Blog

February 16, 2019

I decided to move the design blog over to my other site sanddogdesigns.art and keep this site as my main portfolio site.  I just think it’s cleaner that way.

You will still be able to see my collection cards here, but all of the other posts about my creative process, challenges, and current projects will be on the other site.  I hope you’ll join me there.

February 5, 2019

I am beginning work on a new collection this week.  The inspiration is Versailles palace and I’m really excited to create a romantic floral collection with ornate details and a soft color palette.

January 18, 2019

Focusing hasn’t always been my strong suit. I have a billion ideas, but often no clear plan to get things done in an organized fashion. For instance, I have about seven print collections I want to create – yet I have 47 watercolor motifs sitting in my orphan folder waiting to be combined to form those collections – and don’t even ask me how many boards I’ve created on Pinterest to inspire new collections. So how did I spend last Sunday afternoon? By creating NEW watercolors and scanning them for (yup) MORE collections!

I can’t complain that I’m ever at a loss for inspiration. I think about new designs all the time. I sketch constantly, I make color palettes on my phone while I’m waiting in line. I pin ideas to Pinterest or save ideas from Instagram. So this weekend I’m going to do something completely different: I’m going to organize the orphan files tonight and get down to completing collections tomorrow. No more pinning. I’m just going to pick a collection and start it (notice how I didn’t say FINISH it?).

I don’t think collections are every truly finished for me. I look back at my Malaysian Rain Forest collection and I know I will paint new flowers. I know I’ll create a new batik background. That collection will grow. So will the others. They’ll grow and they’ll get combined in new ways. That’s part of what keeps me doing this. There’s infinite possibilities to create. Those possibilities only exist because of my lack of focus, really. If I weren’t constantly searching and constantly creating, I wouldn’t have the large selection of raw material to work with. If I didn’t continuously dive in and find color palettes and mood boards, I wouldn’t be able to conceptualize new collections.

The trick is in deciding when I have enough to actually get down to creating a new collection. That time is now. So look for new collections this year, and a few new prints to round out some of my existing collections.

January 12, 2019

2019 is shaping up to be a great year!  I feel really organized with my business and I’m certainly not having any shortage of ideas for new print collections or for new additions to collections I released last year.  I just did the taxes for the business and sales were up 50% this year (can I get an amen?) – and that’s AFTER I accidentally deleted 75% of my work on one of my POD sites!  So I set a new target for 2019 – a 100% increase!  Yup – I’m planning on doubling my sales this year and hoping I exceed that goal.

You see, this business is my retirement plan.  I’m working toward getting this completely self-sustaining by 2025.  I have a laundry list of things I need to work on, a plan for expansion, and solid goals to work toward.  I’m really excited, and so thankful to all of you who follow me.

January 6, 2019Untitled design (1)a

I’ve been designing for quite some time now, and I’ve found several programs I just can’t live without.  Now I realize most designers stick to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, so even though there are others that are critical to my process, I’ll start with those two.

For laying out a pattern and moving elements easily, Photoshop and Illustrator really are great.  There are also tons of effects that can take “meh” artwork and make it something fabulous.  They are both expensive, though – so if you’re just starting out, the Photoshop Elements program will get you the cool filters and most of the features without the high price tag.   If you’re watching tutorials that are based on the full version, you’ll have to figure out the work-arounds in Elements – but most things can be done with a few extra steps (and some patience).

I’m still a Corel girl at heart, though.  I could not design without Corel Painter and PaintShop Pro – and yes, I upgrade it almost every time a new version comes out.  The brushes , effects, and work flow just seem more intuitive to me.  I can maintain texture, fix colors, and change composition modes easily and the layers seem much easier to use.  I can layer multiple textures on an image easily and change composition methods to get consistent effects.  I do have a harder time laying out patterns and repeats in Corel for some reason – probably lack of practice on my part (not to mention all of that MATH in repeats) – so I tend to use Adobe for creating repeats.  For creating motifs and converting my watercolor florals to digital, I go right for Painter.  I would not be designing without Corel.  Period.

Alien Skin Blow Up is fabulous for increasing image size without losing clarity or sharp edges.  There is no way I would ever live without this program!  It runs as an plug in for Adobe (yes, you can use it in Elements as well – it just takes a bit of finagling to get it in there) and you can save your preset sizes so getting the right size for whatever you need is a snap.  I have a bunch of sizes for Society6 products saved in mine and that really saves me some steps when I’m uploading new designs.

ON1 Effects 10 is my go-to for images that are just lacking a little something.  Their color profiles, filters, and textures are amazing.  I think it’s the best program for giving images a little extra pop.  I had an older version (probably came as an add-on for something else I bought)  and when my computer died, it took the old version with it.  I lasted about 3 days without the program before I broke down and went hunting for it again.  It just adds such interesting effects and color tonalities – I think there’s a free version, too.

These are really my base programs – I don’t think I’ve created anything without using a combination of all of these in the past four years.

December 28, 2018

As another year ends, I find myself completely involved in my art – there’s usually a watercolor sitting before me when I have my morning tea.  My sketch book is always tucked into my bag.  My favorite Micron pens sit next to the couch so I can add some line work during commercials.  This year, I’m going to set some new goals – and clean up some of the patterns that are languishing in my files waiting for inspiration which will get them into finished collections.

