WINTER SKETCHING

A little sketch for you. I'm just now coming out of my winter shell. It's been an interesting 2015 so far. Whether good or bad, I'm taking the situations I'm being faced with in a way that is positive, and letting it reignite the the fire to go forward in my personal work. Sometime you get too comfortable in the place you are and you need a bit of shaking to realize that while you've been lazing along you've strayed away from your chosen path. Time to get back on it full force!

I will be adding an online store of my screen printed products within the next month to start. I plan on sketching a bunch more too. In general, you will be hearing plenty more of me in 2015 going forward. Stay warm peeps!

snow-girl.jpg


May 15, 2014: a little good news

Hello friends! I just wanted to pop in to let you know that I will officially pedaling my tea towels at this year's Queen West Art Crawl right here in the heart of Toronto, Canada. It's not until September 12-14, but I'll spread the word early in case you want to put it into your schedule. For more information check out this.

And here's a little painting treat for you that I've just uploaded to my painting portfolio. A piece that was commissioned for a baby's room. Jack's room, to be precise. He's already one year old! As he's growing up I hope he's inspired to play hockey or fly like these owls. Hoot hoot!


April 28, 2014

I recently completed a painting for a dear friend's 40th birthday. This is a portrait of her and her husband's beautiful pup Stella. I did a painting of Stella's brother through adoption, Dudley, as a present for their wedding some years ago. I did my best to make a painting that would compliment the first, but stand on it's own as well. It's been a while since I've done an acrylic original. I forgot how fun it is!

 In progress

In progress

I was pretty happy with my final result. I think my friend was too!

Perhaps this was my thematic inspiration?

 Ramona and Orchid- a portrait.

Ramona and Orchid- a portrait.

WELCOME TO CLAIREMANNING.COM 4.0!

Well, I did it again. It was time for a change and I did.  The fourth version of my website is finally live! Everything has changed. I think (and hope!) for the better. The content is the same as the last version, but I've added a bit of new work to the illustration section, and am hoping to set up a store in the next few months so you can buy prints and tea towels. In the meantime I've put a link to my Etsy site. My website is not the only thing I've been working on. I made new labels and belly bands for my towels! What do you think?

Keep coming back to see the little changes I'll keep making to the overall look and feel and information on each of the pieces!

March: In like a Lion, out like a fire breathing, lion eating dragon.

It's been a very long winter. It's officially spring, but the snow on the ground here in the T dot would tell you otherwise. Much like our awesome spring snow (not) the work on my plate seems to be consistently refilled. I am actually much happier about this than the weather.

ART

I happily completed the super fun ad job- for now. Here's hoping that there is more coming down the pipeline. I had a  great time working with the art director on the gig. I was lucky enough to get one more quickie ad job this month. I am just finalizing the contract on one more REALLY fun job- I can't WAIT to tell you about this one- that I'll be able to tell you about in May.

Freelance illustration rocks always and forever!

Much to my sister's relief, I also finished designing, screen printing, cutting, and folding her wedding invitations. The hard work was well worth it. They turned out beautifully. My friend Michelle was kind enough to help me with the cutting and folding. It really hit it home that if I were more willing to accept help that it would move my projects along at a much quicker pace. Something to keep in mind when I start working on sister number two's invites later this summer. 

I also sold a couple more tea towels on my

etsy shop

.

In addition to the super cool illustration job I mentioned above, I'm also making a monkey-rific baby shower invite design and an owl-rific painting for a little baby that's set to arrive pretty soon. My friend, Erin- A.K.A. future mommy- doesn't know what she's having, but I'm going to call it here. It's a boy. If it's a girl I would be very surprised. I'm set for a busy as heck month.

RAMONA

This month is not so much about Ramona. Don't tell her that.

 A couple of dear friends, Kate and Derek, are currently in Mexico, days away from becoming husband and wife. Ronaldo and I were not able to make it to the wedding, so instead I'm taking care of their little cat Suki. Though I love Ramona to death always, it's nice to be around a kitty that won't scratch me or hiss at me. She's as cute as can be too.

LIFE

March is the month of Ronaldo's birth as well as our anniversary. We've been together FIVE YEARS!! Time flies by! I love him more now than ever before. Needless to say we've done a bit of celebrating, especially with the addition of St. Patrick's day in the March mix. I also took a trip to Ikea to get myself a new organization treat- a book case! 

