Getting Back Into the Swing

When I looked back at my design accomplishments in 2014, I realized that I'd done a lot. I got my designs up on Kess In House in April, completed another series of designs for Kess in July, and started a range of art prints (to be revealed later this year). However, one thing I was missing was drawing on a regular basis. One of my New Year's goals was to draw one thing every day, even if just a little scribble. Momentum is the key word here. For some reinforcement and motivation, I signed up for Lilla Roger's MATS Bootcamp. Lilla sends out a mini assignment every month and then a "big" assignment one week later. This month the mini was to draw Edwardian brooches. And the big assignment was to use those drawings to create a journal/notebook cover. I was most drawn to the bug brooches, so here is what I ended up with. I have loved getting back into drawing again on a daily basis and look forward to seeing where that leads!

lauriebaars_broochjournal

Kess InHouse

I'm happy to announce that my designs are now available on a variety of home decor items through Kess InHouse. So you can now purchase a Laurie Baars-designed throw pillow, duvet cover, shower curtain, dog bed, placemat, and more! Kess InHouse has a limited range of their products also available on Amazon.com, so my designs are now available on Amazon as well - just search under my name to see what's available. I've launched with 10 designs and am working on some new ones to add so keep checking back to see an expanded selection.


Keka Case

I'm very excited that my designs are now available on iPad and Kindle cases (and soon to be iPhone cases) with Keka Case. This is my first official licensing agreement and a significant milestone for me. It's been in the works since the beginning of the year and the cases have been available for while now so I'm a bit overdue in announcing it. I recently ordered two cases with my designs on them for Christmas gifts and was very pleased with the quality. I have other licensing opportunities in the works, so stay tuned!

Keys & Beetles

After the busyness of summer, it's been nice to hibernate a little and do some designing. I've got so many ideas for patterns brewing that I've had to start a list to keep track of them all. Here's a glimpse of two of my new designs. These days I'm leaning toward more conversational/novelty motifs but have been working on some florals and geos too.

My birthday is coming up this week and I'm looking forward to a fun getaway in Portland next weekend, one of my favorite towns. I'm sure some great inspiration will come out of that!

Keys by Laurie Baars
Beetles by Laurie Baars

Bergamot Studio

My husband's family has a beach house on Vashon Island that has been in the family for 3 generations. It is shared by many family members and we are lucky enough to get it for a few weekends a year. Vashon Island is a beautiful, lush, fairly rural island just a 20 minute ferry ride from Seattle.  Last weekend my husband and I snuck out there last minute for a couple of very relaxing days and decided to explore the island a bit. We did a hike in one park and were on our way to another, driving through the town of Burton, in a part of the island I'd never been to, when I saw a sign saying "vintage-inspired modern textile design." Of course I demanded we stop immediately. 

I was so happy to discover Bergamot Studio, a lovely shop and working studio run by textile designer Kassana Holden. When I walked in she and another woman were cutting prints of Kassana's designs to make greeting cards. She has four wide-format ink jet printers in the back where she prints her designs on silk and paper to make scarves, pendant lamps, pillows, greeting cards, framed prints, and decorative papers, among other things. She also carries work by other local artists including wood, leather goods, ceramics, and jewelry.

Kassana has 25 years in textiles and product development and struck out on her own just a couple of years ago to start making and selling her own work. She is doing fantastic things combining vintage fabric with her own designs for a very unique effect. She also takes on custom projects using her printers. It was so much fun talking "shop" with Kassana and learning about her experiences in textile design. I highly recommend visiting her shop if you are ever on Vashon Island!

