Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Sketchbook : Easter : Chick, Bunnies, Fox & foxes

Easter Bunnies and Foxes are on my mind this week.
Here are some pen drawings in my Moleskine notebook, love the paper.

These buns appear to be confused, suspicious, sleepy, loving &/or distracted.

I imagine this rabbit is gathering instructions for this year's Easter route. 

I sketched a bunch of foxes for my class MATS3A with Lilla Rogers
I'll let you guess what the theme is ;) 
I'll use one of these characters for the final, but thought I'd share bc I always like 
the way sketches look together on a page.

This was a very quick sketch. The class can choose to illustrate a cover or a spread from Aesop's fable.
This is also a chance for me to work on lettering. 

I think this one might have the right mischievous look :) 
We'll see. I'm sure I'll share whatever I come up with next week.
If you'd like to learn more about this class - licensing your art, 
I wrote much more about it in my previous post on Monday.
Thanks as always for taking a look.
Enjoy the rest of your week and get those Easter baskets ready!
xo, A

Monday, April 14, 2014

Make Art That Sells, Allyn! you can, too :)

The 1st two weeks of MATS 3A class taught by Lilla Rogers
has felt all encompassing and incredibly fun!
This is the 1st online course I've ever taken. It's a collaboration between the much sought after 
and influential Licensing Agent, Lilla Rogers and Beth Kempton, founder of Do What You Love,
who is producing the class and sharing interviews with various artists represented by 

Today, I'm sharing the 1st two assignments from the 5 week course. My latest finished piece is shown above - Assignment : Create 1-4 pieces of art for a collection of ceramic plates. 
Below, the 1st Assignment - Make a piece of art that would be ideal to send to a Bolt Fabric 
company to attempt to get a collection.

What I particularly enjoy about the class is the way Lilla eases you into each
assignment by giving specific exercises, sketches to play around with
on Monday. On Wednesday of each week, we receive the 
Final assignment which will then incorporate these initial sketches.

It sounds simple, it is, and it works :)
We receive some reference, visit Pinterest, of course! and for the 1st assignment I 
even referenced some of my own previous paintings like the women below,
I used to love creating loose patterns as background for all my pieces.


What pushes me is that we are given specific exercises.
This was to sketch Tropical Fruit and vintage Pyrex dishware.

I really liked my loose pale blue design, but in the end went another direction.

These are some initial sketches in sketchbook, then onto watercolor paper ...

I started using wet media acetate, which I hadn't for some time, just to play around with ideas before committing. That's right, Kristine Lombardi, tell your class - Wet Media Acetate!

I've been sharing some sketches on Instagram with #makeartthatsells, yes that's
what MATS stands for. Here's hoping!
Many in class share images in our private Facebook group. Everyone is super
supportive and encouraging. I try not to go on there too much once we get our 
final assignment, so as not to be too influenced by what others are doing. 
There's quite a range of work and about 250 artist/designers, in this class alone.
My friend, Yuko Katakawa is now in Part B of this course, 
being taught simultaneously.

Back to me... after placing this pineapple on my grey sketchbook, I decided to go with 
a dark background for my entire piece. Lilla encourages playing with palette,
not doing the usual. For this, we were encouraged to look at retro pieces and combine 
Pyrex *style dishes with the tropical fruit icons we created.

She also talked to us about including coordinates to share your ideas/smaller patterns that
would work well with the main piece. I created two patterns and a pineapple tea towel design.

I shrank down my tulips for the final coordinate, but think these are kinda sweet, too.

Onto week 2 - "Make plates that YOU would love to have!" -LR
I adore painted ceramic plates from Italy, Spain, etc. so I went in that
direction, keeping in mind what I tend to buy at Anthropologie, 
my favorite shop, especially for home goods :)

Our initial sketches were to be of Succulents. This was challenging for me
because they aren't my favorites, although I've developed a little affinity for them.

I wanted something warm and summery. I literally drew in the sun.

My idea was to create a big blossoming world where a little bird looks up with wonder at it all.

Below, I made a simple and I think pretty dessert plate.

Here, you can see the simplified version above. Below, is a slightly more defined 
version where I draw more lines & add more color to the overlay.
I like this because this way I have two physical versions before doing anything in photoshop.

After deciding this saucer was just too busy? English Rose? Chinese? looking 
for the assignment.
I went back to simple sketches before making another small plate
and deciding my cup did not necessarily need a saucer.

Below, is the main larger plate design. I wanted to keep the sun, but after playing around, it felt more
sophisticated without it. Looking again, I do like how bright and fun this first version is. 
The great thing about class and others have expressed this- once you're done,
you immediately want to make more versions.
In order to have Lilla see your work you must upload your final to our Flickr/class group 
by 5p each Sunday. I think she visits the Facebook page some, but in order to have a 
shot at being reviewed by her personally, you gotta get it submitted on time, fair :)

This was a long post I know, but for anyone considering taking the class, after only two weeks,
I think it is well worth it. 
I haven't even touched on all the information and interviews shared each day for the class. 
There is a very encouraging, generous feel to everything presented. 
Personally, I really needed this push, something to feel excited and motivated by. 
It can be hard working on your own in somewhat of a vacuum.
I'm fortunate to have only had 2-3 day scenic jobs over the last couple of weeks.
Granted, I can't afford to turn down jobs, but it feels good to put some real time into this.
This week, is Children's book illustration!! 
I want it all, but my friends all know, kids' books is a big dream :)) 

Thanks for taking a look at what I'm currently up to!
*Have a great week*
xo, A

Sunday, March 30, 2014

California Dreaming

Okay, last weekend at this time I was lying on the beach in Malibu.
Today, I write about it from rainy Brooklyn. It's ok, it is a little warmer here, at least :)
Above was shot by Melissa Zexter in Santa Monica. We travelled to LA together
to see my Subway Animals in the Illustration West 52 Exhibit  
and to visit her cousin Judy and family.

