10 Skillshare Classes for Watercolor Artists

10 Skillshare Classes for Watercolor Artists

This post contains commissionable affiliate links

I’m excited to share these 10 awesome Skillshare classes with you! I have partnered with Skillshare to offer all of my readers a free trial of their Premium account, for an entire month! Imagine how much you can learn in that time! After that, a Premium account is only $10 – that’s cheaper than a Netflix account at this point.

A Guide to Watercolor Paints and Brands 

This class is taught by Ana Victoria Calderon, an American/Mexican artist based in Mexico City. For each brand she goes over the following:

  • Quality

  • Availability

  • Sampling

  • Rarities (Unusual Colors)

  • Moistness

  • Price

  • Pigmentation (actual pigments vs synthetic dyes)

  • Value

  • Vibrance

  • Mixing Space

  • Translucency/Transparency

Class Project Samples:

Click this link to take this class.

Reviews:

“Thank you Ana for creating such an informative and helpful class. I’ve watched this class several times ….as every time I watch it, I learn a bit more about the brands and types of watercolors (I’m still a newbie to this medium in many ways). You inspired me to purchase Jess Greenleaf’s Explorer Watercolor panset which you designed with her (Greenleaf and Blueberry). I can’t wait to start using them ! Always looking forward to your next classes Ana. A pleasure to watch and learn from you !!!” – Sharon Rego

“I learned so much from this class, mostly intuitive, and hard to find information. Ana is an excellent teacher; watching her and listening to her talk about the different paints was so informative.” – Meg Cupman

Watercolor: Basic Techniques

Sandra Bowers is a Freelance Illustrator and Surface Pattern Designer based in BC, Canada. In this class she covers basic techniques to help get you started with watercolor painting. You have the materials down, now to the techniques!

Click here to take this class.

Reviews:

“For someone with little to no experience with art, this was very helpful! It helps with some foundations in watercolors since I am an interested novice.” -Nia S.

“I loved it! It is great for a beginner for me! She explained and demonstrated the techniques really well!” -Taylor R.

Watercolor Textures

Watercolor Textures is also taught by Ana Victoria Calder. Over 5,000 people have taken this course and it comes highly recommended! Some of the student work is really great!

Click this link to take this class.

Reviews:

“Ana Victoria is a super talented artist but she´s also a huge teacher. I´ve watched so many online art classes and she is the only one who made it looks like the easiest thing to do in the world and I really got it. I´m so happy I found her. <3” -Carmen M.

“Fantastic class and teacher, clear and unhurried explanations and a lot of real time examples. You do not feel she is rushing to get the class over with like some teachers. I have learnt so much from this class.” -Caron S.

Painting Skin Tones with Watercolor

This class is taught by Melissa Lee Shaw, an illustrator and watercolor painter from Northern California. It’s the perfect class for beginners who’d like to start painting portraits and need to learn how to mix colors for skin tones. Here is one of her sample projects where she asks students to paint a portrait using the techniques they’ve learned in the class:

Click this link to take this class.

Reviews:

“I think this class does a great job of breaking down how to mix skin-tones with watercolor and how to color skin-tones in general. Before this class, I had no idea how to color skin, despite looking up several sources before this, but now it is starting to make sense to me 🙂 It is not overly complicated at all and I think this class gives you a great tool-set to experiment and play with coloring your own skin-tones in your drawings :)” -Mikayla K.

“Very helpful, I have been trying to master skin tones in watercolor for awhile now. The instructor shares the best colors to use and demonstrates step by step how to get the desired finish. I highly recommend this class.” -Karen E.

 

Sketch Your Life: Create Expressive Sketches in Pen and Watercolor

This class is taught by Elisa Choi Ang, a drawing and painting teacher from Singapore. She enjoys sketching and painting her life, as well as teaching others how to do the same. Her class teaches students to narrate their life through watercolor and ink sketches.

Click this link to take this class. 

