Last week, I was honored by Croatian artist and friend Antoana Oreški-Džafić, with an invitation to participate in a blog hop featuring artists from around the world. I am very flattered–and excited to join in on the fun!
Today, I will share some of Antoana’s gorgeous work, answer some questions about my own creative process, and I will introduce you to a couple of artists who truly inspire me, Jennifer Orkin Lewis and Nelleke Verhoeff.
Antoana and I met in Assignment Bootcamp earlier this year. An incredibly talented illustrator, I love her lush colors and her great character design. The level of detail she adds to her pieces is truly inspiring.
Antoana created this Koala piece for Tigerprint’s Cute Character competition. I enjoy so much of her work, but this is one of my favorites. The color palette, those koalas, and what a sweet message! Wish her luck. The winners will be announced next month.
This was Antoana’s Global Talent Search entry. The little girl riding on top of that fabulous elephant is my favorite part–oh my, that hair!!
Antoana’s patterns are magical as well.
Balancing work with family, Antoana is a dedicated mother of two. As I muddle through, trying to strike a balance between work and parenthood, I’m inspired by fellow mamas working as artists as well.
How I Work
Next up, a few questions about my creative process:
What are you working/writing on?
Right now, I’m building out a wall art collection for an exciting licensing deal that’s in the works. I’m finalizing another wall art deal (details coming soon!), and waiting to hear on a couple of other pending collections as well (eek–fingers crossed).
I’m also trying to make a decision about Surtex next spring, and whether to just walk, or to go for it and try to exhibit. Oh, and overhauling my website too. I tend to work best with a lot of irons in the fire.
How does your work differ from others in your genre?
As many artists have said, this is a hard question to answer about yourself. If I were to sum up what I do, I would say my work is whimsical, layered, and sophisticated. Color is one of my very favorite things. And I enjoy creating depth and interest with a variety of textures.
How does your creative process work?
I love an assignment. Please don’t tell me I can do whatever I want, however I want–I will freeze like a deer in headlights.
When I do start a new project, I’m usually super charged up and excited. Lately, I have also been trying to set an intention at the outset–a kind of prayer to my cosmic muse–that the project will be successful. Then I begin to draw. Without thinking too much about where it’s all going, I fill pages of my sketchbook. Usually just pencil on paper. Then I go back and I look for what’s working (it’s a gut feeling). I scan those drawings and start to play with elements digitally.
At some point in the process, more often than not, I hit a wall. I get stuck. Nothing is working. My excitement morphs into anxiety. And it talks,‘You’re not good enough. What were you thinking? Why you?’ When this happens, I need to walk away.
One of the things about working while being at home with my daughter (3) and my son (8 months), is that I spend a lot of time thinking about different approaches, compositions, and solutions in my head. All this thinking time usually means when I actually sit down to work, I make real progress. Not always, but usually.
Once I have the composition dialed in, I start to play with color. Like I said, this is one of my very favorite steps. I adore color.
Happy with my palette, I take the whole thing into Photoshop and rebuild it, adding texture until I’m happy and the piece is finished.
Why do you create?
From an interview I did last year for Uppercase’s Work/Life 3 Illustration directory:
“When working on a project that I’m really excited about, I get this buzz…an electric current of excitement that lights me up from head to toe. I am an illustrator because it makes my soul sparkle.”
Two Artists You Should Know
Enough about me. Now I want share the work of two incredible artists who inspire me.
I met both of these women through Lilla Rogers’ classes (one of the best parts of class is connecting with a community of talented and supportive artists), and I am truly honored and excited to share their immense talent with you.
Jennifer, who works under the studio name August Wren, maintains a 30-minute-a-day sketchbook practice. Below are some excerpts. I am inspired on a daily basis by her creations (check out her Facebook page to follow along).
I’m so excited to see what Jennifer creates for the second round.
Next, I present to you the lovely Nelleke Verhoeff. Creating work that is whimsical and fun, yet incredibly sophisticated, Nelleke works under the studio name Red Cheeks Factory, which (from her bio) “…stands for enthusiasm, but also for shyness and excitement.” What I adore most about her work is her loose style and her wonderful people.
“Puzzled,” available for purchase here.
“Ma Cherie,” available for purchase here.
Trio Umbrella available for purchase here.
Her patterns are top-notch as well–and I love how she mocks them up.
This has been so much fun! Thank you for following along. These women will be talking about their own creative process,’ and sharing a few artists who inspire them next week. I hope you’ll follow along.