SOMETHING AWESOME

A friend of mine showed me this video a few weeks ago and it cracked me up so much that I just HAD to share it. Cat Mario. Live it. Love it. Don't touch the mushrooms. 

Peace out 'til April.

Been gone so long.

You know, I believe that some people are built for technology and some are not. It's a natural thing. I really wish I were one of these folks, but I'm not. Truth be told when I'm not making things I'd rather be reading, playing with Ramona, drinking with Ronaldo and/or friends, making online shopping carts brimming with J. Crew outfits that I don't intend to buy, washing dishes... really anything other than marketing my work on this or any other online forum. I haven't even tried twitter. Let me be honest here. 

This year is already shaping up to be an even busier year than the last, and so I wanted to challenge myself right from the beginning of 2013 to post once a month. I'm not even going to try to post more than that. I'll make it a good one, with shots and words about art, Ramona, LIFE, process, and anything else totally awesome I can think of. Let this be the February edition.

ART

I'm not going to dwell, but my tea towels are getting popular. I wish they were more popular online but if you re-read my opening of this post you'll know why they aren't. I spent a lot of time working on them in November and December, but this month I have more pressing projects and so production is at a complete halt. I am working on a really fun illustration job for some advertising that I will tell y'all about when I can. I'm also working to finish my little sister Martha's wedding invites by the end of February. Busy month, art wise.

RAMONA

My girl has had some life changes in the past few months, namely the loss of her favourite scratching post, our couch. When it became obvious that she had hit the wood base of both sides of the arms and were picking up bits of couch filling from everywhere in the apartment we knew it was time to get a new one. So, we bought a beautiful grey west elm couch. We figured that we had to set up a strong defense against the number one couch destroyer. We sprayed it with cat repelent, we put double side tape on each of the arms, we kept a seat cushion from the old couch, and we put soft paws claw covers over her claws (her least favourite part of the process). To our surprise, she has had no interest in the new couch. She enjoys chewing on the double side tape, but that's it. It makes me a bit nervous about where she is scratching now, but I'll cross that bridge later. That's Ramona's February news.

LIFE

January was lazy for me, life wise. It always is, after the rush of Christmas. At the end of the month Ronaldo and I took off on a tropical escape to Cuba. I spent lots of one on one time with him. I spent no one on one time with my iPhone. I fed stray cats and dogs. I touch none of them because Ronaldo was afraid of me getting diseased. It was glorious, and just what we needed.

AWESOME THING

There is one totally awesome non art related thing that I have to share with you. Ripley's kittens. It's a 24 hour a day live stream camera on an animal shelter cat and her kittens. It's being filmed somewhere in mid west US by an awesome guy, foster Dad John. You've GOT to check it out. You will LOVE it!

http://new.livestream.com/FosterKittenCam/RipleysKittens

That's it 'til March! Ciao!

August update.

Why, hello there friends!

I hope that wherever you may be that the sunshine is warm on your face and that you are within walking distance to some swimming location. It's been a fantastic and busy summer so far for me. I have a been working on a few things that have been keeping me hopping. First, I'm JUST about ready to start working on my sister's screen printed save the date cards for her wedding next summer. It'll be my first time screening on paper. Experts in the field of printing have said that I should find the process a piece of cake after printing on wiggly tea towel fabric and I'm banking on their words. Got the screens, got the paper, ink comes tomorrow and I'm on my way!

 I don't want to ruin the surprise of the reveal in the mail, but here's a little corner of a mock up I did of it.

I also just completed a promotion with Three in a Box. It was a Christmas in August theme. I will post the full finished promo in a bit but here's a little corner of that as well.

I also noticed at the local coffee shop that the CIBC Run for the Cure has started using my painted running shoe art in their campaign for this year.

This is the first shoe that I painted for them and my favourite. Painting on a shoe was a difficult task but something that I'll never forget!

Last but certainly not least, I will be manning a Claire Manning table at this year's Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Street Fair here in Toronto. The big party is in a week and a half on Saturday August 18th right on Bloor Street between Dufferin Street and Christie Street.

I will have my tea towels for sale, as well as my greeting cards. I will also have a small run of silk screened posters and a few of my hand embroidered throw pillows. And with that reminder to myself, I must get back to work. Stay cool, cats.

