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Jonara Academy

7 basic gadgets for digital illustration and social media

Discovering the best tools for working with digital illustration and social media is a process of trial and error. After many years exploring I got a basic set that works well from sketches to published work. Check it out:

1. Light Table

Forget about transfer paper and use any paper you like! It’s so thin and easy to move around you can use anywhere. I always create my first sketches on it.

2. Scanner

Scanning drawings is way more precise and clear than taking pictures. I have a Multifunctional Canon Pixma now, but I want to upgrade in the future. The scanner is great but the printer I use mostly for documents, not for graphics.

3. iPad + Pencil

One of the best investments for digital work.  I tried many tablets in the past but I adapted better with the iPad. If you plan to work on procreate this is the tablet to go. (it also supports Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop).

4. Paperlike Screen Protector

I love the precision of the iPad and pencil but it’s still slippery, specially when writing or doing something precise. Using a matte screen protector adds a bit of grip and feels better than working on glass.

5. Tripod

Having a flexible tripod is great for recording time lapses or having your hands free when meeting people online. An essential tool for a digital illustrator.

6. Computer

Although you can do most things on the iPad I still like the comfort of having a computer to create mockups, update my website and do some last details. It’s light and thin and I carry everywhere.

7. iPhone

Record time lapses, update social media, have meetings and publish everything.

In the above picture you can see my whole set of gadgets (just missing the scanner). It’s super compact, fits in a backpack and it’s light to carry around. I always have with me when I’m travelling

I hope this might help if you are just starting! Please feel free to comment if you have questions.

Have a favorite gadget? Comment below!

Categories
Jonara Academy

6 free apps that make social media beautiful

I used to create all my videos on Windows Movie Maker and edit all my pictures on Photoshop. I felt like a dinosaur.

Now I do most things directly from my phone and it’s awesome and super easy. Create amazing content for your Instagram and Blog in no time and for free! Check my 6 favorite apps:

1. InShot

Make vídeos on your phone, add music, filters and crop! The free version has a watermark but works pretty well

2. VSCO

Keep the colors of your feed consistent by using always the same filters. This app makes magic with my pictures

3. VOUN

Add frames for your images and give your feed some air. It makes anything looks pretty! I use everyday!

4. OneScreen


Test how your wallpapers will work on phones or iPads, create mockups easily!

5. Trello

Organize everything, book posting times, share plans with a team and access from your computer (if you need)

6. PicCollage

Cut out photos, add text, create animations, add stickers and more. The free version has a watermark but it’s still pretty cool and easy to use

Bonus: Procreate Pocket

If you like to doodle and sketch on your mobile, for U$ 4.99 you can have Procreate Pocket on your phone. For me it’s Photoshop in my hands. I use for everything, for color studies, quick sketches and to retouch pictures.

I love practical things! How about you, what is your favorite app?

Categories
Jonara Academy

5 ways I improved my feed in the last 5 years

Many people start social media accounts and have no idea how to organize their posts or how to create a consistent presentation. Social media is everywhere and we are naturally attracted by high quality images and good quality content. In the last 5 years I improved the quality of my Instagram feed and I would like to share my tips.

All creators can benefit from a beautiful and organized feed. If you don’t know where to start, here are my tips.

1. Give a nice presentation

It can be the most beautiful drawing in the world, if your picture is dark, blurred and missing details, nobody will notice you.

2. Learn to use colors

Images in black and white are captivating but colors transmit emotions. If you don’t want to add color to your artworks, at least use colorful frames from time to time.

3. Try different techniques

Experimenting something new will boost your creativity and improve the quality of your work

4. Use your imagination

Copying other works and drawing from observation are important tools for learning but creating something new and showing your own vision of the world is what really makes your work pop

5. Give some air

Too many pictures in the same style can get a bit tiring. Alternate the way you show your creations, zoom on details, show your work space and make things more attractive.

Bonus: Show your face

People love to see who you are! From time to time show your face, your process and your opinions. Make it personal and really connect with people. It’s a social media space, not just a portfolio, so be social.

