Mad Tea Party

Hi everyone!

This month MATS Bootcamp is all about tea.

The Mini

First, for the mini assignment we had to do some research on tea and draw anything and everything we liked about it. Not set rules. We could draw absolutely anything we wanted as long as it was tea-related.

I started by working on a piece about what tea means to me. Before we were given the mini assignment I had been working digitally and with textures so I decided to stay in the same vein of work.

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While I was working on the piece above I got slightly carried away when I did my hand lettering and started another piece (below). The “minis” are all about experimenting and having fun so I didn’t mind too much starting and trying different things.

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I love these green colours mixed with the white and the black of the hand lettering. After I finished it I realised that it reminded me a bit of Clipper‘s tea packaging (although I didn’t use them as reference).

I couldn’t stop there however, and had to move from digital to analogue.

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I worked freehand with felt tip pens and a limited palette (above), and I worked with Posca pens and colouring pencils to add some texture (below).

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I love the piece above so much! Not only did I have a lot of fun making it but I absolutely love the bright colour combinations. I feel that this illustration is very like me and looking at it makes me feel happy and excited.

The Main Assignment – WIP

At the beginning of this week the main assignment – still tea-related – was revealed. This time we are creating a journal cover for the gifts industry and the focus is on tea leaf reading.

How unusual and exciting!

I have to confess that I have become quite obsessed with the theme.

After filling many sketchbook pages I started dreaming about what my journal cover would look like.

At the moment it’s all work in progress.

 

Some of the artwork that I will be using in the final piece.

I also bought a proper tea cup (we only had mugs at home) to give tea leaf reading – or tasseomancy as it is also known – a try.

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My new V&A tea set for one I bought in a sale. The design by Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690-1763) was originally for a woven silk.

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First ever tea leaf reading.

I have one more week to work on my assignment and submit it to the class gallery and then I am off to a big holiday that my boyfriend and I have been planning for a year.

But that’s another story for another day!

See ya!

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Mid-January Update

Can you believe it’s mid-January already? Because I can’t!

My birthday is fast approaching, so is the exciting holiday that my boyfriend and I started planning  last year (more on this another time)!… Where has the time gone?

Since I got back to work I have been in a sort of whirlwind and I really wanted to share with you what the past couple of weeks have been like for me before it’s all gone.

So here we go…

I’m starting the year with a minor shoulder injury, most likely caused by my first day back at the gym. I go to the gym several times a week and didn’t have that a long rest over the festive season (I mean, my boyfriend even got me to go for a run on the morning of Christmas Eve!) so I’m not sure what happened there. My first workout of the year did feel challenging (as it should) but not more than usual. Anyways. It’s not as bad now as it was the first week and I have booked an osteopath appointment for in a few days.

After a few years of not celebrating it, I introduced my boyfriend to the French tradition of the galette des rois (“king cake” in English). On the 6th of January French people traditionally celebrate the Epiphany by eating either a frangipane-filled pie or a brioche depending on the region of France you’re in. There is a lucky charm hidden in the pie/brioche and whoever gets it is crowned king or queen for the day. I made the pie version – it’s easier than making a brioche and it’s my favourite – and I got the charm (I didn’t cheat, I promise)!

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At Christmas I got some new neon acrylic paints and I’ve been having lots of fun with them so far (I can’t wait to use them again soon!).

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I finished working on a big and exciting client project that I had started before Christmas. I can’t reveal much more for now but more info on this as soon as I can.

I also started working on a fun collaboration with a French blog about expat life called l’Allée du monde. If you don’t already you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see a new illustration come out every Wednesday until the end of the month. And if you can read French I really recommend that you take a look at l’Allée du monde: it’s full of fun facts and anecdotes about what it’s like to live abroad as a French person. Gabrielle (the author of the blog), who I met for the first time in July last year, is a very lovely person and when she asked me if I was interested in working with her on this project I was over the moon because I love the way she writes (her blog is basically the expat blog I wish I had).

After taking my first Make Art That Sells Class in October last year I am back into MATSland! Lilla Rogers’s way of teaching is highly addictive and I had to have more. And since I really want to up my game and develop my career as a whole further in 2018 I thought that signing up for a bunch of her classes would be a fun way to make sure I do it (it can be tough at times to find the time to create your own artwork but it’s important to do it!). The MATS Assignment Bootcamp started again Monday last week and we had to draw what’s in our bag for the first mini assignment of the year.

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I challenged myself to draw “freehand” (no pencil lines before tracing) to keep it very spontaneous so that’s why it’s all a bit wonky. But I like it. And funnily enough the easiest item – the pen – is the one that I had the hardest time drawing (three attempts, no less!). Sure, I was getting a bit tired by the time I got to it. But still! It’s a freakin’ pen!

That’s for for me!

I hope that 2018  is treating you well so far. Do you have any goals for this year? Did you make any good resolutions?

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

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© Camille Medina 2018

Bye Bye 2017

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I can’t believe that 2017 is nearly over! I’m pretty sure I say this every year but there it is: this year has gone so freakin’ quickly!

Since it’s that time of year again, I took some time this afternoon to reflect on 2017 and set my goals for 2018.

