AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: I have moved!! DATE: 8:36 AM ----- BODY:
I have a new spot for my blog, I am hoping to have it nestled into my site in the next couple days (help, Tom!) In the meantime, you can find it at his link! Tell me what you think!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Michelle wearing Isabel! DATE: 2:22 PM ----- BODY:
Did you see this? I simply cannot imagine that you didn't! Michelle Obama is reviving some talented but slightly unsung designers! This dress was designed by Isabel Toledo, a daring Cuban born designer who (as my illustrator friends may know) is the wife of fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo. Ruben did all of Nordstroms Fall advertising illustrations last year. He and his wife are a very talented eclectic pair. When I first saw the dress, I thought? brocade, what is it? No, almost an eyelet type cut work with a shimmer underneath, very pretty in close shots! My son who mysteriously became ill before school this morning is hold up with me in front of my office TV. We had blue and red m n m's to celebrate the Inaguration. I saw the daytime shimmer on this dress and was unsure at first, it did seem rather early in the day BUT after I saw all the other women (ugh!) I thought-Thank God for Michelle Obama! Loved the green J Crew gloves and colored shoes and the girls...bright orange and blue, happy! Thank you that you brightened a cold day with the REAL sentiment of the day-bright and hopeful. Fun! (AP/ photo Jae C .Hong)
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Studio DATE: 12:23 PM ----- BODY:
After coming home from NY I had to jump right into a deadline so I did a big clean up of my studio. It really helped clear my head. I always like to see other artists studio pictures. So many are bright and colorful. I really had to scale my small space back on color and use creams and whites, I work best this way. I realized that my whole house is in a soothing palette (except my kitchen). I am guessing since my art is so colorful that when I get up from my desk I need neutral tones. That's my story anyway, it sounds sophisticated. It may actually be because I can't commit to any strong colors in my home because I would want to change them too often. (The last place I lived was red, red and more red, yikes!) So I have not posted yet about the whole Printsource experience-sorry, I am still digesting it all. It was actually a small show but I did meet people whose blogs I follow, Lilla Rogers and her gang, Jill McDonald and her nice hubby and Tara Reed. I am very glad I am committed to be IN the Surtex show this May but I do think I have a heck of a lot of art to produce between now and then. I have art that I want to redo, new art I want to create AND I don't think I mentioned I just signed a contract on a book deal with LOTS of illustrations in it. Teen/tween right up my alley. All that art talk makes me want to take a nap! See that couch and my great grandmothers quilt in the pic above? I call it the magic quilt and sometimes it call out to me ..."Nap, Monica! Nap and then do art....!"
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Pause here before moving forward DATE: 9:00 AM ----- BODY:
Morning! I just got back from Printsource and have so much to tell you about it! But first a bit of venting. Apparently my computer was quite mad at me for being neglected for 2 days and decided to act up this morning....although I have recently heard a rumor that a certain loved one of mine worked in Photoshop for "only 2 minutes" and now the program won't let me save files as jpegs AT ALL. This can prove to be a bit tricky considering I have to pump some art out TODAY! Anyhoo, I will post a long blog in a bit about at the things I saw in New York after I get a bit of work squeaked out. Duty calls! I did want to post this this complimentary piece to my groovy girl prints below. I named this one Desert Girl. I have a passion for turquoise and all the coral and brown shade that go with it. I spent quite a bit of my childhood in the Southwest and my brain still loves the colors! See ya later after I have painted a bit!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: My Cutie Pootie DATE: 8:47 AM ----- BODY:
My sister was digging through her files and emailed me a bunch of photos that I must have emailed her a few years ago. These are of Luke and I down on Cape Cod. He was such a cutie in his Ladybug boots (I did try to talk him into to frog boots but he knew what he wanted). He is a big 11 years old now but I think he still looks just like this except his face is thinner. Is that just a mom talking? My girlfriend Elisabeth was visiting that summer and she always takes fun photos. I remember on the way home Luke started making 'beep' noises in the back seat-which he continued to do for roughly an hour straight. Finally Elisabeth broke down, "Is that noise driving you crazy?!" she squeaked trying to be polite but clearly exasperated. "What noise?" I replied. It is funny how your brain changes when you are a mother? As long as he wasn't not crying, it all becomes white noise. This weekend Luke and Connor where playing out in the fresh snow. I could hear them laughing and shouting. It was the perfect sound to curl up under my favorite quilt and fall asleep to! Boys are wonderful, I don't care what anyone says!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: From this to this.... DATE: 1:44 PM ----- BODY:
