Thursday, 28 August 2014

Friday Finds - Dewi Citra - Illustrator

Morning! Today's Friday Finds is Dewi Citra - an new illustrator living in Jakarta. I love Dewi's drawing ability, it's delicate and intricate yet strong and stylish too.

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental? 

I’m not sure when I started my business. When I graduated from high school, I supplied artworks for a manga collective, founded by my friends. My mediums were mostly inks, tones and watercolor. Then I studied valuation and accounting in college, and all the manga business stopped. After I married and gave birth to my second baby, I tried to learn sewing and I dug a crafty side of mine. I sold some handmade bags, girl dresses, and handmade ornaments. I also learned print-making and stamping. In learning hand-stamping, I finally touched my pen and brushes again last year. I took “Design Garden Class” and “Make Art That Sells”, two courses that changed my creative life since then. Illustrating children books, designing logo, patterns, and licensing art for local business have come to me since I started to spread buzzes about my work.  So it was almost accidental. 

Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

It did take off immediately. And I was a little bit overwhelmed. I must say thank you for my social media friends for trusting me to work for them, we haven’t meet each other yet.

Do you do your business part time or full time? 

I do it part time. 

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you happy with it as it is and why? 

Yes I want to grow my business into something much bigger. I love being part of community where people sharing ideas and experiences, so I want to build a community-based studio where people can sew together, learn print-making, make paintings and chat!

Where do you sell your work? 

I sell my art through my website and my blog. Most of my customers were from Indonesia, and some were expatriates who had interest in my Jakarta illustrated map.

© Dewi Citra

Which of the selling methods that you use works best for you? Why do you think this is?

Well, prints are mostly sold through my blog. Design jobs mostly come from facebook. Instagram is also my favorite now. I think they are my best method now. From facebook I can reach the locals, including crafters. Instagram is good for me because it sends message through images 

Who do you think your typical customer is?

Honestly, I don’t know, haha. But let me write down some notes. I have some crafters, makers, business owners and expatriates, all are female ! 
So maybe my typical customer is a crafty woman who love making, creating and having a business.

© Dewi Citra

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? 

What I enjoy most are touching pen and brushes again after a long period of art-hiatus, that’s all. My day job is pretty boring, so I’m really happy when I come back home, hug my children and produce arts.

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I set goals, but sadly I often don’t have enough time to finish the goal. So I’m now more instinctive, I think.

Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of your business? 

I do everything by myself now. Oh, how I need people to help me doing the selling part. I’m not good at sending mails to art directors and prospects. 

© Dewi Citra

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see that changing?

I work in my house, mostly in my former sewing corner in my dining room. I also work in my living room if I need a bigger space. And I work alone at night between 10 p.m - 1 a.m. I don’t feel that it is the best fit for me because I do not have enough time to rest.

 © Dewi Citra

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?

I’m lucky enough to have a great husband. He is pretty wise, so I can depend on him for business and communication advice. But I can not push him to criticise my works, haha that’s a good thing actually. 

And I looove my facebook groups where I can hang out and learn with a group of great artists around the world. They generously share their knowledge and wisdom in doing this art business. I think I’m lucky to have them by my side.

© Dewi Citra

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you – business or otherwise?

My typical day begins early as I must take kids to school and I have to go to office before 8 a.m. The office hour ends at 5 p.m and I need an hour or so to reach my home. I play with the kids and help them with their homework until 9 p.m. and then my kids go to sleep. I set my art tools at 10 p.m. and work for three hours.

My dream day would be to have more time for myself and my kids. Having time for myself means having time for nurturing myself, making arts, doing exercise, and keeping myself healthy! (I have a chronic stomach ulcer because of my day job, that’s irritating!)

© Dewi Citra

Update - Dewi's links have been removed at her request for personal reasons but I am sure you will be able to contact her should you wish to commission her.

I am so impressed Dewi - you have incredible determination to work into the small hours every night on your passion. You must only have 4 or 5 hours sleep. I wish for more time for you, I am sure you will reach your goal.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A long hard think - future plans

Today I found out that I didn't make the next stage of the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. This is just one competition but it mattered to me; however looking at the fabulous work that was chosen I realise that they all sit together so well and any could be represented by Lilla Rogers. Ultimately that's what it's all about! Lilla's agency has a look and feel very special and unique to it. 

© Gabriella Buckingham

These are just a few of the entries: 

I have never seen Sdrana or Chris's work - and I love both these pieces... something seems to prevent me from making work that stylish - YET. 

It's brilliant to see the wonderful Monika Fosberg, Jennifer Orkin Lewis and Victoria Johnson whom I featured in Friday Finds in amongst them!! Congratulations! Many friends did reach the semi finals this morning :) Malu Lenzi and Lucy Banaji and Bee Brown - and many more. Equally there was fabulous work that didn't make it. There were only 50 slots and 999 entrants.

