Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holiday Cards

I never thought I would be involved in the greeting card industry. It just sort of evolved and I went down the path willingly. Instead of reading up on it I just dove in, and then started to find my way around. Just like everything else in the creative world, it's harder than it looks, and not only does it take talent, but it also takes some smarts in the worlds of marketing and promotion. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight and promote some of my fellow Card Gnome artists. This is one of the sites I have the privilege of having a store on, and I find the powers that be who run it to be extremely accessible and supportive and the fellow artists equally so.

Christmas is one of those holidays that's never short on cards, and while there are so many, I thought I would showcase a few of my favorite ones here.

Sugar n' Spice's White Christmas Tree

A beautiful card with the surprise of a pink background!

Shining Star Works

This card conjures up my vivid memories of East coast winters. Love it!

Salon of Art

One of my fellow artist friends in the biz, Doreen Erhardt always has a fresh and different
way of looking at the world of greeting cards. This card certainly gives us a new perspective
of the concept "from our house to yours."

Please stop by and check out my picks so far and enjoy their stores.

I was inspired of thoughts of elves and snowmen this year and how they must have a secret wonderful friendship. Every winter, we breathe life into these characters that embody the holiday season.

 My "Elf & Snowman's Surprise for Santa" card can be found on my Card Gnome store.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Getty Woman

Leaving the Getty this past Sunday, the most amazing woman floated through the pavilion. Dressed a la Coco Chanel from the fifties and straight from the pages of Vogue, she stood at least 6'5" in heels with a black elegant dress with a dropped hemline in back. No jewelry was needed as she crowned the dress with a hat that must have needed its own seat in the car. A rich black hat rimmed in white the size of which I've never seen on a mere mortal's head. I was spellbound, as well as everyone else. The man whose hand was wrapped around her arm was barely noticeable. She was the ultimate arm candy, surely a model right off the Paris runways. Who was this man with this beautiful creature? Body guard? Father? Man with a Ferrari and oodles of money? It didn't matter. He had his showpiece, and what a showpiece she was!
This was a quick five minute sketch with pencil on, of all things, computer print paper. It was done completely from my memory the moment I got home. I will translate this to a painted piece in the near future.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Cleaner the Better

After viewing umpteen pieces of art and designs for greeting cards, I decided to write about design and layout. I have over 20 years experience in the advertising world as an art director, so I have a lot of experience in this field. I can't possibly give a course, or solve everyone's design woes, but there are just a few basic concepts that may help. First off, make sure your art or photograph is professional looking. I'm not talking perfection here, but at least make an attempt at creativity and make sure your jpeg/png is of the highest quality and standards that meet the criteria to the site you're uploading to.
I equate designing an ad/card/art/photograph to dressing. The more you load onto your outfit, the worse you'll look. Imagine you're in a polka dot dress; you add a bright colorful flowered shawl, huge garish earrings and work your way down to adorning your wrists with loud bangles and ending with patterned stockings and obnoxious shoes. No one is sure where to look, and nothing stands out. It's all just a visual assault. Yes, there are those that will say you look great, and I see those compliments all the time attached to the worst art out there.
Now you've changed.... and you're now wearing a beautiful dress, flattering to your figure with the most beautiful necklace to set it off. The dress is not patterned and the necklace enhances your gorgeous hair and face. You walk into a room where you are now a breath of fresh air and not a visual assault.
Keep it simple. Pick something to be the showpiece. Don't be afraid of a little breathing room, a place for the eye to rest. Don't divide your page in half. Don't make things equal in size. Something needs to take center stage. The visual should be clear and convey the message. It should be pleasing to the eye.
Text should be readable. No more than 3 different styles of type. Learn about kerning and leading. 
It's the small nuances that make or break how the text looks. It should hang together, not look like it's floating apart. It should work with the art, not against it. And make sure your card visual makes sense to what the card is about. If it feels forced, it is! I've come to learn that it really isn't about drawing perfectly, it's about CONCEPT/IDEAS. It's that way in music, art, writing, etc. Concept first, execution next.
My first love is drawing, but I ended up as an art director because I didn't want to be a starving fine artist. But I have to say that the experience I've garnered has been invaluable in understanding many creative businesses and how it takes more than just being artistic to sell. And that's really the bottom line; you're selling your product and you have to be as attractive as possible to the consumer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Card Gnome Blog Feature

Featured on Card Gnome Blog

I've had the honor recently to be accepted to a new greeting card site called Card Gnome. Card Gnome sells cards from independent artists who have gone through the process of a portfolio review. A bold move on their part, but I do notice on their site cards of higher quality. It's a true pleasure to view their assortment and the way they display the cards enhances the overall appeal of the site and each individual card.
I was recently highlighted in their blog. They are a supportive company with a kind and helpful staff. I can't say enough good things about them, and not to mention, they are also a Green company concerned with the well being of our beautiful planet. If you have a moment, please pay them a visit. You will not be disappointed!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Something Refreshing

