It seems that the whole world is in love with everything "vintage" these days. This is a term we use when something is not quite an antique,(100 years or older) but it is still cool and old, or retro-looking. The term Vintage is sometimes used in conjunction with a year when pertaining to wines or cars...but I am talking about our fascination with objects and art that meets Dictionary.com's definition, "representing the high quality of a past time, of lasting interest and importance, venerable classic."
In my world, vintage maps make my heart go pitter-patter! I have recently begun to scan and "restore" vintage maps for use in art. I love the fact that as the world changes, maps must get updated. Each one represents a snapshot of the world a that particular moment. This must be frustrating for cartographers. My maps can be found in my Zazzle shop "Mapology" and in my Society6 shop. Click the picture to open that site.
Finding Paris Together
Personally, I am enjoying the latest trend of Vintage-look photography. I purchased a calendar for 2013 (one of the best ways to obtain a collection of works from an artist or photographer) from Rachel Burbee AKA Vintage Skies. I love the current trend of mixing inspirational quotes with vintage-look photography. The result is beautiful and serene. I also admire Rachel's photography of vintage items such as, "Retro Love."
Another photographer/designer who I adore is Katy McDonald. Her collection on Society6, "Art by CMcdonald," is totally young and fashion forward, yet gives a nod to the past in a most incredible way. Her Vintage Vinyl collection is truly inspired. I also adore her "Seneca Uno" shot of a vintage camera.
Ann B. Fine Art Photography also has some wonderful images with a vintage feel. Her images of Paris are absolutely fantastic. They really bring you to Paris with all its magic and romance!
I Left My Heart in Paris
I hope you have enjoyed this little tour down Vintage lane...here are some links to the artist's shops....or you can just click the pictures to go directly to their sites....
Also good for those who need help understanding why they are not getting the promotions or sales they are looking for…
New to Society6? Do not despair! We have all been new once. Society6.com is an amazing website for artists who are serious about selling their work. For the purposes of this post, I use the term artist to mean everyone who posts visual arts online. Photographers, illustrators, and all you visual artists may benefit from reading this post. Check out my earlier blog if you need help with basic sizing and such.
Let’s talk about design!
Please remember that your audience on Society6 is composed mainly of artists. It is in their best interest to promote good quality work from a variety of sources. This will bring the most purchasing power to our site. People come back to Society6 time after time because they know they will find great work there. So I am saying….double check your work. Make sure it is a “clean” version. Make sure it will be good for all the sizes you present. Use a good photoshop program to crop your pictures. Make sure you do not “squish” for the iphone or laptop presentation, but crop appropriately and downsize to scale. For the iphone presentation, remember that the greeting cards use the same view. Therefore, double-check that your design faces the right direction (bottom to the right) so that the greeting card is not upside down.
I am a little squished...
We have all done it…that square design. It does not look good and it won’t sell. T-shirts do not sell that often anyway, so if you only have a square design, leave the shirt out. OK, there are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part (my designs in particular) square is not cool. Wayne Bryan is the exception to the square thing! Please do not search through my inventory, because it took me a while to figure this out and there may still be a few squares in my shop. Be creative! Isolate a portion of the design, use word silhouettes like Ben Geiger does! The great thing is that shirts are available in the dark colors now! Be careful to get all the unwanted white out of your image when you create the PNG file. Double check so you look professional. One last word about T’s; pay attention to the size and placement of the design. Nobody wants a “tummy circle” unless they want to look preggers!
Don’t forget to leave room for the little hole for the camera! Also, take a look at the finished design to make sure that you did not lose too much of it down the sides of the case. Sometimes I have to re-crop a few times to get the illustration where I want it.
Thank you Bianca Greene for this little tidbit of knowledge…check your laptop skins to make sure they also look good on the ipad skin. Sometimes you need to fiddle with them a little to get them right. It is worth the trouble if you want folks to take you seriously.
Take a moment to look at the shops of the folks who have been around a while. Check out Terry Fan, Dale Keys and Janet Antepara as well as those previously named. Jacqueline Maldonado does a fantastic job. Robin Dickinson has a good style for photographers to take notice of and I think Illustrators could benefit from looking at Carina Povarchik and Sharon Turner. Thank you so much for reading this post and feel free to share it if you find it helpful. I have learned so much from each of these artists. I love Society6 and the community that is there. I sure hope you enjoy your time on Society6. Please look me up while you are there!
Bee Happy Now!
It has been several weeks since I last constructed a blog post. It sure feels good to be back in the writer's chair! My dad went into the hospital about 2 weeks ago, had surgery and is home now. I have been helping out my folks since he went in. Keeping my mom happy though that time has been a full time job. Now that he is home, there is plenty to be done. I have realized a few things during the last couple of weeks.
1. I am officially part of the "Sandwich" generation - those with young children and aging parents.
2. Life is rather fragile, you never know what can happen at any given time.
3. Art will get me through anything.
The "Bee Happy" illustration along with several other very detailed bugs are the products of my need to work during this time. Losing myself in the details of a new piece of art helps me to deal with just about any crisis. Something interesting happens while I am drawing or painting...although I am concentrating on what I am doing, I can still carry on a conversation, listen to the radio or the kids and so forth. Unlike writing, which requires a whole lot more concentration on my part.
