Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: N-S

It is time for the 3rd “Quarter” Recap for the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge!  Letters N thru S were an interesting group and I am beginning to see some of the limitations of my “geometric” design criteria. Before I jump into my thoughts on this group let me share my 6 fruit and veggie creations for this portion of the challenge:

N thru S Fruit and Veggies by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I really like this group.

You may notice that the pear and quince are quite similar.  This was completely intentional.  I thought since their shapes are so similar AND they are in season around the same time that it would be nice to have them “go” together.  While I already have a Geometric Apple pattern in my shop, I think I would like to do a new apple that matches the style of the pear and quince and create a pattern using all of them.

Also, I had an interesting creative process with a few of these.  I recently created a new pattern, Geometric Taco Bar, that includes a variety of fruit/veg, including both the onion and the radish.  The letter “O” fell during the time that I was making the pattern so it was created for both at the same time.  As for the radish, that was created for the pattern first, but I did not feel compelled to do another “R” fruit/veg when it arrived, so I simply composed a board featuring the Radish.

Geometric Taco Bar was created for a Spoonflower Design Challenge and is available in my shop!

Geometric Taco Bar Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky
Geometric Taco Bar is available as gift wrap, wallpaper, and fabric.

I also included both the Jalapeno and Iceberg Lettuce which were created earlier in the Challenge (adding in slices of each).  I love this pattern.

It is hard to pick a favorite in this group.  I am actually more prone to pick a least favorite:  The nectarine!  It is difficult to differentiate between the specific varieties of round fruits especially in the geometric style I have chosen.  I like the cut view of the nectarine better and do think it captures the essence pretty well.  This difficulty is one of the limitations I was referring to at the start of this post.  I am also finding that even in the “non-circle” fruit/veg that there are a lot of similar looking shapes.  For example, radishes, beets and turnips, when drawn in the geometric style are also hard to differentiate.  The same would hold true with leafy greens.  Hopefully enough unique shapes will present themselves as I complete the challenge.

One fun aspect of this group is that half of them have been included in surface patterns! The onion and radish are both part of the Geometric Taco bar design.  Additionally, I love the strawberry so much I already created a pattern for it!  This pattern will be added to my shop very soon. So that is 3/6.  And, as I have already mentioned, I hope to create a pattern using both the pear and quince together. One of my favorite aspect of this challenge is a library of illustrations to use in other applications.

Speaking of the strawberries, I wanted to share a look at the pattern!  I have ordered the swatches, so it will be in my shop soon.  But I do want to say it COULD CHANGE.  I often tweak designs after seeing them printed, so this is how it will tentatively look.

Geometric Strawberries Classic Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky

This is the Classic colorway.  I also created a Pinky colorway too! I’ll update this post when they are available in my shop.

And that’s a wrap!  Looking forward, I expect this final batch of letters to be challenging.  For the most part I do not look at the options for a letter until I make the prompt list, so there is a chance that I will be surprised, but I think the options for everything but “T” to be very limited.  Follow me on Instagram if you want to see each letter (and the prompts as I create them).

As always, thanks for reading!

Brenda

 

 

UPDATE: Alphabet Animal Art Challenge – 6 months later

Alphabet Animal Update Title

With the end of June it has officially been six months since the 2017 Art Challenge:  Alphabet Animals has come to a close.  I wanted to do an update since I have used those animals I created in quite a lot of new designs!  One of the goals of the Challenge was to create a library of illustrations I could use in various ways and in that goal I have had much success!  So today I want to share all the creations that I have made since the challenge ended.  If you are hearing about this challenge for the first time you can read the final blog post recap and see ALL the animals.  You can also see the other designs I created last year.

SURFACE PATTERNS

I’ll start with surface patterns.  All these have been created this year, so after the close of the challenge.  Since in many cases I ended up tweaking the animal illustrations I will share a look at the original animal and the pattern side by side!

All of the patterns I have created this year with animals so far have been created specifically for Spoonflower Design Challenges (although one did not end up being entered as you will soon learn).

Modern Farmhouse

Quail Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

As you can see for this pattern the quail is playing a supporting role. I removed its top plume and did some recoloring to make it more “generic bird” versus a quail specifically.  I really love how it fits in so well with the other farmhouse images I created.  Modern Farmhouse is available in my Spoonflower shop.

Elephants and Polka Dots

Elephant Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

For the “Endangered Species” Design Challenge I chose to feature my elephant illustration.  I didn’t make many changes to this character.  I changed the toe nail color to white and made the line weights for the facial features a little thicker.  (And overall color changes of course).  Since my elephant already had a unique polka dot detail I decided to build upon that for the pattern.  I actually created 4 different colorways of this design.  The Taupe colorway one you see here is the version that was entered in the contest.  You can find it and the 3 other colorways in my Animal Fun Collection.  This was actually the second time this elephant was selected from the library.  Last year I created a greeting card featuring the elephant!

