Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hawaiian T-shirt Designs for Keiki

Warm up with my NEW Hawaiian T-shirt designs for keiki! Don't they just make you crave a shave ice under the bright sun among all the chickens running loose?! Oh, Hawaii, how we love you!



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Super Star Interviews: Tansy Myer


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.

I apologize for the delay in this month’s interview (you’ll note today is Saturday, not Tuesday!). I was laid low by the flu earlier this week, but am THRILLED to now be sharing this month’s interview with the lovely, brillant Artist/Illustrator/Designer/Retoucher, Tansy Myer. Tansy and I met years ago thru our men, who both happen to design movie posters for a living, and we hit it off instantly. Tansy was born and raised in Venice Beach, California. She paints, draws and creates digital art and is inspired by strange, pretty, and nerdy girls. You can view more of her intensely beautiful artwork here.

Venice Beach Babe.

Q: In what ways can we see your hometown of Venice, CA reflected in your artwork? Talk to us about how the city has influenced and shaped your creative vision.

A: Venice is an eclectic, unique place. It is dirty and grimy but also funny and bizarre and beautiful. Growing up, Venice was not the bourgeois enclave it is now, it was a meeting place of artists and musicians and that's why my parents came here. I grew up at the beach, surrounded by the strange superficiality of fame and wealth, beauty and sexuality. I think my work reflects these issues women confront in defining who they are and what is important to them in this world.  

Debbie is a nerd girl.

Q: You artwork explores themes of feminine beauty and identity. Tell us about how you see your work relating to women in the current culture.

A: I think we are in a very important time where women are defining their roles and sexuality on their own terms more than ever before. That being said I still think idealized, traditional and narrow slots are carved out for women in society and girls are being manipulated from a very young age what is the right way to look, act and feel. I hope my artwork celebrates all different types of girls and definitions of beauty. Uniqueness is the most beautiful thing to me. Being you and feeling you and following your own heart is the truest

Circus Series - Elephant Acrobats.

Q: You are gifted in your use of both traditional media as well as digital media. Tell us a bit about your process, how you decide which media to use and how it all comes together.

Lately I have been painting and drawing more than anything and have fallen in love with my Pentel Japan ink pens. I spend so much of my time on the computer for work that it is really nice to get dirty and use ink and charcoal. It is so different from my digital work because of the unexpected and happy surprises that happen from the flow of the ink or the stroke of a few stray hairs in the brush... I love to work big as well so drawing on full 20x28 in sheets of paper has been really freeing. My digital drawings start as a pencil drawing, which I scan in and color in Adobe Illustrator. That's what is cool about working in vector is I can print my drawings huge when I'm done. They satisfy and also personify the search for perfection I'm talking about in my work. My raw, stained canvas paintings and paper drawings juxtaposed with my mathematically precise, slick digital drawings represent the two sides of a woman—the flawed person inside the glossy exterior we construct for the world.

Awkward/Beautiful

Q: In your career, you have worked for wide variety of clients ranging from art galleries to magazines to fashion powerhouses. What have you enjoyed the most, what have you enjoyed the least and why?

A: I enjoy when a client and an artist build a relationship of trust and mutual respect. That is when projects are most successful, when an artist is allowed to do what they do best. I love doing fashion illustration and something magical can happen when an artist and client share a passion for each other's art.

You will find a lot of people who are untrustworthy and say one thing while doing another in all of these businesses, which is what I enjoy the least, so it's important to have a consistent, open dialogue and to know your worth. You must empower yourself as a businessperson and as an artist. 

LOVE this girlie!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: Sundays I like to stay home, cook good food, pet the cats, watch movies and make art.

Q: What are you working on right now? And what can we expect to see from you in the future? 

A: Lately I've been all over the place, studying, learning new skills. I've really been enjoying my big black and white girl drawings and I am thinking of making my own graphic novel of sorts/adult coloring book. One of the best parts of being an artist is seeing how my art can speak to another girl out there and I'd like to take that to another level. It's been in my mind for a while, combining writing and storytelling with my illustration. I think it's time. 

Thank you so much for catching up with us here at Bird Meets Worm, Tansy! We love your girlies and can’t wait to see more! XO

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vintage Games Repeat Patterns

This month, as I'm beginning to prepare for SURTEX, I've been inspired by vintage games and all the jewelry and crafts my fellow etsy-ians have been making out of them. Three cheers for old fashion game night! Here's a fun game to play: find 6 different monopoly pieces, 2 dominoes, 2 scrabble pieces and 1 game of life spinner in my main pattern below!