I started out with a color palette and a few drawings and decided to design more fabric to make a "groovy floral apron". I just ordered the coffee fabric from spoonflower below and I got so excited! I also got that start of the New Year focus I was looking for ( a week late but at least it came.) I decided I wanted at LEAST 2 coordinating prints and then it grew to 4 . Then I decided it would make a really cute quilt but if I was going to design matching prints I should lay it out like a quilt. So so very fun! So in a matter of days, I ignored all the other work that I should have been doing and got caught up in this! I am already pestering my mother to sew the aprons for me. ALTHOUGH I do actually know how to sew and I AM going to pick it up again this year. I did think-however that I have a cousin that is a great seamstress too and my mom said she reads my blog and maybe Sue, if you are out there you might like to take some of the fabrics that I am about to print and make up some cute things for me...Isn't it funny how I can always find work for other people, when the ideas were actually part of MY to do list?! I think I just needed to shake off the lingering pineneedles of the holidays, climb down off my sugar cookie high and spend a couple days at my desk!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Help, it's Monday! DATE: 8:54 AM ----- BODY:
Ok, It is Jan. 5. The holidays are officially over. My husband was all abuzz this weekend with his new business book. He issued the challenge to himself and his office mates to go to work today as if it were your very first day at work. UGH. I tried get on the bandwagon and I dug through all my old business books to get inspired. We even sojourned to Barnes and Noble with gift cards in hand and I searched in every section for an inspiring book that I could sink into for the weekend to get me feeling like today was my first day at my new business. So here I am sitting down with my second cup of coffee and all I can say is more please!
What I actually am doing is cleaning my office, organizing some of my file folders into work that has not been scanned and developed yet and into art that needs to be reworked. I re stacked books and took everything that needs returning and placed it in another room completely. I found my phone headset(lost for some time) but it is 9:02 am and I need more coffee!!! The first day of work is exhausting! Will any of the new employees take me to lunch? Will my boss notice if I slip out to do returns or go to the gym? Did anyone bring doughnuts for the break room? OH! That's right...I am the boss, there are no doughnuts and I would have to actually take a shower before I ran out to do returns. I think I am going to let my husbands zeal go out the door when he heads to work and in the meantime I am going to spruce the place up a bit and get to work.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: New Year of Attitude! DATE: 10:53 AM ----- BODY:
In keeping with my New Years theme...I dug out an old journal and did a bit of end of the year reading. I found this question that I posed to myself... If your ART could tell why it exists, what would it say? My answers were to make someone smile, to lift a spirit and to give joy, style and color into everyday life.
I think my answer for my art would be the same this year. I would like it a step further and apply that question to another part of myself. If my spirit could say why it exists, what would it say? To have joy, joy lifts people spirits, and to somehow give hope to and encourage others. Maybe also to be original. An original spirit, people that tap into their originality (and yes God made us all completely original) as a general rule bring other people joy and inspire them. Now for the tough part of these questions...Am I conveying all that? Yikes. Well, it is nice to have goals and aspirations anyway. Sounds rather lofty but I guess if I wanted to convey all that I would definitely quit sweating the small stuff, since the small stuff can be distracting. You know what I am talking about, "Why do I have to unload the dishwasher AGAIN?" "Why is this line so LONG?" Whine, Whine, Me, Me. This year is going to be "Fun, Fun!" "Create! Create!" "Joy!" and a wee bit of eccentricity too.
By the way, my husband asked me yesterday, "How were you eccentric today?" Pressure! Geez...give a gal a break. All I could come up with was I polished off a bunch of brownies and followed it up with a salad to make it all seem OK. I think I better look up the word eccentric to see what it really means.
So this is a print I am playing with right now. I am going to have this made into a fabric and the prints in the corner are what I am experimenting to coordinate with it. I think it would make a cute apron!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Resolve. DATE: 2:37 PM ----- BODY:
So my charming and terribly handsome husband has penned his New Years Resolutions. Over that last few years I have really embraced this ritual. It usually takes on the form of readjusting my goals for the year. The very phrase "New Year Resolution" has somehow acquired a bad connotation. I buy a new blank journal and begin feverishly jotting down what I would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. I form new business plans laced with personal goals.
