Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: YEAR IN REVIEW


2012 was a year of the Doodle!

Friday, November 9, 2012

ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY • TREE

An old one, but topic relevant nonetheless. If I wasn't so busy prepping for next weekend's holiday arts & crafts fair I would do a new piece for this. Maybe I'll have a chance to sketch something...


Monday, October 15, 2012

ILLUSTRATOR INTERVIEW


Thanks so much to awesome illustrator Chris Jones for featuring me on his blog! He sent me some great questions which I really enjoyed answering. Highlights include:

Do you find that having a design background helps you in your illustration work?

When working on an illustration, what aspect do you find the most challenging? And which part of the process do you enjoy the most?

Read the full article here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

ART FEST SUCCESS!



This past long weekend, my husband (see him there in the photo) and I ran my DoodlePaintings booth at the Scituate Art Festival in Scituate, RI. We've attended the festival many times (Adam grew up there so he's been going his whole life), but this was the first year in which we were vendors ourselves. Exciting!

They make it pretty stress-free to set up and register, allowing the artists to set up a day ahead, which helped the other three days run smoothly. We got there each morning a bit after 7:30 to have enough time to fix up the booth and make sure everything was presentable. It was damp and a little cool much of the time but overall extremely comfortable and enjoyable. I made my first sale on Saturday at 9:40, 20 minutes before the festival officially started. By the end of the day, I had earned back the cost of the booth and was on my way to two more days of pure profit.

Sunday's rain held until around 2pm or so. Sales were slower, but by 3pm I had made the same amount in sales as the day previous, so we decided it was best to close up shop early and protect the art from the heavy rain. Monday was by far the best of the days--beautiful, crisp air, and almost $167 more in sales than the other two days. Not bad!

This was my 4th art & craft show ever, and having three, evenly paced days to compare and observe a sale trend was very helpful. I averaged about $250-$300 in sales per day through about 10 transactions. The important part to remember is that those are sales made entirely from lower priced items. The most expensive thing I sold this weekend was a small, unframed original painting for $80. If I had even sold one medium ($99) or large ($300) original, I would have done dramatically better.

So all things considered, it's been a very helpful learning process. Trying to introduce lower price point items (aka 5x7 mini prints for $5) without discouraging larger sales is a bit of a delicate process. I've also found that having prints of my most commented pieces has been helpful as well. Learning what people like and what they want to purchase is sort of fascinating. 

But the absolute best part of this weekend (and any art fest for that matter) are the many kids who respond so strongly to their first doodlepaintings encounters. There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. And I am super honored that kids ask their parents for my art. It's even cooler when they share with me what they see in the doodles. Nothing better than a 5 minute conversation with a seven year old boy going from painting to painting saying he sees a jungle, a video game, lizard skin, a close up of sand in a desert, balloons, and a forest with bamboo. And as he walked away with his mom he exclaimed "That was so cool! I LOVE doodle paintings!" It made the entire weekend worthwhile. 

The following day, I gathered up all my receipts and tallied my profits and losses. I've invested a decent amount of pocket money into this little business, and I was pleased and surprised to find that I am profiting at about 15% of my investment. That means I've made back everything I spent and a little bit more. I'd like to see that number go up...and maybe it will next year now that I have much of what I need to continue without investing a large amount more. 

The next and final art show of the season will be at the Holiday Marketplace in Garden City (Cranston, RI) December 1 & 2. The cost of the booth was $250. It's worth the gamble knowing now I average about that per day. And since it's two days I have a chance of making a profit. I will focus on smaller, gift-able items and see how that strategy works out. And even if it's a bust and I lose the money, at least I will have tried. And the more things I try, the more I can learn and adjust and grow this business!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Creating Fun


This past weekend my husband Adam and I made our annual trip to Western Massachusetts to welcome the fall season. Our primary goal on the agenda was to attend Tony and Angela DiTerlizzi's book signing at Odyssey Books in South Hadley Saturday afternoon.

Tony was there to promote his middle grade sequel A Hero for Wondla, and Angela her new picture book Say What? They both were extremely natural, enthusiastic, and fun (& funny!) with their pre-signing presentations and made for an enjoyable afternoon at the local indie book shop.

