Monday, 10 March 2014

NEW SKILLS with Skillshare

I've become rather addicted to Skillshare classes, which I'll be blogging about in the next few weeks as I've signed up for so many. First I'm starting with Matt Kaufenberg's Character Illustration. It was to design & illustrate a pirate character using Illustrator and Photoshop.

Delving into my past again now. Many years ago my art director ( at a greetings card studio) had said the boy character I'd drawn for a birthday card was 'scary' and the client would be horrified. It didn't go any further than that. In the intervening decade I didn't draw anymore characters as I'd been so put off by that negative response.

So with this course I wised to overcome that fear. Its not that I don't want draw kids, or things with faces, or cute -I just felt they would all look scary! I ignored the pirates and concentrated on some Christmas designs I was excited by. Matt's instructions were very clear, and he had so many cool tips. It starts by tracing your sketch in Illustrator, releasing it as layers then exporting to Photoshop.


That's were the fun really begins. As part of the package were links to Photoshop brushes which I greedily uploaded. OOohh the fun I had - I had missed texture so much. I was extremely pleased with the results, I couldn't believe I had made this art. I had felt it was just beyond me. Now I can see other applications for this wonderful technique (for me) - expect to see more of it in the coming months.

NEW WEBSITE & overcoming a mental block

I can at last reveal my new website. Its been years in the making for many reasons that I feel comfortable sharing now.

Before my kids were born I there was a long period of time when I illustrated elegant but homogenized looking women. That was the prevailing trend for figurework ( in editorial) so I jumped on the bandwagon. Financially it was a abundant period but my heart was heavy. When I left uni half my portfolio was printmaking based. I felt I had let myself down and felt embarrassed my style was so far removed from those joyful days in the printroom. It all came to a head after my son was born. I pretty much cut ties with that slick style and just enjoyed being with my baby.

However it did leave 'emotional scars'. It may seem illogical but in my head I thought if I had a website I would attract the same clients and be called upon to produce figure work in a style that had its day. It was a very real fear - that maybe difficult for non- creatives to understand. During Wall Art week of MATS I produced this.

It has taken me a long time to accept and give myself permission to allow figurework in my art MY way. Its clear that there is a way. Thanks for reading this - its taken me a while to filter out all these feelings.


This is my first proper post in the blog as part of my FIRST EVER website.

The last 3 weeks have just zoomed by. I almost forgot I had signed up to Lilla's Bootcamp many moons ago - but then the excitement started creeping up as the FB group was revealed. So many of my MATS mates were taking part it, like the start of a new term. And so many other wonderful people were taking part. I have to say I was in awe at some of the talent.

Lilla revealed on the first Monday were were to take a detailed look at cuckoo clocks. From the lil bird inside, decoration, clock face and basically anything decorative or of interest to us. Unlike MATS when there was 7 days to complete an assignment we had 21 days so I thought there would be less pressure......uummmm in a way.

I would say the same emotions I felt, sometimes lack of direction, sometimes terror as I posted on FB were still present. But it was all s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out over the 3 weeks which was great as I now had a pile of other exciting work to content with. In week 2 Lilla revealed the brief was to design a phone case using the images from our first week's mini.

I liked the mock Tudor vibe that appeared on some of the clocks and found myself looking at informal grids and triangle arrangements - especially roofs ( getting geeky I know) Lilla surprised us in week 3 with a super 'on trend' colour palette that I found very close to one I had chosen already ( yey getting better with colour) I combined this with a new found technique ( for me anyhow) for importing line work from Illustrator to Photoshop then adding texture.

I was SO pleased with what I had achieved that I breath a sigh of relief. However as the week wore on and more and more folks were posting their designs I REALLY started to doubt that what I'd done was enough. Sure I had done what I wanted, and it wasn't a literally representation of a clock- more of a dissected version. I even sketched up a alternative and asked the FB group. It was half and half, some said do this new version others told me to listen to my gut. Well my intuative gut won the day - the design stayed as it was.