Hedges and Hedgehogs

Hedgehogl Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

The idea for this pattern was in my head almost immediately after creating the original hedgehog so I was very excited when the “Animals by Land” Design Challenge was posted giving me the perfect excuse to create it!  I kept the hedgehog mostly the same but tweaked the facial features again on this one, the most noticeable being that I gave it a round eye.  I think it is cuter that way!  The hedges got a bit more colorful too!  Find Hedges and Hedgehogs in my Spoonflower shop!

Mostly Happy X-Ray Tetras

X Ray Tetra Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

Last but not least is my X-Ray Tetra.  For this one, I kept the pattern simple since there is already a lot of detail in the fish itself.  I did play with adding some polka dots, but I didn’t like them.  I did, however, do a fun little switch-up!  As the title suggests, not ALL these tetras are smiling… I added some frowny ones to the mix and reversed their coloring in places to make them just a bit more distinctive.  This design was created with a contest in mind but was never entered because I got the THEME wrong!!!  I thought it was Animals by/in/of WATER since the previous two contests were Land and Air… but for this one Spoonflower mixed it up and themed it “Animals of the OCEAN”.  Technically tetras are not ocean fish (which I learned through research, I am not a fish expert!) and I did not feel right entering this design.  Oh well… at least it gave me the motivation to create it since this was also a pattern idea I had in my head for a while!  Mostly Happy X-Ray Tetras is also available in my Spoonflower shop.

GREETING CARD

I have created one new card since the close of the challenge.  I have a niece and nephew who both turned 3 in June (cousins, not twins) and I thought the koala was a good pick since it was already holding onto to something making it easy to swap in the number 3. I also changed the hat to a party hat. I left the koala itself the same (even the position of the arms worked as is for the number 3!)

Koala Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

I was there when my niece opened her card and upon seeing it she recognized it as a koala!  Granted she had recently seen a show that had koalas, but still, it made me really happy to know that my characterization was accurate enough for her to name the animal specifically!  I call that success.  The koala cards joins several other animal cards I created last year which you can find on my Cards and Gift Wrap page.

ARTWORK

The biggest thing (literally) that I created with the animal illustrations is a poster that incorporates ALL of them!  As I mentioned above my niece and nephew turned 3 and I decided that for their gifts I would create this poster.  It was actually quite a bit of work to pull it all together and fit them in a logical way and adding in all the text circles, title, etc.

Alphabet Animals Poster by Brenda Zapotosky SM

In addition to removing all the “props” that were originally paired with I also did some minor re-scaling, both enlarging and reducing scales of some of the animals to get them to work better as an ensemble.  Other than that all the animals except one stayed the same as the original in look and color (all the tweaks I made for the patterns came later).  The one animal that DID get changed was the armadillo since that was my very first illustration and it did not have the same “cute” look that I started with letter B.  Here is the “Before” and “After”.

Armadillo Illustration by Brenda Zapotosky

It was actually my husband who suggested I make them “cuter” after seeing the first animal, armadillo.  I am so happy he did, because it definitely enhances my already slightly cartoon-ish interpretations.  And I am glad I changed up the armadillo for the poster!

It is definitely a bit of a gamble to give the gift of art.  Especially BIG ART that is intended to be hung in someone’s house.  I took that chance because I thought my niece and nephew as well as their parents would like the gift.  And because I expected these to be hung in the kids’ rooms and not the main house.  I am so happy to report that gifts were well received AND have both already been hung!  Here is a look at the posters “in the wild”.

Posters in the Wild

I printed these posters at a standard 20″ x 30″ but sized the poster border proportions to work with a favorite IKEA frame line that I love (Its similar sized frame is 19.75″ x 27.5″). (Seriously, almost every wall frame in my house is from this line).  For the smaller frame on the left (which I framed) I trimmed it to fit the slightly smaller proportioned frame.  My sister opted for the same IKEA frame but with bigger dimensions so it has a mat (on the right).  It is fun to see the two looks side by side.

My husband’s reaction to seeing the poster for the first time was that I should sell them!  After selling greeting cards for a number of years I decided that being a producer really wasn’t for me.  I have been focused for the last several years solely on designing and selling my work where someone else does all the work.  However, these posters, which I am extremely pleased with, have me actually considering maybe selling (on a VERY limited basis) again.  It is just an idea at this point.  I would probably sell them both wholesale and retail if I did.  If you are a retailer or an individual and would be interested please let me know!  If there seems to be enough interest I would start investigating larger quantity printing!

