MATS A week 1

I have been wanting to take the Make Art That Sells course by Lilla Rogers since it first started. I’m finally taking it! I cleared my schedule as much as possible so that I could focus and get as much out of the course as I could. I’ve just finished the first assignment and I want to describe my experience and process as much for myself as for any curious on lookers.

Although I have a beautiful studio, I decided to work on the table in the living room because it’s right beside the furnace and therefore much warmer. So I loaded up a big tray with my favourite art supplies and grabbed a bunch of paper. I use regular printer paper for dry media because it’s inexpensive and fits nicely into the scanner. sketchbooks are much harder to make flat on the scanner bed and sometimes make me work in a less psychologically free way because I don’t want crappy pages in there forever. Here’s a photo of the little drawings I did during the mini. I played around with a few materials and I wanted to challenge myself to include a medium I don’t usually use. That turned out to be charcoal pencils. I like how gritty they are and how it forced me to draw simpler shapes.

After doing the mini I scanned in all my drawings and put my art supplies tray back in my studio and took out the graphics tablet to get to work on the assignment. I watched the reviews from the other sessions during breaks so that I would have all of Lilla’s good advice floating around my brain while I worked. When I was completely done, I watched one of the reviews again and I took notes on my work. I  thought about what I had done well and what I thought I needed to work on. I made a list of things I wanted to change or try. Then I went back to my piece and worked on it for another day. I wanted to push myself and make it better than ok. The first image is the before and the second is the after: collectionsheet2

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In my revision I added texture to the background, more patterns to the pyrex, moved icons around, added the text, worked on the coordinates some more, added a little icon on the bottom and cleaned up the little colour dots, and quite a bit more. Lots of little changes that added more interest and variety and slightly improved the piece.

While I was doing the mini and drawing pasta, I started to think about my mother in law- an Italian and an excellent maker of pasta. I had scenes of dinner at her house in my head, with the sunflower tablecloth, espresso after dinner, and the earthy tones that decorate her kitchen. I decided to follow that story as the concept for my little collection. I actually have enough artwork that I could do another few co ordinates. maybe I will! Because it suited the narrative and because I wanted to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone, I decided to use reds yellows and beiges instead of my usual cool colour preferences (although I popped some blue in there because blue is the best!)

All in all, I’m pleased with my effort and I think I learned a lot. There are still a lot of things I need to improve on however (I made a list!) and since the assignments from past years are included in the course material, I’m planning on circling back when I have gone through the course completely and trying out the assignment again with another classes theme!

Summer School first assignment

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At the last minute I decided to join the make it in design summer school. The first brief for the intermediate track was based on the trend “eco decay”. It’s a trend that I find really cool and I would have loved to interpret for my textile design work, however I signed up to the course wanting to create something for my art licensing/illustration portfolio. Since the types of products the two different bodies of work end up on are different (my textile design work ends up on apparel and my art licensing work ends up on stationery, home products, childrens’ publishing, gifts, etc.) the way I interpret the trends are different. I would have gone even more textural with stronger, darker colours and left out the mushroom icons if  I were designing for apparel, interpreting the trend more literally, but I went in a lighter “cuter”, more illustrative approach instead, since I wanted to create a print that would look good on different types of products. I think I stuck a good balance. I also came up with a couple of quick co ordinate prints to go along.

Here’s how it would look on a tote bag:

totebagmockupOverall, it was a good experience and I enjoy design challenges. I think I found a way to be informed by the trend but still maintain my own style. I can’t wait for the next brief!