Alphabet City Art Challenge: Year End Recap

Alphabet City Art Challenge Final Review by Brenda Zapotosky

It is time for the Year End Recap for the Alphabet CITY Art Challenge!  I’ll share my overall thoughts at the end.  But first let’s start by looking at the illustrations!

26 Alphabet City Illustrations by Brenda Zapotosky

What a great mix!  I love the variety in the group as a whole.  It is a great collection overall!

It is interesting seeing the variating and color distribution of the title stripes since I just sort of picked colors randomly as I went (Trying to use the three color options evening but not really paying attention to how the final mix would look).  When I created the Clock Tower I loved how title stripe was layered behind the clock tower (out of neccessity).  I hoped to have more boards like this but if never really worked out again.

One thing I love about the this group that wasn’t true with the previous two challenges is the consistancy of color!  I began with a set color palette already in place from my CITY Collection.  It was this Collection that also inspired the overall look and scale of the illustrations and I love that I now have many more buildings to add to all the existing ones I originally created for my Around the Town design:

Around the Town Promo by Brenda Zapotosky

There a large number of illustrations that do not incorporate with these because of scale, or view, or “levels” (like the subway).  But there are many that do.  When it worked, I was consistant with door height etc so that all the “regular” scale ones CAN work together.  In the course of the Challenge I did create a few street view illustrations here is a reminder of what they look like:

2 CITY Street Views by Brenda Zapotosky

It is impossible for me to pick a favorite out of the group or even a top 3.  Instead you can read about more about my thoughts on the groupings of illustrations in the 3 previous Recaps (linked at the end of this post).

Also part of the Challenge were the CITY Blocks I created for each letter.  Here is a look at them all together:

26 CITY Letter Blocks by Brenda Zapotosky

The look of these were inspried by the original CITY Collection Logo.  All letters are my own original font:

CITY Original Lettering by Brenda Zapotosky Online

I love this font overall and definitely plan on using it in the future.  I will probably need to do a few tweaks.  I did not like the “B” when I created it… and I still don’t!  But I never got around to editing it.

Unlike the previous challenges I have not created any new patterns or cards featuring these illustrations.  I do have a project planned for them AND the font!  A very exciting one in fact.  But it is something I am keeping secret for the moment.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall I think this challenge was easier to execute than the others since architecture is already a strength of mine.  And I really enjoy drawing buildings and built spaces so it was mostly fun.  But having to stick to the alphabet was not always enjoyable. And of course there is the deadline of the 2 week time frame…

So for 2020 I have decided that there will not be an alphabet challenge.  While it is a great way to motivate me to create new art pieces on a regular basis, the alphabet component is too constraining.  Also… this has been an Instagram centered challenge and with all the algorythym changes the posts just aren’t getting much engagement.  This wouldn’t be such an issue if these posts were spread across multiple platforms.  But if the main place I am sharing the art isn’t showing the art to many people, then I am mostly just creating for myself.  With that in mind… I think my design time will be better spent elsewhere.

To those have been following along and liking etc for the past year (or longer) BIG THANKS!  To those just reading about this challenge here are the previous posts so you can catch up!

And that’s a wrap!  After 3 straight years of Alphabet Challenges I look forward to a change!  I hope you will follow along with me on Instagram as I share more new work this year (including a NEW, non-alphabet challenge I will be doing monthly).

THANKS for Reading!  And feel free to comment below.  I love hearing your thoughts!

Brenda

Alphabet City Art Challenge: S-Z

Alphabet City Art Challenge Blog Post S thru Z_CITY S thru Z

It is time for the 3rd (but not final) recap of the Alphabet City Art Challenge!  I have decided to dedicate a post to the last group of letters and then do a full year recap.  If this is your first time hearing about this Challenge you can read the Introduction Post and the First Recap and Second Recap to catch up!

As usual I will start with a look at all 8 illustrations that make up this group:

City Illustration Boxes S thru Z by Brenda ZapotoskyI want to note that I did change one illustration since posting it on IG.  I revised the Visitors Center which used to have a “TI” on its sign.  I thought “TI” was a universal term for tourist information, but it turns out it is not… So I switched it to a generic star.  Ha ha!  If you want to see the original you can find it HERE.

I am really happy with this group of illustrations.  Some of the more difficult letters are part of this batch and not only did I find something to draw for each letter, they aren’t just filling a slot, they are nice choices!

I did have to be creative with the letter “X”.  For that one I decided just to go with something that had a “X” in it.  And expressway sounds like it starts with “X”!  Good enough!  Actually it is one of my favorites of the group!

