I finally dedicated time to adding a few new digital products to my Creative Market shop! There are 2 new pattern collections available, one called Fresh Tropical and the other Forest Floor.
 

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Also, I illustrated a colorful set of crayons that can be used in designs for teachers and school children alike.
 

Powered by Creative Market

I plan to give more attention to my Creative Market shop in the future, so let me know if there's something specific you'd like me to draw.

Happy designing!

~Christina

Hello, May

May 1, 2018

In:Drawing

I fell out of my blogging habit when I finished the 100 Days project, didn't I? The truth is that I have so many project ideas in my head that I can't keep them straight. I'm writing them down as they come but know that I can't possibly finish them all at once. So I keep reminding myself to be patient. Everything will occur as it should in its own time.

One project I HAVE moved forward on is having my art printed on coffee mugs. That's right: now you can enjoy your cup of Joe (or tea!) with my original artwork in hand. I created a collection of 4 graphic designs in black and white - flowers, mosaics, philodendron leaves and a herringbone pattern. A little something for everyone.

black and white coffee mugs

Click here to shop the collection.

In other news, you probably know how much I enjoy learning, right? Well, I recently joined Skillshare, a platform for online learning in many subject areas including creativity and business. I've been soaking it up and can already see an improvement in my art since I joined. If you're interested in giving it a whirl, let me know and I'll send you a link where you can receive 2 months of their Premium version for free. ❤

I hope you have a wonderful start to May!

~Christina

Cup Overflowing

This morning I met with my women's small group, where we're in the middle of studying the story of Gideon in the Bible. I can relate to Gideon so much. He had a faith in God, but still needed assurance when God called him to do something that was beyond his own strength. And instead of God being angry at his questioning, He accommodated Gideon's requests. I'd like to say my faith is so strong that I immediately do what God says to do, or go where He says to go, but sometimes I hold back. Sometimes I let fear rule my heart instead of trusting God to do what only He can do. But God is changing me one day at a time. The more I trust Him, the more easily I can say no to fear (read: there's no room for fear in a heart who knows God!).

After group was over my heart was full, my cup overflowing if you will. Our conversation had been rich with Gideon's story and our own life experiences, real questions and honest answers. I believe it's important to surround yourself with people who are moving in the same direction in life as you so they can help fill your cup. Then you're free to pour yourself into others who need it. And, when things happen beyond your control and you're spilled out in grief or disappointment or illness, you'll still have a little something in your cup.

Artistically, I prefer using pencil on paper to lay down my sketch before adding digital color. But then once on the computer, I often refine my lines and lose the imperfect, sketchy appearance I love so much. With this drawing, I resisted the urge to clean it up to perfection and left plenty of sketchiness (I think that's a word!). If you look close enough, you can see the loose lines and I think it adds so much character. I also experimented with a few new brushes that added fun texture. The cup shown, by the way, is my favorite painted mug (not painted by me) that I've had for years. Drawing it made me realize I've favored gold in art for quite some time without even knowing it!

I hope you're filled to the brim today.

~Christina


Last week I completed my first creative personal project 100 Days of Pillows, where for 100 weekdays I committed to making a new design that could be printed on a throw pillow. It was one of the most difficult and satisfying projects I've completed in my art journey. I learned so much from it, things that I think may benefit you, too. So, here are the top 5 lessons I learned during the process. → Read More

I can't believe I'm saying this but the 100 Days of Pillows project is COMPLETE!!! Tomorrow will be 6 months to the day since I drew the very first one. The project would have been finished earlier had I not taken a break for Christmas and weekends, but it was the sustainable pace I needed. With that said, I'm tired lol! But it's a good tired. :)

Soon I'll write that post I promised about lessons learned through finishing this project. But for now, here's a quick recap of each of the last designs.

Ferns that picked up on the tropical theme in Days 89-90.

Day 91 - Ferns - blog

Same with these hibiscus flowers. I liked the fresh green I paired with them. And this definitely confirmed that gold is the new black. :)

Day 92 - Hibiscus - blog

Hummingbirds...because it's that time of year again.

Day 93 - Hummingbirds - blog

More birds, but this time flamingos. Since I hadn't drawn one before, it was interesting to study their features and remind myself why they stand on one leg (hint: it's easier for them that way!).

Day 94 - Flamingos - blog

We spent a long weekend in Nashville, our first time visiting the city. I came home incredibly inspired to make art. Nashville is electrified with creative energy in both musical and visual arts.