Don't ya just love game night! We are chess fiends in my house!
Spin, spin, little arrows!
Checkers or chess, anyone?!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Super Star Interviews: Renee Jablow


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 so excited to be catching up with the amazing Paper Engineer, Renee Jablow! Renee and I became friends while working together at Intervisual Books, a novelty children’s book publisher. It was amazing working on so many titles together! Renee lives in Los Angeles where she creates pop-ups and paper novelties for publishing, advertising, and packaging. She learned the art of paper engineering at Intervisual Books (Piggy Toes Press) where she worked for thirteen years. She is credited with paper engineering more than sixty pop-up and novelty books. In 2009, Renee was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Recording Package" for The Ditty Bops' "Summer Rains" pop-up CD package. You can visit more of her work here!

Check out this adorable Dogs At Sea pop-up card!

Q: You are a paper engineer, which is an unusual career. Tell us all about what a paper engineer does and how you came to be one professionally.

A: A paper engineer designs pop-ups and mechanisms using paper. While these paper designs are most often created for children's books, they can also be found in greeting cards, packaging, calendars, advertising, and promotional materials.

I learned how to be a paper engineer while at the novelty book company, Intervisual Books. I started out as an intern in their art department putting together pop-up books to be used as sales samples. After a couple months, I was hired on full-time. I eventually worked my way up to manager of the Paper Engineering department.

I'm currently a freelance paper engineer working with private clients as well as publishers. My most recently published books are Silly Skeletons by Jumping Jack Press and Shapes by Reader's Digest.

Perfect for Halloween! Shake your skeleton!

Q: Tell us a bit about how you begin a new paper engineering project and what your artistic process is like.

A: Every project is different and most people aren't familiar with how a pop-up is made. So, I first determine the best course of action based on my client's needs and understanding of the process. Usually, my client will supply me with a sketch of what they want the pop-up to look like. I'll then create a rough mock-up based on the sketch. As I engineer, I draw templates for all the pieces in Adobe Illustrator. The next stage is to have an artist create finished art, which I use to build a color mock-up. I make sure all the pop-ups and mechanisms still work properly with the final art applied.

If needed, I'll then assist my client to get their project produced. This involves finding vendors that are capable of printing, die-cutting, and hand assembly. While most projects I've produced have been done in Asia, I've also produced some domestically.

Q: You have paper engineered over 60 children’s books. Which book is your most favorite and why?

A: I do have a special place in my heart for Harry Potter Hogwarts School: A Magical 3-D Carousel published by Scholastic. Besides being a Harry Potter fan, this book came along at a time when Intervisual was doing fewer pop-up books. I was excited to work on a more complex pop-up and have the opportunity to work with the editor at Scholastic.

Harry Potter magic, indeed!!

Q: Novelty books have always been a mainstay of your craft. What do you see for their future as more and more young children are turning to apps and e-books?

A: I do think that times are hard for novelty books. While children are redirecting their attention to apps and e-books, I think the larger problem is economic. With online merchants like Amazon, there are fewer bookstores and even fewer people are going to them. Even if a video of a pop-up book is available online, it does not replace handling the actual book. And, there are fewer novelty books out there from which to choose. The cost to manufacture these kinds of books has rapidly increased to the point that publishers are rather reluctant to publish them. 

With all this being said, I do think there will always be a place for novelty books. Apps and e-books can't replace the tactile experience and sense of wonderment a child has as he or she turns each page to discover a tab to pull or a scene pop-up.

Happy pop-ups make celebrations more fun!

Q: You are a grammy-nominated artist! (So super cool!!) Tell us about the project you worked on that was nominated and what the experience was like.

A: The project was creating pop-up packaging for the album, Summer Rains, by The Ditty Bops. Amanda Barrett and Abby DeWald of The Ditty Bops are very creative and wanted to do unique packaging for their first independent album after recording two albums on the Warner Bros. label. Along with their photographer/graphic designer Rick Whitmore, we created a CD package with a pull-tab on the front, pop-up in the center, and revolving wheel in the back. It was important to The Ditty Bops that this package be made using eco-friendly materials and processes, so we produced it locally with recycled paper and soy ink.

We were all absolutely thrilled to be nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Recording Package" category. We unfortunately didn't win the Grammy, but we did get to attend the award show!