© Gabriella Buckingham

Looking at my looser paintings like the poppy artwork above, a recent work and this blue and red collage canvas there's so much more I can develop.

© Gabriella Buckingham

I think this one comes closest to the way I should be working as an illustrator which is probably why it's on the front page of my illustration website. But then there's the graphic work I do - line and texture.. do I have too many styles? Or perhaps it's just a case of distillation of all of them and more thought. Practice, practice, practice is what comes to mind - intense work. I need to pick a way of working and go for it.

It needs analysing. I can see that my entry looks too - too what? Unimaginative perhaps, too stiff, too realistic? too one dimensional, too bright in colour? - I don't know what it is exactly - too something! Not quirky enough. One of the frustrating things about competitions is that there is no chance of individual feedback and being totally objective about your own work is a challenge; but it is essential.

It's all too easy to criticise ones own work, but it has to be constructive. There's a lot to love but already I can see that the composition could ideally have been better.. I've discovered that in trying to make it a print! It makes a great postcard though so I'll get on with producing those! So all in all - though I felt upset this morning it's actually all good. I know I am capable of better.

It's funny how something like this makes thoughts pop up into your head and the feeling that you need to take radical action. I need more time more focus.  Moobaacluck - my hand painted gifts and stationery business is demanding and about to be more so during the Christmas season. I am taking courses. I am trying to promote other artists with Friday Finds. I have a child about to start high school and another in different primary school. I am also committed to going to Surtex next Spring. Something has to give.

I need to spend time with my family, friends and make as much art as I possibly can and less time on the internet. I have two more great Friday Finds lined up to show you - this week and next. Then I will need to take a break from that for a while at least - much as I really love to promote other artists. I have to be less fractured in output.

Disappointment can show you what really matters to you.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Friday Finds - Lucy Loveheart (Creations Ltd) - Artist and Illustrator

Morning! Today's Friday Finds is an illustrator whose work many of you will recognise - particularly if you live in the UK; she is Lucy Loveheart. I've been lucky enough to meet Lucy a few times when she's exhibited in Norfolk where we both live and at the Country Living show in London where she usually has a stand annually. She's also about as tall as me - which is nice - i.e. pretty tall!)

Lucy at work in her studio © Lucy Loveheart

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental? 

When I was in the last year of my Masters degree I (very luckily) started to work for Café Rouge. They had begun setting up a few outlets in London. I provided them with paintings, murals, poster designs etc. Very quickly it became a huge company and they started developing a chain of restaurants across the country. With very little experience in running my own business I had to suddenly swing into action and adapt accordingly. So in a very short space of time I had an unexpected business to run. Alongside my Café Rouge business, as an in-house artist, I worked as a freelance illustrator and artist.

Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

It did take off immediately, which was wonderful. When I stopped working for Café Rouge, effectively I had to start all over again and had to approach my business in a completely different way, and find new outlets for my creativity (and new ways to make ends meet)… it was more like a fast hot start, then a slow burn and now things are speeding up!

Do you do your business part time or full time? 

Full time.

© Lucy Loveheart - Chips by the sea

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you happy with it as it is and why? 

My husband Patrick, and I have been running the business for over 25 years. We have struggled on and off with the business side of things, which is not our strength. Recently we have had the pleasure of joining forces with a wonderful team and together we have created a new company, which has much more of a business focus, but at the same time keeping my art at the heart of all that we do. This is going to be essential, and will also give me the luxury of being able to focus more on the art, which is my passion.

Where do you sell your work? 

Tokyo, London, Holt, Wells, and Norwich!!!…..I think a number of our products such as our books and cards have sold worldwide.

©Lucy Loveheart - Secret Cove

Which of the selling methods that you use works best for you? Why do you think this is?

The best selling methods have always been when other people have done it for me!!! Selling is not my strong point!!

Who do you think your typical customer is?

I don’t seem to have a typical customer…I think children like my work because it has childlike qualities, but one of my biggest collectors of my paintings is a gentleman in his 80’s. 

© Lucy Loveheart - NYC

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? 

The imagining stage. I love imagining all aspects of my work, from pictures I might paint, from products we might produce to exhibitions I might have.

Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?

That is very hard to answer…I know that there are many things I could have done differently but all those things contributed to me being where I am now and the mistakes I made were all valuable learning curves. Had I done things differently I might have been slightly less hard up at times, but I was always doing what I loved and the one thing I always tried to do was follow my passion and listen to my inner creative voice and gave myself the room to experiment and play with my art and business.

