I spent the last week working on my first assignment for “Make Art That Sells” Class A- a pattern for the bolt fabric industry. As I wrote last week, over the next year I’ll be learning about different industries that use art for products. Bolt fabric is used for all sorts of things- quilting, handbags, linens, etc. look around you today and see the art that’s been designed by someone. Your IKEA rug. Your children’s sheets. Your tea towel. Chances are, there was an artist behind what you use every day. Bolt fabric is an exciting industry that’s very dynamic; much like knitting, quilting and related arts have become popular for people of all ages again.
My project has a main pattern (the big square) and two “coordinates” (the little rectangles below). Coordinates are the fabrics that go with the main. This particular pattern I designed is a bit wild and doesn’t use traditional colors but I wanted to make something that was lively and eye-catching. What do you think? Please comment below!
Portfolio presentation of my work with coordinates
This project was quite challenging for me; I spent a lot of time boning up on technical skills. I started to learn a bit about how to use Adobe Illustrator and also learned a few new things in Photoshop, like how to move written lettering into the digital space, then use designated colors and brushes to the words digitally. It was a big learning curve for me, and I had to re-watch some how-to videos several times over to understand what to do. I’m still feeling shaky about Adobe Illustrator. It’s a big program with lots of options. It will take me a long time to learn just the fundamentals, let alone how to make great work using it. But, I’m in it for the long haul and I’m excited to learn new things that will push my art to the next level. What I’m discovering is that much like watching the “behind the scenes” segment of a movie production, illustration techniques using the digital space have a lot of special effects.
I hope to continue my learning path with digital tools, but I also need to spend a lot more time in my studio practicing my drawing. While I’m very comfortable and bold with a paintbrush, I’m much more timid with markers, pencils, and other drawing media. I’m self-conscious of my lack of formal schooling in drawing, and I’m sure this shows in my work. I know that I can only improve by putting my nose to the grindstone, working hard, putting in the effort, and slowly developing the artist’s eye for shapes and perspective that I currently lack.
As I close this week’s work up, the next week poses a new challenge: the assignment brief calls for drawings of Staffordshire Pottery for the Home Décor market. I will be learning about this market while developing a pattern that uses this pottery. Again, this will challenge my drawing and technical skills, but I’m eager to continue on this new direction.
What’s been most transforming about just this week alone is that I’ve heard “there’s room for you” in several ways. As an emerging public artist, it’s intimidating to be around so much talent (and ‘colleagues’ with those that have a formal art school background). What I’m learning in this class is that there are a lot of industries that want and need good art and there’s a place for my work if I work hard, develop my talent, and continue on. How unbelievably refreshing! After years of feeling like there’s NO room, or that I just have a cute side hobby, it’s an amazing and encouraging concept to absorb.