To Hold It In Your Hands

Books_UppercaseBrief

I created the image above for a somewhat ambiguous design brief that asked me to create a pattern around the ideas of paper and folding.

When I think of paper, I think of…something I can hold in my hands. It’s tangible. It has texture. Weight. You can breath it in. You can decorate it–add your own thoughts and expressions (however that may take shape for you). You can experience the thoughts and expressions of others.

We live in a digital age where so much is here and gone in an instant. It’s probably the artist in me, but I believe I will always prefer the tactile (more enduring) experience of paper.

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How to Have More Fun

Digitla Nomad Illustration_Kelly Angelovic

This illustration was our last assignment in Lilla Roger’s Assignment Bootcamp. Class started back in January, and (as was my experience last year) it has been a fantastic way to push myself and work on projects that are outside of my comfort zone. This month’s assignment was to create an editorial illustration for an online article entitled “How To Succeed At Becoming A Digital Nomad.”  

With Bootcamp wrapping up, we are now in the thick of summer (with the 90 degree weather to prove it).

What does summer mean to you?

I think of hot lazy days, dripping popsicles, staying outside until dark--and having FUN!!

Lately, I’ve been inviting more fun into my life. My husband is always trying to make me laugh, and I have two little ones who base their entire existence on having a good time.

So this should be easy. Right?

But sometimes…every so often, I can be the tiniest, slightest bit…uptight. I can get myself all worked up about all that needs to get done  (which, by the way, isn’t ever possible–the list never ends, so let it go already), or looming deadlines, or climate change, or how many vegetables my kids actually ate today…and on and on.

My kids are the very best at this–having fun. They are my greatest teachers (in so many ways).

This week my son (1.5 years old) and I have been making fish faces at each other, and he laughs and giggles like it’s the greatest thing, EVER.

Then there’s my daughter, who does a happy dance right there on the spot, when I tell her her friend is coming over to play.

There is no shortage of pain in this world. The key is to keep laughing–to have fun through the hurt and the tears.

So when I’m having a rough day, or I get some news about a friend that breaks my heart, I take some deep cleansing breaths, and then I get down and play with my kids.

We draw with chalk on the sidewalk and we splash in puddles. Sometimes we have dance parties where we turn the music up really loud and we shimmy and shake–no one cares if anyone is watching. We are wild and free.

What are you doing this summer? Are you having enough fun?? I’d love to hear from you.

***

I’ve shared my other Bootcamp projects from the past six months below (also lots of fun!!):

Ocean Garden Dinnerware Collection_Kelly Angelovic

Collection of plates featuring a floral pattern and sea creatures (a side note about this one–I want to work on this a bit more. I’m not completely happy with some of the elements and I think I can push this a bit more to create a collection that I REALLY dig). I’ll let you know how it turns out 😉

Global Art Gathering_Kelly Angelovic

Hand lettered poster design for the MATS Global Art Gathering that took place in the UK this summer.

Kelly_Angelovic_February

Funky kitchen wall art.

Jewel Themed Fancy Feathers Journal Cover Kelly Angelovic

Whimsical journal cover design.

Please contact me if you are interested in licensing any of the above artwork. I am also available for commissioned projects!

Growing Pains

IMG_2228 IMG_2229

Last week, we took the kids to Phoenix. My parents are retired and they spend their winters playing in the Arizona sun.

They have three citrus trees in their backyard. Much to the delight of my daughter, we filled boxes with fresh picked oranges, lemons and grapefruit.

The bizarre shapes of desert cactus are fascinating. I loved strolling through the neighborhood and taking it all in (all the while praying that my adventurous 3 year old wouldn’t impale herself as she raced from plant to plant).

We swam. We soaked up the sun.

We relaxed (something I can’t say happens too often with a toddler and a pre-schooler underfoot). Thank you mom and dad!!

I’m happy to be back though–when I’m away from work for too long, I feel this pull, this longing to dive back in. To create–to PLAY.

I also had a bit of time to think. To move my business forward, I need to re-prioritize how I’m spending my working hours.

Holding this space to write feels really good–I enjoy having a blog. I will continue to share new work and progress as it unfolds. But there will be weeks where I need to spend my time elsewhere.

