MATS A, Week 5: Gifts

As I posted my final assignment for my first MATS class in the flickr group, I was really sad.  I mean it!  I was so sad it is over.  There are still a few days of "wrapping it up" and the final review, but the 5 weeks of meaty assignments with endless potential...

Wait a sec, this is just the beginning!


Put those tissues away!  Although MATS A is over, it's time for me to shift gears and get ready for phase 2!  Transition time!  This is the toughest part I think, but I've got a pretty darned good toolkit and support network to help.

My next steps in this whole illustrator as full-time career move include:

  • refining my projects based on the feedback I received
  • assembling a portfolio with enough pieces in a marketable style
  • presenting my work to companies (and/or a representative)

I've been doing research since the start of the year on artist's representatives.  Between MATS and the Skillshare, Creative Live videos, Illustration podcasts, and the books that each of my teachers have recommended, I've got a fairly good idea of what it will take for this to work... and it's a lot of WORK! :D  But, I already knew that, and hard work is quite familiar to me, and I kinda like it.

Anyway, a review of Week 5...

Mini Assignment: identify and photograph or illustrate your favorite collections of items in your life. In my case, I have a lot of scissors... and looking at the photo I realize I missed two pairs in the kitchen. Oops!  I also have a huge collection of rubber stamps and many, many items relating to what I'll call "the paper arts" - illustration, drawing, painting, drafting, etc.

yes! an authentic Caboodles case, and Corn Flakes stamps from the 1960's

I have a cute collection of house-plants, too!  It's too bad I didn't have a balcony garden this year otherwise, I'd have used those too.  Hmm, I could get my photos of them from years past for another one of these...
 And then there's the fiber arts. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but my photographed collection includes my two favorite skeins of yarn in my stash, so many spools of thread, fabric scraps, patterns, and my all-time favorite buttons... 

When our big assignment came, I wasn't sure where to go with all of these photographs and illustrations.  I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of things I had scanned, isolated, color tweaked and sketched.  Overwhelm!

I showed this image to my fellow MAT-sians at the height of my overwhelm.  I've realized this is a typical stage in the artistic process. This is the part where you feel self-doubt and uncertainty and the judge part of the brain is telling you you're nuts for attempting this.  Don't let that judge win!  My classmates helped for sure.


So, I kept plugging away at it!  I thought of a way to bring my favorite collections together and here is my secret: key phrase.  I created a key phrase to help guide me.  My phrase for this piece was "tropical vacation yarn fetish".


I started by creating creatures that lived in this overlush place, these creatures had to be over the top.  I have been dying to do mash-up creatures and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for a little Frankensteining!  Above you can see my first creature above.  It's a jackelope iguana, but it gets butterfly wings eventually.

Here's a .GIF of how the piece developed once I got going.

Just in case it doesn't loop on its own, click on the image to see the short GIF

The materials in the class for this week were really helpful.  There was a great list of businesses that are in the gifts market, templates, and wonderful life tips.  All in all, it was a really strong week with which to finish the course.  I'm so looking forward to MATS B in the fall!


MATS A, Week 4 Wall Art

This week was a very freeing experience for me.  Before this year's Bootcamp and MATS class, I hadn't done a proper painting in forever.  I was a scenic artist for half of my 20's and had painted giant scenic backdrops, kitschy scenic flats, furniture, design illustrations, etc.  And, this week felt like I was taking all that experience, plus a distinct perspective as an adult and I was able to just let it flow.

Here is the final mocked up in a frame...


The assignment called on several specific requirements - choose a pair of colors based on our zodiac sign, use collage, include text.  My sign corresponded to the colors pink & yellow. I was really excited about pink & yellow, but truthfully, I would have been excited no matter what the color combo.  I love getting direction and parameters to work within, and I also love color.  Yay color!


Next we had to collect 2-D and smallish 3-D items that were in our colors, a color scavenger hunt!  My studio is lightyears beyond the mess that it was last year.  I've tossed so much, and even then, I managed to have no shortage of things in these colors.

button collection and swatch for gloves WIP
ancient i-pod and lovely silks
And, once I figured out how I was gonna work, I was off to the races.  I didn't have a large enough canvas so I worked on five little canvases that I would seam together digitally.  Dekopatch, gesso, matte medium, acrylics, markers, pens, post-it notes, paper, rice paper, fabric, buttons, tissue paper, cardboard, and stamps... to name some of the things I used to make this piece.  While things were drying, I rotated the canvases and made linocut plates.  I had a really good flow going, and I was listening to my fave tunes on the ancient i-pod.

lino cut and watercolor dots
The next part, the digital seaming, was a bit more tedious, but it allowed for a kind of freedom that I hadn't had before with paint.  The ability to "undo" is an amazing weight lifted off one's shoulders.  The fear of making the next mark is completely gone, and it was great!



This project was tons of fun, y'all.  Tons.