The act of drawing has a calming effect on me. I have never smoked, taken drugs, or drank to excess. Art is all I need to bee happy!
The finished projects on the bulletin board
Map Collage Art
Last year I was working in the 5th grade classroom of our local elementary school. Every now and then the teacher would let me teach an art project to the kids. This project was easy, cost virtually nothing if you have some basic supplies on hand, and engaged the children for over an hour! Kids at every level of ability got involved and exercised their creativity because it could be simple or elaborate.
The craft started with my desire to recycle some street maps. The craft is called Map Collage. The teacher contributed construction paper. The kids brought their own scissors, glue and creativity. I was happily surprised when they did not want to make theirs look like my sample. Almost everyone did a much better job than I did and they were all creative. Some even did abstract pictures. One girl asked me, “what do you call it when it doesn’t look like anything particular?”
Here's what you need:
For each child you will need one plain piece of paper. Black, white or blue work well for background. Should be at least 8 by 10" preferably a little larger. We used 14" by 17". Each child will need a portion of map. The maps were ones I had collected over the years free from AAA. I cut a bunch of roughly 8 by ten portions that had a variety of colors in them so they could choose the color they wanted to use. I also cut up some colored tissue paper and put out scraps of construction paper from the last collage project. Each child will need glue stick ans scissors. Try not to use regular white glue for this project, your results will not be as favorable.
Tell the children to plan their collage in advance and decide what they are going to do. They should keep the shapes simple and rather large. Maps work great for Ice under penguins, mountains, water, sails for sailboats, cats, dogs, owls etc. The brown paper towels can be fashioned into branches for trees or for birds to sit on. Give them some ideas and watch the creativity flow!
After showing the kids some samples, I passed out pieces of map, tissue paper, construction paper, brown institutional paper towels and whatever else was left at the end of the year. They even used the towels and tissue to make 3d effects! Hope you enjoy the pics!
This girl has a future in graphic design.
Raccoon in trash can and dog made with brown paper towels! such creativity!
some of my art that employs map collage
For as long as I can remember I have loved stamps. Suddenly I feel like I am Andy Rooney. I love stamps from every country! I used to trade stamps with the neighbors when I was a child. My English Aunt sent me some fresh, uncancelled stamps every time one came out that was pretty or meaningful. She even sent me some first day of issue stamps commemorating a royal wedding (Charles and Di). I LOVE STAMPS! Now, in my Andy Rooney tone, I shall complain.
First of all, postage stamps are not terribly collectible anymore. The ones with the self-adhesive are difficult to remove from an envelope and feel like plastic! yech. They don't even bother to put a denomination on them...just "forever." Might as well say "Whatever," as far as I am concerned. Are the "whatever" stamps really good forever?? What if Canada invades the United States and converts to their stamps...will the "whatever" stamp be useless? Isn't it sort of egotistical of us Americans (no not us ;-) to think that we will be around forever? WHATEVER. anyway, back to more complaints...
Kids do not collect stamps anymore! My 5 year old does...but then again he collects everything including dryer lint, so he doesn't count! Kids in today's hi-tech world are too busy collecting electronic devices and cyber pals to consider something as "geeky" as stamp collecting. SO, I must do the collecting and displaying for everyone. =)
I do not collect expensive stamps and try to increase their value...blah blah all that. I may have some in my collection that are worth a little, very little. But that is not why I collect them. I just simply love the little stamps for their artwork. Cute little renderings of birds, butterflies, buiildings, ugly world leaders! I love to put them together into collages (mostly digital, but some traditional) to include in my artwork offerings...
This piece, for example is a digital collage of a moth. The butterfly stamps represent a very serious mistake I made on ebay as a result of bidding on too many stamps at once. I had no idea that absolutely nobody would bid against me! That day I won every auction I entered (like 20 of them) The stamps were a terrific deal, hardly cost me a dime...but the postage nearly killed me!
To all of that ebay nonsense and to peel and stick stamps; I say "Whatever!"
Thanks for reading, my friends.
A college art professor once said, “Money comes and goes, but time spent is gone forever.” This thought resonates with me years later as I struggle to squeeze everything in to my busy days. Although I do not claim to be an expert on time management, I am often surprised by what I am able to accomplish. As a working mother of three whose husband is usually out-of-town, I have to carefully structure my day to fit my art business in. It is a little difficult to “structure” creativity, but I have found some methods that help me to be focused and productive in my art most days of the week.
1) Tools - I have found that certain tools help me to manage my time better. I consider my smart phone indispensable. I use my phone to take advantage of time spent waiting in line, sitting in the car waiting for kids, or on my breaks at work. I can quickly scan emails for anything important and delete any that I do not want to read. I can view my facebook notifications, scan society6 and even see if there were sales on my other sites like spoonflower or Zazzle. While I am at home, I use the ipad when I cannot sit at the computer. This gives me more in-between time to promoted others work on Society6 and manage facebook. My camera on my phone is always ready to nab anything that inspires me. I keep a regular sketchbook and some lined paper with me most of the time also. When I have these tools to resort to, I do not have time wasted.
