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My Sketchbook

Week 5 Assignment: Cover!

Michelle Vinson

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Week 5! It's the final week. What a great class. I am thrilled with my progress, but also have a long way to go. I have more knowledge about the children's book industry...more than I ever thought I would learn. I have learned about the submission process, what art directors are looking for, how the process works, realistic time lines, character development and being surrounded by so much talent throughout the past 5 weeks has been inspiring.

My Eleanor started out looking like a middle-schooler, then a 7-8 year old and finally the accurate 4-6 year old. My main goal was to create a character that would keep with a consistent look throughout each pose and by the end, I think I made that happen! The fact that I was able to actually make her move was a bonus as well.

 I can't wait to see what the next few years brings and how my style will change (and get better).

Cheers! I'm going to reunite with my family and friends again . . . ha!

xo, Michelle

Week 4 Assignment: Environment

Michelle Vinson

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Week 4 was all about environment. And . . . even though I spent a lot of time on this week's assignment, I am still not happy with it. So many things I would (and will) do different when I go back and revise some of the class projects and review my notes. This class is on super speed  with tight project deadlines. I look forward to diving back in again when I can work at a slower pace. However, I am learning so much and that's really what matters, right?! Onto the cover!
 

Week 3 Assignment: Poses

Michelle Vinson

This week in Making Art That Sells: Illustrating Children's Books class, Eleanor came to life. Our assignment was to create poses of the main character with an option to do a supporting character page. I was happy with my poses this week, but always struggle a bit on presentation. There has also been an evolution of Eleanor over the past few weeks to get her age and size correct. I am happy with the way she looks now...a sweet and tenacious little girl around the age of 4-5.

Once the class is finished, I am going to go back and make refinements to each of the assignments until I feel like they are ready to submit to art directors. Anyway, this is what I have this week. Below you will also find a page for supporting characters.  

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Week 2 Assignment: Emotions.

Michelle Vinson

After a week of review and sketch prompts, I feel like I am learning more about my character and how to make her lovable, moveable and work in a children's book.

Of course, I always have doubts, find things to change, question color, if her face looks consistent with different facial expressions, but I am learning so much in this class.

Goal 1: keep a sketchbook every single day and be a little more free in my sketches. I'm excited to watch my sketching process change and grow.

Now onto poses (which make me super nervous, but I just have to dive in!)

This is assignment 2: Emotions.

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Week 1 assignment: Creating Eleanor

Michelle Vinson

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This is Eleanor. I refined my colored pencil sketch by using watercolor and then a micron pen to sharpen the edges. This character is based on a story created by Zoe Tucker. In the story, Eleanor wants a pet. She has some interesting pets and plays jazz in the park with one of them. She is confident and sweet and a dreamer. I submitted my first assignment (due Sunday) on Thursday evening. From the initial sketch created Thursday morning, to the watercolor . . . this took most of the day today. I could probably spend another day on Eleanor, but that will come with poses and facial expression next week. 

Finding Eleanor . . .

Michelle Vinson

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Eleanor is the main character of the text that was provided to us, by Zoe Tucker. We had three options of text and "Pet Problems" was the story that I fell in love with (I'll probably go back and work with the other 2 options too though!) Anyway, this story reminds me of my boys and I enjoy exploring human characters and animals (both included in the story). I drew so many little girls before I THINK I found little Eleanor (most of them not even pictured). Rough pencil drawings, that turned into colored pencil drawings, lots of time spent playing with hair. I am going to try Eleanor with a couple of different outfits and use watercolor (my normal go-to) and again in maybe just black ink. We shall see how she evolves by the end of the 5 weeks.

*At least I have a handful of Eleanor's friends on standby if I ever need them . . .ha!

Day Three: Illustrating Children's Books

Michelle Vinson

Day three of Illustrating Children's Books started with a prompt sketch assignment of HAIRSTYLES and then our assignment was given (due Sunday) to develop our character! So . . . I will be busy busy for the next few days finding Eleanor. I plan on drawing her in the same exact position: with different hair, different clothes, different eyes, nose, ears, mouth, etc . . . until I find and fall in love with her.

Anyway, below are my hairdos. They were fun. My little guy was home sick so, for the entire day we drew hair together . . . ha! Watch tutorials about drawing hair, experimented with colored pencil, created different styles. Here is a sampling . . .

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Day Two: Illustrating Children's Books

Michelle Vinson

Day two of Illustrating Children's Books included a prompt sketch assignment of hats, a mini assignment to create accessories (with our character in mind) and a message/tutorial from Lilla Rogers. I enjoyed the hats assignment. I was forcing myself to use darker colors than I normally do and a thicker ink width pen. I tend to do things soft and delicate and I feel like this class should focus on my own style, but play and grow a little too. Here are my hats . . .

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Next, we had to imagine our character and draw accessories that would go with her/him/it. My character is Eleanor. Below is the style that I do whenever I am feeling stuck or rushed. Sometimes it results in cute patterns and just gets me painting and I love it. Sometimes it feels rush and unfinished. This feels rushed and unfinished. I'll revisit this assignment soon when I have some extra time (before fully diving into the character).

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Illustrating Children's Books!

Michelle Vinson

I'm taking a 5 week class called, "Illustrating Children's Books" with Lilla Rogers and Zoe Tucker. I am so excited (and a little nervous). I have always wanted to illustrate a children's book. The more I draw and paint and create, the more a little voice in my head says, "Why not. Why not. Why not."  I am going to document my experience here. 5 weeks of daily posts. Class starts tomorrow. Click on the image above for more info about the class. 

