Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Make Art That Sells, final reviews!

I have been finished with Make Art That Sells part B for weeks now! Weeks! It was such an intense 5 week session, but in the best way possible.  I found myself more worn out this time and it took me longer to recover after.  We can blame it on age 30 settling on in (hahah).  Really, I think the reason is I understood the process and schedule better since I completed part A, so there was no more the adrenaline rush of the unknown.  Also, I didn't think it was possible to work myself harder than I did in part A but I DID! I worked 150% and it felt great to be that absorbed by something I love so much.

All in all, I can speak highly enough of the class.  Lilla reviews work in her video critiques and because of the large amount of students, she can just select some.  Susan McCabe, an agent on Lilla's team, did a guest review during week 4 and my piece was in her selection.  I was OVER THE MOON. I'm still over the moon.  I had not been chosen before, and I was ok with that.  Of course I wanted to be, but I was able to listen to the critiques and take bits and pieces and apply them to my own work.  

Above is my Week 4 piece completed.  It was an editorial assignment of a map of your town.  My town is New York City but I didn't want to go about it the traditional Empire State Building kinda way.  Instead, I logged caffeine! This piece challenged me more than any other piece.  It is the one I am most proud of accomplishing within the few day deadline, so having it be chosen to discuss made it that more special! 

Week 5 drew from Ukrainian Folk Art inspiration and at first I was like uhh..whhhhaaaaatttt? And then I was all like, OMG I LOVE THIS.  I am still shocked at how inspiring I found this form of art.  We had to complete a paper party good set and I had an absolute blast with it.  I pushed my color choices a lot.  I loved breaking down icons into simple shapes and filling them up with other shapes.  I loved scale and composition play.  I just, well, loved!!! (click to enlarge)

Lilla did choose mine in her video critique.  Her positive words about it were so so so encouraging, and she said she wanted to see more cats! I can happily share that more cats are in progress as I type.  Well not literally as I type, because my hands are busy, but you know what I mean.   I look forward to sharing them soon.  I am also working on a piece for an upcoming conference based on Snow White and I am using Ukrainian folk art as the inspiration for that piece as well. 

I also am so pleased to share that Make Art That Sells is a course about licensing artwork, and upon ending the second session I was approached to license artwork for greeting cards.  I can't wait to share that with you in 2014, when they'll be on shelves!!!!! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Very Sparkly Star

It's been pretty quiet around these bloggin' parts because it's been pretty busy in these real life parts! Before I share a recap of the last few weeks of the Make Art That Sells class, I want to share an awesome project I had the opportunity to work on for Swarovski. The iconic Rockefeller Center christmas tree is topped every year by a massive, beautifully, sparkly Swarovski star. At ground level during the holiday season, in Rockefellar center, stands a replica. Visitors can take their photo with it and read the informational panels around it, explaining the history of the star as well. This year, the aluminum panels holding up this star were designed by me, along with the informational panels!!

I had a great time working on it and an even greater time going to see it once it was installed. So far I've gone in the day pre-tree lightening, in the night pre-tree lightening and in the night post-tree lighting! Each time the coolness of the whole project remains. If you are in NYC this holiday season, go see it! It's right next to Anthropologie next to the Swarovski kiosk. It's hard to miss, because that star is super sparkly! Here are some photos from the various times I've stopped by:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Better Late than Never!

A once in a lifetime holiday even took place late last month, Hanukkah overlapped with Thanksgiving and my family holiday card celebrated this exciting event with an illustration by me and the idea by my sister!

Happy holidays from my family to yours! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Scenes from my desk.

I call this photo "Scenes From My Desk" and now that i'm thinking about it, I can probably call almost all of my photos that same title. Ha! Anyway, just wanted to show a sneak-peak of a work in progress. When making a map about coffee hot-spots in NYC be sure to consume a lot of coffee and scan in your coffee beans.

I made a lot of progress last night which is great.  It was Halloween so it was a bit odd to not be doing anything festive, but I had some apple cider and got to work. We only had one trick-or-treater in my building so I was happy to answer the door for them as a mini-break! This project is proving to be the most time-consuming so far for me, but there is something great about spending SO much time doing what you love.  

I'll be back to share the finished piece soon!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Say Cheese! Week 3 in Make Art That Sells

Hello, hello world. I forgot how intensive this course is!!! And howwwww right about now my brain literally feels like it's at maximum capacity and needs a night (or like 20 nights) off.  Which, in fact, I gave it last night. I wanted to share my week 3 experience because it was different than my usual week because of the way I worked.  Not like a totally different style or anything drastic, but a different approach to the way I create my icons.  This involved drawing digitally, printing on transparencies, taking marker to the transparencies and giving them each more character and a hand drawn feel, scanning them in and turning them to vector.  I had a lot of fun with it. I also hated it and wanted to scrap it halfway through because it was frustrating not being able to fully visualize my result like I usually can (or come close to) BUT I stuck it out and in the end was pleased with the result.

