Just keep swimming

Two weeks ago, I completed Part B of the Make Art that Sells class with the fabulous Lilla Rogers. For 5 weeks, I joined online classmates from all over the world to explore new art and design markets and enjoy the online classroom filled with many talented, supportive and wonderfully helpful artists. Artists and designers often work alone in their studios, so having this community to ask questions and exchange ideas is one of the best things about this class. 

Each week, the assignments were fun and gave us opportunities to stretch and grow. We began each week with a "mini" assignment, in which we were given a theme to explore for two days before being given the final assignment. This method of working gave me the time and freedom to explore the subject and play without a final product in mind. When the assignment was given, I had pages of icons to choose from, and I could focus my attention on the final design. The week 2 theme was seahorses and seaweed. I can spend ages watching seahorses at the aquarium, and seaweed fit perfectly into the washy watercolor imagery I had been exploring in week one (see previous post). Putting this together into a group of prints geared toward baby was pure play and joy.

The following three weeks explored the Scrapbooking, Editorial and Party paper markets. I am currently reworking all the assignments from those weeks, and incorporating all I learned from the weekly review. I will add them to my portfolio as I finish each one. Airships and vintage correspondence was the theme for scrapbooking week. I had so much fun designing airships, and had a hard time stopping at the end of the day. A little inventor character emerged in those sketches, and I think there might be a story in that little guy. I hadn't thought of writing a children's book before, but this quirky little man just might inspire me to give it a try. A trip around the craft store exploring all the wonderful crafty bits and pieces you can play with inspired me to get my photos off the computer and make a book of my own someday.

Editorial illustration week brought us fun times with illustrated maps. I have been enjoying the instagram feed of They Draw and Travel (http://www.theydrawandtravel.com) for a while now, so I was very excited about this project. A friend had recently told me that our neighborhood was voted the "Most Boring Northern Virginia Suburb," so I decided to make a map of all the fun things you can do in my little town. This map is currently being edited, as I tried to cram a few to many things into the space allotted - which is no surprise to me, as I also try to cram too many activities into every weekend. Edit, Edit, Edit and then edit some more was my most important lesson from this week.

Folk art from Ukraine and Bavaria were the themes for Party paper week. I love folk art and had a great time playing with this theme. This image is the napkin I designed for this project. Party paper is a market I have been very interested in for a long time, and was very excited to try my hand at it. The theme of folk art is one that has always inspired me and I now have a pile of sketches just waiting to be painted up into more designs.

One of the things I have loved most about this course is the abundance of information and inspiration that I have at my fingertips now. Each week brought more ideas and insights than I had time to process or work up into paintings. I plan to spend the next few weeks reworking assignments, reading through all the information a second time, and exploring some ideas I had to set aside in order to complete the assignments. The thing I love most about the mini assignments is that they spark so many new ideas for paintings, sketches and designs. I have a pile of things to work on now that the class is over. So for now i will "just keep swimming" - exploring the markets I learned about, playing with new techniques and ideas from the class, and enjoying the momentum and energy from this class. The most difficult thing of the next few weeks will be to decide on which market I want to target first, because I enjoyed every single one.