Has it been this long this my last post? I sometimes forget to blog with everything else that needs attention.
After years of promotion and having so much art on the net, I was just offered to join with a company on their merchant's program as well as their wholesale one. They do all the promotion, which is great, and they are wonderful to deal with. They found me trolling through Zazzle. I'm also now on a new card site where you have to submit a portfolio for review in order to be accepted. The nice thing about that is that the work on the site as a whole is of higher quality. I think the one thing I come to realize is that because of Photoshop and programs like that, and digital cameras, people feel they can just jump onto one of these free sites, open a store, and viola! They'll have success. The unfortunate thing, is that there is just so much bad art out there now, including photographs. It's really not all that simple, and great concepts play a huge role, especially when selling to the public. The art world now seems to echo reality tv where there's a lot of it, but you don't necessarily want to look at it.
So come and pop by my new card store on Card Gnome. It's a new company with a lot of potential and one that seems to care about the quality on their site. Kind of like a well produced tv show. Something worth watching.

My Card Store on Card Gnome

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lemurs Wearing Snow Princess

I almost forget that I even have a blog with all the other social networking I do. It all pulls so much time away from the creative process that I have to make an effort to pull myself away from the computer. We all have that problem I suppose. A new addiction.

Lemurs came to mind recently, and who knows why or how these things happen. It wasn't like I saw a movie or Animal Planet or something. Maybe it was just a thing about the fact that we kill animals in order to have clothes. So the opposite would be to wear animals live or they could wear us for a change! The woman came to me as more of a ghostly image so I named her the "Snow Princess." I'm not into morbid visuals or names so I chose to be as light as possible with it. Then, I read about Lemurs. Always nice to read about chosen subjects. There's always something new to learn, so without going into an educational piece about them, I've come to find that they are named after Lemures, the ghosts and spirits of Roman Mythology. They are a breed of primates that take up residence in Madagascar. Maybe the name of the art should be "Woman with Spirits." Before I title a piece, I better
do a little research first. So many wonderful things in our world to be inspired by. The list is endless.

Chalk pastels on tinted Canson pastel paper. This piece has already been featured in the "Artists Universe" group on RedBubble.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Party Time!

My husband always asks me where the images like the one above come from. And most the time I tell him I don't know. And that's the truth. I visualize so strongly, that suddenly it's there in front of me and I just sit down and start to draw it. Purely from my mind. Other times I'm inspired by photos or articles or words that I hear. Looking at this face now that it's done, I know where my muse came from. I have a brilliant writer friend on FB that has the most wonderful face and her daughter is equally beautiful. I am taken with their hair and skin color and their fabulous eyes. Once I see a face I love, I'm able to retain it in my mind for a very long time. It's not just the features but the essence of the person that I feel in order to be able to draw a similarity. And then my sister has the most adorable cats, so when I draw cats now, they are usually touching which emulates the bond that her two cats have with each other. This illustration is done in black marker and colored markers on really crappy sketch paper by industry standards. But sometimes the crappy paper is ok. I dedicate this illustration to writer Lia Keyes and her daughter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cassandra's Hummingbird

I love to draw faces. I think it's my favorite thing to draw. I find faces absolutely fascinating with the eyes being my favorite part. I'm always intent on capturing the sole and I want to try and feel what the subject is feeling as I paint him/her.
Cassandra has such a striking face with strong bone structure that I couldn't resist putting her features to a pastel painting. With a little bit of fantasy thrown in and inspired by the way I see her, the final result is "Cassandra's Hummingbird."
She is available on my RedBubble site as cards and prints.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Waiting in a Floral Dress

Pastel painting inspired by a floral dress I saw in a catalog. I had always thought I would be a clothing designer but once I got to college and realized the amount of sewing involved, I opted for a fashion illustration class instead. My first love is drawing but I was also into fashion and dreamed of designing clothes one day. I just wasn't into it enough to endure the frustration of sewing and draping. I thoroughly enjoyed my fashion and life drawing classes.

This artwork has been chosen to be featured on the homepage of RedBubble today. See my post below.

Thrilled and honored to start the day today as a featured artist on RedBubble's homepage. What a great way to start the new year! This is the kind of recognition that I think keeps all artists moving forward because there are so many times that the thought of not being "good enough" creeps into the thought processes. You can go directly to the RB site from here Please be aware that the features change daily, so if you don't log on today, you will see different features. And if you're not a member and you're an artist, it's a great community to share your work with other artists and gain exposure. Hope to see you there!