2018 Year in Review

Another year has come and gone. I am very happy with how 2018 turned out. I am excited for starting fresh with new goals for 2019. But first, here's a summary of 2018:

Developing Creative Habits

I really focused on creating art on a regular basis. I gave myself a few monthly projects that helped to keep me going, which included collections of floral patterns, fan art, and mandala sketches. I also participated in various online art challenges, such as Homwork, Paint Every Day, and Inktober (my most successful year yet!). I worked specifically on my hand lettering and digital illustration. I also played around with various traditional mediums like watercolor, gouache, acrylic, chalk, and colored pencil.

I Made A LOT of Art

With the help of regular sketching and painting, I was very productive in the amount of art I output this year, especially when compared to recent years. I have added many new pieces, including a few collections, to my portfolio (which has been updated! Take a look…). I am still experimenting and developing my process and style—though I think that is an ongoing thing for any artist. I was also lucky enough to be able to purchase an iPad this year, which has been a big help to my digital work. Below are some of my favorite pieces by category.

Everything is Made Out of Magic

I released my nature-themed journal Everything is Made Out of Magic in September. Working in publishing as a designer and typesetter has given me a love of creating and laying out books. I have been a little slow in getting some of my own books out there, so I was proud of myself for actually finishing a project this year. Hopefully there will be more in the near future, and perhaps even a book proposal to a publisher one day as well!

My Goals for 2019

Make Art Every Day

I want to keep the momentum from 2018 going into 2019! Perhaps EVERY DAY is a lofty goal, but doesn't hurt to try. 

Shop Development

I feel like 2018 was a lot about developing my portfolio and body of work, so for this coming year, I want to move on toward doing something with all that art I've been making, and will continue to make. I've opened up accounts with a few print-on-demand sites, as well as an Etsy shop for digital products and original paintings. I really want to focus on creating products with my designs for people to use and enjoy!

Focus on Handmade Crafts

I am always looking to learn new things. I've been particularly fascinated by all forms of folk art lately, which I'd like to incorporate into my work somehow. I also want to explore handmade, craft-centered media like paper art, embroidery, and collage—both the physical crafts themselves, as well as using them as inspiration for digital work. You may have seen the faux-felt flower and embroidery clip art I made recently. I'd love to add even more digital "handmade" products to my Etsy product line for digital scrapbooking. I would love to start selling original paintings, drawings, and crafts as well!

It’s going to be a challenge to implement everything that I want to do in this coming year, but I look forward to tackling it all! Happy New Year, everyone!

Sincerely, Nicole

Inktober 2018 Summary

I did it! I completed my Inktober challenge and created two pages of drawings EVERY day in October. It was my most successful Inktober yet.

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I had a lot of fun with it. I think my inking and painting skills improved a little as the month went along, though I definitely still have more I could work on. I added color to a few of them, but for the most part kept to plain black and white. Browse through the complete collection of drawings below.

Sincerely, Nicole

Global Talent Search 2018

This year, I decided to participate in Lilla Roger's Global Talent Search again. The theme for the first assignment was to create a garden journal cover featuring staghorn ferns and Japanese anemones. This was my entry:

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Unfortunately, I did not make it into the top 50 and will not be moving on to the next round. Nevertheless, I was very proud of this design. Things really came together nicely, from idea to finish. I have been doing A LOT of drawing lately, and I feel like I'm finally getting used to my process and am developing my own style. Though I've been doing a lot of vector work lately, I went towards a more painterly approach this time (mostly due to my newfound love of Procreate on iPad!). I used a quote from The Secret Garden to feature on my cover. 

I had a small hiccup when I realized I had painted the piece at the wrong size. It was pretty devastating when I realized it. I'm usually very meticulous when it comes to following instructions and required specifications. Proportionally it was a little too narrow, so what I ended up doing was adding a design for the spine area. I think the design turned out better for it in the end. 

Here's a little peak into my process. I started out just doing some doodling and playing with color.

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I also sketched up a study of the anemones and ferns.

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These are my thumbnails. They're pretty rough and hard to make out. I ended up using the last one on the page, which shows a head with a burst of flowers coming from it.

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As I mentioned, my design did not end up making the top 50, but with the number of entries it was a long shot anyway. However, rather than putting it in my portfolio and calling it a day, I'm working on creating an actual journal to use it on. I've been working on a coloring book project off and on for a little while now, and it's developed into a combination of journal, sketchbook, and coloring book. I realized this cover would be perfect for it!

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Stay tuned to my website and Instagram (@nicolejonessturk) to keep track of my progress and be the first to know when you can get a copy of your own!

Sincerely, Nicole

February 2018 Project Results - Floral Patterns

Last day of February! I really enjoyed working on my floral patterns this month. I picked three of my favorites and created a mini collection of finished pieces.

Here are the original sketches. I united the three different ideas into one color palette, which is based on Pantone's Floral Fantasies theme.

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And here are the final patterns, created as vector art in Illustrator.

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Here are some alternate versions with simpler one and two color palettes.

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Thanks for following along with me! It was nice to accomplish something for myself that I can now add to my portfolio. I'm loving my monthly personal project idea so far! Stay tuned for something new in March...

Sincerely, Nicole

Links:

Pantone - Ultra Violet

This Month's Theme is...COLOR

Beyond Basic Color Theory—Four Things More Important Than the Color Wheel

How I Find My Colors

February 2018 Floral Patterns, Part 1

Well, I'm halfway through the month of February, and so far I've managed to take time to sketch a floral pattern every day. (Read more about my project here.) If you're not following along on Instagram, here is a summary of what I've done up to this point.

What do you think? Do you have any favorites? Please, let me know!

Sincerely, Nicole

Links

This Month's Theme is . . . COLOR

@nicolejonessturk on Instagram