Did you like these tips?

Share with that friend who is just staring in art!

Categories
Analysis

Inspiring décor and style from 80s and 90s

It’s a lovely long weekend here in Canada and I took some time to watch old movies and search for some decorations and art ideas. I confess, I love decoration and fashion style from the 80s and 90s. It’s a bit over but it feels so cozy and cute. My top picks from this long weekend are:

You’ve Got Mail lovely decoration

It’s been 22 years and we are still in love with Kathleen Kelly house. Lots of botanical art, warm tones, floral pillows, greens and oranges. Walls molding and trims everywhere and a ton of detail. One day I have to do a deeper analysis of her style. Here is a quick peak.

I really love the have French door in the kitchen, the cute little ornaments in her curtains, the amazing china cabinet and the vitral window in her entrance hall. What a dreamy place!

Mrs. Doubtfire warm and cozy house

I actually don’t like this movie and was not able to watch it all again, but I really like the house and the decoration with warm tones of beiges, oranges and greens. It feels very cozy and warm. The movie is from 1993 (click on the images to see details)

I cant get over her cute kitchen with lots of ornaments, the great green sofa cover and curtains everywhere. Super cozy.

Heartburn amazing 80’s style

Last but not list, is not only the décor but the fashion style. Take a look on the amazing clothes Meryl Streep wears in this Nora Ephron movie. I want them all! (click on the images, it’s just so good)

My mom was pregnant from my sister in 1986 and she dressed exactly like that! I’m not sure if I like so much for the nostalgia of those times but seriously, I need that grey linen blazer. Her house was also charming but she never finish her decoration, what is a shame, it would have looked beautiful.

I hope you had fun in this back to the past style and decoration. I’m so inspired! I know my house and my style shouldn’t look exactly like that but I really want to use some of these ideas. Keep in touch and thanks for visiting!

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Lifestyle

The living room saga

I’m sorry I disappeared again. If you read my last post you know I got back from vacations and didn’t like my decoration – or lack of it. I started reorganizing things and since the basement got acceptable, I decided to organize my living room. I’ve been struggling a lot to decorate this house. In my old apartment we had 2 white sofas, the carpet was light and all doors were white, metals were chrome, balcony was concrete. There was a lot of natural light, decorating was really easy, everything look fine there. My decor was simple and informal and worked just fine.

Now here is a house, there is a tree just in front of my window (I love the tree but it’s a lot of shade), the carpet is a dark, old and stained camel color, baseboards and doors are dark coffee, all metals are brass or black and our balcony is a reddish wood.

Don’t take me wrong, I love living here. It’s great to be in a house, location is perfect, rent is fair and the space has a lot of potential. But I never had such a hard time finding the right pieces for a room. I think it all started with our decision to ditch our old white sofas. They were already second hand sofas and were very worn and stained. When we moved here, my mind was in some crazy mood and I didn’t think too much. We got a grey sofa from Structube and 2 orange chairs at Wayfair. I guess that was the begginning of all the problems.

I actually like our sofa and chairs, but that was not the best decision for the space. The room looked really dark. All my pillow covers didn’t work anymore. All the porcelain objects I had with white and blue started screaming in contrast with the orange chairs (complimentary colors can be quite aggressive). I didn’t want plain grey and orange decor so I decided to add some pink pillows and try an analogous color palette. That helped.

There was also the problem of the dining room. First I placed my table in the kitchen. I didn’t like the yellow and blue chairs so I started painting some chairs light green. I didn’t finish but decided to move the table to the living room. The green and blue chairs look awful with the orange and pink decor. To make things worse, I decided to paint an abstract picture and somehow I got carried on and transformed in a splatter painting and added blue. I can’t explain why and I hated the painting for many months.

So that was the state of the living room when I got back from vacations. Camel carpet, beige walls, grey sofa, orange accent chairs, black media furniture, chrome coffee table, wood old dining table, mismatched chairs in green, blue and black, bad taste artwork. OMG. Did I tell you I study architecture and worked in renovation for many years? How did this happen?