The assignment for the first 2 days was to draw cameras and typewriters.  Then from there the project became developing a page of elements for scrapbooking.  My sister scrapbooks (Hi, Ray!) and she told me I MUST included the word "travel" so I did…and hand written words were also part of the assignment so that worked too.  

I also wanted to play with a color palette I've been wanting to work in, but hadn't ever.  That might be my favorite part about the end product here, the colors! I definitely want to do more in this process and with these colors in the future.

Week 4 is more than halfway done, so I'll be back to post about that soon!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Join The Bunny Scouts!

Click image to enlarge!!

Week 2 of Make Art That Sells was all about baby apparel and the theme of our assignment was camping.  We had to make a pattern and if you wanted, some mock up baby apparel items. I make patterns almost every day as part of my day-job as a children's accessory designer, but I do not usually use my personal style in them because I work primarily with licensed characters.  It was really fun to try one in my own technique.  I spent a lot of time on the individual icons. A loooottttt of time.  That was my biggest take-away from part A of the class, that the more effort and detail I put into those during the mini assignments, the better my finish would come together and flow.  

Due to my schedule this week, I had to finish my project by Friday in order to guarantee I would be able to make the deadline.  I'm very happy this is the only week that timing will be tight for me, because cutting 2 days off was HARD! But, that being said, I had a really great time with it and made a narrative in my head that allowed the individual icons to unite.  My sister and brother-in-law recently welcomed a baby boy and while making the mock ups I had him in mind! I would love to see him wearing any of these. 

Here's a little video of my process from sketch to finish:

And now onto week 3! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Back to School, Week 1!

I worked on a really exciting freelance project a few weeks ago that had to do with the holiday season, so I was in the perfect mind-set for week 1 of Make Art That Sells.  We spent the first few days focusing on ornaments and candy. I found myself leaning more towards the ornaments.  I snacked on plenty of candy along the way though!! Haha!  The full assignment was to create 2 holiday cards.  I learned in part A of the class that the more I work during the mini assignment realllllllly  ends up helping me for the final assignment.  So that's what I did. I worked. And worked and worked and worked. And in the end I create this, which I am so happy with! This is the card I ended up submitting in the class flickr group. Check out my Instavideo of this piece from sketch to finish HERE

My second card will be used for social media purposes, and I loved the idea of playing with the term tweet.  I think I want to go back into it and play with the definition in the eyes, maybe make the thicker and adjust the color, add some lashes, etc.  But for now, here's my finish:

Ready-set-go! Week 2! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Back to School!

It's back to school for me! It's actually 5 days in, but I am SO excited to see where Part B of Make Art That Sells leads! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1 Year Anniversary!

Time is a really funny thing.  Sometimes events seem like they were ages ago, and sometimes like they were yesterday.  My wedding day feels like a big giant yesterday.  I remember a million moments from that day, and the days leading up to it, and that amazing feeling of happiness that just completely overcomes you the moment you say "I Do" to your best friend.  It probably helps that there are photos of that perfect moment plastered all over my apartment, haha!

Then I look at these snapshots, and the thousands more I have just like it, and say WOW what a year. We did a TON this year.  We celebrated and traveled and visited and shopped and ate and drank and celebrated more and traveled more and it was wonderful.  I am so lucky to have Tristan as a husband and so grateful to have had such an amazing wedding and such a fun year.  I look forward to a lifetime of more anniversaries and more memories with him.  Love is pretty awesome!!!!! So are anniversaries! So is my husband!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Illustration Friday: Onomatopoeia

For this week's Illustration Friday I had to take to the dictionary. Onomatopoeia is super fun to say, but honestly I had no clue what it was.  I was VERY happy to see an example of it within it's definition to be CUCKOO.  This is the cover illustration from my work in progress Charlie Bird and The Cuckoo Clock.  Turns out I love a good onomatopoeia! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Illustration Friday: Totem

A totem of rescue monkeys! 
This illustration was printed as a decal for my nephew's nursery.
Check it out on the wall, along with a few of the other decals:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

ABC Circus Style

During the last course I took (which resumes on Oct 7 and I CAN'T WAIT) I had set up a very strict schedule for myself that involved waking up hours before I normally would.  I needed to make sure I could dedicate chunks of consecutive time every day.  Since I work full-time (and part-time) the early mornings are my only free time.  After a few days of getting into the swing of that schedule, it became fairly easy. I would definitely get tired by the time night came, and EXHAUSTED by the end of the week, but it felt really good to know I was working so hard and putting in the hours towards my goals.  