Angela read Say What? aloud and gave some back story to how she comes up with her ideas (when she isn't stealing them from her adorable daughter, that is!). I found it very interesting that her foundation for this book was beginning with a question. I think that's a great prompt for creating a picture book and something I'll keep in mind as I write my own. Also worth remembering is that inspiration can strike anywhere---even from something candidly said by your child. I may not have kids of my own from which to garner inspiration--but I do have the ability to keep my eyes and ears open for little seeds that could grow into a story. Stories are all around us, you just have to be looking for them! What I found reassuring was that not every story can or should be EPIC in its subject matter. I get overwhelmed because I like fun, lighthearted stuff but get caught up and convinced that the only thing worth writing is something epic. It's much more important to just write and have a good time enjoying the little things, too.

Tony's presentation was longer and more personal as he shared some of what he was like as a kid and how it helped shape the author and illustrator he has become. He is very conscious of understanding the things his ten year-old self liked and would like, and draws from those ideas as he creates his new material (i.e. Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan & Wendy). Although I'm not much like my 10 year old soccer/troll obsessed self who liked to read but didn't do much of it independent of the school curriculum, I absolutely believe in creating something your child self would love. After all, what's better than using your kid self as a barometer for interest? And as Tony said, it's an amazing thing to be able to put into the world something you wished was there but isn't. An exceptionally wonderful thing, actually.

Both Angela and Tony reminded me that the best way to connect with a group at this kind of even is through humor and personal anecdotes. They created a fun environment and in turn we all had a good time. Never underestimate the power of being silly and making people laugh! Being relatable, down to earth, and playful works wonders for kids and adults alike.

Tony was kind enough to sign lots of our books as well as a heap of Adam's Magic cards, and he drew a little something in a couple of books, which needless to say, is THE BEST.

It was truly inspiring to get to meet one of your favorite illustrators and to have them turn out to be so accessible, friendly, funny, gracious, and well....GREAT. Its just wonderful to see nice, insanely talented, hard-working people succeed and still be so nice to us adoring fans. Worthy role models, for sure.







Friday, August 31, 2012

East Greenwich Art Festival This Weekend!



East Greenwich, RI will host the second annual East Greenwich Art Festival on September 1st and 2nd from 10am to 5pm at the new NE Tech campus located on Division Road in East Greenwich. The art festival will feature over 125 contemporary American art and crafts artists along with strolling entertainment including Rhode Island's Big Nazo. The festival will feature items big and small including jewelry, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, fiber and home accessories. 

Click Here for more information on the event, including craft and food vendors and other fun activities!

Come visit my booth and check out my new doodles, like this one:




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ASF SCHOLARS RECEPTION

SO last night I had the pleasure of attending the American Savings Foundation Scholars reception at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, CT (holy fancy pants, Batman). As a former scholarship recipient, I was privileged to be there as one of three featured alumni now making a career in the arts. The other featured alumni were Angélica Huertas, marketing manager of Shakesperience Productions), and Christopher Weigel, vocalist and musician. Christopher brilliantly performed a classical operatic piece as well as a contemporary song of his own, while Angelica brought along the fun and laughter of Romeo and Juliet in 7 minutes, performed by just two actors. It was super funny and the audience enjoyed it immensely! A surprise appearance/brief speech by Senator Blumenthal made the evening even more special. (I especially respect him for his proactivity on the Lyme disease front). It was a beautiful reception and it was really lovely to see this foundation really take great pride and care in the students to whom they provide financial assistance. 





Even amongst the glowing chandeliers and grandness of the massive ballroom the Foundation managed to make it feel intimate, welcoming, and an important piece of the community.  Although I received their scholarship while at RISD, I never attended any receptions. My parents, not being much for social gatherings, sort of avoided these types of things whenever possible. Looking back, it's a shame we never went because it is a very generous thing to give the students and it's a proud night for the parents, too. Ah well, live and learn...

