This month I have been crazy busy doing several things, one of them being trying to put together a children's illustration portfolio, since last month I rejoined the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, with the plan to (hopefully) get an agent and maybe become a children's book illustrator. It's something I've been wanting to do for years, but for one reason or another have never gotten around to it. This year I'm kicking it into high gear and just cranking pieces out, because it just feels like time. I've been really really into painting foxes and bunnies, and so have created this little story in my head of how this fox wants to be friends with these bunnies, but they aren't interested since he might, you know, EAT THEM. The fox is trying to convince them that he's nice, and one of the bunnies starts to believe him and then eventually they all do and then they're friends forever, frolicking in the garden together. The end. It's a little silly, I know, but I'm sure that sillier things have been published. And then I did a random painting of 2 bumblebees in love, which I'm going to try and expand on later and make a couple pieces to go along with that storyline. Here they all are:
Another thing that's in the works is my notecard line. I'm working with my great friend Lisa, who is a photographer, to take product photos of some of the notecards, and then create a look-book to send to gift shops and galleries to see if they would be interested in selling them. I'm really excited about this! Here is Lisa in her element:
That's all for now! Back to work, thanks for stopping in --- Katie
I don't know what it is with me and not keeping this blog updated on a regular basis. Maybe this would be a good New Years Resolution: monthly blog posts. I'll write it down now in my planner. We'll see about my follow through...out of my 7 resolutions from this year, I stuck with 1: Do some culinary exploration. (I made risotto, vegetarian tacos, homemade pizza, pierogis, and a curry. I tried and dried out some chicken thighs; cooking meat makes me psycho, as my patient boyfriend will attest).
SO. 2018 was a really nice year. I took some classes online to up my art game, and am so happy I did! I took The Whimsical Sketchbook from Sketchbook Skool (https://sketchbookskool.com), which was amazing. I started using colored pencils, markers, and pastels in my work on top of the watercolor, and everything is looking so vibrant. I also took some Skillshare classes (https://www.skillshare.com), one of them being a pattern design class, and am hoping I can do some cool things with this in the future.
Notecards have been on the brain all this year. I came up with what feels like a million designs (it was only like 15 designs, I am being dramatic), and am in the process of creating a little business with my mom and wholesaling them in 2019. Fingers crossed it goes well! Right now I'm selling them locally at shows and in a gift shop and in a couple galleries. It will be kind of fun to see how far they go.
The Old Shell Gallery has a huge place in my heart and brain, and so this was another year of ups and downs and cartwheels and "you've got to be f-ing kidding me"s. It is a cooperative gallery created and run by the Les Cheneaux Area Artisan Cooperative, of which I am a member with a lot of other really talented artists of the eastern upper peninsula of Michigan. The 3rd year of the gallery is just about to wrap up for the winter, and I am looking forward to using that time to create some really nice stuff for next summer. This year I was relying heavily on my notecards and prints, and so I will do the same next year, except I also want to have a lot of originals available of various sizes and prices for all budgets. My favorite events of the year were International Knit In Public Day, where a bunch of knitters got together and sat under the pavilion to knit and chat and eat cookies, and the annual Art Garage Sale, where artists put in their misprints/seconds/bad ideas/old art into the gallery at a really reduced rate for one day. I get rid of all of my originals from editorial jobs (they're all on weirdly shaped individual bits of paper most of the time since I do so much photoshopping), misprints, stuff leftover from art school that I'm *finally* ready to part with, old notecards, things like that.
I went on this kick of putting sassy/very annoyed text below (or on top of?) floral patterns. Things like 'Thanks for Mansplaining that to me', 'Same Shit Different Day', 'Deathly Allergic to Drama', etc. It was funny while I was doing it, and I think I needed to get some steam out, but I don't think this will be a direction I want to go in the future. It made me spend a lot of time being irritated at the people that made me feel these things in the first place, not only when I was doing it but then later when they were hanging in the gallery, people were asking me about them, I got prints made...Yuck! I'd rather write all of that stuff in my diary and be done with it.
My garden is always a huge inspiration for my work, and this year was no exception. Morning Glories, Zinnias, Bachelor Buttons, and Sunflowers all made appearances, but I do no justice to the real thing! I am already planning my garden for next year and getting super nerdy about it: borrowing gardening and high-yield flower growing books from the library, testing the soil, putting down rock phosphate, potash, compost, measuring and drawing grids so I can fit as many flowers in there as possible....OMG I can't wait.