X is for Expressway by Brenda Zapotosky

It was nice to create an illustration in plan view and I just love the energy and activity of the cars.  Plus I love how bold the colors look, especially since it fills up so much of the presentation square!

Another favorite of mine is the Yacht club:

Y is for Yacht Club by Brenda Zapotosky

As a person who loves to sail and has a partiality for the nautical it makes sense that I like this one.  But also the colors and unique building design are things I like too.  Interestingly, the idea I had in my head for this one was very different.  Originally I was going to pick WHARF for the letter W.  I actually picked it way before I even reached W.  But as I got near the end I realized there were more options for W than Y and that a Yacht Club could be very similar to a Wharf.  I envisioned LOTS of boats docked (which for wharf would have worked well) but when it actually came to draw this one I was more drawn to the idea of a nautical themed building.  I did slip in one boat!  And as a disclaimer:  I know that the sail most likely would NOT be up when docked… I did it for the visual effect.  We can pretend they got caught in the rain and wanted to dry out the sail!

The subway is another favorite.  Again, it was nice drawing a different view, this time a cross section… one of my favorite construction views from back in my architecture days.

S is for Subway by Brenda Zapotosky

A lot of time was invested for all that detail too!

Finally I want to give a mention to a special detail for the Zoo.  When thinking of how I could illustrate a sprawling place like a Zoo I decided to focus on just the front entry.  To give it a unique Zoo look I decide to add some animal silhouettes!  To create these I started with a few animals from a previous challenge:  The 2017 Alphabet Animal Art Challenge.   Unfortunately, while I love the idea of a simple monochrome outline, especially when envisioning a real wall, they do not stand out as much as I would like.

Z is for Zoo by Brenda Zapotosky

I also wish I could have come up with a better way to depict the “zoo in the background” that you glimpse through the gate.  But I do like the color embellishments along the top of the wall and the ticket booth.

Overall I think this group was a strong finish to the challenge!

Finally, as with the rest of the Challenge I also created a letter block for each of the 8 letters in this batch.  Here is a look at them all together:

City Letter Boxes S thru Z by Brenda Zapotosky

Stay tuned for final recap that will discuss the entire years worth of illustrations!  Coming Soon!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Sewing: Handmade Ornaments

Checkered Christmas by Brenda Zapotosky Tree Ornaments

Today I am sharing with you an easy handmade Christmas gift idea that you can make with SCRAPS!  Yay!  Scrap busting ideas are always welcome to me!  Hopefully they are for you too!  And since you can use scraps, you could sew up a few of these in time for Christmas. (You could change up the batting if you don’t have it on hand).

This is sort of a simplified tutorial (my first ever!)  I’ll describe how I made these in a few short steps but no photos of the process.

But first:  The fabric!  The main fabric I used for these ornaments was one of my own designs:  Checkered Christmas, in both the Merry (top) and Festive (bottom) colorways.

Checkered Christmas Promo By Brenda Zapotosky
Checkered Christmas is part of my Classic Christmas Collection

I originally purchased this fabric for another Christmas gift project which you can read about in this POST.  The fabric type was Spoonflower’s Lightweight Cotton Twill (but you could used any woven type of fabric you’d like).  I paired it with some Forest Green Canvas in my stash.  I cut the main fabric at an angle to add a little visual interest and fused it with a layer of batting to give it some extra thickness.  The ribbon for the loops was also in my stash.  You could also use embroidery thread, yarn, or even a tiny loop of thread for an ornament hook to attach.

Checkered Christmas by Brenda Zapotosky Tree Ornaments 3

HOW TO:

Before diving in I want to say that these instructions are for a medium weight fabric like the Canvas Twill.  If you choose something lighter, like quilting cotton, you may want to interface pieces, add fusible batting to the trunk, or even have the batting on both pieces of the triangle.  You want to make sure there is a enough stability that they can hang nicely.

Step 1:  For each ornament CUT:  (2) Tree Top Triangles, (2) Tree Trunk Rectangles, and  (1) Fusible batting triangle approx 3/8″ smaller all around than the tree triangle. (See Diagram at the end of post for dimensions).

Step 2:  Fuse 1 side only of the tree top triangle with the batting. (You could skip this step or interface with non-batting instead.)

Step 3:  Sew tree trunk rectangles right sides together on 3 sides with a 1/4″ SA, leaving the top unsewn.  Clip corners, turn right side out and press well.

Step 4:  Sew tree top triangles right sides together with a 1/4″ SA, leaving an opening in the bottom center slightly wider than the finished outside dimensions of the tree trunk rectangle.  Clip corners, turn right side out and press well.

