Category Archives: Art Licensing & Business

MY ORACLE CARDS PROJECT: THE JOURNEY SO FAR

A short while ago I hatched a grand plan to create my own deck of Oracle Cards. I blogged about it here.

Now I’ve created about 20 such virtual cards, so I’ll share them with you. You can see how some work better than others, I’m constantly learning as I go along. Creating the imagery is only part of the whole process. I still haven’t gotten round to writing the explanation or meaning of the imagery. That will come. Also, I have to research the practical logistics of getting my cards into print.

So, here are some of my “Practice” Oracle Cards. They may or may not be the end product…I might add a black border all around each image, or more key words at the bottom.

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Artist Inspiration : JACKY PARKER

Jacky Parker is another photographer after my own heart. Her beautiful flower photography serves as an inspiration to me. Jacky only took up flower photography in 2005 whilst studying for a diploma in horticulture. By 2008 she had already garnered so much recognition that she was awarded the “RHS Photographer of the year” title.

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Click here to visit Jacky’s website.  Those wishing to license Jacky’s images may do so on these sites:

GETTY Images : http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?assettype=image&artist=Jacky+Parker+Photography

ALAMY STOCK http://www.alamy.com/default.aspx

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A selection of Jacky’s work on canvas can be purchased on these sites:

GOOD EARTH CANVAS: http://www.goodearthcanvas.com/hakusha/

FOTOVIVA ART PRINTS http://www.fotoviva.co.uk/

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Photographic Prints and Canvas of Jacky’s photography are available from:

FINE ART AMERICA : http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/jacky+parker/all

SOCIETY 6 http://society6.com/JackyparkerFloralArt

 

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Artist Inspiration : ANNE TEN DONKELAAR

Anne Ten Donkelaar is a Netherlands-based artist who specialises in Flower Constructions. These are essentially flower collages, created from a variety of materials, from real flowers to  cut-out pictures of flowers, all painstakingly put together and pinned at different heights to give the impression of depth, then displayed behind glass in shadow frames. These floral arrangements don’t conform to our learned notion of proportion or reality, but their unreal or hyper-real quality, juxtaposed against a clean white background, makes them all the more intriguing.

Click here for Anne’s website. Here’s Anne’s own explanation of what her Flower Constructions are about:

“(2011-2012) Imagine a big bang, a firework of flower seeds thrown into space. What would happen? New fragile flowers arise, new flower planets start evolving, planets where no one has ever been. These detailed landscapes seem to be elevated so you can walk through them. Weeds become poetry, each unique twig gets attention, nature seems to float.

Flower constructions are 3d collages from pressed flowers and cut out flower pictures. Each element is meticulously placed on pins which creates the depth. Some of them are like a fantasy Herbaria, filled with dried flowers or branches, with irregular shapes and sophisticated twists and some refer to planets”.

 I’ve found some of Anne’s delicate floral work on Google Images, feast your eyes here:

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Anne’s artistic prowess does not stop at flowers.  She also has a penchant for preserving butterflies and insects, not just as collages behind glass, but also as wearable jewellery.  Have a look at these other beautiful offerings by Anne:

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It’s On The Cards

Or…Yet More Adventures in Serendipity.

Recently my best friend Sheila and I went on a jaunt to nearby Mandurah. We wanted to check out the New Age shops there, as I was nearly out of incense sticks at home.

Our first port of call was the Crystal Dolphin, where we had a great time browsing the store’s extensive bookshelves and looking through the various tarot and oracle cards there. I wanted a singing bowl or at least some Tibetan Tingsha bells, but the bowl was nearly $80 and the 3 bells that were there didn’t sound right to my ears. I bought some incense sticks. Sheila bought 2 CDs and some perfume oil.

Next up was lunch at Murphy’s Irish Pub by the foreshore. The food was lovely, as always, I highly recommend Murphy’s if you are ever in Mandurah, and if you happen to be Irish then you’ll feel right at home there!

After lunch we went over to Dolphin Quay, just over the bridge. While there, we came upon a New Age stall. I was interested in getting another deck of Oracle cards, so I looked at the carousel at various decks.

