Monday, October 21, 2013

Coming up for air !! MATS roundup - weeks 1&2

Wow! Its been a whirl-wind 2 weeks and the adrenaline and excitement is still building. Today marks the start of week 3, the childrens book market, and definitely the place where I feel most at home, but this class is really about being outside your comfort zone. One major challenge I have had is my lack of experience with Photoshop. I have been tinkering around with it for a while, but my skills are really class on my list is definitely a Photoshop 101!

 The turn-around on assignements is very quick. We get a mini assignment on monday and the main project on wednesday with a dead line of sunday. This is crazy fast when you throw life, work, kids, commitments into the mix, and I find that I am working all day saturday and sunday and submitting my work at the very last second....but I am doing it! I seem to go through a huge range of emotions throughout the week...overwhelmed, indesicion, inspired, joy, frustration, second-guessing myself, confidence, not confident, exhaustion, elation. Sunday night after I have submitted my pieces if feel a little like I have been run over by a bus, or maybe its more feeling like I have gone through labor and delivery, but Monday morning I am up early and ready for more! The calliber of work from my classmates is really top notch and I am inspired beyond words and learning so much from our little MATS community.

Week 1 Bolt Fabric
The mini assignemnt was to draw lots of vintage pyrex and berries. Off to Pinterest I went for some inspiration. Drew lots and lots in prep for the main assignement which was to create a design for vintage fabric.

From here we were instructed to choose some icons and build a theme around them for our fabric. I went with a recipe for nana's berry tart as my focus and created some icons to go with it. Lots of sketching, cutting, rearranging to get the composition.

I chose a color pallet and did the finish with copics and prismacolor pencils, adding some white and black linework in.

More time would have been ideal to tweak some things, but off to the scanner it went. I had some issues with the color getting dulled out in the final presentation, but this was due to lack of experience in photoshop. I use it all the time to edit photos of my clay work and dont usually have a problem, but a scanned image is working to resolve that in my future submissions.

Week 2 Home Decor
Week 2's mini was to draw bromeliads (tropical plants related to the pineapple family) first, this one didn't grab me. I decided to go right to color, seeing these plants were bright and tropical, and did a page of plants with inktense pencils. This was just free and fun, something that I had not felt in a long time when approaching a project. I wanted to do more, but there were dishes and laundry and clay orders....
Lilla sent the big assigment a day or so later, which was to create a set of 2-4 plates (similar to what you would find at Crate&Barrel or Anthropologie). I moped feeling uninspired and unmotivated. After all my bag is creating cute, fuzzy animals and critters, all confetti and cupcakes....right? But i loooked at my plant sketches and remembered that I had fun doing them, so I had a little pep-talk with myself and finally dug in. 
This week was a challenge for alot of us, as reflected in many of the facebook comments. Everyone seemed to go through some awkward stages with their pieces, but in the end, came up with some gorgeous work. I guess without growing pains there is no growth.
I found a pallet that I really liked, bright and tropical like the plants and got inspired to make it work. I designed my plates for kids, in a fun, doodly style with some turtles and a variety of flowers and plants. 
I used watercolor and white gelly roll.

One of my goals with this class is to come out of it with a little bit looser style, that can adapt to different mediums. I am a nit-picker, detail freek, and in the past, would use colored pencils exclusively to meticulously cover every square inch of the paper. I am a work-in-progress, slowly coming out of the colored pencil-coma....and I like it!

design for large plate

small plate

The complete set....colors a little brighter than the first week's finish. I wish I had more time to play around with the placement and design of the presentation, but I was down to minutes before the deadline. I hope to learn a bit more in photoshop this week and apply it to week 3's finished assignment.....which is to create a bird character, starting with a couple pages of bird sketches. Pencil and scketchbook in hand as I head off to my daughter's field hockey game!

10/22/2013  Lilla's review
During the review of our home dec pieces today, Lilla gave us some great feedback on creating a background that would enhance the tone of our plates, and suggested that we go back and rework them if possible.  She also advised that the plates should not "tell a story" that for week 3, children's book! I omitted the 2nd plate as it clearly is narrative (hopefully will go back and create a new plate to compliment my main one, but not this week!), and just focused on the larger plate. Watched alot of tutorials and picked up some skills in photoshop, and was able to create a new backgound for my plate. Feeling a little better about it now.


  1. Everything you created is fantastic!! So inspirational.

    (I am terrible with photoshop, too.)

  2. Thankyou so much Melanie!! The photoshop part is painful! But, slowly I am learning!! Mkaes me realize how easy it is to just snap pictures of my claywork and hit "auto correct" to fix anything.


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