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Jonara Academy

The power of comparing your artwork

Would you like to improve your artwork faster and with maximum impact? Open your mind to the power of comparing.

Everywhere on internet people say:
“don’t compare yourself to others”

It seems like, by comparing your skills with others, you are going to hurt your feelings and mental health. But not having references to improve is going to hurt you even more in the long run.

If you already recognized your standards are higher than your skills, now we are going to understand how to identify the first skill to improve.

1. Comparison can be a powerful tool

Internet is full of amazing artists and from time to time you may have some toxic thoughts while navigating:

  • “I’m not good, I’ll never be like them.”
  • “There are way too many good artists, there is no space for me”

But one question can make you think deeper:

  • WHY is their work so good?

2. Comparing can be the best way to find where to start

At first, all you can see is how other artworks are overwhelmingly better than yours.

They are so much better you feel defeated.

I know it’s upsetting. Take a good breath!

If you can handle just one thing at a time, you will reach your goals much faster.

All you need to remember is:

One. Thing. At. A. Time.

3. Create a “dream board” of artists and artworks you love

When you create this board of artists, companies and artworks you admire, pick at least 5 artists.

Choose images that makes you think:

  • I wish my work was as good as this

It’s very important that YOU love the works and artists. Don’t put anything on your board because someone else says it’s good. This is your dream board.

4. Search for what attracts you

Look at each image and ask yourself:

  • What do I like about this work?
  • What are they doing right?

Search carefully for things they have in common and attract you. Listen to your heart, make notes.

Try to identify a pattern.

5. Discover what do they have in common

If you are not sure about what is good on these artworks, you can analyze each criteria separately.

The 7 Magical Art Qualities are:

  • colors
  • theme
  • texture
  • composition
  • complexity
  • storytelling
  • message

Does your favorite artworks have some of those qualities in common?

6. Now compare to your artworks

Time to be brave!

Place some of your current artworks beside your “dream board”. Cry a little, it’s ok!

Now back to work!

Do you feel your artworks don’t “belong” to the “dream board”?

Ask yourself why.

7. Discover where to start improving

Identify which quality is lacking on your artwork in relation to your dream board.

Sometimes the answer is obvious. Immediately you can see your colors are not attractive or your texture is too plain.

But if you are not sure, start comparting quality by quality using the 7 Magical Art Qualities.

8. Start improving right now

Your goal is to make your artwork belong in your dream board.

By giving priority to the skill you missing the most, you will cause maximum impact and achieve faster results.

All Photos: Inga Seliverstova, Cottonbro

Understanding what is meaningful for you will help you take better decisions to reach your goals.

On the next #learnwithjonara I’m going to speak about the 7 Magical Art Qualities. Follow for more!

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Behind the Scenes

Creating my first pattern collection

Drawing patterns is an old dream and I did my first course on the subject in 2018 (with the lovely Elizabeth Olwen on Skillshare).

I got way too busy with other things, time passed and I forgot the little I learned.

This year I said: the time has come!

I enrolled in a course by Ana Sanfelippo at Domestika and it is exactly about what I wanted to learn: tell stories with patterns.

1. Chose the theme

NBC Universal

I was inspired by a short scene in the movie Gosford Park. I love the bedroom furniture and ladies style.

If you want to read my full analysis of this bedroom click here.

2. Define what to draw

My drawings were divided in 3 categories:

Characters: the ladies who socialize in the bedroom
Elements: the furniture and window
Miscellaneous: small objects of the room and wallpaper details

3. Decide where to use the patterns

Early on I decided I wanted to apply the patterns mostly for decoration. Fabrics, wallpapers and art prints are my main goal.

4. Search for references

I always like to get extra references for my projects, so they feel very unique.

For this project I also got inspired by:

  • Chinese scrolls and vases
  • French Toile de Jouy fabric and wallpapers
Images: British Museum and Pattern Observer

5. Draw the elements

This part took forever but it’s so important! I drew all elements by hand in my personal style, then digitalized all elements on Illustrator. It was a very long and exhausting process but now that I’m done I understand how important it is to draw each element very carefully.

Slide to see before and after!

Before and after

6. Pattern creation

For this collection I drew 10 patterns, but in this first moment, I’m publishing just 3:

  • Micro elements
  • Vertical Stripes
  • Brick / Toile inspired

7. Have fun with mockups!

I can’t finish an illustration without testing on a mockup. That’s how I adjust colors, proportion and other small details. When I worked as an architect, I couldn’t live without 3D models and mood boards.

I guess my brain still works the same, I need to see it in the real world!

8. Print fabrics and licensing!

Ok I’m not there yet! I’m still waiting for my fabric samples to arrive, but we will get there and I’ll be here updating you ASAP!

In the mean time check this super cute video I did for my my Instagram, speaking about my pattern process.

Gosford Park Scene: NBC Universal / Video Music: Spring @iksonmusic

If you love it and would like to see more, please check my portfolio page:

Thank you so much for reading! Tell me what do you think about it in the comments!

Categories
Jonara Academy

Getting frustrated about your work is actually great

When you look at other Illustration accounts, do you often feel you are so behind and have so much to learn? Do you know how to stop feeling overwhelmed and take action? Check these 8 points!

1. You can’t get the result you want

We all have been there.