Step 5:  Insert the trunk into the bottom of the tree, unsewn side up approx. 1/4″  Secure with a pin, washable tape etc.

Step 6:  Add top attachment piece of your choosing.  For my trees I secured the ribbon loops to the top of the trees with a few hand sewn loops of thread.  I THINK I did this before sewing the tree opening closed so I could hide the knotted ends INSIDE the tree.

Step 7:  Top-stitch around entire tree outline with a 1/8″ SA (which will attach the trunk to the tree top).

And Voila!  Your simple ornament is finished!  Repeat steps 1-7 for as many as you’d like.  As you can see below I made A LOT of these!

Checkered Christmas by Brenda Zapotosky Tree Ornaments 2

I hope this tutorial was helpful.  If a step is unclear please let me know so I can clarify!

CUTTING DIAGRAM:

Tree Ornaments Cutting Information by Brenda Zapotosky

These are the approximate dimensions for my trees.  I made these for Christmas 2018 and the trunk might have been sized slightly differently.  I had hoped to have a pdf download of the “pattern” as part of this post.  (and may add it in the future).  For now, if you would like a printable copy of the pieces let me know and I can send them too you.

Thanks for much for reading!  If you make this and share online please be sure to tag me so I can see your creation!  On Instagram: @brendazapotosky

Merry Christmas!

Brenda

 

 

Alphabet City Art Challenge: J – R

Alphabet City Art Challenge Blog Post J thru R

It is time for the second recap for the Alphabet City Art Challenge.  This time I am sharing the illustrations I created for letters J thru R.  If you are new to learning about this art challenge you can read the original blog post HERE.  And you can find the first recap HERE.

Ok! Let’s start with a look at the 9 illustrations in this group:

City Illustration Boxes J thru R by Brenda Zapotosky

 

This is an interesting group.  There were some challenging letters in the mix, not only in terms of finding an appropriate city sight to illustrate (i.e. koi pond, quilt shop) but also in creating a building that could distinctly convey a certain sight without using specific branding (i.e. jazz club, post office, restaurant).  It would be an interesting to see if I had posted all of these illustrations without the titles if people would be able to name what they depicted.  Obviously the Jazz Club has the word JAZZ on it and the post office has an envelope so that would help. These features were added specifically to help convey their function.  I think the newsstand is probably the only one that is obviously apparent. (Even the lunch truck could be mistaken for an ice cream truck etc.)

N is for Newsstand by Brenda Zapotosky

 

The newsstand is one of my favorites of this batch too.  It was fun to create something other than a building and to create something at a scale big enough to show some detail.  I really enjoyed “filling the shelves” of this kiosk.

I also really like the Quilt Shop:

Q is for Quilt Shop by Brenda Zapotosky

I LOVE the quilted components I was able to incorporate and how their colors really pop in contrast to the gray building.

As I did with my first recap I put together a couple of “street views” so you could see the buildings interacting with one another.

CITY Street View 2 by Brenda Zapotosky

I really like seeing them in relationship to one another.  The modern Art Museum and classical Opera House don’t initially seem like an obvious pairing, but I think within the contest of an “Arts District” they could work!

I have also continued to post a letter block on the Monday of each new week period.  Here is the collection of letters J-R:

City Letter Boxes J thru R by Brenda Zapotosky

I really like seeing them all together in a grid like this.  Since it is difficult to continue to come up with new silhouettes, after the letter “M” I started over and reused the same blocks, but I mirrored them to give them a little variety and then made tweaks as needed to work well for the new letter.  So the letter “N” started with a mirrored version of the “A” block and so on.

And that wraps about another batch of alphabet city sights!  I anticipate a few challenges with the last batch of letters, but I already have at least one idea that I am super excited about!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see each illustration when they get posted.

And feel free to comment on this post!  I love hearing from my readers.

Thanks!

Brenda

Alphabet City Art Challenge: A-I

Alphabet City Art Challenge Blog Post A thru I

Time for the First Recap in the 2019 Alphabet City Art Challenge!  This year, I have decided to three recaps instead of four, so this first post will look at the illustrations I created for letters A thru I.  If you missed what the challenge is all about you can read the announcement blog post HERE.

Let’s start with a look at the 9 Illustrations I did for the first round, as they were presented as square, framed art.

