Process: Advent Calendar Noel Image

Hello! I just wanted to introduce myself in case you hadn't met me before.  I'm Adriana Hernandez-Bergstrom!  I go by Adriprints on my work, and  you can find me really easily with that moniker.  I'm the founder of the Finch & Foxglove art collective, and I did the first illustration on our digital Advent Calendar.

I am a really process-oriented person and I love learning how others get to the images they do.  I hope you can learn a little bit from my process too!

The "Noel Peppermint Bark" illustration started off as a doodle that I did in August or September.  I was at my mom's house playing around with an old watercolor set that I had left at her house in case all my luggage was lost.  In my mind, I was working on a tropical-Christmas kind of theme...



In between then and now, our group came up with a wonderful color palette for our advent calendar.  We looked at vintage Christmas postcards to get us started.  These colors were rich and wonderful, but not really tropical... and I really wanted to use the "Noel" lettering.  So I traced the lettering in Adobe Illustrator with the pen tool, used a color from our palette, and started working on composition with the other illustration assets that matched the palette a bit better.  I had created these assets or icons a few weeks ago by painting in watered down gouache.  They were extras from the greeting card project I did in October, and I did a direct "live trace" using Adobe Illustrator to capture them...


Once I had a composition that I liked, I brought each element separately into Photoshop, converted them to Vector Smart Objects and began to add texture and depth...


I really wanted a rich feeling like chocolate in the background, and at first I tried mint + chocolate with the lettering...


But, as you can see it looked a bit too cold in this version.  It read like mold or marble or something unappetizing.  So, next I tried peppermint, and that is what you see in the final image.  A little bit tastier, I think!



This is just one of the many illustrations in our wonderful digital advent calendar.  Follow along on our Finch & Foxglove Advent Calendar page!

MATS A, Week 2: Home Decor

Review of Week 2, MATS Part A which focused on Home Decor.


We started the week with Monday's Mini Assignment which was "go crazy with paisley!"  And I did!
I went ahead and went crazy doing different graphite illustrations on wacky paisley motifs thinking we were going to do bedding or bathroom textiles, maybe even upholstery or a room.  I imagined paisley swamps and bogs and that's where my head was when I started illustrating for this project... some kind of paisley pond world.

And then we got the main assignment: plates.  One of the worksheets that came with this week's assignment had this very important question when thinking about plates: Would you eat off of it?  My stomach had a sinking feeling when I came to that question.  It had never crossed my mind that we'd end up focusing on plates!  Some of my illustrations were not really food friendly... frogs eating flies, hungry anyone?!


It is a tough question, isn't it?  If it's a decorative plate, then no, I wouldn't eat off of it.  But, my utilitarian tendencies wouldn't let it go at that simple solution.  I couldn't just design decorative plates.  I don't own any purely decorative plates, and it was an important aspect of this week's project to be your own customer.  I worked through the designs until I felt that these were a series of plates I could see myself picking up and serving desserts or summer drinks or a festive picnic meal.  I learned this about myself - I am picky.

Here's the progression of one of the plates, the upper right one in the layout.

And then of course, there's the real-life stuff that kind of stressed me out.  We were traveling and we had no internet access, and I bought a hot-spot card to use the city's wi-fi, but it was spotty at best. Little dude was finding everything exciting and did not want to sleep or nap, which made it a bit of a a time crunch. We were at this ridiculous cloister atop a giant hill in a tiny town in Germany, and it was beautiful... but technologically desolate.

Thoughts on Week 2 Course Materials

With this week came a wonderful set of worksheets that had some great questions about this market and specifically plates.  These are the kind of questions that get you un-stuck when you've made progress, but aren't "finished".  I am treasuring them.  They're the "Hey did you think about this or that?" aspect of illustration.  I tend to sketch quickly and get things into the computer and then find myself all self-doubty at some point.  Those questions are invaluable!

The interview this week was with a Crate + Barrel art director and it was interesting to read how she makes decisions on artwork.

So, is the Home Decor market for me?  I think it could be, but I still like the puzzle aspect of bolt fabric better.  Home Decor felt like the ocean to me, and I like knowing where the edges of the pool are when I'm illustrating.  Maybe I'll feel differently depending on the item.

