Catching Up

Sorry for the absence! I’ve been quite busy lately so I’ll catch you up quickly:

-Thought I was losing my job so I doubled down on art, made a huge plan for overhaul to my portfolio, Etsy shop, business plans, commissions, etc.

-Didn’t lose job, super busy with summer festivities, painted my living room/studio walls, and then ran out of time for art

-Currently trying to find balance between being able to pay at least most of my bills by cutting day job to part time, and getting my art career off the ground.

I’ve been working on making more Youtube videos (editing takes me forever so it’s still pretty slow going) but I’ve been having fun working on them when I can. It’s something l’d really like to work on more. I’ve made clay pins for my bag that a lot of people liked so I’m currently working on a batch for a shop update (hoping by early September) . I’ve added some more custom options to my Etsy shop, as I find it’s easier for people to feel comfortable commissioning an artist that way. Finally, I’ve been working on new stickers for my shop, updating my Redbubble and working on adding digital prints to my Etsy shop.

Clay Pins!

(A shop update is in progress!)

polymer clay pins cute colorful animal shapes.jpg

Pink & Blue Pet Portraits

pink and blue pet portrait paintings in watercolor.png

A simple, quick and budget-friendly option

 

Dayjob // Dreamjob Drama:

My day job (a retail job I’m not particularly fond of) changed things around and my hours got cut from full time to about 15 hours per week. At that point I would not even earn close to a minimum wage. So with the extra time, I could either get a second day job (not much to choose from in my tiny town) and quit my art career….or double down and try to get my career off the ground. Clearly I chose the art.

I had all this extra free time so I worked on new products and paintings and marketing and had a few commissions come in and things were looking a little less bleak…..but now my day job changed things around again and I am back to 35-40 hours per week…..I barely earn enough to live as it is, and while I have the comfort of “okay I can pay most of my bills…” I no longer have time for all the plans I made for my art.

At this point….I think I just need to take that leap. Otherwise I’ll be forever stuck in my shitty little comfort zone where I’m miserable but surviving. I think I really need that little push. You know, the fire under your ass that be like, “HEY GET MOVING I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE WORRIED OR IT’S NOT PERFECT OR IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE!!”

So maybe I’m not flat out quitting my part time job, but cutting it dangerously low to force myself to be responsible for making up the rest of the money I need to live from my art. A craft that I have been honing for a solid decade.

Also it’s summer so everyone and their mother wants me to be there for their wedding/graduation/birthday/their kid’s birthday/fireworks/etc…..so family and friends have gotten the largest slice of free time I had. I was trying to be productive and just ended up planning too much and spreading myself too thin. You know how it is.

How to Paint with a Limited Color Palette

A questions I’m often asked is; “How do you choose colors/make stuff so colorful??”

how to use limited color palette watercolor painting

I figured I’d finally address this where I can write a lengthy explanation that I can direct people towards. So if you really want to know specifically, keep reading. TLDR? Very carefully.

(Also, I made a video explaining it too! I do drop some f-bombs, though, so be warned!)

I have always loved bright and colorful things and art or objects with a pleasing color scheme. Especially analogous color schemes with the one offbeat color that stands out real nice. I was also mystified for the better part of 10 years on how to use colors in such a way. I want all the colors, but am then immediately overwhelmed by them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from mastery on this and will likely never achieve it, but I’ve finally found a good starting point to work from.

Pick 3 colors and stick to them.

I mean it. No others until you’re confident with those 3 together.

Pick three colors you really like and force them to play nice. Easy route? Primary colors. Easy route with a slight twist and totally different aesthetic? Pink, yellow and blue. I find these the easiest to start out with (like how they teach you primary colors in kindergarten). But don’t mix them and make extra colors just yet. Try using these colors alone in different ratios on a painting. Pick one thing to paint and replace all the dark colors with blue, for example. The mid-tone values can be replaced with pink, and the lighter tones with yellow.

Once you get a sense of how the colors are working, you can start darkening/lightening or saturating/de-saturating each shade. Then slowly incorporate more colors as you go. For this piece, I ended up mixing the pink and blue to make a purple color for the rocks and shadows. I also added Payne’s grey to get a much darker, but still harmonious, blue tone for the darkest parts of the fox (eyes and nose). Don’t be afraid to try again a few more times if it didn’t turn out well the first time.

There are sooooo many different looks you can achieve based on different proportions of just those three colors alone. Maybe try dialing one color back a bit and adding more of another. Choosing colors becomes more and more intuitive with each piece you make. Trial and error is the name of the game here. Once you become super comfortable (like, uncomfortably comfortable) with this trio, start adding different colors or swapping one out for something totally different.

I filmed the painting process of this piece and narrated it. Once I’ve finished editing & uploading the video, I’ll link it here. Just in case you want to hear my rambling instead of reading it.

Video Process

I’ll be making a follow up video and blog post in the future about how to choose weird colors and force those to be friends later (featuring acrylics). Hopefully I’ll get better at explaining things, too. If there’s something I missed or I can improve on, or if you just have more questions let me know!

