Gingerbread Here, There, and Everywhere

The holiday baking has taken over!


It's the most delicious time of the year again. It's mid-November, my house smells like gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and... curry chicken. Yes, we love our spices in this house. There are winter-themed paintings on my desk, scraps of red and green fabric all over the place, snowflake stamps, and the oven is working overtime.

I wanted to check in before the holiday madness completely takes over and I forget to blog about the latest happening in the studio...

Sewing, Crafts, & Family World

My son is obsessed with gingerbread stories... so much so that he wanted to be 'Gingerbread Baby' for Storybook Dress-up Day at his school. So, I made him a gingerbread man costume!

I've been painting ornaments and testing designs, but don't know how many I can complete by December so I can sell them. I also have greeting cards coming in the mail any day now.

Art & Design World

My web shop is finally open!

My paintings are on exhibit at the local library! If you're in the area, feel free to drop by. The library will of course be closed for Thanksgiving and all the federal holidays.


Vote! Vote! Vote!

Vote! Vote! Vote!

My gingerbread dudes are in a Spoonflower competition. Vote for it if you like the pattern. You've got until November 28th, 3pm EST.

Thanks so much for reading! And thank you for voting if you already did! I appreciate it very much. There are so many entries this time.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Scrapbooking: Greetings from the Lido Deck!

I am so happy with this one!  I couldn't believe I got it done on time to be considered for the Make Art That Sells weekly review either.  Our things finally arrived from Germany and it meant we were in super-unpack-cardboard-box-processing mode!  But, I was also in a "making mode" as well as "where the heck is my scanner mode"... and so I made and found my scanner at last.

Here is my work resulting from the theme we were given: vintage cruise ship correspondence.  It's a bit of a mash-up but I think between the chosen color palette and my brush pen illustrations which have a late 50's early 60's vibe in them, that it's enough to cover the vintage aspect.   I really wanted a Piña colada after drawing this... love those so much.

Make Mine a Mini

My first animated illustration in at least 7 years.

I made the video itself over a few days, but the artwork had already been through a storyboard, script, etc.  Honestly, I had too many ideas and now resort to watching my own video to avoid repeating my own mistakes!  The purpose of the video was to present our favorite lesson learned in the Make Art That Sells course.

Last time I did any sort of real animation was 7+ years ago through elective classes at RISD which I adored.  You can see it here if you're curious (the lady was my puppet).  And, while I'm parading my freak-flag, I might as well share my old animated .gifs which you can see here.  Those were done using Photoshop layers.  I blame my brother for that.  He got me into pixel art (you can see his work here & here -- he mainly works in 3D).  This time, though, after going through all the prep work: writing a script, drawing a storyboard, starting my illustrations, scanning them in, ready to start animating... I froze!  I psyched myself out!

I knew I needed to use something else to help me get the results I wanted because I wasn't going to do traditional animation.  I thought of using either Flash or After Effects, but it seemed like such a huge task.  I chose After Effects and started exploring it through various tutorials trying to chip away at it and taking the skills I needed to get the effect I wanted.

- - - -
Helpful Tutorials:

First, I started with the Adobe.TV tutorials here which are fine (a little dry, but efficient).

Then, I watched this tutorial series from Phil Ebiner on Skillshare called "Complete After Effects Course" to familiarize myself with the skeleton of the software.  These tuts run somewhat long and you can skip the first 15-30 seconds of each.  These could be condensed.  I recommend with reservations - pick and choose what skill you need to know more about.

Next, I watched Jake Bartlett's "Animating With Ease" Skillshare series and this is where the meat is.  He masterfully edits all the episodes into 100% content.  Have a notepad ready.  Have After Effects open in the background or separate screen.  Be ready to go.

For very specific tasks like the walk cycle or lip-syncing, I really like Fraser Davidson's tutorials also on Skillshare.  The "con" to the walk-cycle course is that he uses strokes to make the limbs.  This makes most people's projects from the class look very similar.  I do like his tutorial-style and he does illustrate the concepts clearly so they're still valuable.  Also, he's humorous and his tutorials are fun to watch which is often not the case with tutorials.

Also, I dedicated an entire post to sharing my workflow in detail in case you were interested!

Floridiana: Behind the Scenes Part 1

I first signed up for Bonnie Christine's Surface Pattern Design 2.0: Start a Career Skillshare Class in April, but I kept a diary of my process, and thought it would be nice to share with you all, my readers.  This is Part 1 of 2 explaining my process behind the Floridiana surface patterns.

April 10, 2015
My hometown is a place full of contradictions.  I grew up in South Florida mostly in Miami, and being far away from it gives me some perspective on what a beautiful place it can be.  Lush, tropical plants grow everywhere: palms, hibiscuses, bougainvilleas, banyan trees, vines, orchids, and old oaks with Spanish moss hanging from them.  Wild parrots, ibises, and all kinds of birds made it their home along with the tiny, adorable key deer. It's not completely unheard of to find a gator in your yard, and/or see celebrities with their tiny dogs in their handbags.  Summer in Miami usually meant a long stay at the beach with your family... sardines on crackers, collecting seashells, water out of the cooler, running to the shade to avoid burning your feet, and do NOT feed the seagulls...
I'll see what kind of journey this reminiscing takes me...

April 15, 2015
First, a snapshot of our family.

All of these photos are from my family's albums.  Unfortunately, my grandma is not in any of these since she was usually behind the camera.   See what I mean about the palm trees?  Our backyard faced a canal that frequently had gators floating by.  We always had family over the house, and there was never a dull moment growing up.
If anyone else is working with family photos, isn't it hard to stop looking through all the photos?  I had to stop myself before I got too emotional.  I just wanna reminisce!  I miss my grandparents very much (they've all passed).   But, after mulling it over, I think I know what I'm going to draw now.

But first, an exploration in color.  My 2 (preliminary) palettes with colors directly from my family photos...
I've divided my colors between past and present which, in turn, created a warm and cool palette.  Handy!

Next, it's sketch time!

April 25, 2015
So I've been researching local Florida wildlife, flora, and fauna and started to sketch!  

I think I'm going to need to make a moodboard to help guide the style before I go digital.

April 29, 2015
I most definitely needed a style guide!  So I made one using my favorite print heroes.

April 30, 2015
And then I digitized and refined a lot of icons including lettering...

May 1, 2015
Working on the "hero" or main pattern, I chose to work with the ibis (instead of the key deer).  I may still do a repeat with the deer, though, since it's so cute.  But, here's what I did so far with the main one.  It really helped to have my style guides to help me figure out how I should lay out the ibis.

MATS Mantra Competition

This piece was a competition piece for MATS (make art that sells) mantra.  The goal was to encompass the feeling you get when you're taking a MATS course.  And, although I didn't win the big prize, I was able to use Illustrator in a new way for me.

See, I've been trying to nail down my style, and I absolutely love working digitally, but it lacks the grittiness and texture of my hand-illustrated and painted work.  So I've been trying to merge the two elements somehow (flat color + texture).

Here is what I came up with:

And this is how I got there:

I started out with pencil and ink sketches.  I had about 30 different thumbnails, and picked the heart-sun one because it was the most visually engaging.  

I refined the image, traced it into Illustrator, and using a light-table I used overlays to play around with text.

Here is the image before I added text, texture, gradients, etc.

I almost stopped there... but it needed texture!!  You can see the hand-written text below.  I had several versions of each snippet of text.  Lots of versions of everything!

And finally, I went in and "texturized" the background.  It was a weird feeling to paint the background with texture and grit, but I think it works for this piece.  And, even though I didn't win the big prize, I did win a free entry into MATS Global Talent Search!  Woot!!