© Lucy Loveheart - In the sky with Diamonds

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I oscillate between the two.

Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of your business? For example, book keeper, accountant, packers? If you do how did you find people who were the right fit for you?

When I started working for Café Rouge, my business was expanding so rapidly that I couldn’t cope with the demand single handedly, so I started training my husband and friends to help with the paintings etc and my husband got recruited to help with the accounts and an enormous amount of other areas. 

Working with people that are the right fit is a wonderful and fulfilling experience. I have now got an amazing team around me and we all have great complimentary skill sets.

© Lucy Loveheart - Laughing in the rain

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see that changing?

My studio is next to my house. I love it!! I work with my husband all day long and usually it is in total isolation. It works very well for us indeed. 

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?

I have an incredible team, who have insights and wisdom that are invaluable to me. I value their judgment about all aspects of the business and I love getting their feedback. My husband has the unenviable task of having to give me an honest opinion about my artwork. He is nearly always spot on. It is essential to have people in your life who are not afraid to give you the truth. I also consult my mother who always has pearls of wisdom to give, when asked about all subjects of life and business. She has been a constant soulmate and tower of strength.

© Lucy Loveheart - Magic and memories

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you – business or otherwise?

My dream day would be to get up early, exercise, do a little bit of office work and then paint, paint paint all day. Sadly the reality is that more and more of my time is spent writing e mails…BUT my team is currently trying to help me create my dream day. It might take a little while for me to move from admin to art, but it will be amazing when it finally happens. 

Anything else  you want to add… 

Follow your heart, follow your dreams, never ever give up and if possible work with and  surround yourself with people whom you respect and love working with.

Finally please tell us where we can buy your work!?

Fabulous Frames in Norwich
The Voewood Bookshop in Holt
The Big Blue Sky in Wells

Thank you so much for giving me this interview Lucy and it sounds as though you are set for a wonderful art consumed future with the support you have around you. I absolutely love that NYC image - I want to buy a print of that one!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

My entry into the Global Talent Search 2014 run by the Lilla Rogers Studio - Terrarium theme

The brief for the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search 2014 was to create a piece of work with a terrarium theme for wall art - either for adults or children. 

I chose to do something for children - but I've put it on my wall for now :)

I painted this on a 40cm x 50 cm canvas and painted the bird, cotton reel and type on brown paper and carefully cut them out with scissors, gluing them on. The whole thing took about 3 days if you include the scribbly sketches of other ideas and pondering time  - probably 2 working days painting.

It would be wonderful to have the chance to challenge myself doing the second brief as part of the 50 selected from the 999 entries ... but I trying not to hope too much as I've seen lots of amazing entries in various places on the web. Whatever happens I loved making it and my daughter wants the original! 

We have to wait until the 26th of August to find out whose work was chosen. Tenterhooks.

Update: Sadly I didn't make the next stage but there are some wonderful wonderful works that did - you can see them all here.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Aftermath of the #GTS Global Talent Search 2014 with Lilla Rogers and a tip for uploading if you haven't yet

Last night I uploaded my final GTS piece to the Global Talent Search 2014 run by Lilla Rogers and her agency staff; I discovered how to use the "Save for Web" in Photoshop properly so that the image I uploaded was as high quality as possible yet still 72dpi. Look further down the post for the explanation!

These sketches are nothing like what I submitted - I'd see this as the adult side of me... I went for something aimed at children. Difficult to choose but you have to!

I really love what I did. Like all of us I went through the ...oh this is no good... maybe I should do one of my other ideas.. it's too's too straightforward. Oh constant contradictions! I stuck with it and over 3 days made a painting with collaged elements that I am proud of even if it goes no further  in the competition. 

Playing with lettering that I didn't use in the end

Really that's what we should all be aiming for isn't it? I'd LOVE to get through to the next round but the competition is fierce. I'm overjoyed that I took time, experimented with my scribbly sketches but kept going with my original idea. I painted over large sections of the background pattern I'd made and felt that the final image really "popped"  - an expression learned from Lilla.

I had three words on my canvas - this one was collaged

Now, the image uploaded had to be under 1.5mb and 72dpi (dots per inch) and on a virtual piece of paper sized 8 x10 inches with the image itself being 7 inches by 9 within that 'paper'. I did this part in Photoshop keeping the entire 8 x10 image at 300dpi. Then put my cursor on FILE>saveforweb; the screen below comes up.

© Gabriella Buckingham

Sorry the pink writing isn't bigger! but essentially at the top right you can choose your setting from Low to Very High. I started with Very High but could see that the jpeg reading on the bottom left was way over 1.5mb - it was more like 4mb. 