Ditty Bops super cool packaging!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: I think more than a particular activity, my most perfect Sunday would be spending time with people I love. And, hopefully it would include something chocolaty!

Thank you, Renee, for chatting up with us here on Bird Meets Worm! We can’t wait to run out and pick up a copy of your latest book! XO

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lightning Bug Night Lights: Lilla Rogers MATS

Right now I am knee-deep in Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells Class Part B! And, as you can see, I've been very busy sketching up camping-inspired graphics that I've translated to a set of placement graphics and repeat patterns geared toward the children's apparel market. How fabulous?!

You know you totally want to sleep in these jammies!!
Here's a peek at my process in the studio: sketches, collages, line drawings.

Everything starts as a sketch!
Fooling around with hand-lettered type!
Friendly woodland bits and pieces.
"Kumbaya!" Sing it, Mr. Log!



Monday, October 14, 2013

Grumpy Mr. Owl in Ladybug Magazine!

I had a hoot creating this silly illustration of grumpy Mr. Owl for the October 2013 issue of Ladybug Magazine! How hilarious is this little guy?! Yay!

Mr. Owl - illustrated by me, Super Jane Smith
Ladybug Magazine is simply fabulous! Perfect for the kiddo is your life!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Halloween Sketching: BOO!

October is my absolute FAVORITE month! I love everything Halloween and I have busy scaring up a whirlwind of Halloween sketches. Thought I'd share a few to get you into the spirit of the season! BOO! 

All sketches © 2013 by Jane Smith

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Super Star Interviews: Zoe Ingram


Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the amazing 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 am tickled pink to be chatting it up with the lovely Artist, Illustrator, Designer, Zoe Ingram! I recently had the pleasure of being Zoe’s classmate in Lilla’s Rogers inaugural Make Art That Sells class and fell in love with her amazing sense of color. Zoe studied at The Scottish College of Textiles and has worked primarily as a graphic designer for print & web over the past 14 years. Originally from Scotland, Zoe now lives and works as a freelancer in Adelaide, Australia. Zoe has created artwork for Madison Park Greetings and Jellystone Designs. She also sells her prints on Etsy and Society6. You can visit more of her fabulous work here!

Isn't Zoe's farmer market tote design totally Fall fabulous?!

Q: You have advanced to the second round of Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search competition. Tell us all about your experience competing and creating artwork based on Lilla’s professional briefs.

A: I almost didn't take part in the competition or Lilla's course; can you believe it? I'm not a fan of competitions usually, but I just couldn't pass this one by, so I signed up pretty close to the deadline for entries. To be totally honest, I didn't think I'd get as far as I have. I'm still pinching myself. There are some other amazing, established artists alongside me, so I feel very humbled. Personally, I have loved working to Lilla's briefs. Each one has challenged and pushed me in ways that I never expected, so I think I have grown tremendously as a result. I learned so much during the class and tried to take that with me in everything that I do now. I have tried to keep an open mind during the class and the GTS so that I don't sit within my comfort zone and confine myself to just doing what I know. One thing that I am loving, at the moment, as a result of the course is developing characters and hand lettering, something I haven't done much of at all in the past.

These colors are LUSHIOUS!

Q: You have a fantastic sense of color—bright, bold and happy! Tell us about your color inspirations and how you develop your palettes.

A: Thank you! I just love color. (Although, you might not know it from my wardrobe! My husband always jokes when I buy something new, "Let me guess... black? No grey!") I studied color theory at college while doing my degree in printed textile design, so it was drummed into me then. But, I think that a lot of it comes from intuition or a feeling. I don't necessarily find a color palette and decide to use it and stick to it no matter what. I try to start with something in mind, but if it's not working I will change things a bit, so that it looks good. I like to pick colors that are pleasing to the eye, but I also like to throw a bit of a curve ball in there, too, and add something unexpected.

Q: When starting a new piece of artwork, how do you begin? Tell us a little bit about your artistic process from conception to completion.

A: Well, in the past I worked in a very random way, mostly going straight to the computer, which kind of freaks me out now to think about it. But I have learned I love to draw. So now, I just draw and draw and draw. I do a bit of research first before I even begin; for example, maybe looking at leaves or flowers, then picking ones that look interesting in shape, markings or texture and just drawing them over and over again. Sometimes I also just draw what I think a leaf or flower might look like. I use fine liner pens, chunkier pens for filling in solid shapes as well as ink for free lines and brush marks. Once I'm happy that I have enough drawings in my sketchbook for a particular project, I scan everything into my computer. Even if it's not that great a drawing it still gets scanned, because sometimes the not-so-great drawings end up looking great once they are manipulated. I use Illustrator with all of my line work (live trace) and then I start playing around with layouts and ideas. Sometimes I will transition to Photoshop if I need specific textures.