Student work:

Reviews:

“Just what you need to start sketching right away! Not too much information for a beginner to get scared to draw, not too much instruments needed to make it harder to get and take everywhere. I’ve dreamt of such a course for ages! Thank you!” -Elena D.

“This is a really great class for anyone who is nervous about starting a habit of sketching from life. I took this class because I want to do this more, and I am going on a vacation this summer that I am really hoping to capture in a trip sketchbook. With the tools that I have learned in this class and the confidence from Elisa’s kind words, I’m sure I’ll have a nice sketchbook from my trip (as well as before and after 🙂 ).” -Sarah D.

Digitising Watercolor Drawings – Step By Step Guide 

This class is taught by Olga Shevyakova, a graphic designer, part-time illustrator, part-time styled photographer. She takes her students step by step through the process of how to scan their watercolor paintings, edit them in Photoshop, and vectorize them in Illustrator. Very helpful for artists who would like to make prints of their work, or sell on  platforms like Redbubble or Zazzle.

Click this link to take this class. 

Reviews:

“This was a very simple and very helpful technique on how to give your own artwork new life in digital format using Photoshop and Illustrator. Great Job. Well worth watching and taking notes.” -Mary T.

“Easy to follow and gives step by step instructions. The transcript is much appreciated. I’ll need to look at it when I actually open Photoshop and give it a try. I learned new techniques although I’ve been digitizing my watercolors for sale on Etsy for months now! Thanks, Olga! I look forward to taking more classes from you.” -Anna K

Confident Watercolors: Brushes

 

This class is taught by commercial illustrator Amarilys Henderson. In the class she goes over the basics of brushes to use in watercolor painting so that her students will be confident in approaching their work.  Amarilys’s cheat sheet for brushes:

Click here to take this class.

Reviews:

“Thank you for the short and very informative class. As someone who is starting with watercolor painting, I found the descriptions and practical demonstrations very helpful. Looking forward to watching your other watercolor classes. Cheers!!” -Atul K.

“Super useful class to get acquainted with your material. One size doesn’t fit all! knowing the performance of the brushes make for better choices when painting. Thanks Amarilys!” -Diana S.

Watercolor Lettering 

This class covers watercolor lettering and calligraphy. The class is taught by Peggy Dean, a self-published author of two best-selling books,  The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide and Botanical Line Drawing, and she is prominently known for her hand lettering and unique line illustrations.  Some of her class’s projects:

Click here to take this class. 

Reviews:

“Peggy Dean is a phenomenon! Her skills are awesome, her positive energy is contagious, and her teaching style is fun and practical. I’ve taken every one of her courses, and can’t wait for the next one! I highly recommend following her on Instagram as well, as she post so many inspiring works of art.” -Greer D.

“This was a great class! I’ve taken several of your other classes but this is the first lettering class using an actual brush that I’ve taken. It was very instructive and I like to see your examples in real time. It gives time to actually see the letter formation. Thank you for an eye opening experience!” -Sharon M.

Urban Sketching for Beginners: Watercolour Sketch in 3 Steps

This class is taught by Julia Henze, a freelance illustrator, letterer and urban sketcher living and working in Bergschenhoek, The Netherlands. Her class is for artists who aren’t sure where to start with urban sketching in ink and watercolor, or want to continue to practice. Some of Julia’s work:

Some of her students’ work:

Click here to take this class. 

Reviews:

“Love her breakdown of how to get the proportions right. I always forget to do that or it never really crosses my mind when I’m actually making the attempt to sketch something. It’s easy to follow and very encouraging.” -Grace T.

“I loved that we got to watch you draw/outline/paint along with us. Drawing buildings has always been such an intimidating task for me, but the way this class broke it down made me feel much more comfortable and confident about giving it a shot!” -Katie M.

Watercolor Magic: The Basics of Color Mixing and Color Harmony

This class dives right into color mixing and colors that work well together. Yasmina goes over the following in her class:

  • How to Mix on a Pallet

  • How to Mix Any Color

  • Tone Down Colors

  • Mixing Brown, Gray, and Black 

  • Make a Color Wheel Chart

  • Mixing on the Page 

  • The Basics of Color Theory

  • Collecting Color Inspiration

  • Make Harmonious Color Combinations

  • Make Your Own Inspiring Palettes 

Some of her students’ work:

Click here to take this class. 

