From My Sketchbook: The Tortoise and The Hare

I’ve been taking the Make Art That Sells course with Lilla Rogers lately, which is a five-week e-course that gives artists everything they need to know to make and sell commercially-viable art in the hottest markets, such as bolt fabric, home decor, children’s books, wall art, gift, and more.

The topic for this project was children’s books, to draw characters, do some hand lettering, and design an illustration for a children’s book using Aesop’s fable The Tortoise and The Hare.

Our first exercise was to draw a variety of tortoises in our usual style, then try a different style, and then add some facial expressions, emotion, props and personality. I’ve never drawn tortoises (or turtles), or worked on art for children’s books, or drawn animals as characters, so this was a great challenge for me.

I started out drawing tortoises in a realistic way and then played around … just a little bit.

sketchbook page of tortoises

Then I decided to go crazy and personify a tortoise with more human-like characteristics including a hat and clothes. I had no idea where these drawings were going but that’s the fun of drawing over and over again when creating make-believe. Maybe he’s a redneck with a flannel shirt and trucker hat or maybe he’s a more proper guy wearing a bowler hat and bowtie.

sketchbook tortoise characters sketchbook tortoise

I also drew a hare in a few different styles, wearing a scarf and looking smug and disinterested.

sketchbook hares

The next step was to try some hand-lettering to match the style of our tortoise character, which is another fun challenge. I searched for sports fonts since this fable is about a race, and found Octin and Athletic Script fonts for just the inspiration I was looking for.

sketchbook tortoise hand lettering

I’ve had a book in my reference library for years called Illustrating Children’s Books by Martin Salisbury which makes a few points that really resonate with me:

  • Characters are born on the page from evolving doodles drawn over and over again.
  • The process of drawing releases new ideas and new stories.
  • Characters begin to take on a life and personality of their own.

I love to illustrate maps, so I decided to give my piece a whimsical illustrated map look and feel with a path that winds through a cabbage patch and trail signs to distract Mr. Hare while Mr. Tortoise approaches the finish line. This might be a fun illustration to print on one of the end pages of the book, sort of like a game board.

cover illustration for the tortoise and the hare

Hope you’re on the look-out for things that inspire you and challenge you!

Terri

Wall Art Patchwork Collage

I’ve been taking the Make Art That Sells course with Lilla Rogers lately, which is a five-week e-course that gives artists everything they need to know to make and sell commercially-viable art in the hottest markets, such as bolt fabric, home decor, children’s books, wall art, gift, and more.

I am excited to share with you my final wall art collage I designed for Week 4. The challenge was to create a wall art collage for a client such as Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters.

collage wall art

I thought this project was going to be difficult for me because I’ve never been a fan of abstract art or collage. But some of the advice Lilla gave us was to make something we would hang on our own wall or gift to a friend. “Art made for yourself is usually your best work.” And then I had my lightbulb moment – I love random patchwork!

stitched dream

I started out with a quilt sandwich with canvas fabric and batting which gave me a heavy duty piece to work on.

canvas backing

After collecting bits and pieces of ephemera for a couple days, I thought about the mixed-media artists who inspire me and have helped influence my likes, dislikes, techniques and styles. I also thought about a couple people in my life who might hang a wall art collage made by me.

handwriting closeup

We had to stick to a narrow color palette that was randomly assigned. I got red and pink so I threw in some neutrals to give your eyes a place to rest. Red and pink can be pretty girly so I used black thread for the free stitching to grunge it up a bit.

stitching the dream letters

My favorite parts of this process were the free-motion stitching, hand lettering on fabric and piecing all the alternative materials together using thread as my glue. (I’m not a fan of glue.)

free stitching dream

For this project, I mostly used solid fabrics, fabric swatches of my own red and pink designs printed by Spoonflower, and textures I created by hand-lettering on fabric and painting on watercolor paper. I would love to make more patchwork collages like this with so I would skip gathering bits and pieces of stuff and paint my own canvas fabric with doodles, splatters and designs to cut up and collage together with free stitching.

Terri

From My Sewing Room: Patchwork Projects

Yes, my dear sewing friends, I do still sew!patchwork bag Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent

I recently made this patchwork zipper pouch from a patchwork of squares I had leftover from a summer project using Anna Maria Horner’s Pretty Potent fabrics.

patchwork squares Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent

I attached a solid berry fabric to the bottom, zig-zagged some random quilting lines, and turned it into a zipper pouch. I love this so much for the bold fabrics, the random zig-zagging, and the stand-up form. It measures 10″ wide by 7″ high.

patchwork bag Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent

patchwork bag Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent

I also starting making a set of quilt blocks from a kit I purchased from Fat Quarter Shop using Winged fabrics by Bonnie Christine. I haven’t made a quilt in a long time, so I thought a kit would be a good jump-start. I don’t normally like to follow patterns, but this one is really easy and fast so I’m just enjoying the process and these lovely fabrics.