There are a million other things to write but this has already taken me an hour and half, mostly me flipping through my photos and sighing 'memoriesssssssssss'.
See you all next December!
Joking! I will post monthly. New Years Resolution No. 1.
I'm super pleased that I got my act together enough to create 4 different Christmas card designs for the holidays! This has never happened before, as I usually don't start thinking about Christmas cards until around December 10th. I haven't been great at promoting my greeting cards outside of the eastern Upper Peninsula, so that is one of my goals for the new year --- a little expansion! But for now, greeting cards can be purchased through me via e-mail, occasionally at the Les Cheneaux Farmers & Artisans Market on Sundays, and the Old Shell Gallery and Applecore General Store, both in Cedarville, MI. Also, very cool thing --- they're printed locally in the EUP on 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Paper, and the envelopes are recycled too!
I am absolute garbage at keeping a blog. As I write this, I am surrounded by piles of paper on my work table, my email inbox is full of starred messages that I still have to write replies to (apologies everyone!), my brain is full of ideas for future projects, my to-do list is full of projects that I'm desperately trying (and failing) to get done in a timely manner. Things are good.
Major things that have been happening: Lauren Stein and I have just released our first line of paper products together! Square notecards that feature 8 of our favorite recipes from Fresh Made Simple (our cookbook that was published by Storey Publishing in October of 2015). Also postcards of the same recipes and some cute little notepads to write grocery lists on. All are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, we're very proud to say! They can be purchased at www.laurenkstein.com , or from yours truly at the Les Cheneaux Farmers and Artisans Market, which is every Sunday from 10-2 at the Hessel School House in Hessel, MI. Or at Old Shell Gallery in Cedarville, MI, but that's not open yet. Which brings me to the next big thing ----
Old Shell Gallery! It's opening soon! Memorial Day weekend, I believe, on that Friday... I think it's the 26th? A crew, including myself, has been hard at work giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. A funky coat of paint, you'll have to come in and check it out. (Thanks Pinterest and the people who post on it, for having so many brilliant ideas!). Some pretty cool events are going to happen, stay tuned to the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/oldshellgallery/?ref=br_rs
Superior Coast Winery of Karl's Cuisine, in Sault Ste Marie, MI, has been hard at work printing new labels for their delicious wines (current fave: Not Your Zinfandel), which feature my artwork! Actually, everything in the restaurant features my artwork, Karl's Cuisine is composed of some of the nicest and kindest people in the universe, and I'm so grateful to be able to work with them. It was such a blast working on these, and much harder than I thought. Really pleased with the results. Photos of the labels actually on the bottles coming soon... If you're ever in the Soo, you must go there and have a bite! The Elliot sandwich is incredible and named (and created by, I think???) after one of my great friends. www.karlscuisine.com
My work is being featured at Lucky Bean Coffee House on Mackinac Island, MI, which I am SO EXCITED ABOUT! Great coffee, great atmosphere, etc. www.luckybeancoffeehouse.com. Definitely if you are on the island you must go, it's so hip and fresh and delicious, also they have stickers designed by Erica Lang of Woosah Outfitters, who is brilliant. www.spreadingthewoosah.com
Besides all this, doing normal human things like going to music shows, hiking with friends/fam, screenshotting things from Instagram that I think are funny and showing them to my boyfriend who doesn't think they are quite as funny.... Yep! Things like that!
I am so pleased to be a part of Women Who Draw, an open directory of female* illustrators. There is so much talent on this page that I continually go back to it and swoon over everyone's portfolios. Some current favorites:
Brooke Pelczynski - brookepelczynski.org
Elsa Klever - www.elsaklever.de
Prima Sebastian - www.priyasebastian.net/illustrations/
Caitlin Herrschaft - caitlinherrschaft.wixsite.com/caitlinherrschaft/portfolio
Rebecca Green - myblankpaper.com
I found Marina Terauds' work on Pinterest and am in love --- very mysterious and magical, incredible colors, beautifully drawn....Big love. Also the titles! 'Girl Who Knitted Her Dreams'??? BRILLIANT. www.marinaterauds.com/