Reviews:

“I think this was the most amazing class. It was hugely inspirational and changed the way I thought about mixing colour. It made me far more experimental.” -Lesley G.

“This class was so much fun! It’s really practical and the projects are so colorful and encouraging for beginners and for anyone who might be a little intimidated by watercolors. The Intuitive Mixing Exercise is very practical, fun and yields incredible results. I’m gonna make a habit of doing it whenever I feel stuck or un-creative, it’s sure to get you out of the dumps! Thank you Yasmina! You are a wonderful teacher and I’m looking forward to taking all your other classes.” -Lucia S.

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Artist Interview with Virginia Diakaki from The Greener Pastures

Interview with Artist Virginia Diakaki - Lowbrow Art

It’s my pleasure to introduce artist Virginia Diakaki from The Greener Pastures Etsy shop. You can follow Virginia on Facebook and definitely check out her website!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am an introvert with fits of extraversion.

I think with images and I try to put my thoughts on paper.

Interview with Artist Virginia Diakaki - Lowbrow Art

Where do your draw inspiration from? What is the goal of your work?

I draw inspirations from various things seemingly diverse. It could be a person or Victorian advertisement. Most of my inspiration though comes from my personal experiences and feelings.

I love it when people connect with my images. The fact that no mater the distance or the difference in culture, age etc we all share the same thoughts and feelings, makes me feel part of a whole.

Interview with Artist Virginia Diakaki - Lowbrow Art

Interview with Artist Virginia Diakaki - Lowbrow Art

What materials do you use for your illustrations? What is the process like?

Currently I am using gouache on paper. I used to paint on wooden boards using acrylics but felt the need to experiment with something different.

Interview with Artist Virginia Diakaki - Lowbrow Art

I start off with a pencil sketch on translucent vellum paper and I work on that until I have a very clear idea of what I want. Then I trace it on a white gouache paper and work on the color.

Interview with Artist Virginia Diakaki - Lowbrow Art


Interview with Artist Virginia Diakaki - Lowbrow Art

Do you listen to music while you create? What have you been listening to lately?

I absolutely do! These days I’m listening to ‘Music from Before the Storm’ the latest album from the band Daughter.

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Best Hosting Platforms for Artist Websites (And Why You Need One)

Many artists struggle to get their art out to their desired audience – finding a publishing platform, whether it be WordPress or another, is the first step, but many people question which hosting site they should run with. Because WordPress is free, open source software, and 20% of all websites are run on WordPress, this makes it the ideal publishing platform, but in order to have your own storefront and domain address you’ll need a hosting platform to host that site.

Whether you choose WordPress or another publishing platform, here are some recommended web hosting sites for artists:

WP Engine

 My favorite thing about WP Engine is that they’ve built their platform on over 30 open source technologies, and they’re one of the best hosting sites to integrate and optimize Google. Their team is on call 24/7, so whenever you’re working on your blog or website, they’re available to help you with anything you need. Also, if you want your site to be able to handle high traffic, WP Engine’s hosting is close to seamless when it comes to making sure your site loads quickly. Some bigger sites that they host include National Geographic and PBS!

Their dashboard is super easy to use and very straightforward – you can learn more here about what to expect as a user.

WP Engine is awesome, and they’re offering my readers 20% off  the Personal Plan, Business Plan, or the Professional Plan!

Click here for 20% off the Personal Plan

Click here for 20% off the Business Plan 

Click here for 20% off the Professional Plan

WP Engine offers a generous 60 day money back guarantee. If you’re unhappy with their service, you can cancel your account within the first 60 days and receive a full refund. This should give you plenty of time to figure out if they’re the right fit!  You can read testimonials here.

Weebly

Weebly is amazing because they both host your site and feature a website builder that has beautiful  themes, especially for online shops.