And that about wraps it up!  I anticipate using more of these animals in future design projects.  Do you have a favorite you’d like to see used in something?  I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: G-M

We have officially reached the 1/2 way point in this year’s Fruit and Vegetable themed Art Challenge!  It has been a fruitful (ha ha) challenge thus far, and even though the selection is a bit leaner than with the Animal themed challenge from last year, I have managed to find a good subject for every letter! But before we dive in to the works… If this is the first time learning about this challenge you can read more about it here.

OK!  Onto the good stuff! Let’s start with a look at the 7 fruit/veg I drew for this portion of the challenge:

G thru M Fruit and Veggies by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I like this batch a lot.  I was able to find a good mix of round and non-round fruit/veg to draw and all of them are commonly known.  I think those are the two biggest challenges.  I love discovering new-to-me varieties of fruit and veggies when I put together the letter prompts, but since I am drawing these in the hopes of future uses, choosing more commonly known fruit/veg is the better choice.  Plus, since I am choosing to do geometric versions, having the fruit/veg already be known helps them remain recognizable.  The other challenge is that so many fruit/veg are ROUND… often they are more distinguishable cut than whole (like the honeydew) especially if I am doing stylized versions.  A geometric, minimal detail round fruit or veggie could end up looking like a solid oval or circle!

Interestingly my favorite of this batch is an “oval” fruit… the kiwi!  Here is a closer look:

K is for Kiwi by Brenda Zapotosky

Obviously I used a “cut” view to make it more interesting.  I love how with the geometric stylization a common fruit takes on a beautiful “abstract” look.  I am considering making a pattern with this one. I might not even make it a kiwi pattern!  I think with some re-coloring it could simply be a geometric design element!

Speaking of patterns.  I have not created any new repeating patterns (or any other art pieces) with any of these fruit/veg or ones from the first batch (my only “extra” so far is my Geometric Carrots design which I shared in the last recap).  This is partially because an opportunity has not yet occurred to give me a chance to do so (like a Spoonflower contest or a new card need).  But also, I think that patterns that incorporate multiple fruit/veg or have the fruit/veg combined with non-food elements, etc. will probably be the way that I will most likely use them.  I expect at the END of the challenge that I will take the new produce library as a whole and work them into a pattern(s).

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION:

Another aspect of this challenge that I have been encouraging is participation from other artists.  You may recall that in my first recap I shared the work of Jill Byers.  I am happy to report that Jill has been continuing with the challenge and that there has been another artist, Al Donzza, who has joined and also been posting for every letter.  Since we all chose the Jalapeno for our “J” letter, I thought it would be fun to see all three together.  I absolutely love how different are our interpretations can be of the of the same subject.

First up is my jalapeno, which is obviously in keeping with my geometric theme.  I chose to hatch this one and I am quite happy with how it looks.  I did struggle with the composition of this art board though.  I think the jalapeno will work better in a repeating pattern, maybe with a few other variations thrown in.

J is for Jalapeno by Brenda Zapotosky

Next up is the gorgeous oil paint version by Jill Byers which is so drastically different from mine.  I love how Jill has chosen to compose all her canvases so that the subjects disappear off the sides of the canvas.  It adds a unique perspective which complements her realistic style and makes it more interesting!  You can see all of Jill’s paintings grouped together here.  It is an amazing collection!

Avocados
Jalapeno painting by Jill Byers

Next up is the work of Al Donzza who has also been doing paintings but in a totally different style and medium: Watercolors!  I love the vibrancy of Al’s work and the “action” worked into a usually static subject!  These red jalapenos really pop!

Al Donzza Jalapeno
Jalapeno painting by Al Donzza

I find it interesting that we all included two jalapenos in our compositions.  But that of course, is where the similarities end!

I hope you have enjoyed this review of the second quarter of Alphabet Illustrations.  If you have been thinking about joining in it is not too late!  I would love to have you take part!  I post a letter prompt every two weeks as a reminder of the start of the next letter and help get the creative juices flowing! And don’t forget to include the hashtag for the challenge with your posts:  #2018fruitandveggieartchallenge

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Sewing and Design Meet: Pebbles

Sewing and Design Meet Logo

It is time for another installment of “Sewing and Design Meet”.  This time I am sharing all about my Pebbles design and what I have made with it.  The majority of this post will be focused on the Lark Tee I sewed via a cut-and-sew project I ordered through Spoonflower’s sister site, Sprout Patterns, and I will be speaking a bit about that experience too.  At the end I’ll share a quick look at a simple winter accessories set I also made. This post is LONG.  If you don’t care about sewing details you can read about the design and then just scroll and look at all the photos 🙂

DESIGN:

Pebbles is a coordinate I created to go with my Sandcastles design as part of my Beach Bliss Collection.  I originally offered this print in 2 different colorways and then added a third one which does not actually color coordinate with the collection because I specifically created it for the winter accessories project.