Bug Life

Michelle Vinson

It's summer, we live in the woods, I have two boys. In the past 7-ish years, I have held, touched and moved more bugs than I have in my entire life. My boys always show me the beauty and excitement in things that I don't normally notice. And, so . . .I'm painting them. And . . . they are pretty beautiful. I plan on using these little creatures to create a fun fabric pattern, prints, birthday invites. I can't wait to see how they turn out. This is what I have so far . . .

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Flower Mandala Love

Michelle Vinson

I am currently working on a floral mandala. My goal is to create a series of paintings that represent different seasons using different objects in nature. The first mandala that I've started represents summer and will be light and feminine, in the color and flowers/leaves (pictured below). I always like to create things that will work as a stand alone piece, but also translate well onto fabric, wrapping paper, notecards, etc.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm just kind of of winging this first one . . . adding and finding elements and measuring things out as I go. So . . . the finished result will be kind of a surprise to everyone, including me :)!

The history behind the mandala is both spiritual and ritual and you can find these symbols in Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The geometric pattern represents the cosmos and the universe. In some traditions, the mandala can be used as a spiritual guidance tool to aid in meditation.

I think they are beautiful, I've seen them popping up in places and wanted to create my own pattern using a watercolor technique. This is what I've started so far . . .

And here are some other gorgeous samples that I've found for inspiration . . .

image c/o Design Fest

image c/o ABC Carpet and Home

Stay tuned for the finished piece!

Dear 2017 . . .

Michelle Vinson

Dear 2017,

Please help me to get all of the ideas in my head onto paper. I hope to paint every single day, of the 365 days this year. The next time I write . . . I will be presenting a masterpiece (I hope).

xo, MV

October Coloring Contest!

Michelle Vinson

*Artwork is original Brush & Inc.

*Artwork is original Brush & Inc.

Download a pdf of the coloring sheet here!

I love Halloween and I'm fascinated with the beauty in the Day of the Dead holiday. I love the colors, I love the decorating, I love that people get dressed up and gather with friends and family. This year I am holding a coloring contest to celebrate these October holidays. Decorate your own sugar skulls. Be creative! Be colorful! Have fun! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

All ages may enter to win! Brush & Inc. will narrow down submissions and then post the finals for a vote. Winner will receive one Brush & Inc. print or notecard listed on brushandinc.com (to be printed at any size up to 8 x 10 inches).

Rules: Like Brush and Inc. on Facebook (facebook: brushandinc). Follow Brush and Inc. on Instagram (instagram @brushandinc.) Message a photo or pdf of your submission to the Brush & Inc. Facebook page or email it mvinson@peridotdesignsinc.com.
Contest winner will be announced Monday, October 31, 2016!

*Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, sugar skulls, cardboard skeletons, tissue paper decorations, fruit and nuts, incense, and other traditional foods and decorations. A common symbol of the holiday is the skull. Sugar skulls (edible skull made out of sugar) can be given as
gifts to both the living and the dead.

Coffee & Champagne

Michelle Vinson

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Sometimes I meet people that are super smart, talented and nice and I like to make things for them! I painted and designed a set of 4 cocktail napkins for the amazing NYC food blogger, Michelle Williams of Coffee and Champagne.

I'm so flattered and honored to have them featured on her recent blog post. Make sure you follow her for some great restaurant guides, recipes and some gorgeous food photography. 
Instagram: coffeeandchampagne
Facebook: coffeeandchampagne

Napkins are available for a limited time only in the shop!

Tell me what to paint Tuesday!

Michelle Vinson

It's been a month since I started a new series called "Tell me What to Paint Tuesday," throughout social media. I ask people to tell me what to paint and challenge myself to get it done (in an evening) and post the finished painting the next day. Each week, I randomly pick the winner and then give him/her a free mini print. Picking at random can be a challenge since I don't just select the easiest, most comfortable suggestion. By posting the results and having the "players" anticipate the winner the next day, this also puts pressure on me to make something that I'm not mortified to show . . . eek!

I have a list of projects that I am currently working on (and am excited about), but it's been fun to dedicate a couple of studio hours a week to do something a little spontaneous.

I am excited to see what the next few months will bring. This is what i have painted so far . . .

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I like how you roll . . .

Michelle Vinson

I've been working on a new series called "I like how you roll." The series consists of a handful (8 total) of different vehicles and the things they carry along with them. All of the vehicles have a classic look to them. This old fashioned wagon with luggage, an old pickup truck with surfboards, a Volkswagon bus with a canoe. . .

This all started because I like to people watch and I started to notice that people/personalities match what they drive. So . . . I took it a step further and added some fun items to the top of the vehicles. I really feel like each person will connect to one of these prints in some way. Maybe it's the life you lived before you started a family . . .with an old Pinto and band equipment on the roof. Or, a life that you dream of having . . . a little Vespa with shopping bags behind you. Or, the life you live right now . . . a motorcycle taking your dog for a ride.

I am making each vehicle illustration into little mini 4x6 prints and then a big poster with all of them together. So fun and sweet and I am excited about it. I may even get some wallpaper made with all of them together for a little nook in our home. Making them made me smile so, I hope you like them too.

PS: I drive a Jeep Cherokee . . . soon to have a couple of kayaks on the roof. BK (before kids), I drove a Toyota Echo that I bought off of Ebay because I didn't want a car payment and drove that baby until it just wouldn't run anymore. That is how I roll . . .

Here is another sneak peek . . .

OMG . . . I'm such an . . .

Michelle Vinson

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

Have you ever seen, or heard of, a long-haired donkey? I never saw one until I was commissioned by a friend to paint one for her Aunt. Now, I'm in love with them and kind of want one (sorry Scott, we are getting a long-haired donkey for Christmas)!

Here's the thing . . . they are fun and I had a good time showing their little personalities in these paintings. Hope you like . . .

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