 

Their prices are also relatively cheap in comparison to other hosting sites:

StudioPress

If you’re looking for a great hosting site that also has amazing WordPress themes, StudioPress is impressive. One of the features they boast is HTML5 designs that are optimized for smart phones, and in a 2017 independent test, StudioPress sites beat all major WordPress hosting options on page load speeds. This is impressive and would be helpful for the artist hosting very high res images on their site.

Another really great pro about StudioPress is unlike most hosting sites, you can choose to be billed monthly instead of paying for an entire year at once.

You might be wondering at this point – why should I even start an art blog or website, especially one on a paid-for hosting site?  Here are some top tips for why you should start one:

  • So that you can brand yourself as an artist.

  • Break the barrier between yourself and the masses, who could be prospective clients or fans.

  • Have control over the design of the space your art lives in online.

  • Your website name should be all about you and your art, and not have another brand’s .com tacked onto it.

  • You’ll be able to measure the volume of traffic coming to your site and seeing your art.

  • Increase your art sales.

  • Have a place to share your creative process.

  • Make connections to other in the broader arts community.

  • You can place your bio, CV, and artist statement on a website so that anyone can access it.

  • So that your work can come up in Google search results.

  • Showcase photos from exhibitions you’ve been in.

  • Showcase press reviews or blog features.

  • Send a newsletter to your subscribers so they can follow along with your progress and milestones.

Great examples of artists’ websites:

Caz Novak’s Website

Linda Frimer’s Website

Val Nelson’s Website 

Zlatka Paneva’s Website

Jordan Schwartz’s Website

Tammy & Kenzie Allman’s Website

Leave any questions you might have in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Art Spectrum for more posts like this!

Great places to find site themes:

MyThemeShop

Template Monster
Moto CMS Templates

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Yupo Paper for Artists | Yupo Paper Review!

Yupo Paper for Artists

Contains commissionable affiliate links

A few weeks ago a friend was telling me about this crazy new paper called Yupo paper – I know, sounds like a dog-sitting service or something – but really, it’s so fascinating! Yupo paper is actually a 100% synthetic paper that’s waterproof and recyclable!

So, I decided to walk into the local art store this week and grab myself a 5×7 pad of this stuff to try out. The first thing I noticed was how strangely smooth it was – it didn’t quite feel like plastic, but it also didn’t feel like paper either. If you have as much fun touching different materials as I do, you will love this stuff!

I also learned just from my own research that Yupo paper doesn’t tear, which is awesome! It means for the clumsy person like myself, you don’t have to worry as much about your expensive piece of watercolor paper tearing after you do that clumsy thing you’re so good at doing. It’s also supposedly very durable, built to last lifetimes, and you can wipe it clean if you need to during your artistic process.

You can also:

  • Die cut with it.

  • Emboss it.

  • AND it comes in different gradients of translucency, or super hard white.

  • Use virtually any medium on it.

Some things I learned from trying it out myself:

  • Ink sticks REALLY well to it.

  • Watercolor takes awhile to dry (I mean, it takes awhile to dry on regular watercolor paper too, so that’s nothing new), but when it does dry, the colors are insanely vibrant.

  • Watercolor looks a little different then it does on regular watercolor paper – it’s got inky, cloudy quality that I’m finding hard to explain.

  • It doesn’t buckle at all, like watercolor paper does.

So, without further terrible explanation of what the stuff is and how much I loved it, here were my results!

I was also able to find a few other really great examples on Instagram of artists using Yupo paper for their paintings:

Yupo paper can be purchased in most art stores, and I would definitely recommend buying some if only just to test it out for yourself! Because I love Amazon Prime, and I know there are a lot of people out there that love it as well, that’s probably the top pick I would go with if you’re just wanting to test the waters. You can buy a pad of Yupo 5×7 paper for only $6.79 on Amazon! Here are some other options you can find on Amazon – these are all Legion brand (that’s the one I tested) but there are other brands out there:

If you’re a fan of Blick you can also find Yupo paper through them online and in the store – they currently carry the Legion brand as well as one for watercolor that you can buy per sheet.