Anyways I decided to act. First I inverted the layout of the room and that helped a bit, now entering the room you see the sofa first, not the huge black figure of our entertainment furniture. This was way more inviting. I removed my old ugly artwork and I’m working on a new painting with light and brighter colors.

Then I bought a rug and that was a mistake, it just made my carpet looks even uglier. The rug looked like a white towel in person, very thin and very white. I returned the rug and try to understand what went wrong and why I keep getting upset about my choices.

So disappointing

This last week I just removed everything from the room and try to look again at it and really see the colors of the room and what will make it look prettier. I realized I’m just fighting with this house colors since I arrived and it’s time to make peace. The palette of this house is warm. My grey sofa, glass table and grey rug were cold, of course they will fight with the house. The orange chairs and all the other colors are too much and too saturated for this place, it needs a more neutral muted palette. The decoration needs less color, less contrast and more texture and layers.

First thing I did was to add some curtains (we cannot make holes in this house but I found a good tension rod that saved my life). I started knitting a cushion cover in light grey and I’ll get more pillows in neutral colors. I also had an old cocktail table a friend gave us and was not being used. That actually helped hide the carpet and gave more structure and warmth to the space. I moved the glass table to the corner, so this is how it looks like now.

I’m so happy about the curtains

Next steps are getting a lamp for beside the sofa, keep getting more neutral cushions and add objects on the shelves under the tv and on the table. Then put some art on the walls. I actually would like to make a cover for the orange chairs in a neutral color and actually even a white cover for the sofa but there is so much to do, so one thing at a time.

I’m just super proud of this, first time I finish a knit project. Now just need to sew into a pillow cover

For the dining room I gave up of my current chairs and table. I’ll buy some new ones and move the old ones to the kitchen. I found some light gray chairs I like and we are thinking about the white tulip table. I’m not quite sure about the white and the design is a bit more modern than what I wanted but I think it the round lines will help keeping the space cute. I simulated with my current chairs on the space, it’s seems a bit squeezed but it fits.

I really don’t like the open kitchen. I want to cook more and I avoid making certain foods because I know the whole house will be smelling for hours. So my priority now is to find a way to close the door (making no holes and keeping the budget!). Not easy but I have a few ideas.

I’m still dreaming about buying rugs. I would love a large sisal one for the dining room, covering that round cut on the carpet and making everything look larger… and of course a nice patterned rug for the living room. We will get there!

How about you? Do you have any room in your house that you struggle to decorate? How is it been? Let me know on the comments

Categories
Lifestyle

The basement make up: Part 2

Do you get upset at your house when you get back from vacations? I usually love coming back home, but I went to visit some relatives for a few days and when I got back, I found my house dark and sad. That can’t be good!

I feel house decoration is always an ongoing project. Especially if you are renting and have a tight budget. How can you make it cute and cozy without spending a ton?

I started moving some furniture in the living room. Then we decided to move some things in the kitchen as well. The basement got loaded with random things and I thought, enough is enough.

Here is my new studio / sewing room. I got this machine just before the pandemic but so far I just made face masks. I want to make a quilt for my bedroom and some clothes for me, so it will be good to be able to move around the table.

The white shelves behind the desk have been traveling around the house. They started at the studio, moved to the kitchen and now they are back to the studio. I think it looks good here. All my art supplies are now in boxes and the mess is finally hidden. The clothes rack will be used to dry projects or hang works in progress.

A few details to make everything neat. I added cute lamps to the clothes rack and re-use some baskets as storage for my yarn. The plant behind the sewing machine hides the electric cables. White cardboard boxes hide most of my art supplies and work as “vertical drawers”. And I finally got a place for my brushes and they are not spread all around anymore.

The gym is still there, on the opposite side. The main change was this white curtain to hide the furnace (it’s actually a large table cloth hanging from the ceiling). I’m still thinking what to do about the floors, but that’s ok for now.

Nowadays I rarely use this computer, so I decided to make a vertical station . It looks neat and we can watch Netflix from the treadmill. My old framed paintings and canvas are hidden behind the bamboo divider and some of our books are now on those shelves.

