Aug 192014

So, I entered a little thing called Global Talent Search by Lilla Rogers Studio . I was super excited from the start. First of all, I’ve loved Lilla Rogers and the artists she represents since I found her website a few years ago. I’m always peeking in on her blog. Plus, since I love problem solving creatively, the thought of getting a random theme to illustrate along with hundreds of others sounded thrilling to me. Oh, and the prize is pretty amazing! The best part is seeing what everyone else has come up with. It is incredible to see other artist’s unique perspective on the same subject matter. Plus, everyone has their own special process. Here is mine:

Theme: TERRARIUMS (wall art)

First, I do a little research. I Google images or (if I can) I’ll visit a place that has what I’m illustrating or even use things around the house as reference.


Second, comes the sketching…Sometimes it’s pretty and I take the time to really study the subject matter or sometimes it’s a scribble in the middle of the night when I get a random idea. I start to think of overall layout and style. What am I trying to say? Who’s my audience? What do I feel inspired to create? I feel like anything artistic needs to happen organically – it can’t be forced. I know it might sound silly, but it’s like the image already exists somewhere in me, it just needs to be revealed.

photo 1

At last, I start my final illustrations with a light pencil drawing. Just to do a basic outline. I keep it simple at first and then I go over in more detail with ink. I’ll create subtle shading with lines and a little crasshatching. I begin adding color with a watercolor foundation. This allows me to start light and create layers of transparent color. I go over that with colored pencil and/or acrylic paint if necessary to add more color or highlights. Once I’m satisfied, I sometimes retrace my outline in ink again. I really like the outlined “look”. Sometimes I’ll skip the coloring all together and just use the ink line drawing.

Now comes the fun part. Not always, but usually I like to put together my illustration in pieces. Almost like an actual terrarium.

photo 2

Once I have all the pieces scanned into the computer, I start putting it together in Photoshop. Adding texture or shadows as I see fit, almost like painting, but digitally. The best part is being able to move things around if it doesn’t feel right or take something out if it doesn’t fit the way I expected. I could always use the magic of Photoshop to change things if I had illustrated it all in one piece, but it’s much easier (in my opinion) when it’s already broken down into layers. Plus, I can always use the pieces in something else.

 photo 4

Above is a portion of my final piece. You’ll be able to see the full gallery of other entries (including my own) on August 26th. :)

In the meantime, you can use these hash tags to see some sneak peaks: #globaltalentsearch #lillarogers #gts2014

There were 999 entries and only 50 make it to the next round… so we shall see…

 August 19, 2014  No Responses »
Jun 082014

I love seeing my designs in action! Ryan Wiser, an amazing PE teacher at Prairie View Elementary, put together a World Cup at his school in Spokane, Washington.  I had the opportunity to design a t-shirt logo for him! Looks like the kiddos had a great time! Awesome job Ryan!

Pictures courtesy of Melanie Wiser. :)

 June 8, 2014  No Responses »
Mar 022014

As a kid I loved drawing stories. I thought “what a dream job to illustrate a story”. I used to imagine I’d work for Disney or I’d envision a children’s book with my artwork sitting on the shelf of a book store. As I grew up, I just didn’t allow myself to think it was truly possible. As an art major in college, I loved every second of my drawing, painting and illustration classes.  However, I focused on my graphic design concentration without ever considering I could also pursue illustration. I’ve done well with graphic design. I’ve had great jobs and good feedback. I enjoy the creative side of it, I’m good at communicating and deadlines. I have a love affair with paper in general and enjoy seeing my final designs in print form. I really thrive with artistic problem solving.

Yet, marketing and typography pales in comparison to the joy I get when I illustrate characters and paint landscapes. I love telling stories with my words and my art. There is a bliss I find in creating a whole new world or creature that didn’t exist before. I could do it all day and not notice… and perhaps that’s the danger. All my friends and family have heard me talking about it now. “I want to illustrate children’s books, sell my illustration work and license my work.” Everyone agrees I should!

I’ve stood outside this dream of mine… window shopping, staring at this desire for so long and weighing my pros and cons. I can almost hear a real voice saying “Brenda, follow your bliss already!” It sounds so easy…I look at other people doing what I want to do. I’ve researched ways I would do it and followed other illustrators on Facebook. I have basically salivated all over this beautiful idea I have of following my creative dream. I’ve taken the smallest of baby steps to the door…I started building my illustration portfolio, I started looking at publishers I’d send my information too, I started promoting myself online and trying to connect with other illustrators. I have finally stopped procrastinating and sabotaging my own progress.

Now I suddenly realize, I’m not outside looking in anymore. The door has opened, the bell has rung, and my future is saying, “May I help you?”

(To be continued)

 March 2, 2014  No Responses »
Feb 232014

Pinterest has overwhelmed me with ideas. Projects I want to try and recipes that sound good. Every day I peruse the images and it sparks even more ideas. Yet, funny thing is, who has the time? I usually don’t! Between work, house busy work and chasing after my ten month old (and husband), I’m sure you can imagine what kind of excuses and justifications I’ve made for myself. But not today. Today I picked a few new recipes and pulled out my sewing machine. The best part of today were these bad boys:


Here’s where I got the recipe: Yummy Homemade Pretzels

Sooooo incredibly yummy and easy! I WILL be making these again!! I never did get the chance to actually sew, but I got a ton of cutting, measuring and sewing prep done. Next free time I have, I might actually finish a project…how about that?! And guess what? It was still a productive family day!!

 February 23, 2014  1 Response »
Feb 202014

Paper by Fifty Three is an awesome app I’ve been using lately. It feels like and acts like a traditional sketchbook despite the fact that it’s all digital. It’s fun, useful and clever… And yet the only space it takes up in my bag is the size of an iPad mini.  I love it!


 February 20, 2014  No Responses »
Jan 302014

It’s snowing outside my window and I’m happy to be in Colorado again! I’m in the mood to color and since the super bowl is tomorrow…I thought I’d whip something up and share:



As always, my illustration progress:


Happy Coloring!
Here are other coloring pages: Winter Coloring Pages



 January 30, 2014  No Responses »
Jan 022014

The whole time I worked on this piece,
I wanted to step into it and listen to what that momma bear is reading!!
I think I would be that raccoon hanging from the tree! Who would you be?
I can’t wait to add color to this fun illustration!


This was my process:

 January 2, 2014  No Responses »