Also, a special shout-out to my fellow MATS-ians.  Thanks for your help pushing me forward this week!  I needed it.

Picante Dirndl

When I was a kid, I loved comics.  I was a big fan of the "what-if" and alternate reality issues that comics would sometimes print.  This idea of "what if's" popped into my head as I posted about this past week's MATS Bolt Fabric Assignment, and it wouldn't let go.

What if... I did make a dirndl out of my own fabric?

I imagine it looking like this!  I used Burda's Dirndl Pattern 8448 as the basis for this visual mock-up.



I think that would be really unique to wear to Oktoberfest 2015!

Please note that I do not have any affiliation with Burda or their patterns, and I do not represent Burda or their parent company in any way.  Just an illustrator and DIY-er here.

Two-Part Nappies Revisited: Part 2

A quick tutorial on how to make your own diaper inserts using my pattern (or your own drafted pattern).
These diaper inserts require an outer waterproof cover of some kind, and will fit from newborn to 6kg+ (at least they're still working for us!).

the absorbent inserts inner flannel / outer terry cloth
Materials
  • Absorbent fabric (German term in parentheses) such as flannel (Flanell/Molton), terry cloth (Frottier), hemp fleece (Henf), or jersey, etc...  Feel free to recycle materials you already have; like an old flannel blanket, an old sweatshirt, or a towel.  I use terry-cloth on one side because I like to use Snappis and avoid hook & loop closures, but feel free to use whatever closure method you want.
  • Elastic (I used 1/4" wide elastic that is resistant to high heat)
Instructions
1- Place the paper pattern on the fold, and cut your materials for the diaper insert.  Don't forget to transfer all markings to your fabric.


2- Cut fabric for center pad (it's that center rectangle with the dotted line in the pattern).  I cut 2 layers of bamboo terry-cloth.
3- Layer the 3 elements as follows: absorbent material #1, pad rectangle(s), absorbent material #2.


Center the pad, and secure all three layers with pins.



4- With the smoothest fabric facing up, sew 1/8" to 1/4" within the four edges and across the center of the pad to secure it in place.


5- Measure the elastic band for the sides and top, then cut elastic 2-3” shorter than the measured length.
6- Tack both ends of the elastic where indicated and pin at the center.  Make sure to leave a little space on the outer edge for finishing the fabric.
7- Use a zig-zag stitch to attach the elastic on the back of the insert and the leg openings, stretching the elastic between the two outer layers as you go.


8- Use a zig zag stitch or overlock around all the outer edges to finish.  I stretch out the back and sides while feeding it through the overlocker.  I do not serge over the crinkled/gathered edges.

Wash a few times, and then let baby poo all over your work! Hahah!

Two-Part Nappies Revisited: Part 1

This post covers lessons learned in making diaper covers at home.  In cloth diapering, the outer cover is a waterproof barrier that prevents leakage.  These can also be used over regular disposables to prevent leaks, or just because they're really cute.


After a few mishaps and lots of leaks, re-purposing PUL, and studying more cloth diapers, I think I've found a few types of cloth diaper systems that work for the little dude.  This particular diaper cover is a homemade version of Motherease's diaper cover the Air Flow.  It works really well with the diaper inserts I make at home (more on that later).  These are not easy to come by here in Germany, so to me it's worth the effort of making more of them.

What I've learned so far:
FOE - fold over elastic goes on a LOT easier if you use a triple zig-zag stitch.  This video was key.
detailed photo of the inner wing of the diaper cover


KAM snaps - these snaps make a better seal with the Eco-PUL I bought from Diaper Sewing Supplies when there are 3 layers, and it's been exposed to warmth (i.e. it's been through a 60* wash and tumble dry).  That's it!  That is what was missing last time.  I didn't wash/dry the cover before trying out the snaps, and it was too thin.  Now I'm kind of sad I chopped up the grey & yellow cover before washing/drying.  It may have been salvageable.  Oh well.


With my latest effort, I went with a retro color combination!  Aesthetics aside, they work really well.  No leaks or poo-splosions yet!


As for the diaper inserts (the absorbing inner part of these two-part systems), I've drafted a pattern for anyone who wanted to try it on their own!  You can download it from the Google-Drive link here.

Come back this weekend to see the photo-tutorial on making your own diaper inserts!