I participated in Folktale Week on Instagram for the first time and just loved it! The prompts really had my creative gears turning to come up with some cool ideas, and I am very pleased with what I came up with. My children's portfolio got a much-needed update, which is so great, and I am thinking to do a couple more self-directed challenges to come up with some more in the future. My definite favorite is based off the the prompt KEY:
The little house is based off of some of the gnome houses at Pondhill Farm in Harbor Springs, MI, which were SO magical.
Pictured: Boyfriend for scale.
And then my second favorite was DARKNESS. I am so intrigued by how other artists paint light surrounded by darkness, so I tried it out for myself. The first attempt (below, left) I really loved, but light doesn't really come out from above the lantern, so while I love the circular shape, I scrapped it for the time being. Also I need to work on creepy eyes...they look a little weird. The second attempt (below, right), I really like because you get more of a sense of how dark and desolate the landscape is.
Next is SECRET, which I interpreted as the little girl trying to figure out what is inside the little gnome/fairy house from the Key prompt.
And finally, HOME, which I interpreted as family.
The summer has been so busy it felt like I barely had time to think! Below are a bunch of photos, I will write about them in order, I think they are pretty much in chronological order.
1. As you know from the previous post, I released my first ever coloring book, Flora & Fauna, and sold a good amount of copies! I am so looking forward to seeing how everyone colors it in, so if you have purchased one PLEASE post on Instagram and tag me @katieebertsillustration so I can see. I am working on a digital download so it will be more accessible to everyone, so keep in touch to see when I get that together.
2. I've been participating in the Les Cheneaux Farmers & Artisans Market at the Hessel School House on Sundays every once in awhile, and have a great time meeting people and selling my art.
3. Old Shell Gallery opened on June 15th for it's 3rd (or 4th??? Oh dear, can't remember) season and it was awesome! We had about 20 or so artists exhibiting and volunteering their time to keep it open.
4. My display at the beginning of the season at Old Shell Gallery. It looks a little bare in this photo, and I created a bunch of new work so it's a little more fleshed out now.
5. A screenshot of my work on display at Lucky Bean Coffee House on Mackinac Island. I just love the vibe of this coffee shop and am so pleased to have my work on display there. This year I created 3 pieces called 'Coffee Bikes', using coffee cup rings to create the bike wheels, and doing the remainder of the bike in watercolor and colored pencil. They turned out pretty cool!
6. My piece 'Robin' that I donated to Dart for Art, a fundraiser for the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey. I started drawing and painting directly on the mats and really like how it seems to make the painting jump out of the canvas.
7. Me at Dart for Art with my piece. Not pictured is my date, MOM!
8. A sweet little calico cat in the garden. Still playing around with painting on the mat. This piece sold to two really nice guys named Rob and Lloyd.
9. I was and still am very into Prismacolor's Neon Pink colored pencil. The neon does not scan true to color, it's more of a light pink when I scan it in, which I kind of love because it makes the original painting that much more special. It's still for sale!
10. A really disgruntled turtle that my parent's neighbor picked up so I could take some reference photos. Expect to see him (or her) in paintings very soon.
11. A work in progress of a little blue bird. I sold this one to a nice guy named Scott at Music & Art Dockside, an art fair put on by the Les Cheneaux Area Artisan Cooperative in Hessel in July.
12. Me with my display at Music & Art Dockside. It was a beautiful day and rained right at the end of the show so we were all scrambling to pack up and get out of the rain.
13. My mom and I bought a Boston Whaler!!!! It's my favorite thing.
14. Folding and packaging notecards. It takes awhile but it's a task I really look forward to doing.
15. Some of my cousins during our family vacation at Camp Echo. We are on a Yay Ride, don't we look happy?! It's something we've been doing since we were kids, and so it's fun to share it with our sig other's even though we're like 30 now.
16. I am started to get more serious about uploading my art onto Society 6 -- they have some cool products and it's nice that I (through them) am able to offer options that I wouldn't be able to on my own.
17. A new piece called Bunnies on Yellow (very creative name, I know). I'm starting to explore patterns as you can see in the background.
18. Some framed art about to go on display at 1668 Winery & Dockside Brewery in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.