A little more from ICON7, and a little from the home front.

Another week has slipped away. Although I am more than back to normal home life I am still savouring my time away in Providence at ICON7. I am going to continue sharing bits from the event until there is just nothing left to share, but I'm going to do it along side home life too. 

I'm going to start with a little conference talk, more specifically the ICON7 Rhode Show, which I was fortunate enough to be a part of. The concept of the show is pretty simple. Display your beautiful work for the illustration world to see, and sell a little (if you want). Though there were a few Rhode Island sales tax heart attacks for this Canadian girl, I was able to sell my tea towels as well as show my portfolio. Thank goodness for that, because they sold like hot cakes! I never posted the new designs, did I? Well, here they are!
 You might say it made me a bit happy that everyone liked my work so much.
Photo courtesy of Angie Alonza
All of the folks that came around to check out my stuff and have a quick chat with me were lovely. I particularly enjoyed speaking with recent grads and looking at their work. They are a refreshing bunch. I can't believe it's been eight years since I graduated. Seeing them reminded me that I can't just sit on the couch and watch Master Chef (though I love it). Doors must be knocked and art must be made! I also had a few personal super stars pick up an absorbent Claire Manning original. One of the first people to drop by was Susie Ghahremani of Boy Girl Party fame. Yeah, that's her website on the list of things that I love. What do you do when a total inspiration buys a piece of my work? I was a total nerd, and way too excited to see her and Julia Rothman, who was browsing the show with her. I've really got to work on acting cool. One day I hope that I can license my art as successfully as they have. My major moment of the night was when a woman came by and asked if I could set aside 3 sets of my tea towels while she went and got her cheque book. No prob, I thought. Well, "cha-ching!" is what I really thought, but when she came back and I read the name on her cheque I realized it was Lynda Weinman.

As in THIS Lynda.
She even looks like the logo a bit! Upon this discovery I threw all three sets of towels in the air and lost the ability to count and organize. It took me fifteen minutes to take the cheque and get the towels in her bag. I believe that Ronaldo taught himself After Effects with the tutorials at lynda.com. She is a legend. I was also visited by Dan Santat and Adam Rex, amazing children's book illustrators and authors. I am embarrassed to admit that I had not heard of them before the conference, but I am now a super fan of both of their work. 


Another important visitor to my set up was Amy from Craftland, an absolutely amazing craft/art/awesomeness store and gallery space owned by the one and only Jen Corace. Amy suggested that I drop by the store and consider submitting a vendor proposal because she thought my towels would fit well in amongst the rest of the awesomeness. So, on my final day in Providence, and my only free day to explore the city I found Craftland.

It was as cute on the outside as on the inside and I loved it.
I have since applied and am awaiting a reply!

Craftland was the highlight of that day. I was pretty hung over from the conference closing party which didn't help. That wasn't the main reason I was a little bummed with Providence. It was the number of bums in Providence that bummed me out. The town seemed empty except for clumps of drifter type folks hanging out everywhere. I assume that in the school year with everyone around it's not as odd. I felt, firstly, that I likely looked like I belonged in their crowd, and secondly, a little unsafe, even in broad daylight. Every street was pretty much void of people. I ran into a particularly vocal homeless woman down one of these streets. She was yelling at a homeless dude that was walking away from her. She got louder the further he got from her. I stopped to look in a window just so I could listen to her insane rant. It was amazing. So much so that the first thing I drew in my sketchbook when I got back to the T Dot was her rant, just so that I could get it in writing. I didn't get a good look at the scene because I didn't want to draw attention to me so I replaced the homeless folks with cats, of course. 

I put my sketchbook on my studio floor to take a few pictures and, like clockwork, my super model cat came around for the photo shoot.
I just went with it. Work it, Ramona!


That homeless woman really was crazy, eh?
A very happy fourth of July to all you fantastic Americans out there!

ICON7: Part one.

I have been home from my Rhode Island adventure for one week now. Frankly, I needed a week to decompress and digest all that I learned. It truly was a jammed packed three days. Here are a few quickie shots of some of the things I experienced.

