Thursday, November 21, 2013

Amateur Performance

I just completed a new watercolor & ink illustration.
I titled it Amateur Performance for a couple of reasons:

First, because the 2 central characters look like they're putting on a play (or engaging in a confrontation?).
The second reason is because it perfectly explains how I feel about myself & my art & my attempts to get noticed… totally amateur.

The dinosaur/rock structure holding up the backdrop reflects my insecurity about my age and my late start. I've realized I have a few reoccurring themes in my doodles and they include wings. Wings to me imply the ability to fly, therefore flee & escape. They also imply a sort of freedom. I wish I allowed myself total freedom to express and not be so self conscious. While there are spectators, there are only a few. (I'm just getting started, though do I really expect global domination?) The feedback I've gotten so far has been positive but I'm bracing myself for when I get asked to leave. My insecurity is so crippling at times I fail to move forward. It's scary to share any of the things I create. They are incredibly personal. Being able to share digitally makes this a bit easier. I find it encouraging to get positive feedback on sites like Spoonflower and Society6 and I'm hoping these communities will help me grow & accept myself a little better.

Thanks for reading my babble.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Playing with Supplies

I like to play with art supplies and I don't care to have a plan. Since I am in a constant state of being interrupted, it's easiest to draw. And if the kids are painting with their watercolors, I can do that too. So, for the last year or so I've been pairing up the two, watercolors with my ink drawings.
Here are a few.
My Brain has These Thoughts Sometimes
My Brain has These Thoughts Sometimes was one of the first and I think still the best of my experiments. It's on bristol board. I can't remember if my son contributed to this one or not but there are certainly finger smears that I used to create the little floating critters. To me, it looks like the profile of a patchwork head that's been happily blown apart.

Alien Sea Floor
Alien Sea Floor was done around the same time as My Brain has These Thoughts Sometimes.

Desires for Change Complacent in the Same
Desires for Change Complacent in the Same is a more recent completion. I hated it for weeks. All I had was the weird flower thing developed for the longest time and couldn't get past it. I didn't want to do another generic imaginary floral design. But then, I started to see the faces emerge, so I followed them. The worry, the complacency, the longing… Hair that becomes wings to a snail-like creature. It's like a weird dream I have yet to figure out all the way.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look and reading some of my babble.
-Jen :)

Prints of these are available over at my Society6 store.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


So, here's my dilemma... my whole career I've had constant and instant feedback on my designs to the point of meddling and it made me nuts! Now, I have ho sense of self editing or regulation. There's a contest on Talenthouse I want to enter for LimoLand to design a love icon. This love icon cannot include traditional heart symbols. So I did a simple, marketable graphic that I thought would fit their clothing line. But then, I had this quirky idea I want to share and now I'm torn on which one to submit.

That said, I need help choosing...


or Quirky? 

I'd love to hear your opinion. 
Thanks for stopping by to read my babble!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bob: Almost a Palindrome

Well, a couple of weeks ago my brain was feeling icky. When my brain feels icky, drawing usually helps. When I don't have any idea what to draw, I ask my 2 year old or my 3 year old what I should draw. This time, I asked the 2 year old and he requested 'circles'.
"Big circle," he says.
"Okay, now what?" I ask.
"Little circle," he says.

This goes on for a bit and once he's lost interest, I begin to connect the circles and add more circles until I see a figure begin to emerge. I give him teeth around his one big eye, which instantly becomes his tongue, or maybe just his throat? And I decide I don't want him to be stuck only one way. So I turn him upside-down and give him a second identity. Two sets of feet [slash] eyeballs and a pair of hands that really do express his anxiety from both view points. Then we move on to dinner and diaper changes.
right side up
Thanks to Facebook, I noticed Signal Snowboards is hosting a design contest via Talenthouse.
I hesitated for a few days. I'm not a snowboarder. And this is a youngster competition. I'm not young. But I am a designer. But I don't have many Facebook friends or art fans, I'll never win a popular vote. But is it really about winning? Isn't exposure just as good? Despite my chronological age, I'm a beginner as far as the 'art' world is concerned. But... in the design world, I'm a veteran. My stuff's been all over the planet and I dismiss that achievement outright. It doesn't count. Nobody knows I'm the one that did all those designs. I was a work-for-hire after all. Should I bother?

I downloaded the templates. I scanned my circle guy with the toes for eyelashes and eyelashes for toes. I manually trace him out with the pen tool because I hate the lack of control I get with auto-trace. I start assigning the limited colors, 3 max for the base of the board. I choose deep forest green (evergreen trees), an icy muted blue (sky) and a light cool gray (ice and snow). My little guy looks like he's in free-fall and shouting, swearing, screaming, whatever... I think the logo fits as his exclamation. So I place one bubble for each guy as well as one for the rider, since they are in this ride together. For the top sheet of the board, I wanted to pull the image from the base through it as to merge life on Earth with their 2D little universe. So, I used complimentary orange and deep red to illustrate a shadow puppet effect as well as highlighting the intensity of this 'extreme' sport. I included the exclamation bubble in the shadow, but without the mark, because of the intensity of the situation; even speech becomes a solid object that would cast a shadow. So, I guess I'm doing this... I'll enter this in the contest...