Some ideas I completely embrace and others will make it onto the list again this year.
Some things that came to fruition this past year were redirecting my career into licensing my art. I think I have mentioned that I had toyed with the idea for some time and jumped in last winter and now have a good body of work and some new contracts. My hubby built me a slick new site and I am organizing my work to show at the Surtex Show this May. I am really glad I wrote it all down, it sort of etched the plan into my life. A few months ago I considered not showing at Surtex since I have some upcoming legal expenses this year (ugh!). But I do believe there is a ( absolutely) divine plan for me and I have made up my mind that it is going to all work for the best. I think if I had not written it down and told all my friends and colleagues what my plan was, I might have gotten knocked off course.
Another plan from last year was to join a gym, the final step in to really taking my health back, no excuses! It has been great...I feel stronger than ever and I can (sort of) eat chocolate without much guilt, ha! I do recommend this...guilt free chocolate eating is has brought me to a new level of nirvana.
Something that didn't make it from last year was starting to sew again. It took almost an entire year for me to purchase a new machine. It now sits under my art table unopened. I keep having to cancel the "Get to Know Your Machine Class" it just is NOT fitting into my schedule. But since I am going to design my own fabrics and have them made up by Spoonflower (this year's resolution) I simply must break the seal on the box and get started.
This year I am determined to spiff up my blog (I know, I know, I have been talking about that for awhile too!) I am going to attempt to do this without the help of the charming, handsome husband because for some reason he does not support this endeavor. I mean, he does and he doesn't...Anyhoo...maybe the mere mention of it will change his mind.
THE BIG RESOLUTION is to get a little eccentric this year. This may sound odd maybe but a couple of years ago a friend of mine told me to embrace my inner artist and I did embrace my inner commercial artist and now am making it full time as illustrator. But there is something inside me that wants more more MORE! When I first met Tom I told him about an older female rancher I had met in Texas years ago. She had on a white tunic with gobs of beautiful turquoise belts, bracelets and necklaces on. As the perfect foil to her outfit she had on bright pink lipstick, I fell instantly in love. I was dressing mannequins at the time and her daughter and granddaughter were shopping so she thought she would come talk to me, the window dresser. She looked wonderful, carried herself proudly and I new instantly that she was an original spirit . I told Tom that I wanted to be just like her when I grew old. I think he might have fallen in love that day (good man). Over the years I had met many other women like her on my flights, interesting, happy with themselves and a bit over the top. Not to be too self involved (but it is my blog) I think I am very happy and pretty interesting but I am not over the top. YET. I live in suburban MA and am caught in some New England vortex. I can't really describe it without sounding a bit rude and I assure I don't mean to be but I may be missing my gay flight attendant friends complimenting my purses and strolling through the streets of Paris. Now I am a mom that sits patiently in the carpool lane and knits at hockey practice. How am I supposed to become the beautiful old rancher woman when every time I go to buy more turquoise jewelry I tell myself I have quite enough thank you! And do not even think of buying more? What common sense has taken over my body and mind?! It must stop! What do I think? I will reach 70 and simply become a wonderful eccentric woman overnight? I think this new mind set may be overtaking me already because I actually stood in my bathroom today with scissors in my hand about to cut my own hair! Gasp, my hairdresser would kill me! I recently got a neat little hair style that I hate, I belong in the messy hair category and I think I need to stay in this category, neat house, messy hair-that's more me. This year is going to be about becoming more More relaxed, more outspoken (my poor friends) and more fun.
I have decided to apply this to my art too, more humor, more fabulousness! Less asking "Would this sell?" and more asking, "Is it clever, maybe a bit silly, then let's do it!"
What are your plans? Please tell me I am not alone in all this. I promise to still sit patiently in the carpool line and I promise my father to spell check all my emails but I am not getting and younger although I will try to use better punctuation in my blog but REALLY!!! Isn't being eccentric a lot more interesting?
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: It is getting closer... DATE: 3:10 PM ----- BODY:
Only a few days away now! I spent the morning, actually most the day, wrapping Christmas gifts. I kept getting up for Christmas cookies, something about wrapping that makes me hungry I guess. I actually decided to get out and about after several days couped up at home because of all the snow. I got in my gym gear, pulled up in front of the gym and realized I still had my Uggs on and my sneakers were at home. Do I sound distracted lately? Anyway, I headed back home and worked out at home....must keep the bum from getting too big from cookie eating.
