Hello 2016!

Whoah!  Where did 2015 go?  It just flew by I tell you!
I can't believe it was already a year ago I was sitting at my studio in Munich getting ready to get my illustration career back on track, and here I am now in California ready to launch the sales portion of my career!

In 2016, I hope to make some sales of my artwork as greeting cards and prints, as licenses on products and fabric!  Lots of work to do!  I'll keep you posted... and don't forget, you can always see my most recent work on instagram here.

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.

A Group of Charming Cuties

Last week, I had something very interesting happen.  I had a kind of cute-splosion.  I started illustrating for the children's apparel market so I can begin to pitch my work.  I did some short research by looking at my son's clothes and picking out my super-top favorites.... and then it all just flowed.

It was remarkable.  I just worked on Illustrator and out came these characters and their back-stories and little lives.  I kept wanting (and still do) to keep on drawing them and their accessories and interactions...

Next, I want to develop each character on their own!  What do you think?

Summer School Illustrations

We're in the thick of summer here in Munich and it's been non-stop illustration, sewing, and knitting... okay, not so much the knitting because my current knit-along includes very warm yarn, lots of cables, and a steek, so I tend to wait for the weekend for that.

But I've been painting and illustrating and printing and working on building up my portfolio in preparation for Surtex 2016.  I enrolled in the Make It in Design course The Ultimate Portfolio Builder, and also their Summer School course.  These are much more self-directed than the Make Art That Sells courses, but I'm determined!  And, I've really appreciated the personalized feedback that the UPB course offered.  I got to hear directly from Khristian A. Howell herself about her thoughts on my work and website.  That was probably the most valuable 15 minutes of my career.  I found her feedback so helpful and it really makes me want to push my work to the next level!

Here is some of my most recent work...

(Mind you, these are mock-ups and none of my work is actually in production yet... YET!)

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!