Pebbles Pattern 3 Color Versions by Brenda Zapotosky

The Sandcastles design was created from hand drawings that I vectorized and turned into a pattern in Illustrator.  I included pebble details on the sandcastles and as background infill.  To create the Pebbles print I pulled out pebbles from the pattern and arranged them into vertical lines.  Below is a look at Sandcastles and some of the original hand drawings.  Most often, even if I do a hand drawing first, I completely redraw them in Illustrator, but this time I used auto trace since I wanted to maintain the feel of the hand drawing which I think matches the beach theme well.

Sandcastles Pattern and Illustrations by Brenda Zapotosky

 

FABRIC AND SPROUT PATTERNS:

Pebbles by Brenda Zapotosky on Modern Jersey Fabric
Design:  Pebbles Multicolored  Printed on:  Modern Jersey Fabric

Instead of purchasing “raw” fabric for this project I ordered my fabric AND pattern through Sprout Patterns.  If you are not familiar with Sprout they are one of Spoonflower’s sister companies.  With Sprout, you can order sewing patterns from a wide range of companies and designers printed directly on the fabric!  It is the ultimate, cut-and-sew: all you need to do is cut around the outlines of the pieces and start sewing!  With your Sprout purchase you also get a pdf copy of the pattern so you can sew it again in the future and also use the pieces for adjustments, etc.  (Which I definitely did).  I chose the Multicolored version of my Pebbles design printed on Modern Jersey.  Here is a look at a portion of the printed fabric where you can see a pattern piece and how the design continues on the unused fabric:

Pebbles Lark Tee Printed by Sprout 1

There are some pro’s and con’s to using Sprout and I think ultimately it will vary person to person on whether this sort of sewing experience is right for you.

PROS:

  • This is definitely a time saver.  Not only does it save you the time of printing and assembling a pdf or cutting out a paper pattern, but it saves on the time it takes to cut fabric too since all the arranging of the pieces on the fabric and lining up the grainlines etc. is already done for you.
  • You can order exactly the amount of fabric you need!  Instead of having to over buy on yardage numbers, the cut of fabric you get from Sprout will give you the fractional yards without having to buy a full 2 yards for example for a 1.5 yard project.  You can also mix and match fabric designs within a project… so if you want all your trim pieces to be a different fabric, you can select a different fabric design or even a solid color for those pieces.
  • Even though the fabric is sized to fit the pattern, for many projects there will still be some unused spaces leftover.  Sprout prints the fabric design on these areas too (as you can see in the photo) so you might end up with some bonus fabric pieces you can use for something else.  (I did end up NEEDING some of my extra, which you will read about below).

CON:

  • You can only choose to have one size printed… they do not grade between sizes.   If you are a “straight out of the package” size this is probably not even a con.  I am most definitely NOT a single size gal and this is a big issue for me.  I found a way to work around this and grade a bit between sizes which I will discuss in the sewing section of this post.

One last detail that is VERY important to note is that you MUST follow washing instructions.  I learned this the hard way as I shrunk my fabric, which changed the size and proportion of the pattern pieces!  I am so used to pre-washing my fabric in a blast of hot water and hot dryer to get the fabric to shrink as much as possible before I sew with it, I was basically on auto-pilot and did the same with this project.  BAD IDEA.  I was able to make it work, thankfully, but my shirt is a bit shorter as a result.  AND I had to cut new sleeves.  Thankfully they were the cap style and needed very little fabric and were able to fit on unused portions of the fabric but it is a bummer that I had to do that instead of saving those sections for a future project.

SEWING:

Lark Tee in Pebbles fabric by Brenda Zapotosky 1

The Lark Tee is a basic tee shirt with a ton of options.  For my Sprout project I chose the scoop neck with cap sleeves (but as I mentioned above you get the pdf so you get ALL the views and variations with it and can print it and use it like a regular pattern. I have already made several other versions).  I chose Modern Jersey as the fabric option.  The sewing is very straightforward so I won’t really go into that, but I do want to talk a little bit about grading the pattern.