2) Less of this/more of that- I spent twenty years in corporate jobs. One thing I learned as a supervisor is that people often fill in time with unimportant tasks. It is very easy to get stuck doing things like cleaning our desk drawers when we do not know what we “should” be doing instead. I challenge you to make a list of things that you want to do, or want to do more of (you can do this every week) Next, make a list of things that you can do less of in order to make time for the things you want to do. I do not recommend cutting out laundry completely, or skipping work…Most people can carve out a little more time each day to do what they love. The key is planning.
3) Get up early – Benjamin Franklin was right, ”Early to bed, early to rise….” I get up an hour early each day so that I can spend one hour working on my art business. I spend that time creating new products on zazzle, working in photoshop and promoting items for myself and others on pinterest, Society6, and Wanelo. I am very careful with this time. I get my coffee and get right to work at the computer, only pausing to get the cat’s tail away from my touchscreen. This time is tremendously satisfying to me. I can go to work with the knowledge that I have given my business a little boost for the day.
4) Designs that do double duty – lately I have been endeavoring to design pieces that can work as prints, cell phone covers, cards, and repeating fabrics for patterns. This useful piece of information was picked up from watching other artists using numerous sites at the same time. This little extra step in planning allowed me to use my collage “Butterflying the Caribbean” for a print, a cell phone cover, and a fabric pattern. The design works well on greeting cards and has more uses on Zazzle than I have thought of yet.
5) Avoid T.V. and other time wasters - I really do not watch much T.V. I am not saying we do not need time to relax, but I do not have the patience for sitcoms, most of the news is bad and if I see one more reality show, I’ll puke! There are plenty of online time wasters too. Facebook users be careful. I do not read everything in my newsfeed. I do not play games…I am a recovering Happy Island junky. I try very hard not to get too wrapped up in pinterest…but I do consider it marketing and research…really it is =)
6) Get creative anytime anywhere-I carry my sketchbook everywhere I go. I use it at baseball practices, swimming lessons, trips to the park, and while waiting in the car. A photographer friend of mine carries her camera everywhere she goes, and often brings her laptop along for editing in photoshop. I have even worked while sitting on the beach with my kids. I usually carry colored pencils too. Sounds crazy, but I have a huge tote bag that goes everywhere I go!
4) Schedule blocks of time for bigger projects or learning – I save my bigger painting projects for the weekends. This way I can fit a larger block of time without too many interruptions. I also do computer work that is more time consuming….like a blog post on the weekends too. I am still trying to figure out how to fit in that life-drawing class I want to take, but for now that will have to wait.
Like I said, I am no expert and I do not have all the answers, but I hope that you can utilize some of my time honored tips to help you make the most of your time to create. Art is my passion, I will always carve out moments for it. Have a great week!! “Tempus fugit”
Butterflying the Caribbean Fabric
So, you want to create art? You have talent and a sketchbook or a canvas. You bought your paints, and you are staring at a blank canvas! Sometimes, the most difficult part is getting started. This is something that does not happen to me anymore. If anything, I have too many ideas and not enough time to carry them out. I wanted to share with the art community how to find and cultivate ideas for illustrations, paintings, abstract designs, even words to accompany them.
Here is how I manage to have a never-ending well of creative ideas for design and illustration:
*Attitude- I have an attitude of an artist. I am constantly mindful of my surroundings and the beauty of the world. I do not have the best memory, so I take tons of pictures if I see something that tickles my creativity. If its beautiful, I start snapping. I also have a notebook with me all the time. I have it categorized into art,design and words. This way I do not have to translate the ideas later, or try to decipher a million sticky notes (I used to do that) I can also draw a little picture or diagram in there. I also keep track of cute sayings that people use, or little signs or Bible quotes that strike me.
*Sources- Children and animals are a source of constant inspiration. The way the look, talk, bark, stand and play. I also find inspiration in children's art. Children are naturally artistic and they make lovely, sweeping lines with their whole bodies. Invest in some sidewalk chalk for your kids an you will see what I mean. They stop being artistic when adults tell them "how" to do it!
*Internet- Pinterest!!! see my boards!!! I will post a link! Endless inspiration from all kinds of places and people. Watch out, you may get inspired to remodel your home, redo your garden, travel to faraway places and cook something!
*Nature - If I ever get really stuck, I go hiking, take a walk around the neighborhood, drive to the beach, or just look up at the sky. There are so many birds in my yard, flowers, bugs, and critters to give me some good ideas. A sketchbook is a handy way to document these ideas. I like to use a multi-media sketchbook so I can add watercolor to the sketches as I please.
*Where NOT to look for ideas - Other than the old masters or classic art, I never look at other people's art to get inspiration. That is not to say that I do not look at art. I look at a ton of art. I love to see what other people are doing, promoting my friends on Society6 and promoting them on facebook, pinterest and wherever I can! If you want your art to be original and lovable, try not to copy other people's style or subjects. Sometimes it is difficult especially if you love owls or skulls! The key is to find a way to make them unique, to show your own personality. This is what will make your art truly beautiful!
More next week, thanks for reading!!