Monday, December 29, 2008

IF - clandestine


"Timmy's late night clandestine meeting with the cookies in the cookie jar turned into a disaster-in-the-making when the chair began to slip out from under him!"
This illo was inspired by a book I got for Christmas, called the Magic Pencil. It's a series of interviews with British illustrators, where they talk about their backgrounds and methods of working. One of my favorite illustrators, Sara Fanelli, is one of the illustrators. Did you know she doesn't use a computer in her work? It's so flawless, I just assumed she did, but I guessed wrong, she's just incredibly talented!
Even though I truly admire her work, she wasn't the one that inspired this...it was the work of Lauren Child. I'm sure you have all see her work around, she's quite popular. I tried to be loose and spontaneous, like her illos are, but I couldn't quite get there, I'm think I'm too much of a neat freak and like clean lines, but I did use some real life objects, combined with drawings and patterns, which is what her work is mostly about.
All in all, it was a fun exercise. I like trying new things every once in a while, you never know where it will lead. Maybe nowhere, but maybe to something extraordinary.

Monday, December 22, 2008

IF - voices


For Illustration Friday this week. I did these holiday carolers for A Muse as a stamp design a few years ago and thought they would be perfect for the voices theme. I just popped the drawing into Illustrator, used the Live Trace feature to add a little color, then moved them onto a scalloped oval shape with a bit of lettering.
Easy Peesy! Perfect for this time of year with all the extra stuff to do for the holidays. Since my last post about our crazy weather, it's snowed more. It snowed and snowed and snowed last night. A winter wonderland in the city known for rain. I never would have believed it, if I didn't see it and live it for myself!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

snowed in and spyed on



It's been a crazy week here in Seattle and not in the good kind of crazy fun way. We've been hit with snow and ice, closing schools early for the holiday break and making the streets barely drivable. Now the weather service is predicting another major storm to come through tonight, with 90 mile an hour winds, more snow and ice and with the possiblity of power outages! Today I got out and drove to the grocery, a usual 45 minute chore took me 2 hrs! The line at the store was HUGE, so I read all about Tom Cruise's family life and Brittany's comeback while waiting (he hee - guilty pleasures)

Ok, so that's that and what can you do about the weather, nothing...but on top of that SPYWARE got into my computer! For a couple of days, I couldn't do a thing on the internet without it freezing up or connecting itself to sites that I didn't want to go to (ex: hotbabes.com!). Things are better now after uninstalling our internet protection software and reinstalling a different kind of service that is better at finding and eliminating the spyware. We still have some issues, but for know it's working good enough.

So, now I can go back to reading the blogs I follow and checking up on Illustration Friday entries - two of my favorite things to do when I have a little free time. And, of course, I have to do this weeks IF challenge! I better get all my holiday chores done first, though - wrapping gifts is next on my list.

Monday, December 15, 2008

IF - rambunctious


This rambunctious little elf is getting ready to string some lights outdoors at the North Pole. (For Illustration Friday this week)

I love the idea of elves scurrying about getting things done while everyone's asleep. I think I'll leave a list for them tonight and see if it's all done when I get up tomorrow. Here's some of the things I'd like them to do:

*Decorate the tree ( I got one today, but it doesn't have anything on it yet)
*Wrap the gifts I've gotten so far
*Buy or make the rest of the gifts I need to get
*Make cookies (who wouldn't want cookies made by elves!)
*Make and send my Holiday cards (I'd love to see what they come up with..I bet they are pretty creative)

That's it for tonight little elves - if you do a good job, maybe I'll leave the vacuum out tomorrow night!


Sunday, December 07, 2008

IF - similar


For IF this week - I love it when people and their dogs look similar! This stylish woman and her poodle share a lot of similarities. It would be fun to do a whole series of people and their look-a-like pets. I'm sure it's been done before...seen any good ones?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

IF - balloon


"Papa's stomach ballooned so much during Thanksgiving dinner that the button on his vest popped off! He hadn't even gotten to the pumpkin pie yet!"

My 1st real 'scene' illo done in Illustrator...so much fun! I'm learning what works for me and what doesn't and it's getting easier. I still may go back in Photoshop and add some texture and shading, but then it won't be a vector piece anymore...hmmmm, I do love the clean lines of vector art.

We spent Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's beautiful new home in Olympia. Her kitchen island, granite top, of course, was actually bigger than our bathroom! This thing was huge! The 2-story house also had an elevator and a covered deck with a gas fireplace!

Friday, November 28, 2008

new banner

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to take down my Happy Fall banner and replace it with this new one for winter...penguins, of course! Hello winter!