A lot of the artists who didn't make the next round of Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search started ABC projects, and I wanted to join.  After a few weeks of just talking about wanting to do it, I finally realized the only way I actually would is to go ahead and go back on my schedule.  So starting this past Monday I did!  I'm almost done with "C is for clown" and am debating on doing "U is for unicyle" or "R is for ringmaster" next.  I'm hoping to complete both of those before class begins and if I stick to this schedule I should be able to. Yay! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grayden Scott

Tristan's sister & her husband welcomed a beautiful baby boy just a few days ago!  Grayden Scott was born on Wednesday, September 4 and Tristan & I couldn't be more excited to call myself his aunt & uncle!!!! Congrats Devin & Logan! We love you! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Congrats Liz & Chris

I can't believe it's already been a week but WHOA IT'S BEEN A WEEK!
I flew to England to watch one of my favorite humans on this earth say "I Do" and it was awesome.  There were unicorns everywhere, a happy baby and an amazing candy bar filled with British snacks! Congrats Liz & Chris!!!!! 

Now hurry up and move back to America. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

L is for Lion

I've officially started a circus themed ABC series! You'll notice a similar lion in the post below.  This is his cousin.  One fights fires and one is in the circus.  ;-) 

More to come soon on this project! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Illustration Friday- Rescue

"Rescue" is this week's Illustration Friday topic.  It just happens to fit in perfectly with the nursery art series I just completed.  Happy Friday! 

****UMMMMM this just in. Apparently this week's topic is "Lush" and i'm losing my mind hahaha.  Sorry if you clicked this from Illustration Friday's site.  I was in England for the last 48 hours so let's blame this on a jet lagged brain.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I'm back!

Tristan and I had an amazing honeymoon last week.  I can't believe it went by so fast! We cruised from Greece to Turkey to Italy. We toured, took pictures, shopped, drank, ate, and relaxed along the way.  It was awesome! We both posted a ton of photos to Instagram, so feel free to search #tristanandmargotsetsail to see them.  Now that I'm back, I'm hoping to do some illustrations based off of my favorites, starting with the one above! This photo was taken in Kusadasi, Turkey at a bazaar shop. 

Sometimes you just have to take some time out of your schedule to see the world and be thankful for how good life is! The below picture is definitely one of those moments.  That's Tristan in the Mediterranean Sea during our day in Mykonos, Greece.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bon Voyage

This may have been about 10 months ago, but it's never too late for a honeymoon! Tristan and I are headed on a cruise from Greece to Italy.  I can't wait to set sail, eat, drink, read, tour, take pictures and relax!  It's going to be fantastic. Our bags are PACKED!   See you soon! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Happy Early 30!

I'm going to be away while one of my best friends in the world enters decade 3, so posting this a bit early! Happy, happy birthday Caitlin! May your day be filled with Santa Monica strolling, reality tv, green juices, and Dry Bar. Oh, and nail art. I really hope you are getting fun nail art!!!!

Eric Carle Themed Diaper Cake Tutorial

My sister-in-law Devin is expecting a baby boy this September!  My first nephew!!!  Her shower was this past weekend, and her sister Ashley and I wanted to surprise her with a diaper cake.  The World of Eric Carle has an amazing toy selection, and the mom-to-be loves this classic story so we thought it would be the perfect theme.  We watched a few YouTube's on how best to construct the cake, but formed our own way that was really simplified yet effective!  

Want to make one? Here's how:
*84 pack of diapers
*Rubber bands of assorted sizes (84 smaller ones, and about 10-15 larger ones) 
*Floral Wire
*Decorative Ribbons
*Assorted Toys to decorate cake
1.  We used a big range of product, from bath toys, to socks, to finger puppets and clip-on developmental toys.  The quantity of product you use is completely up to you, but we wanted this to be overflowing with cute Eric Carle items.  Unwrap the toys from their packaging and begin rolling diapers.  We rolled each one individually having the #1 diaper size on the inside so that all the diapers would be consistent.  Each diaper was individually wrapped with a smaller rubber band.  

2.  We then formed what I think look like mini flowers with the individual diaper rolls.  Put one in the center and then 6 around it to form the "flower" shape.  One of us held this in place while the other wrapped a larger rubber band around it to attach together.  Rubber bands are such a genius invention.  

3. Add more diapers around the exterior to get the size of the base to be larger.  This can be as large or small as you want. 
4. Repeat the process to make as many tiers of diapers as you'd like.  Out of our 84 size 1 diapers, 4 didn't fit into the cake of 3 tiers, but I'm sure my sister-in-law will be able to put those extra to use very soon!

5.  We then placed the Eric Carle Discovery Cube within the layers to make an extra tier and break up all the white that is the diapers.  This added great dimension to our cake and height.  It also has rings on the cube, which we thought would be great to hang other items from. 