First, I flew to Providence in a small plane. The smallest I've ever seen at an airport that is not featured in a beloved 90's sitcom called Wings. That's the pilot out front. She was one of two crew members on the flight. The other was the co-pilot. No complimentary drinks on this little fella.
The view from the inside is a bit scary, no? It actually wasn't as bad as it looks. A definite first for me. I can now say with confidence and knowledge that I prefer a bigger plane.
This is a photo from the Thursday night key note presentation. The three folks on the couch were mega players at kickstarter.com, etsy.com, and behance.com. They had some pretty great stuff to say about their own company, as well as online community and presence. I'm up and running on Esty, but I will be starting accounts other social media sites soon, including Behance. At least that is what I told Matias Corea, the Behance speaker. Better stick to it.
An illustrator that I was inspired by but, quite embarrassingly, was not familiar with was Bob Staake. He spoke about his career in editorial and children's book illustration and his growth as an artist. His work was totally up my alley, and after I looked him up I realized that I had seen his stuff before. I guess I have a new illustrator to look up to. 
Another speaker that I adored was Christopher Silas Neal.
I came to the conference a ready made fan, and was intrigued with his presentation on a collaboration project he did for Kate Spade. An animation based on the colour navy. With synchronized swimmers. And a whale. How could I NOT love it? Ronaldo has been telling me for years that he would help me make an animation of my characters and Chris made me excited to actually go for it.
Chris was not the only speaker I was pumped up to see. I have been a HUGE fan of Jessica Hische's work ever since I saw her flow chart of when you should do work for free. Look to your right and you will see her website link in my favourites list. She did not disappoint. She was dispelling a terrible talk from ICON6 in L.A. that basically said that the static image is dead and if you don't animate your career will be too. She swears like a sailor, but it was kind of the coolest thing ever. If you go see the Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom (which I did, and it's awesome, and I'm writing a post about it soon) you will see her typography and lettering throughout it. And it's beee-a-uitful. 
I could write a book about this conference. It was expensive, but worth it. My tea towels were a total hit, which made me feel pretty good about my own work amongst such amazing talent. I'm going to put up little tidbits I learned over my future posts, rather than give you a novel right now. Before I head to bed I will leave you with a quote from the final key note presentation of the conference. Brian Rea (who's illustration work is all over the T Dot right now for the Soulpepper Theatre) and Paul Sahre re-imagined author Malcolm Gladwell's first three books into a stunning, fully illustrated, packaged set. They put up one of Malcolm's quotes that really rang true to me.
 I figure if I do what I love that I will never be a fool.

Two months in photos.

Yes, yes. I have been away from the spotlight for a while now. Don't think that I have been twiddling my thumbs. My life's a busy and fun one! I am about to head to the beautiful city of providence in Rhode Island for this year's illustration conference, ICON7. I'm hoping that I come home with plenty of new stories and exciting things lined up for the future! Here's a little montage of the significant events that I've been up to since April.
I've been working on presents that are owing. This is a veggie piece that I'm working on for my sister.
I said goodbye to an old friend. The Green Lantern was adopted by a lovely new family. He will be a happier turtle with kids to lay with him, but it wasn't easy to let him go.
 I made LOADS more tea towels. I am fully stocked with my root veggie and piggie screens.
I took a trip to the ever wonderful New York City with my day job. My first time to shop for inspiration around the city and it was fantastic.
 I've taken Linus on a few spins around Toronto. I take him pretty much everywhere I go.
 I also take this guy everywhere I can too. Biking fun!
 I took some beautiful photos of my tea towels, with the help of my friends Derek Matthew, and Julie Tamaki's fabulous kitchen. I then took those photos and used them to promote my tea towels on my Etsy page. Yes, that's right. Go to my etsy site and buy a towel now! Only if you want to, of course. You should want to. They're pretty great.
  I took a three hour learn to ride a motorcycle class. It was intense. I must say it was fun, exhilarating, and heart racing experience, but don't be looking for me on the road with one of these any time soon. I'm going to stick to the smooth ride I get on Linus.
 I hung out with one of my two sisters. She's passionate about animals in clothes. Ramona was given this cute little Scottish hat by her. You can tell from their expressions how it went over for each party involved.
 I saw the Dave Matthews Band. Again.
 I ate yogurt with Morgan.
 Chobani yogurt to be exact. It's a brand that's new to Canada. So far it's only available in Toronto at Loblaws stores. It's yummy greek style. I was invited to attend a little shindig they threw in the city last week. They had this lovely little make your own yogurt bar.
 I tried to make mine pretty, but as the story of my life goes, it got messy. I tried to compensate by adding a little flower. Anyway, the yogurt is delicious and I totally recommend trying it if you are in Toronto or the U S of A.

