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.
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.
We've been having beautiful spring weather in Atlanta, which inspired the flip flops on Day 86.
Naturally, a beach pattern followed.
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?
I've wanted to draw fuchsias for a long time and this was finally the day. I envision this design on stationery, too.
Finally, tropical Philodendron leaves. I think they were inspired after drawing the fuchsias, which is a tropical plant.
Only 10 more designs to go!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was Valentine's Day here and I needed a little pink in my artwork.
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.
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.
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. ☺
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. :)
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!
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!
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.
Getting warmer. I looked back at my first 50 pillow designs and realized it took about 25 designs before things started to feel really comfortable. So if history repeats itself, given my little break at Day 50, Days 75-76 should be hopping! But, hopefully it won't take as long this time. ;)
This ocean themed design began with an existing pattern that I tweaked and recolored. It has a lot of potential, but I can't say it's 100% me. I think I'd love it even more without the pink starfish and may remove them just to see what happens.
These jellyfish were in the same existing pattern that I mentioned above. I wanted to separate them out and have them swimming on their own, much like you'd see in an aquarium. I rather like this one.
A simple sunshine-y pattern drawn on a rainy day.
This design came on a day when I was coming up short on what to draw. Looking through my sketchbook always helps, however, and I came across these pebbles, hand drawn in charcoal, that I hadn't used in my work yet. I set them into a repeat pattern with a neutral, tan background. I'm pleased with its natural, organic appearance.
The charcoal pebbles led to a charcoal pear (naturally!). I experimented with bright, preppy colors and think the combination of the color and semi-realistic pear gives it a hint of pop surrealism. Not exactly my style, but still fun.
Snowmen for Day 61, inspired by snow that blanketed our house that morning. Over the holidays I was hooked on a similar color palette and went back to it for this pattern. I felt that familiar click, when the process of drawing and the finished art feels most like me.
Last but not least, the moon and stars, inspired by the sunshine pattern from Day 58. It wasn't intentional, but the various moon shapes have a dimensional effect to them that remind me of paper doilies.
62% complete with this project!
Happy 2018, everyone!
I'm slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things after taking a much needed break over the holidays. I did some planning for the new year, which included hanging a white board in my office (why have I not done this sooner?), and am already enjoying checking items off my list. I have very specific things I'd like to accomplish this year and it will be an interesting one if everything comes to fruition. I've even had a completely NEW creative endeavor placed on my heart in which I'm currently dipping my toe. If the water's fine, you'll be sure to hear about it here!
I won't give a description for each pillow design featured today but you can visit my Instagram account and search on #stewardpillows if you're curious to know a little more. I will say the Peace dove, made on December 5th, was my last design for 2017 and gaining momentum again after the break has not been easy! But I know that taking daily, consistent steps and continuing to do the work will bring it back again. 😊
After reaching the halfway point (!) of the 100 Days of Pillows project, I decided it was a good time to switch gears for the holidays. Namely, I'll be traveling and taking some rest days with family. So, the pillow project will commence again in January.
I realized recently that while I had shared my Spoonflower announcement via newsletter and social media, I had not shared it here! If you're new to Spoonflower, it's a website where you can purchase fabric by the yard, wallpaper and gift wrap with just about every artwork and pattern you can imagine. As I've been growing my pillow design portfolio, I thought Spoonflower was an excellent place to start sharing my work.
Here are samples of my designs on Spoonflower fabric! Their print quality is excellent with colors true to the artwork.
Currently there are 28 of my designs available on the website and that number is growing. I have to proof the designs before making them available for purchase and that happens in batches, but more are coming soon! Spoonflower even has a sister site called Roostery where you can have any of my designs sewn into home decor products like pillows and duvet covers.
If you're a sewing enthusiast or want to have something made for you, I invite you to head over to my shop and take a look around. You just might find something for your next sewing project. :)
Click HERE to get started.
After the Thanksgiving break I started up again with Christmas designs. It's funny, working with holiday motifs isn't something I can force myself to do (I've tried). But when the mood hits, it stays awhile.
Whimsical reindeer silhouettes using the same pink in the poinsettia pattern from Day 40.
The tiny houses from Day 31, this time, decorated on a Christmas night.
I switched gears on Day 44 and went with butterflies. They were past illustrations that I set into a repeat and changed the color palette.
Inspired by the butterflies, I illustrated my favorite insect to draw: the ladybug!
On a roll with insects, I took inspiration from another past illustration, designed a pattern and used a bold color palette. I'm calling these "royal bees" in gold and purple.
By this day I was done with bugs and went back to a winter theme. Here I used a digital gouache brush to give a painterly effect to the snowy trees.
Another fall or winter design in the same medium. I've wanted to paint pine cones for a long time but was never brave enough to try it. It wasn't as bad as I expected, especially when using tricks in the digital world 😉 and when you give yourself permission to NOT capture every detail. I used a less-is-more approach that I think turned out well. The pine cones were drawn from an actual cone picked up in the back yard.
I wonder what art will be made next week? Time will tell!
Another week of the pillow project is complete (yes!). It feels good to be approaching the midpoint. This week had more "what am I going to draw" moments that lasted longer than I liked, but my commitment to drawing something by the end of each day hasn't wavered.
The first design was inspired by a recent stay at Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque, NM. The building was originally constructed in 1926 as the Santa Fe Hospital and was converted into a boutique hotel in 2010. It was fascinating to walk through its halls and wonder about the stories they could tell. Articles from the hospital are on display inside the hotel, including keys that belonged to the original rooms.
Where there are vintage keys...there are vintage locks.
I noticed my patterns were trending toward "tight" designs, so I intentionally went with a larger scale in this floral pattern. I wanted a simple design that made fun use of the negative space, or the empty space around the objects.
Another large scale pattern with these poinsettias. For some reason I had Christmas on my mind that day. Could it be all the Christmas commercials on TV or the decorations already in every store? Hmmmm..... ;) I adore the color palette used here. You just can't go wrong with Christmas colors.
And lastly, I reused the cream colored poinsettias from the previous design to create a wreath. My sister-in-law commented how she could see a large "JOY" or "NOEL" on the previous pattern, so I took inspiration from that and hand lettered the word "Joy" inside the wreath. I quite like it!
Since next week is Thanksgiving, this project will be put on hold for 2-3 days. But no fear, I'll get right back into it after the holiday!
Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours. ❤