City Illustration Boxes A thru I by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I think this is a fun mix.  I have been intentionally switching up the colors so that there is a variety and looking at them all grouped together like this, I am very happy with the overall feel of the collection so far.  Whenever possible I have been keeping the scale of the buildings similar as well.  So, for example, for all the buildings with doors, all the doors are the same height. This was done so that I could easily combine them together in future compositions.  Just for fun, I arranged the buildings in two “street” views so you can see how they look.  (I had to change up the Gas Station colors a tad to make it work).

CITY Street View 1 by Brenda Zapotosky

 

As with past challenges, I did not “research” ahead of time if there would be a good pick for every letter.  I am mostly choosing each subject as I reach that letter (I did/do have some pre-picked ideas for a few of the letters).  Embassy was the biggest “surprise” so far, as it took me a while to come up with that idea (and I almost chose something else before it came to me).  It was one of the trickiest to create too, especially the curved entryway.

E is for Embassy by Brenda Zapotosky

My overall favorite is the Clock Tower.  It isn’t the most elaborate or even creative of the illustrations but I really love the overall feel of the composition.  The title for this one had to moved up to fit everything and I love how the building interacts with it.  Hopefully a few more illustrations down the line can also be arranged in a creative way.  Also… it makes me think of Italy.

C is for Clock Tower by Brenda Zapotosky

Somewhat surprisingly, the most “hearted” illustration so far has been the Gas Station.  Now I know that there are a lot of factors that can influence hearts, including when the artwork is posted and what hashtags it has…. So it could be that I just picked a “hot list” of hashtags.  Still, it is a pretty fun one.  Lots of little details.

G is for Gas Station by Brenda Zapotosky

So far I have not created any other art or patterns that incorporate any of these illustrations.  I already have the CITY COLLECTION in my Spoonflower Shop that features many city inspired designs, so I don’t have any specific plans to create more surface patterns.  As part of that collection, I have my Around the Town design that already includes many City buildings, which has added an extra challenge as I am trying to not repeat any of those and it includes many ubiquitous buildings.

That wraps it up for the illustrations, but I did want to talk about the letters/titles too.

I mixed things up this year and instead of using “A is for xxx” etc. to title my illustrations (like in past years) I chose to just put the word I was illustrating.  And the lettering for those words, is all original by me.  I like this clean look, but I do wonder if people who stumble upon the illustrations without knowing about the challenge miss out on the alphabet connection. Also new this year:  I have not been posting idea prompt lists.  Instead I have been simply posting the letter for the 2 weeks on their designated Mondays.  Here are the 9 posts so far:

City Letter Boxes A thru I by Brenda Zapotosky

I had already established the style of the letters with the CITY Collection title art, and I have been creating new letters as I have needed them (for either the letter prompts or in the illustration titles). The cityscape used also began with the CITY Collection title art, I have simply been mixing up the details for each letter.

Ok.  I think that covers everything. I hope you enjoyed this first recap.  If you aren’t already, be sure to Follow Me on Instagram to see each new Letter Prompt and Illustration as I post them.  And feel free to comment below!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

 

 

 

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: Year End Recap

alphabet art challenge 2018 final review by brenda zapotosky

Today I am bringing you the Year End Recap for the Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge and I am very excited to be wrapping things up!  Actually… this is sort of a Part 1 as I have a follow up post planned… but more on that at the end.  And if this the first time you are hearing about this challenge, you may want to read the orginal challenge announcement HERE.

Let’s begin with a look at all the fruit and veggies I illustrated this past year:

26 fruit and vegetable illustrations by brenda zapotosky

I think it is such a fun and colorful collection!  I love seeing them all together like this.  My design parameters for this challenge were to do a geometric interpretation of the fruit/veg which included simplifying shape lines, segmentation, and using hatch, dots etc. to create texture.  You may notice that all the boards also include a background rectangle(s).  This was not originally planned, but I added it for the asparagus to fill in the white space and liked it so much I decided to make it a standard feature for all the boards!  Overall, I am extremely happy with this collection as a whole.  I already shared favorites and other thoughts in my quarterly recaps so I won’t do that again.  If you missed any of those, they are all linked at the end of this post.

As with last year, one of the goals of this challenge, besides committing myself to creating new art on a regular basis, was to create a library of illustrations that could be used in other ways.  I would definitely consider this aspect a success.  I created three new patterns which incorporated one of more of the fruit/veg and have ideas for a few more in the future.  I have also had a request for a poster version that would include most of the illustrations. This will be similar to the animal art poster I did last year but smaller and probably without the words. You can see that poster in THIS post.

Two patterns I created featured just one illustration:  Geometric Carrots and Geometric Strawberries (which has two different colorways).

carrots and strawberries patterns by brenda zapotosky

I also created a pattern that uses many of the above fruit/veg along with some other ones not part of the alphabet collection.  Geometric Taco Bar was created for a Spoonflower contest.