Day 95 - Guitars - blog

Latte hearts, inspired by a delicious "Always Fall Somewhere" latte in said city.

Day 96 - Latte Hearts - blog

This design was dedicated to little twin princesses in my life undergoing hand surgery and my aunt, recovering from burns on her hands she received on the job as a firefighter. Having hands to use is such a gift, if you think about it.

Day 97 - Hands & Hearts - blog

Another Nashville inspired design. I discovered Hatch Show Print there, a letterpress shop famous for designing show prints for all the greats who have performed in Nashville (and beyond). They use carved wooden (and also metal) blocks to impress their designs on paper.

Day 98 - Block Letters Home - blog

Pansies for the first day of spring.

Day 99 - Pansies - blog

And FINALLY, Day 100! I was feeling so grateful to God for helping me complete this project that I wanted to make the last one in honor of Him. Yes, for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son. For me. For you. ❤

Day 100 - For God So Loved the World - blog

~Christina

After my mini-meltdown ;) at the end of Day 83, the past week and a half was hands-down my favorite of all during this project. Every pattern felt intentional, my final color choices sure (even if I struggled to get there), and I really enjoyed sitting down to draw each one.

A modern tree pattern. I'm a big fan of this color palette.

trees pattern

When I started this wildflower pattern, I intended to use the same colors found in the tree pattern. I tried and tried to make the colors work and eventually started from scratch when I realized it wasn't happening. What surprised me was the vintage appearance of the finished design, not something I intended at all. It's one of my new favorites.

Day 85 - Wildflowers pattern

We've been having beautiful spring weather in Atlanta, which inspired the flip flops on Day 86.

flip flops pattern

Naturally, a beach pattern followed.

beach pattern

Truth: this argyle pattern was inspired by caveman curling. Google "geico caveman curling" if you need a laugh and want to see the video for yourself! Also, I thought it would be helpful to include the day number with the pillow. Better late than never?

argyle pattern

I've wanted to draw fuchsias for a long time and this was finally the day. I envision this design on stationery, too.

fuchsia pattern

Finally, tropical Philodendron leaves. I think they were inspired after drawing the fuchsias, which is a tropical plant.

tropical leaves pattern

Only 10 more designs to go!

~Christina

Remember the owls from Day 76? They led to four additional designs using a similar color palette, starting with this floral pattern. I added the orange-red for an extra pop of color.

I also made a discovery with this design: I prefer using a smaller ink tip for drawing details than I had been previously using. I used the smaller tip for the gold foliage and later used that same pen for the fine details on the rest of the designs.

Day 77 - Owls - Floral - blog

The 2018 winter Olympics are currently happening in Pyeongchang, South Korea and on the day of the opening ceremony, I felt inspired to draw ice skates to cheer on team USA. While I love almost all winter sports, figure skating is the most captivating to me.

Day 78 - Team USA Ice Skates - blog

Snow skis in that same vein. With these designs I realized (or remembered, rather) just how comfortable using a pencil on paper feels. Some days I go straight to my digital tablet to create more painterly designs, but this week was all about starting on paper with pencil and ink and then applying digital color.

Day 79 - Snow Skis - blog

On Day 80 I returned back to the navy and gold color palette, trying a gold background this time and drawing one of my favorite motifs - mushrooms.

Day 80 - Mushrooms - blog

It was Valentine's Day here and I needed a little pink in my artwork.

Day 81 - White Pink Roses -blog

I thought I was done with the navy/gold palette after the mushroom pattern, but it kept calling out to me. I think the snails are a little quirky just like the owls. Those two designs have become some of my favorites in the entire pillow project! Maybe it's because they're animals? I love the swans, too. There might be something to that theory.

Day 82 - Owls - Snails - blog

Lastly, the final design in the "woodland" style collection. The orange-red was the last of the colors to try on the background. Because it's so bright, I limited the other colors to just the cream and a touch of gold.

Day 83 - Owls - Acorns & Leaves -blog

Whew! The weekend is timely. I'm stretching to make these designs the best I can and I'm starting to feel it here at Day 83. The 100th design should arrive in mid-March and I have a small, irrational fear creeping in that I'll lose steam before finishing. Again, it's irrational, but also a human response when trying to accomplish something significant.

I'll just keep going, one design at a time.