 I had so much fun making the first two tea towel designs that I decided to do a couple more! I will be debuting them at the conference this week. These will be available on my etsy site soon too, as well as a couple store front locations I will share once they're available.
You may think I'm focusing in my rings, but alas, this photo is about the brace. I have given myself tendinitis through my silk screening escapades. A great fear of mine has been realized. My right hand is injured. I will be fine, and the brace will always be there for support, but I will never take for granted the limits of my hand and what I can and can't do. 

I will be at ICON7 from June 14th through June 17th, in providence, Rhode Island. If you are attending I would love to meet you. I will be back to write all about it soon!
 

Oh, hindsight.

Hello all! Happy hump day! I was sitting here working away when I had a sudden urge to share. Since Ronaldo is not in a sharing mood and I don't like sharing with Ramona (she always takes, never gives) you hit the sharing jackpot! 

First, a thought on Facebook's massive purchase of the photo editing application, Instagram.
You may notice that I use Instagram a whole lot to edit my photos. I actually really love it (clearly not as much as the Zuckerberg) and I will continue using it. I am happy for the folks at Instagram and their well deserved riches. But man oh man, if I could turn back time to two years ago when I started using this super cool app- when everyone was all about Hipstomatic and couldn't give two shakes of their iPhone to Instagram- I would have bought me a slice of the pie and I could be rolling in solid gold coins right now too. My easter egg properly expresses my feelings on missing out on massive wealth. I guess I'll have to keep working for my money.
And so I shall keep on working. This is my massive pile of tea towels that I have been prepping for my next round of printing. I bought more than my first run, seeing as they were pretty successful. I will be re-printing the two original prints and adding two more new ones to the mix. You'll be the first to know when they are up for sale on my Etsy page.
I'm also working on a majorly late birthday present for my little sister, Dr. Emily. She graduated from optometry school and had a birthday last June, and I told her I would do a painting for her new office. Clearly things have gotten in the way and I'm a bit late on delivery. I can hear her tapping her watch from afar. Anyway, I really wanted to do a grand piece about the wonder of the eye, but when I sat down to think of ideas I saw it more as a grouping of small paintings. Four in total. I told her over Easter dinner that she was getting four for the price of one she assumes that it's a form of accruing interest. I see it as taking care of this year's birthday too. We'll see who wins. I will be updating on the progress of this quadrilogy. 


That's all for now. Ciao!

A cocky promotion.

What the what? I bet you were expecting another post in, say, 90 days or so. April fools! Here I am again!

I thought I'd share some more new work. I took a course on Thursday last week about the theory of letterpress at Nook Collective in Kensington Market. I am way into silk screening and after investing in some letterpress business cards I think I have room in my brain and heart to be way into letterpress too. It was a way informative class for being two hours (turned into three hours by lost track of time). The instructor, Micheline Courtemanche, is a very talented letterpresser (and owner of Betty & Bing) came all the way from Nova Scotia to teach the class. I suppose I should have known, but I had never thought of how heavy a letterpress machine is. Micheline brought her tiny little "toy" press, that was made as a toy back in the day to teach little boys (because it was a man's job) how to print. Cute machine, but not super productive. The class was more about how to create designs that can be letterpressed, and when it's appropriate to use the technique and when it's better just to screen print or offset print (or digital). It's an art that has so much history and nuances to the machines that it would warrant an apprenticeship to really get a handle on how to do everything correctly (anyone willing to take me on??). That being said, it's obvious to me that if I do want to create letterpress art hand made by me I will have to take a class with someone local who has the equipment. I couldn't even imagine Ronaldo lugging a 1000 pound machine up our stairs, so a machine of my own seems as likely as winning the lottery. If I won the lottery though, I would totally buy a press. 


The folks at nook suggested that participants bring a piece of art that they would consider letterpressing. I should have delved into the massive pile of art I have lying around my studio and picked something. Instead, I made something new. I didn't end up using it for too much the night of the class, but I had fun with it anyway.