If you’ve ever used Yupo paper please leave a comment about it! What mediums do you use on it? Do you ever use the translucent one, and why? Is it better to get a pad or one of the large rolls? If you have pictures or a shop, please leave your link with your comment!

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dickblick.com

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Creating Etsy & Facebook Banners Using Canva

Learn how you can create beautiful Etsy and Facebook banners using the free Canva site! #facebook #etsy #etsybanner #graphicdesign #smallbusiness

Hello All! I recently had the joy of opening a new Etsy shop, Pretty Shiny Prints, and as an artist wanted to have the best graphics possible for my shop’s banner. I decided to create this post so that you can replicate the process I went through to create mine!

What is Canva?

Canva is a free web-based software that runs in your browser where you can create beautiful photo layouts, business card designs, Pinterest-worthy collage pins, banners, and more! I chose Canva because Picmonkey, which is also one of my favorite online photo editing site, is no longer free.

Learn how you can create beautiful Etsy and Facebook banners using the free Canva site! #facebook #etsy #etsybanner #graphicdesign #smallbusiness

Creating Etsy Banners

Step 1: Go to canva.com

Step 2: Sign up using your email , Facebook, or Google account. Once you have an account, you can save any work-in-progress designs and come back to them later.

Step 3: Open your Etsy shopfront in another tab. Click the orange “Edit Shop” button. You will notice a small orange camera button on the bottom right hand corner of your current banner or banner space:

Step 4: Click on the orange camera button. You will see the following pop-up:

Learn how you can create beautiful Etsy and Facebook banners using the free Canva site! #facebook #etsy #etsybanner #graphicdesign #smallbusiness

Step 5: Take note of the minimum dimensions of the “small banner” and the “cover photo”. This tutorial will take us through creating a”cover photo”, which is 1200×300 px. The same method can be applied for the “small banner”.

Step 6: Switch over to Canva and under “Create A Design” you will see a “Use Custom Dimensions” button in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Learn how you can create beautiful Etsy and Facebook banners using the free Canva site! #facebook #etsy #etsybanner #graphicdesign #smallbusiness

Step 7: Put in DOUBLE the minimum dimensions indicated on Etsy for the cover photo – this will enhance the quality of the final image and it will not be pixelated or blurry. The dimensions will be 2400×600 px

Step 8: Click the “Design!” button at right.

Learn how you can create beautiful Etsy and Facebook banners using the free Canva site! #facebook #etsy #etsybanner #graphicdesign #smallbusiness

You will be met with a 2400×600 pixel white image for you to create your banner. Use the Layouts, Elements, Text, Background, and Uploads sections on the left hand side to build your banner. I recommended that you use your own graphics if you are an artist, but if not you can upload stock photos, your logo, or any other images you would like on the banner. Here’s the banner that I ended up making for my shop:

And here are a couple of other designs that I played with but didn’t end up going with:

Tips:

  • If you’ve had a logo created for your shop, or items that have particularly good images, upload them to the Uploads section so that they’re ready to be used in your banner.

  • You can make more than one banner, which is helpful if your shop is having a sale and you want a big, beautiful announcement banner across the top of your shop telling people about your sale.

  • Make sure the images that you upload to the Uploads section are high quality so they are not too small or look pixelated.

Creating Facebook Banners

Creating Facebook banners, or Facebook cover photos, is the same idea, but here are some tips for creating them:

  • Best dimensions for Facebook cover photos : 820×462. This will ensure that your photo looks great on both a desktop and a smartphone!

  • Make sure to follow Facebook’s Guidelines.

  • Try not to use too many words, make your banner as visual as possible!

