More New Tea Towels!

Hi there. How are you?

I'm excited to share my new expanded tea towel line with you. I've added 2 new designs that I'm very proud of.

New screen printed tea towels are here! Click to purchase.

New screen printed tea towels are here! Click to purchase.

Filling out the dala horse line

As my long time patrons know, this is not my first foray into Dala horses. I did this initial illustration back in 2012 and it went over big in my very Swedish hometown. After making and selling at least 3 originals, I put this dala on cards, prints, pillows, and pins. Even after almost 5 years, my dala products are consistently top sellers.

For the past 5 years, my dala products have been top sellers.

For the past 5 years, my dala products have been top sellers.

This is that dala horse that sits our living room. Matt and I got it as a wedding present (I think?)

This is that dala horse that sits our living room. Matt and I got it as a wedding present (I think?)

I've got a thing for hearts too

Hearts have shown up in my work for years. Back in 2011, I had my first solo gallery show at JR Kortman Galleryright around Valentines Day. I made a series of small collages with a heart motif to sprinkle in among my chair pieces. They were a big hit. See my name in there? I wasn't even married yet!

Mixed media heart art I made back in 2011. All have since been sold.

Mixed media heart art I made back in 2011. All have since been sold.

"Recycled" hearts

The hearts I used for my tea towel began their life life as a coloring page. I gave it away as a freebie to my mailing list last year.

I first used this pattern as a freebie for my mailing list. Want to join the fun? Click the photo and join. You'll get a whole bundle of coloring pages!

I first used this pattern as a freebie for my mailing list. Want to join the fun? Click the photo and join. You'll get a whole bundle of coloring pages!

My new hand printed "hearted" tea towel is now for sale. Click through to purchase.

My new hand printed "hearted" tea towel is now for sale. Click through to purchase.

Now, it's a darn cute tea towel that I'm proud to add to my existing line. I've now got 6 different tea towel designs all in stock. You really should buy one of each, don't you think? :-)

Click here to see all of my tea towel designs.

My newest hand printed tea towel designs feature a dala horse and hearts. Click through to purchase!

My newest hand printed tea towel designs feature a dala horse and hearts. Click through to purchase!

Well, that's all for this week.

I'll be back next week with a sale. Ciao.

P.S. If you enjoy the work that I make, please share this post with your pals. Thanks!

Better Together

Hi there. How are you?

I've always had a lot of luck selling Valentines. Probably the best selling item I've ever had on Etsy was this Beatles inspired design that I made way back in 2008.

My now retired valentine card featuring a line from a classic Beatles tune.

My now retired valentine card featuring a line from a classic Beatles tune.

Put a Bird on it

I've happened upon another winning valentine design this year. This time, it features birds.

My newest valentine features two adorable fairy wrens. Click to purchase!

My newest valentine features two adorable fairy wrens. Click to purchase!

Second time's the charm

I illustrated these adorable fairy wrens in 2014. It's certainly one of my favorite bird pieces. They're damn cute. Don't you agree?

These two lover birds have always seemed destined for a valentine, but it took a while to get it right. Two years ago, I made another iteration of this card. You can read more about that HERE.

Right before the SIU craft sale this year, I decided to rework this card. It hadn't sold in its previous form and I wasn't satisfied with it as is.  I changed the text to "Better Together", added the border and it sold like hotcakes! It was the best selling item of the weekend.

Though initially intended as a valentine, I could also see using this as an anniversary card. Really, you could even give it to your bestie!

The backside of all my cards feature my sweet little cardinal.

The backside of all my cards feature my sweet little cardinal.

Getting Krafty

As seen here, all of my cards now come with kraft paper envelopes. I really like the way they set off the white cards. I don't know why I waited so long to do this. I love the look!

Shop Small

This cutie and a couple of other valentines are now available in my shop.

Shop small and shop often my friends.

Until next week. Ciao.

I Finally Went Big

Hi there. How are you?

Friends, I finally did it. I went big! It only took 3 months for me to sit down and actually finish this large (for me) 12" x 18" drawing.

I'm pretty darn happy with the results.

I finally finished this large 12" x 18" drawing that I started in September 2016!

I finally finished this large 12" x 18" drawing that I started in September 2016!

It all started in September.

After making several small drawings in this same style, I felt the urge to work on a larger scale. You can see and read more about those earlier pieces HERE.

In September 2016, I found a pad of 12" x 18" paper in my husband's art supply stash and went to work with a red Bic pen. I thought it would be fun to share the process shots that I took along the way. 

Here are the first marks I made.

The first marks of my 12" x 18" abstract ink drawing. I started with the red.

The first marks of my 12" x 18" abstract ink drawing. I started with the red.

The early stages of my abstract ballpoint pen drawing.

The early stages of my abstract ballpoint pen drawing.

Then I added blue.

After a while, I started layering in the royal blue. Adding a second, darker value adds more depth and dimension to the composition. I had considered using black instead of the blue, but the art teacher in me thought better of that. Color in your darks is always a better option. This color combo might be a bit patriotic and maybe cliche. I don't care, I love it!

A work in progress shot of my large abstract ballpoint drawing. See how much more dimension the areas with the blue have than those with just red.

A work in progress shot of my large abstract ballpoint drawing. See how much more dimension the areas with the blue have than those with just red.

A detail section of my still untitled ballpoint pen drawing.

A detail section of my still untitled ballpoint pen drawing.

The last leg

Last Friday, I spent much of the day in the studio. I was determined to finish up this drawing. After a day's work, I took photo of the piece. For some reason when I look at my work on the computer screen, I can better take in the composition as a whole.