Have a good one. ☺
~Christina

It's hard to believe I just hit 75% complete on this project! When I first started I couldn't imagine finishing a project this size. I was committed but honestly a little afraid. When it's complete I'll probably write a post with all that I've learned in this process, but for now, I'm so thankful I made this decision. It's been good for me both personally and professionally.

Last week I made the conscious decision to slow down and be very intentional about my work. I noticed some days felt a little rushed as I tried to complete the design for that day, sometimes at the expense of quality. Because part of this project is meant to be a portfolio builder, rushing will not do! So when I'm tempted to call a pattern "done" even though I know it could use something extra, I'm allowing myself the time to really think it through. Time to draw additional motifs, change colors or try a new technique. As a result, I believe my best work is finally, FINALLY, starting to come out.

This is the companion to the floral on Day 69. I tried a new technique by applying a subtle texture I made from scratch, a trick I'm sure will get used on future designs.

The next two designs are companions. The lilies were drawn from a photo I took of a flower arrangement last year. It really pays to keep old photos around!

Snails emerged next, though I'm not positive why. Maybe the swirls on the lily pattern's background? I've also noticed I really enjoy creating with gold colors.

These swans. Maybe my favorite to date. I stepped out of my comfort zone by 1) drawing birds 2) using a somewhat complex pattern with overlapping shapes and 3) using more colors than I usually do.

Cattails - simple but elegant.

The same with the feathers. I like to create simple patterns to contrast with more complex ones, such as the swans.

Last but not least, quirky owls! I think the swans naturally led here, though I had no idea the pattern would look this way until it was finished. It was a happy surprise.

I'm eager to see the remaining designs in this project. Thank you for following along with me. :)

~Christina

Warmer still. The good news is that it didn't take until Day 75 to get comfortable again, as I predicted. It seemed to happen right after my last blog post with Day 63! Creativity really does need exercise much like a muscle. If you flex it, it grows bigger. Ignore it, even for a short while, and it atrophies.

I've posted the pillows slightly out of the order I made them so you can see the pairings together. 3 total pairs are shown here plus the one at the bottom. A friend first hinted at a plaid coordinate for the mountain pattern (thank you!) and that set me on a path of creating a companion for every major design that followed.

I'm not sure when I fell away from making pattern collections. I enjoy creating patterns that stand on their own, but focusing on companions where at least the colors are similar to the main pattern helps the process flow better. I'm going to roll with it for as long as it feels right. Hint: the companion for the bottom pattern was created today for Day 70, but for now you'll have to head over to my Instagram account to see it!

Day 63 - Mountains pattern

Day 65 - Mountains - Plaid Coordinate - Purple

Day 64 - Crepe Myrtle Seed Pods Pattern

Day 66 - Crepe Myrtle Seed Pods - Companion

Day 67 - Daffodils Pattern

Day 68 - Daffodils - Companion

Day 69 - Lily Wreaths pattern

Recently Chad asked me to create artwork for him to hang in his new office, which contains bare walls just waiting to be filled. Originally, I planned to make a large painting on canvas, the kind with acrylic or oil paint. But as I rummaged through my supplies and tried to think of a subject to paint (a landscape? still life? something else?), it didn't feel right. I hadn't painted in awhile and knew it would take time to get comfortable using the brushes and paints again. Then maybe I'd be able to create a piece that both of us loved. So, I let myself off the hook and did what comes naturally: I drew using the computer.

Chad gave me very few parameters for what he wanted. In fact, the only one was that the artwork couldn’t be girly. "No flowers," he said. Check.

Chad is a handy guy, so eventually I chose a hand tools theme. I spent a few minutes picking up and putting down the various tools at his work bench, examining their shapes and sizes to determine which ones contributed the most variety. The selections were made and then I arranged, and rearranged, them flat on the floor until I could see the basic composition that would ultimately make up the finished piece.

The color choices were easy to make. I emphasized his favorite color with a dark, royal blue background and a bright, cobalt blue for the tool handles. I intentionally let some of the background peak through the tools, and left jagged edges, for texture.

Once the art was finished I sent the digital file off to be printed on canvas, so no frame or glass would be required for hanging. And, it would have a traditionally-painted appearance to it.

When I received the canvas in the mail, I couldn't believe how well it was constructed and how accurate the colors were to my digital artwork. It also passed the husband seal of approval!

Tools Art Print on Canvas

I was so pleased with the tools art print that I added it to the Etsy shop, where customers can purchase one of their own.

Have a handyman in your life who would enjoy this special gift? Click here for details.

~Christina