Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Artist Appreciation Month: Super Jane Smith Interview

Hello, hello! This month I am pleased as punch to have been asked to participate in an Artist Appreciate Month Interview, conducted by the lovely, multi-talented Patience Brewster. Patience is an Artist/Illustrator/Designer, who specializes in art licensing and product design. She is well-known for her ornament collections and greeting cards. You can discover more about Patience & her artwork here.

© Super Jane Smith • Robot City 

Patience Brewster: As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist?

Super Jane: Growing up I often visited the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio where I lived and there were several pieces in their permanent collection that I loved to visit (still do when I am back in town!). They have a fantastic Louise Nevelson sculpture—huge and black, it is a veritable hidden picture of found objects—that I could spent hours staring at. I also had a deep affection for Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun painting (the light is gorgeous!) and the Henry Moore sculpture that graces the front lawn of the museum. Additionally, the museum’s great work highlighting local artists exposed to me to the works of Elijah Pierce, Aminah Robinson and George Bellows. Each of these three artists fueled my passion for art at a young age and have stayed with me.

© Super Jane Smith • Woodland Babies main repeat

Patience Brewster: As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your work?

Super Jane: I hope to impart a bit of whimsy, lightheartedness and beautiful color to the viewer. I want my work to be a spot of brightness that lifts you up.

Patience Brewster: What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Super Jane: This is SO hard to answer! As an artist, the nature of my business is such that I spend a lot of time alone in my studio and am often sending my artwork out into the world all on its own.

I think that the most memorable response I ever had to my artwork was during a business trip to NY. I had a meeting at a publishing house with an editor & an art director who were interested in my artwork. An editorial assistant was send out to greet me when I arrived and to usher me back to the meeting. And that editorial assistant was THRILLED to meet me! She said she couldn’t believe that Super Jane was actually there in person and when we passed her desk, I could see that she had hung up all my postcard mailings from the past couple years. I was deeply gratified to know that someone was watching, absorbing and dreaming of my artwork!

© Super Jane Smith • Kitty & Doggie Pets

Patience Brewster: What is your dream project?

Super Jane: At the moment, I am actually living my dream project! I am currently writingand illustrating a 6-book series of children’s picture books for Albert Whitman& Co. The first 4 will be released in Spring 2016. Stay tuned to Bird Meets Worm for more details over the coming months!

© Super Jane Smith • April Showers Bring May Flowers repeat

Patience Brewster: What artists, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!)

Super Jane: There are SO many—too many to name them all!! My long-time loves include Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline & Mark Rothko, as well as the photography of David Hockney, Ben Shahn & Edward Weston.

In the commercial illustration world, I adore the artist stables of Lilla Rogers, Cinnamon Joe and Pink Light Studios. I also can’t get enough of the following children’s book illustrators: Eric Carle, Elisa Kleven, Melissa Sweet, Oliver Jeffers, Lois Ehlert, Richard Scary—& that’s just who I can think of off the top of my head!

© Super Jane Smith • Lightning Bugs

Additionally, I am truly blessed to be living in Los Angeles among so many friends and family, who are genuinely gifted artists, writers and designers. I find myself constantly in awe of all the amazing talent that is out there to be enjoyed and celebrated! And in fact, every month it is my pleasure to share an artist I love with the blog readers by doing monthly artist interviews. Always check in on the first Tuesday of the month for the latest! Thank you for stopping by! And thank you, Patience, for your enthusiastic interest in me & my artwork! XOXO

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Super Star Interviews: Sara Franklin

Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the fabulous artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.

This month I’m delighted to be chatting it up with the lovely Designer/Illustrator, Sara Franklin! I first came across Sara’s fabulous artwork during Lilla Rogers’ MATS class and was enchanted by her luminous colors and light touch. Sara Franklin is an illustrator, artist and surface pattern designer living in Los Angeles, who loves whimsy and watercolor. She spends her creative energy making artwork for greeting cards, fabric, magazines, wall art and more. You can see more of her fabulous artwork here.

How fabulous are these boldly graphic cards?!

Q: Give us the full scoop on your sweet line of greeting cards, Paper Loop! What started it all? How did you go about the launch at the National Stationary Show? And where is it all now?

A: There were so many influences for me leading up to starting Paper Loop! It was very organic really. I remember growing up and pouring over the greeting card aisle for the perfect birthday card when I was young. I also wrote letters to my overseas relatives and spent time embellishing them with drawings. After graduating as a graphic designer, I was working full time designing music packaging and would find a way to add my illustrations to projects whenever possible. At the end of the year, my favorite project would be working on the company holiday card. I also started taking classes and learned more about painting and watercolor techniques. I remember my art teacher telling me when he saw my first watercolor painting that I should make greeting cards. I was also really inspired by some of the local card shops in LA. By then I was ready to illustrate full-time. I talked to a local shop owner that my boyfriend (now husband!) knew and we decided to debut at the National Stationery Show the following summer. I signed up for my booth and began designing. I was SO excited!

