Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fabric designs - what do you think?

I've been having a fun time playing around with some of my illustrations and creating new pattern designs to upload to Spoonflower

The two newest ones are below - just click on the image and it will take you to the Spoonflower page where you can see the pattern, scale, what it would look like on various yards of fabric, etc.

What do you think? I would love to hear comments on the patterns, if you like them sized as-is or prefer smaller/larger? What projects could you see using fabric like this? I think of the obvious things like pillows, table cloths, place mats, etc., but also things like book covers and bead embroidery pieces. What creative ways do you use fabric?

Maple Tree Buds

Spring Rain - Daffodils in Bloom

Monday, March 28, 2011

Japanese Iris Blossom - Ink and Colored Pencil

Happy Monday! I had a chance to work on and finish this drawing of a Japanese Iris blossom. I had bought a small bunch at the store a few weeks ago and had done some sketching at the time. I finally had an opportunity to add color to the blossom sketch last night. I just love these particular iris with the bright yellow midrib and delicate, draping blossoms. So beautiful!

I completed this with my usual array of Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils on smooth bristol paper, doing some basic pen work with my Rapidograph 3X0 (.25) pen. Interestingly, the center part of the blossom that was still closed in this view really is a darker, more reddish-purple color than the lighter blue-purple outer petals.

As you can tell from my posts, I really like iris and daffodil! I also really love tulips, but haven't done much drawing of them. What are some of your favorite spring flowers?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Recipe Cards! Do you prefer lines or no lines?

Thanks to a suggestion from my cousin Jess, who is a fantastic designer and cook (check out her blog - The Saucy Kitchen), I have been creating new recipe cards in Zazzle. 

I have been having fun with variations on a couple of designs. For example, the garlic scapes card above has lines for writing on both front and back. Some cards have solid lines on the front and some have split lines on the front for ingredient lists. Also, there are cards with images on the front (like the one above) and some just have images on the back.

The beauty of Zazzle is that it allows you to customize so that if you prefer a blank writing area (i.e., no lines), you can simply delete them from the card. In the front-image cards, you can also change the background color, or choose to return it to a white background, giving you flexibility to match your color preferences.

I would love to hear if you prefer lines or no lines, or if you would like to see other illustrations on the cards that are not currently there? 

Feel free to browse around the new selections and let me know what you think!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Playing with Spoonflower - what kinds of fabric patterns do you like?

I've been having a great time playing around in Spoonflower and have added a number of my drawings to the public design gallery for my page there:
Scroll down the page to see the drawings that are in the gallery. 
Click on a drawing and see what the fabric pattern looks like. You can see the rulers in yellow on the top and side of the pattern to see how large it would appear on the fabric.
Which ones do you like best? 
I am able to change the scale of the pattern on my end, so if you think something would look better smaller, or differently arranged, or larger, I would love to know. You can comment here, or right in Spoonflower at the bottom of a fabric page. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zazzle update on Japan Relief products/royalties - fixed

I just received an email from Zazzle that provides an update on the confusion surrounding the initial Japan Relief donation issue. They have been able to fix the situation as follows - thanks Zazzle!

"Zazzle is deeply saddened by the tragic events in Japan and has been working very hard in the last week to ensure that the Zazzle community can contribute effectively in support of relief aid efforts. In the Japan Relief store, you will find hundreds of Seller-contributed designs along with an official "Support Japan" t-shirt. While $10 of the proceeds from each official t-shirt will be donated directly to the Japanese Red Cross, all additional designs donated by Sellers will also benefit charity. For each donated design with royalties set at 10%, Zazzle will contribute a matching donation in addition to the donated royalties.

Last week, we were so moved by the news that we wanted to act fast, but as a result, we found ourselves in a flurry of misunderstandings as to what our system could and couldn't do. On Wednesday, we confirmed that we are able to withhold royalties manually, so we will be making those deductions from each Seller's account by hand for all donated products sold between March 11th and April 12th. The sales will still show up in Seller accounts, but royalties will be deducted prior to payment and donated to the Japanese Red Cross.

We sincerely apologize for any confusion about community donations, and we want to reassure you that our intentions are good! Many thanks to everyone who has already contributed toward this important cause, and thanks also for forgiving our eager initial response.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Japan and their families at this difficult time.
The Zazzle Team"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spoonflower Fabric

I recently discovered another print-on-demand service that sounded really intriguing to me. It's called Spoonflower and they print your uploaded designs on a variety of fabrics. How neat! 

