Lilla Roger’s MATS: Week 4 – Wall Art

My goodness, what a week! For class we reviewed the wall art market which was very interesting and provided new challenges as it has much less restraints compared to any of the other markets covered so far. The weekly assignment was to create a square abstract collage-style wall art with painting present in some way, along with a floral motif, and a word/quote. We also had to work on a restricted palette and I was assignment the colors red and yellow, with unlimited neutrals.

As this assignment required painting of some type, I decided to take the plunge and buy a large wooden canvas to work on (24x24in). This was a bit intimidating as I haven’t painted on this type of wood before, and haven’t painted with acrylic or done art on anything this size for over ten years now! I was also never big in to collage, so that was another challenge. All good things to get me out of my comfort zone 🙂

I started with painting the canvas white and then my color base. I really enjoyed how it turned out and thought I could make some really lovely fabric with it.. thoughts for the future!
I didn’t want to use any collage materials that could be copyright protected, so I chose to make my own patterns on paper using acrylic and markers, which I cut out in fun organic shapes. Some are adhered directly to the canvas, and other collage pieces I mounted so they sit a few millimeters off the board in order to add more varied dimension. The style of my piece took on a very different aesthetic than I expected it to, much more fun and cute! I found myself creating a type of environment within my work, including a little bunny resident. The word I used as per the assignment requirements was “love” which I placed in a speech bubble above the bunny. My camera was giving me grief so the colors aren’t accurate to the artwork, but you can get a good idea of the composition in the image below. This piece is called “Hoptic Reality.”

A few close-up shots below. Collage has grown on me a bit…But I especially can’t wait to paint more! It was a wonderful learning week, I know next week will be very interesting. I feel like it will probably be an emotional one, as it will bring both joy of more learning and sadness for the class ending.

© Copyright Ashley Lotecki, 2013. All rights reserved.

Topography Fabric – Teesha Moore Patch

I just received some photos of my hand screened topography fabric being used in a beautiful project by Emma of QuirkieCraft. She is a fabulous crafter who has a blog and etsy shop full of hand stitched wonders and original screen printed fabrics, definitely worth checking out! She used some of the topography fabric to create a Teesha Moore patch. Fabulous!

I haven’t worked up the courage to try creating a TM patch myself yet but Emma is pretty amazing at it!

“The Snail and the Rose Tree” Book Cover Illustration

Last week in Lilla Roger’s class was children’s book illustration week! As I talked about in my previous post our main assignment was to illustrate the cover or a two-page spread for the melancholy story by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Snail and the Rose Tree.” This is what I came up with! The artwork was done using traditional mediums (gouache, ink, and conte), then compiled in Photoshop. The lettering is also all hand done with the tablet, although I did play with using painted typography as well.

In my interpretation, the snail is brightly colored and his expression is the only sour looking thing about him here. In the story, the snail constantly states his grand plans to do something amazing and evolve beyond everyone else, criticizing the rose tree for *simply* making beautiful flower, but in the end does nothing with his life. I wanted to enhance his verbal remarks and show him as “peacocking” in a manner of sorts through the colors and patterns on his body. This was fun but took quite a while to get a hold of my concept! I’d like to try some more of my own story adaptations 🙂

Lilla Roger’s MATS: Week 3 – Children’s Books!

Wow, this week has been intense! The theme is children’s book illustration, which is super exciting because it is firstly a really appealing area of design with all the cute characters and stories to depict, but also because of the ability for style to be so individualized with less boundaries. The interpretations to story itself, the emotions and expressions we decide to depict, and the layout including typography really is a very personal process. What I have seen of my other classmates work this week is mind blowing and so unique, not one project looking like any other. Which you might not expect with a class so large as ours, I mean surely a few might resemble one another. But no! One person even did needle-felting on linen this week.. Mind blown 🙂

We started the week drawing snails! Snails in different poses, with different expressions, in different mediums. The main assignment ended up being a cover or two page spread for the short, and somewhat depressing story, “The Snail and the Rose Tree” by Hans Christian Andersen. In addition, we got to create our own lettering for the titles! As with my designs from last week, I decided to keep working in traditional mediums instead of digital, even though digital is my comfort zone and I basically haven’t painted in over ten years since last week! I even busted out my Conté, which hasn’t seen the light of day in a few years. Color! Fabulous color!

Here are some snail studies from this week. Once finding what the story was actually about, I had to reconsider how happy all the snails I had been creating were, but it was still a ton of fun! And I have a bunch of characters I can continue with on and create other artwork with.

Some of the custom typography that I experimented with.
This one cracks me up!

I really have a surplus of work from this week, this is only a selection. I burned through probably half of my sketchbook in less than 7 days! Feels good to be so inspired and challenged 🙂

My Cupboard Terrarium Plate Collection!