However all this staying at home had me popping out lots of Christmas art! Switching gears and concentrating on that genre was a great idea. I have so much Christmas art work to scan and play with, I hardly know where to begin. This is a pattern I worked on...I wish I could have been wrapping my gifts in it. I would add some sparkle to the snow...I love that little bit of sparkle stuff at Christmas!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: All Snuggled In DATE: 1:25 PM ----- BODY:
We are expecting a big snow storm today! I ran around yesterday and did all my last minute errands. Of course I didn't get all groceries I needed and had go to back to the grocery store this morning. New Englanders are funny. Will everyone even use all the eggs and milk they bought? I got sidetracked by all the grocery buying frenzy and now have 3 dozens eggs in my fridge. One thing that I decided to do was set aside the spring time prints I was working on and jump into working on my Christmas imagery. I can't imagine a better time to draw snowmen than when it is snowing!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Holiday Tags DATE: 1:53 PM ----- BODY:
I ran across this blog How About Orange and I thought I would share it with you. Cute blog, I think I have looked at her hang bags on Etsy before, really cute Christmas Stockings in her etsy Shop. I wish I could buy new Christmas Stocking every single year...I just love them. Do you think my husband would notice? I did just buy a new sewing machine, I could make my own. Pleeeze! Even as I type that, I am thinking "what are you, nuts?" How do people have all this time on their hands to be so creative? Maybe I appear that way too. Naaaah. Maybe they don't have children. How does Helen from Orange You Lucky do it ALL and have kids? Maybe it is because she lives in cold land and spends a ton of time indoors. Maybe it is because both of these women have used the word ORANGE in their marketing. Maybe Orange has some weird superpower. I used to hate that color but I was 8 when I thought that. I have wised up and only hate teal and burgundy now. Anyway, these tags are from Martha Stewart and you can ddownload them and use them. It is easier going to the How About Orange blog to do it rather than to try to dig around Martha's site. If you print them out on the big sheets of mailing labels all you have to do it cut and stick! Something easy for the holidays!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Are you ready? DATE: 3:53 PM ----- BODY:
How is all your planning going? I guess I am addressing mostly women on that question and you know what I mean! Shopping and wrapping and decorating, and cooking and plotting and planning and just plain running around! I loaded my car up with 5 Christmas CD's. I am doing the whole holiday thing, feeling like I have it all together. I am even patting myself on the back for simplifying a bit this year and not digging out EVERY single decoration of mine. Today I ran out to the store since my family's dinner plans changed (ice storm north of us, tepid temps here). I came home with the intent to throw all my ingredients in the crock pot but I got sidetracked, dipped into emails, ended up on the phone with my mother. Later I walked into the kitchen with all my ground meat and chicken sitting out on the kitchen counter, ugh! 5 second rule? Was I home 15 minutes, 30 minutes? How long had I been home from the store? Christmas can get the best of us and it is supposed to be such a holiday of fun and celebration! I had a class I was supposed to attend tonite as I type this post I think my heart is saying CANCEL the class, stay home with the boys and eat the crock pot chili! Do nothing!! Just sit around in jammie pants and plan nothing!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Family Fun DATE: 3:40 PM ----- BODY:
I was trolling through some digital files and found these old photos of my family. My big sis is so cute. I always love seeing my parents wedding pictures. It was so 50's. My parents just visited over Thanksgiving. We had such a nice time. Now my mom and dad are getting ready to pack up and see my sister for a Tender Tennessee Christmas. I will be missing them over the holiday but I am happy mom and dad are getting their fill. Probably too full of daughters in fact! Ha!
