Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Notecards are Here! And there's a Holiday Sale - 15% OFF!

The last couple months have been a whirlwind, and I totally neglected to post pictures of the brand new notecards I had printed last month! Thanks to some of you kind readers who voted, I gathered the images with the most votes and had them offset-printed by the very amazing James River Press, in Richmond, VA. Brooke was my contact for this project, and she was wonderful to work with! I also want to give a shout-out to my aunt who helped me a LOT through the process of deciding to print my notecards. She has always wanted me to create notecards of my artwork because it's an affordable way for people to own my art, as well as a great way for me to sustain a living income while having time to create more artwork (let's hope she's right about that!) She gave me so much encouragement and practical advice for embarking on this notecards business. Thank you!

Here's the enormous offset lithography press:

And my cards all packed up in cardboard boxes - 20,000 cards total! That's the largest quantity of my artwork ready to be put out into the world!

Here are the cards displayed at my first craft show of the season, Handmade Market in Raleigh, NC:

I'm very happy with them...

I have a SALE going on in my shop through Sunday, December 15th, so you can get some cards for yourself with a 15% DISCOUNT! Please use coupon code YAY2013 upon checkout in my shop Sprout Head. You must use the coupon code, otherwise you won't receive the discount! I'm selling the cards individually, as well as in discounted packs. 
The image on each card is printed on a matte recycled paper which gives the artwork a beautiful, soft finish. The back of the card lists the title and medium of the original artwork. These cards are suitable to write your own greetings inside to give away, or you can choose to frame them as prints. The 5 x 7" card is a standard size for a ready-made frame.

You can currently find my cards in these stores:
Lemon Tree in Portland, OR
Harmony Society in Carlisle, PA (actually, I'll be shipping the order tomorrow but they'll get there soon)
Archimage in Rochester, NY (this also just *happens* to be the amazing shop my parents, aunt, and uncle opened up 30 years ago)

I also have prints and/or zines available at the following shops:
Pinky's Boutique in Janesville, WI
BuyOlympia in Portland, OR
Little Paper Planes in San Francisco, CA

If any of you dear readers know of a shop where my cards might make a good fit, please leave a comment with the shop name and their website if they have one. I'd like to get my cards into many shops around the country.

And I promised a giveaway of 12 notecards to one randomly-selected person who left a comment and their e-mail address in the Notecard Vote from last post. The lucky winner is:
 Joy Chu!

Yay! I swear I didn't peek when I picked the slip of paper with her name on it, but I felt very pleased to have picked my teacher from the online Children's Book Illustration class at UCSD Extension I took earlier this year. You can also read her blog Got Story Countdown, a great blog with advice for illustrators. Joy, I'll be e-mailing you very soon to ask for your notecard selections!

One Last Note:
I'm not sure if I'll have time to write another blog post before the end of this year, so if I don't I'd like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! 

Personally, this year has been challenging for me in both positive and negative ways. I've done a lot of evaluating of how I have been living/working/art-ing and how I would like things to grow or change. I realized that it's too difficult for me to keep up with all the different kinds of things I'm doing and I need to focus better and cut back on some activities while making more time to rest and rejuvenate. It's important for artists (and everyone) to have periods where not much happens, so they can be open to ideas and have the energy to embark on new projects. 

Some of the changes I want to see happen won't go into effect until several months into the new year because I've already made prior commitments. And some things are hard for me to change because I have trouble saying no to requests people ask of me, or putting on hiatus activities I'm already involved in. I'm trying to be more conscious of these tendencies and learn ways to be kind to myself so I can sustain the artistic life I want, while also being able to support myself materially. It's a difficult balance and a continual process. Maybe some of you are also going through a similar struggle. I wish everyone a bit more *peace* in their hearts so you can truly shine as the person you are.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Vote on Notecard Images - Get a Shop Discount & Enter into the Giveaway!

Hi Everyone!