American Airlines got us there safely, but not without a snack issue. 
I purchased a sandwich which came with chips. Yay! 
Zexter wanted only a bag of chips, but with each attempt to buy a bag, our flight attendant 
held up a big bag of Chex mix and said, "NO! but I can sell you THIS!" 
She was a serious Chex Mix pusher. You had to see it to believe it.
Does anyone eat Chex mix? It's understandable when you're stuck alone 
anxious at a party with no other options? but this was vacation time!

The Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay helped lighten the blow and 
I shared my delicious kettle cooked chips.

Our hotel was terrific! I really enjoyed our stay at Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica. 
Big comfy rooms, a little balcony and a heated pool. Plus, just a few blocks from the beach.

I liked these cushiony headboards, too.

We didn't bowl, but we did have a buttery english muffin in the diner :)

Friday was the 1st full day and it was like heaven to simply walk on the beach & feel the sun and sand. It wasn't that warm really, but as East Coasters know, it has been a rough winter. 

We picked up our car at Enterprise and bc they were out of economy, we scored a Jeep Cherokee.
I was happy, being the main driver, I felt safe in it and it didn't look like an obvious rental. 

We drove to Chateau Marmont, the iconic beautiful old hotel in
the Hollywood Hills. I had been years ago for drinks, but wanted to have lunch in the garden.
Below, is my quickie little sketch of it. Click here to see the real thing, if you haven't before.

Despite almost rolling down backwards into it from a hill above 
as we looked for parking, we made it! 
Well, had some trouble getting to the valet once we ditched the idea of street parking. 
Marmont is located off of a very busy street and one that reminded me of driving in New York 
 a couple of grumpy pushy drivers frightened me a little. 
When we finally reached the quite handsome valet, I rolled down my window 
admitting defeat, adding "we're from NYC"
He teased us about the Colorado plates & we learned that parking is free for 3 hours!

I only have a few photos and they're of the bathroom and hallway. 
I will ask Zexter to share some of hers here. She took several on the patio and inside.

The hallways are lined with large Annie Leibovitz photographs, like this one of Redford.
Lunch was delightful and we had a really great waiter. I have to say, folks in LA 
seem very friendly. People actually look at you and smile in the streets, on the beach, in shops,
restaurants, wherever. I sometimes forget just how guarded New Yorkers can be, 
although there are many friendly people here, once you crack that 1st layer.

I did a little photo shoot with my Doggie bag poolside, 
while Zex took a swim Saturday morning.

My show was up at Center Stage Gallery in Burbank.
That drive took some time and the area is not the prettiest, although
there are some splendid lemon trees in the surrounding neighborhood.

Here it is, my little buddies were still reading the paper, checking phones, 
napping, looking for snacks, treasure,  etc ;)

There was some nice work in the show and most of it was not art 
created for the children's market, although that's what I liked most, in general.

When we returned to Santa Monica, we popped the champagne and hung out on our tiny balcony.

Sure, it was midday, around 3pm, but remember it was already 6pm EST ;)

I love all the huge plants, palm trees, Seuss-style flowers and orange! Lots of orange all over :)

After wandering around lovely Santa Monica and buying  a few gifts, 
we enjoyed a cocktail and watched the sunset 
from the windows at Casa Del Mar, a lovely hotel on the beach.
My good friend, Margaret recommended it. I soon began texting her, 
asking just why again it was they ever left LA?
I'll get to her old neighborhood soon!

That IS bird sh*t on the window. I decided to leave it in as a reminder that nothing is perfect ;)

This is Wadsworth Ave. I'm posing in front of the very house my friends, 
Margaret and Scott shared an apartment for years. 
A bohemian Frenchman talks on the phone behind me, seemingly unaware 
of our oohing & awing at the charm of the street 
and it's nearness to the water. I guess he's used to it!

Zexter poses with plants that look as if they could wrap round her at any moment.

I didn't call.


This was our Sunday - off to Malibu :)
Driving Pacific Coast Highway - it doesn't get much better!

Delicious strawberries for sale by side of the road and fantastic signs to lead you there!

We went to El Matador State Park. You pay $8 and stay all day.

It was a perfect way to spend the last day. We packed a little picnic and lingered for hours.

I'm going to end abruptly here because that's how it felt having to leave Monday.
It was a quick trip, but so enjoyable. It only takes a few days to feel renewed really.
Melissa Zexter took time to work on her piece for a show in Milan this summer.
That just feels cool to say. 
I was happy to see my piece and I look forward to it's making it's 
return to Brooklyn. I did not offer it up for sale, 
since it's part of an ongoing series and possible children's story.

I offer you my few night shots ...
That is the Hotel California, below. Not as formidable as you might expect ;)

Here, I pose with shell by Chez Jay, apparently this was Dennis Wilson's favorite bar!

As for dinners, we spent two nights at Judy and Greg's lovely home in Santa Monica.
Besides graciously inviting us for dinners, I got to jump on their trampoline :D
The other two nights were spent at Blue Plate Taco, a block from the beach and very tasty! 
I can't recommend it enough. It's a lively spot, filled with some of the beautiful people for sure,
mostly it's the food that gets you and a fresh margarita :)

Farewell Cali ... sniff sniff  I'll be back.

Thanks for taking a look.
Have a great week!
xo, A


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