And then one leapt out at me. Figuratively speaking, of course. But it might as well have done so literally, so quickly did my hand reach out to grab it. You see, here was my good friend Serendipity playing her hand again.

A short while ago, I’d found an Oracle cards App on the Google Play Store on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Actually, I’d tried a few Apps but most of them did not cut the mustard with me. Except for this particular deck “Vibrational Energy Oracle Cards” by Debbie A. Anderson.

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(By the way, I was drawn to the name of the deck itself when I initially came across it…for a while now I’ve been feeling strange vibrations in my body when I’m in contact with certain people online over the Internet. Like a Wi-Fi psychic connection. I can sense right away what a person is resonating, if that person is feeling relaxed, or tense, or frustrated, happy or upset…just as soon as they appear on my radar. Now, I don’t know what this is, or if it truly is a gift, or whether the feeling will vanish as suddenly as it appeared…but it has started me on a personal spiritual journey. And I might as well notate that journey here on my blog, for all it’s worth. If anyone can shed a light on this, I would be very grateful).

I fell in love with this virtual deck because of its truly inspirational artwork by Heather Brewster. Feast your eyes on these images of just some of the cards in this magnificent deck.

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I’d since then been searching high and low online for a hard copy of this deck…to no avail. And then this happens to me today.

I took this to be a sign, so the deck of cards came home with me today.

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Pattern Observer

For those of you interested in designing and printing wallpapers, or indeed any kind of surface design, Pattern Observer is an invaluable resource. I cannot praise it highly enough. It offers an insight into the burgeoning surface pattern design industry, you can subscribe to their regular email updates (I do), join their Textile Design Lab to enter into discussion with fellow likeminded artists, keep up to date with the latest news and trends in the industry. There are even e-courses you can sign up for to improve and hone your designing skills, learn new techniques and improve your own sales and marketing.

If you are the least bit serious about becoming a surface pattern designer, or even if you just want to investigate the ins and outs of surface design before you decide, you simply MUST join or follow Pattern Observer.

I love the layout of the blog, which can be used as a launchpad to visit other areas of the Pattern Observer microcosmos, all neatly organised and categorised for your benefit. Use the drop down menu there and you’ll see what I mean.

Pattern Observer can also be found on Facebook. So you can keep abreast of the latest news without even having to leave your favourite social media platform.

One of the many highlights of following Pattern Observer is that each week a different artist is showcased, providing insight into their processes, techniques, business practice, etc. Very useful and inspiring for aspiring designers.

Here I’m simply posting the links to bring together Parts 1 and 2 of Pattern Observer’s primers on wallpaper printing techniques through the ages. A potted history, if you will, for your enjoyment.

http://patternobserver.com/2014/05/05/wallpaper-printing-methods-part/

http://patternobserver.com/2014/06/02/wallpaper-printing-methods-part-ii/

For those wanting to take the guesswork out of designing pattern repeats, check out Pattern Observer’s 5 week self-study e-course, The Ultimate Guide to Repeats. Be aware though, this course assumes some prior knowledge of, and experience with, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

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(Photo taken from the blog’s “About” page shows Pattern Observer founder Michelle Fifis and her family.)

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Artist Inspiration : Kareem Rizk

I love Swiss-style/mid century modern graphics. In the world of mobile Apps, on iOS there are a number of Apps that make designing these type of graphics easy, namely AddLib U and AddLib S. The developers have got the colour palette, geometric shapes and lines just perfect. On the Android platform, however, I’m sad to say that I have not found a similar App to write home about.

A while back, I blogged about AddLib U and AddLib S. For convenience, here are the links to these posts:

AddLib S

AddLib U

I came across the work of Kareem Rizk, an Australian artist transplanted to Denmark, Europe, quite by accident, as I was trawling Pinterest for examples of bird collages, for my own artistic endeavours. Kareem did indeed make bird-themed collages a few years, but the scope of his talent extends far beyond that.

But here are those bird collages that inspired me (thank you, Google Images):

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Here I’m sharing Kareem’s Biography with you, taken from his webpage, as it provides an insight to what makes him tick, and describes his techniques and processes too:

Born 1982, Melbourne, Australia. Collage and mixed media artist, illustrator and designer. Living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark. Graduate of Monash University with a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication (2004).