I started by drawing and inking an image
Then scanning, cleaning it up, and adding my font to it. This is what I brought to the class.
And then today I decided to add some colour and texture to it in Photoshop, to make it more full of life.
Vintage cool, oui ou non? Do you like this rooster? I am getting ready to start some new tea towel designs and I'm either going to feature fowl or fish. If you were me... actually, seeing as you being you would be more likely to BUY a tea towel, what would YOU want to see? 

I've updated my website with this new art and the last couple of things I've posted about if you feel like checking them out. Have a very tricky April first!

A dead job.

A short post. I was asked to submit a proposal for a HUGE illustration job. At this point, I'm pretty sure I didn't get it. I could be wrong. Anyway, I did up a sample illo as a part of the proposal and I wanted to share it with you!
Copyright by Claire Manning
 Short and sweet! Hope you have a great day!

Ramping up.

Ronaldo said to me this week "You should write your blog". I said, "I do". He said, "do you write it more than a few times a week?". I said, "no". 

"Why not?"

"I have nothing important to write."

"How do you know what's important? Just post what you like. It doesn't have to be monumental."

Sigh. Fine. I'm poor at blogging.

Well, to start off with, look at this cat! This is my dream friend for Ramona. 
Image captured from cuteoverload.com
Seeing as I gave myself such easy going goals I have admittedly become a bit lazy. I have spent my fair share of time looking at photos such as the example above. I also had time to muster up the guts to slip some soft paws (plastic claw covers) on Ramona in anticipation of a new couch. She totally shredded our current couch. I was worried she'd shred my arm trying to put on the claw covers. Thankfully it wasn't so hard and I'd even go so far as to say that she likes them.
I bought her pink sparkly ones to match her little pink nose. I guess I should have glossed my own gnarly nails before taking this shot. I'll say I don't want to steal her glitter glory.


I've had an easy time of filling my days and nights with less than artistic activities, but I have slowly started to pick up where I left off before Christmas. I just finished a painting that will be auctioned at a charity gala in Ottawa sometime soon. The theme of the ball is Springtime in Paris. 
I was inspired by one of my favourite Audrey movies, Funny Face. Who doesn't love seeing her posing all over the city of lights? And, really, who the heck needs Glee??
Still from Funny Face
Here's the final piece.
I was also invited to submit my work to be featured in this year's 3X3 directory. The directory was sent out at the beginning of the month and I got my copy in the mail this week. Notice that my cover girl is back on duty.
Here's my page.
I need some illustration work like a junkie needs their next hit. I'm in major withdrawal so hopefully this brings in a job or two. A new groupbook for Three in a Box is being published as we speak so hopefully the more exposure I have the better. 

So much for a short post. 

Gone so long.

Yes, yes, I know. We have to stop meeting this way, right? 

One of these days I will finally learn how to blog whist maintaining a busy schedule.... or will I? That's for me and you BOTH to find out.

Anyway, here we are. 2012. Yes, it's a new year. In the past I have made big announcements around this time, shouting from the rooftops that "THIS IS MY YEAR!!". Well, not this year. You may have noticed from my numerous rashes, near fatal infection, loss of two Grandparents, not to mention the serious lack of published illustration work, that 2011 was not the most amazing of years for me. It actually made past years that I have whined about look like parades. Nope, no big declarations for 2012. I will work hard and expect results, but I'm not going to define anything. I'll be like a slightly oriented feather on a breeze. 

As hard as 2012 was on me, I managed to leave the year behind on a fairly good note. I am happy to say that I am actually in a day job that I enjoy and can be creative in. For the first time in a while I am proud of of what I do from nine until five. You'd think that if you were truly creative all day that you would just want to flop on the couch when you get home and rest, but I've found that it actually juices me up to keep going and work on my own stuff. This led me to produce my first four greeting card designs that are not Christmas related and two tea towel designs. Thanks to the classes I took in October, though I worked hard on production, I actually feel like I MADE something. And to top it all off, I actually SOLD stuff! Yeah, I'm not talking like in the past where I when I said selling stuff I actually meant selling a few to my friends and family. I mean a good 20 or more strangers walked home from a craft sale with a piece of my work. Yes, not enough to make a living just yet, but a really fabulous boost to keep making and designing. I was happy, and I was thrilled to make others happy. Since I'm decidedly not sharing any new plans, I will share photos of the past month and where I've been. 