Here is a panoramic of the whole space. It was a battle but I think it’s done for now. If you don’t remember how it looked like before, please check The basement make up: Part 1

I still would like to cover some walls with wallpaper or fabric and hide the floors a bit more but the other parts of the house need some attention and I have my illustration projects to work on. I’m happy for now. What do you think? Leave me a message in the comments!

Like this post? Share it! 🙂

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Behind the Scenes

The collection saga

Remember when I said I was going to postpone the launch of my collections for 2 months? I thought that would be enough. Guess what? That won’t be enough!

I was working on my Halloween collection last week and I was really enjoying and having tons of fun. But yesterday I realized it’s already September 3rd and I don’t have any completed drawings. Not even 1! You might think, oh you have almost 2 months to Halloween. But I actually don’t.

  1. I have a full time job
  2. I’m going to visit my husband’s family for 10 days
  3. Halloween collection should be released about 2 weeks before Halloween…

So I calculated and basically I have 20 days to do everything (16 pieces, between stickers, illustrations and handwriting quotes). I started to think about cutting some of the drawings and making a smaller collection. Then I thought about skipping Halloween completely and start working on the Christmas collection. But I didn’t like that idea. Why would I publish the whole Thanksgiving collection for September/October and then spend again another month and a half without posting anything again and then suddenly post a ton of Christmas drawings? People want some consistency!

Well, yesterday I was painting the floor of one of the art studios I work at. I love those days when I can do something mechanical, it helps me put my mind back in place. I thought a lot about many things.

Pushing myself so hard is destroying my creativity

Drawing takes time! While it’s nice to work with a sense of urgency, I can’t keep like a machine. I need to be kind to myself. So I took a hard decision, but this will give me peace of mind. I postponed everything for the next year, including the Thanksgiving collection that is already done.

I’m going to create enough drawings to have a “savings account” of drawings. I want to have 6 months of drawing collections ready before starting posting on social media.

This might not make sense for most people. You might be thinking: why don’t you just draw and post like you did before? Why make such a big deal?

It’s been a while I like to work in collections (astrological signs collections, months collections, holidays collections, etc). I prefer to work in collections because it allows me to tell a complete story and I feel very accomplished. The other reason is that collections help organize visually my portfolio and offer a variety of products on the same theme. It’s pretty much like a fashion collection. I’m pretty much inspired by fashion, so it makes sense to plan collections like a fashion designer plans for the runway.

So that’s what’s going to happen. I’ll keep posting behind the scenes here and I’ll offer a few isolated drawings online until I get my collections organized and well stocked. Best news I got this week, I was approved on Giphy, so soon I’ll make lots of gifs available for Instagram and Facebook. Keep in touch!

I love gifs and stickers! 🙂
Categories
Analysis

Florence, a city with a soul

It’s been a while I feel our lifestyle is too fast, too focused on the mundane and too immediatist. I’ve been reading some amazing books about art history, myths and ancient legends and all this makes me think a lot.

I studied architecture at the university and I remember reading this huge and great book called The History of the City, from Leonardo Benevolo. One of the most interesting things he said was about the way we organize our cities. In the beginning of our history, we organize everything around the temple. For centuries the temple was in the center of our villages and cities. Much of our lives was focused on the divine. If you think about it, we had ziggurats, Greek and Roman temples, Gothic churches, Renascentist churches, Baroque churches… all the other styles that came after had amazing churches and they were in the center of the city, many times the largest and most important building of the community. But that all changed starting with the industrial revolution and modernism. Skyscrapers took over and business towers became the largest buildings in the cities. The sky line of a city was not focused on the divine anymore, a new power took over and changed the way we live forever.

Florence skyline

I was born in this lifestyle. I never lived in a city where the church is the largest building. Nature was not the center of my life either. All the cities I lived in were typical 20th century cities, life rotates around the commercial center, a conglomerate of towers with offices and stores. We live for work and immediate pleasures. There is no bigger mystery or wondering.