Monday, November 24, 2008

IF - opinion


For Illustration Friday this week - an opinionated dog. I posted this illo before, but not for IF and I thought it was a good fit for this week, so here it is again. I'm hoping next week I'll have time to do a new one.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

7 things


I've been neglecting the 'ole bliggity blog lately and I haven't been able to participate in IF lately either (insert frowny face!), but I was tagged by fellow illustrator, Edrian Thomidis, so I'm carving out a little time to post 7 things about myself. Ack! I'm like Edrian, my life is pretty normal and boring, but here goes:

1. My last name is actually Seven. It's not a "stage" name that I made up. It is my married name and came from when my husband's ancestors came over to America from Luxemborg and their name, Sewen, was changed to Seven on Ellis island. It is unusual to have a number for a name, but it's great fun to make dinner reservations - I need a table for 7 at 7:00 and the name is Seven!

2. I was born and raised in the Midwest (Indiana), but I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years and I love it here.

3. I quit eating meat in April of last year. My daughter had gone with her 8th grade class to a lecture by the Dalia Lama, his Seeds of Compassion tour. She wasn't too impressed by the speech, he was hard to understand and the acoustics were poor, but they gave out a pamphlet on the conditions in farms that raise animals to be slaughtered and it was a real wake up call to us both. I had also just seen a bumper sticker that read "I don't eat anything with a face". Those 2 things combined made us decide to go meatless. We do still eat fish and seafood, we need the protein!

4. I worked in the Visual Merchandising Dept of a major dept store for 14 years before I started my greeting card and illustration business. The store I worked for, The Bon Marche, has since been bought out by Macy's.

5. I went to 3 different colleges before I finally got my degree in fine art from the University of Oregon.

6. I lived in the town of Bend in Central OR for 5 years after I graduated. I had a great time there, working, skiing and roller skating around town. It was a wonderful place to live and I sometimes wish I would have stayed there forever!

7. I would really like to illustrate a children's book some day!

Now I'm supposed to tag 7 other people to share 7 things about themselves, but I just don't have the time to figure out who to tag that hasn't already been tagged and find their links, etc. so, let's just say, if you are reading this - consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

happy day


playing around with Illustrator...It's so easy to create a simple design like this one, I did this in about 20 minutes! How cool is that! I've been super busy this week making my greeting cards and working on things I can't share yet, so I did this little guy to wish all my blogging friends a happy day!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

IF - wise


What luck I had this week with 'wise' being chosen for the word to illustrate this week over on Illustration Friday. I had just finished this greeting card with a wise owl on it. I'm working on a series of cards that I hope to one day market to some card publishers and if I'm lucky again, one of them will pick up the series. They are going to be nature based, with lots of woodland creatures and of course leaves and trees. I'm using eco-friendly colors with the hopes that they will be printed with green inks and recycled paper. This is the 1st one in the series, with one other one done to share at a later date. I'd love to get some feedback on this - Am I on to something here?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

IF - vacant


I decided to do something editorial this week for Illustration Friday with the theme word - vacant. With all the foreclosures due to the sub prime mortage failures, there will be lots of vacant houses out there. I used the rental page from the Seattle Times as the basis for the house and did you notice that the chimney smoke is lettering that says 'sub prime mortages"? I used the "text on a path" feature in Illustrator to do that and I think it's pretty cool, but looks kind of small in this copy for the web.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

vote early


Lilla Rogers asked the group of artists she represents to do a piece for a "vote early" campaign. I follow her blog on a regular basis because I admire so many of her artists and am constantly inspired by them. I was so inspired by this challenge that she gave them, I decided to do one of my own for this topic. (plus, I've already voted and want to encourage others to get out and vote, too!)
Done in Illustrator - I even made the background paper!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

IF - repair


Even birds have to do some repair work around the house!

Still playing and learning in Illustrator. I thought I would do something simple and try out all the tools. It was harder than I wanted it to be! So much to learn and skills to master. This didn't turn out exactly how I imagined, but like I said...still learning. I tell ya, I am in AWE of all the vector artists out there that make it look sooooo easy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

witch girl


Whooo hooo! I did this all in Illustrator today! Still having trouble with that @#?%#@^! pen tool, so I used the pencil and shape tools for most of this. I've been wanting to do some Halloween designs, so this was a good reason to practice. I'm having a blast with it, I may never go back to Photoshop again. (sorry about that photoshop...I know we have been friends for a long time and you've been good to me, but my new friend Illustrator is just so cool and speedy!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

