From My Sketchbook: Drawing Inspiration from the Greenhouse

Trips to the greenhouse are a pick-me-up during the winter months when everything is dormant and gray outside, but they also provide inspiration for my drawing, illustration and surface pattern design projects.

Here are a few color palettes I’m working with these days using tiny plants on display at the local greenhouse.
tiny plants color palettesSince I can’t bring all of them home on every visit, I try to bring home pictures to use for reference for new illustrations in my sketchbook.

sketchbook tiny fernssketchbook tiny plantssketchbook tiny plantsMy plan next is to draw these sketches digitally and turn them into a new collection of surface patterns! So fun!



Designing A Journal Cover

I’m taking an online course to build up my design portfolio of licensed art. Our first project for January was to draw Edwardian brooches and design a journal cover with that theme in mind. Besides the brooches, I was also inspired by cameos, lace, lace doilies and Coco Chanel, all from the Edwardian era!

Edwardian Journal Cover

I thought it would be fun to share my process with you today:

I considered doing jeweled brooches so I drew some examples in my sketchbook.

sketchbook brooches

Then I considered insect brooches so I drew some more.
sketchbook butterfly brooches sketchbook insect brooches

Then I remembered how much I love cameos so I started drawing fancy frames and cameo women.

sketchbook fancy frames

sketchbook cameos

After a little more research on cameos and Edwardian women, I came across a cool photo of Coco Chanel from the early 1900s along with lots of great quotes from her. And then my concept came together! I knew the exact color palette I wanted to work with – a velvety plum with tints and shades for contrast.

I couldn’t resist designing a couple more mock-ups for a cell phone case and a zipper pouch.

Edwardian journal setThis was a fun project outside my usual concepts, which has since led to new ideas in development.


Freshening Up At the Greenhouse

It’s always refreshing to take a trip to the local greenhouse in winter to soak up all the green plants growing indoors while it’s cold and snowy outside. I love noticing all the different hues of green and the shapes and textures.

mini plants at the greenhouse

mini plants at the greenhouse flowers at the greenhousemini plants at the greenhouse mini plants at the greenhouse red pink and green leaves

arrow leaf greenhouse fern foxtail fern

On this trip, we brought how some succulents to add to our houseplant collection. They sure are popular right now, aren’t they? I’m hoping they like the dry climate in our house, especially in winter.

succulents from the greenhouse

My regular trips to the greenhouse not only serve as a pick-me-up but also give me inspiration for my drawing, illustration and surface pattern design projects. Stay tuned for a couple new pages from my sketchbook!


Inspiration Wednesday: From My Sketchbook

I’ve been enjoying making more time lately to experiment in my mixed-media sketchbook. As usual, once I get going, I realize how much I miss this creative freedom to just experiment, paint, draw and doodle with different media.

In order to fill up more sketchbooks, which is on my bucket list for 2015, I have been coming up with lots of drawing prompts. One thing I’m doing is a monthly calendar. But instead of using it like a diary, I’m using it to do a daily doodle.

sketchbook page for january 2015 doodles

It’s a great way to get started with my drawing projects for the day. I’m hoping to have a theme for each month’s doodles. It’s growing to be one of my new favorite things to do!


Hand-Lettered Friday: Be Brave

I’ve been practicing my hand-lettering more lately, traditionally and with my digital drawing tablet, so I hoping to share hand-lettered pages from my sketchbook and computer on Fridays.

sketchbook page be brave

The prompt for this page is my theme for 2015, to be brave, to be confident in making more work, sharing it and submitting it to licensing companies.

I’m happy to report this was the very last blank page in my watercolor sketchbook, which I started in 2012. It’s always a great feeling to fill up a sketchbook, another goal of mine in 2015 – to fill up more sketchbooks. I have already started a new sketchbook, which I will share next week.

Hope you enjoy a great weekend!


Free Printable Calendar – January 2015

I received requests from readers to keep going with the monthly printables throughout 2015, so I’m going to use the opportunity to experiment with repeating patterns in the background.

Click here to download your free printable for January 2015, featuring snowflakes.

January 2015 printable

Here are a few tid-bits about January:

• Zodiac signs are Capricorn and Aquarius
• Birthstone is a Garnet
• Flower is a Carnation

I left room on the calendar days so you can record meetings, appointments or special days. And there’s a column on the right side to keep your notes and to-do list for the month.

Hope you find these free printables useful and fun. Happy January!


2015 Bucket List

At the beginning of the year, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I like to make a bucket list for the year.

Happy New Year!

Of course, I have goals for the year, such as continuing to grow my freelance graphic design and illustration business, do more licensed art collections for Nancy’s Notions and submit samples of my designs to a few companies to get new licensed art gigs. More of the good, less of the bad, right?!

I want my bucket list to be full of adventure so I made a list of fun things to do this year:

  • Wear dresses more often!
  • Make more pies
  • Stay in touch with friends and family more often – send more snail mail
  • Road trips to visit my sister, my brother and a few friends
  • Draw something daily and fill up more sketchbooks
  • Sew more
  • Start a new quilting bee with my retreat friends
  • Visit the botanical gardens once a month
  • Go to the beach more often
  • Read more
  • Buy fresh-cut flowers each week for my home office
  • Start seeds in spring for our garden
  • Spice up my stationery shop
  • Design more surface patterns
  • Travel to New York and Houston for trade shows

december fresh cut flowers

What are you looking forward to in 2015?


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