December Calendar and Plans for my Next Project

Better late than never, right?

Here is the December Desk Calendar :) I hope you enjoy my festive reindeer!

Since I was late in delivery I am going to post a FREE downloadable holiday card this weekend! So, keep and eye out for my next post.

It's been a hectic December so far here in California.  I have actually been very busy at work (something new), and we live really close to the large Thomas fire which completely took our attention for the last 2 weeks.  We are thankful that we were outside evacuation zones, but our friends, co-workers and offices were in danger which is just as worrisome.  The air quality comes and goes now as they are still trying to get more containment.  Hoping things continue to get better, and that we can find a way to help out our neighbors in need.

For something completely different... My sister encouraged me to participate in a holiday craft fair at her office back East.  I had left some art pieces and was able to employ my Mother to help with sewing up tea towels for the event.  They did such a wonderful job! I believe they sold over $500 dollars in merchandise - I think this means I need to devote more time to focusing on products and designs.

Which brings me to my plans for the next project.  I want to ensure I post something to social media everyday - But I think to keep things lively I want to try to have a couple different types of projects going.  First goal, take a hard look at my schedule and figure out how to make the most of my available time :)

November Calendar - And some Process Insight.

Hi Everyone - Here is the foldable desk calendar for November.  A fat little squirrel among the falling leaves.  Not many of those on the west coast, maybe one of first things I am missing so far.  I hope enjoy the calendar, and if you want you can read more about my process for this project below. 

November Foldable Desk Calendar

"Self Promotion & Learning New Things"

I am new to the illustration industry, so late last year I decided to figure out a personal project where I could promote myself and get my work out there while still exploring my style. I knew I could get bogged down with other clients and projects; so it had to be something I could create and share quickly while still looking polished.  Something that was tangible, allowing people to interact with my art. I decided a monthly calendar image would be just right for my goals.

I love learning new things, and had spent the last year creating and experimenting drawing digitally. I got an iPad Pro and threw myself into all the apps and tools. I find that the Procreate App is one of the best since it is easy to use and has great pencil brushes available.  I am able to draw fast and loose maintaining the expressive quality of my lines, while giving me the freedom to hit “undo”.  Don’t get me wrong, I still create on paper because I know when I draw with my favorite brush pen I am more thoughtful as I work and I get all the happy accidents that happen when you can’t erase.  So I decided that I needed to merge the two.  Get the look and feel of my favorite brush pen, while having the freedom of digital drawing.  

I Googled “how to make a Procreate brush”, and the internet came through. I found a wonderful short tutorial by Teela Cunningham - She is a great resource and I recommend checking out her Skillshare classes as well. I made a few small strokes in my sketchbook with my favorite brush pen, and took a picture of the marks with my phone. I imported that image into Photoshop, adjusted size and contrast, so I had a variegated mark with smooth non pixelated edges which I could import to the Procreate app as a source image for a new brush.

I spent a little time fine tuning all the pressure sensitivities to mimic my favorite pen, and then I was done!  The whole process took about 30 minutes and I was set for drawing with the line quality of my analog brush pen, but with the digital benefit of layers and erasing.

To save myself more time throughout the year I created a template file for my calendar.  I did a little more research about how to make boxes, and troubleshooted all the instructions and assembly ahead of time.  Created a simple layout and typed up all the numbers for each month. Now I was ready to just plug and play each print file throughout the year once the art was done.

Making the time to learn something new, and think critically about the long term project, saved me time in the long run, and gave me the freedom to get lost in the drawing and explore my style further. Now I have a great collection of drawings and new learnings about myself and my process. I feel more prepared to tackle my next challenge to share work and process more frequently.  I am going to itemize the goals, think critically about the production, trouble shoot and prep as much as I can now so I can get lost in the art!

*Note:This is my first attempt at sharing some in depth process information - I want to do this more and therefore this post will be updated over the course of the next 2 weeks as I refine my writing and prep some reference documentation.  Feedback and suggestions welcome :)