To those of you who read on a regular basis, I am so grateful. Bear with me through these growing pains.

 

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Kelly_Angelovic_February

This past month in Bootcamp, the assignment was to create wall art on a piece of wood (think antique plates). We were also encouraged to work traditionally, especially if that isn’t our typical approach.

There is a painter that lives in me, I’m sure of it. What began as a whisper has been getting louder, encouraging me to pick up a paintbrush. There are so many reasons why painting, at this point, doesn’t make any sense…

I don’t have a space where I can get messy. I don’t have anywhere to store canvases. Buying all the required supplies is expensive. Editing is more difficult–you can’t hit ‘undo.’I have no idea what I’m doingI don’t even really know where to start.

And yet…there is this voice urging me to get my hands dirty. To mix colors by brush rather than onscreen.

For this assignment, I bought several pieces of balsa wood–six of them so that none would be too precious. I painted them brightly, then added white and gray until they had this lovely distressed look.

I created a design that I wanted to paint, and with graphite paper, transferred my sketch onto my canvas and went to work.

In my neuroses, I ended up creating both a digital and painted version, and…I don’t love either.

The teapot image above is what I ended up submitting to the Bootcamp public gallery (which is now live, check it out if you are so inclined–my submission is on page 2). I’m happy with how it turned out, but it feels like a bit of a cop-out. Created digitally, there is nothing about it that pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

The image below is the digital version of my first idea, followed by the (as yet, unfinished) painted version.

EverythingWasPerfect3_Web

EverythingWasPerfectPainting

As is so often my approach (in more than just my art, ahem), I tried to control everything. Leaving little room for artistic play, I missed the whole point of painting.

So I will try again–sometime soon.

In the meantime, the amazing Christine Mason Miller has invited me to be a contributor in her upcoming e-course, The Conscious Booksmith.

The ConsciousBooksmith

“This thoughtfully created course is a guide for aspiring authors and book-makers. It is filled with tools and inspiration designed to support the creation of a comprehensive book plan reflective of your values, priorities and ideals.”

If this resonates in your heart, class starts March 9. Come join us!!

 

 

Celebrating How Far We Have Come

FallTreesThis was the view from my yoga mat yesterday afternoon. Spectacular!

Last week I celebrated a birthday, which always incites a bit of reflection .

As of late, I have felt a little…adrift. I have a few (exciting) licensing deals in the works, but they are still months away from launch. I know where I want to go–I just don’t know exactly how to get there.

Back when I was in school for graphic design, I remember sitting in class, listening to advice from seasoned designers, and feeling in awe (and rather intimidated). They had already achieved that coveted title ‘Graphic Designer.’

Fast forward a year. I finished school and took on my first real projects with real clients. But…working as a graphic designer didn’t feel like I thought it would (like I had arrived).

Too often, when we finally hit the mark, we have already re-calibrated where we want to go.

There will always be something new to aspire to. It’s human nature to reset the bar.

So this week, I want to recognize how far I have come in the last three years. I have only been illustrating since my daughter was born.

In just a few years, so many exciting things have happened–commissioned jobs, licensing deals, my first art show, making the semi-finals in Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, being featured in Uppercase’s Work/Life 3 illustration directory.

And my art has grown in leaps and bounds.

So instead of feeling discouraged about not quite being where I want to be with all of it, I am going to acknowledge and enjoy just how far I have come.

***

And don’t forget, 10% of anything you buy from my online store will be donated to Arts Street, a local non-profit program that creates opportunities for the young people of Colorado. Their mission is to “…cultivate low-income and under-served youth into a creative and culturally competent workforce. We use the power of the arts and arts professionals to nurture leadership and engage youth in learning.”

 

Artists Around the World Blog Hop

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.

International Inspiration

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.

Illustration by Antoana  for Tigerprint's "Cute Character" competition

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_ORESKI_Dreamland Terrarium

Antoana’s patterns are magical as well.

Exotic

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.

To see more of Antoana’s work, check out her website and her blog.


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.

First up is the fabulous Jennifer Orkin Lewis, whose work was recently featured in Uppercase magazine.

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).