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Free Square Photo Prints

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Art Book Wishlist 2018

 

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs

Modern Watercolor: A playful and contemporary exploration of watercolor painting

Abstracts In Acrylic and Ink: A Playful Painting Workshop

The Handmade Marketplace, 2nd Edition: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online

Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home

The Little Book of Cacti and Other Succulents

Tatouage

The Secret Lives of Color

Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor

This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions


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Artist Interview with Painter Carrie Alyson

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson

I’m excited to introduce artist Carrie Alyson! You can follow Carrie on Instagram @carrie_alyson and Twitter, and buy her wonderful work on Redbubble!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I’m just an artist approaching her 40s with a lot of wanderlust and a rekindled desire to return to making art into play. I have a creative job (that I love—senior graphic designer for my local Girl Scout Council) so I spend a lot of time looking at art as work. Work that I genuinely enjoy, but work nonetheless, and it bears the sometimes tiring and stressful mindset of “this is something I have to do to be an adult and pay the bills.

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson
I missed doing art for fun. I had kind of forgotten how to do art for fun. Before my current design job, I did a lot of freelance design and illustration while working other full-time jobs. If I was doing art, it was saddled with the baggage of needing to make money on it. I never really made art just for myself anymore, I was always creating for the client or for what I thought my audience wanted. And while I had once thrived in this mindset, it just wasn’t working for me anymore. 


Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson
Happily, things changed. I was able to trade up to an in-house design position, with the luxury of a 9-5 schedule and an income that I can modestly live on. I suddenly had free time! To do my own art! But I didn’t, at least not right away, because it still felt like work. I’ve been spending the past couple years figuring out how to experience creativity and art as play again. Learning how to get away from the idea that my art has to make money, or be for someone else to enjoy. I’ve made a lot of progress, but it’s still a constant battle to keep myself out of the “work” mindset. 

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson

What does your creative thought process look like to create your work? What are your favorite materials to work with?

As part of my current creative journey, I’ve been discovering more about what I like to paint, and what kind of processes and techniques are actually fun for me. I love to play with color palettes and form, so bright flowers and beautiful landscapes have been a great source of inspiration, and I look for scenes with distinctive shapes and colors. I start my paintings very loosely and create large areas of color to map out my composition. I start light and work darker as I start to fill in smaller shapes and define details. And as the final step, I add line work in ink, watercolor, or white gouache. I use the forms as a guide, but I also let my lines travel with the flow of the paint. I love doing detail work and intricate lines, and this method lets me enjoy the process of mark making rather than worrying about where the lines go. It’s as ok to line outside of the colors as it is to color outside of the lines.

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson
Watercolor is my favorite medium because it lends itself so well to creating both big lush, organic strokes and delicate, intricate lines. The portability and easy clean up are also a plus, and I like to carry a little watercolor kit with me in case inspiration strikes.

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson

What has been one of your favorite creative projects or works of art that you’ve made and why?   

Sitka Tidepool” – it is one of the first paintings that I did in this style, and I was really pleased with how it came together. I love the deep, vibrant color palette and the variety of shapes and textures that I got to paint. As a younger artist I was frequently basing the success of a piece on how photo realistic it was, or how closely it matched my reference material. That perfectionism really held me back as an artist, it made me afraid to experiment, I’d get frustrated if I couldn’t meet the impossible expectations I was placing on myself. With this painting, I consciously gave myself permission to just play and have fun with it, and not care if I messed it up. I used my photo reference as inspiration rather than limitation, and as a result, I was really able to lose myself in the joy of painting and creating it. When I look at it, besides enjoying it visually and aesthetically, I remember the experience of painting it.

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson

Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson
Stunning #artwork by artist Carrie Alyson

Do you listen to music while you create? What are your current favorites?  

I’m almost always listening to music, or lately audiobooks and podcasts, while I paint. Some artists that are currently in heavy rotation in my playlists are BOY, Miner, Sara Hartman, Dessa, Mike Doughty, and the Decemberists. I’m a Spotify addict because I listen to everything from the 60s and 70s rock that my parents introduced to me to indie/alternative folk to contemporary pop. I usually like something a little more upbeat when I’m painting, something that makes me feel energized.

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If you’re interested in watercolor, check out my post on 10 Skillshare Classes for Watercolor Artists!

