trends, inspiration & resources for these markets, as well as interviews & advice from real-world companies like Anthropologie, Paperchase, Chronicle Books, and Real Simple Magazine. She takes time to look at every assignment submitted, and chooses several pieces from the class for an in-depth critique each week.

She offers this course in 2 parts—the first which was offered this past summer. I was unable to fit Part A into my schedule, but jumped on board for Part B as it covers specific topics I’m really interested in. I looked forward to starting “class” for months, and this was our first week. We covered the papergoods market—and our assignment was to create 2 holiday cards. Before being given the assignment, Lilla assigns a “mini” so we can spend a few days exploring the subject matter. She urges us to create work from separate icons/elements so that they can be multi-purposed and potentially used for entire product lines, which is common in these markets. This is very different from the way I have always approached image-making (since most of my experience has been in books and magazines), and proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. But a fun one! The hardest part was letting go of a sketched out “plan” and just allow myself to be open to happy accidents while working out composition. I also pushed myself to try some different things with color, keeping in mind all of Lilla’s fabulous insights.

Here are my drawings from the “mini” assignment, as well as the 2 cards I created for the project:

FavoriteIcons MATS_Wk1PAPER_HolidayCard01_MR MATS_Wk1PAPER_HolidayCard02_MR

 

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Autumn in New York

In my nearly 10 years of living in New York City, Autumn has become my favorite season. The slight chill on a sunny day, the crisp evening air, and the bustling people out and about fills my whole heart with excitement—almost like I am seeing the city with fresh eyes each September. I created this little image as a new promotional piece for my Facebook artist page, and as an opportunity to experiment a bit with technique. I played with watercolor and gouache washes with my line work, and old linocuts to overprint the leaves. The hand-lettered text come from the lyrics to one of my favorite Billie Holiday songs—a classic, celebrating this amazing time of year.

 

FBcvr_Autumn

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Letterpress Fun

I’ve always loved letterpress. It just feels like the perfect medium for all the things I love most about both illustration and design——delicate linework, texture, graphic shapes & color, beautiful typography and a vintage, tactile quality. About 5 years ago I took a semester of Letterpress 101 through SVA’s Continuing Ed. program with the amazing Dikko Faust (founder of Purgatory Pie Press, and a master in the art of letterpressing). I immediately fell in love with the whole process, though it was a fairly large class and with a full-time job it was hard to get into the studio for press time during out-of-class hours. So I only produced a few projects and lost access to the studio once the semester ended.

But ever since, I’ve been itching to get back to exploring it a bit more. I only recently became aware of The Arm in Brooklyn—a public access letterpress studio run by Dan Morris, who, along with the other staff there are all-around awesome & super helpful guys. I took a day-long intro workshop there a few months back, and now am able to book time to go in to print my own projects.

Last night was the first time I was able to get in the studio and spend a few hours on the press. I got a couple plates made of some lines drawings from awhile back and experimented with different paper weights and 2-color printing. I was in heaven! Felt so good to be away from a screen and get back to getting a little down and dirty making some stuff with my hands—Super excited to go back for more!

LetterpressImages01

Crawfish_compare

This was a drawing I’d revisited from my Month of Love sketches, after a woman contacted me about using the image on her New Orleans wedding save-the-dates.

CrawfishLove

2-color print on Cranes Lettra 110 lb. cover stock in pearl white

Angel

Revisited a hand-lettered piece I’d created after the Sandy Hook shootings—I love this beautiful quote. Printed on Cranes Lettra 220 lb. cover stock in pearl white

Angel_Detail01

Detail. Loving the deep impression on the 220 lb stock!

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Some fun experimentation

I’ve been thinking about process and development a lot in my work lately.

A couple months ago, I had my portfolio reviewed by Charles Hively (Art Director and Publisher of 3×3 Magazine). His great professional feedback, and just having a fresh eye look at my work, was a re-energizing experience for me. I think it’s easy for anyone to lose sight of their work and the direction it’s going if there’s never a moment to reflect on it or consider it from a more objective angle. I think for me especially—since I juggle a creative full-time job where I design and art direct illustrators every day—what I am doing in my own work can feel clouded and even over-influenced by what I am constantly surrounded by. And the pressure I put on myself by comparing what I do to what I see, and trying to “speed up” to get to where I really want to be in my career, has created a lot of burn out and frustration for me.

Mr. Hively’s feedback suggested that I spend (a lot of) time figuring out how to allow more of my personal voice to shine through, as any artist has to do to really improve: Try new mediums, palettes, and/or subject matter; Study non-illustration & design work; Look at European illustration; Tap into the things that most interest & inspire me on a personal level—and let all these influences find their appropriate place in my work until that day when I “get goosebumps” because I’ll just know I’ll have found that really special thing in my work that sets it apart from everything else.

I agree that growth comes from stepping out of the “safe” zone, and I’ve been trying to slow down in a way —thinking less about “finished pieces” when I make new work and get more involved in my process. I took advantage of the extra time away from the office grind this long holiday weekend to experiment a bit with medium and process.

I love music and also love illustrating & hand-lettering quotes that inspire me. These words by Bilie Holiday seemed especially fitting for the things I’m thinking about at the moment, so I decided to revisit this drawing I’d done awhile back. Here’s some shots of  my  process:

Transfer

Original drawing and inkjet transfer to toothed paper

Colorblocking

Blocking in color with watercolor & goauche

WIP

Final art with inked line

Bille_HR

Digitized art

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