As for me, I just wiped out a lot of my shopping, sitting right at my desk...LOVE that online shopping! Now I can take a breather and enjoy my Christmas lights! No tree yet, I am phasing the decor in. Hope you are getting some relaxing in!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: 'Tis the season DATE: 10:51 AM ----- BODY:
I am trying to make a conscious decision to stay at perfect peace this holiday season. So I thought I would post this Christmas card that I designed. Thanksgiving was hectic and yet so nice. My parents came in from Texas for a week. It was a super visit. The turkey turned out perfect and today I am busy at my desk catching up on work and emails and plotting my holiday schedule for Dec. that includes everything from hockey games to a couple of birthdays and decorating and Christmas shopping. Oh, did I forget about working?! But I think PEACE is the word I will keep foremost in my mind. I really soaked in being surrounded by my family over Thanksgiving and it was great, the mess and cooking did not get to me because I kept thinking "Enjoy all these warm, lovable people in your life right now at this moment." It really worked. So I am going to go into December the same way...getting the tree is going to be fun this weekend and I am not even putting any pressure on myself to decorate it right away...I am just going to soak it all in with a smile and with peace. The Christmas parties are fun, not stress! Sometimes we forget to just be happy someone has invited us to their homes! So Peace be to you on the first week of this busy month!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Happy Days! DATE: 9:29 AM ----- BODY:
So I headed over to SUINK to look at all the cards made from all the stamps I designed. I as always am so impressed at what these women do with the stamps. They are just so darling! Cute Cute! My parents are here for I have to keep it short! Have the greatest Turkey Day ever!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: New Portfolio Images DATE: 11:04 AM ----- BODY:

I have been whittling away at my "to-do" list. One of the things I wanted to do was join childrens again. I joined it only for during its first year and really did not get any work from it. But I talked to some of my illustrator friends and I think the site has found its way onto art directors lists. I think it is a bit awkward to navigate which is what I think of most portfolio sites. I am a tired and true theispot fan and their new look works even better as far as finding talent. I go to these sites and act like I am hunting for art and see what I instinctively come up with. I wanted to join Altpick also figuring it would bring my art to a bit of an edgier audience but I find this site particularly hard to navigate. Maybe edgy people use different parts of their brains to search the Internet.
It was fun to dig around and find my tween and teen art to put up on I found these 2 pieces and forgotten that I created these when I was just starting to combine ink drawing and collage. I think on my "to do" list will be a few more tween pieces for this site, maybe there is even a post card mailing in my future. (now I am just talkin' smack!)
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Finally...the perfect cup! DATE: 4:23 PM ----- BODY:
Last year I tried and tried to make the perfect cup of hot chocolate. I can't really do the typical store bought hot cocoa because of the whole wheat/gluten intolerance thing I have. If you read the ingredients of some store bought cocoa it have all sorts of weird unrecognizable things in it. I tired buying pure dutch cocoa...mix it with sugar and corn starch and it just wasn't the right mix. Plus-I don't really drink a lot of diary (an aftermath of Celiac) and who wants to heat up milk with the risk if scalding it? ANYHOO..For all you are a chocolate lovers, I have concocted a delicious mix that is even a little spicy. I searched the shelves of Whole Foods for just the right mix. I found this wonderful spicy hot chocolate mix from Dagoba. It has chilies and cinnamon in it but it is pretty spicy and I have to mix it with regular cocoa to cut the bite. Also you know how hot chocolate can get lumpy? Mine doesn't! This is what I do... 1 Tablespoon of non fat dry milk
1 Tablespoon of Dogoba XOCOLATI
1 Tablespoon All Natural Hot chocolate (I use Lake Champlain from Whole Foods, it is not too sweet)
I put it all in a super big cup and mix a small amount of water and whisk/stir it until it makes a thick paste. THEN add you hot water, stir again and YUM! Drink up!
It is just a bit spicy, not too sweet and no lumps and no upset tummy (for me)! It is the perfect afternoon snack! All of these ingredients that I use are organic and in this instance I think the quality makes a difference and in these times you are worth a yummy good quality cup of cocoa to keep you toasty and happy. HEY! I just got an idea...I think I will whip this up as Christmas treats for friends..ohhhhh, good idea! I wish I could put it in this cup I drew...that would be cute and yummy!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Happy Veteran's Day! DATE: 10:34 AM ----- BODY:
This is from the USA collection that I did a while a back. I thought it would be good to put up today! I would like to develop each of my collections further. NO, I WILL develop these collections further! My illustration group met this last weekend. Barb made us all go around and say OUTLOUD what we were planning on accomplish in the next six months. It was really a great thing to do. I was completely motivated! It is so nice to be able to get out of the studio and talk and brainstorm with other artists!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Mermaid Love DATE: 11:57 AM ----- BODY:
Here is a piece did recently. I did several drawing of Mermaids but this is the only one I have added color to so far. I designed patterns along with the mermaid and am hoping to make this a complete collection. I have her for sale in my Etsy shop. My girlfriend Laura and I were contemplating selling your licensing art to manufacturers and selling the same work as prints on Etsy. Do you overlap that market? Ultimately we decided yes...the Etsy shop might give you an avenue to see what sells well.