Blue Lady illustration

Jennifer Orking Lewis_Daily Sketchbook

Jennifer Orkin Lewis Uppercase Spread

Jennifer is also one of the semi-finalists in this year’s Global Talent Search!! This was her Terrarium entry.

Terrarium_GTS_AugustWren

I’m so excited to see what Jennifer creates for the second round.

For more of Jennifer’s work, check out her website and her blog .


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.

Puzzled

“Ma Cherie,” available for purchase here.

Ma Cherie

Trio Umbrella available for purchase here.

TrioUmbrella

Her patterns are top-notch as well–and I love how she mocks them up.

Dancing_Feathers_Nelleke_Verhoeff

You can see more of Nelleke’s work on her website and blog, and in her online shop.

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.

Grow

Don't be afraid to stand in your own power and blossom

This past Tuesday, the semi-finalists in Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search were announced.

My piece didn’t make the cut.

The assignment was to create a piece of wall art with a ‘Little Terrariums’ theme. And I was thrilled with what I came up with–I had so much fun!! Even though I didn’t make it through, what I created was 100% me and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

That’s not to say I’m not a little disappointed. Last year (to my amazement–I entered on a whim), I made it through to the next round. This was my submission (the assignment was to create a journal cover with a ‘Playground’ theme).

Let's Play

So I knew it was possible…

There were 999 entries this year. You can see the list of semi-finalists here. And this year, they published everyone’s submissions–so you can peruse the entire gallery if you are so inclined. It’s an impressive collection, and I have no idea how Lilla and her team narrowed the field to the top 50 (what I would’ve given to have been a fly on the wall for those conversations).

Through Lilla’s MATS classes, I know a lot of the artists who made it through. And I am genuinely excited for them. I can’t wait to see what they create for the next round.

There were a lot of entries that I loved–pieces that would have made my top 50–that didn’t make the cut though.

That’s maybe the best and the worst of what I do, that art is inherently subjective.

In all honesty, I did host my own private pity party for a good part of the morning on Tuesday when the list of semi-finalists was announced. And then I got on my road bike and went for ride up a really big, steep hill. As always, this helped, immensely.

And then I picked myself up and dusted myself off. And I’m getting right back in that saddle. Giddyup.

***

And don’t forget, this is the last week in August–for the rest of the month, 10% of what I sell will go to DAVA, a local organization that “… provides high-quality, after-school programming in the Aurora community and has become an anchor of free arts education for 900 urban kids (ages 3-17) annually. DAVA programs are designed to provide young people with the tools necessary to activate a new vision for community through the arts.”

 

The End of Bootcamp

FizzyDrink

There is a wall in my entryway that has been empty since we moved in four years ago. It has always needed something, but until now, I hadn’t figured out what.

July was the final month for Lilla Rogers Assignment Bootcamp. The assigned theme was favorite beverages, and we were told to create a piece of art that we would hang on our own walls.

Create for the sake of creating (without thinking about commercial appeal).

I started drawing coffee cups and wine glasses. Wine bottles and tea cups.

As so often happens in the midst of a project, I got stuck. Nothing felt right. I backed off. I shifted my perspective–and tried to think about the kind of art I’m drawn to.

Working with the intention to create something for that empty space in my entryway, everything began to flow.

The image below was my final Bootcamp submission. The image above ended up being my favorite of the three that I created (it wasn’t finished by the submission deadline).

FlowerDrinkWarmDrink

This isn’t my space (my empty wall is quite a bit smaller, and I haven’t hung them up yet), but this is how they would look, at full size (24″ x 30″) hanging on a wall together.

Drink Wall Art Mock-up

Bootcamp started in February and it has been so much fun, especially with a new baby in the house (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–maintaining my creative outlet and keeping one foot in the working world makes me a better mama). Since I first took Make Art That Sells, Part A last June, I have evolved and learned so much.

If you are thinking about signing up for one of Lilla’s classes, don’t hesitate!! Though I would recommend taking the full blown MATS classes first (Bootcamp is like an extension, a way to maintain your momentum–it’s not nearly as intense, but not as juicy and full of information either).

Either way, do it!! You won’t be disappointed.

AND I have several licensing deals in the works (hopefully, fingers crossed!!) that have come from my MATS projects. I can’t spill the beans yet, but there are a lot of exciting things happening behind the scenes right now.

