Monday, February 29, 2016

{the space between}

This past week I've been in the strange tension between finishing a crap load of work to prepare for three months away from my job, and the anticipation of having twelve straight weeks free from my office. A three-month sabbatical (followed by another of the same length this fall!) is a HUGE blessing and gift. And yet I'm feeling so conflicted. 

Feeling all the feels, as the young kids say.

As a bit of a background, my day job is Director of External Relations for a seminary, where I do event planning, fundraising and marketing. And I've been given the awesome opportunity to take a 6 month sabbatical to do research and, most importantly not have to actually GO to work, which is maybe the most amazing professional opportunity, ever. 

I've had an 8-5 office job basically since college graduation. As an adult, I've never not worked full time. So for the past 17 years my life has fit into a predictable container. And I've been OK with that for the most part. When I say OK I guess I mean that it is what I expected life to be like...I never stopped to think it could be different.

But it is about to be very different. And this huge shift that is on the immediate horizon is bringing up so many questions and head is spinning. The past two and a half years have been a steady progression of moving more and more into my life as a professional artist (but on a very limited schedule). It hasn't been easy balancing my art with my day job, but it has become such a huge part of my identity that I have found ways to make it work. 

This break will be the first time I've been able to focus on creating for more than an hour at a time, after the boys go to bed or on the weekend. I have lofty intentions for this time, which is equal parts exhilarating and, let's be honest, freaking scary. 

I have been working on this blog post since this past Monday and couldn't quite pull it together, and then came across the quote up there and it stated perfectly how I feel. I'm allowing this big chunk of free time + the place I want to get to with my art bring out all of my fears and anxieties. I need to allow myself to let this time be an inspiration, to encourage me and not paralyze me. 

Do you feel the same way about something in your life right now? Is there a goal you want to reach or a place you want to be that's leaving you feeling anxious and paralyzed instead of encouraged and inspired? 

Let's promise each other that we'll let that space between where we are and where we want to be give us tons of inspiration...that potential should encourage us! 

What intention can you work on today? No matter how small or large, give it the space to grow. 


Sunday, February 28, 2016

{in my sketchbook}

Happy Sunday friends!

I've been a bit all over the place in my sketchbook lately...trying out all sorts of new shapes and motifs to figure out where I want to go next with my illustrations. Lettering, animals, faces, shapes from nature...nothing is safe! :) 

Close-up of my favorite doodle from the page above...

I'm loving the vintage pyrex vibe.

Lots of happy and sleepy animal faces!

And clouds because I can't go very long without doodling them.

If you've been following along with me lately you'll know that I begin a three month work sabbatical on Tuesday, and my head is spinning from all of the things I want to create. I literally feel like the ideas are going to explode out of my head if I don't get them on paper. I have a feeling my new sketchbook is going to fill up fast, so stay tuned! 


Sunday, February 21, 2016

{in my sketchbook + meeting Lisa Congdon}

Goodness this weekend was pretty darn amazing. I had the pleasure of hearing one of my favorite artists Lisa Congdon speak at the Midwest Craft Con in Columbus, Ohio.

If you aren't familiar with Lisa's work, she does lovely illustrations and her journey to becoming a professional artist has been a huge encouragement to me these past few years. So, to hear her speak and get to meet her was such a treat. I also got to spend the day with my good friend Sara who is also a Lisa fan.

It was an exhausting day for this introvert, but I came away with some great ideas and tips, a super encouraging one-on-one with a book agent, and topped it off with a high-five from Lisa. I mean, come on. :)

And oh yes...this post was supposed to include some recent peeks into my sketchbook too!

Clouds, feathers, and coffee. Some of my favorite things!

Hope your week is off to a good start!



Monday, February 08, 2016

{in my sketchbook}

I've been paying more attention lately to what wants to come out of my pen and onto the paper. The past few days it was organic shapes and intricate pattern. 

Drawing these shapes is major therapy for me. As my pen glides across the paper I can literally feel my anxiety flow out with the ink. 

Landon came over to me while I was filling this one in and said, "That's a lot of tiny circles!" Yep, sure is buddy! 

This owl is another piece I created last week...

And here is a peek of my process cleaning up some of these intricate images in Photoshop...

As I'm starting to see a collection of these designs come together, of course I'm thinking of another coloring book. I'm excited to see what continues to happen in my sketchbook and tie it all together!

I'm also busy working on organizing and decorating my new art studio space in our house. It is so exciting to have an inspiring space to create in. Yesterday I hung two art pieces by Jessica Swift, a pretty string of lights, and tucked in a framed sketch by my Grandaddy. 

I love having his art near me when I'm creating.

My goal for this space is to surround myself only with things that bring me joy and inspiration, which means A LOT of purging is going on. But that feels so good!

Before I go, a couple shop updates:

If you're looking for a fun Valentine's Day activity, you can grab a copy of my printable Valentine's Day coloring book for only $5!

And I've added a bunch of new prints of my licensed pieces back to my shop. 

This guy is one of my favorites. 

Here's to a caffeine-filled and fabulous Monday!



Friday, February 05, 2016

{from sketch to pattern}

I thought it would be fun today to take you through my process of sketch to pattern! I've started making patterns again this week after a few months off, and I had forgotten how fun and addicting it is! 

{I learned how to create digital patterns by taking Jessica Swift's Pattern Camp course, which I can't say enough good things about!}

I drew those friendly lightbulbs up there a few weeks ago and knew right away they would make a great pattern. First I scanned them at a high resolution (300dpi or higher) and opened the image up in Photoshop. I removed the background and corrected the color balance so the black is super dark, and then saved each "motif" as a separate file. 

Then I opened up a new Illustrator file, placed my motifs, and recolored them. The recoloring is probably my favorite part of the entire process, other than seeing the pattern magically work at the end. 

Then I arranged them into a pattern...

And the finished product!

Man those little lightbulbs make me giddy.  I want them on a tote bag or a pillow. Or a journal! 

I also created this camping pattern which I can picture on children's bedding or a sleeping bag. 

If you are interested in learning more about making digital patterns, seriously check out Jessica's course. I learned SO much and use everything I learned not only for this purpose but in lots of other design work.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!


Wednesday, February 03, 2016


If you are in a coloring mood, head over to my Instagram where I'm giving away five digital copies of my Valentine's Day coloring book!

But hurry because the giveaway ends tonight at midnight EST!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...