Midnight Swan - GTS and a look at my process

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I've a fun project to share today that I've been working on the last couple of weeks, it's my entry into the GTS (Global Talent Search) run by Lilla Rogers. I've really enjoyed the whole experience of it all and it really pushed me to explore and develop my work. The brief from round 1 was to design a pattern for a sneaker, we were given details of the demographic we were designing for along with photos to get us inspired. There weren't too many constraints so as not to restrict us creatively! I'm going to give you a peek at my process and how my finished piece came about! This is just a fraction of what is in my sketchbook, I love to explore and experiment quite a bit in the design process.

After initial brainstorming I started sketching lots of sneakers (canvas shoes/trainers!), in all different types of positions, to see what would work best. There was a swan ornament in one of the inspiration photos and it really jumped out at me so I decided to make it the main icon of the pattern. I sketched quite a few swans and refined it repeatedly until I was happy with the shape and look.

Then I wanted to get an idea of the colour palette I might use, using the inspiration photos I picked the colours I was drawn to and mixed them up using acrylic paints and put together all the colours I might possibly use in my finished design.

I referred back to the inspiration photos and sketched some motifs and made them into some hand-carved stamps. I played around creating different backgrounds again using acrylic paint.

As part of the brief we had to include some form of handlettering, so I experimented using various fonts for reference and settled on a mix of two. I'll explain why it's called 'Midnight Swan' next.

One of the inspiration photos had an image of a moon and stars in it, along with lots hints of metallic so I really wanted to include these in my design. I thought the swan would contrast nicely with a night sky so 'Midnight Swan' popped into my head and stayed there!

Here's the painted swan, surrounded by some stamped motifs, I used acrylic paints including some metallic gold paint. I wasn't sure if I wanted to create the entire design traditionally without any digital manipulation but in the end I decided to create a collage of all the different elements in Photoshop, I'm glad I did now because I learned quite a lot in the process! Like how to apply a pattern to an object.

I played around with the handlettering I scanned in Photoshop and added some motifs from the pattern. I was a bit worried about how well the gold paint would scan but I managed to get a nice sheen on it.

Here's my finished submission, it took me a while to get everything to work on the page together but I'm happy with how it turned out.

I hope you enjoyed having a look at my process! I hope you might be inspired to try something new in your process and push yourself a little further, you never know where it will take you! : )

Colour Palettes and Stamped Sketchbook Cover

Friday, August 21, 2015

In between magazine commissions I've been having a bit of fun taking part in Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, purely for the experience of it all, I'm still a bit wet behind the ears in this area! : ) Anyway, there were some great mini-assignments before the main event, to warm us up. I loved this one which was to explore the colour blue. We had to pick five shades of blue and mix them with Naples Yellow, white, water and come up with our own mixes to create lots of new shades of blue. I loved this exercise because I love mixing paint! Well I had to do something with all the leftover blue paint so I stamped the cover of one of my new kraft covered sketchbooks, that I bought while I was in Scotland. This one is A4 size but I bought a stack of A5 ones too!

I used a good selection of my hand-carved stamps and happily stamped away with all those lovely shades of blue. I definitely learned a lot more about colour mixing and was surprised how a random selection of stamps could work together when stamped in the same colour family!

I'm working on the main project at the moment, I can't share too much at the moment, it's still a work in progress but here's the colour palette I'll be picking my colours from for my final piece!

I've also been carving some new motif stamps for the project, here's just one of them. It's inspired by some of the imagery in the brief.

I love the texture of stamped paint! You never know how it's going to turn out! Still loving all those shades of blue. That's all for now! Have a great weekend! Just one week left of holidays left for Isabelle, then it's back to school, she's going onto 3rd class already!

Trip to Scotland

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

As promised, here's a few pics from our trip to Scotland! We visited some great castles, including this one in Linlithgow. There were a lot of steps to the top! But it was worth it for the view.

It was a massive place with lots to explore, Isabelle loved all the tunnels and secret passages, we nearly got lost a few times!

We were lucky with the weather while we were in Scotland, it was mild and we only had a few showers. So we managed to have a few picnics while we were there!

There was an amazing fountain in the main courtyard of the castle covered in beautiful sculptures, such beautiful details!

Apart from the castles we visited we managed to squeeze in a trip to the zoo, where Isabelle got to hand feed some ring-tailed lemurs, definitely the highlight of her trip!

One of my favourite places was the Scottish Owl Centre, the owls were beautiful and I got some lovely photos! I can't wait to paint them!

There were over 120 owls in the centre, one of the largest collections in the world. There was also a flight display which was really great!

I fell in love with this big-eyed fellow, he was in the indoor rainforest section, which was really cool! Look at those feathers!

We visited some beautiful forests and parks and managed to see some of the Scottish Highland Cows! They were huge!

Pollok Park and House is definitely worth a visit if you love gardens. And we had a beautiful lunch there too!

I hope you enjoyed a few of my pics from Scotland, we really had a great time and I can't wait to go back again some time. There's so much to see and do there and it's quite like Ireland! : )

Colour Clinic

Monday, August 17, 2015

In the August issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine, I was commissioned to do the Colour Clinic feature and I got to try out Spectrum Aqua Markers from Crafter's Companion. They're a water-based marker and blend just like watercolours.

I loved the range of colours and tried them on various types of paper but I found they work best on watercolour paper, where they blend perfectly using a moist paint brush. For my cards I stamped the images using Versamark ink and heat embossed the outlines in a silver making it easier to contain the blended watercolours. I also made an ombre effect panel using the markers and blended with water. The markers are dual-tip and would be great for sketch work as well as colouring stamps. I'd definitely recommend them!

That's all for now. I'm just finishing up a few commission projects but I'll share a few pics from our trip to Scotland as soon as I get a chance. We went to an amazing Owl centre, so you might be seeing a few owls featuring in my Bird Illustration Challenge soon!