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Self Love Club!

Yesterday I heard in the radio that only 9% of the people keep their New Year resolution by the end of January. That’s so depressing!

Well, I’m determined to keep mine this year! My main resolution is to do things I love and share more here! This year I want to care more about enjoying the process and be happy about every step. That includes drawing more, having more fun with my illustrations, expressing more my feelings and ideas and experiment more with design and photography. Be more artistic and less shy. Let myself out a bit more! Focus more on creativity and worry less about the hard part of the business.

How about you, how are you keeping your resolutions?

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Designing the Winter Wishes Collection

When I thought about Christmas and Winter I always remember happy moments from my childhood. One of those moments were watching Christmas movies. I grew up in Brazil, where Christmas happens during summer. I’ve never seen snow until I moved to Canada, so watching those kids playing in the ice and snow was fascinating for me!

One of my favorite movies when I was a kid was Home Alone. I love movies from the 80s and 90s and I thought that would be the perfect inspiration for my new winter collection.

Choosing the elements

I watched the movies again and did an analysis of some key elements, you can read about it below:

I wanted to design some people but I didn’t want to use the thieves or Kevin’s family. Instead, I focused on characters that barely have a screen time during the movie, like the ice skaters, choir singers and shoppers. I also got inspired by some of the house wallpapers, overall colour palette and ornaments.

  1. Characters: Ice Skaters, Shoppers, Choir Singers, Kevin and Santa Claus
  2. Elements: Wallpapers designs and Santa House
  3. Miscellaneous: Toys, Presents and Christmas ornaments

I designed the elements in my own style and then digitalized using Adobe Illustrator. My goal was not to recreate the movie most famous scenes, instead I tried to illustrate the fun atmosphere of Christmas and winter in the 80s and 90s. I really enjoyed dressing the characters in vintage clothes and vibrant colours.

Slide the picture below to see my original drawings and the digitalized version

Slide and watch the magic!

Creating the Patterns

For this collection I decided to create 5 hero prints,5 secondary prints and 5 blenders.

Hero Prints: the statement ones! Patterns with characters, lots of elements and colours.

Secondary Prints: patterns with smaller elements and medium complexity

Blender Prints: abstract patterns with limited colours

I tried to create patterns that could be used not only for Christmas but also for the whole winter, so colours include not only the basics red, green and golden but also some whites and blues to add a bit of ice and snow to the mix.

Mock-ups

I always like to visualise how the patterns are going to work in products, here are some tests

Printing Fabrics and Licensing

This collection available for purchase in my Spoonflower shop – that means you can shop fabric by the yard and create your own projects.

I ordered a small quilt to make sure colours will look all right, that’s how it’s going to look like:

Producing Embroidered Products

As usual I’m offering some of the designs in an embroidered version. The winter tote bag is a must have, and the hoops are a great idea for decorating your house or for giving as gifts. Visit my Etsy Shop to see what is available.

What did you think about this project? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments!

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Designing The Book Lovers Collection

It’s been more than a year since the last time I drew a surface pattern design collection. Reading is one of my passions and drawing a book collection has always been in my plans. I’m also a big fan of the visuals in the movie You’ve Got Mail, since the main characters are owners of bookstores and there are books everywhere. I’m specifically attracted by the decoration with so many bookshelves and cozy objects, I find it simply brilliant. With a bit of inspiration and lots of imagination, here is a bit of my process creating The Book Lovers Collection.

The Book Lovers Collection

This collection is perfect for book enthusiasts, writers, students, all people who loves vintage vibes of old paper books, typewriters, lots of coffee and a cozy environment. Adding a hint of humor, warm elements and colours, it’s a perfect collection for back to school in the fall or to enjoy the whole year.

Deciding what to draw

I decided I wanted to get most of my inspiration from the movie You’ve Got Mail, so I watched it again. There are so many things to get inspired, like the Shop Around the Corner, or NY in the fall, or even the Fox Books store. But the place I would love to seat and read was actually Kathleen Kelly’s brownstone house. You can read my analysis of her living room here.

I wanted to have a mix of characters, objects and miscellaneous designs. Watching the movie, I tried to focus on the people who visited the house, on objects, patterns and colours that decorate the space. I divided those in 3 categories:

  1. Characters: the people who frequent the house
  2. Elements: The furniture and larger objects
  3. Miscellaneous: Small objects that decorate the place

With that in mind I drew each element by hand in my own style, and later digitalized using Adobe Illustrator. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a likeness to Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks or Greg Kinnear, that was intentional. I placed these characters in new situations and tried to focus in the book lovers theme. I want my drawings to appeal to all book lovers, not only fans of the movie.