I am pear shaped and in this pattern (and pretty much all Grainline top patterns per the SIZE CHART) I am a size 4 bust and my hips sort of hover between size 8 and 10.  But with Sprout you can only pick 1 size, so I had to do some creative thinking.  I have square shoulders and a wide upper back so I usually like to go up a size (to a 6) for my bust.  And since this was a stretchy tee, I figured I would be safe going with the size 8 for my hips.  So I ordered a size 8 with plans of using the pdf pattern pieces to grade the top smaller.  Of course needing to print and assemble ALL the tee pieces pretty much negated the fast and quick factor of Sprout, but I really wanted to try the whole process once to see how it worked, AND it was still faster having the pieces already outlined on the fabric since it saved me from laying them all out and finding the grain, etc.

As I mentioned above, I unknowingly shrunk my pieces, so when I laid the pattern pieces on the printed fabric things did NOT line up like I expected.  The fabric shrunk WAY MORE vertically then it did horizontally… so they weren’t smaller everywhere, more like squashed.  In the end it was almost good that I was grading it smaller, because I was able to fix this with my adjustments.  It did mean however, that the top got shorter.  AND, the size 6 sleeve piece did not fit within the outline.  Thankfully, there was enough extra fabric elsewhere to trace the sleeves.  After that was all worked out the sewing was easy!  Especially since I sewed it twice with other fabrics prior to cutting into the good stuff.

Lark Tee in Pebbles fabric by Brenda Zapotosky 3

Overall I am very happy with the fit of this tee.  I LOVE the size of the scoop neck! It is basically my “dream scoop”.  The sleeves are maybe a tad snug for cap sleeves and I would like the tee to be an inch longer (but that was the fault of the shrinkage).  I absolutely LOVE the Pebbles design as a tee, but the white background version might not have been the wisest choice. (Thankfully I ALWAYS wear a tank top under everything).  I also do not love it in Modern Jersey and wish I would have chosen the Cotton Spandex instead.  I have sewn a TON of things with Modern Jersey, I love the fabric, but for a tee shirt… it is just not breathable enough for my tastes.  But this is totally personal preference.  I am a natural fibers gal.

Lark Tee in Pebbles fabric by Brenda Zapotosky 4

Lark Tee in Pebbles fabric by Brenda Zapotosky 2

*** You might have noticed a pants change in these photos… I actually took photos on multiple occassions (months apart!) and locations.  I actually finished this top last year!  The blog post was so delayed I had a chance to take another round!

If you love this project and want to make one for yourself, here is the direct link to the Lark Tee on Sprout Patterns already combined with this design.  If you like the tee but don’t want to use Sprout Patterns you can also buy it from Grainline Studio directly.  It is also available as a paper pattern.

PROJECT #2:  Neck and Ear Warmer Matching Set

Pebbles Winter Set by Brenda Zapotosky

Technically this Project #1 since I made this well before the tee shirt but the blog post flows better to have it at the end.  Using the Drizzle colorway of the Pebbles design, printed again on Modern Jersey, I made a matching fleece-backed ear and neck warm set.  Both of these are self-drafted.  I love the fit of the ear warmer but I think I would tweak the neck warmer proportions should I make it again.  And I would not use the Modern Jersey again.  While I do love it for infinity scarfs, in this application where I backed it with fleece, a fabric with more structure like cotton spandex works better.  I have made several ear warmers and the ones that used cotton spandex are much smoother against the fleece.

That’s it!  You made it to the end!  Woop!  I actually have made one other item with some of Sprout leftovers, a headband, but I don’t have a good photo to share.  (And still have pieces left I could use as accents on a future project too!) I think I covered everything, but feel free to ask any questions or just say hello in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

 

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: A-F

It is here!  The first blog recap of the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge!  6 letters and 12 weeks completed!  Wow.  This new theme has been quite fun and overall, for me at least, easier than the Alphabet Animal Art Challenge from last year. If this is the first time you are learning about the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge I recommend reading this blog post first.

Also, a side note:  I have been struggling with what simple word to use when writing about my illustrations.  I have settled on the generic combo fruit/veg to try to make things as simple as possible 🙂

Let’s start with a look at the first 6 illustrations I created:

A thru F Fruit and Veggies by Brenda Zapotosky

4 Veggies and 2 Fruits so far.  As I shared in the original blog post for this year’s theme, in addition to the Alphabet Fruits and Veggies I am also giving them all a “geometric” flare.  I am absolutely loving this twist on the theme as it frees me from trying to exactly recreate the fruit/veg I have chosen and gives me a bit of creative flexibility.  It is quite fun to choose my fruit/veg then think through the best way to geometrically create it.  In addition to the fruit/veg itself each illustration has a rectangle and hatching as part of the composition.  I added this for the first item, asparagus, to fill in the blank space and liked it so much I decided to make it a standard element for all the illustrations.  I think my favorite illustration this round is the Fennel, it was such a perfect fit for my geometric style.  Here is a closer look:

F is for Fennel by Brenda Zapotosky

I also really like the carrot.  In fact, I have already made it into a repeating pattern and added it to my Spoonflower Shop!  I think this Geometric Carrots print would be especially fun for the kitchen!