10 Skillshare Classes for Watercolor Artists

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Artist Interview with Essi Kimpimäki from Essi Illustration

I am excited to introduce everyone to Essi Kimpimäki from South-East Finland! Essi’s shop, Essi Illustration, is the perfect place to find colorful art prints and gifts – please feel free to take a look. You can also find Essi’s work on her artist website, and you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? What is life like in Finland?

I am a freelance illustrator, originally from Finland but I’ve been living in Scotland for the past 10 years. Drawing was always my favourite thing to do as a kid, and I can’t remember ever seriously considering of studying anything else than art. To be honest, I never thought I would actually make a living out of it but wanted to give it a go anyway, and so far it has worked out alright!

I moved to Glasgow to study at the Glasgow School of Art, and graduated with a degree in Illustration in 2011. The year after graduating was a bit hard, the difference between the art school and the real world was so drastic, I didn’t really know how to get commissions and how to in general start pursuing a freelance illustrator career. I ended up doing other random jobs, travelling, and eventually even went to study graphic design as I thought it would be easier to find work as a graphic designer. However, studying graphic design made me realize very fast that my passion lies in illustration, and that it really was all I wanted to do. So I dropped out after one year, and started working on my illustration career with a new motivation, and am still on that path!

So many of your pieces seem inspired by faraway places. What is the thought process and creative process like for these?

Yes! It really is one of my all time favourite themes to draw. The world is so full of magical, interesting places and cultures, so many countries that I want to visit – I know I probably won’t be able to see them all in real life, but on some level illustrating them can take me there. It can start from seeing a documentary, a photograph, hearing a song. It can also be a place I’ve visited myself, a feel of a location that I want to remember. I do some research, which can be reading about related topics, and of course looking at a lot of pictures. But I don’t want to replicate existing places exactly the way they are, my goal is to recreate the atmosphere of the location, to hopefully make the viewer be able to imagine how the place would feel (or to take them back there, if they’ve visited).

I do a lot of sketches of existing places, and then try to create my own scene from those. I also pay a lot of attention to colour, as I think every place has its own unique colour palette so getting the colours right can really help you to feel the place.

What has been one of your favorite projects or prints that you’ve worked on?

There’s been a lot of fun ones, but for some reason I’m now thinking about a project I did for my degree show years ago. I did a series of four screenprints called Sacred Animals, in which I looked at different cultures and their relationships with animals, and picked four interesting ones for my project. I had for example the royal white elephant of Thailand, where they are sacred and a symbol of royal power, and all those discovered belong to the king. It was the hectic final year of art school, but I got really into the research and loved reading and finding out more about the different customs and cultures. It combined my two favourite things, making images and learning about different cultures, and I guess that is why it still remains as one of my favourite projects ever. Which actually makes me think that I should do more of those!

Do you listen to music while you create – if so what are some of your current favorite artists or songs?

I usually do like to have something on in the background. But when I’m reading a brief, doing research or trying to solve a problem (composition, colours, whatever), i.e. having to actually use my brain, I might often work in total silence, or just have something very chill and unnoticeable music on. My recent favourite has been this lofi hip hop radio on YouTube, very chill and nondistracting. Too fast or crazy music will make me anxious and unable to concentrate!

Once I’m over the thinking part, I like to listen to podcasts, Radiotopia has some great ones, really love Strangers and Mortified and Criminal, then of course Serial was great as well as S-Town.. and plenty of others! And sometimes I like to watch documentaries or series on Netflix.

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Artist Interview with Meri Gold from Pale Illusions

It is my pleasure to introduce Meri Gold from the Pale Illusions Etsy shop! Meri Gold’s shop is filled with curiosities, and we hope you’ll take a look. You can also follow Meri Gold on Facebook. Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as check out her website!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I’m a lost cause living on the West Coast of Canada fighting against “adulthood” one day at a time.
I have always loved making stuff. I come from a family of makers. Music, art, clothing, woodworking, it’s in my blood. I painted my first canvas when I was 14 but I was painting and drawing all over my walls long before that. I had a few other careers before landing on art only 2 years ago. I still feel pretty fresh at the whole making a living out of it thing, but I’m addicted to the rush.

