Monday, October 13, 2014


Just when I thought I was all done with challenges, Inktober came along. I  have to say that one of the best things about being part of a group (or a tribe) on Facebook is the sharing of resources, fun links, competitions, and events to keep you working on your art. Even better, challenges like Inktober force you to work in a medium that you might not necessarily use a lot.

I had begun filling up a new sketchbook with random illustrations when I got wind of Inktober. It was serendipitous in the sense that I'm not always brimming with ideas and blank pages can oftentimes overwhelm. Design briefs and deadlines make things easier. Of course it's not as if Inktober provided ideas. It just removed having to decide what medium to use. I still had no theme or specific guide.

But here's what it did and is still doing for me: it forces me to take some time off my schedule to sit and lay down lines. Then I post my work on Instagram because there has to be some accountability. I'm sure no one is waiting and eagerly keeping an eye on their Instagram feed to see what I will be posting next but I pretend it's that way. Keeps me going!

Very often I get to sit with my sketchpad after dinner when I've plopped down on the Yogibo in front of the television. Sometimes whatever is on might give me an idea for an illustration but that's rare. Given that most of the shows I watch are either sitcoms or thrillers, that's probably a good thing. As an aside, there's really not much that's worth watching so if all else fails, I turn to my video collection and put on a musical. Or a lame horror movie on Netflix.

Moving along--here are the entries so far.

I happened to be working on designs for a line of products so I was still in a draw-the-veggies mode.

When I settle down with my sketchpad, I usually have my iPad with me as well. I was going through some home decor magazines on the Issuu app so this is what I came up with.

I must have been thinking about creating a design I can develop for fabric when I did this.

I like drawing little people. I'm going to color her later on.

This came from seeing Trick or Treat themed ads on the TV.

I think I decided to let go of the cutesy thing for a bit.

I always celebrate the coming of Fall. Also reminded me that I hadn't changed my profile pic on Facebook to reflect that. 

Because I forgot to water my plants.

I was watching an episode of Gotham when she came to mind.

That's it so far. If you do care to see what else will make it to the pages of my sketchbook, you can follow me on Instagram here. And if you happen to be participating, let me know so I can follow your work as well!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In Search Of

My son Josh gave me Lisa Congdon's book, Art Inc. for my birthday. How did he know about it? Well, I've taken to putting things I like on my Amazon Wish List. Saves on guesswork and both son and hubby seem to appreciate the simplicity of it. On my end, I get what I actually want!

It took me a while to get back on track after the MATS Bootcamp, the MATS GTS, the MIID Summer School, and even the Spoonflower 30-Day Challenge were all over. Suddenly there were no real deadlines, no design briefs or prompts. I was on my own.

I did learn a great deal from having gone through the assignments and challenges. I also realized that it was time to try and put a finger on what actually defined my style. Lisa Congdon talks about this in her book. She also talks about how having access to so much artwork by other artists can both inspire and discourage. She got that bit spot on.

Seeing the work of other artists on the bootcamps and contests was inspiring but it also raised doubt on my part about my own ability to create art that was not only good but that was truly mine. At my age, I feel as if I should have gotten that straightened out by now, but I also recognize the fact that it's not that straightforward for someone like me. I like doing too many things and trying everything out. There are dolls to sculpt, stories to illustrate, totes to paint and sew. There are techniques old and new to try my hand at, media I've never used and just discovering, and even scraps hold promises of artwork that could prove to be exciting and fun. All of that make for a really busy mind!

Once in a while, I do find some moments of quiet and when I do, the words of friends come to mind. More than once, the art I do when I'm not not aiming for any kind of look or style, had been described as sweet, as innocent, and even quiet and comforting. And then I look back to my earlier years when I would draw for my grandmother (whose birthday is today) and see, in my mind's eye, the silhouettes of children that I drew with a black marker and how I tried to put in color by adding hearts using a red marker! There were others with more color though I think I thought I was being sophisticated by limiting my color palette to just red and black!

But these memories seem to be reminding me of what my art is really about. I grew up making art largely influenced by Holly Hobby and Joan Walsh Anglund. Along the way, there have been elements picked up from other artists and it was good to be able to try new things. But now it's time to step away and take a good, long look at where I want to go.

This is why when Lisa Congdon began to explain how to make a Vision Map, I tore out a page from my sketch pad and followed along. I got rid of the doubts. I got rid of realistic. I wrote down what adventure I wanted waiting for me. I wrote down my Values and Intermediate Goals.

Today I scanned three of the artwork I'd been making with my Gelli plate and put them up on Fine Art America. They're not sweet or innocent but I think of them as fun. I'm going to revisit the days I spent making art for my Grandmother and see what comes of it. With any luck, I'll finally come up with artwork that will truly be mine.

Here are the prints:

Art Prints

Art Prints

Art Prints