FEATURED ALUMNI: Me, Angélica Huertas, and Christopher Weigel.
Anyway, my contribution to the event was 1: designing stuff (discussed below) and 2: displaying my artwork around the ballroom, including 9 or so doodlepaintings on easels and my illustration portfolio. Knowing that I am not at all of the public speaking sort, I did not give a speech (thankfully!). But sometimes its nice just to let the artwork speak for itself. At the end of the reception, a group of young girls came over to talk to me about my artwork (I guess they liked what they saw :) and I got to answer some of their questions (including the ever-present kid question "Did you really draw these!?!"). I really like talking to kids because, well, I was one once! And if I had known at age 10 that in 18 years I would be making a successful life for myself as an artist, I would have been beside myself with excitement. It's very important to me that young people are exposed and introduced to the possibility that they, too, can pursue a career in whatever makes them happy.




Over the past couple of months I had been working with ASF's COO Maria Falvo to create the event's invitation, program, and alumni scholar posters (shown below). I very much enjoyed the chance to design on the side, and working with an organized professional like Maria made my job exceedingly easier! It was also a lot of fun for me to be able to just jump in and design the look and feel of the event from scratch while drawing on the colors of their logo and the feel of their organization. 


INVITATION (front & back)

PROGRAM (tri-old, double sided)

ALUMNI POSTERS
The more I dabble in design, the more respect I have for it. Yes, anyone can assemble a simple document in Microsoft Word and have it serve its purpose in communicating information. But when something is designed,  it becomes more powerful---it inherently takes on life as a considered thing and is imbued with a greater sense of importance. When something looks professional, our subconscious tells us that it is looking at something worthy of respect. Designing something is a visual way of saying "I care about this, thus this is something worth caring about." 

Design has the power to transform basic communication into an aesthetically pleasing experience, crafted with the specific intent to impact your subconscious. Yes, I want to make things that look nice, but most importantly I see it as the designer's privilege to make something out of what could otherwise be nothing. Branding an event is creating an event. Design gives life and personality to whatever it is applied to. It's magical to me that colors, fonts/type, and other visual cues can come together not only to communicate necessary information clearly, but to provide an experience for the psyche itself. What would a Happy Meal be without the package? Just a tiny hamburger and a cheap toy that no one wants.

I hope to be able to work with Maria again for other needs the ASF may have, whether it's a future reception or something else. Working at the Gamm Theatre has been strengthening and broadening my skills and I'd welcome the opportunity to freelance design more often.

Ta-ta for now!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Oodles of Doodles

In preparation for two big upcoming craft shows, I've been doodling up a storm and matting and framing. The East Greenich Art Festival is September 1 & 2, and the Scituate Art Festival is October 6,7, & 8.

This is my first time at both festivals and I'm really hoping I can transform all this painting and work into some extra income. This will also be the first time I've included frames for some of the paintings so I'll be curious to know if that helps or hinders sales.

Some recently finished pieces:






Friday, July 27, 2012

ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY • LONELY


An illustration for Korean edu company Compass Publishing (from "Two Years Vacation" 2011).

Friday, June 29, 2012

ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY • REFRESH

A little something fitting from last year. 
Digital, 2011.

Free Time Freelance Designin'

Over the last couple of months I've had lots more mini design projects than usual. I assisted in getting my agent's new Tugeau 2 website up and running, re-built my dad's website, started mocking up a new design for The Gamm Theatre's website, created a bridal shower invite for my best friend, put together some logo ideas for Kat from Mugglenet (I created the Alohomora! logo for them) for her personal side business, as well as managing my own design needs for my own portfolio, websites, craft shows, and doodle products. Woo!


Bridal invite:


Logo Ideas:



While in college, I had a scholarship from The American Savings Foundation. One of the perks was their internship program, which set me up with a summer stint at The Noah Webster House after I graduated. Because of that internship, the Foundation's C.O.O. was familiar with my artwork. This year their annual scholarship reception is highlighting past recipients who are making careers in the arts. So I've been asked to be a featured artist, as well as to design the invite/poster/program for the event. Here is my first draft for the invite-- we'll see what we end up going with!