Geometric Carrots Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky Outlined

 

I anticipate more patterns in the future and probably a few that incorporate more than one fruit/veg. Those will probably come closer to the end or after the challenge once I have an entire collection.

Probably the biggest challenge I have encountered so far is fitting the fruit/veg well on my template.  I really liked the framed square I used for the Alphabet Animal Art Challenge and definitely wanted to keep the square format for this year too, however, so far the fruit/vegs have been much more vertical than the animals. Had I thought of this before starting I might have tweaked the format of the squares.  This is another good reason to incorporate the background rectangles and sticks as they help to fill the space.

Like last year, I extended an invitation for other artists to join me in the challenge. Not sure if fruit/veg are less appealing than animals, or that others found it too difficulat to stick to a year long challenge, but participation is down from last year.  (Actually last year started strong and then eventually everyone except myself dropped out).  3 other artists started the year with me.  I wanted to give them a shout out because I loved that they joined in.  And since there are less options with fruit/veg there were often repeat picks which I think is quite fun.  You can see all our creations on Instagram via the hashtag for the challenge:  #2018fruitandveggieartchallenge.  You can also check out all of the artist’s individual feeds:  onecreativechameleon, deevlasak, and jillbyersdesign

Jill from jillbyersdesign is the only artist that has also completed every letter and I wanted to give her a special mention!  She is also using a consistent design style and I absolutely LOVE how her collection is coming together!!!  Her style is so different from mine which is super fun.  Painting is NOT my strength, but I have done it enough to really appreciate the gift in others.  Jill definitely has the gift.  Here are her first 6 fruit/veg paintings!

Jill Byers A-F

So gorgeous, right?  I highly recommend giving her a follow on Instagram.  You can also find more of her work on her website and in her own Spoonflower shop (which is how we “met” in the first place!)

Speaking of other participants… you could still join in if you wanted!  I think that the fruit/veg are so much faster to create you could easily catch up at this point.  Or simply start at the latest letter:  G!  I even create a prompt list for each letter to give you ideas.  Find the latest one here.

I think that about covers it all.  I would love to hear which fruit/veg is your favorite!  Or any other comments you may have 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Alphabet Animal Art Challenge: The final recap!

Alphabet Art Challenge 2017 Final Review by Brenda Zapotosky

Finished!!!!!!!!!!!

That was the elation I felt when I completed the final animal in the Alphabet Animal Art Challenge!  52 weeks, 26 letters, and I created both a prompt list and an animal for ALL of them!  It is quite an accomplishment if I do say so myself, and NOT easy.

I had several reasons/goals/ideas when I first dreamed up this challenge and I am happy to say that I met them (and perhaps even surpassed them!) There is so much to share, in fact, that I hardly know where to begin… (And, if you are just hearing about this challenge for the first time you can read the original post here).

First, the animals!  All 26 of them.  One for every letter of the Alphabet and almost all of them posted within their allotted 2 week time frame!

26 Animal Illustrations by Brenda Zapotosky

It is rather amazing seeing them all together.  Such a wide variety!  The first animal, armadillo, is a bit out of place.  After that first letter, and motivated by a comment from my husband, I decided to go “cuter” with the look of my animals.  I am really glad I did!  I think that I was able to achieve a pretty good consistency of style throughout the year and, scale aside, these animals could work well in combination in addition to solo.  (In fact I plan on tweaking the armadillo to use in a project I have planned). I chose a handful of favorites to create the title art for this post, but honestly, while I definitely have ones I don’t like as much, there is future “potential” for most of these.  One of the great “side effects” of this challenge is that I now have a large library of animal characters ready to use in patterns, greeting cards, and any other sort of art.  In fact, many of them have already been used in these ways, which you will see below.

Next, I wanted to share all the “prompt” posts I did for Instagram.