Since his shift of focus to fine art and illustration in 2006 and his pursuit of developing his style, Rizk has been cutting and pasting his way towards a unique and contemporary style of collage and mixed media art that has earned him international recognition, as well as continuous success working with numerous galleries, fine art publishers and creative companies all around the world.

Collecting mostly old magazines and books but also scraps from torn billboards and street posters, discarded tickets, postcards, brochures and catalogues, Rizk has been sorting through op shops, flea markets, garage sales and city streets around the world to find the images and ephemera that have found their way into his very nostalgic and weathered collage and mixed media works.

Working mediums include collage, acrylic, oil pastel, pencil, solvent transfers and acrylic transfers. The work is highly textured and often multi-layered with a nostalgic and weathered quality. Rizk’s works can often be vibrant with colour, while others display a very refined or minimal palette. Working methods also extend to digital collage with a very gritty and realistic display of texture and layering. The digital work began as an experiment in blurring the line between handmade collage and digital collage.

Other work includes freelance illustration, graphic design and fine art commissions for various clients including art buyers and collectors, editorial publications, galleries, universities, the boutique fashion industry and the music and entertainment industry.

Exhibitions include solo shows and group shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane,
Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Miami, Vancouver, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, West Cork (Ireland), Stockholm, Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid and Milan. Rizk’s work has been published in numerous art magazines and books and his work is held in private collections worldwide.

And here are several examples of Kareem’s Swiss-style/mid century modern works (the last one shows the artist himself at an exhibition of his own work):

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I also found this recent in-depth interview with Kareem Rizk, where the artist divulges his thought processes and techniques in great detail. Interesting reading for those of you who are as fascinated with this artist as I am.

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Artist Inspiration : LOUISE TILER

I was trawling through the Internet the other day, looking for inspirational ideas with the themes of birds, butterflies and flowers. These are recurring motifs in my own work, and I wanted to see what other artists out there were doing. I came across the work of Louise Tiler and was immediately inspired to blog about her. Here is a young lady whose work not only incorporates motifs dear to my own heart, but who is also a talented artist who handpaints and draws her beautiful designs, with a little bit of help from CAD programmes. AND who has her work licensed by several international companies. Louise certainly is going places! Apart from birds, butterflies and flowers, Louise also designs around architectural themes, and also incorporates British woodland creatures such as foxes, owls, badgers etc into her work.

Excerpt taken from Louise’s web page:, and photos courtesy of Google:

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Louise Tiler is a ‘happy’ and ‘smiley’ independent surface pattern designer, born and raised in Yorkshire and is now based in the famous World Heritage village of Saltaire.

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Louise Tiler graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design from Leeds College of Art in 2011. Before graduating Louise received high recognition for her design work winning a number of design awards and competitions. These include Prestigious Textiles award from the Bradford Textile Society and Tigerprint online card competition for Marks & Spencers where she began freelancing throughout university and still works with the company today! In her final year at Leeds Louise was first recognised for her unique wallpaper collections and won Surtex International design competition ‘Designex’ in New York and at the Historical Textile Competition 2011. Soon after graduating Louise received both national and international recognition for her design work and was named New Designer of the Year in 2011 from thousands of new UK designers in London. After early success Louise decided to work as a independent designer and has gone on to freelance for some of the world’s top greeting cards, fabrics, tableware, wallpaper and homeware brands.

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Louise is extremely passionate about creating intricate hand-drawn and hand-painted designs. All of her elegant artwork is carefully painted to create detailed and well thought out designs that are not only a personal signature of Louise’s hand drawn style but they are designs she is incredibly proud of because they are her own unique hand creations. Louise takes inspiration from everything around her but she has a real love for floral paintings, vintage pattern and historical textile design. She combines traditional hand drawn techniques with modern digital processes to create vintage inspired and contemporary designs.