19. A giant collaborative coloring page I made for the 1668 Winery show. I thought it would be fun. Spoiler: it was.
20. The Collaborative Coloring Page after the opening night reception.
21. The CCP after about 3 weeks. Cool color choices, right??? I just love it.
22. My Great Lakes on display -- I was so pleased with this arrangement.
23. A giant piece that I started like 4 years ago and never finished until about 3 weeks before the show because I needed to take up some space. I am so happy to have finished it. Once the show comes down I have no idea what to do with it.
24. A work in progress of some Tickseed growing in my garden. I love the punchy orange in the background.
25. I really want to get better at repeating pattern design, so I have set myself the challenge of creating a new one per week for an indeterminate amount of time. I am uploading them to Spoonflower, and my goal is to collaborate with a clothing designer on some cool funky pieces. If you know anyone send them my way!
All for now. Like I said, it's been a crazy summer and I'm happy that things are starting to calm down a little bit here up north. I'm ready to buckle down and start creating some new stuff for the 2020 season, as well as catch up on some online classes and figure out what directions I want to take my art in. Thanks for reading! --Katie
I am really proud to say that I have finally put together my very first coloring book, Flora & Fauna. It is a collection of 12 coloring pages that depict lots of flowers and animals, and was inspired by my dreams of the summer and spending lots of time outside. I drew almost everything during the really gross part of spring in northern Michigan....March and April, where it's thinking about spring but not ready to make the transition yet so everything is in this weird stage of melting and then freezing again, the sun doesn't shine a ton, but the birds start chirping (the best part!).
I am pulling it together completely on my own - printing, cutting, folding, stapling - it is a lot of fun and quite a bit of work! I've been wanting to do this for awhile, and I had some free time in between jobs to make it happen. I really hope people like it, because I would like to do even more things like this. The coloring book is for sale at Old Shell Gallery in Cedarville, MI, and also via my instagram, @katieebertsillustration -- you can just dm me, I'd love to send you one. They are $10 each plus shipping.
Creating the coloring book was such a fun process, and I liked some of the black and white images so much that I turned them into watercolor paintings. My favorite so far is the Three Robins, to the left.
Whoops! So much for my new years resolution....but better late than never, right? March was good, I can't remember what happened so it must not have been that important. April has been intense, I've been putting together my portfolio for the SCBWI Marvelous Midwest Conference, and am having it reviewed by John Parra (an incredible and award-winning illustrator!). I think I spent 3 weeks working on it almost non-stop, and I was so into it! It's not as good as I want it to be, but I have to keep reminding myself that it's a work in progress, and the more work I do the better it'll be. Here are some images from it that I'm pretty proud of:
The conference is this weekend (May 3-5), so fingers crossed some good things come of it!
Besides that, I've been trying to get ready to be on display/sell at a couple places around northern Michigan: Old Shell Gallery (what I consider my 'home base'), Sault Realism (in Sault Ste. Marie), Lucky Bean Coffee House (Mackinac Island), AND most recently I was accepted to exhibit at Michigan Artists Gallery in Traverse City! I'm so excited about that last one, I've admired this gallery for years and the fact that NOW I GET TO BE A PART OF IT is seriously the coolest thing. Ok, all for now, BYE.
This month has been a little slower in comparison to January, but I'm still happy about the art I have been kicking out. Does anyone else feel like this February has lasted what feels like 2 or 3 months stuck together? Not because of the snow/ice/wind/constant shoveling/always double socks on, but just....I don't know. It just has been long. I was talking with my boyfriend about Valentine's Day and how nice that was (we made homemade pizza), and I realized it was only 10 days ago! But it feels like MONTHS ago. I don't know, whatever.
I've spent most of this month working on the Aldo Leopold Festival poster, which is always a great project to work on. This is my fourth year doing it, and I think it's my favorite so far. I've put in lots and lots of elements so it's a lot to look at at first glance and a riot of color, but once you really look you start noticing a lot of local wildlife: flowers, animals, and bugs. I'm still working on the final, but here are a couple of my instagram posts that are of it in progress. It's kind of funny to me because they all look like separate pieces instead of being little parts of a big piece.
I'm just going to keep this post short and sweet because I need to get back to work! See you next month! -Katie
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!