Friday, 19 October 2012

Join Me

Pop over and join me at my new website and blog.  I'd love to see you there.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Basic Pattern Overlays *Giveaway*

Today, I'm really thrilled to be taking part in the "Passion for Pattern" bloghop.  Welcome if you just arrived from the Colour Book Studio blog.  We all recently met through the fab e-course "Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design".  As you can imagine, we're passionate about pattern!

As a digital designer, I'm always looking for ways of smarter working.  My digital toolbox is a vital part of my creative process and is full of design staples.  These make my workflow smarter and a little faster.  For example, when I design a new pattern, I always keep the original Illustrator & Photoshop files in their full layer format.  Apart from proving a working timeline and good work practice to have your original files, it makes for easier editing if you decide to change a colour theme.  It can even make a great starting point for a brand new pattern.

For every new pattern I design, I always add some basic patterns to the set.  With each new basic pattern created, I've saved it in a folder in my "Digital Toolbox" folder as basic "go to" patterns.  I now have  a neat little time saving collection of everything from geometrics, florals to damask.

And so I decided it would be neat to do a special giveaway for this blog post to celebrate the "Passion for Pattern" bloghop.  I've put together a little set of basic pattern overlays that inlcude chevrons, dots, circles and stripes.  They are in transparent PNG file format, 12"x12" and 300dpi.  You can grab the giveaway HERE in my online store.  Hope they'll be of some use to you!

If you've never used pattern overlays, I've also got a great little tutorial, that'll show you ways to colour them.  Be sure to check it out as it shows you how to create a clipping path and how to use layer blend modes.  Enjoy!

Please be sure to leave a comment.  Let me know what other patterns you'd love to see as overlays.  Also, if you have any "working smarter" tips!  I'd love to hear them!

Be sure to jump ahead to the next gorgeous pattern blog, Leslie Doughty.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

My Story

For just over 20 yrs I was blessed to be doing what I had always wanted to do. I was a housewife and Mum to four beautiful kids. As a little girl I loved playing with my dolls. Playing family.  Playing house.  I knew I would, one day, love being a real Mummy. And then, before I knew it, at 19yrs, I was married and within months I'd had my first baby.  I was so young and so happy.  I then had three more babies in quick succession, including twins!  I had 4 babies aged 3yrs and under!

And as happy as I was, loving my babies, being their Mummy, there were days of utter despair. Post natal depression. A failing marriage. More often than not, I was tired. Exhausted. Yes, even doing what you love isn’t always a bed of roses. But the days of bliss, of pure joy being a Mummy to those beautiful children, far outweighed any of the normal bad days that all Mums face.

And then in a blink of an eye, my eldest left for university. I remember sitting at my desk watching him packing his stuff in the car and I silently stood up, closed the door, rested my head in my arms and cried my heart out. I knew it was the beginning of a new era for me. For him. He was so happy. I also knew his siblings would be following him out that door within a very short space of time. I was facing an empty nest. A marriage that was still failing. What was I going to do? Over the following months and into a couple of years I started to make some huge changes to my life.

During the years that my children were little, I’d been given a computer, some software and taught myself to become a web graphics designer. My beloved father had initially got me interested in the internet back in 1994. He and his (then) business partner had just set up the UK’s first Internet CafĂ© in Whitfield St., in London. They were also setting up one of the UK’s first internet providers, Easynet. As such, Dad had wanted to me to learn html and how to create web graphics as they needed help setting up various web pages. It was “on the spot learning as you go” work. I loved it. And my love for this new found art and creative outlet just evolved. I wasn’t earning much money. It was more of a hobby with pin money thrown in.

My family was still growing. I was a full time Mum. Little did I know though, that my creative outlet would lead me to a new and wonderful bliss. I’d always been crafty and loved art. Both my parents were artists. My Mum was a published poet and Dad had always painted when we were younger. When I was a little girl my grandmother taught me to crochet. And my Mum spent hours making things for my Sindy doll. From cereal boxes, egg boxes, bits of fabric and odd bits of wool, beautiful accessories would be created. My best birthday and Christmas presents were always the ones that meant I could make something or draw or paint. So using a computer, to me, was just another tool in my creative outlet toolbox along with my sketch books, pens, paints and wool!

