Monday, August 29, 2016

I made it to the 2nd round of the GTS 2016

I am taking part in the Global Talent Search 2016 by Lilla Rogers’ Studio again this year and recently found out recently found out that my entry was selected to move on to the 2nd round of the competition! This is the third year that I have been fortunate to make it into the top 50. I am so excited and honored to be amongst this group of amazingly talented artists and illustrators. Check out the entries that made it into the top 50 by clicking here. Below is mine.




The brief this year was to design a teacup & saucer and paper napkin in my own style for our fictional muse Sunny. Sunny has just opened a new cafe and is interested in purchasing a tea service that fits her style and vibe of the cafe. 

We were able to  approach the assignment anyway we wanted to,to showcase our illustration style and concept. I chose to spotlight a single cup and saucer and set it up as if the cup was waiting to be sipped. Since it was a cafe with an emphasis on desserts I thought I would add a bit of chocolate and a used tea bag to set the scene.

I first started with as sketch that I scanned into Photoshop and then using my trusty PS brushes I began to paint my little tea cup to bring it to life. My current style (when dealing with subject matter that is not kid oriented) has evolved into a combination of some realistic elements, like the painting of the song bird featured on the left side of the cup with more stylistic elements, like the flowers and background. I enjoy developing subtle texture to weave throughout the image.




I have been trying to add more hand drawn type and was pretty happy with that addition on the base of the tea cup. The color palette was a bit of a departure for me but lately I have real been drawn to hotter pinks and blues. I still paint exculisely using my computer mouse, but I trying to wean myself of ruling on the mouse so much and use my Wacom tablet more so I can use all the wonderful brushes I purchased from Kyle Webster at the recent ICON 9. I really enjoyed this project and so honored to move through to the next round.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

100 Day Challenge

I recently signed up to participate in #The 100 Day Challenge with Elle Luna & The Great Discontent. The 100 Day website defines the challenge as a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. 

A few days before the challenge began, I noticed on Facebook that a few artist friends had posted that they were planning on participating in the challenge and that was the only spark I needed to sign up myself. Before making this decision, I did not think through my schedule  for the 100 days of the challenge or the actual scope of the project in which participants post a new work everyday for 100 consecutive days. I am glad that I did not because I most likely would not have signed up, missing out on one of the truly enriching art projects I have had.


I posted on both Facebook and Instagram each day and was truly humbled by the kind support of friends and followers that commented and liked my daily posts. That energy gave my the drive and confidence to continue to post each day, even when my day was crazy busy or I had a dreaded creative block. Considering the nature of this challenge, it felt great to still post even though at the time I wanted to cringe at what I posted, but ultimately, it was so liberating to just let it go--subjective "flaws" and all.


Every participant could chose their own project objective and I chose the hash-tag "LittleArtThe100DayProject". For my challenge I decided to create a postcard size, digital painting using Adobe Photoshop. For Facebook, I posted a 4x6 image and created a separate image to post on Instagram that fit in the standard square format, which sometimes required an extensive reworking of the image. To help me come up with my daily content I decided to let the alphabet guide my imagery. I averaged between 4 to 3 images for each letter, starting with the letter A and ending with Z. This also gave friends and followers a fun dialogue to help with ideas that spurred me on with every new post.


I would basically start out the same way with every new painting, I would brainstorm ideas at night before falling asleep, do a bit of research in the morning and start sketching. After sketching I would take a photo of my sketch, post it to the CLOUD and finally bring it into Photoshop to paint away with custom brushes and textures that I had previously made. There were days that I was so swamped with other obligations that I could only rework some of my older work to make it new and fit with the challenge objectives. Although, for the most part, I could finish each piece within my allotted time frame each day, there were some pieces that I worked on for a bit longer and would post the next day.


Here are the 100 paintings that I posted on Instagram starting on April 20, 2016-July 27, 2016. What a great experience!  



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bootcamp is Back!

MATS Bootcamp is back and our first MINI - sketching time before the main assignment, is all about hair, specifically hairstyles of the 1920's. Below is my sketches from the MINI. In looking at them all, I think I was just as excited to draw the exaggerated eyes and eyeliner as I was to draw the hair. Fun to be drawing faces again. Can you guess what the main assignment is?



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

MATS Spring Home Decor Course


It is finally thawing out here in Wisconsin but during the cold winter I was busy taking the Make Art That Sells Home Decor Course for a second time. I loved it so much the first time that I had to take it again. The course is team taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers & Margo Tantau the Creative Director @ Midwest-CBK.

Class was just as intensive this time around with one assignment per week using a different substrate to create a comprehensive home decor collection. For each assignment we were asked to create pieces featuring products made from metal, fabric, glass, ceramics and wood/MDF. 


Below are the 5 collections that I created.








There were three mood boards that we could choose from to use as inspiration for the five assignments. The mood board I chose this time was called Farm Fresh. We could use the board for inspiration in any way that we wanted. Although influenced by the theme, I used the mood board mainly to help develop my color palette for my collections. 

Once again the iconography from the previous weeks overlapped so that by the final week we had a varied yet cohesive collection.

The subject matter was similar to the first class and that presented an exciting challenge for me to come up with icons and designs that were new but also worked with my collections from the first class. My ultimate goal is to put together a couple of portfolio pages using pieces from all ten assignments. 

Just like the first time, the 5 weeks of class really flew by and I was very sad when it ended. This class is a pure joy, I have learned so much about this market and how to present my work and ideas. Thanks again to both Lilla and Margo! And a big shout out to the Facebook community of amazing and talented artists that make the class fun and dynamic and great place to share and learn!  