 

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search Entry

I just submitted my entry to the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search! Lilla Rogers, the illustration agent who taught the course I just completed, is running an international competition to find one new artist to bring on to her studio. The first assignment in the competition was to create a journal cover with a vintage playground theme. I have to admit, this was a really tough one for me for a number of reasons. One: it's not a theme I would normally choose to work with. Two: I've never drawn playground items so this required a stretch of my drawing skills. Three: after just finishing up Lilla's rigourous course, I was feeling a little low on creative juices. However, I'm always up for a challenge, so tried to give myself lots of time to take it at my own pace. I came up with a somewhat retro-inspired design that I'm pleased with. 50 entries from this round will be selected to move on to round two. 6 entries from that round will be given a third brief and the winner will be selected after that. I'm just happy to have submitted something at all and am now going to reward myself by enjoying some lovely Seattle summer sunshine!

A Day in the Park journal cover by Laurie Baars

Make Art That Sells E-Course

I just finished up a 5 week odyssey into art-making courtesy of top art agent, Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells e-course. I signed up for this class back in the winter when I was working full-time, making no art, and pretty down about it. I thought the class would be a bright spot on the horizon and a good kick in the pants once I had time to start creating again. And boy was I right! Each week focused on a different market: Week 1: Bolt Fabric, Week 2: Home Decor, Week 3: Children’s Books, Week 4: Wall Art, Week 5: Gift. Some of the markets I knew I was interested in (bolt fabric, wall art). Others I knew would be a huge stretch (children’s books).

Lilla gave us tons of information on what buyers in each of these markets are looking for and lots of tools to help us create. The structure of the class was really helpful for me. A mini/warm-up assignment on Monday’s to get us sketching and then the big assignment each Wednesday that incorporated what we’d worked on in the mini. Assignments were due on Sunday’s and shared in the private Flickr group. It was so fun to see the immense variety of work submitted by a lot of very talented and experienced artists from all over the world. Just seeing everyone’s work and hearing Lilla’s video review of 15-20 select pieces at the end of each week was very educational.

I was really honored to have my last piece, the “hyper-lush” art for a zipper pouch, included in Lilla’s review. I wasn’t really that excited about the assignment and had very little time to complete it as I was going out of town that week. But once I started on it I decided to go for it, try to overcome my tendency toward minimalism and subtle colors, and punch things up. I really stretched myself the most on this one and it payed off. I learned a lot from this and now want to go back and re-work the earlier assignments to try to punch them up as well. I think I still need to find that balance between maintaining my own style and taking it to the next level, but I feel like I’m off to a good start. I’m excited about the ground I’ve gained in the last 5 weeks and all the tools, tips, tricks, and inspiration I’ve taken away. Now I just need to keep up the momentum. Thanks Lilla!

 

Artwork by Laurie Baars for the Make Art that Sells e-course

Math Geek Chic

Math is not my favorite subject, but when I sat down to design something for Spoonflower's Fabric 8 Contest with the theme of "Geek Chic," I found I was drawn to the lines and shapes of math and science symbols. It seemed like a great way to play with creating a spare, contemporary design. I used one of my favorite color palettes composed of blacks, grays, creams, and yellows. I am drawn to that time after time. I wonder if I'll ever get tired of it!

I was thrilled to learn that my design made it into the top 100 semi-finalists, out of 750 entries. After the final voting, I came in 32nd out of the final 100. That's the top third, which is plenty good enough for me!

math geek chic by laurie baars

Moyo Magazine Feature

My pomegranates design is featured in the latest issue of Moyo Magazine (see page 48)! Several weeks ago I was contacted by Louise Gale, one of the contributors to Moyo, asking if it was OK to include my design in a red color stories feature in the upcoming issue. I wasn't even sure how she'd found it and only later recalled that I'd submitted this design to Moyo in a call for entries several months prior. 

This particular design was one of two that I did for a Spoonflower contest last year. I was torn between the two designs and ended up submitting the other, which came in 15th out of about 200 entries (and is my current Twitter background pattern). I secretly always liked this one better though and am so pleased that someone else felt the same.

Moyo is a great new online magazine about surface pattern design started by Rachael Taylor and Beth Nicholls, the two women who started the surface design class I took last year. Be sure to check it out!

Ethereal Pomegranates by Laurie Baars