Materials used in this painting:

  • Winsor & Newton Watercolors (Cotman series) in Permanent Rose, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue and Payne’s Grey.

  • Strathmore 400 Series watercolor paper

  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Brushes (the blue ones) and Princeton Elite (?) brushes (the black ones)

I hope this was helpful to you, and thank you much for reading! 🙂

Now go forth and make shit colorful!

Back to Digital Painting

Initially, I began as a digital artist, It’s been nearly a year and a half since I’ve actually painted something in Photoshop. Just got back into it recently, and boy did I miss it. I’m pleased to find that my traditional painting style now translates pretty well back into digital illustrations, too! 🙂

Old tablet rant…

The whole reason I initially stopped painting digitally was (I think properly explained in a previous post), in short, because my computer didn’t work with my fancy drawing tablet. So, I decided to work on traditional art instead, and loved it more.

I’ve since gotten rid of my fancy Cintiq because I felt guilty for letting it sit there collecting dust. Of course 3 months after that happens, my old Intuos tablet I’ve had for a good 7 years, decides to hate me. I spend almost 2 hours every time I hook it up, messing with the drivers. Plus the cord has been chewed up a bit and falls out of the tablet in the middle of working.

I think those days of shoving it in my bag and running around campus during college did the thing no favors whatsoever.

…end rant

I’ve got a new drawing tablet now, though, so I’m really looking forward to adding digital paintings and commissions to my portfolio. It’s the Wacom Intuos medium with Bluetooth, and I love it! (It’s even minty green) I would definitely recommend this tablet to anyone looking to start out with digital art.

Programs I Use for Digital Painting:

I am often asked what programs I use to paint with, so here are a few favorites:

  • Adobe Photoshop: I learned to use this in college and while it can have a pretty steep learning curve, it has so many great features. Personally, this is my go-to.
  • Paint Tool SAI: I’m not sure if this program is still available, but I love it and I have been using it for about 10 years now. It’s very simple, inexpensive and worth every penny. The blending brushes it has are amazing, and you can make such crisp line work with it. (Not available for Mac unfortunately)
  • Fire Alpaca: Similar to SAI, but I personally get a little confused with the layout. It does offer crisp lines and still has a simple enough layout that makes getting started pretty easy. It’s free and is also available for Mac, which makes it a good replacement for SAI.
  • Krita: An awesome Photoshop replacement. A lot of cool features and brush settings, though definitely has a learning curve to get used to. Also, I found it super difficult to set my eyedropper tool to a different hotkey which is, oddly, a deal-breaker for me. This program is amazing and is also free.

Here are a few of the pieces I’ve tried recently with the new tablet, all in Photoshop:

 

Catching Up & Finishing my 365-day Drawing Challenge on Instagram

Time to catch up…

Oh hello there! It’s been a while since I’ve made a post hasn’t it? I ran out of time for extra things in November. I just worked a ton, made some new year’s goals and finished a year long drawing challenge.

Did you have a good holiday season, or was it a lot of chaos too?

I posted a new drawing to Instagram every day for an entire year!

Another big thing I’ve accomplished recently, was finishing a 365-day drawing challenge! I’ve made a post before about what I’ve learnt along the way, but I just can’t believe I actually made it to the end. A new drawing or painting. Every. Single. Day to make.

Then there’s the photo to take, editing said photo, writing a blurb to go with it, tagging it, and then eventually posting it to Instagram. It was a ton of work but I am so happy I stuck it out to the whole way through.

This accomplishment itself deserves a whole post, so I’ll probably be posting a detailed conclusion of that soon.

New year’s resolutions

I’ve recently had a look back at what I’ve accomplished in 2018, and was surprised I could actually cross off most of the resolutions I made. I started an Etsy shop, built my website portfolio, started this little blog here, and a ton of other more personal goals ❤

Going forward into the new year, I’ve made a couple new goals. I want to really focus on my portfolio to get more commissions as well as some larger, professional editorial work under my belt.

Right now, what I want more than anything in the world, is to make painting and illustration my full time job and be able to leave my less-than-stellar retail day job. I also want to keep blogging here to improve at writing, and I think I’d like to start making more videos for Youtube as well. I even got a fancy (for me anyways) new microphone for it, so ya girl’s gonna be adding voiceovers to vids now~

Anyways, thanks for reading!

More Commissions & Last Call for Christmas!

Haven’t really had the chance to work on those lofty shop update goals I mentioned in an earlier post, as I’ve had a lot of commissions lately. Not that I’m complaining, I’d love for my day job to consist solely of painting adorable animals and lovely people. Between those and my current day job, however, I’ve had very little free time for all the other shop updates I’ve been wanting to do.

On the other hand, I can start plenty early for next year’s seasonal shop update by starting all those ideas I had in January 2019!

Here were a few of my favorite commissions over the last couple of weeks:

I have to say, it’s been a huge learning curve for selling things during the holidays. From item stock to time management. It’s been rough trying to figure out the last day you can ship something and have it arrive in time for Christmas. But hopefully I’ll have improved a lot and will be better prepared next year!