So I upload the file and Talenthouse requests a title and description of the work. I'm terrible at this. My 2nd weakest characteristic right behind lack of confidence, a clever title. Since my little guy works right side-up or upside-down, I thought Bob would be an appropriate name. He is not symmetrical, so he's not a real palindrome, but he's good enough for me.

In the end, I think it would make for a cool board. I'd love to see it in production. I'm not sure of the median age of a snowboarder these days, but I think they may dig it too.

Your votes and your support would be greatly appreciated.
Voting opens September 5th.
Please click the 'Support Jennifer' button on the page and share via Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bathing Suits 2014

Over at Front Row Society they are hosting a new contest and this time it is bathing suits!!! The theme is African textiles.

I drew my inspiration from the African Daisy for 2 of my entries, then a stylized leaf for my 3rd entry.

Design One

As usual, I started with ink on paper.
I created the repeat then decided on 3 different color ways.
Daisy Rhythm in Pink
Daisy Rhythm in Blue
Daisy Rhythm in Red

Design Two

I rearranged the pieces to create a new pattern, a bit more flower-like. Again in 3 more color ways. This time I neglected to choose a unique name for each design. 
Daisy Burst

Daisy Burst

Daisy Burst

Design Three

I drew out some stylized leaves.
Then I created a simple pattern and stuck to the color green.
Please follow the link below each design to cast your vote for your favorite(s).
Thanks for reading my babble!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Delilah's Garden

UPDATE!!! The Scarf is Now Available!!!

Delilah's Garden Printed Silk Scarf

The Backstory...

Front Row Society is a unique fashion company in that artists compete to have their designs used to make unique fashion accessories.
As with most things in my life I wandered into them by accident. Poking around on flickr one day, I was admiring the work of fellow Spoonflower designer, Akwaflorell, and saw she had some designs up for vote at Front Row Society. I followed the link but the voting was already closed for that contest. So, I spent some time investigating what the deal was & how can I get in on it?

The upcoming contest was to be 'Bohemian vs. Bourgeois'. I thought I'd give it a try.

I got out the pen and started drawing.

Again, I tend to work backwards on things, I felt the design needed some color. Plus, they recommended a color palette. I tried to follow it best I could with my watercolors and created an approximate color layer to be combined in photoshop.

Worked some photoshop magic and voila! Here is the design before creating the repeat.

Full view of the repeat as I hope it looks as a finished scarf.

To my great surprise, the team over there felt my design was worthy of their Spring 2014 collection!
I couldn't be happier.

Oh, and Akwaflorell won for four of her designs! So, you should check her stuff out too!
See all 20 winning designs here!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I entered a t-shirt design contest for Lollapalooza. I hope you like it.
How I came to this design is I started out drawing my own letters. I was going to simply decorate the letters with some patterns but they started to take on personalities. I blame the lowercase 'a'. I made a weird mistake with my pen and it turned into a tooth. It wasn't going to be a tooth, it was going to be some sort of fringe all the way around the 'a' but I couldn't ignore it's toothy quality. I drew the 'p' upside-down in an effort to twist the word on itself. I was going to re-use the 'a', one of the 'l's and proceed to the eye ball 'o's, 'z' and final 'a' but I didn't think that would read easily. I backed it up by adding the uppercase upside-down  'A' at the top and another 'l' to lead into the 'ooza' instead. This creates a spiraling shape conducive of a large spiraling lollipop... or a lollapalooza.

Once the letters were drawn, I evolved them into characters. The first 'L' is actually the shrunken head shape that intersects what became the 3 eyed 'O' Monster. The top O-eye is bloodshot because he's being strained by the L. It's crowded here. Like any sold out show. The lowercase 'l's are my tortured little artists, singing their hearts out, making their mark... even if the snotty little 'a' is trying to eat 'em up. The P-man is simply a spectator. The upside-down uppercase A seems to be a grown version of the lowercase 'a's yet none of them are wearing shirts. The Z is sleeping, or blissfully enjoying the crowd, I'm not sure. He's a Z, I felt he should be sleeping... Zzzz. I'm not sure why the O-Monster is trying to eat Z, maybe he's just trying to wake up his passed out friend? The 2013 is simply done up sideshow style to not steal any personality from the letters.

I left it in black & white because I like color so much, I have difficulty being satisfied in it's placement with in my designs. Plus, I thought it would be so cool to be a shirt that could be colored in while wearing it at the concert. Either with washable or permanent markers, it would really make the shirt interactive and a great personal memory that in the end would be unique.

I hope a few more people get to know I exist and I hope they vote for my design.