I love to create mockups, too, of my work to see it on a product, a suggestion as to how it could be used. I think my graphic design background has helped me a lot in my current work, and although, I was never formally trained as a graphic designer, I picked up a lot of tricks over the past 14 years.

Zoe's pretty, pretty pattern designs.

Q: Being both a mama and a freelance artist/illustrator/designer, what would you say are the challenges and the rewards of doing both? And in what ways do you maintain a balance between your home life/work life?

A: Oh my, yes, it's very challenging sometimes juggling everything. I actually didn't choose the freelance lifestyle, though; it chose me. And I'm so glad it did! You see, I was made redundant from my full-time web design job back in 2011, and I didn't relish the thought of having to go through the interviewing process and finding childcare again, so I decided to make a go of it on my own. This was by far one of the scariest things I have ever done, but I felt it had to be done.

I was very fortunate to pick up work with a new, local web company, but this time I was a freelancer. It's getting easier as my children get a little bit older. It is hard when you work at home with young kids. I know in my case I was (and still am!) the one who is the primary child caregiver and the primarily household cleaner & organizer. However, deciding to become a freelancer has allowed me to do all of this and still work, which is the best thing. I can't even begin to imagine going back to working FOR someone else now. I love my freelance lifestyle too much.

Also, moving to a new country on the other side of the world has been challenging. For me, the biggest challenge is having to rent since we arrived in Australia. We are close to buying our own house now, though, and I'm excited to look for my own little studio space. But, for the time being, I still work at a desk, in my house. I long for a dedicated studio space, somewhere I can go and just be, somewhere I can come away from and close the door at the end of the day.

Isn't Zoe's typography here very super star?!

Q: Tell us about a recent favorite client project (i.e. how it began, what you love about it, where we can buy it!).

A: Aha! I have just finished working on a project with a company in Australia called Jellystone Designs. They contacted me via my website back in May this year. They primarily make resin jewelry for new mums, which doubles as a teething toy for the baby. They have just expanded their range and started up a new arm to their business called Jellybones, which is still aimed at parents, but also has a range for kids. I created a number of patterns and some illustrations for their new range, but I can't share it yet because it hasn't yet been launched. It was a brilliant and fun project to work on, and the girls at Jellystone are lovely to work with. I promise I will let you know as soon as it's out there!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: My most perfect Sunday would have to begin with me going for a run along the beach, nice and early to see the sun come up. Then, I'd come home, have breakfast and coffee with my family, and then pack up the car for a day at the beach. We'd stay right through until sunset. The sunsets here are amazing. I'd take my sketchbook with me, of course, read a book, take some photos, play with the kids, go for a swim, have fun. We're so lucky to live in a part of the world that allows us to do all of that and not just dream about it.

Zoe's GTS first round assignment. Vintage sweetness!

Q: As you await the announcement of the GTS winner (which will happen this Thursday, October 3rd!), what are your hopes and dreams, win or lose, for your future illustration career?

A: I'm very nervous and excited waiting for the announcement of the winner of GTS 2013, and as far as hopes and dreams go, I just want to keep creating good art, whether I win representation or not. I hope to be at Surtex next year either way. I'm just so happy that this whole experience has led me to what I REALLY want to be doing with my career, so in that sense, I'm a winner already. I have always loved the idea of seeing my work in stores on lots of different products and it's going to be so much fun realizing those dreams.

Thank you, Zoe, for chatting with us here on Bird Meets Worm! Your artwork is absolutely fabulous and we will certainly be cheering you and the other GTS finalists on this Thursday! Hooray!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Super Hoot Gift Sets

How totally super star are these new Super Hoot baby gifts set?! You can shop them in person at the lovely boutique children's clothing shop, Sol Baby, in Hermosa Beach, CA. If Sol Baby isn't in your backyard and you've fallen in love with these gift set, contact me at jane@super-hoot.com. I LOVE custom orders!!