6.  We used floral wire (because it's light and very flexible) to secure elements of the cube down to the rubber bands of the cake.  We were transporting this from Manhattan to Westchester for the baby shower and didn't want any bumps in the road to let the cake fall apart. 

7.  Take a break and watch your husband read a story to your adorable niece.  She was enjoying Eric Carle's Baby Animal Sound Book

8.  We then started adding on toys.  And more toys.  And more toys.  I highly recommend using toys with clip-on features because the cute caterpillar shaped clips made the toys easy to attach. 

9.  Secure the toys down with some extra floral wire so they stay in place.

10.  Top your cake! We used The World of Eric Carle's Lion Loop Rattle
11.  Cover up the rubber bands with pretty ribbons.  We used a different ribbon for each tier and tucked the knot ends in between diapers so they weren't that visible.  

12. Bring to a baby shower and be prepared for lots of ooo's and ahh's and awwwws! 

Check out The World of Eric Carle's Facebook page. They have lots of amazing craft, recipe, product info, party and DIY ideas along with giveaways!  Their Pinterest page is also great!

We can't wait to see our nephew playing with all these toys in a few months :-)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fire Fighting Jungle Animals

Tristan and I are expecting our first nephew! He is due mid September and we're so so so excited to meet him.  His parents, Devin & Logan, asked me to design decals for his nursery  I've never created decals or decorated an entire nursery before, so this was exciting and new for me.  I learned a lot about my process along the way, especially how I can prepare files for the future, name photoshop layers, and what sizes to work in.  For example, here's a little tip for my illustrator pals: If you're creating coordinating artwork, don't set some files to be RGB and some to be CMYK. You'll regret that later!!! ;-) 

The theme they were looking for was fire fighting jungle animals.  I ended up making 4 coordinating scenes, 3 badges, and little trucks to be used as a border.  I also love to slip in personal details.  You'll see below the truck number is 527, and that is because the parents-to-be were married on 5.27!  The files went off to the printer yesterday, so when the room is all set up I will share photos. But until then, here is one of my favs! (click to enlarge) 


This morning I read through the list of Lilla Roger's Global Talent Search Top 50.  If I told you I'm not bummed to not have made this much anticipated list I'd be a big giant liar. What I can tell you that rejection is an important part of this process, and sometimes it stings more than others.  Luckily for me, moments like this remind me just how much I want to reach my creative goals and how hard I plan on working to do so.  

A lot of my classmates are working on personal ABC projects before the next section of the class starts.  I think the creative, encouraging environment that the Make Art That Sells forum has turned into is a perfect place to keep growing and testing out new things.  Even though I have a lot going on in the next few weeks I'm going to join them.

The top 50 Lilla chose out of the 1500 entries are stunning. Some truly amazing pieces, and it's really cool to see a lot of my classmates in there!!! Congrats to all who made it.  Check them out here:

Anyway, I felt true joy while creating my entry for this contest,  and at the end of the day that is most important.  So…onward!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This little peanut is ONE!

Happy first birthday to sweet baby Quinn! Feels like just yesterday we were walking down the hospital halls eager to meet you. Watching you grow, learn and smile has been the absolute best! 

Monday, July 22, 2013


Lately has been very HOT here in the city (although upper left pic was taken in Rhode Island), and it's also been kinda awesome.  One of my besties and her baby, my Mini BFF were in town, our niece learned to talk a bit and walk, my dad caught a foul ball, and we're discovering new restaurants in our neighborhood.  How has your lately been?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yee Haw! My Global Talent Search Submission

So time and time again I fall in love with illustrations I see with a full color focal point and a tonal background.  It's unclear to me why I never tried it before…until now! I'm really proud of this piece. I think it really answers the assignment of having a vintage playground inspired journal cover that says the word "playground".  This is not my usual color palette, and I think it was good to try something new, but still within my style.  I have a few pieces in the works right now for a very special nursery art commission which I'll be sharing soon, and want to definitely take what I learned here and try there.

This piece is my submission for Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search.  Lilla is my dream illustration agent, and if you win the competition you get represented by her for 2 years.  Holy WOW. Anyway, being able to compete and feel proud of myself is definitely great, so either way I am glad to have participated.  It also turns out, my weeks of waking up for the course I just took has kept me really disciplined and dedicated.  I'm just going to keep working on this schedule while I have pending projects, because well, it's working!

Below are some images of progress along the way.  I doodled very loosely, then drew a vector version, then digitally collaged. The font is my handwriting scanned in and turned into vector elements. 

Also check out my friend Jenipher's work! We both took the course together and it's been a lot fun and really encouraging to have a friend to email back and forth with about the course and our projects!