Tuesday, October 15, 2013


As I wrote in my last post, I decided kind of at the last minute to sign up for Make Art That Sells, Part A. It's now one week into the class and I've finished our first assignment, creating bolt fabric with a vintage Pyrex-style casserole and berry theme.

Going into the class, I didn't expect week one to be particularly earth-shattering for me. I've been designing fabric for a couple years, took two fantastic classes with Michelle Fifis (Sellable Sketch and The Ultimate Guide to Repeats) and have my work licensed (although the majority of it is in the scrapbooking market, and just one print is licensed in the fabric market...), so I thought I had my style and method figured out, although maybe it just needing some fine tuning.

As it turns out, I was totally wrong. I realized I'm bored, bored, bored with my work and need to do something new. It was kind of tough going this week!

I started out the week sketching in my usual style (realistic) and with my usual mediums (Pigma Micron pens, watercolor, colored pencil). Then I drew directly into Illustrator the way I usually do, stylizing the forms so they weren't too stodgy (because in my mind, realistic = stodgy and stylized = retro cool.)

I put together a retro style print as I usually do, and hated it. It was fine, but I had no motivation. Part of the point of this class is to grow, which means trying something new and taking chances.

So I scanned in a bunch of my sketches, tweaked them a little, traced and colorized them in Illustrator. The final print was more exciting than my usual stylized vector stuff, but not quite there yet. It wasn't really vintage kitchen; it was more sketchbooky floral. It wasn't Pyrex/casserole dish enough; I enjoyed drawing berries and leaves so much more than dishes, so it had mostly botanical motifs.

It was hugely frustrating and I felt like I put in hours and hours and got absolutely nowhere -- pages and pages of sketches and no fabulous, professional print collection to show for it.

But the final print was more "me", a little quirky, and had much more of the hand of the artist in it, which I love seeing in others' work. It's a stepping stone in the direction I've wanted to go for a long time, but never knew how to get there or even begin. So I call it a success. Kind of.

Next I think I'll try sketching larger, with less attention to the details, and with a different tool (watercolor paper / brushes) and see where that leads. I'm excited to get started!

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