Things I've Learned pt. 1

Yesterday was a tough day for me. Sometimes I feel like a huge wuss for complaining, but I think everyone needs a little vent time every now and then. I've had a lot of stress in my life lately, some I won't even take the time to explain and some of which is more in the category of "occupational" from which I managed to learn a good lesson yesterday. 

First, the good stuff. Earlier this year, I was accepted into an art festival in Laguna Beach called Art-A-Fair. It has really forced me to focus on my work, expand my abilities, and, for lack of a better phrase, get my shit together.  I grew so much while I was working hard for jury day, and even more from the time I was accepted until now. The premiere night is next week, and I am working my ass off just to be ready for it. I have a few paintings to finish, I had to design and create certain elements for my booth, and it has just been insane. Before I start complaining, let me just say that I KNOW how lucky I am. I truly am incredibly lucky. Sometimes I can't even believe how lucky I am. 

Yesterday, I was trying to figure out my business cards (I know, I know, WHY did I leave something that so clearly should be outsourced to a printing company to the last minute like this?!) and I just COULD NOT find someone who could do what I was looking for in the time constraints I had. Granted, money was kind of a factor as well... I'm an artist. I do what I love because I love it, not because of the money. I'm not trying to strike it rich, I'm just trying to survive. 

What I really wanted was a business card that wouldn't just be a piece of paper someone takes home to throw away later. I wanted something memorable, a unique impression, just like every unique interaction I would have with the people receiving the cards. I know, that's a tall order. I was willing to settle for business cards printed on rough natural white paper, roughly the same weight and thickness of watercolor paper (my primary medium). Once again, I guess that's a tall order. Apparently watercolor paper is not a common thing to be printed on. 

Eventually I got SO frustrated in my search that I grabbed one of my older (read:cheaper) pads of watercolor paper, and stormed into our office, housing several large professional printers. I plugged my computer into one of our nicer ones, opened up photoshop with my completed design, and printed it onto the thick watercolor stock. It was perfect. A clean and simple design on a medium that is not just similar to what I was looking for, but exactly what I was looking for. Okay, so I had my design. Now to make it personal. Unique. 

So, with a pretty much blank canvas right in front of me, I went to work. This was the fun part: splattering, smushing, mixing the paint all over the cards to make each one a work of art. Each is individual, completely unique. I decided to work with a few different color ranges. Blues and greens, warm tones, and yellows and greens, I finished each page with a few splatters of some bronze liquid leaf just to give them a bit of pop. As I type this, I have bits of bronze leaf and paint all over my hands, signs of a job well done... Or thoroughly completed, at the very least.

While I adore nail polish, I just can't seem to wear it. I work with a lot of white negative space, and having little red streaks from my nails touching the surface of my paper is endlessly infuriating.

While I adore nail polish, I just can't seem to wear it. I work with a lot of white negative space, and having little red streaks from my nails touching the surface of my paper is endlessly infuriating.

So, what's the point of this post? Well, for starters, I made myself some kickass business cards. On top of that, I figured out that sometimes if you're particular about something, the best way to get it done is to do it yourself. Don't get mad or frustrated, just get motivated. And never ever allow something that directly represents you to be limited by someone else's resources! If you can't find it yourself, make it yourself!

 

The final product:

image.jpg

 

Materials used: Epson Stylus Pro 4880, photoshop, Davinci watercolor, bronze liquid leaf (of course I can't remember the brand right this second... I'll add it later)

 

A quick how-to:

1. Come up with a really simple design that gets your message across without trying to hard and taking up too much of that precious negative space. I chose my initial with a simple border because I'm a one-woman business. I'm allowed to have a business card that is all about me.

2. Think about your colors. I chose a variety of colors because, as a mixed media artist, my work spans a bunch of different tones and feels. There's a card for everyone. 

3. Pick your materials. Maybe you want yours printed on something bright and colorful or handmade paper, the list could go on forever. The paper I used can be found here.

Like this. Simple, lightly textured, absorbent, thick card stock.

Like this. Simple, lightly textured, absorbent, thick card stock.

4. If you don't have a printer that will take the type of medium you want to use, consider buying a custom stamp. Remember, if your design is simple enough, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. 

5. Depending on what you want sort of art you would like to accent your card, this step may vary. At this point, I printed my work on a grid to use up as much of the paper as possible. Waste not, want not. 

I know what you're thinking, "these cards are the most boring cards EVER!" just you wait. You will see what I have in mind.

I know what you're thinking, "these cards are the most boring cards EVER!" just you wait. You will see what I have in mind.

Now, go to work! I used watercolor with a variety of techniques. I experimented with acrylic, but I love the soft look you get from a water wash and little drops of color. 

If you want the paint to look more opaque, consider acrylic. You can decorate the paper first, then iron it and slip it right into your printer, or stamp your heart out. 

Splattering watercolor all over my page was a really therapeutic way to vent my stress and take a break. Make sure you have junky clothes on, this WILL get you messy!

Materials used: strathmore watercolor paper, da Vinci watercolors, brush n leaf liquid metallic leaf

image.jpg