I went ahead and created an account - it's free - and uploaded a number of my drawings. You can order test swatches of your designs to proof colors/size to make sure they look how you expect them to, and then you can post your designs for sale in the Spoonflower Marketplace, or place an order for fabric for yourself, etc.

I received my swatches for 6 designs yesterday and am so excited! They look fantastic. The picture above shows what I created. The fun thing is that online in Spoonflower you can adjust the size and set of the pattern. So now that I know my drawings print up beautifully, I (or anyone who orders) can choose a smaller pattern of the drawing or a larger pattern (up to a certain limit).

They offer 7 different fabrics to choose from and what you see in the photo above are swatches of the quilting weight fabric on the left, and then I chose the upholstery-weight twill for the African daisy, and the linen-cotton canvas for the daffodil (and that is a larger sample called a fat quarter.) I absolutely love the weight of the twill and linen-cotton canvas and can see lots of interesting crafting possibilities using my botanical drawings to create pillows, tea towels, bags, or even art pieces with beading done on some of the heavier weight fabrics. The creative juices are flowing!! What fun things can you see doing with custom fabrics like this?

Now that I have seen the proofs, I have made these 6 designs available in the marketplace. You can see my profile and available designs here: 

Happy creating!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blog redesign - what do you want to see?

I am excited that my blog will be 3 years old later this year -- time sure flies! In light of the fact that 3 years is an eternity in web-time, I would like to freshen it up a bit. I'm starting to do some research and collect ideas about how I can best redesign and there is a lot of good information out there on layout, etc. However, I also want to update the type of content that I post. So, I thought what better place to start than with you, my  followers!

What would you find useful, fun, or interesting to include on an artist's blog like mine? What have you enjoyed in the past? What do you wish you could see more of?

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japanese Earthquake Relief through Zazzle - Japanese Crane T-Shirt

In response to the overwhelming disaster that occurred in Japan on March 11, Zazzle has created a way for shop owners and customers to donate to earthquake/tsunami relief funds by creating/purchasing products from this store: Zazzle Japan Relief

For every t-shirt on the above page Zazzle will donate $10 to the relief fund, in addition, any royalties that shop owners would have earned will go directly to the relief fund as well.

NOTE (3/16/ update): Apparently there was some confusion in the initial days of the Japan Relief store. Zazzle has corrected it's page to say that it will be donating $10 to the relief fund from purchase of it's *official* t-shirt only, not from sale of others designed by store owners. I want to assure you that I will still be donating any royalties and earnings that I receive from the sales to the Japanese Red Cross. My apologies for any confusion and thanks to those that have already purchased!

I created a t-shirt featuring my Japanese Crane illustration as cranes are a symbol of hope and healing. There are also many other designs and products available, so please check it out! Every little bit helps. I will be keeping the people of Japan and everyone affected by this event in my thoughts and prayers. 

NOTE: I have also created a button, mug, bumper sticker, iPad case with this design.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Purple Iris Study - Ink and Colored Pencil

I bought a beautiful bunch of purple iris today. They have a bright yellow rib in the center that you can't see yet (I'll save that for another day!) I just love studying the buds before they open and then as the petals unfold. 

I did this study in ink and colored pencil on Fabriano Artistico extra white 140 lb hot press watercolor paper. I am not entirely pleased with how the color of the petals turned out. They seem much more luminous in person. I think that I need to do more light layers of pencil as well as use some different colors (perhaps the purples I have are too dark...maybe need some medium blues...) How do you deal with colored pencils and dark flower petals?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daffodil Sketches - ink and colored pencil

I have added some colored pencil to these daffodil sketches. This is definitely a loose addition of color as I did not have lots of time to spend on it, but I love that it shows the brightness of the blossoms. This was done on Strathmore vellum drawing paper, so the texture was much rougher than what I usually work on (which is smooth Bristol or hot press watercolor paper.) The drawing paper adds a lot of nice texture, but it is also harder to get the smoothness that might work better with the blossoms in this case. It would take more layers of color, sharper pencils, and a bit more patience/time than I had for this round!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vinca plant in graphite - line study

This is a graphite pencil drawing of a Vinca plant that I did for a course in botanical illustration a few years ago. I thought I had uploaded it here before, but guess I had not. The piece was supposed to be done entirely with line work (employing thick/thin lines bold/faded to indicate depth when possible) basically showing what you could do *without* shading. Very interesting exercise. I hope to someday redraw parts of this in pen and ink, and then maybe get another plant and work on some light and shade studies.
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