Pink & Brown Birdie Gift Set
Orange Kitty Cat Gift Set with Plushie Rattle
Girly Skull Punk Gift Set


Monday, September 16, 2013

Marching Back-to-School

It's that time of year: back-to-school! And all your little budding musicians are all dusting off their trombones and flutes for the return to band, orchestra and music class. Hooray! March on, little dudes, march on!

"Oooh, when the saints go marching in..."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Superstar Interviews: Jannie Ho


Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the amazing 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 am thrilled to be chatting it up with Chicken Girl, also known as Jannie Ho! I recently was Jannie’s classmate in Lilla’s Rogers inaugural Make Art That Sells class and was reminded of how much I love Jannie’s artwork (I’m a long-time fan since my days as an Art Director!). Jannie is an Illustrator specializing in the children's market, with her work appearing in both trade and educational books, magazines, toys, crafts and digital media. She currently works and plays in Boston, MA. You can visit more of her fabulous work here!

How cute is this?! Can you find the 2 squirrels playing football?

Q: Last month, you were part of the faculty for the SCBWI-LA Annual Summer Conference. Tell us a little bit about the breakout sessions you lead and some of the juicier tips you shared with attendees.

A: I lead two breakout sessions: one on Anthropomorphic Character Design and the other on Creating Novelty Books, Toys and Games. I also gave a presentation on Books for Toddlers in the Illustrators Intensive. A tip about anthropomorphic character design for children's books—whatever animal you are drawing needs to clear as to what it is suppose to be, especially for the younger audience. Know the age of your character, even if it is an animal. Re: novelty books and toys—certain recurring themes come up again and again. They are easy to research and find. Apply these themes in your portfolio pieces to attract this type of work.

Check out Jannie's NEW novelty books from Nosy Crow!

Q: You have been with your art rep, Mela Bolinao of MB Artists (formerly HK Portfolio), for a long time. What is your relationship like? How has it changed and evolved over time?

A: Mela had given me my start in the children's book illustration world. We've been working together 8+ years. Since we communicate mostly by email, we don't see each other in person very often. So it was actually nice to have Mela on the Faculty at this year's SCBWI-LA conference as well. We were able to get some face time! She had guided me through the beginning and it’s wonderful to have her guidance now as I grow as an illustrator (and hopefully as a future writer-illustrator too.)

Sing it now: "Under the sea..."

Q: Your illustration art style has an esthetic that evokes both traditional paint as well as digital media. Tell us about how you work and your artistic process.

A: I use to work in gouache and love the organic line. I now work digitally in Adobe Illustrator and I try to mimic the same look as I did in traditional paint. I use to pencil sketch, scan it in and draw directly on top of it, all with the pen tool. But with tight deadlines and trying to be as efficient as possible, I draw directly in Illustrator in gray scale and that works as my sketch. I then take the same file into color when it is approved.

A B C D E Fabulous!

Q: I am in love with all of your ABC series! How did this project begin? And what is in the works for your next set?

A: Thank you! I had initially done the Animal ABCs as a promotional postcard for Surtex, an art and licensing show I was exhibiting in. I had such a great response in the licensing world and children's publishing that I started to do other themes, such as Halloween, Christmas, etc. I haven't done one in a while now but I've been toying with the idea of an occupation ABCs themed one.

Q: As a professional creative you have many irons in the fire—children’s book illustration, art licensing, design. How do you promote yourself across all these avenues?

A: I don't like to put my eggs all in one basket, although children's books will always be my first love. I'm always curious about other industries and other uses for my art. I do love social media—it does help with promotion, but I also love it for the social aspect of it. Being an illustrator can be a solitary profession.

Cruising city-style!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: I don't think I ask for much—some good coffee to start out the day, good weather to take a walk in and spend time with my family. Then some fun time doing whatever personal project I feel like doing. And maybe sneak in a nap too? That would be nice!

Thank you so much for hanging out with us here at Bird Meets Worm, Jannie! Cheers!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Vintage Playground Fabulousness

You may be familiar with Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search competition, and while it is all very, very exciting, I'm not eligible to compete because I am already represented by the lovely Nicole Tugeau of Tugeau2, Inc. HOWEVER, I was totally inspired by the GTS first round creative brief, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. And here's the result: vintage playground fabulousness + a bonus process photo from my studio! (And stay tuned for more because I'd got a set of vintage playground repeat patterns coming next!!)

Wouldn't ya just love a journal with this girlie on the cover?!

This is how I do it—studio style!