My other Bootcamp pieces:

Jello themed fabric pattern for the bolt fabric market

TimeForTea_KellyAngelovic

 

Cuckoo clock themed cell phone case

Cuckoo Cell Phone Case

 

Editorial illustration for an article about meditation

How to Meditate

 

Wall art with a nautical theme

Under the Sea

So….what’s next?

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search

Lilla’s Global Talent Search!!

I entered last year on a whim and I made it to the semi-finals (which I still can’t believe)! After going back and forth (and back and forth) about entering again, I decided to throw my hat in the ring. I have nothing to lose, and if I win (oh my goodness, can you imagine?? I wouldn’t be able to scrape myself off the floor!!!), I would be represented by the fabulous Lilla Rogers Studio for two years, in addition to scoring an exciting list of licensing deals and other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

The excitement starts on August 5th, and the deadline for the first round is August 18th. So stayed tuned and wish me luck!

***

And finally, July is almost over! For the remainder of the month, 10% of what I sell will go to The Art Students League of Denver, a local organization that focuses on providing opportunities for artists of all ages and abilities to study and work with regionally and nationally recognized working artists. From their website:

“ASLD is an inclusive and inspiring art community where members of all abilities are guided by professional artists to reach their highest potential.”

 

 

A Profound Shift

Butterflies_JohnnyBregar

Garden_JohnnyBregar

The illustrations above are for a client I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Johnny Bregar makes awesome, toe-tappin’ family music, and if you have young ones in the house, you should definitely check him out.

Johnny has commissioned me to do six illustrations for his new website–but here’s a sneak peak. Johnny’s music is a little bit folk, a little bit bluegrass, and a whole lot of fun for the whole family (my three-year-old and I have regular dance parties whenever ‘Mac and Cheese‘ comes on).

Last week, we had visitors in town for the holiday weekend. Long time friends, we hadn’t seen each other since becoming parents.

Witnessing that shift in others is profound.

Becoming a parent pushes, pulls, and molds you into something that is richer with more depth, leaving the person you were forever changed for the better (even if it is with more gray hair).

Make no mistake–this character building process is no walk in the park. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

***

Also, for the month of July, 10% of what I sell will go to The Art Students League of Denver, a local organization that focuses on providing opportunities for artists of all ages and abilities to study and work with regionally and nationally recognized working artists. From their website:

“ASLD is an inclusive and inspiring art community where members of all abilities are guided by professional artists to reach their highest potential.”

 

My Hero

This month, in Lilla Rogers’ Assignment Bootcamp, we are making wall art with a nautical theme. Here are some of my sketches. Check back next week for my final piece!

Nautical Wall ArtWhale Sketch

It’s 6pm. The  baby is crying (which is what babies do, every night, as soon as you start to even think about dinner). As I tend to him, my daughter starts drawing all over her legs in purple and green marker. Then she decides to  “help” me cook and puts said markers into the bowl where the raw chicken is marinating and mixes it all together with her hands. I put the baby down and get Hazel to the sink to wash. As I fish her markers out of the bowl, the baby promptly starts screaming again. My hands are covered in raw chicken goo and Hazel has gone upstairs. She starts yelling from the bathroom, “Mama, mama, mama. I’m done. Come wiiiiiiippe me!” in this urgent, high-pitched whine that grates on my already fried nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard.

And then, my husband walks in from work.

He takes one look at me–picks the baby up, goes upstairs to help my daughter, and then takes them both outside to play and water the flowers.

I wash my hands. And exhale.

He is my best friend. My partner. And on some days, he is my salvation.

My hero.

Last weekend, we celebrated Father’s day. We had a lovely breakfast with my dad and then he and my husband went out for a round of golf for the afternoon.

In my family, mother’s day seems to be a bigger deal. I don’t think it should be. I’m sure I would have completely lost my mind by now without my husband (I honestly don’t know how single parents do it).

To all the Dads out there, I salute you. Happy (belated) Father’s Day.

And remember, 10% of all purchases from my online shop for the month of June will be donated to the Society of Illustrators: Summer Illustration Art Academy, helping send at-risk kids to art camp.