Geometric Taco Bar Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky

All of these designs can be found as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap for sale in my Spoonflower shop.  Along with several other geometric food designs from the past.  Here is a link to the entire Geometric Food Collection.

The other major component of this year long challenge was the Letter Prompt lists that I posted at the beginning of each fortnight.  These prompts included an original block letter and a list of fruit/veggie ideas that began with that letter.  Here are all 26 together:

26 fruit and vegetable letter lists by brenda zapotosky

I tried to include 7 options for each letter but as you can see that wasn’t always possible.  I enjoyed learning about different fruit/veg I had not heard of before. The font is an expansion of a slightly more simplified block font I had started a few years ago. (You can see an example of the letters on my Colorful Merry Christmas Text pattern.) I had been adding to it as needed so not all the letters were there. AND I modified the look of most of them and added all the hatching.  It was nice to create a font in increments like this. It made it much less tedious.  I am super happy with the alphabet as a whole:

stripey block font by brenda zapotosky

I definitely plan on making a repeating pattern with these letters.  And I am excited to play with lots of color variations!  Plus, now I have it to use for future projects!  WIN!

Overall I think I can call this year long challenge a success!  Admittedly, I wasn’t always enthusiastic to work on some of them.  And I was definitely happy to reach the end.  But looking back on the library of illustrations and letters I now have I am happy I did it!

And… so did two others!  Yup!  Two fellow artists followed along and completed *most* of the challenge!  Since their work is so different from my own and I knew this blog post would be long to begin with I have decided to give them their own Featured Artist Post. COMING SOON!  (I will link it once it is live).  You are definitely going to want to come back and see their beautiful creations!

And as mentioned above, in case you missed any of the previous posts about this challenge here are all the links:

EDITED:  The bonus Artist Feature post is now up!

Finally there IS a new challenge for this year!  We are still in the middle of letter A so if you feel inspired to join in you still can from the very beginning!  The theme is CITY and you can read all about it HERE. Or you just follow along with me!

Do you have a favorite?  Any fruit or veggie you would like to see as a pattern?  I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge: T-Z

Happy New Year friends!  January is going to be a busy time on my blog so get set for a flurry (relatively speaking) of posts! We begin with the “fourth quarter” recap of the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge, letters T thru Z.  There will also be a final year end recap but I wanted to give some thoughts on the last batch of letters and illustrations before contemplating the year as a whole.

First a look at the 7 fruit/veg I created for the final quarter of the alphabet:

T thru Z Fruit and Veggies by Brenda Zapotosky

Overall I quite like this group.  Despite the fact that there were less options for many of these letters I was able to find something interesting to illustrate for each.  It is actually quite difficult to pick a favorite.  I will call it a tie between the Turnip and the Ulluco.

T is for Turnip by Brenda Zapotosky

Interestingly, I was hesitant to choose turnip since I drew radishes for R and I thought they might be too similar.  But it was an enjoyable challenge to determine the differences and make the turnip its own unique thing.  Here is a side by side view.  (PS: The identical frame colors was not planned!)

Radish and Turnip by Brenda Zapotosky

The letter U was one of the more challenging one in terms of choices, making my love for the finished illustration all the more sweeter!

U is for Ulluco by Brenda Zapotosky

I love the look of the vegetables; the colors used for them, the background and frame; and just the overall composition.  It is too bad this would probably not be very marketable as a pattern, etc.

Choosing a favorite is difficult but choosing a LEAST favorite is not!  Yam is the “winner” of that unfortunate prize.  To be honest, I think my geometric rendition is fairly good in terms of representation… I just don’t like it!  It sort of looks like a hairy rectangle to me!!!!  In real life they are sort of “hairy” so again… rather accurate. You will NOT be seeing a Yam pattern in my Spoonflower Shop!  Ha ha ha

Y is for Yam by Brenda Zapotosky

However, you probably WILL be seeing a Watermelon one!  I see the most potential with this one either alone or incorporated in a more elaborate print.  Perhaps something picnic themed.  I have nothing in the works yet… maybe closer to summertime.

W is for Watermelon by Brenda Zapotosky

That about wraps it up!  Overall I would say it was a strong finish to the year long challenge!  Up next will be the entire year recap.  In the meantime, in case you missed it, the 2019 Alphabet Art Challenge has officially begun.  The theme is CITY and you can read all about it HERE.

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at the final set.  Do you have a favorite?  I would LOVE to know which!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

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