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As well as wholesaling her own range of paper products and greeting cards which launched in 2014, Louise is expanding her label through licensed products and working with and manufactures to produce a wide range of products including wallpaper, wall art, tableware, ceramics, soft-funishings and greeting cards. Louise will be launching her own range of paper products in May 2014 and will appearing on the TV channel QVC in May 2014, selling her licensed homeware products.

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CLIENTS

Louise is proud to have worked with the no1 wallpaper company Graham & Brown, Woodmansterne Publications, QVC, Dunelm Mill, The Range, B&Q, Marks & Spencer, Alison at Home, Bernstein & Banleys, Artistic Britain (Primeur), Tigerpint, Cardmaking & Papercraft, Eagle Eyed Bride, Melamaster, S Blinds and Hill and Co Rugs.

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IN THE PRESS

Louise Tiler has been featured in National Newspapers, Home & Interior magazines and designs blogs. These include Elle Decoration, The Mail on Sunday, The Independent, Progressive Greetings, Dezeen, Moyo Magazine, The Yorkshire Post.

Louise Tiler – In the Press Louise Tiler – In the Press
AWARDS

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Prestigious Textiles award from the Bradford Textile Society
Tigerprint online card competition for Marks & Spencer
Surtex International design competition ‘Designex’ in New York
Historical Textile Competition 2011
Mary Porta’s Design Search
New Designer of the Year in 2011 London

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Artist Inspiration : WENDY KENDALL

When I first saw one of Wendy Kendall’s quirky, bright and cheerful designs on Pinterest, I was enchanted immediately. Her designs have clean lines, clear imagery, a delightful palette of non-primary colours with a retro, almost mid-century/Swiss graphic feel to them, a childlike element of playfulness. What’s not to like? Wendy creates designs for homewares, especially textile and wallpaper. Her work is licensed by several companies around the world. Getting my own work licensed and seeing my own designs on decorative homewares is my main ambition, too, and I am inspired by Wendy’s talent, creativity and success.

Here is the link to Wendy’s website Wendy also keeps a blog, so why not follow her there too, the link is on the front page of her website.

In Wendy’s own words, taken from her introduction on her page, with images courtesy of Google:

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I am a freelance surface pattern designer based from home, just outside Stone in Staffordshire UK. Since graduating from the University of Derby, where I specialised in print design, I have worked as a bedding/nursery designer for several UK manufacturers situated in the North West.

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With over ten years experience at senior design level in this field, I now freelance and work closely with an Indian exporter,on bespoke briefs for UK home textile clients and on building my licensed range of products,which currently include bedding and textiles,wallpaper,blinds and fabric collections.

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I am also one quarter of Dotty Wren Studio….we are a brand new studio comprising of four UK designers who will be launching our new collections to sell and license at Surtex in NYC in May 2014.

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Please feel free to browse our site and blog and get in touch if you would like to meet with us in May at Surtex on our stand no 834.

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I have a simplistic, graphic, clean design approach that mixes playful patterns/textures with quirky handrawn outlines. I love the use of bold colours against bright whites and I particularly enjoy creating designs for children, I am able to design across all areas of home textiles but really would welcome briefs and licensing enquiries from all product areas.

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I hope you enjoy looking through my work… please feel free to contact me.

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The Sartorial Butterfly

So there I was standing in the Salvo’s thrift shop in Subiaco not 2 weeks ago, going through the shelves of books and bric-a-brac. My eyes passed over a stack of old dressmaking patterns lying in a basket on one of the shelves, but my hands stopped. A ludicrous idea popped unannounced into my head. I’m rather prone to these flights of fancy, but this particular one was exemplary.

I opened up one of the printed envelopes containing patterns for a dress. I expected cut pieces to fall out, but instead the pattern was completely intact. Which meant it had never been used. Hooray for me!

Wait, no, I’m not about to dive into dressmaking. I could never make out what was what, and besides, I have a love-hate relationship with my sewing machine. I keep it locked up in the shed. It is so well hidden I can’t remember where I put it.

