Week 2 at Lilla Rogers School

Where should I start? Even though I've only been in Lilla's class for two weeks, I have grown so much, and I am sure my classmates all feel the same way about themselves, too. I spent as much time as I could everyday on my second week assignment, and let me tell you, it was a lot of work. I totally feel like I am back at art school, but I am so happy, and I feel giddy when I work on the assignment. I love Lilla's approach; each week she breaks down the assignment for us so we wouldn't feel overwhelmed. On each Monday we get our mini exercise, and on Wednesday we get our real assignment. But because of Monday's mini exercise, by the time Wednesday comes we'll have enough materials to use to complete our homework. It's genius!

Let me show you what I have done this past week. For week two, Lilla covered the home decor market. On Monday and Tuesday, without knowing what the actual assignment would be, I did bunch of drawings using black India ink with my brush and bamboo dip pen, since our mini exercise was to draw lots of pods.

One reason I did everything in black was because I planned to color them later in Photoshop so I was not too concerned about colors at this point.

FloraChang_HappyDoodleLand_3FlowersLineworkSketch.png

And another reason is, even though I love conventional artworks, I am never comfortable with brush and paint myself. When I saw my classmates' work-in-progress, I drooled! OH MY! There are so many painters in this class and they post the most gorgeous floral sketches on our Facebook wall (we have a closed Facebook group where we are encouraged to share with everybody our work-in-progress photos and feedback for each other, another reason why I LOVE this class). So, as much as I was admiring all the beautiful watercolor and gauche artworks my classmates did, I wasn't brave enough to do it myself at this point, silly me, right?

On Wednesday we got our actual assignment, and it was to design a collection of floral ceramic plates (2-4 pieces per collection). Using my ink drawings from Monday and Tuesday, as well as some butterflies drawings I did for week 1's assignment, I came up with these three designs:

I am pretty happy with my collection, though I still wish I could've come up with something more painterly and beautiful like many of my classmates' works. So after I finished my last plate design this afternoon, with a 50% off coupon in my hand (a surprise gift that showed up in my email today), I headed to Michaels and got myself some watercolors. I went back home and started to lay down colors on paper, without worrying too much, just played, layers after layers. It was really relaxing, actually! I then scanned the watercolors into Photoshop and combined them with my ink drawings from week 1 & 2, and this little piece just sort of happened on its own; it was like magic...

I guess I don't have to be so afraid of paint after all. A lesson learned and an unexpected mini break-through, at the end of week two. : ) 

One more set of pattern

I couldn't shake the urge to create one more set of pattern after I finished my first week's assignment at Lilla School. I kept wanting to do a cluster design that is simpler and more straightforward, so I came up with a third pattern. It's quite different from my two previous sets, more appropriate for kids I think, and I had a lot of fun picking icons from my brush doodles and coloring them in Illustrator. 

What a busy week! I can't wait to see what next week's class will bring. : ) 

First week at Lilla Rogers School

Yay! I survived the first week of Make Art That Sells class by Lilla Rogers! This class is intense (especially for a person who has a full time job), but in a very good way. I have over 400 classmates, and most of them are professional working artists. That alone is amazing, because I learn so much just by seeing what other people do toward the same brief, and everyone is just so unbelievably supportive, helpful, and warm toward each other. If the remaining 9 weeks of the course is like the first week, then I am sure we are all going to grow beyond our imagination. I will try my best to record my thoughts and share what I did for the class along the process.

For the first week, Lilla covered the bolt fabric market. Every Monday we are given a little exercise to do, and on Wednesday we will be given a real assignment which we have until Sunday afternoon to complete and submit our final piece. Our mini exercise for this week was this:

Yes, we were to draw mushrooms and vintage casserole dishes, and I probably doodled more than 150 little sketches, mushrooms and casserole dishes combined. Drawing from real life can be challenging, but what I learned from this process is that by the time I hit the 50th mushroom, my hand started to loosen up a bit and the style started to come out.

On Wednesday, we were given the actual assignment - to design two different retro kitchen themed fabric patterns. We were also encouraged to design a few coordinated patterns to go with the main ones. I did two pretty different patterns using elements I doodled during Monday and Tuesday. It's fun to see how two designs can look so different from each other using similar elements. Here is a more detailed shot of my first pattern, which is a grid and it's made up with both hand-drawn doodles and vector images:

And the repeated pattern with its coordinated designs:

Here is the detail of my second pattern, using only hand-drawn icons:

And the full pattern in repeat, with its coordinated designs:

Do you like them? Do you prefer one over the other?

Here are some of my thoughts along the way, not just about the class, but about the creative process in general:
1. Draw, draw, and draw more! There is no shortcut to good design. You have to draw a lot.
2. Experiment. Push yourself and work outside of your comfort zone.
3. Nothing gets wasted, even if you end up using only one element out of 100 sketches. All the hard work you put in will become part of you.
4. Stay positive. Negativity hurts your spirit and hinders the creativity.
5. Surround yourself with supportive people. And don't be stingy with your encouragement toward other people.
6. And, if you have knowledge to share, share it!

That's it for this week. Hope you are all enjoying a nice weekend. Stay creative! :)

Bunch of Stuff

Didn't quite have time last week to update my blog, so I am just going to update them all at once. I had a little down time today so I was able to play with some different doodle technique. Well actually, it's nothing new, it's just I don't do it often. I did some pencil line work drawings which I scanned into my computer and then put together in Photoshop.

And last week I doodled some kitties with brush and ink. I turned them into vector line works with Illustrator and made a fun pattern. I also made some iPad and iPhone cases using this pattern in different colorways and they are now available in my RedBubble shop.

Also, I did this piece with many tiny doodle faces. They were so much fun to do. I turn it into a animated gif but you have to go to  the "limited color illustrations" section on my website too see it moves (it's the 4th illustration from the top).

Well, that's about it for now! I hope you all have had a nice long weekend!

I am going back to school

I am going back to school; yes I am. :)

If there is one thing that I absolutely love, it would be learning. And, if I could learn from the best, it's even better. This is why after a long consideration, I decided to invest in myself and signed up for Lilla Rogers' "Make Art That Sells" e-course last night, and I am really glad that I did. I already have bunch of artist friends who also enrolled in this course, so it's going to feel like going back to school with my good friends and it will be so much fun (challenging, but fun!)

Lilla is one of the top illustration agents in the industry; just check out her Lilla Rogers Studio site and you will see why. She will be covering 10 hottest markets in this 2-parts e-course (5 weeks each). Professional-level assignment will be given every week, so this will also be the perfect chance to build up a portfolio. Lilla will also interview some of the industry's top leaders during the class, so you'll learn exactly what the art directors and buyers are looking for within each market. On top of that, there is also going to be a private community space where artists and designers can connect, share their work and support for each other. It's just like going back to art school. If you'd like to learn the details about this invaluable e-course, please click here.

So after reading all this, would you join me and be my classmate?

Car Ride

A new illustration I did today, for boys. Come take a happy car ride with us! : )