Category Archives: Artist Tips

Custom Matting Illustration with Creative Process or How to Draw a Custom Mat

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A few months ago I was contacted by a wonderful customer of mine whom asked if I would create a custom mat for her sisters wedding invitation. She gave me full creative liberties which is what I look for in a client these days.

I asked her for a few colours and a few images of what the wedding theme was and then went to town so to speak. The creative process follows with the final illustration above. You can click it to see more detail. Below is the beginning ink drawing rendered using Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I rarely if ever use pencil first and drawing directly with ink on paper.

wedding invitation matting, custom drawing, custom illustration, matting, mat, floral, ink drawing, coloured pencil drawing

Starting colour detail…

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Adding in more colour detail using Prismacolor Verithin coloured pencils and placed a deep cream sheet of paper behind mat to represent invitation colour. I purchased the pre-cut archival while mat from Michaels Crafts.

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The final size of the mat will fit a 5×7 inch invitation and fit into an 8×10 inch picture frame. I first met Elizabeth here in Saint John, NB last Summer while she was on a cruise vacation with her husband from Massachusetts, USA.

The Physics of Being Busy

Have you ever noticed how busy people seem to get more done?

I’ve heard that if you have a task that needs completing, give it to a busy person. They’ll get it done. Probably in a timely fashion too.

Maybe it has something to do with physics. People with a lot to do have a lot more energy whirling around them. They’re already moving fast. Adding something else just propels them faster. Tasks are easy because they’re used to doing them. They cook and clean simultaneously.

Now think of that person who never does anything. Their biggest contribution in life is unlocking a weapon in a video game. They sleep during the day. They have all the free time in the world to complete as many projects as they want. Yet… Would you have any confidence whatsoever that this person would be able to complete your task at all, let alone quickly?

I wouldn’t either.  Continue reading

Staying in Creative Shape

It’s easy to forget that our creativity needs practice. We often take artistic abilities for granted, because it’s just “been there” since we were children. Most of us are artists because it comes naturally. Sure we might have to learn discipline about the business aspects, but the art! Hey, that’s the fun part! That’s eeeeasy.

Until you hit a block. Then you spend each day staring at an empty screen or a blank canvas, cursing at the white space, convinced your career is over. The crying. The despair. Or maybe that’s just me. Continue reading

Renewal

Cleansing Rain

Relaxation doesn’t come easy for me, if at all. I’ve battled severe insomnia since I was a child. I’ve always had difficulty shutting off my brain. Over the years, I’ve developed pretty good skills at hiding it from the outside world, but internally I’m usually worrying over something. I like to drum up things to fret about if otherwise there’s nothing.

Working for myself is both a trigger and a relief in this regard. Since I’m obsessing over details anyway, I might as well direct that energy toward my own business. I work excellently on my own. I don’t need anyone to point out all the various nuances of business that I should be watching. (Even if I’m conversely too lazy to take action on them.)

Occasionally I must take drastic measures and run away somewhere. Travel is my drug of choice lately. It’s the only thing I find just as exciting as art. Sometimes more so. Sometimes it’s exactly what I need to inspire me to do more art. Often, while I’m gone, I still try to work. I answer emails, renew listings, send out invoices, keep everything moving along.

I think I’m afraid to let go. Continue reading

Don’t Make It Good

Don't Make It Good

I wasn’t always a painter. Sure, I’d dabbled before, but it was never something that had any sort of hold over me. In fact, I found it boring. Then one day, out of the blue, I had this terrible, burning, incredible need to paint. To really paint.

So, I did the only natural thing to do. I found this awesome painter I was acquainted with, who had a long and successful career as an artist, walked straight up to him and said,
“I want to paint.”

He didn’t blink. In fact, he told me exactly what to do.

The most important thing, he said, was not to spend too much money on materials. Specifically, he told me to start out with house paint, preferably the “oops” paint (the cans that had been messed up at the hardware store), because it was cheaper. At first I thought this was in case I decided I didn’t like painting. A good point, to be sure, but in actuality he didn’t want me to feel guilty using up anything I’d bought. Which I would have.

Then he told me what continues to be the best advice I have ever received about art, ever:

“Don’t make it good.” Continue reading

Loneliness – The Burden of Artists

The Lonesome Road of Artists

Don’t get me wrong — Being a self-employed artist is absolutely the most rewarding and fascinating journey I have ever undertaken. It lights my soul on fire and makes me happier than I ever thought possible. I feel empowered and capable. I absolutely love getting up every morning. I adore my job.

That doesn’t make it any less lonely though.

I’m not talking about the hermit-like lifestyle I lead all day, every day, in order to get work done. I’m talking about the absence of true connection with other people who don’t pursue goals in the same manner.

I’ve met many people who work 9-to-5′s and generally assume that I work very little, and that my daily life consists of TV, napping, and leisure. Somehow, amidst this life of endless stasis, my artwork, marketing, and writings burst forth into the universe simply because I think them into existence.

Whenever I achieve something I’ve been working towards, someone inevitably comments about how “lucky” I am. Ha. Continue reading

Artist Tip #25 – About the real price of things

So, today I read an article on the CBC about the surging Loonie. It’s now worth $1.05!

This is incredible, as growing up Canadian meant our dollar was always worth much less than the American Greenback. And even as recently as 2007 I was earning $1.25 CAD on every $1.00 USD when I transferred it from Paypal into my bank account. Those days are long gone and gone with them is the ability to price items for sale similarly to what my American friends and artists are pricing their items at.

Supplies and shipping costs are more expensive in Canada than what they are in the USA. And with the shipping and duty charges ordering supplies from the USA in the smaller amounts that I need, isn’t worth it at times. I do try to support both Canadian and US based businesses as possible when purchasing supplies and do scour the internet to be able to do so without decreasing the quality of my items. In fact, from whence I opened my shop in late 2007 to now I’ve actually increased substantially the quality of both the materials and packaging used on all the products I produce. That is what creates value. Continue reading

Artist Tip #24 – First new drawing in seven weeks time and why that’s OK

Fabriano Quadrato Drawing by Artist Jessica Doyle

Ever feel like you lost your mojo? Or that everything else was strangling you for your attention?

It’s amazing what happens when your life takes turns that you weren’t prepared for, or for that matter, even wanting. Needless to say I’m happy these days and back in the studio working full-time again. While it’s easy to worry when one week turns into seven weeks without even picking up a pen to doodle with, simply realize that it’s just your brain saying give me a break and to go and do other things and that when you come back to your passion, it will still be there. And further more, when you do return, you’ll likely feel inspired from the time you took off and by the things you did do during that period of time.

The creative process isn’t about who can produce or sell the most within a set amount of time… it’s more akin to an apple tree growing and cycling through the four changing seasons. Every year you’ll find yourself experiencing different weather systems and people that will come, go or stay in your life.

This little mandala like anemone was drawn with a sepia toned Faber Castell Pitt Artist pen and Prismacolor Veritihin coloured pencils inside a 9×9 inch Fabriano Quadrato multi-coloured journal. Click the image above for a larger version.

And after you’ve doodled for a bit you’ll soon find yourself craving to draw more complicated pieces. I’ve always likened drawing to riding a bicycle. You may get rusty but as soon as you begin peddling doodling again the colours and ideas will appear.

artist Jessica Doyle holding an illustration

I’ll be peeling the tape off of that one tonight. I’ll share the scans of it later this week.

Anyhow, wishing you all the best today and do take a peek at this new page on my blog!