Make me a winner!

I'm in Spoonflower's weekly fabric design contest, for this design, "Giraffe Spots and Stripes:"

You can vote for it, and any other charming fabric designs that move you, by following this link.

If I win, I get five free yards of fabric (and, more importantly, posterity!), so vote early, and tell your friends often, since voting ends Tuesday. (And you don't even have to register!)

Here's the link again!

UPDATE: I didn't win, but want to thank everyone who voted. I'm thinking I'm going to get back into designing more textiles. It's fun!


Sneak Peek

Oh, poor, neglected blog. Both craft sales were a lot of fun; I love actually talking to the people who buy my stuff, and it's even worth the lifespan-shortening stress of watching person after person walk by my booth (when a sale is as big as the alumni sale, you can't take it personally that not everyone is in the market for kitten postcards.)

Since the sales I've been buried until the usual Christmas madness, including knitting socks, sewing skirts, and dusting off my knitting machine so that we can really spend some time together. And I'm trying to keep in mind that not everyone loves the racket of a knitting machine on Saturday morning.

I've also been having great fun with a particular piece. In the interest of blog fodder, a bit about my process:

I start by scribbling little thumbnails until an idea or concept emerges. These are incomprehensible to most (including me, sometimes) so no images for that step. I then turn to the next page in my sketchbook and do a full sized sketch.

This is an ugly process and takes about the same amount of time as painting. I sketch the basic composition, futz with each figure, take reference photos, fix each figure, change my mind and erase and redraw at least a quarter of the piece, and add any important details. Some parts of this sketch are out of proportion in an unsettling way, but I usually save fixing that for later (I leave myself a little note, though). I do fix anatomy issues in this step, though, which this time included pulling out my anatomy book to add mass to my tattooed man.

Next, I scan the sketch and move everything around in Photoshop.

At a certain point I flipped the whole image by mistake and liked it a lot better. (I'm a big fan of the theory that since we read left-to-right, an illustration--especially when things are going well in the narrative--should also read left to right. Here, the big reveal, that our girl is talking with a snake charmer, is nestled into the lower right, surrounded by all the excitement of the circus.) I'll print this out and trace it onto watercolor paper (using graphite paper), fix the remaining anatomy bits, and paint it.

Since, at this point, Photoshop is already open, I'll do a quick color study, mostly to organize my colors and experiment with a few elements that don't have a clear color already. (I went through at least 6 colors for the benches in the background before I found the one that felt right, which isn't something I can do in watercolor.)

My color studies tend to be darker than my paintings, but one of my goals for this piece is to be less dainty with the watercolor. Time will tell!

As you may be able to tell from these sketches, a lot of my process involves trial and error. I am--especially if you look at my taxes--a professional illustrator, but this stuff doesn't come easy to me or, I think, to most. Luckily, the challenge can also be the most fun. And the whole process is quieter than a knitting machine.