Slide the picture below to see my original drawings and the digitalized version

Slide and watch the magic!

Creating a Pattern Collection

For this collection I decided to create 4 hero prints, 6 secondary prints and 6 blenders.

  • Hero Prints: the ones with more colours, more elements and higher complexity. All the characters are in the hero prints.
  • Secondary Prints: patterns with medium complexity, moderate use of colours, medium contrast and no characters
  • Blender Prints: simple patterns with limited colours and no complex elements, low contrast

When choosing colours I always try to imagine if the patterns were transmitting that cozy, cute and fun atmosphere. My goal was to create an attractive universe for book lovers, with patterns that work well in different applications.

Trying a few mock-ups

It’s always great to visualise how the patterns are going to work in products, so I always make a few mock ups to test.

Printing Fabrics and Licensing

I decided to make this collection available for purchase at Spoonflower – that means you can shop fabric by the yard and create your own projects.

In order to sell on their website we need to print prof the designs and make sure all colours are fine. I ordered a sample of each fabric on a cheater’s quilt (an amazing option available on their website, you can make one for yourself!). Here is how mine is going to look like, in case you need some inspiration. (If you would like to shop these fabrics visit my shop ).

Producing Embroidered Products

And of course I wouldn’t miss the opportunity of offering some of these designs in an embroidered version. So hoops and tote bags are available featuring some of the icons from the collection. Visit my Etsy Shop to purchase them.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about my process. I find it amazing and surprising to see how much we are able to create with few pieces of inspiration. As the times passes I’ll have even more items to grow this collection so keep in touch! And please let me know what do you think in the comments!

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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! 🙂
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A career may blossom to some unimaginable outcome

We often hear stories about people who change their careers for something completely unrelated and become extremely successful in their new areas. One of my favorite examples is the business entrepreneur Sara Blakely. Sara got a degree in law but was not able to pass the LSAT test. She spent seven years selling fax machines door to door until she finally invented Spanx and today her company is worthy one billion dollars. In numerous interviews, she looks to her past and explains how being repeatedly rejected and learning to deal with failure set her up for success. I also like Steve Jobs’ journey. In a very famous speech at Stanford University, he explains why dropping college and enrolling on a random calligraphy course was essential for the success of Apple later on. Even being fired from the company he founded contributed for his success, as he used this time to start other creative companies like Pixar, today a multi billion animation company.

Sara Blakely
Steve Jobs

I’m fascinated by this kind of journey because I’ve been in a career transition as well. Although I graduated and worked as an Architect, it’s been 5 years since I decided to become an artist. During this period I worked at a coffee shop, clothes store, department store and finally at an art studio. In 5 years I got some praise but also I heard multiple times I was wasting my talent. The fact that I served coffee at Starbucks for 2 years was a source of much controversy. Why would an architect with a masters degree decide to serve coffee? How would this contribute in any way for the development of an art career?

Deep inside me I knew I was learning from this experience but since I couldn’t see the outcome, many times I got anxious or frustrated during my journey. Looking back, I can finally see things coming together and the more I work, the more everything makes sense.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.

Steve Jobs

Focus on what you can control

When I decided to become an artist, I got a part time job at Starbucks, and started classes at the Alberta University of the Arts. Every morning I wore an apron and served coffee, all afternoons and evenings I was drawing or studying. I had big dreams and was full of creativity and motivation. I couldn’t see clearly where I would reach, but I was happy and focused.

The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life

Steve Jobs

People around me couldn’t understand. I remember introducing myself to a new person saying ” I’m studying arts” and some friend discreetly would add “but she has a masters degree in architecture!”. I used to get upset at these reactions because I thought my friends were embarrassed from my choices. Today I understand it was not their fault. If I couldn’t see clearly the future, why would I expect other people to be able to see? This was beyond my control. In these past 5 years I learned to focus on what I can control, that means, what I want to study, how many hours I can dedicate to my practice, how I respond when I face a challenge. People’s reactions to my choices are beyond my control. I choose to don’t get upset anymore.

Keep track of your progress

I spent my whole first year exploring the city with a sketchbook and a black marker. In the beginning I used my phone to take pictures of my work and the environment around me. After a while, I noticed other artists presented their work in a more clean way. I got a scanner and stopped sharing pictures that were not art related. All my drawings were based on the reality around me and I was afraid of colors.