Event Invite:





Friday, June 22, 2012


I can't quite believe it's already the third week of June! I'm loving the long daylight and the fact that the local drive-in theatre is now open every night---a sure sign of summer and that school is officially out! Even though it's been forever since I had a summer vacation as a student, the thrill of remembering that beautiful feeling of unlimited potential at the start of every break will never fail to make me love my childhood all over again. As an adult, I'm trying to recapture that same exhilaration. I may not be a kid on vacation, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy all that summer has to offer (ice cream! daylight! frozen lemonade! reading time! the great outdoors! adventures! time to do whatever I want!) and find ways to harness that same feeling of tremendous potential in my creative life. Maybe this will finally be the summer I do everything I want to do--maybe I'll even finally start writing something again...

Having wrapped up my most recent illustration project at the beginning of the month, I've been pretty good at keeping busy during my abundance of free time. Between doodling, visiting with my sister and the new baby, working on various website updates, and assisting with a few extra-curricular design projects, I find myself going to bed each night wishing for longer days because I'm feeling so good about life that I don't want to go to sleep! I think this might be the happiest I've been in a while. Undoubtedly one of the key factors I've discovered is having things to look forward to. Whether it's on a per-hour basis (i.e. I want to read this afternoon)"or on a per-day basis (i.e, "today I want to make a doodle") or on a long-term basis (i.e."I'm going to do two more craft shows in the Fall"), setting attainable goals is essential in feeling hopeful and happy about life.

Working at the theatre Mondays & Tuesdays is great exercise for my design muscles, and I can feel it benefitting my personal design work at home. Doodling and maintaining the professional side of my little business feels great, too. And illustrating here and there as projects come along is what I've always wanted. Having so many outlets is really keeping me engaged and stimulated. It keeps the guilty feelings of non-productivity away which FEELS AWESOME. 

Also--
I started my nightly walks around the neighborhood (I go for 1 or 2 miles, starting at 11:30pm---the best time to walk!) and hope to get one in every night of the summer, weather depending. I find them extremely relaxing---usually I'm listening to a Harry Potter video game soundtrack which gets my imagination going. Last night I even had some ideas for how I may be able to actually make something out of my all-but completely discarded and forgotten picture book manuscript I wrote while at RISD. 
Mental think time = extremely important!

I don't know quite what the summer has in store, but I sure hope it's continued productivity.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Illustration Friday • Hurry



Here's a befitting piece for "Hurry," from one of last year's educational projects, a retelling of Jules Verne's Two Years Vacation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Plush Puppy

I recently finished up an illustration contribution to a Kickstarter-funded book of 100 kids poems written by John O'Marra. The project, Chocolate Chips and Rocket Ships, is due for a June 1st launch and I've seen a preview of some of the other illustrators' contributions and they are all fantastic!

I don't normally involve myself in self-publishing type ventures (they are usually crummy deals for illustrators), but my husband Adam (also an illustrator) was contacted by John and decided to participate. I sent my own email to John asking if I could as well, and he sent me the poems to read and select one I'd like to illustrate. I was impressed by how many I enjoyed reading. Most are funny and clever and made me see the project had sincere potential. It didn't hurt that John clearly knew what he was doing and had the know-how as well as the ambition to contact the artists, compensate them, provide a contract, and clearly communicate feedback. It was a very professional process, and truly fun to be a small part of helping an aspiring author reach his goal.

This is my submission for the poem called Stay, about a kid who prefers their ideal, well-behaved, plush dog to the real thing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Valley Breeze: CRAFTOPIA

Adam and I made the Providence community newspaper! Here I am oh so enthusiastically photographed at Craftopia (bottom right). Not only do I appear completely devoid of life but it also totally looks like I have a mustache. Too bad it doesn't show my work at all, and they called them "doodles paintings" which doesn't even make any sense. And for some reason they decided to say that Adam is from North Smithfield rather than Slatersville...too funny!

 That makes me think about the several typos I've come across while reading the Game of Thrones series: the other day I noticed that instead of hearing a "footfall" from above, it read heard a "football." Yeah...lol.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kickstarter Sketch

My next small illustration project waiting in the wings is for a Kickstarter children's poetry book project that Adam and I agreed to participate in along with several other great illustrators. Normally I don't jump up to take part in self-publishing type ventures but Adam had mentioned he was considering this particular project and it sounded like fun. After reading the poems and laughing at many of them, I decided, heck, why not!?