don't call me ma'am


I don't like being called ma'am. It happens every time I go to the grocery store and the well-meaning high school bag boys ask me "would you like help out to the car, ma'am?" or "how you doing today, ma'am?" I know they are trying to be polite and probably can't think what else to call me, but ma'am has got to go! I want to look around and see if there is someone else they are talking to. What does it really mean anyway? Short for Madame, right? Who calls anyone Madame any more! It's 2008, not the 1800's, people!
Anyway, I illustrated this little old lady, who I think could be called ma'am and that would make sense. I did this totally in Illustrator with my new skills I learned in the workshop I'm taking. It's not a fantastic illo or anything, but I gotta tell ya I'm proud of myself for actually getting a finished piece done in Illustrator! I used to open it up and get frustrated within 5 mins and quit, so this is a HUGE step for me! I can't wait to learn more and do more with this amazing program. Now, I just need to figure out making curves with the pen tool....arrgh!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

IF - late


"I'm late, I'm late - for a very important date!"

This is an older image that I did just for fun a few months ago and I thought it was perfect for this week's theme on Illustration Friday. Alice in Wonderland is up at the top on my list of all around favorite stories due to it's rich characters and Lewis Carroll's wonderfully vivid imagination. It is an excellent story to illustrate and of course has been done so well numerous times. This is my humble attempt at illustrating one part of his great story.

I'm glad I had something to enter this week because I'm taking a 2 day workshop to learn how to use Illustrator. The 1st day was yesterday and the last day will be next Sat, so I'll be spending whatever free time I have this week practicing my new found skills. I learned so much the 1st day, but I think it will be a while before I will be able to use it to produce anything decent to post here. There is definitely a learning curve! So exciting, though! Hopefully, I will be able to share something soon, all done in Illustrator!

Monday, October 13, 2008

IF - strings



For Illustration Friday this week with the theme of "strings". I guess I cheated a bit, because this is really just "string"! Oh well, all I know is cats like to play with string and that's what I illustrated for this week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

custom holiday card


Here's a custom holiday card I'm doing for a local non-profit. I do the cards for my friend Stacey at Northwest Behavorial Assoc every year. They help families with children with autism get started with and maintain home-based therapy programs for their kids. Stacey and her staff have been helping us with our son, Derek, since he was 4 yrs old! He's 17 now, so that's a long partnership! We have really valued their expert advice over the years.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

slideshow

how cool is this? check out my new slideshow that I put over on the sidebar, courtesy of slide.com. It was so easy to set up and the basic ones, like this - are free! sweet!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

IF - sugary


My entry for Illustration Friday this week. I had fun with some lettering on this one. I really admire illustrators who do awesome lettering, like Linzie Hinter and Helen Dardik. (I love everything those two do!) They make it look so easy and guess what? It's not! I can't come close to anything they are doing, but I had a blast making this and I liked the challenge of adding in illos to the lettering. I learned a valuable lesson along the way on this one, too.
I started off coloring the lettering with just a transparent background, thinking I would just add the background color later. When I finally got to the point of adding the background, I found it difficult to find a color that worked well with all the colors I had chosen for the lettering. It took me forever to figure it out and I had to change some of the lettering colors to make it work. I was cursing myself for not thinking through my initial decision! Now I know - background color first!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

IF - packed


Something a little different from me this time for Illustration Friday. It's not kids! This is from a sketch I did about a year ago and never got around to doing anything with it. When I saw the theme word was "packed" I thought this would be perfect. Still some tweaking to do on it, but I have to move on for now, so here it is!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

blowing bubbles


Here's a new piece I finished over the weekend, just for fun. I'm trying to decide if it's portfolio worthy and I think - YES, it turned out pretty cute! This is the kind of work that I think I'm best at...it has a graphic design sense about it, which is what I studied in school. Although, that was sooooo long ago, you wouldn't think it would still be influencing me! I'd love to hear your comments about this one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

trees

A Muse just released these 2 new clear stamp sets, illustrated by, you guessed it - me! These are pretty cool, because, as you can see, most of the trunks and leaves are designed separately, so stampers can stamp them in different colors. Otherwise, you'd have brown leaves with a brown trunk, or green leaves and a green trunk and that would just not be right! I love to draw trees, so this was a really fun project. You can see these and all the other fun clear sets, right here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

new blog banner

hello everyone...check out my new blog banner! If you're on Reader, you'll have to go to my site to see it! Hopefully, it will be worth the click. (It will be if you like squirrels)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

IF - clique


I'm not a big fan of bees or any insect for that matter, but I am fascinated by honey bees and their behavior. The drones will follow the queen bee anywhere - the ultimate clique.
For Illustration Friday and the theme word - "clique".

Saturday, September 20, 2008

gee thanks!


