get schooled this summer

remember how i'm a big fan of ecourses?  still am.  thought i'd introduce you guys to some really interesting-looking classes this summer if you want to brush up on your skills or learn new ones.  i'm thinking of taking one or two of these with my kids.

tammie bennett summer school ecourse

illustrator and pattern design classes ::

make it design summer school :: 3 different levels to help you build your pattern portfolio - and they're free!

illustrator 110 on atly with alma loveland :: i just love alma!  she's the best teacher. i just took this class to learn the pattern making tool on illustrator CS6 which was so confusing to me for some reason.  

skillshare* :: they have tons of great classes in illustrator, photoshop, calligraphy, lettering, design and way more.  

mixed media / sketchbook classes

tim's sally :: imagine play emerge :: mixed media 

sarah ahearn's color pattern paint :: i signed up for this one already.  i loved her first class!

sketchbookery :: the art of making and keeping a sketchbook

week 5 in lilla rogers' make art that sells class :: gift market

tammie bennett zipper pouchweek 5 in lilla rogers' make art that sells course focused on the gift market. the gift market can basically be any type of product and any medium.  our mini assignment was to photograph or scan in bits and bobs that we collect.  i was so thrown off because i don't think of myself as a collector.  in fact, this year i've tried to get rid of the clutter in my work space.  i didn't even know where to begin.  after getting the main assignment on wednesday, i had more of an idea of what direction i wanted to go.  (thanks to lilla's amazing inspiration images.) lilla wanted us to create a super lush zipper pouch inspired by the photo real imagery currently trending in the fashion world.

i've noticed the runway trend of photo-real florals, and i've wanted to give it a try. but due to my previous utter terror when thinking about using photoshop, i put it off. i've made huge jumps in my skills since doing the plate project in week 2 of lilla's course, so i felt confident and excited to take this project on.

BUT i still needed subject matter.  the more i looked around my craft studio, the more i noticed the flowers, small animals and birds, sequins, feathers and vintage buttons.  i found bits that i bought 5-6 years ago just because they were so darn cool.  (like the little baby compass - eek!!)  chris took the kids out of the house and i spent hours scanning in lots of bits and bobs from my studio.  (i should have done it for the mini assignment, but alas i did not).  i began layering and layering and layering in photoshop.  HOURS of layering.  and then starting over because it got to cluttered and i didn't know how to edit.

i LOVE how the finished piece looks and once again i wish it were real so i could carry it around every day.

p.s.  lilla picked my wall art piece last week for her review.  it's funny because each week i have wanted so desperately for her to pick my piece to talk about.  and i was really excited that she did pick mine (thank you lilla for your kind comments).  but i have to tell you, even more rewarding than lilla picking my piece is the enormous growth and confidence i've gained from this class.  lilla has a way of getting people to stretch way beyond their limits.  i've worked so hard each week to do better than i thought i could do.  i keep pushing and pushing and pushing myself, knowing that the other hundreds of people in the class are doing the exact same thing.  the growth i've seen from my classmates is simply astounding.  and the attention lilla gives to this class is so much more than i expected.  i am so grateful for this kick in the pants.

week 3 in lilla rogers' "make art that sells" course

tammie bennett illustrated book coverweek three in lilla rogers' "make art that sells" course and i'm still loving it. and it's still super challenging.

this week's focus was the children's book market. i've always wanted to illustrate a children's book and it's on my life list for sure. but this week made me realize how very hard it will be.  and how far i have to go.  but thanks to lilla and the class,  i have a clear, concise list of the things i need to improve upon to be ready. as i've stated before, knowing exactly what you need to work on is so empowering.

i decided at the beginning of the week to stay off the classroom's facebook and flickr pages. it gets overwhelming seeing the hundreds of different interpretations of the assignment. and there are some CRAZY talented artists in this group which can be intimidating if you let it. seeing all of the amazing work and progress shots is inspiring, but not while i'm still working on my own piece. i wanted to turn off the noise this week and just do what it is that i do. we went on a small family vacation this week, so it was actually physically easy not to check in on facebook 20 times a day because i hardly ever had my phone with me. but i learned something about myself in my decision to stay away from the group. i missed the interaction. i missed the feedback. i missed connecting with the other artists. i felt like i was missing out and i was.  i like getting my work done early.  i like being able to watch everyone's work come in and comment on it.

my process this week :: since we were traveling for most of the week, i did probably a hundred sketches of the snail, the rose tree, the lettering.  over and over, i drew.  i tried to keep an open mind and just let the ideas flow.  i drew at night, in the morning, when i was tired, when i was fresh.  the most challenging for me was the lettering.  i've never really done any sort of hand lettering.  i also struggled with the rose tree.   then i thought back to my 200 days of drawing and decided to draw what i like drawing.  i love drawing faces and characters.

when we returned from our trip, i scanned in a lot of my drawings and worked with them in photoshop.  there is still so much to learn in photoshop, but i can definitely move my way around in the program without trepidation and frustration, so that alone is such an accomplishment.

i love the snail.  on the first day of getting the assignment,  i sketched his shell as being sort of rose-like and then gave up on that idea.  later, my husband suggested i do it.  the snail has beauty to offer this world just as the rose tree does, even if the snail doesn't know it.  so i made his shell sort of rose-y.  i knew i had to have his arms crossed.

i know the background needs so much more work.  i feel completely lost when it comes to backgrounds and i have a mental hangup about it that i need to get over.  i think i need to spend some time at the bookstore, seeing for myself the ways backgrounds can be done and get to work.

it was a really tough week for me with this assignment and to be quite frank i'm glad it's over.  but i am so  thankful for the awkward feeling i have due to me stretching my skills and getting out of my comfort zone a little bit.  and i love seeing what the other artists come up with.  lilla does a great job of getting people to do their best work.

now that i've turned in my assignment i can spend the day catching up on facebook and flickr!

if you are interested in what some of my classmates have to say about this week's assignment, you can read their blogs here, here, here, here and here.