A giraffe? What’s next?

A fun little illustration. More to come at random times. Life is crazy busy and illustration has taken a backseat for a bit.

RetroGiraffe

Be sure to check back on Black Friday, too. I’ll have free download for those of you who choose not to shop on Thanksgiving.

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Because Design Saved Me

I started this blog to battle what felt like an intense case of burnout. It was a fun and successful adventure. I found my style and I survived my soul crushing day job long enough to take on my dream job.

It’s been quiet around here for some time. I try to get back to illustrating and making things, but something always seems to come up. And for a while, I have to admit, I was lost. I tried to keep it hidden away (and I fooled many people), but learning that my grandmother was fighting a horrifying battle against pancreatic cancer was tearing me up. It wasn’t fair that a woman who had done nothing but try her best to what was right and care for everyone around her had to face this demon. She was one of the last of my childhood heroes.

She was the inspiration for my “artsy” side. From the time I was 5, she encouraged me to sing duets with her in church and act with her in Sunday School plays. (I was painfully shy.) She encouraged me to keep drawing and writing when others saw it as a waste of time and criticized my work. And even shared some of her own writings and drawings with me.

I got the call in late September that they didn’t think she’d make it much longer. I packed up my stuff and raced back home to Zeeland. It was the longest drive I have ever taken (despite being the shortest drive home, ever), but I felt like I was in a race against death. If I could just get there first, she wouldn’t be so scared. It was my turn to protect her.

I made it there in time to see her and spend a few days with her. She was in and out of consciousness, and I was able to talk to her a bit. I knew her time was nearing the end, so each night I stayed at her side. I rarely left her side and in her last moments, I held her hand. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I wasn’t going to let her leave alone.

The pain of losing her is still quite fresh, but I’ve started to feel like me again over the last few days. I’ve started each day off with at least 1 hour of design time. It’s crazy how much I’ve missed illustrating, and how much better I feel when I am locked in trying to make my idea appear on the paper (or screen). Design saved me from burnout, so I’m hoping it will save me from the darkness.

So today’s illustration is one for my grandma, Jean Lucille Dykema.

ForGrandma

Grandma was furious when holiday shopping started to take over Thanksgiving. So, I’ll be working on a special holiday treat for those of you who choose to skip the Thanksgiving day sales and spend time with your friends and family. (Details to come.)

Design School: Lessons Outside My Comfort Zone

My adventures in Make It In Design Summer School continues with an attempt at animal print. It’s no secret that I have always hated animal print anything. Another “style” that makes my stomach turn. No joke. So when I received creative brief #2, I was not excited, but I jumped in.

Since I really can’t stand animal print, I thought I’d look at rare or endangered animals. After hours of stomach-turning research, I found the Clouded Leopard. I love the variations in spot sizes and in the shading within each of the spots. So I played with it. The results were so horrid that will not scar you with an image…actually, I can’t because after I was done with my pity party (yeah, it was so bad that I couldn’t even laugh at it), I deleted the file…and emptied the trash.

Feeling hopelessly design-challenged, I started my search for inspiration once again. That’s when I found the Burmese Star Tortoise. My heroes of the day! In less than an hour, I cranked out this fun design.

Star Tortoise Pattern

Next up: Another adventure in tribal designs. This should be interesting…

Summer School for Designers

It’s been ages since I’ve done much of anything related to illustration, and I don’t like it one bit! So, I signed up to take the Make It In Design Summer School courses…all three. Crazy? Yep, but I’m so hungry to design again that I just couldn’t help myself!

Round 1 was a little rocky, as I was only able to complete one of three assignments:

MIID Summer School pattern design, round 1

This time around, I’ve decided to complete all three assignments. The first theme is tribal shapes. I am the first to admit that the tribal geometric designs just don’t sit well with me (okay, so they kinda make my stomach flop).

I started with a shape you may recognize from one of my owls:

MIID Summer School begins

I never really liked this design, so I thought why not make myself like it more. I reworked the colors to a more vibrant tribal color palette and came up with this…

Almost tribal?

Not quite tribal. So I went back to my sketch pad to try for something more tribal. A few adjustments and I made it to my final design:

That's as tribal as I get!

It reminds me of the irritating patterns I had to deal with as a preteen in the 80s. I think it works, but it’s definitely not my style.

So, have you guessed the next step in my design adventure? Yep, I’ll be creating fabric patterns with all of the bits and pieces of my owls. I’ll use these courses to challenge my skills and build a base of designs. The best will be available through my Spoonflower site.

Owl Print 12 of 13: It’s Owl Atomic

Print

And the last* of the 12 8.5″ x 11″ prints in my 13 owl print challenge is now available. I was in overdrive during my last design session, so this one comes almost a week early. My owls just had to play with those fun atomic road signs one last time before I wrapped up this series.

You can purchase this one (and the entire series) at Atomic Owls (my Etsy site). Use coupon code LUCKY13 for 13% off through the end of the year.

I’ve also added shipping to the UK and Canada!

Since that last design session was so intense–I have three nearly finished owl prints–I’ll send out super secret print 12.5 to only those who have ordered all of the 8.5×11″ prints. It’s always fun to have a nice surprise, right?

Owl Print 11 of 13: Owl Be In Pieces

Print

Owl Print 11 of 13: Owl Be in Pieces was the first of 7 designs (yes, 7!) that came out of this morning’s design session. The ideas just kept hitting me–I was under creative attack, and I loved it!

Since so many owl designs came out of this session, this series will continue beyond the original 13. I’m debating how I want to handle the remaining designs, so keep an eye out here for a special announcement.

For now, you can order print 11 through my Etsy shop, if it happens to tickle your retro fancy.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/173090871/owl-print-11-of-13-owl-be-in-pieces

Owl Print 10 of 13: Owl Top That Tree

Image

After seeing a post by a local vintage shop, I decided to play with odd vintage Christmas Tree Toppers for print 10.

It’s now available for purchase on Atomic Owls. I’ve extended the 30% off a $20 purchase through tomorrow. Enter CYBER13 at checkout to receive your discount.

My prints are now shipping to Canada and the UK, too!

 

And now back to OWLS: Owl Print 9: Who’s Pining?

Print

The latest print in the 13 owl print series is ready for preorder! https://www.etsy.com/shop/AtomicOwls

Get all 12 of the 8.5×11″ prints now through Atomic Owls. Prints 1 through 8 will ship immediately, and prints 8 through 12 will ship no later than January 3, 2014.

AND (Yikes I sound like an infomercial!!), get 30% off any purchase of two or more prints (even the non-owl prints and the full series) with code CYBER13. The coupon is valid through Friday, December 6.

All

We interrupt these owls for…lions!

LionPrint Runderella_lion_5 Runderella_lion_6 Runderella_lion_1 Runderella_lion_2 Runderella_lion_4

I decided to put some of my retro starbursts and flowers to use with a few lions. It made for a much happier Black Friday than shopping. No worries though–I’ll still keep working on my owls. Check out the one that made the cut for a new print series I’m playing with–the Retro Zoo. http://www.etsy.com/shop/AtomicOwls\

I’ve played with the idea of illustrating some lions for a while now. As a kid, everything I had was lion-themed. As a Leo, my mother found that fitting–I thought they were fun because they roared. 🙂