ASHLEY_LOTECKI_MARCH
I’m taking art Bootcamp again this year, super fun and challenging! March’s project brief was to create a 1920s inspired adult coloring book concept which started with a mini project of drawing 20s hairstyles. For my project I decided to take it in a bit of a different direction and researched how Halloween was celebrated in the 1920s which was very interesting! I present to you “Halloween in the 1920s,” a coloring book 🙂 You can check out the full gallery of artists’ work here.

Lilla Rogers’ MATS Course – Week 5: Party Paper

These past few weeks have been quite a whirlwind! Last week was the final in Lilla’s MATS course (I plan to do a separate MATS debrief post for the entire experience later!) which focused on party paper. Now.. What is that, you may ask? Party paper is a category within the Gift Market entirely devoted to paper goods – paper plates, paper napkins, gift wrap, invitations, and so on.

Our assignment was to reference the theme of Ukrainian and Bavarian folk art and create our own party paper designs. I worked on created stylized artwork that still read as my aesthetic but pulled elements from what makes folk art unique – the subject matter, layout, selective colors – and interpreted it in my own way. 

I ended up having a blast doing these pieces. I think the rooster looks hilarious, he’s kind of got a cheeky look to him (and a bit of a booty! hah). Each piece has unique artwork – no icons are repeated between the plate, napkin, and cup. I also tried a different way to add texture to my illustrations this week and really enjoyed the end result. Florals are an artwork type that I have not explored much, but this project definitely has increased my interest in working with them. I’d like to try out some surface patterns next!

Lilla Rogers’ MATS Course – Week 3: Scrapbooking

The subject of study for Lilla Rogers’ MATS e-course last week was Scrapbooking! The market has really exploded since my first encounters as a child – no longer just traditional patterns and artwork, it also contains very quirky, stylized, and trendy themes as well. Something for everyone! The products available go beyond sheets of beautifully printed paper, now including things like stickers, stamps, buttons, and crafted paper cut-outs.
Our assignment this week was to interpret the theme of cameras and typewriters, both objects that record events in our lives, and create a page of art that could be used for a scrapbooking collection. I had a fabulous time! As you can see, I channeled the vintage incarnations of cameras (analog rocks!) and typewriters alongside a variety of memory evoking lettering and related objects. I wanted to give a scrapbooker the ability to put their own photo images inside the Polaroid and film illustrations lower on the page, so I made them into frames instead of adding my own illustrations inside. I also took the opportunity to play a lot more with color and adding texture on this artwork and am quite happy with the results! I will definitely be doing more of that in my future work 🙂

I’m also taking part in a monthly blog parade link-up with a few of my very talented MATS classmates, you can check out all their posts on Linda Tieu’s blog here!

Back to School – Lilla Rogers’ MATS Course Week 1-2

Two(ish) weeks ago, I started Part B of the e-course Make Art that Sells by the fabulous Lilla Rogers. If you are familiar with my blog, you may recognize the name from earlier this year when I took Part A of the MATS course. It was an absolutely fantastic experience, so when the second session was available for registration I knew I wanted to join again! Part B focuses on 5 new markets (one for every week of the course): Paper, Baby/Children’s Apparel & Decor, Scrapbooking, Editorial, and Party Paper.

I was full of excitement to get started, but unfortunately after the first few days of class I had to divert my focus to a family emergency and the passing of someone I was close to. I wasn’t able to finish my first week project yet – Christmas greeting card designs; or my second week – camping themed graphics or prints for children’s wear, but I do have my preliminary artwork inked up which you can see below. I will eventually get caught up and make sure to post my work on here once I do!

Blog Parade!

Through taking Lilla Rogers’s e-course, I have become part of a fabulous global online community of with so many amazing artists and illustrators I admire. It’s pretty special! Today some of us have joined together to create a blog parade – my first time participating in one ever (eek!). If you have stumbled upon me by way of the lovely Julia Glukhoy at Moogbee, I am glad to have you! She’s pretty fabulous isn’t she?

Once you finish visiting me I would encourage you to continue on to the next blog by way of the link at the bottom of my post 🙂

A little about me – I love to create fun, quirky artwork that is full of whimsy. Please feel free to check out my portfolio, or to browse this blog and learn a bit about my process and creative aesthetic. I post weekly projects including my “Unconventional Animal Alphabet” series (letter E was this past week), pattern designs, and other fun stuff 🙂 I’m currently working hard on developing new surface pattern collections and planning out some exciting sustainable products I’m designing and possibly producing myself for my upcoming online shop (date tbd!).

I hope you enjoyed your time with me, it was lovely to have you visit! Now hop on over to the Floating Lemons blog to check out Mariana’s work 🙂

Lilla Roger’s MATS: Week 5 – Gift

Alas, this week has been a bittersweet one in Lilla’s lovely classroom! Class ends very soon and our final project was due today. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the support and camaraderie in the classroom, going strong even now when everyone has the relief of the assignment off their shoulders! It has be an insane and wonderful five weeks, being pushed outside my comfort zone and nurtured by such an amazing mentor. I can’t even believe how much I have grown and evolved as an artist in such a short amount of time, and how much courage I have in my work, a sentiment also echoed by many of my classmates!

This week was learning all about the gift market, which encompasses a pretty wide range of objects. For the mini-assignment, we had to gather collections we own and photograph them. I had a bit of a panic, first thinking I didn’t collect anything (fabric hoarding is necessary, I swear!)  and then realizing that the things that I did identify as a collector of were copyrighted works that I knew wouldn’t work for the assignment (artwork, figurines, comics).

Once reviewing the main assignment, things became much clearer. We had to create a zippered pouch using photo-collage, florals, our collections, and a saturated bold color palette that would demand attention! The trend that this type of artwork is based around is called “Hyper-Lush” or “Photo Floral.” I decided to start with my collection of urban decay and abandoned building photos which I have been shooting over the past few years. I find these places extremely beautiful and textural, which was a big component of the assignment. In addition, I also used images of florals I had shot during the week and created original typography and icons to further push the idea of exploring these types of spaces. So much fun!
I think this project was the hardest for me, but I feel like I conquered it successfully in the end 🙂 I would really love to get this fabric printed and try making a few of these!

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.

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 🙂

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!