I think I mentioned in a few blogs my lack of focus lately. I am so deadline oriented that when I give myself free creative time it is simply not as productive. Time to structure my free creative time. UGH! How awful does that sound? But really, if I look at this mermaid piece there is an entire story that goes with her and I need to press myself to get it all done and see if it works. I like her...she just might need a few friends! So when is that due? ha! I need an agenda set up like my sons at school! It makes a difference if there is someone down the line waiting on the art! So I need to be my own client and demand that this all get done by next week!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Did you see this? DATE: 11:22 AM ----- BODY:
Ok Artists, take note! Here is an article that says that this original A.A. Milne sketch (sketch, mind you) is expected to fetch over $30, 000 at auction today. Sometimes when we are racing through assignments to meet deadlines or to fatten our portfolios maybe we should stop and ask ourselves if we are producing art as memorable as A.A. Milne's art. It would be interesting to have been his friend during this time. Did he rush through the work trying to meet a deadline or did he dip into this make believe world and become a part of it? That is what happens to most of us when we read Winnie The Pooh and see the art.
Milne's art always makes me slow down. Since I am in love with what I call "line quality", Milne's art has always had a special place in my heart. It even makes me think of a piece I am working on now. I love the sketches but I have been toying with what I will do next because I am wondering how it will scan and how I will color it. I was thinking of using a digital collage style for this current piece but looking at Milne's art is giving me a bit of pause. There is really something to art that is completely done by hand. I hope it sells for more than they plan.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Book Cover DATE: 11:38 AM ----- BODY:
One of the things about working on a book cover is, the length of time you need to keep mum about it. I am always excited to post what I am working on but know that publishers are careful about their own "big reveals". I went over to Deva Fagan's blog, who is the books author, and saw she had the cover and pictures of the galleys up so now I will post the art. This turned out to be such and interesting read. It is a Young Adult novel, suitable for a tween that is a good reader (the content is fine) and also a good read for an adult. Something that you can read together actually. I have a girlfriend, Susan, whose belong to a book club with her daughter .(Isn't that a good idea?) This would be and excellent book club read.
BUT on to the art....ha! I love it when publishers are open to letting the illustration flow right onto the back cover. I think this wrap around style can set the entire mood of a novel. In her blog Deva mentioned that I chose a night scene. I did! There was a specific night scene in the book that was so descriptive and romantic. As soon as I read it, I felt like I was there so that is the image I pushed for. Fun! I believe the book comes out this Spring!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Happy Halloween! DATE: 10:05 AM ----- BODY:
Halloween is here! This is a fun holiday. I have all my candy spread out on my dining room table. Tom and I were accessing our stash last night. We ran out of candy at 7:30 last year. We have a very popular trick or treat neighborhood! This was a promo piece with a bunch of my Halloween images on it, I have so many more. I don't seem to get tired of orange and black and purple! I am trying to not eat too much candy before the night begins and I am planning a a nice hot soup for dinner so I won't spend the night doing what? Eating candy!!!! No wonder we ran out last year!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Nursery Rhymes! DATE: 3:45 PM ----- BODY:
So I am adding all sorts of images to my Etsy shop. I added these baby images. They look good with the whites mattes, I need to some photos of the pieces. I have uploaded them onto the site but I think there is something to seeing the final printed product. A project for tomorrow! I am having fun doing all this and after thinking about it for so long. I am glad that I have jumped in!