No, the ludicrous idea that popped into my head then asked these questions:

1) would dressmaking paper take inkjet printing well? It is after all made of tissue paper.
2) would the tissue be strong enough to take the weight of inkjet inks?
3) The pattern designs could make for interesting mixed media art when combined with my own photographic manipulations. Or would they look too weird?
4) would the yellow tint on the aging paper detract from my images?
5) how many A4 and A3 pieces could I possibly cut from one packet of patterns?

Having asked myself these questions, and having filed them away in my internal “Find Out” list, I proceeded to sift through the dressmaking packets. I struck gold with a couple that contained 3 or even 4 folded up designs inside the one envelope. All in all, I bought 5 packets at $1.99 each.

Back home, I spent a few minutes trying to figure out the best way to cut the tissue paper to size. I could use an A4 piece of cardboard as a template and cut around it, or I could fold the paper into roughly A4 shapes and cut along the folds. The former was going to be time-consuming. The latter appealed more to me, as it had elements of surprise and randomness in it. I love random.

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imageI taped the cut tissue paper to my A4 canvas carrier sheet. There was quite a lot of overhang, so I taped that down at the back. After printing, I will simply slide a blade along the sides to free the paper from the carrier sheet. (The marks and splodges you see are only on the carrier sheet, from many passes through my printers, which sometimes misbehave and streak, and the wiggly lines down the middle are from the repositionable gluestick I use to tack the tissue paper to the carrier sheet. Incidentally, I use both sides of the carrier sheet interchangeably).

imageOne of the printed sheets and a gessoed wooden cradled board ready to receive it. I will use a combination of gesso and acrylic gel medium to adhere the tissue to the board. (I used to use Mod Podge but it worked out too expensive).

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imageI had 3 gessoed boards prepared already, so I chose 3 of the printed images to adhere to the boards.

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The following show the digital images followed by their mixed media results on board:

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And, to answer my questions above:
1. Yes, dressmaking pattern tissue paper takes inkjet printing exceptionally well.
2. Yes, the tissue is thin yet robust enough to handle the weight of inks.
3. I love the randomness of the results, the text and diagrams on the tissue paper add heaps of appeal to the mixed media look.
4. The yellowness of the tissue paper is hardly noticeable, apart from imparting a vintage tint to the overall look. I shall compensate by adjusting my processed images to contain brighter colours.
5. I got 16 approximately A4 sized sheets from 1 packet of dressmaking patterns.

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Workflow : MARIPOSA AZUL

Mariposa is Spanish for Butterfly. Azul is Spanish for Blue. I was on Pinterest the day I created this, gathering images of the Principality of Asturias in Spain where I’d lived from 2005-2007, and I guess my mind must have still been on Spain. I hope some day to be able to go back to visit my beloved Asturias, with her fabulous mountain scenery, historical architecture, culture, music, gaita bagpipes, fabada, cheeses and apple cider, and the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Maybe someday I’ll camp again at that campsite opposite the private zoo in my adopted hometown of Cangas de Onis, just so I can hear the dawn and dusk chorus of the wolves there. Or visit the beautiful basilica of Covadonga, which is postcard perfect and the birthplace of the Spanish Reconquista.

I must write about my Adventures in Asturias soon, but for now here is my workflow describing how I created MARIPOSA AZUL.

I used these 2 photos of scrapbooking papers the basis for the image. Notice that the 1st image contains part of a map with the words “Spanish” on it.

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I used the App “Smoothie” to increase the brightness, saturation, sharpness and contrast of both images. I also changed the hues of both images, and rotated the 2nd image.

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Next, I used the App “PicsArt” to blend the two images together.
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I then added the blue butterfly wing. (I’d just prepared over 150 new butterfly clipart using photos of taxidermy butterflies from the natural history section of the Museum of Western Australia in Perth). After adding the butterfly, I tweaked the brightness, contrast and saturation of the image some more.

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Using the App “Repix”, I obliterated the entire image using the Drips, Daubs, Chalk, Hollywood, Vintage and Freshen brushes. And then excavated and revealed it back again using the Undoer brush. I deliberately left some drip marks behind, to impart a painterly feel.
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I processed the image once more using “Smoothie” to add saturation, bringing out the blues of the butterfly wing more. And here we have it: MARIPOSA AZUL. My tribute to Asturias.

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