I am in the process of launching my next business venture: the creation of greeting cards using my artwork. I've compiled a bunch of possibilities, but I need your help in deciding which make the cut. Here are 48 images to choose from. I know that's a lot to look at, but I wanted to include a diverse array of images. I will ultimately choose from 20 - 30 designs. Please let me know which images YOU would choose if you were picking out a notecard. Keep in mind who you might be shopping for and for what occasion. Some occasions might be very specific, such as holiday cards or for graduation, birthday, etc. Some might just be to say hello to a friend, or maybe you would buy the card for yourself just because you like it! Please write your choices in the comments section, 10 - 30 images would be helpful. You may write just the number of the image and/or the title I've given each image.

As a Thank-You, for anyone who leaves a comment I'm offering 15% off your total purchase in my Etsy shop, Sprout Head. Please leave your e-mail address if you're interested, or you can e-mail me directly with your e-mail address: so that I can send you the 15% Coupon Code. If you don't leave your e-mail, I'll assume you're just being helpful and don't want to take advantage of this offer. Also, everyone who leaves their e-mail address will automatically be entered into a Giveaway for a set of 12 of their favorite notecards. This won't happen until I get the notecards printed, which hopefully will be by the end of October. I'll probably make my decisions on notecard designs once I get at least 20 comments.

Thanks so much for your input!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Children's Illustration Inspirations

This past January I took a children's illustration online course taught by Joy Chu of the Got Story Countdown Blog. You can see/read about it here. The class was AWESOME! I learned so much and produced a lot of narrative sketches that I can now look over to create finished works. After a busy spring and summer, I am ready to settle into creating new artwork for my children's book portfolio, in preparation for attending the February SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Conference in New York City.

As part of the assignments for the children's illustration course, we had to check out 10 picture books every week based on different criteria, such as "character," "locale," etc. Now that I'm searching around for inspiration on what kind of images I would like to create, I'll post some of the images I found here. I'm not going to include links because that would take me forever to finish this post, so you'll have to just google an illustrator that you fancy.

And now for a mother-load of children's book illustration!

 "Watching," by Suzy Chic and illustrated by Monique Touvay. I love the story and message about the benefits of waiting, and the gentle illustrations. I like how she depicts scenes and passing of the seasons in small, soft panels of images. and of course I like hand-written text.

 "The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Tales from Grimm" illustrated by Lydia Postma. Her illustrations are so finely detailed, gorgeous, and fantastical. Love her use of color.

"Little Red Riding Hood" illustrated by Bernadette Watts. The landscapes were the star of this book.

"The Mitten" by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Yaroslava. I like the graphic rendition of this story and simplified use of color.

Again, I like the graphic simplicity and use of the color yellow in this simple wordless book by Henrik Drescher called "The Yellow Umbrella."

Oh, how I wish I could make watercolor paintings like Jon Klassen in "This is Not My Hat"! He has such a great style.

In the book "Chloe," Peter McCarty makes the cutest rabbits imaginable. I love his soft, simple style.

Love the crazy and slightly grotesque party scenes in "Bumble-Ardy" by Maurice Sendak.

 Shaun Tan has got SKILLS!!! "Lost and Found" collects three of his books in one volume. He does such an amazing job at mixed media. His imagination is many worlds deep.

I really enjoy the illustrator Ana Juan. In her books "Elena's Serenade" and "Frida" she utilizes rounded shapes and harmonious color schemes.

"The Boy Who Drew Birds" by Jacqueline Davies and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. I found out that I enjoy children's biographies. This one is about John James Audubon. Melissa Sweet's artwork is so whimsical and I like how she adds found objects into her watercolor illustrations. I think that I have trouble when I try to do mixed media, because there's a danger of things looking too busy, but she does a fantastic job. "A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin" is also a really good one illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

A very unusual wordless book called "The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher" by Molly Bang. A friend of mine recommended this book to me as his favorite picture book. The characters are mysterious, and Bang makes great use of negative space in these spreads. Molly Bang also wrote "Picture This: How Pictures Work" which our teacher drew upon to teach us about visual perception.

"Drawing from Memory" by Allen Say. A very interesting autobiography of how Say became an artist. This wasn't really a picture book like the others I read, but it was very inspirational.

I hope you've been inspired!