I feel that this task was more difficult today than it has been in recent years.

One of the main reasons is that art-wise, 2017 was a bit of a confusing year. My illustration style evolved in a direction that is making me question where I want to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, it is super interesting and fun! But it threw me (as well as my previous goals) off balance and now I am trying to rethink everything I thought I knew.

I am also battling internally with ‘shoulds’ (those things that I feel I should do for x, y, z reason), ‘wants/don’t wants’ (the things that I want or don’t want to do) and an incredible portion of doubt.

I ended up writing a long list of questions. I guess I was hoping that I would get all the answers by end of day today but that didn’t happen (cough – obviously – cough).

Anyway.

My hope for the new year is that it brings me a new compass that will help me navigate the confusing waters so that I can set sail towards some exciting new worlds and hidden treasures (yo ho!).

 

 

Eeeek!

Next week I’m starting the Make Art That Sells ‘Illustrating Children’s Books‘ five-week online course with Lilla Rogers and Zoë Tucker, and I am both excited and nervous!

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It looks like it will be quite challenging and I’m not talking just about the course. I will also be juggling with the new season of Inktober (I can’t believe it’s been a year already!) and client work.

But it also looks like it could be an extremely rewarding and fun month!

How about you? Anything interesting happening in October?

 

How to be a successful artist

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We all have different ideas of what makes someone successful.

When I started illustrating professionally, I told myself that I would be successful when:

  • My work would be published by a renowned publishing company
  • My illustrations would be sold on products
  • I would have thousands of followers on my social media (basically when I would be famous)
  • My art would be my sole source of income

Quite quickly I started feeling like a total failure because despite all my hard work none of that seemed to happen.

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Do you know that saying that goes: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”?

Well, that’s sort of what happened to me. The universe, seeing that I was ready, threw a bunch of talks, podcasts and articles at me which helped me realise that I had been thinking about it all the wrong way and that I had dismissed every little good thing I had already achieved because it wasn’t ‘enough’ according to my high standards; because it wasn’t the ‘big thing’.

At that point three things happened almost simultaneously:

1) I remembered something that I had read in a few different books: that it is good to celebrate even the smallest successes, and failures too because it means that we tried something that didn’t work on this occasion but we tried, and we learnt.

This was a sort of epiphany and I realised the amount of stuff I had been dismissing up until that point. And I made a contract with myself: from now on I would record everything, successes and failures alike, no matter how big or how small. Keeping track of these turned my world upside down and I realised how much had happened since I had started my illustration career.

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2) I also changed my definition of success, which became “I will be successful as an artist when:

  • I create art consistently
  • I make art that ‘looks and feels’ like me
  • I make genuine connections thanks to my art”

Some of these things I was doing or were happening already!

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3) I accepted the fact that there was no shame in having multiple sources of income and that I wasn’t less of an artist for it.

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I still dream of being published by a renowned publishing company and to see my illustrations on products and I am working on it. But it doesn’t define how successful I am anymore and if that level of external recognition never happens then I will have at least enjoyed the journey and every step of the way.

I am happier with my life and with the person I have become now than I have ever been before. And that, to me is what really matters.

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So how can you become a successful artist then?

Maybe all you have to do is change the way you look at it and go back to the essence of what really matters to you and of what makes you happy. Maybe you are already successful and you just haven’t realised it yet!

Where To Share Your Artwork

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After last week’s post on Five Benefits of Sharing Your Artwork I got a few people asking what I thought the best places for sharing were so I thought that a new blog post was in order!

When it comes to sharing your artwork, you can take baby steps or jump all in. There is no set rule and it depends on what you are comfortable with. For example you don’t have to show your artwork to art directors or publishers straight away! Although if you feel brave enough to do it, go for it!

  • A good place to start is with people that make you feel good about yourself like family and friends whose opinion you value and who are supportive (these guys are so awesome that they will love you no matter what!).
  • Why not try to find a group of illustrators or creative people in your area who you can meet with regularly? Note: it is important that you feel comfortable with the people you choose to meet with since you will be talking about things that really matter to you and you want to be able to speak openly and feel supported so you might have to try a few different groups before you find the one that’s right for you. You want to find the right balance between support and constructive criticism, not people that put you down constantly in order to make themselves look better (you are not a punching bag!).
  • When you feel confident enough I think that the internet, and especially Instagram and/or a blog, is a good place to be too. If your intention is to become a professional illustrator you will need an online presence anyway so the sooner you start building that online presence the better. Don’t necessarily show absolutely everything and keep in mind that the number of followers that you get – as flattering as it can be – isn’t an indicator of success – or failure (but that’s for another post!).
  • If you hear about any events where art directors and/or illustration agents are happy to review and criticise your work, this is also a good thing to try too. It sure is scary because all of a sudden you are talking to people who could potentially hire you, but I find that it helps to realise that they are people too and not deadly mystical creatures. Plus you can see how potential clients react to your work and ask questions like how you could improve your work to make it more interesting to them.

I hope you found this post helpful! Don’t hesitate to get in touch to share your favourite places to show your artwork, we would all love to hear about your experience!

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