How different my life would have been if I had grown up in a city focused on the divine or focused on nature? A city that focus on the human soul and it’s mysteries? Can I slow down and change the way I think? Can I stop focusing on now and start focusing on larger and more permanent things? All these questions motivates me to read about ancient times and different ways of life.

I’ve been to Florence in 2018 and visiting the Cathedral was a magnificent experience. I wish I could go again and again, there is no feeling like entering that church. The contrast of the rich sculpture outside with the austere inside is the first surprise, then you slowly walk across the nave and visualize the unbelievable duomo from the inside, getting higher and higher, as if you can reach an infinite sky of angels.

The duomo from inside

This weekend I watched some documentaries about Florence and it’s Cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. The first one is a friendly touristic overview of the city, showing a bit of it’s attractions and history.

The second one is a technical and fascinating investigation on the methods of construction for the duomo.

Thinking about how long the great masters took to create their masterpieces and how life was at that time was very interesting for me. Things took years of dedication, study, perseverance. Art was made for eternity. I want to bring this spirit to my life and be more focused on the soul and less in the everyday things.

How about you? Do you feel life is always rushing? What makes you wonder? Let me know in the comments!

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Behind the Scenes

Turning point

Improving a skill requires constant effort. As an illustrator, I’m always trying to find interesting ways to tell stories through drawing. After a long gap without producing art, I finally felt inspired again and started a series of illustrations in late May. I was motivated and happy but in less than two months I felt trapped and had to stop again to reorganize my plans. What happened?

I’ll tell you the truth. I’m addicted in social media.

I need to draw, post on Instagram and see the reaction of people immediately. I even started to post videos everyday sharing not only the completed drawings but also the process and each part of what I was doing. The result? In one month I got stressed and bored. Every time I was not producing fast enough, I would feel guilty and on my videos I would repeat just “I’m stuck, I’m stuck, I’m stuck”. So annoying! Not having time to reflect about my work led me to make a lot of mistakes and bad choices. In the last week of July I chose some very strange colors and did some really weird patterns. Not proud!

My last Instagram Story before noticing I was stuck for a weeks in the same drawing

Making these mistakes helped me realize I needed more time. I decided to draw 2 months in advance, so in August I started to draw for Canadian Thanksgiving , October 12. That was a great decision. I finally got time to breathe and see a full collection finished before I started posting. It’s been challenging to stay away from social media and don’t see interactions everyday, but I believe this will be very important to start producing good quality artwork.

On Writing, Stephen King. I listened to the audio book, it was really fun!

I recently finished reading On Writing, from Stephen King and it’s a great book! Here is something he said that was important for me (on drawing on my case)

Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you

Stephen King

I think I opened too much of my process and the truth is that most people are not interested, except for my artist friends. That limits too much my potential and reach. Also makes me insecure about my choices and I feel very inconsistent, as I rush things to show in public fast. I also notice I don’t give myself time to review my work.

If you are in the creative career, either writing, painting, music, anything artistic, I really recommend this book. I’ve never read other books from Stephen King because I’m not into suspense stories but I really enjoy learning about his creative process and where he gets inspiration for his projects.

The September Issue is available for renting on YouTube

I also watched the September Issue again. I love this documentary about Vogue and Anna Wintour. I really love Grace Coddington participation, Anna and Grace are both really inspiring women in very different ways. It’s great to see how they prepare the fashion editorials, how the teams plan the stories and what happens in the edition room. I like how they take their job very seriously and how sometimes hard decisions are made to keep the magazine aligned with their ideals. One thing I noticed is that they started the plan for the September issue about 5 months before the launch! I didn’t know they start so early.

A picture from the board at the edition room. I really love how they print the pages and see the whole magazine together before publishing!

All this helped me regain my focus. I finished my fall illustration series and I’m ready to start the Halloween series. I will post on Instagram only in September but if you are reading here you can see my fall illustrations before everybody! Just visit my portfolio page –> here.

That’s it for today! Thank you so much for reading and we keep in touch!