In essence, the poem I picked to illustrate is about a child who prefers their stuffed dog to a real one, since they're so much better behaved, of course! This is my sketch. Final art will follow...some day soon!


Friday, May 4, 2012

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!

Wow. The last two weeks have been superb!

I spent the last month gearing up for CRAFTOPIA, even doodling in the hospital waiting room while we eagerly sat on edge until my sister gave birth: I became an aunt to the beautiful Nora Madison Mayhew on April 24th and everything since has been happy happy happy.




CRAFTOPIA was last Saturday at the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, RI. It was such a breeze to set up and was so well-organized that it really made for a stress free first time craft show experience. Adam was by my side all day, and we had plenty of visits from friends and family which helped the day pass quickly. I sold three small paintings which literally just covered the cost of the booth space for the day. So I met my goal and expectations, though I would have liked to have sold more. The best part of the day was undoubtedly the public response to my work. Yes, my friends and family have seen my paintings and like them, but this was the first time I got to share them with new people. It was exciting and fun and not at all awkward or uncomfortable. I doodle because I enjoy it. In fact, I can't seem to NOT doodle. It is the most easy and natural way of art making that I currently do. I don't have to think or put pressure on myself to meet some kind of aesthetic goal. I just get to have fun thinking about color and form and compositional flow. It is a pure, passion-fueled process that makes me sincerely happy.


While DoodlePaintings aren't for everybody, for those who did see something they liked, it was very rewarding for me as an artist. Adam jotted down a few things he heard people saying and it was truly inspiring to have such a warm response. How can I not harness encouragement from a day spent hearing things like:

"Fun!" "Beautiful" "Wow" "Awesome" "These are great."

"Those are some 'doodles'..."

"...one of the most unique things I've seen in a while."

"It reminds me of things. I don't know what until I look at it, but it reminds me of things..."

"The more I think about it the more intriguing it is."

Naturally, when I create art I can't help but become a little reflective about why I create it, or what meaning it might hold for me on some deeper level. And while I won't pretend I sit about writing intellectual essays on the meaning of my abstract work, I will say that at the moment, I find it especially interesting that I am preoccupied with creating images that elicit everything from tiny microscopic cells to vast environments. From an art-theory angle, the variety in scale of the shapes I use is particularly important in the creation of a successful DoodlePainting. Tiny things making up a bigger picture--this is how I view the essence of life itself. Keeping perspective...small, unique moments, coming together in a dynamic, kinetic flow: The composition of life. I for one, certainly know how a very small thing (can you say LYME disease bacteria!?!) can affect the bigger picture of life...
In conclusion, I find meaning in every tiny circle that I doodle.

Update: Thanks to my exposure at CRAFTOPIA, I made some post-show sales in person, bringing my total sales for the week to 10 PAINTINGS!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coming To Craftopia!

I'm SO EXCITED about participating in Rhody Craft 100's CRAFTOPIA, an awesome craft fair featuring 56 artists & craftsmen. It will be held Saturday, April 28th from 10-4 at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, RI.

I will be taking all my original DoodlePaintings and setting up shop. I have no idea if I'll actually sell anything, but it will be fun to take the first step and try it out. My Square iPhone accessory arrived in the mail so I'll be accepting credit cards in addition to cash and checks.

I was pretty sick over the last few days after trying a new antibiotic that made me feel nauseous 24/7. I spent the week on the couch watching Netflix & Hulu while doodling. From now until April 28th I'll be creating as many new pieces as I can with the goal of having several smaller, super affordable paintings to sell. Here's a peek at a few:


Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

In honor of Dr. Suess's birthday, here's a Suess-derived political satire I created for a RISD class back in the day.



Friday, February 10, 2012

Timeless Love

Just a little something I created for my agent's upcoming promo look book. She and I discussed possibly creating some kind of mother & child vignette, and this is what it became.