After my eldest left home, I went to art school. I started a degree in multi-media design. The creative environment was incredible. I just absorbed it all. I made new friends. I soaked up every lecture in art history, my favourite subject. However, during this time my emotional state took a battering as my 20yr marriage really broke down and I decided to leave. My ex-husband and I spent a couple of years trying to work things out but in the end we both wanted such hugely different things. We parted. It was traumatic. Divorce is horrible even when you want it. Years later, though, we are good friends and we stay in touch. It’s been good for our children (and grandchildren).

Not long after my marriage ended, I’d left my degree course and started working on setting up as a freelance digital artist. I initially worked as a 2d texture artist creating textures for 3d models for a company in USA, Daz3D. During this time I did some collaboration work with other 3d and 2d artists. And then out of the blue, I found myself falling in love with one of them. We had done some work together and just developed a friendship online through work. He lived in the north east (UK) and I was in the south east. To cut a long story short, we met up, moved in together and were married 6 months later. We live and work together 24/7. We just hit it off. Everything just worked. And we believe our deep and passionate love for all things creative and arty was a sure foundation to build a relationship on.

We needed that sure foundation as the following few years proved horribly tragic for me. Within the space of 2 years both my parents got sick and died of cancer. I also lost a beloved aunt during that time. Their deaths were all sudden and unexpected. Grief consumed me. Slowly though with much love, support and some grief counselling I came through the other side. Changed. More determined to live in the moment. To dream big. To not settle for less. My Dad ran his own business. He was a good man with much wisdom. My Mum believed in happy. She collected those yellow smiley faces. I came from great parents. Their legacy was strong and I knew they would want me, my brother and sister and our families, to be happy. And to truly live our lives. To be fully immersed.

In 2011 hubby and I set up our own digital art company and decided to develop our own individual brands. Talking shop is no chore for us. We understand the jargon. We love critiquing each other’s work. Steve is a traditional artist with a God given talent for drawing and painting. He is also a professional photographer and 3d modeller and artist, whereas, I come from a more crafty, “hobby into a business” kind of background. It works so well. Brainstorming new ideas for products or art has often led us into the wee small hours! We have a lot of amazing creative energy between us. He understands my passion and love for what I do and I understand the same in him!

Family is still a huge joy in my life. They are at the core of the why I do what I do. I’m inspired by them. At the end of the day, ultimately what we do is for those we leave behind. A legacy of love. I believe there will be a day when my children and grandchildren will go through my art, my creations and see me. Understand me. They will also see themselves in what I create.

After what has been an interesting and sometimes hugely traumatic few years, I’ve settled into a life of doing what I love. No matter what life throws up at you, I’ve learned to just push forward. Hold onto the dream. Continue you to take steps on the journey. Suddenly you will realise you are living the life you want. Don’t be scared of change. As I continue to build my brand, my business, I still fight past demons that tell me I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough or what I do is rubbish.

Those days get less and less as I continue to push forward. Stop thinking about it and just do it! I just keep creating. I surround myself with positive words, art and photos. And then there’s the ultimate motivation – when a customer buys a product from us; emails us to show us what they’ve created; or thanks us for an article or tutorial. That tells me I’m in the right place, doing the right thing.

Tell me your story!  Leave a comment and a link to your story.

Friday, 25 May 2012

"The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design"

Back in November, I signed up for an e-course, "The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design", by UK surface pattern designer, Rachael Taylor and "Do What You Love" life coach, Beth Nicholls.  From the second I saw it on Beth's blog, it spoke to me and I knew I had to do it.

I've always doodled.  I've always loved pattern and colour.  But I'm not someone that's ever had yearnings to be a fabric designer or any kind of surface pattern design, actually.  I saw an opportunity to learn more about pattern design.  And hopefully be inspired to create some new product lines for my online store.

There are 3 Modules, each one can be purchased as separate e-courses and are wothy in their own right.  However, I wanted to do all 3 Modules.  I somehow felt I would miss out if I didn't do all three!  From the start of Module 1 to the end of Module 3 it was pretty full on.  The content, which included creative exercises, industry information, technical workshops, business advice and much more, was top notch.  Inspiring.  Motivating.  Challenging.