26 Animal Prompts by Brenda Zapotosky

These were posted every Sunday (except for 1, which got delayed due to some major computer issues I had) to kick off the new letter and give some ideas to get participants started on their next letter. (Of course, after the first quarter most other participants dropped out, but I persevered in sharing the prompts anyways, always in hope of new people joining in!) Each prompt had 7 animals listed. I researched animals and created these letter by letter as the year went along.  You might be surprised to learn that I did NOT check prior to starting the challenge if there even was an animal for every letter of the alphabet.  Honestly, that didn’t matter to me.  I figured there would be an animal for MOST of them and I could always use adjective descriptors for a letter that did not have an animal.  It turned out, however, that every letter DID have an animal!!!  And in fact, I was able to fill all 7 “slots” on my prompt list for every letter (although for Y some of them are “adjective Y” animals)!  It was a bit of work putting together the lists but it was also fun.  I liked looking up the letter and discovering new and interesting animals.

As I mentioned above, I have built up an impressive library of illustrations that I can now use for other design projects.

Surface Pattern Design: I have ideas for patterns for many of the animals I have created, but so far I have only created one seamless pattern.  It features the flamingo and is titled:  Flamingos and Flowers. This design is now available as part of the Floridian Collection in my Spoonflower Shop.

Flamingos and Flowers Pattern Promo by Brenda Zapotosky

Greeting Cards:  I also created several greeting cards, basically on an “as needed” basis as occasions popped up throughout the year.  So far I have created 5 different greeting card designs, 2 of which, the elephant and owl, have 2 different color variations (I chose to only include 1 color version of each card below but you can see the other elephant here and the other owl here).
Animal Greeting Cards by Brenda Zapotosky

I think it would be fun to do some coordinating patterns for these as well.  I am particularly found of the Birthday Owl!

Onto my final thoughts:

  • One of my goals was to force myself to be creative on a regular basis.  This challenge definitely achieved that goal!  There were definitely times when I really did not want to create an animal for a particular letter, but since I committed to the challenge I did.  I am very happy for that.
  • Another goal was to improve my animal drawing skills.  Character design does not come easy to me, so this was a great way for me to grow that skill set.  I think some animals were more successful than others, but even my least favorites gave me good practice.
  • If I am disappointed with any part of the challenge, it was the dropping out of most of the participants after the first quarter.  I totally get it… it was hard for ME to keep up sometimes and I created the challenge!  But I did miss that social aspect of it.

I think that’s it!  It is a little weird to be done with this challenge.  But I am excited to move on to a new subject matter!  I announced the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge theme a few weeks ago:  Fruits and Vegetables!  It will be a nice change of pace.  I would love for you to join me!

Thanks for reading!  I would love to hear which animal is YOUR favorite!  You can comment below.

Brenda

Alphabet Animal Art Challenge: T-Z

The final group of letters for the Alphabet Animal Art Challenge is complete!  It is so exciting to be finished!  I considered combining the last quarter letter’s recap with an overall end of the challenge post, but for consistency purposes (and blog post length) I have decided to keep them separate.  So look for a final recap on the entire challenge coming (hopefully) later this week!

There were 7 animals in this final group.  Here is a look at all of them:

Animals Animals Letters T thru Z by Brenda Zapotosky

This was not my favorite batch, and included some of the most challenging animals from the entire year.  Even though I initially planned on avoiding fish (since I have drawn MANY in the past), for the letter X it ended up being my favorite choice, and it is definitely one of my favorite from this batch.

X is for X Ray Tetra by Brenda Zapotosky

I also really like how the Urial turned out! It is too bad it is a more obscure animal, not sure if/how I could really use him in the future.

U is for Urial by Brenda Zapotosky

I think another reason this round was more difficult, especially at the end, was the lack of time due to all the extra Christmas prep and activities etc. that I was doing.  More complex animals to draw (like the Yak and Zebra) combined with a time crunch equals less fun in my book.  One of the goals of this challenge was to force myself to be regularly creating new art, and it DEFINITELY did that.

During this last quarter I also created one new greeting card design using an animal from the previous batch, the raccoon:

Merry Christmas Raccoon Card by Brenda Zapotosky

I switched up his colors, added mittens, and placed him on some snow to give him a Christmas make-over!  (You can see the original version of the raccoon here.) This was a SUPER quick card design squeezed in to give to my husband for Christmas.  In the future, if I wanted to use the card again, I’d like to spend a bit more time on it, and use my own original font.  I am also considering a Christmas surface pattern featuring this guy and maybe a few other woodland animals.

That’s it for this round!  I have a ton of thoughts about the challenge overall which I will share in the final recap!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear which animal was YOUR favorite this round!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

ps.  In case you missed it, I announced the theme for the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge a few posts back!  Super excited for a new year and a new topic!  I would love for you to join me!

Announcing the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge!!!

I super excited about this post and to share the theme for the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge!  If you are new to this Challenge you can read all about the first one, The Alphabet ANIMAL Art Challenge, here. You can also read each of the quarterly updates here, here and here.