I've been awarded this Sweet Blog award by the lovely and talented Edrian Thomidis. We know each other from Illustration Friday. Thank you so much, Edrian! I feel so honored, I'm not really much of a blogger - once or twice a week is it for me. I guess I just don't have that much to say, at least not that much that I want the world to know about! (hee hee)

This award originated from and was illustrated by Diana Evans, another talented illustrator, that posts a lot on Illustration Friday. Diana asks for reciepients of the award to honor other blogs (and the bloggers, of course!) that inspire them, so here are my awards: I've chosen other IF participants, because that is where this originated, so I'll keep it in the "family".


Thanks for the inspiration, everyone! You deserve this award!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

IF - island


"The Johnson family hits the beach while on their island vacation. Dad's Hawaiian shirt from his college days is a bit too small and Mom's afraid of getting a sunburn, she's got plenty of sunblock in her bag! The kids are so happy, they've never seen the ocean before!"

My entry for IF this week. I'm challenging myself to do multiple people, rather than my usual one! I do wish I was faster at this! I am making some progress, this one didn't take as long as I expected. I must say I'm jealous of this family and wish that I was on an island vaca. (sigh) I'll have to make do with the backyard deck and a good book...sadly, it's just not the same.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

IF - clutter

"Orange Cat is having fun playing in the clutter of boxes, wrapping paper and ribbon after Molly's birthday party."

For Illustration Friday this week. Click on the image for a larger view. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 08, 2008

treehouse kids


Another new piece for my portfolio. This one seemed to take me foooorrrreeevvverrr! I worked on it when I could over the last couple of weeks - an hour or two a day. I like when I can really concentrate on a project and make real progress, but sometimes you take what you can get and as Tim Gunn says, "make it work!"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

more kids and pets



More kids and pets to share with you. These go with the girl and her cat I posted for Illustration Friday's theme of 'memories'. These were so much fun to make. I could keep going for awhile with this...what other pets could I use? If you have any favorite pets that should be included, let me know! See how the little red-haired girl snuck her way into my illos again! She is always doing that!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

1st day of school


Yay! It's the 1st day back to school. Everyone was up and out the door by 7 am. I didn't think it could be done, but we did it. I already went and did my workout, it's going to be a sunny day, I have the house to myself and projects to work on. Who could ask for anything more?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

IF - memories

I think some of the best childhood memories involve a favorite pet. This little spot illo is from a series I'm doing of kids and their pets. I'm still working on my "ethnic" kids for my portfolio, so I'm combining that work with this entry for IF and I'll post the rest of the series when I get them finished. We always had pets when I was growing up...we had a dauschund named Heidi, a bunch of cats (my favorite was Charlie) and we even had a turtle for awhile, which we named McHale, after the TV show, McHale's Navy. My Mom would let us have any pet we wanted except hampsters or guinea pigs. No rodents, she would say!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

new holiday card designs





I finally did finish my new holiday card designs for my coffee themed greeting card line. Whew! I've been waiting to post them until they were up on my website and they are up, so here they are. I spent a lot of time fussing with these, probably more than I should have, but I'm happy with the results and I sure hope my customers are too!
It's hard to beleive that Christmas is only 4 months away! I don't know about you, but I think have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. It all started when I worked in Visual Merchandising (fancy name for Display) for a dept. store. Every year, I would work soooooo hard to get ready for the Holidays in the store, that by the time they came, I could care less. Even though I don't do that kind of work any more, I still do a lot of work with my greeting cards (which I'm not complaining about!) and around the house that it sometimes loses it's meaning and becomes "What else do I have to do before Christmas?," rather than enjoying it. This year, I hope to change that mindset and really enjoy it! So, fa la la. Hope you like the cards.


Monday, August 25, 2008

IF - routine


"Dogs have to have their daily routine, even if it's raining!"
For Illustration Friday this week...I'm working on adding some more diverse ethnic backgrounds of kids for my portfolio. I tend to always draw red-headed girls in pigtails or braids, so I'm branching out and trying new things and it feels good! It feels good to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone. I won't leave little red-haired girl forever, though. She still has my heart.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IF - detach

A quickie for IF this week...I couldn't stay away, even though I should be working on my holiday designs! Let's just say I did this on "my break". Hee hee!

Poor little girl, her dolly's arm detached from it's body! When my daughter was little, it seemed like I was always finding arms and legs from dolls in weird places around the house. She had a Ken doll whose head was always coming off! And of course, it was always "mommmmyyy!" and I had to come put his head back on. Those were the days...pretty soon she's gonna have real live Ken's coming over!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

a muse is moving!


