Amy Ng blogs at Pikaland, a popular stop for illustration lovers, students and artists who are looking for answers on how to find a balance between art, creativity and commerce.
I started growing my own herb garden last year.
They’re potted mostly, but that’s because with two jack russell terriers tearing away in my garden they wouldn’t survive on the ground for long. I was inspired by Jamie Oliver picking his selection of herbs straight out a pot when I re-watched past episodes of 30-Minute Meals – and I asked myself why can’t I do that? Supermarkets around me aren’t always stocked with herbs. Well the fancy ones do have them, but they’re far away and I really didn’t want to drive 30 to 40 minutes to a mall just to pick up a few sprigs of rosemary!
So I started my gardening journey by buying packs of compost and potting soil (because using the rather unfriendly looking reddish-clay earth we had in the backyard yielded poor results too many times to be a coincidence), and had plastic cups all ready to go for germinating. I bought seeds of herbs that I liked – and as with anything I start, I did it with gusto.
After I sprinkled over my seeds of sweet marjoram, dill, rosemary and sage – all in individual pots – and stuck ice-cream sticks with the plant’s name on a washi-tape (because markers on wood looks icky when it gets hit by water). I gave myself a pat on the back and stood back to marvel at my handiwork. Hurrah! Then the waiting began. I watered them everyday, and looked at them in the morning, and once again in the evening. Nothing. All that stared back at me was black soil. I had hoped for a glimmer of green to peek through. Nada.
I waited and lowered my expectations. I peeked in nonchalantly (and yet hopeful) for a week before I spotted something popping out from the fresh ground. YAY! A quick glance over my other 3 pots of herbs however, signaled a nay. Maybe they weren’t ready to come out just yet? Maybe I got some bad seeds? Maybe the ants got to them in the middle of the night. Or slugs munched on them maybe? I don’t know. All I know was that my web browser history is ridden with gardening vocabulary, of the amateur sort, trying to figure out what went wrong.
Which got me to thinking. Creating anything – work, art, writing, etc – is almost like growing your own little garden. The same goes for businesses too.
You can sprinkle your seeds of imagination and ideas and be careful about them – judiciously watering them, feeding them, talking to them – but sometimes they don’t turn out the way you want them to. Which is why you spread them all around, in different pots, in different forms: through seeds, new cuttings, or the bulb of an old sprout. Some may take root and grow upwards, strong and tall. Others don’t take, and end before they can even begin. Some grow new shoots, only to be eaten by a passer-by snail; leaving only the barest of signs of being grisly eradicated before it could fully form.
And once you get these seeds on the ground, all you can do is wait. And water them. And wait again. And this process repeats itself as it grows; needing a complex combination of efforts to not only keep it stable, but to allow it to thrive and bear fruit.
It’s a nod to the universe in so many parallel ways – your labor of love is as complex, and yet while you can control a big portion of it, the rest is up to fate. One hopes for the best, and yet prepares for the worst. It’s a little dance in which you won’t know how it all will turn out; but one thing’s for sure: if you keep those seeds hidden, locking them away from soil and sunshine – you’ll never know how it all turns out.
So toss your seeds – your ideas, imagination and creativity – into the ground. Let them take hold and burst through the ground fresh and alive with hope. And what if it doesn’t turn out? Well, then it’s time to plant new ones.
Just remember to add water and love. And watch out for those sneaky slugs.
[Illustration: Lieke van der Vorst]
Happy Illustration Friday, fellow artists!
We’re ready to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Studio Lolo, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of POINTY. Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!
You can see a gallery of ALL the entries here.
And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:
Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).
Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.
Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).
Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the public Gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!
French born illustrator Marguerite Sauvage has been invading the comics world of late and she is wowing fans this week with her stunning interior art for the all-new DC Comics Bombshells series! Sauvage is a self-taught artist who actually decided to pursue a career in illustration after earning her degree in Law and Communication. Just some of her clients include such big names as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Louis Vuitton, L’Oréal, PlayStation, and Apple!
In addition to the interior art on Bombshells and Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #3, Sauvage has been very busy as a comic book cover specialist for such titles as Hinterkind, Wolf Moon, Secret Wars, Howard the Duck, Jem and the Holograms, Thor, and Wayward.
With so much great comics work completed in such a small amount of time(1-2 years..?), I’m excited to see what Marguerite Sauvage has in store for us the next couple of years!
If you’d like to see more of Sauvage’s work and get the latest updates, you can follow her on twitter here.
For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates
Alice and Martin Provensen illustrated more than 40 children’s books together starting from the mid 1940s. They have been listed on the New York Times Best illustrated books of the year nine times. Some of these books include; A visit to William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard, The Year at Maple Hill Farm which they also wrote and The Glorious Flight. Martin unfortunately died of a heart attack in 1987 but Alice went on to write and illustrate other books for example The Master Swordsman & The Magic Doorway. Their style of illustration is so whimsical and fun! They are such an enjoyment to look at for both adults and children.
Posted by Jessica Holden on 08/13/15 under artists
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Hello fellow artists!
We know you love a good art challenge.
Six winning submissions will have their art transformed into 10” wall clocks to be sold through Blik and Doodlers Anonymous. Plus, a portion of the royalties will go to the lucky artists!
Posted by Thomas James on 08/13/15 under artists
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Submitted by Joanna Kaufman for the Illustration Friday topic POINTY.
During the webinar, illustrator Nate Padavick shared his entry for this week’s Illustration Friday topic of POINTY, and you could almost hear everyone’s heart melt so of course I had to share it.
Hope this inspires you!
In our continuing effort to keep you inspired we’d like to tell you about this really fun online course that will walk you through the steps necessary to take your character illustrations to the next level.
In this class Matt Kaufenberg will take you through his process of illustrating a character, starting with the concept, then moving into Illustrator to create the shapes, and finally, rendering it in Photoshop.
What You’ll Learn
- Finding Inspiration
- Character Concepts
- Building the Foundation in Illustrator
- Rendering in Photoshop
- Color Adjustment and Texture
Posted by Thomas James on 08/11/15 under children's art,classes,Events,illustration,resources,technique,Tools,tutorial / how-to,workshops / conferences
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Hello fellow illustrators!
As promised last Friday, we are now in full effect taking Illustration Friday to the next level. The natural evolution of a fun weekly illustration challenge based on ideas is a deeper focus on the art of idea generation itself.
Yesterday we shared a stream of conciousness word list for this week’s topic of POINTY, and today we’re sharing some visual inspiration based on a simple image search using some of the words from that list. Use can use the images above to brainstorm for concepts that you might not have considered otherwise, or do some searching of your own!