The first thing that spoke to me was that my incessent need to doodle hasn't been (and isn't) a waste of time! Ha!  What a simple revelation. In Module 1 of the course, I discovered the joy of putting my doodles to good use.  I'd only ever used my sketch books as a way of putting design ideas together.  Creating mood boards and themes for each new idea or graphic set.  Now, I had a whole new creative process.

As the course progressed, I did have moments of confusion.  Maybe I could be a fabric designer?  Or, I know, I'm going to be wallpaper designer!!  Yes, that's it.  Oh no.  That's not for me.  I'm going to design a new range of home decor products.  Yep, that's it.  But it wasn't.  Ultimately, I believe it was just inspiration.  A realisation that I could actually do any of those things if I wanted to.

It's knowing that the possiblities are there for me and my business.  I have an open heart and mind to continue to learn and evolve while staying true and grounded to my original vision and dreams!  "The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design" course was an investment into my business and my ongoing love and passion of colour and design!  Worth every penny, and then some.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Patriotic Designs

Anyone else loving all the Union Jack designs around at the moment? I love them. Wander what St.Andrew, George and Patrick would make of it all?  Red, white and blue everywhere.  Celebrating our Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics has a lot to do with it, of course.

From home decor, paper crafting, fabrics to soft furnishings, these patriotic Union Jack designs are everywhere. Even food.  I saw some yummy cupcakes at a local shopping mall.  So red, white and blue.  So British.  So en vogue.
 I love it!  I'm proud to be British.  Design trends come and go.  I'm hoping this wave of patriotism remains for a very long time.  We need it!

For more inspiration I created a "I Love Great Britain" board at Pinterest.  Go take a peek!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Digikit Creativity: DIY Wedding Stationery

I was recently commissioned by Daisy Trail to create a set of DIY wedding stationery using their gorgeous "Love Birds" digikit and CraftArtist software.  I love working on these kind of projects.  Demonstrating that digikits are so versatile from creating beautiful scrapbook pages, greeting cards and, of course, your own wedding stationery.  And much more!

I created a step-by-step tutorial for creating a "save the date" card, wedding invitation and a little favour box. You can view all the details here on "Brenda's Wedding Blog" HERE

Friday, 4 May 2012

Like Minded Souls

I got to meet a couple online friends this week,  Sarah and Emma.  Sarah is a fellow graphic designer and business owner.  I've admired her work and how she's grown her business over the past couple of years.  We had connected via Twitter, Facebook and emails.

Last week Sarah had posted on her Facebook page that she needed some help with a craft project she was taking part in, in London.  I didn't really think it through as I found myself sending her a message saying I was interested!  I thought it would great to meet her and have an opportunity to do some crafting with her too.  I understand the value of getting out of the studio every now and then and connect with other creatives.  So important when you work from home.  I hadn't done that for a very long time and just grabbed the opportunity.

After a further few exchanges via email, we were set to go.  Sarah introduced me to her friend Emma via Twitter, who as also going to be there.  I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting other like minded souls and making new friends!  Networking.  That's what Dad always told me to do.  Networking, Di, you've got to network.
Card supplies: "Meadow" printables - my own design (in my online store soon), A6 card blanks - Create&Craft, ribbon - The Ribbon Reel, buttons - my own, Candi, fix, foam pads and other adhesive courtesy of Sarah - thanks for the goodie bag!
Imagine my delight when I found out the project was taking part in the filming of Kirstie Allsop's new craft series!   Oh I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a fan of Kirstie (and Phil!).  While I love Location, Location, Location, its her craft series that I love the most, obviously!  Perfect.  So having this opportunity to take part (in whatever way, and however small a part) was truly a bucket list moment for me.  And so unexpected.

 It was a great day.  Tiring.  Funny. Interesting. Thrilling.  The experience warrants a blog post on it's own and since the project is still ongoing, I'll do that post another day.  For now though, I'm just thankful and grateful that I trusted my gut and went for it.  I made new friends and came home extraordinarily inspired and motivated!