quilt blocks of Winged by Bonnie Christine quilt blocks of Winged by Bonnie Christine

Goodness, I have missed sewing so stay tuned for more sewing projects in the works. I have a growing list ;)

Terri

Notes From the Office: Fresh-Cut Flowers

I’ve been wanting to share with you the fresh-cut flowers I’ve had in my home office lately. They brighten up my office, especially on days that are overcast and gloomy.

fresh cut flowers for fall

fresh cut flowers for fall fresh cut flowers for fall

I brought home three packages of gerbera daisies recently from the greenhouse where my mom works. The sales staff was going to throw away these daisies because they couldn’t sell them anymore. They only lasted about a week so maybe they weren’t as fresh anymore. But I’m not picky!

gerbera daisies for the weekgerbera daisies for the week

This next bouquet lasted over two weeks before I had to replace them with the above fresh finds.

fresh cut flowers

It turns out having weekly fresh-cut flowers also provides wonderful inspiration and drawing reference, especially this time of year when nature in my yard is slowing down and going dormant for the upcoming winter months.

fresh cut flowers in green fresh cut flowers in yellow fresh cut flowers in red-yellow fresh cut flowers in red

I was happy to learn that a local grocery store sells fresh-cut flowers for a great price and a great selection. It’s such a treat to have flowers on my desk these days!

Terri

 

Licensed Art: Crystal Snowflakes

My fourth collection of licensed art collection of illustrations with Nancy’s Notions and Amazing Designs was recently released. It’s called Crystal Snowflakes, and includes 30 designs of snowflakes adorned with hot-fix crystals or beads to add lots of sparkle.

licensed art: crystal snowflakes licensed art: crystal snowflakes

The illustrations are digitized into embroidery designs that are put onto a CD for you to load into your computer. You can adjust the size and colors of the design before saving and uploading to your embroidery machine. Start with satin stitching, and then add hot-fix crystals or bead accents to each design using stitched placement outlines to add sparkle and shine.

adding hot fix crystals

The talented folks at Nancy’s Notions mocked up some beautiful examples to highlight the stitching and crystals in these designs!

licensed art: crystal snowflakes licensed art: crystal snowflakes

I first met my rep at my portfolio show last December, and then connected with her earlier this year to work on licensed art embroidery collections for Nancy’s Notions. She provides the concepts and I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook before going digital. Here are a couple scans from my sketchbook. During the digital process, I ended up adding a lot more details, highlights and shading.

snowflake sketchessnowflake sketches

 

It’s so fun to see my artwork turned into such beautiful projects!

Terri

Licensed Art: Iridescent Christmas Ornaments

My third collection of licensed art collection of illustrations with Nancy’s Notions and Amazing Designs was released over the weekend! It’s called Iridescent Christmas Ornaments, and includes 30 designs of Christmas ornaments in classic shapes decorated with lovely flourishes and swirls.

licensed art: iridescent ornamentslicensed art: iridescent ornaments

The illustrations are digitized into embroidery designs that are put onto a CD for you to load into your computer. You can adjust the size and colors of the design before saving and uploading to your embroidery machine.

For this collection, the stitcher uses mylar tissue that shows through the embroidery stitches for a sparkle effect—opal mylar tissue provides an opalescent effect with hints of a rainbow of colors while opaque colored mylar tissue offers a bold and beautiful metallic result. Much like an automatic applique, the first color stitched gives  an outline where to place the mylar tissue. With the next color, the mylar tissue is embroidered in place and outlined; the excess mylar tissue is removed by tearing it away—the outline perforates the mylar. The remaining colors add subtle accents as well as veins and stem details. If embroidered without mylar tissue, the base fabric will show through creating a light density look, for a softened effect.

licensed art: iridescent ornaments licensed art: iridescent ornaments

Nancy’s Notions mocked up some beautiful examples!

licensed art: iridescent ornaments

I first met my rep at my portfolio show last December, and then connected with her earlier this year to work on licensed art embroidery collections for Nancy’s Notions. She provides the concepts and I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook before going digital. Here are a couple scans from my sketchbook. During the digital process, I ended up adding a lot more details, highlights and shading.

ornament sketchesornament sketchesornament sketches

It’s so fun to see my artwork turned into such beautiful projects!

Terri

Free Printable Calendar – November 2014

Welcome to November! November is all about celebrating the harvest around here. The birthstone is the topaz, the flower is the chrysanthemum, includes All Saints’ Day, Election Day, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving.

Click here to download your free printable calendar for November 2014, which offers a colorful reminder to give thanks.

November 2014 printable

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 November! Hope you’re out enjoying the Autumn season.

Terri

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