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Monday, 24 November 2014

Lilla Rogers Studio School MATS Part A Review




Wow what whirlwind of a month! For those who don't know I took the plunge and enrolled for an online e-course called Make Art That Sells led by global illustrator and agent Lilla Rogers and it has just finished. I'd thought I'd share some thoughts and photos of what we learnt each week not just to remind me of what went on but also to show my progress.

WEEK 5- Design for the Gift Market
The course aimed to introduce us to 5 different art licensing market areas over 5 weeks and through a combination of shared weekly tips, in depth market information, artist and industry interviews, and style development and business advice we also got to make new work through the weekly assignment challenges and minis.

Here was the class market area for each week  (MATS Part B looks at 5 more market areas):

WEEK 1 Bolt Fabric
WEEK 2 Home Decor
WEEK 3 Children's Book Illustration
WEEK 4 Wall Art
WEEK 5 Gift

The weeks I enjoyed the most were Children's Book Illustration and Gift, the weeks that were definitely more challenging were Bolt Fabric and Home Decor. It's funny because I thought I wouldn't enjoy the children's book illustration at all (I think I just thought I'd be overwhelmed with amount of work that it may entail)! 

Over the course of the 5 weeks I have felt myself being stretched both in terms of technical challenges- in particular learning how to do mock-ups in photoshop with my patterns, and also mentally with regard to handling critique and coping with seeing everyone's else incredibly talented work and not just giving up. Lilla's constant reminders of being positive, to change one thing and that our talent is not finite have been particularly helpful in pushing me forward and getting past my insecurities and doubts. We are all on a journey and as such will find we are all at different levels- we should see obstacles as opportunities to grow and stretch and not forget that we never really stop learning. 

Here are photos/pics of the work I created for the different weeks. I think I would like to redo the Bolt Fabric and Home Decor but I even in this short time I feel like I've improved on presentation and know my working habits have changed significantly. It be may be the end of the course but I feel like it's only the beginning of my creative journey in Art Licensing!

WIP- I took the opportunity to get out the inks and paint!
WEEK 1 - Bolt Fabric

WEEK 2 - Home Decor


WEEK 3 - Children's Book Illustration
WEEK 4- Wall Art

WEEK 5 - Gift Market





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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

New products - mini handprinted notepads


If you find you have too many ideas, plans, messages or doodles to remember then write them down and declutter your mind with these screen printed mini notepads. Let them do the hard work for you!
Now in the shop - click the photos to be taken through.

 ideas notepad

 notepads


 notepad cotton reel

 messages notepad


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New things for Christmas 2014


Ooops it's been a while hasn't it? Well maybe I have been having a posting break but I'm still very much here- make sure you follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook if you want a bit more live action!

Anyway, recently I've completed my Christmas catalogue which has lots of new products as well as some favourites from last year.

Here's a link below to the catalogue on issue:






 gingerbread decoration

 merry and bright card






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Friday, 7 February 2014

DIY chocolate truffle box



Over the Christmas season my friend celebrated her 50th birthday and I decided I would make her some chocolate truffles and package them up in their own special gift box. I've taken some photos and described the process below so if you looking for birthday, mother's day or valentine gift inspiration  it may help (plus you get to sample the leftovers)!



Chocolate truffles are surprisingly simple to make with their 2 main ingredients being chocolate and cream. Some recipes add butter but I decided to keep it light and added some orange zest at the mixing part. That's the beauty of chocolate truffles you can add all sorts of flavours to create your very own selection box.

THE RECIPE

For 12-16 truffles you'll need:
150 ml double cream
100 grams dark chocolate broken into pieces
100 grams milk chocolate broken into pieces
Grated orange zest or other favourite flavouring

For coating/dusting/decoration
75ml dark chocolate/milk chocolate
Cocoa powder
Icing sugar
White chocolate curls
Baking paper

You'll also need:
Mini paper cases
An empty clear box - I used a Ferraro Rocher box

Some washi tape
Manilla paper
Printer



THE METHOD: 

Gently heat the dark and milk chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Ensure that the chocolate doesn't have contact with the water otherwise it seizes up. This should take around 10 minutes on a gentle heat and you can tell when the chocolate is ready as it takes on a glossy sheen.

Take the bowl off the heat and slowly mix the cream in with the chocolate, you can whisk it by hand or machine until it becomes like a soft buttery consistency. 

Add to the mixture the grated orange zest or other flavouring and then leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes or preferably over night so it's nicely chilled to work with.

Gather together the cocoa powder and icing sugar so that you're ready to roll the truffles once scooped.

Now for the messy bit! 
Once the chocolate mix is firm use 2 teaspoons to scoop out 12-16 walnut-sized balls and place on the baking paper. Roll a third of them in cocoa powder and a third of them in icing sugar. With the remainder truffles set aside, melt the dark chocolate following previous instructions. Use a fork to drop the truffles in, roll around and then place onto baking paper. Before the chocolate sets hard place a few white chocolate curls on each one.

Put all the chocolates in the fridge whilst you work on preparing the box.



DESIGN TIME

Prepare your design for the box. I used the Ferraro Rocher wrap as a guide for my template which I adapted and you can download here. Once you've personalised it and added your own message, print it out onto some nice paper. I used hairy manilla Kraft paper which has a lovely handmade feel to it.



Take your truffles from the fridge and carefully place each one in a mini paper case. Line the bottom of the box with one of the messages and place your truffles in. Once filled pop the lid on and seal with washi tape (find a huge selection here)!


Finally cut and wrap the design belly-band around the box and seal with more washi tape. Et Voila! Store in the fridge until time to present to your loved one/friend/mum. P.S. the chocolate should last up to 3 days if stored in the fridge.










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Friday, 31 January 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!



Thankfully the chinese celebrate the new year a little later than us brits which is ideal for those of us who have been a little behind in the old blog writing (that'll be me) and can actually have a post that wishes everyone a Happy New Year or more accurately a Kung Hei Fat Choy! When we lived in Hong Kong 2006-08 this time of year was just as exciting as the build up to christmas and shops would shut for at least a few days.



This year my resolution or aim has been to do one thing at a time and so far I would say it is helping me complete projects rather than start a new thing half way through. My office space has benefited with new storage for paper and desks for drawing- I spent around a week just concentrating on getting rid of old stuff, re-filing and building flatpack furniture. Even my computer desktop got a spring clean freeing up a few Gigabytes! It always surprises me how quickly things mount up if you don't clear them out regularly.

Another area I've organised and cleared up is my finances. Every year at the beginning of January I do my tax return and it always fills me with impending dread but actually when I get down to it it really isn't as scary my fears made out. It's more having to tackle the bulging drawer of paper where all my sales and receipts have been thrown throughout the year that is the biggest hurdle. So with staple, poly pocket and lever-arch in hand I've now organised everything into files as well as entered every last digit into excel spreadsheets...and for the time being I'm feeling pretty buoyant leaving me some headspace to think on new things!

I hope your 2014 is shaping up... I'll be back next week with news of projects going on-till then have a lovely week. x




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