This is a shot of my card production line. Literally, fishing line. Strung across my studio room. Ronaldo was less than thrilled at the clutter, but praised my problem solving anyhow.
 This is my little gocco that could. HUNDREDS of cards have been printed with it. Alas, this may be my final print run with it. I am leaning towards going traditional screen print for my next cards.
 This is a finished embroidered pillow. I really wanted to make tonnes and sell them with my cards and tea towels. Unfortunately, it ends up that I'm human and can't embroider at the speed of light. I finished two. Oh well.
 This is my table at the first of three craft shows I did before the holidays. This is the Hippo craft show. Of the three, this was my most successful. These are the towels!
 I loved making these so much that I'm planning on two more to round off the food groups, plus a set aimed at bridal shower season.
 This is an assortment of the cards I sold. Some you may recognize from Christmases passed.
 TOWELS!
Then, it was Christmas. I celebrated it.
 Here's a shot of Ramona getting some cheek lovin'. Just 'cause. Happy New Year!

Paint, stitch, ink, repeat.

I am busy. You may have guessed that by my lack of presence on this blog. Though I have been neglectful I do have some news and work to share with you. 

As I've been mentioning, I have been working on my crafting business and creating a new line of screened tea towels, greeting cards, and embroidered pillows. I will be participating in three craft sales over the next three weeks. As of right now I am nowhere near ready and am nervous but I am doing my best to stay focused and I know that by next Saturday (the first  day of sales) that I will be ready. 

So, the first show. It's the Hippo Craft Fair!
 
The fair takes place in Toronto near Christie and St. Clair Ave. To stay up to date on the information about the fair you can visit their facebook page here. If you're in the hood just drop on by!

The second show is this year's Speakeasy Holiday Sale!
Now, I am no spring chicken at this show. In fact, I'd say I the speakeasy team feels like home to me. It's such a great show to participate in and I'm pumped to have my third display of goods. The sale takes place at the Gladstone Hotel at the corner of Queen Street West and Gladstone Ave. in Toronto. 
 
The third show is the Broadlands Winter Festival and Craft Show! 
 

This show is for all you folks north east of Toronto. From the information the planners have provided it is looking to be much more than just an opportunity to pick up some awesome handiwork, so if you plan on coming to this show don't forget your passport to fun! I'm hoping to get in on some gingerbread action myself.

It's not over yet, my friends! I have more for you to see. I have created two teeny weeny itty bitty paintings for a great show that is opening this Saturday the 19th of November at INDEXG gallery just north of the Gladstone Hotel on Gladstone ave.

The idea behind the show is that each participant creates art on one of many identical wood blocks provided by the gallery. They are about the size of a fudgy awesome brownie, hence the name. It's all in the name of making affordable art. None of the art at the show will be over $100 and may even be priced as low as $30. From the preview images on the event's blog it's working out to be a really unique show. The show is opening this Saturday the 19th from 3-6, running until the 18th of December. New artists always welcome throughout the month, so if you've got an itch to paint something tiny just email mail@indexg.com to arrange a brownie pick up and get to work!  

 Here are mine. Tres cute, n'est pas?
Phew! I think that's enough for the evening. More soon, and next time I will show off some product! I hope to see you at one of these shows!

 

Got my balls in the air.

I live my life open to imagination and happiness
through my unique view of the world.

I am fearless, optimistic, and take on any challenge,
always growing, learning, and bettering myself.

I wear my heart on my sleeve
and show my true colours.

This, folks, is my brand spanking new, one of a kind mantra. It's a great example of the fantastic-ness I was able to absorb from my class. Not only did I learn about the financial side of my work, I also learned about myself as a person. How was I able to do anything without defined values that I live my life by and align my work to? It was by far one of the hardest things I've had to do, but I feel much more grounded knowing exactly what I deem most important in everything. When I get frustrated, overwhelmed, or down-trodden, from now on I will go back to my mantra to remind myself why I do what I do in the first place. I am still working on my mission statement and vision but those will also help too. The fact is that it's gettin', it's gettin', it's gettin' kinda hectic in here. All good, of course. I have secured three craft shows so far for the holiday season, which means that I've got to start producing things to sell. This time, I'm working to make money too and I think *fingers crossed* it may finally happen this time. 
Here's a shot of some rough work...
...that I refine into final line work....
...and then inked and ready for screen.
I am really looking forward to throwing myself into screen printing. It's new, it's exciting, and it's inspiring to me. This is just the beginning, really, and I can't wait to really explore it. I'm also continuing my embroidery, and continue to add new stitches to my arsenal. I'm hoping to get a bunch of decorative pillows completed to sell over the holidays. Here's a quick preview... what do you think so far?
Now, this is where the mantra comes in handy. The craft shows and prepping for them is not the only project on the go. Perhaps I'm feeling inspired by my new day job (that I actually really like) but I've taken on three more projects (albeit two are fairly small). I'm going to HAVE to put my nose to the grindstone, simply because I promised I would. I'm hoping that everything goes peaches and cream and that I can keep my balls in the air. 