And so without further ado, and perhaps a little drumroll…. The 2018 theme is:

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!  (At least, I am hoping that is what you are thinking.)  I am very excited about this theme.  While the Animal theme was a great challenge to me personally, and I will be sharing a lot of thoughts about it all when I do the final recap of the year, I am looking forward to having a little bit simpler subject matter this time around.

The OFFICIAL name for this challenge will be the Fruit and Veggie Challenge, because that is more fun in my opinion, and makes for a shorter hashtag:  #2018fruitandveggieartchallenge

2018 Alphabet Art Challenge Announcement by Brenda Zapotosky

For this theme I have a very distinct vision for the style of the art I will be creating.  Since my days of doodle books, starting way back in college, I have LOVED hatching.  And one of the style methods I employ a lot in my artwork is creating “geometric” versions of common objects.  So for my fruits and vegetables this year, they will be geometric in style and employ hatching as part of the rendering.  I already created some patterns that use geometric fruits and vegetables, so I will be building upon that small library.  Here are a few examples (Which are available as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap in my Spoonflower shop) :

Geometric Pumpkins by Brenda Zapotosky

Tropical Pineapples Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky

As an added “bonus” this year, I have also decided to create a new geometric font to go with my fruit and veggie illustrations, which will add an element of Art to the “Prompt” posts that I do at the beginning of each letter. (You can see examples of the prompts on my Instagram feed.)

Ok, so onto the official “rules” for this Challenge.  There are 52 weeks and 26 letters, so that means 1 letter for every 2 weeks.  Since 2018 starts on a Monday, that will be our starting day for each new letter.  So Monday, Jan. 1 will kick off the letter “A”.  On each Monday where a new letter begins I will post a reminder on Instagram with the letter for that 2-week period and some ideas of fruits and veggies to get you started.

Like last year, this is JUST FOR FUN!  There are not any prizes for participating.  Use any type of medium you like to create your art.  And if you are late to join in or miss a letter or 2, that is totally fine!  I would like to do an artist round up like I did for the first quarterly recap of 2017.  Sadly participation last year drastically tapered off after that first quarter, so the other recaps did not include other artist’s work.  I hoping that there will be more participation this year and I will able to share a bit more of other’s work.

So get your artistic thinking caps on and start mentally prepping for a year of Alphabet Art Fun!  I really hope you will consider joining me!

Brenda

ps.  If you are not already following me on Instagram, I highly recommend it.  It is where I will be posting all the prompts and fruit and veggie creations.

Alphabet Animal Art Challenge: N-S

Hi folks!  I am back with the third recap in my year-long Alphabet Animal Art Challenge. 3/4 of the way through!  If this is your first time learning about the challenge you can see my original post here.  And recaps 1 and 2 here and here.

Let’s start with a look at the 6 animals I created for this portion of the challenge:

Alphabet Animals Letters N to S by Brenda Zapotosky

3 birds and 2 sea creatures in the mix. Very interesting.  Not sure if I can narrow down a favorite.  Instead I’ll make it a tie and choose both the nautilus and the peacock!  Here is a closer look at both of those:

N is for Nautilus by Brenda Zapotosky

P is for Peacock by Brenda Zapotosky

I don’t know how “marketable” the nautilus is to use for other things, but I just love him! The peacock on the other hand would be fun to incorporate into a pattern or a card.  I particularly love his fat belly and his feathers!  I could see a coordinating pattern using just those ovals from his feathers.

I have used one of the animals so far in a greeting card design.  The owl!  Here is a look at the super cute birthday card I designed in 2 colorways:

Owl Birthday Cards by Brenda Zapotosky

I especially love the new colorway I did for the second card with the pink and teal.  It would be fun to do a whimsical geometric owl collection using these two colorways.

Final thoughts:

This round was the same as most of the rest in that some animals were easier than others.  I write about my thoughts about each creation individually when I post them on my Instagram feed so I won’t bother rehashing that here.  One thing that is interesting:  I did not give any of these animals names!  I am big time into naming things so it is a little bit surprising that not even one was named.

With only 7 letters left, I anticipate some challenges in this final quarter.  I normally don’t research the next letter until I am ready to do my prompt post shortly before the Sunday I post it, so I really haven’t looked to see what my selection will be for the upcoming letters.  I can think of a few, but not many.  I have a hunch it will be slim pickings and possibly some creativity involved to get an animal for the rest of the letters (or else being force to draw something either really obscure or not very fun). The adventure continues!

I guess that wraps it up!  I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  Which animal was your favorite this round?

As always, thanks for reading!

Brenda