JUST HEARD back from the Lilla Rogers School that what I sent in was fine :) - so these instructions - while they aren't the only way they are definitely the way to ensure detail is as high as possible and just under 1.5mb.)

So I then clicked down the drop down list to High which brought my setting down to just over 2mb at 80 quality... then I experimented with the Quality button and entered 70 manually which meant I could then save my image at just under 1.5 - at about 1.45 as the image here was. Then before I uploaded I reopened the saved image in Photoshop and sure enough even though the quality was high the document was in fact 72dpi. I hope that helps someone.

Good luck everyone and just make something you love!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Blog hop and my work process

Hello and welcome to the bloghop I'm taking part in! I've just returned from a virtually internet free holiday in France.. it was blissful in that way - although I did miss Instagram and just managed to access my stepfather's wifi on the last day for an hour or so :) 

Just before I left for my holiday I was asked if I'd like to take part in a bloghop of artists or makers by painter Claire Leggett. You can read her own post here. I didn't want to pass this up and luckily I found two friends who have agreed to take part: Tracey English and Este Macleod do visit their blogs and find out about their work process; both of them will post for the blog hop on Monday 18th August. 

Now for the tricky bit...

1. What am I working on?

I've had a little break from working on a specific thing - rather I aimed to sketch if I felt drawn to do so while on holiday. That way I hoped I wouldn't feel that constant pressure of "I should be doing that.." that all artists probably feel. As it turned out I painted two watercolours, one as a gift for my friends' whose house we stayed in for the first half of our holiday and the other just because I felt like it. Here are some pages of my sketch book. As you'll see I used biro, coloured pencil, ink (above) and watercolour. Now that I am home I need to work on the GTS (Global Talent Search) run by Lilla Rogers, I managed to read the brief while away so my brain started to work on that and I did some scribbles and I really mean scribbles! 

The image at the top is a card I made yesterday from the collage I made for the last MATS Bootcamp it will be for sale in one of my shops as soon as I've finalised the envelopes and where I will sell it. I'm going to do a few more food and drink related illustrations to go with it.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That is so difficult for me to answer. I am a painter primarily although I really enjoy layering painted and drawn work in Photoshop too, sometimes I even use Illustrator - although only minimally. I am very much driven by colour, beauty and emotion. Lately I've enjoyed incorporating hand drawn or painted text in my work. I would say that I've always been adaptable and multi skilled; my background after art college was as an 'in house' greeting card and stationery artist so we were often required to paint and draw in many different styles. I then went on to being a children's book and greeting card artist as a freelancer.

My work is usually softly painted. I love to use layers of colour and - if painting a still life - capture the way light falls and how an object's colour is affected. Increasingly I am more drawn to shape and abstraction but I also like to draw and paint cute images for my Moobaacluck range. I'm very versatile! That's the word :) As for differing from others, I just paint and make what I like and steer clear of being too influenced by other artists work. If I see I style I love, I will admire it but there's just no point in trying to emulate it (unless you're beginning in your art journey and simply want to work out how it was done and then add your own stamp). 

3. Why do I create what I do?

I love to produce physical manifestations of things - making something - from a loaf of bread to a painting is so satisfying. Obviously there are disappointments but these are counterbalanced by the successes. It's great to make a piece of art that someone connects with; you hope someone will understand you a bit more too or be uplifted by what you've seen and have managed to show. I can't go for too long without making something. In the last few years I've had to constantly make wooden decorations and print my cards for my little business Moobaacluck - which doesn't always leave enough time for the new exploratory painting. Something I am addressing this year.

When a painting goes well time slides - it feels joyful and exciting simultaneously. A gift.

4. How does my creative process work?

Each piece is an adventure.. I have a hazy idea of what I want to make - particularly if it's not from life, in which case it's not as easy as simply painting what's in front of me. In the latter case the tricky bit is composition - what to leave out perhaps - the fact that light changes, so you haven't got as long to complete something. Of course you can take photos and go back to it. I've done that too. I rarely draw a before painting as I love to look and paint straight onto the canvas or paper. For illustration commissions it's usually essential to make a clear sketch first then paint the final image separately. Once I've done a detailed drawing then I feel like I've done it that's not so much fun for me, but that's something I need to work on. I love to do one or the other. Ideally I'd do a very small scribbly sketch and see what develops when I paint. I like the mystery and discovery. One of my favourite paintings was purely done as a memory of a glimpsed scene; it struck me so much that I sat down to do it and an hour later had a painting I loved.

Once, about 5 years ago, I started painting the silver birches at the end of our garden and because it was a huge painting I had to take pictures to work on it in my studio. Thank goodness I did because half way through the painting my neighbour had them cut down! I ran to stop him but they were diseased and had to go. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this - and if you read this far - thank you!