Whew it is a lot of uploading and I want to get back to painting!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Etsy Shop! DATE: 12:55 PM ----- BODY:
Ok! I have done it! I opened an Etsy shop selling prints of my illustrations. I covertly have been plotting this out. I ordered white mattes because I think a matte is a nice option if you are giving a print as a gift. I researched paper to have the art printed on. That was fun! I ended up with some beautiful cotton rag-just lovely- especially if you have always been a paper lover like me! I have also been arranging the work in files, sizing it and and generally spiffing it up over the last few weeks. Today I have been posting my first category "The Girls". I will have Children and Wine also. Girls, Wine and Children...hmmm, what does that say about me and and my girlfriends? ha! So I figured out how to list items, set my prices and loaded them up. I needed a break from formatting so I thought I would blog an announcement! I am NOT the greatest photographer but I wanted to take some photos to show how the art is fitted into the matte! I need to get better at that. The Shop name is Monica Lee (pretty original, huh? It was my original username and it is my name soooo branding, branding right?). If you all have any tips for an Etsy newbie, please send the advice my way!!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: DATE: 7:20 AM ----- BODY:
I guess I just couldn't say goodbye to summer since I produced the painting (on the bottom) of this summer girl and her puppy last week. I love playing with that madras plaid pattern that I water colored in her dress. I had spent some time creating quite a few watercolor "patterns" and it is tricky to use that medium and be successful. I just keep at it though! I created these trees within the last couple weeks too. I know these two images have nothing to do with each other I think I just keep trying to take watercolor, which I believe is wonder when illustrating people, and some how putting into a repeat pattern like these tree trunks. Ha! Well, experimenting is a good thing! Sometimes when I try something like the trees (above) I will watercolor them and then take the same sketch create it using pen and ink and maybe some digital color. Then I hang them up in my studio for a couple days. My family usually wonders in and tosses out a couple of opinions. Boys and men, the ultimate critics! It helps actually. If you have read my blog of any amount of time, I have had a continuing dialogue about whether I should take water color illustrations out of my portfolio. I have often felt that using multiple mediums makes my portfolio appear to have too many different "styles". I can mentally run down the work on my online portfolio and both mediums have gotten me work so I finally relaxed and decided that it just "is what it is". One thing I have realized recently is that if I cannot focus or if I am a anxious about something in my personal life, sitting down and using old fashioned paint and paper calms my mind. When I have an actual paintbrush in my hand I have no choice but to completely concentrate on the task at hand. Especially when I am using a medium like watercolor where mistakes cannot be easily erased!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Coat Design Contest DATE: 7:35 AM ----- BODY:
I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by Leanne who has organized a contest for a fashion coat design. She is an activist and strict vegan and a beauty herself and has a passion for fashion and using Eco fair materials. Of course when someone praises your work you always want to rise to the occasion so I entered 3 designs in her Vaute Couture contest. I went out of a limb not with the intention of winning per se because they are actually going to create the winning designs. I designed each coat with prints that were specific to the cut of the garment. I think it makes for a fab illustration (actually if it could be affordably produced, a fab coat too!) so these are the designs that I sent. The top one, (in gray) and evening coat got an honorable mention. Yeah! You can actually go to the site at Vaute Couture and VOTE for the winning design. I haven't done it yet but I noticed the voting ends Monday so I need to today. BUT if I had to vote for a coat I would wear out of MY three entries that I would actually wear.....I think it would be the white pea coat with the embroidery. No wait, I take that would be the mid length coat I am a sucker for a cute outfit, beret and tights included!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Cyclocross DATE: 9:41 AM ----- BODY:
So, what a great weekend we had!! We have decided we like cyclocross! Cyclocross is a weird off road bike race where the riders ride in dirt and mud/sand and pick up their (special and expensive bikes) during the hilly course. We went up to Gloucester, Ma for a big race. It was a gorgeous weekend! Luke, Tom and I could not have had a better time. We were sad we didn't bring our border collie though, because everyone brought their dogs! This picture above is of the women's race, a point in the race where they pick up their bikes and jump hurdles! Each race is about and hour and these riders were in pain by the end! Luke has serious plans to be in the kids race next year....not quite as hard as this...he came home and started training! cute!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Lottie Frank DATE: 8:18 AM ----- BODY:
So this is some of Lucy's work from Lottie Frank. I don't know if you clicked through the link last week to her etsy shop. I ended up emailing her and asking permission to show her work on my blog. I see other people post other peoples art on their blogs and I never know whether they have received permission... I know it is not like you are using it as a reproduction but it is a gray area for me. If you thoughts on that pass them on to me. Everyone I have ever asking to show their work has been very gracious. Anyway, Lucy is great and I feel like I made a new friend across the pond. Lucy is from Britain. I forgot to mention to her how much time I spent in London as an international flight attendant. I got quite spoiled, we stayed in South Kensington. I do miss the layover but not the flights over!
I am about to open my own Etsy shop with some of my illustrations for sale. I have been thinking about it for some time and then it all came together in my head. Yikes! I have totally seen my pattern repeat itself again....I mull things over for some time in my head and then (thankfully) it happens. When I realized that I actually accomplish what I plan in my head has been freeing to me. Now if I can bring that mulling over time down to a more reasonable amount of days (months) I will be all set!