Friday, September 18, 2015

Round 2 of the GTS

I entered the Lilla Roger’s Global Talent Search again this year and was lucky to make it through to the second round. This is my second year of making it in to the semi-finals. Pinch me. It is such a wonderful opportunity for illustrators to win 2 years’ representation from the amazing Lilla Rogers Studio. It is an unbelievable opportunity. Below is my round 2 submission! If you would like to cast a vote, please click here! Thanks in advance for taking a look!



For the second round assignment we were asked to create a metal tin or multiple tins that would represent a style or look that "Our Muse Antoinette" might purchase for her small boutique.

I was very excited about the parameters of the assignment and had an idea right away about what I wanted to create. I knew that I wanted to do a set of nesting tins and it would be based on a theme that had it’s origins in a phrase or saying. I have recently been working with flowers and birds in my art so with that being fresh on the brain, I started thinking about a phrase that related to nature. The feeling you get when you are deep inside the forest surrounded by the lush canopy that muffles the sounds of the city, feeling small in its splendor. The phrase kinda wrote it self- "Find enchantment deep inside the forest." I did tweaked it somewhat, until I could break it into three sections that would  make sense on their own, Find Enchantment, Deep Inside, The Forest. Once I had the phrase the overall sketch for the design came rather quickly. 

Although, I do some work using traditional media, my work is primarily digital, My typical process progression would be to first sketch out the overall design just to visualize the space and then take it into the computer. Theses sketches are usually very rough and at times unreadable even for me. Once I have a pretty good idea of how the composition should be laid out, I then start sketching the individual elements. These are also pretty rough but detailed enough to bring into Adobe Illustrator to redraw digitally, before taking them into Adobe Photoshop to paint. Here are a couple of examples of the sketch, the vector shapes and the final digital painting of both the peacock and fawn I used for my tins. 




I love texture and have cultivated and developed a series of brushes in Photoshop to paint in the texture with. I'm also layer crazy and tend to get a little carried away using the blend modes that optically change objects on the layers below. Blend modes help to do things like make the color more luminous or change the hue or saturation of the objects below. At times, I get so caught up in using blend modes, that even a small shadow ends up taking 3 times longer than it should. I don’t mind though, I get so lost in the process that I never really think of it as being work.

Although I do use Adobe Illustrator to redraw and create the shapes that I bring into Photoshop to paint, there are times that I need a texture or a delicate line, like in the case of the bird’s nest below, that is more difficult to achieve using the software, so I will sketch or paint these elements using traditional media first. These sketches or little paintings are more developed then my typical sketches and I scan them in at a higher resolution to use directly in my digital painting. For the nest, I removed the white background of the page using the Channels palette in Photoshop. The Channels palette allows you to select the white of the page and delete it so that the background becomes transparent without losing any of the detail of the sketch. Once the background is removed I can then change the color of the line work and paint over it with my texture and airbrush brushes to get the final effect.



Lately, I have been working on my overall presentation and it made sense to me to stack the tins and keep the neutral background more simple since my designs are fairly detailed. 

The public voting round lasts through Monday 9/21/2015 and the 6 finalists will be announced on Wednesday 9/23/2015. This is such an exciting opportunity. I so appreciate your support. Thanks again! Diane


Friday, September 11, 2015

Global Talent Search 2015

I am currently taking part in the Global Talent Search 2015 by Lilla Rogers’ Studio and recently found out that I was selected as one of the 50 artists to make it to the 2nd round of the competition! I am so happy and honored to be included in this group of amazingly talented artists and illustrators. Check out the entries that made it into the top 50 by clicking here. Below is mine.

For the first assignment we were asked to create a pattern design for a pair(s) of sneakers for a fictional young woman named Antoinette. We were given an outline that fleshed out who Antoinette was, including an introduction to her neighborhood, job and a day in her life to use as a guideline to help us come up with our design/illustration. We had 2 weeks to complete the assignment which gave me time to do plenty of research and sketching. I knew that I was going to create at least 2 shoe designs and that 1 would be a floral pattern. I had a lot of fun taking photographs of all the lovely flowers in full bloom near the tennis court where I meet for a weekly drill. To create the pattern I brought my sketches into Adobe Illustrator and created the shapes that I then exported into Photoshop to paint them. I am still getting a feel for pattern making and spent hours developing a pattern out of all my painted flower shapes. I loved everything about the experience and was over the moon when I found out that I had made it into the top 50. I am now busy working on my 2nd round assignment. Wish me luck! :)


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Make Art That Sells Home Decor Course

I recently completed a new course offered by the Lilla Rogers Studio School designed for the Home Decor market called Creating Collections for Home D├ęcor. It was team taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers & Margo Tantau the Creative Director @ Midwest-CBK.

The course was an intensive 5 weeks with one assignment per week using a different substrate to create a comprehensive home decor collection. For each assignment we were asked to create pieces featuring products made from metal, fabric, glass, ceramics and wood/MDF.


I have taken a few of the Make Art that Sells Courses and this course may have been my favorite. Below are the 5 collections that I created.






In creating these collections we were asked to choose a mood board made exclusively for the class as inspiration, in regards to color, texture, lushness etc. I chose the Field Flower board, mainly because I was attracted to the color palette selected for that board. 

As the course developed it became more apparent that the icongraphy overlapped with the previous weeks so that by the final week we had a varied yet cohesive collection.

Although the work load was intense I thoroughly enjoyed the class and was very pleased with the direction that my work took. I realized that I loved to draw and in creating work for this class, I was able to develop a digital painting technique that is probably the most aligned to my aesthetic and drawing style. That was one of the most exciting things that I took away from the class.

In the 5 short weeks, I learned so much about the home decor market and how to present my work and ideas. Thanks to both Lilla and Margo! And to the Facebook community of amazing and talented artists that make the class fun and dynamic and great place to share and learn!