A Muse is moving to a new location in October and I just did a window display in the current location to let customers know about the move. Here's a pic of the moving van I created out of foamcore for the window. We were originally going to paint it red and white, then Linda had the idea of the polka dots and colors in teal and green, which are very A Muse-like. It was a brilliant idea on her part because it turned out so darn stinkin' cute! I added a few kraft paper wrapped boxes tied with twine, some extra spools of twine and a pair of scissors and that was all it needed. And of course, we had to have a chick driving the van...who else would be driving?

The new space is going to be fabulous! And it's only like a block and a half from my house. How sweet is that? It's not far physically from the current space, about 10 blocks, but it's a whole different feel as far as the neighborhood is concerned. (and that's a good thing)

Monday, August 11, 2008

IF - sail

I'm "recycling" an older image for this week's IF entry, for 2 reasons. (Don't ya love how you can use the word recycling to make posting an old image sound sorta cool?)

The first reason is that this illo is perfect for the theme. What says sail better than sailboats? Not exactly the most clever way to illustrate the word, I admit, but hey, they can't all be masterpieces!

The second reason is I have to , I mean HAVE TO! start working on my new holiday images for my greeting card line. Many of my customers start looking for their holiday cards in Sept. and here it is mid August and I've barely started on them! Yikes! Where does the time go...it's just that the last thing on my mind when it's 80 degrees out is the Holiday season. Can ya blame me?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

IF - poof!


OK. I finally finished this for Illustration Friday, with the theme word - poof! Of course, I had to do the frog thing...I love painting kids and animals with crowns on their heads and who doesn't want to turn a frog into a handsome prince! At this point in my life, I'd rather turn him into a fist full of money, but that's another story. This little girl is aiming for the prince!
I dedicate this to the awesome ms. froggie, one of favorite blogging friends, whose words of encouragement and sound advice were much appreciated. Here's to you, froggie! and I really tried to do this with my wacom tablet, really I did!

Monday, July 28, 2008

IF - canned


Remember making a "phone" out of some tin cans and string? This is the 1st thing I thought of when I saw the word to illustrate for this week was "canned" over at Illustration Friday. The 2nd thing I thought of was getting "canned" from a job and this idea was way more fun, so here it is! Do kids today even do things like this?...I think they just want the real thing! My daughter started asking for her own cell phone when she was like 10! No tin cans for this generation!
(click on image for a bigger view)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Muse - New Holiday Images

A Muse has just released their newest holiday images and I always like to share my favorites of the ones I design for each release. My favs for the Holiday release are the Winterboy and Wintergirl. I just think they are soooo darn cute! I hope all the A Muse addicts out there think so too and they sell really well! For those of you who don't know A Muse, they make rubber stamps and other supplies for paper crafting (making handmade cards, scrapbooking etc.) These little cuties are rubber stamps.

The new release will be available on the A Muse website when they launch their NEW e-commerce site in a couple of weeks. Until then, you can order them via fax, phone or email.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

aw, shucks...an award!


The incredibly talented illustrator and all-around super nice person, Andi Butler, has given me this "you are too sweet" award! I'm so honored! It's not everyday you get an award, ya know! She just wanted to say thanks to all her blogger friends, who have helped pick her up in her down moments and shared her successes in her up moments. What a cool thing to do! I know that connecting with other artists and illustrators through blogging and the IF challenges has really made a difference in my life, so here's a HUGE thank you to all of my cyber friends, too! You are all "too sweet"!

Monday, July 21, 2008

IF - enough


For Illustration Friday this week: This Mom has had ENOUGH! Oh, yeah...I remember those days! Thankfully, my kids are older now and I don't have issues like this anymore, but of course, they have been replaced with other issues. Like last night, my 14 year old daugther asked us if we were going to buy her a car for her 16th birthday! Yikers!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

IF - foggy


"Even though Josh's snorkeling goggles were foggy, he still found this really cool starfish!"

I'm finding it's hard to spend a lot of time on IF challenges in the summertime...it's just too nice outside to spend a lot of time on the computer! I managed to do this one...not my best work, but kinda, sorta fun. Ya think?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

new coffee designs





I thought I'd share with all my blogger friends the latest designs I've created for my coffee themed greeting card line, n7 designs. There are (obviously!) 2 new anniversary images and 2 new birthday images. I'm quite pleased with how these turned out. I combined my love of collage with my love of working digital in Photoshop and they all have a scrapbooky/handmade card kind of feel to them, which I don't do, but I greatly admire those who do it well! You know who you are...all you crafty friends of mine from A Muse! And for all my Starbucks coffee loving friends...these are for you!