I just said balls.

From Maker to Making a Living, class #2: just say yes.

I've had a day to digest my second class in the workshop series I'm going to be taking for this month. I think I needed it, as last night was a tough one, for me and a lot of my classmates too. Jacqueline's task for the night was to look at all the directions businesses could go in. We're talking blue-skying it. If money wasn't an option, what could I do? You'd think it would be an easy answer, but it's hard not to default back to thinking "I could do that, if I had the money, time, space, etc.". Jacqueline's catch phrase of the night was JUST SAY YES. I have to say it really opened my head to the possibilities I have available. It's funny that though I came into this class thinking that I wanted advice purely for my crafty endeavors. Tea towels and pillows. I went up to Jacqueline after the first class to ensure she knew that though I said I was an illustrator in my introduction that I wasn't intending to bring that part of my business into the class. I'm not sure if you'd call it an "ah ha!" moment or a "duh" moment, but my crafty business IS my illustration business. All my conversation about what I could do with my crafts lead straight to ILLUSTRATE A BOOK. Of course, I didn't talk about how difficult it is to get into a publishing company and that making money in books is hard, I just said yes. It was hard to keep my trap shut, but refreshing after the fact. It's really exciting to see all your potential sprawled across a big, white piece of paper. I really cannot wait until next week's classes!


Now, speaking of just say yes, today we lost an incredible man that did just that and more. I have to make a little shout out to Steve Jobs, as I sit here typing on my third Apple desktop computer. Thank goodness he was one of those guys that saw that the sky has no limit. It really is one thing to have a brilliant mind and limitless imagination, but another to have the guts to use them fully and fearlessly. Macs have changed the way I look at computers, digital media, and, from a girl who once would rather spend hours painting in gouache than open photoshop, digital art. As CBC news stated today, he really was the Henry Ford of our generation. I'm getting a bit teary over here.... anyway, I've wanted to share this speech on my blog since I first heard it, as I've found it to be so utterly inspirational. If you've got 15 minutes I would highly recommend watching it and remembering Steve's genius and heart.  I know he's resting in peace knowing he's left the world a much better place. 


From Maker to Making a Living, class #1: same problem, different boats.

Wow! What a great start to a month of learning! I know for sure that signing up for this workshop series was a great idea. Jacqueline is even more amazing in real life than she is on paper (or web page) and I am looking forward to taking in all her words of wisdom and learning from her experiences. 

There are ten business owners participating, including myself. Tonight was about getting to know a little about everyone's businesses and history, and determining the key issues we all have in making successes of them. I don't know why (ego, maybe?) but I figured that I would here similar stories to my own. Boy, I couldn't have been more off. The areas of craft were wide spread, from weaving to jewellery, furniture making to ceramics. Though everyone had a different perspective on their issues, there were definitely a few common threads. I'm looking forward to seeing the progression of my fellow classmates, and myself.

My first homework assignment was to breathe (lots of information in one night), and then write down what I see my dream business to be. So I started jotting down ideas, and really thinking about it. At the end of the day, my dream business is along the lines of one of my favourite illustrators, Susie Ghahremani of Boy Girl Party. Look to your right and you'll see the permanent link to her site. She's really got it all. She sells stationary and such that gets produced by a third party, necklaces, bags, etc., all featuring her amazing characters. In addition she sells prints of her work, and original paintings. In addition to all of this she's able to participate in art shows AND she's an active illustrator. I like to read her personal blog too, as she is honest about the issues a creative business owner has. Plus, she's funny. Hopefully if I share this with Jacqueline she'll have a better idea of my goals.


So, homework done for the night. I'm a bit of a keener. Now this keener is going to try to read more of her book club book that needs to be done by Thursday. Class number 2 tomorrow!