You have an amazing idea for an illustration, you sit to draw and all you see is:

  • lack of proportion
  • weird colors
  • an overall feeling that something is off

You erase a thousand times, start again.

But you still can’t get the result you want.

2. Things work in your mind, but not on paper

When you have an idea, it looks like you can do something great!

You feel confident!

But as soon as you start drawing you can see clearly it doesn’t work.

You close your eyes and try to remember how it worked in your mind.

But things are blurred now.

You can’t connect imagination with reality.

3. Your work is not as good as the other artists

You decide to search for more references.

The work of other artists look so much better than yours.

So. Much. Better.

You can’t even explain why it’s better. You just feel humiliated and feel you want to give up.

4. You just can’t do it, it’s so frustrating

You feel so small and distant from your goal.

It seems easier to just give up of everything.

When there is so much to improve, the whole challenge seems impossible.

5. What you want to do is different from what you can do

You want to do more and better than what you are doing now.

That means:

you can see potential in yourself for growing.

You can see there are lot of possibilities to improve.

You are just not able yet.

6. This lack of satisfaction is actually great!

It’s easy to focus just on the moment and forget the big picture.

Looking at the present, all you can see is that you can’t have the result you want.

Actually what you found was an opportunity to grow and now you can make a choice.

You can choose to improve!

7. Acknowledging your standards are higher than your skills is the first step to success

When you are 100% satisfied with your work, there is no need to improve.

You are comfortable and your work is on a plateau. There is nothing wrong with that!

But if you feel your work is behind, that’s because your mind is ahead!

So congratulations, you are on the way for progress!

8. Choose just one skill to focus at a time

What makes you overwhelmed is the feeling that everything needs improvement.

Focus on one thing.

There are many areas to improve:

  • colors
  • composition
  • linework
  • proportion
  • texture
  • storytelling

Choose just one!

On the next posts I’m going to speak more about how to chose one skill to improve, what to consider and how to measure your progress. Follow me for more tips!

Thank you so much for reading! All photography courtesy of @rf._.studio

Categories
Jonara Academy

8 good habits for working from home

With one year of experience since the pandemic started, we should be all expert in the art of working from home.

But I feel there is always something we can improve and new tricks to be efficient are always welcome. Do you feel the same?

Here I share my good habits for working from home, I hope to hear from yours too!

1. Start the night before

Would you like to have a peaceful morning?

Start the day before:

  • Choose your clothes
  • Plan what tasks you will accomplish the next day

Waking up in the morning knowing exactly what to do gives me great peace of mind and motivation to start working.

Image: Anna Shvets

2. Get dressed and ready

Are you tired of running crazy when you have to an unexpected video call?

Stop embarrassing yourself:

  • Fix your hair and face first thing in the morning
  • Dress something comfortable but professional

When I dress professionally I feel my whole day is more productive and I love being ready in case I need to run a last minute errand or call someone on video

Image: Cottonbro

3. Clean your workspace

Got your work papers mixed with your bills and shopping lists again?

Do one thing at a time:

  • File the papers you already finished working with
  • Have a separate pile for papers not related to work

When my desk is clean and organized I don’t waste time time searching for anything. I like to clean and file papers as soon as I finish each task.

Image: Michael Burrows

4. Avoid being interrupted

Can’t focus on anything while working from home?

Stop stopping for everything:

  • If possible, ask your family to don’t enter in the room where you are working
  • Turn off notifications from all your apps

If everything fails and you still keep getting interrupted, try to do the “hard work” very early in the morning, before everybody wakes up

Image: Lascot Studio

5. Follow a schedule

Don’t have time to start or time to end your work?

Work smart, not hard:

  • Divide your day into blocks of tasks
  • Don’t stay on social media during your “production time” block!

Booking blocks of tasks is the best way to make sure I’m focused and I won’t skip important obligations

Image: Anete Lusina

6. Have a decent lunch

Are you eating in front of your computer or mobile?

Take a break to eat healthy:

  • Make a beautiful plate and look at your food instead of looking at a screen
  • Enjoy every bite and think about nutrition

Spending the whole day seated and eating from a box in front of the screen is the fastest way to lose energy and get stressed. It’s good to pause for eating!

Image: Valeria Boltneva

7. Connect with your online community

Do you spend days without talking to a human being?

Keep in touch with reality:

  • Video call friends from your industry and catch up
  • Interact with other professionals and increase your network online

While it’s nicer meeting colleagues for a coffee in person, online meetings are a true necessity during these pandemic times, don’t get isolated from your industry.

Image: Ivan Samkov

8. Know when to stop

Do you feel guilty when you are not producing?

Even machines need maintenance time!

  • Finish your work on a decent time, organize for next day and let it go
  • Plan relaxing and fun activities for your weekend.

If I’m productive in my “productive blocks” I feel I earned the right to rest and I relax guilty free. However not always we are productive and that’s ok! Relax now and organize better for tomorrow.

Image: Sam Lion

I hope you are having a great time in your home office. I love working from home and I feel I’m getting better at it! My main tips are:

  • Start the night before
  • Get dressed and ready
  • Clean your workspace
  • Avoid being interrupted
  • Follow a schedule
  • Have a decent lunch
  • Connect with your online community
  • Know when to stop

How about you? Tell me a tip on the comments!

Categories
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!

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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?

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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!

Categories
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! 🙂