What materials do you use in your mixed media embroidered pieces? What draws you to those materials?

Well, I thrift all my embroidery materials so fabric, hoop and thread wise, whatever I dig at the thrift store will end up in my piece. As for the paint, I bought this dry pigment in Peru when I was there 2 years ago. The colours are so highly concentrated so I’ll mix those with water or white acrylic for the background. I really enjoy the typical paint on raw canvas because the threads of the canvas provide a grid for me to use. But I like expanding too. Velvet is great, anything thick enough to not show the mess of the back is great. That being said I’d like to try embroidering some sheer fabrics. That would be a challenge.


Can you tell about your Patreon initiative? 

Yeah! I made it as a way for me to have an excuse to do cool things for people who feel compelled to give their support. I want to personalize my relationship with people who buy my work and show their support as much as I can so this just gives me a platform to do so. I love being able to show people my weirder creations and give sneak peeks. It’s fun for me. Plus it lets me live a regular life with some income stability which is a huge benefit to my creativity.


Do you listen to music while you create? If so, what are you currently into? 

Yes. And everything. Folk is my staple. But I love hip hop for painting, ambient is good for embroidery. Classical when its raining or in the morning. Shoegaze anytime. I’ve been getting more into Vaporwave. Podcasts are an always thing. I hop around a lot. And sometimes I really like sitting in silence. It almost feels noisy at times. But right now I’ll probably put on some soul/r&b and groove out a bit.

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Interview with Artist Taylor Mason from Mason Makers

It is my pleasure to introduce Taylor Mason from the Mason Makers Etsy shop! Taylor and her husband Ryan are both designers living in Portland, Oregon and run their Etsy shop together, please visit their shop and their website to show some love after the interview! You can also follow Taylor on Instagram @taylormasondesign.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art?

I am a graphic designer and painter living in Portland, OR. Art has always been fascinating to me, as a kid I played movies in the background and poured over library books, trying to replicate the sketches I studied. I was in love with the magic of creating, to see a pencil sketch come to life and create an illusion on paper was mesmerizing to me.

Today my passion for drawing and painting has only continued to progress. I love painting in oils and gouache. I primarily create landscapes and animals from my travels. I love plein air painting as well, there is something peaceful and challenging about being in the middle of nature and attempting to capture the light and colors in the moment.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for your oil paintings? What draws you to painting in miniature?

My inspiration for my paintings comes primarily through my travels. Locations such as Wyoming, Maui, Canada, California and Montana offer sweeping fields, large open skies, mountains, desert plateau’s, lava fields and rainforests. There is so much variation in nature and I find inspiration everywhere I visit.

I decided to paint in miniature when I ran across interesting wood rounds in a craft store. I like how small they are and how painting or staining the edges can mimic the frames of larger classical paintings. I’ve also found that people enjoy owning smaller, more affordable pieces, in contrast to larger commissions.

How did your series on Maui come into being?

My Maui series came to be through my trip to Hawaii last spring. I’ve visited the island several times, but on this trip because I’ve been more focused on painting landscapes, my eyes were more attuned to noticing details I hadn’t before. One thing I enjoy is the variety of climates in a relatively small area. Visiting volcanoes, rainforests, coastlines and wildlife provided me with an abundance of inspiration, and led to this series.

Can you speak to the creative partnership between you and your husband?

I met my husband Ryan through the graphic design program at our university. His humor and love for drawing really captured my attention. Today we enjoy sharing creative time side-by-side, sitting at our desks in the evenings as he draws comics and I sketch or paint. We also enjoy creative days outdoors where I paint en plein air and he sketches beside me. Ryan challenges and encourages me on a daily basis, helping me with my compositions and not letting me take shortcuts. I’m thankful to have a spouse who values creativity just as much as I do and enjoy pursuing our passions together.

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