Here are my final designs for MATS class this week, entitled “Cupboard Terrarium.” I embraced my love for succulents and  my new found joy painting with gouache, creating a line that I think very accurately represents my style. I would love to have these plates produced but also think the artwork could be applied to fabric as well. Going to think on that one 🙂

MATS: Week 2 – No Vectors! *gasp*

Home Decor Week! In Lilla Roger’s class this week she encouraged us to go outside our comfort zone and experiment in some aspect, whether that be material, medium, style, subject, or some other equally important component that has a profound effect on our work. And to draw pods! Not the type from outer space, but pod-type flowers, seeds, basically anything that was a non-traditional floral, which we would design to go on a series of plates meant for retailers such as Crate & Barrel or Anthropologie. Fancy!

I myself have never been particularly drawn to creating any type of florals so that was the first part of going outside of my comfort zone. I also decided this week I would also not use any vectors in my artwork. ANY. For an artist that has almost exclusively created commercial work in vector form for years, this was a slightly scary goal but I was excited and motivated to put all my energy in to it! After doing some preliminary research and sketches, I first started by playing with marker and watercolor. I really admire those of you who are beautiful water-colorists. I don’t know if it is the right medium for me, but I will keep experimenting to find what works for me. It has been almost ten years since I painted in any form so I think that I did pretty well!

I then started to work with gouache and everything clicked! I had so much fun creating my artwork with this medium and all the tiny details it allowed for. What fun! I definitely felt like it was a breakthrough day when I was working on this set of paintings, didn’t have a second thought to falling back to good ol’ trusty Illustrator 🙂 I’m really excited about what I’ve created so far and look forward to integrating more hand painted artwork in to my portfolio!

Silk Screening Adventures

Last month I had a chance to flex my silk-screening skills and create some fabric using original graphics made just for this project! I have made placement, simple repeats, and two-color prints using my trusty (and at times, frustrating) YUDU but this was the first time I attempting doing a repeat with such thin and fiddly artwork, and at such size!

The first is a topography inspired pattern and the second is the life-cycle of a frog, both on really pretty linens. On the frog pattern I tried to add some texture with a small dot pattern inside the frog and the tadpole but I found the mesh on my screens too big to do it properly. It still gives a cool looking texture though, so I was happy with it.The final pieces were larger than fat quarters but smaller than a yard (I can’t precisely remember the measurements but it was a lot of work).

Definitely want to try screening some of my original patterns again! It’s pretty gratifying doing everything yourself from scratch sometimes, if you don’t loose your mind in the process 🙂

Lilla Rogers Studio School: Make Art That Sells – Week 1

This week I began the long anticipated e-course Make Art That Sells organized by Beth Kempton, and instructed by the AMAZING Lilla Rogers, of Lilla Rogers Studio, a woman I have major respect and admiration for. The class explores 5 different markets: bolt fabric, home decor, children’s picture books, wall art, and gift, has intensive weekly assignments, and alongside insights and lessons with Lilla, there are also a bunch of amazing guests that are experts, successful professionals, and agents from these industries.

In addition, there are so many people taking the class alongside me whose work I recognize, blogs I already follow, and art that I have been admiring for a while now. The level of talent in the group is absolutely insane! And not limited to a specific area of art either, I was enamored with the range of hand craft, fine art, and digital. It’s wonderful to be in such a lively community with support and encouragement.

I knew this class would be intensive and the first week did not disappoint. I started late by a few days, so it was a bit of a scramble to get caught up but ended up finishing my first assignment with time to spare! This week was based around the bolt fabric industry and we got to explore the inspiration of vintage Pyrex style casserole dishes and mushrooms for our assignment. The combination of a geometric subject and an organic one was an interesting project, and I had a great time doing my hand sketches. In the past I almost always started my textile patterns and illustrations directly on the computer, aside from some initial quick doodles for reference (my hand done illustrations were saved for other types of work). The past few weeks I have been concentrating on closing the void between my hand drawn artwork and that of my digital so this assignment was perfect for me. A sneak peek at some of my mushroom illustrations are below!

My conclusions for the first week:

  • As I expected, Lilla is an inspired and compelling teacher, and she knows her stuff! Based off this week I know that I will have an amazing collection of work once I finish this course, and have an even more solid plan going forward.
  • The lessons are extremely well planned, written out, timed in terms of release to the class and deadlines, and inspiring. I was discussing the course today and mentioned that if this was a university, every graduate would be at the top of their field! We were also given a very clear schedule as to what lessons would be available on what days, due dates/times, and encouraged to use a provided schedule in order to allot the amount of time we want to dedicate to the course. Very useful!
  • The talent in this class is immense. It’s almost inexpressible how much brilliance is combined in one classroom! I think only someone like Lilla could bring so many amazing artists together in this way.
  • I am excited to start week 2!

The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design

I recently participated in Module 3 of the e-course The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design run by the fabulous Beth Kempton and instructed by surface pattern design heavyweight Rachael Taylor. It was an intensive program that covered both the business and creative sides of surface pattern design, one that I wish was longer than five weeks! In addition, I became part of a community of amazing artists from across the globe that are  all very supportive and uniquely talented. I have always felt a bit like a lone wolf in my creative endeavors and it was amazing to be dropped into a community of dedicated and motivated creative individuals that I admire! As a proud graduate I also got one of these pretty badges. Once I catch up, I hope to post some of my work produced during the class.