That’s the thing about art.  It can become consuming because the creation of bringing something new into the world is so much fun that I think it is actually addicting.  I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings – more watercolors (for sure), more patterns (naturally), and fresh collections (oh my!).  I think I have my process down (after nearly 30 years) and I think my work is finally starting to develop my very own style.  So here’s to 2019!

November 13, 2018

Arriving soon toQueensland! (1)

November 4, 2018

I’m still going strong creating new patterns and putting together new collections.  My Zazzle shop is finally looking a little more “full” (if an online shop can be full) – and I have so many new sources of inspiration that I can’t wait to pull out the paints and pens and get some new elements done.  The past two weeks have been devoted to using up some of the elements I created earlier this year – kind of like cleaning out the digital closet.  Lily Drawing

There are so many elements that I have created over this past year and it’s a matter of figuring out how to use them best.  That’s really the fun part of the process.  For instance, the photo on the left is a few lilies I drew while on vacation this summer.  This past weekend, I finally finished a collection based on those lilies – and I added a few branches and leaves to a few coordinating prints.  That’s coming out in December (according to my Instagram schedule).

While we’re on the subject of Instagram, how about giving me a follow?  I post a new design every day…

October 1, 2018

 

I'm so excited about myCheck it out!

I am a pattern designer who creates home decor textiles that appeal to both men and women.   I love floral prints, but it didn’t seem fair to make my husband wake up to pink peonies every day.  Because of that, I designed my own line of home decor fabrics and they are for sale on Zazzle.com.  There are shower curtains and bath accessory sets with coordinating prints that are suitable for both men and women.  I even have a category for “shower curtains for men” and “bedding for men”.

Just click on the link and get browsing!

August 26, 2018

My Instagram blew up today – and I just wish I knew why!10

I changed more than one thing, so figuring this out will be a challenge:

  1.  I found some home decorating influencers and followed three of them last night.  Around 9 p.m., new followers started to appear on my Instagram account.
  2. I reorganized my Tumblr blog and updated those links.
  3. I posted a work in progress shot yesterday, and although it didn’t explode with likes, it did happen prior to the new follower wave.

So I posted a thank you on Instagram, linked my Tumblr blog to twitter and facebook, and narrowed down my brand color palette.  All in all, I moved forward.

August 21, 2018

The Summer of Creativity continues…I finished two (yes, two) collections today inspired by East African textiles.  The first is rich earth tones and gorgeous stripes with leaf and diamond motifs – the second is neutral tones inspired by mud cloth.  I’m so in love with both collections – but I’m even more in love with the process.  I started by getting out the good ol’ Micron pens and sketching some very free motifs.  I used some art-nouveau jewelry as inspiration – and then went to town in Corel Painter and Paintshop Pro.  I can’t wait to finalize them and get them posted.

August 6, 2018

I just got back from vacation and am excited to release the Beach Rose Collection this week.  I took a day to tighten up some coordinates and then get all of the images ready for posting.  Now, if only I could come up with a solid marketing strategy…but maybe that’s next week’s project.  Here’s a sneak peak at the collection:

The other prints (the blue ones) will be their own collection – also coming soon – but I need to finish working out where I’ll post the rest of the prints from the green & pink one.  I think they turned out lovely.  I’m still happily working my way through the Textile Design Lab courses so I’m sure I’ll have several more collections coming in the next months!

July 28, 2018

What an awesome week!  One of the patterns from my Cape Cod Beach Rose collection was chosen to be included on the Pattern Observer Blog (check it out here) and another print from that collection was chosen for the weekly highlight for the Flower Art group on Redbubble (check that out here).  This was officially the first collection I ever worked on and to have two different patterns chosen is amazing.

I can’t wait to show you what I’m working on next.

July 24, 2018

I’m completely over the moon today.  I just found out that I’m going to be featured on the blog for the Textile Design Lab tomorrow because of the “Beach Rose Collection” posted below.  I can’t even describe how awesome this feels because not only have I been completely delighted by the courses on Textile Design Lab, but I’ve been super efficient as a result of all of the inspiration and techniques that I’ve learned about.  This has been the most important thing I’ve done for my art career.  Best.  Investment.  Ever.

July 22, 2018

OMG – I created my first ever “collection” thanks to the Textile Design Lab’s Summer of Creativity!  I’m super excited with this – my process has changed, my outlook has changed, my creative muscles are flexed.  I’m really jazzed – can you tell?Beach Rose Collection

July 20, 2018Summer of Creativity Pattern Post

I’ve been working my way through the Textile Design Lab Course “Summer of Creativity” and the first inspirational place was Cape Cod.  Since I’ve worked with seascapes, seashells, and sea life so many times, I set myself an additional challenge to work with just nautical motifs.  Being a North Shore girl, I immediately thought of lobster buoys and fishing nets – so here’s my trio of funky prints (totally out of my style, but that was part of the adventure).

July 19, 2018

A whole new look!

I’ve been super busy this summer designing, and since I wasn’t 100% happy with the look of this blog (for those of you who’ve followed for a long time, you know it’s my sixth revision) I decided to change the format.  New blog posts will appear here, and the main page will be devoted to new designs.  I have some new pattern and print collections I’ll be debuting soon and some retiring patterns that will be limited time only specials on a few of the sites I work with.  Those deals will be posted on a separate page titled “Special Offers”.

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