Last Call for Custom Art Christmas Gifts: DECEMBER 10th!

As of right now, DECEMBER 10th will be the cutoff point for ordering any custom paintings to arrive before Christmas. (US only) This date may change if I get a bunch of orders. (I’ll keep you posted!)

You can still order after the 10th of course, but they may not arrive until after Christmas at that point.

(For international orders, I can’t really give a date due to the delays packages can face going through customs, but the sooner the better!)

 

Learning to Draw Animals

This year, one of my biggest goals was to learn how to draw animals and become comfortable with painting them. I was never good at drawing animals. They always turned out looking broken and creepy with backwards legs, due to a gross misunderstanding of anatomy. That, or just very stiff and awkward like a product of picture day in middle school.

Now they are currently my favorite subjects to draw and paint. Pet portraits and animal-themed nursery art are also what I’m commissioned for the most. It’s really interesting to reflect back on that.

A tip if you want to learn to draw animals. Really pay attention to the fundamental shapes that make up the body and the flow of them. You will see similarities in the anatomy repeat between different animals and those fundamentals will help you learn to draw any animal way faster. (Though, to be fair, this advice could probably be applied to drawing literally anything)

Remember, basic shapes are good. Basic shapes are your friends.

Also, Practice makes perfect…or vast improvements at the very least~

(On a side-note, I feel super weird not including any fun pictures or anything. Until the holidays are over, though, I’m not going to have a whole lot of time to put into my blog 😦 I’ll update and beautify when and where I can, however!)

Inktober 2018 – Conclusion

inktober-2018-conclusion-banner

Oh color, how I’ve missed you!

Okay I know, I could have used more color inks and generally Copic markers qualify as ink too. It just seems the perfect season for a grungy black and white style. But as much as I love painting with ink now, I miss my colorful acrylics! Excited to be back to sharing them ❤

So I said I wanted to do a spooky theme throughout October, but I totally burned out about halfway through. I ran out of ideas, so the whole spooky thing ended up being a flop. I changed angles and just tried jumping straight into painting with ink, instead of sketching each painting out first.

Here where some of the initial ‘spooky’ ones:
Continue reading

1,000 Instagram Followers

Recently I have hit 1,000 followers on Instagram, which is crazy to me. When I started posting I doubted I would ever even have 500 people, let alone a thousand, interested in my art. So I just want to say thank you to anyone who may be reading this. So,

Thank You!! ❤

A bit about my journey on Instagram…

I had originally started on Instagram as a way to share the traditional art I was making whilst my computer was broken for about a year and I couldn’t make digital art. This ended up being a huge turning point in my career path. I went from wanting to be a digital concept artist for the longest time, to accepting that I wasn’t cut out for that kind of work. It was a rough, but I think my broken computer situation ended up being the best thing that could’ve happened. I probably wouldn’t have gone on Instagram, found a bunch of awesome illustrators who inspired me, and chose the path I’m on now if it hadn’t.

To me, 1,000 people is a lot. Considering I started with around 250 of mostly just friends and family in January. I have made so many new friends there over the last 2 years which has been awesome and has pushed me to really keep improving my work.

I also found that starting my 365 day challenge journey and sharing it on Instagram has really helped connect me with a lot of people, which has been super cool too~

Here’s a fun comparison of the first few illustrations I had ever posted to Instagram to some more recent ones. (And I think it’s safe to say, my skill in just taking the pictures of my art has improved drastically haha)

Summer 2016 vs Fall 2018:

Anyways, that ended up being a longer post than planned. Congrats if you made it this far and thanks for reading! I hope you had a great weekend 🙂

Also, if you’ve ever had a huge stop and switch in career/life paths, please share! I feel times like that can be super difficult and it’s always nice to know you’re not alone and all the stuff you learn along the way~

Illustrating a Cookbook & Self-Initiated Projects

It’s a good feeling to actually want to wake up 2 hours early to get some extra painting time in before work. Soooo much can be accomplished in that two hours, and it makes me that much more excited to get home and pick up where I left off!

Self-initiated projects are a great way to continue working on your portfolio between commissions. Sometimes it’s really hard jumping from one painting to the next or feeling burnt out from the decision fatigue of what to paint next. Creating a larger project gives you a list to work at each day.

Currently, I’m working on illustrating all of my boyfriend’s favorite recipes. I was collecting and re-typing some of the worn out and scattered pages one day, I thought of this, then wanted to smack myself for not coming to this decision sooner. Hoping to be able to finish the first 15 recipes in time to print a mini booklet by early December!

Here are a few ingredient illustrations:

 

Prepping for the Holidays & Commissions

I know, I know, Christmas still seems like miles away. Never too early to start preparing for seasonal products when you hand make them, though! (Honestly, I feel like I’m pretty late on this)

This year will be my first Christmas season with an Etsy Shop and open commissions. I already wish I had started planning this sooner but, live and learn, ya know? I’m really excited and I have tons of ideas of things I want to make and add to my shop, but we’ll see how time and resources work out for that.
Continue reading