After months in the works, this drawing was nearly complete.

After months in the works, this drawing was nearly complete.

Finally finished!

After a few more tweaks, my drawing was finally complete. Yahoo! My next hurdle is to properly photograph it so that I can make prints and/or textiles out of this composition. (Can't you just see this on a pillow?)

The best way I've found to archive my work is to scan it. As this drawing is way to big to fit on my scanner bed, this isn't an option. Hopefully I'll have some time later this week to set up the tripod and my trusty Nikon DSLR and make it happen.

Eventually, I'll frame this piece too. My handy husband is going to help me make custom frames for this new series. No more cradled hardboard mounting and varnishing.....These pieces need to behind some glass! (Well, actually plexiglass.)

Here's what it might look like framed:

Completed and still untitled ballpoint pen drawing in framed mockup.

Completed and still untitled ballpoint pen drawing in framed mockup.

I'm still not sure what color/finish the frame will be. I just know it will be minimal and will hopefully complement and elevate the work.

Want to buy this piece unframed? Just get in touch!

That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed this. I'll be back next week with another post.

Anything you'd like to know about?

Do tell.  I don't have a topic in mind for next week yet.

Ciao!

A 2016 Success - An Injection of Color

Hi there. How are you?

Last week, I started a series of posts to celebrate my successes in 2016 and look back at what I've accomplished. Click HERE to read the first installment.

This week, I'm talking color. For years (easily a decade) I have been drawing/doodling with Bic ballpoint pens. I only worked with black ink. Don't ask me why, it was just always black. Here's a "vintage" ballpoint drawing from way back in 2008.

A Moleksine drawing from 2008. I must have been listening to Bowie at the time.

A Moleksine drawing from 2008. I must have been listening to Bowie at the time.

An injection of color

As I discussed in a previous post, I bought myself a package of Bic Cristal Xtra Bold ballpoints in 8 colors. I started drawing in color and never looked back! You can read more about that transition and my earliest colored ballpoint drawings HERE.

For the first time ever, I started drawing with colored ballpoints.

For the first time ever, I started drawing with colored ballpoints.

A few of my first sketchbook drawings with a colored ballpoint.

A few of my first sketchbook drawings with a colored ballpoint.

I experimented with every color in the set, but I kept to one color per drawing. That was just the parameter that I made for myself. I was trying to cling to just a little bit of minimalism I guess or maybe I was worried that they wouldn't look "fine-arty" enough if I used more than one color.

The first sketch I made with more than one color. Using two colors adds more dimension to these compositions.

The first sketch I made with more than one color. Using two colors adds more dimension to these compositions.

Two toned

After some encouragement from an Instagram acquaintance, I decided to expand my tonal range. This was my first ever two color ballpoint drawing. I really like the the depth that the dark blue provides when layered on the lighter green.

There was no stopping me after that.

Multi-color ballpoint sketchbook drawings from 2016

Multi-color ballpoint sketchbook drawings from 2016

I was onto something.

And I like that something. I'm happy with the way things are progressing in my practice and I'm excited to do more. Now, I just have to finish this large12" x 18" drawing I started back in September!

I started this large 12" x 18" original drawing back in September. One of these days, I'll actually finish it!

I started this large 12" x 18" original drawing back in September. One of these days, I'll actually finish it!

Follow the journey on Instagram

If you'd like to see what I'm up to on a daily basis, do follow me on Instagram. I try to post there daily and often post process videos in my Instagram Stories feed.

Want to see how I make these drawings?

This post has gone completely viral on Pinterest and I've had a flood of requests for information about how I make these drawings. Though I'm not going to give away all my secrets,  I've made a hyperlapse video of my process. All you need to do is join my email to have access. You'll be directed to the video after confirming your email address. Expect emails from me about once a month with more behind the scenes content.  You'll also be first to know about about new work and exclusive sales. It's a party. Trust me!

Ciao! Jen

A 2016 Success - Tea Towels

Hi there. How are you?

It's the week between Christmas and New Years and I'm in a contemplative mood. I'm thinking about my progress in 2016 and what I can do better in 2017.

After doing my year end accounting, I was feeling pretty blue, pretty defeated. Monetarily, 2016 was pretty pathetic for my art biz.

Then, I started thinking back at all of the new things I made this year. The new connections I've made, the wholesale accounts I've gained and the successes I've had. I DID make some progress.

Over the next few posts, I'm going to celebrate my successes in 2016 and look back at what I've made. Sound good?

First up: Tea Towels

This year, I introduced 2 new tea towel designs, both of which started as drawings in my sketchbook. Let me show you the process.

Veggies are a hit!

I introduced my veggie print tea towel at a holiday craft sale I did earlier this month. I'm happy to report that it sold like gangbusters! They went over big as gifts for mom and grandma. I've just got a handful of these left.

The origin story

In January of 2016, I took part in a 31 day drawing challenge with Creative Bug. (See all of my drawings here.)  Each day, participants were given something to draw. The Day 17 prompt was root vegetables and man did I have fun with that.

My Day 17 drawings turned into a pattern for a tea towel.

My Day 17 drawings turned into a pattern for a tea towel.

The magic

I scanned in my drawings, and with some Photoshop and Illustrator magic, I turned them into a pattern. Then, my friends at Merchop screen printed them for me. This is my favorite tea towel design to date!

The detail

I'm so impressed with the detail in this print. Merchop has got this tea towel printing down!

My tea towels have sold so well in 2016 that I am excited to make add a few more designs to the collection in 2017.

Have a tea towel design idea for me?

I'd love to hear from you.

Leave a comment or send me an email. 

Until next time. Ciao!