Exhibiting for the first time at the National Stationery Show was really challenging and exciting at the same time. I had never even been to a tradeshow before so it was hard to imagine what it would be like. I really just went for it! I spent the majority of my time designing the products, and designing a very basic booth design. I wanted to focus on the cards. Once we got to the show and set up, it was really great to meet with buyers and sales reps. I loved it. I always had a business side to me and this show confirmed it. Even though it was a lot of work, launching my line and exhibiting at the show was just the beginning! The real work was yet to come. My husband and I have been hard at work on this business for the past 8 years. I've created over 600 designs (I’ve lost count) selling exclusively in boutiques, independent bookstores, gifts shops and flower shops across in the US. You can also buy the Paper Loop collection online atwww.paper-loop.com.

This collection is a like a breath of fresh ocean breeze!

Q: I adore your Socali beach-inspired "Sunnyside" collection with Windham Fabrics! Tell us all about how this project developed from first inspiration and contact thru to the finished product.

A: Oh, thank you! I’m so glad you like the collection :-) It all started while I was taking The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design with Rachael Taylor. I was working on a geometric collection called Sunnyside using watercolors and colored pencils inspired by golden shades of yellow. It was very loose and layered. This was just the beginning for me working in watercolor patterns at the time! Then later that year I started a self-imposed project of a pattern a day for the month of January. Not long after that, Uppercase magazine was having a call for entries for surface design. I submitted some of my patterns from the pattern a day project and was one of 100 surface pattern designers featured! When Windham saw my patterns in Uppercase they contacted me for the Sunnyside collection. I expanded my watercolor prints to include the beach theme. I remember going to Santa Monica for lunch one afternoon and being so inspired by all the surroundings. I took lots of pictures and began drawing the seahorses, beach umbrellas and seaweed patterns to round out the collection. I had a lot of fun making it! I wanted it to capture the feeling of a warm beach breeze and the cool sea air. 

SO gorgeous! I love California!

Q: You create a lot of luminous editorial watercolor maps with hand-lettering. Take us thru - step by step - your approach and process for designing and illustrating a map.

A: Sure! I start by outlining the shape of the map for the background loosely in pen. Then I make a list of all the icons I need to draw. I do a bit of research on each item and go down my list drawing all the things I will need for the map. I always create more icons than I will use. I draw everything with my black Flair pen. I don’t use pencil because I find that it slows me down by adding an extra step of redrawing things later. After scanning in my drawings, I will pick my favorites and arrange the black and white drawings and lettering over the map until I find a layout that I like. To add color, I will start by creating some very loose watercolor textures. I have 4 mixed media sketchbooks that I work in simultaneously. I find that this speeds up the process as I can have them out all at once and paint on all four in one sitting. While those are drying, I will print out my black and white map, then loosely go over my drawings on a blank page with colored pencils and markers. Once I have all my bits and pieces scanned in, it is just a matter of assembling the textures inside of the black and white drawings and overlaying the watercolors onto the map until I get the exact look I want. This last step is the fun part, where it all comes together. Some maps come together more quickly than others! That is the challenge! Seeing how it all works together in the end is very fun and rewarding.

Lovely muted colors! Delightful shapes!

Q: What do you know now that when you first began your design & illustration career you wish you'd known about: art licensing? business? self-promotion?

A: Oh, wow! Where to begin? The most important thing is to enjoy what your doing. Figuring out where your art fits into the world is golden. I believe there is room for everyone and every style in this world so no one should have to compromise. You’re allowed to change your mind and make mistakes. It’s ok, because it's all part of how you learn! Self-promotion gets easier over time. The important part is to decide how and when you will do it, and stick to it. It’s really important to try new things and diversify. Markets are constantly changing, so it’s important to dip your toes in a few different ponds.

Butterfly blue beautiful!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: Oh, I love Sundays!! My most perfect day would start with plenty of coffee, followed by a great yoga class. Then I would go for a nice lunch and head to the beach, go paint or find a sale and continue hoarding more art supplies! Dinner would include fancy salsa and guacamole, of course. :)


Thank you so much for catching up with us here at Bird Meets Worm, Sara! We adore your fabulous artwork and can’t wait to be delighted by what you create next!