Week 2 of Make Art that Sells: Home Decor!

Here we are at the end of week 2. Looking back on it I feel very proud of where I started at and then where I ended. Drawing succulents is very fun, but not that easy! It's been a big growth spurt: a lot of exploring, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and putting in a lot of hours. Starting with sketching. Somehow it's hard for me to produce a lot, but this week I probably did two or three times more sketches than last week.  

First couple days are always the mini assignment where we just draw what we're told. Since I'm working during the day there's only a couple hours at the end of the day to sketch, so I find myself having to catch up and continue developing more drawings while we're on the main assignment. The hard part is not to peek too much at everyone posting their progress on Facebook. And since I can't help it, not panic too much that I'm not there yet. 

This week the challenge was to do plates. Something with succulents and that could be sold at Anthropologie or Crate and Barrel, which I both LOVE. What an incentive! Putting the assignment in context like this just really helped me to focus, and know what to aim for. Not to forget also all the useful information and tips Lilla gives us every day to help us move along our path, and do so while staying positive and keeping our balance.

This is where I started. Ok I didn't spend too much time on these, but enough to realize I had to revise my plan! For starter, I needed to go back and draw more plants. Find some that would be better suited to a round shape. As Lilla says, "what you draw is as much important as how you draw it. You are stylists."

So that was a big lesson. Do a better selection of my subjects, and then really apply myself to do the best drawings I possibly can. Somehow, seeing sketches on a plate was an eye opener. Suddenly it looked real. More so than the fabric last week. In a way, maybe fabric is more abstract. On a plate, it shows if you've done quick drawings.

I don't normally do a lot of details, I prefer things simple. But this week after hearing the review for last week's assignment I decided to try and add more elements in my design. I can't decide something not my style until I have at least tried to do it the best I could. So below, I have a more layered kind of design. Hey, not so bad, maybe a more busy style can be "me" too. Or at least more detailed than I'm used to. The color palette was inspired by this cute display of leather clutches from Baggu shown above.

Another thing that was a big eye opener from the review on Tuesday: with the assignment we are aiming to do briefs that could be sent directly to the client. Yes it's a class, but it's for REAL! That review definitely put things in perspective for me. The first couple days after that I found myself more worried about whether my piece would be included than trying to have fun. Until a little message on my tea pouch reminded me: "joy is the essence of success." It's true, Lilla says it too, when we're having fun it's like people feel it in our work.

Usually for me to have fun, I need to have an idea I'm excited about. Every time I looked at the Facebook group though, someone had posted my same ideas. What could I do that's uniquely me and no one else would have thought about? I feel a bit silly to put this here, but maybe this little trick would work for others, so here it goes. Thursday night I wrote down what I wanted on a piece of paper: " Tomorrow morning I will wake up with an idea to make a plate that is me, will wow people, that is sellable to Anthropologie or Crate and Barrel, and that will be fun to do and I can finish on time." 

It's not like I woke up and the idea was there. I scrambled looking around for visual input while getting ready for work, and then boom, I did think of something! It's always like that. While I'm consciously frazzled my subconscious is doing its work, putting things together until it's ready to pop an idea. The day before I wore what I call my "ideas" shirt (trying everything I can!), and among the million things I looked at there was this picture from the Desert garden at the Huntington Library from a few years ago I was looking at. Turn the shirt upside down, put the two together and what do you get? Succulent hot air balloons!

This is my progression. Normally I would have stopped at the first image on the left. But with my resolution to develop more details, I added the flower chains, the sun and the animals. Oh it was so much fun putting this together! I was happy with my desert colors, but after Lilla posted a list of tips on the Facebook group, among which to have a more "summery" kind of palette, I played around some more. 

These are the colors explorations. I felt the one on the left was more summery but maybe looked too much like a kid plate, don't know maybe the kind of colors. So I tried a couple more simple palettes and asked my wonderful classmates for advice, which really helped me. Being able to look at how others approach the same assignment and ask for feedback is such a huge part of the learning. I'm so grateful to everyone in the group!

Below is what I submitted to the Flickr group for review. With less than an hour left before the deadline I added a secondary plate and designed the logo, phew! Talk about excitement. I don't know if my design will be picked this week, but I'm just happy with everything I learned and how hard I pushed myself while also having fun. That is a reward in itself. And despite everything I even managed to slip in a yoga class. Om. End of this loooong post! Hope it was useful to read about my struggles, learnings and process. See you again next week!