Studying colors was the biggest change of all. I went from simple black and white sketches to very colorful compositions. The architectural style gave way to experiments. Acrylic paintings, pastel drawings, watercolors, pointillism, chalk markers. Animals became my favorite theme because they could be so colorful. I learned a lot. Working at Starbucks made a huge impact in my art. Since I was constantly drawing chalkboards for them, I brought the black background to my paintings and also started learning about typography. The experience of working in this huge company also taught me many business lessons, the most important of all was understanding what a vision is and why I should have one if I wanted to grow.

In the beginning of 2018 I developed my own vision, I want to make the world more interesting. Everything that contributes to my vision is given priority, anything that doesn’t help me achieve the vision is abandoned. Many times I discarded artworks because I didn’t think they were interesting enough. The vision should be something huge and abstract, not a simple goal. I’ve been following this vision since then.

Looking to the past I noticed I didn’t have a consistent style. I was all over the place. I decided to experiment again until I could find “my style”. I also wanted to understand the meaning of “interesting” for me. At this point I already knew I wanted to work with limited colors, mix them with some black and white and use more patterns. First I got inspired by fashion illustration and later for art for kids. I tried digital drawing, unexpected colors, printmaking, stamps and stencils. Experimenting and going out of my comfort zone was essential to discover what I liked or not.

Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on

Steve Jobs

I finally understood what I consider interesting. My whole life I loved to read and I have read lots of books. Many years ago I even had a blog about books and movies, I used to analyse how people tell a story. I discovered the most interesting thing for me is storytelling. All my illustrations should be part of a story or be the story on itself. The techniques and style has been compressed to just follow the story. This is what I’m working on now.

Looking back to move forward

Keeping track of my own art, constantly reviewing it and comparing with other art I like was essential to identify opportunities for growth. I archive my drawings and the process to arrive at the final piece. Stephen King expresses this idea much better than I when he speaks about writing. The same could be applied to any form of art:

“You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but “didn’t have time to read,” I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in …

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

In 2015 I simply copied the reality around me, without thinking so much. The exercise of studying other people’s art and process lead me to improve my own process and make it much deeper. Today I define my theme and start with some loose sketches and simple written notes. As I get to the first concept, I study what other artists did, as well as explore my own memories. When I feel I have a stronger visual base, I advance on my drawings and add more details, while I transform my written notes into a text. The process is a collaboration between memories, references, drawings and thinking. For me, an idea is a person climbing a narrow gap between two buildings. It departs from the pavement, made from my memories and references. It puts the feet on the wall of the first building, my drawings. Get some impulse and put a feet on the second building, my writing. It keeps climbing dangerously with the support of both building, writing and drawing, never losing sight from the floor, my memories and references. Will the idea trip and fall back to my mind? Or will it reach the top? Can my ideas fly?

Be excited about what you don’t know

Understanding there is so much to learn is the best way to discover new techniques and approaches to solve problems. My career changed in some unexpected ways, one discovery led to another and I’ve seen myself walking on paths I’ve never imagined before.

Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know.

 Sara Blakely
An open circle with no limits

Improvement can only exist if I’m willing to see new ways of doing things. As we plant the seeds of our destiny, we imagine and plan where we are going to reach but so many discoveries on the way lead us to unexpected paths. The circle of choices is open but it’s my mind that closes its border. I’m the one who creates this invisible ceiling and says – here is where it stops. What if I could see there is no end? 

Changing the mindset is the most interesting way to grow and discover value in our own experiences. Imagine how many combinations you can make with each piece of the knowledge you already have. 

Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Today I feel I’m combining everything, there was no right or wrong path. Skills from all my previous jobs, ideas from all my hobbies, memories from all my travels, slowly all my life experience is getting compressed and molded into new matter and transformed in illustrations. The unexpected is great. The mystery and vastness of the future are fascinating for me.

Do you wonder what the future holds? Do you ever wonder where you will be in 5 years? If I could look through the crystal ball, I would visualize an immense maze of ways and possibilities. The maze of our destiny is so vast it simply doesn’t have an end. It’s infinite. Walking on the roads of my destiny, every single day I discover new possibilities, every single moment I can make a new choice.

All these experiences together brought me where I am now. Working with large companies and learning about business helped me understand how I should guide my own career. Being open, trying with different art supplies, techniques and ideas helped me improve the quality of my artwork. The love for reading made me understand how a good story is important for me. Being excited about the future motivates me everyday. 

Would you like to see your career growing in ways you never imagined before? Here is what I see so far:

  1. Focus on what you can control
  2. Keep track of your progress
  3. Look back to move forward
  4. Be excited about what you don’t know

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Leave a comment or share, I would love to know how you are approaching your own career growth. Thanks for your visit!