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Yummy! DATE: 12:45 PM ----- BODY:
A new season has arrived in New England and even though I have not outgrown any of my current shoes crowding my closet somehow a change of season always seems to be an excuse to just squeeze in one more pair. This illustration is one I have been playing with as a promo piece and I decided to girly it up this morning and add the florals. Now that I think about it I do have a brown boot in my closet that has embroidery on it. It is tone on tone but actually it would be cute if the embroidery were more colorful like these boots. Wouldn't these be fun peaking out from under your jeans? Sometimes a girl just needs shoes.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Friday Favs, Danita and Lucy! DATE: 9:20 AM ----- BODY:
Wow! I haven't blogged since Tuesday. I have thought about it a lot but haven't actually done it. What does that say about where my head is!? I have not done a Friday Favs in a bit. I do have a few new artists and things and ideas booked marked. The first is danita art. Click to her etsy shop for a full range of her work. I found her on Etsy and she is spread out on several sites selling her art. I think she is original and has a very distinct style. Then I also found Lucy Claydon an artist who works under the name Lottie Frank. I think I must have seen her before in one of my fashion illustration books because the name and her style is familiar to me. I was surfing around Etsy because I was thinking about selling some of my more fashion based illustrations online. I did 3 new fashion illos this weekend, I am not sure if I can post them, actually I don't know why I can't...anyhoo and I just sunk into it and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I keep a creative/business journal and I was asking myself "how does making this type of art make you feel?" Excited? Bored? And "how does making that type of art make you feel?" Nervous, excited and slightly uncomfortable. Hmmmm, interesting emotions and I think for me good ones, slightly uncomfortable means I am pushing myself to think differently about my art and my surroundings. There I was in my previous post asking about how I could make sure I was bringing cash flow in if the economy took a dip (or dive). And I think my conclusion is to head in the direction that makes me nervous, excited and slightly uncomfortable.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Is the sky falling? DATE: 7:05 AM ----- BODY:
Good Morning America! Have you been watching the news? Are you shaken up yet? Has the news made you question your work and your security? I have been a bit obsessed with watching CNN and Fox news and have even taken to tevoing Glenn Beck! Stop the madness, Monica! But I am ultimately a practical person and sometimes I can't understand how my creative self works with my practical self. But all this has lead me to thinking about my career over the next year. I made a leap into licensing this year and am quite committed to it. This has not stopped me from my editorial illustration but I am in a quandary about where and how to spend my marketing dollar. If I concentrate on licensing designs will there be manufacturers still around to produce what I create? If I really focus on editorial art I have to ask myself if advertising budgets with still be large enough to hire illustrators at a decent rate of pay? Should I jump in the pool and start selling stock art? I don't know that I am adamantly against stock art but I always wonder if people actually follow the usage rights that they agree to when they buy the art. Time is a serious commodity for and artist and every artist I know has a big list of to-do's that they try to get to in between actual paying jobs. When I made the commitment to focus on licensing last January, I sat my husband down and told him that some of my regular salary might drop since I needed to spend the time building up my portfolio of designs for licensing. He was completely supportive and still is but now I am second guessing myself. What if it takes even longer than I planned to establish myself, what if, what if? Is this the bad news on Main Street (I HATE that term!) talking? Am I considering a redirection of my current path because I am trying to practical or scared? How has this news about the economy been making you feel? Here is a design that I created for a fashion illo. I then mocked it up for plates and napkins and I liked it so much I had stationery made for myself using the same design.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Monica Lee TITLE: Along came a spider DATE: 12:26 PM ----- BODY:
It's getting a bit closer to Halloween. Here is a greeting card design I am sending out to a card company. I have such a big stash of Halloween designs. And for some reason I am not sick of the whole Halloween color palette. I need to get my Christmas groove on, I do get tired of red and green although I think Christmas can be done in a larger color range. I collect shiny bright ornaments so that tends to be the holiday palette that I lean towards especially once WWII began and they started using pastels in the colorings. You would think that I would like Easter and Spring with my thing for a pastel Christmas but my childhood Christmas was full of Shiny Brights so that is what I like. Maybe my childhood is what made me never tire of Halloween also. My mom always decorated the house every year, remember those old paper decoration that would expand accordion style? Wow! The gift industry has come a long way since then!! halloween decor is serious business now! I have considered have an entire Halloween portfolio when I am at Surtex this spring!
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