Vita Lane • illustration


MATS - Week 1 Assignment

Phew! I'm throwing in the towel and calling this week's assignment DONE. The concentration this week was on Bolt Fabric, and we were given the assignment of creating 2 vintage kitchen patterns (with coordinates) using the mushroom and pyrex sketches from earlier in the week. My goal for this course is to break out of my usual standard cutsie art and get more sophisticated and textured, experiment and GROW as an artist. I almost always go immediately for flat shapes, bright colors, and I found it was SO HARD to break away from that. I definitely want to get away from the computer for some/a lot of this course, but because this week is Bolt Fabric, I knew the computer would be my best bet. The sketching exercises earlier this week were so much fun and amazing, and I was jazzed to start the patterns, because I thought 'hey no problem, I already do a ton of fabric, so this will be a breeze to put together, I'll just concentrate on the more-sophisticated part" - I daydreamed I'd do it all in Photoshop - scan in my sketches, easily add amazing texture - it would be perfect, the sun would shine and the birds would sing my name, the art would be that good.

Um, no.

oh, I tried. I scanned in my sketches, and played in Photoshop - I am pretty good at Photoshop, but my go-to program is Illustrator, which I know like the back of my hand. I have to actually think when I use Photoshop...oh dear. And it was stressful, and I wasn't having fun. My sketches didn't look nice when brought into the computer, I was struggling with a vintage color palette, I couldn't get the textures to look how I wanted them to. Sigh. I wasn't having fun. So I stopped, and went back to Illustrator. I knew I wanted to keep the lovely breath-filled alive feeling of my sketches, of the line work - so I used  Live Trace... this is something that I NEVER do. I always scan in my pencil sketches for each project and then use the pen tool to draw over them - thus creating a beautiful, almost-perfect-but-definitely-from-my-hand icon. Not this time. This time, I thought, Vita you are GROWING UP.

And I struggled some more. There are so many variables you can change and adjust with Live Trace, that is was time-consuming to find something I was happy with. But I stuck with it, and reminded myself that this struggle was GOOD for me. I need this uncomfortableness. I don't have to be amazing at everything, it is a learning process. I reminded myself that I normally LOVE the art-creating process of a project (oh how I identified with Lilla's video from yesterday - I love love the process more than the satisfaction of the finished piece). Good Vita, embrace the pain.

The first piece I created was the mushroom/vegetable piece and I really struggled with the colors. NO MORE CUTSIE VITA. I kept second-guessing myself and thinking holy cow you are terrible. Then some parts weren't completely awful. And that beet, oh my god that beet, so damn nice. Ok I thought, not the greatest, but it's good enough.

And so I took a short break, and then jumped into the second piece, the kitchen items and pyrex. For this one I had a much clearer picture in my mind of what I wanted it to look like, and that helped A LOT. I gave myself a break and went with slightly sweeter colors. I started with one bowl, and loved the look of the icon on a light background, and found my joy again. FINALLY. This once came together less-painfully, thought I admit I was second guessing myself a lot with this one as well.

So after a good night's sleep (hey, it was a 16 hour work day for me...ugh) I got up and put a little bit more time into it this morning. And yes, finally, I am happy with it. They aren't perfect, and there is a lot to improve on, but it was a good first-attempt. Baby steps. I'm excited to keep going with this course and see what comes next.

Which one did I turn in? The one that made me find my joy again, Kitchen Items....
(click on each one to see it larger)

 First piece : Mushrooms and Vegetables

Second piece: Kitchen Items