I get to spend a wonderful week in Charleston, SC this week! I'm looking forward to posting lots of design inspiration for y'all on Instagram (@citrusandmintdesigns). As an FYI, I'm keeping both shops open, but know that I will process Citrus and Mint Gifts print orders after I return May 2, 2015. The clip art shop orders are instant download so nothing should be affected there. Email me if you need something while I'm gone!
Almost half the orders I get for custom house portraits are from daughters and daughters-in-law for their mothers. Most of the time because they order one for themselves and their mother sees it and wants one too. :) Custom illustrated houses or family portraits would make an unforgettable Mother's day keepsake. The deadline for custom orders guaranteed for Mother's Day delivery is April 23, 2015. So you have only 3 more days to place an order! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or other custom illustration requests!
Remember the what color is the dress debate from a few weeks ago? Well, it turns out that I have those kind of nasty debates with myself all the time over color in my projects. Color makes or breaks a project which is why it can be extremely frustrating. I spend hours and hours getting the color of a project just right, only to have it look completely different when printed, or photographed, or viewed on the computer. Gah! I've actually bought two online classes just because they had a part in their syllabus called color. Boy was I disappointed to learn in both of those classes that there really isn't a trick to color. You can learn all the tricks in the world, and it will never print exactly how you want it to. The designers suggestion was to do what you can and then let it go. Double gah!
So what can you do? Here are some of the few things that I've learned about color on my own.
5. Calibrate your monitor through your monitor AND through your intel graphics and media control panel (for Windows). Or just own a Mac. I hear those monitors are great with accuracy of color. But if you aren't as lucky, you run into problems like the one below.
-Photo A is the original file that I designed in Illustrator. I changed the colors of this print hundreds of times (I'm not exaggerating) before I even printed it.
-Photo B is a screenshot of how the photographer's photo of the print looked on my monitor. I realized that my monitor was way too saturated. The only way to turn down the saturation of the monitor was through the intel graphics card. I also had to adjust just the yellows and reds on my monitor. It took lots of going back and forth.
-Photo C is what the photographer's photo of the print looked like on her screen and on mine after I fixed my monitor. It looks much better, but still not like the original file or oddly enough, like the physical print that she was actually photographing. It was confusing to me how the photograph of the print could look so different than the print itself. And very frustrating.
-Photo D is the photographer's photo of the print after *much* tweaking in Photoshop. Now it looks more like the original, but still not exactly the same, sigh. At least it isn't the nasty yellow colors of photos B/C.
Moral of the story? Selecting and adjusting colors is a huge part of a designer's process. And it's usually a frustrating, time consuming, and pricey process (especially when you have to reprint items until the colors turn out right--more on that story tomorrow).
Please share with me what you have learned about colors! Do you have any time saving tips? Or good classes to take/articles to read? I still have a long way to go on understanding color in the digital world.
Words cannot express how EXCITED I am about all of the new products that I have in the gift shop. I keep wanting to write "___ is my most favorite new product" but I can't because I truly love them all. I love them so much because I spent so much time developing them. So much time, and love, and agony, and time, and love. There's quite a few new products, so I only included a few here. See them all in the shop HERE. All of my products are now tangible art prints--designed by me, printed and shipped by Finer Works (the clip art shop is still digital only).
Keep in mind that the deadline for custom orders for Mother's Day is April 23rd, 2015.
I'm really excited to start offering portraits. I randomly woke up in the middle of the night with the idea to do child portraits with things that they say all the time and the things that they love at that age. My daughter's has already changed so much!
In addition to kid portraits, I added family portraits to the shop. I experimented on my lovely neighbors and I love how it all turned out.
Oh, the Cinderella prints. I actually finished a set of Cinderella/medieval/prince/knight illustrations over a year ago but didn't know what to do with them. I loved them too much to waste them on something not worthy. It wasn't until I started selling physical art prints that I decided that they would make perfect prints.
prince art prints
I love love love drawing maps. I did this map last fall for a friend's mom for Christmas. He took her on a 50 mile hike and wanted something unique to give her so that she would always remember it. It was so fun to draw!
Ah, the mermaid print. I believe this one deserves a whole post on it's own. More on that to come.
Which is your favorite?
Printing is a tricky business. It's hard to find a place with reasonable prices and great quality. I held back from selling printed art prints before now because I couldn't find a quality printer in my area. I finally asked another artist where he got prints made of his art, and he directed me to Finer Works. I'm so happy that he did! I am blown away with the quality of their service, from the ordering to the packaging to the print itself. I started recommending them to every customer and finally decided to start using them for my business. So from here on out, all Citrus and Mint Gifts products will be printed with Finer Works. Since I am going to be using them as a printing service for y'all, I thought I would do a review on them so that you can know what to expect when you receive an order.
First of all, I love that they don't skip on the packaging. I've ordered art prints before where it comes in a tube and takes forever to flatten out. Or where it comes in a flimsy envelope and the corners of the prints are bent. There are no problems with that here. The outside package is either cardboard (for larger orders like mine above) or a rigid cardboard envelope (for smaller orders). Inside that envelope, the prints were packaged by size in clear plastic sleeves and then taped to an inner piece of cardboard to prevent any movement during shipping. Everything has come quickly and on time. I get a tracking number for every order.
Even better than the packaging, the prints are superb! The details on the prints are so clear and crisp and the colors are outstanding. I had them print a copy of a watercolor painting by my grandfather. When it came, we couldn't even tell that it was a print; it looked so much like the real thing! All of my prints will be printed on heavy weight (9.5 mil/230 g/m^2), acid-free, archival matte paper with Canon Lucia Inks.
I'm so excited to start this new adventure with Citrus and Mint!
After months of building collections, experimenting with new products, prepping files for printing, printing and reprinting and reprinting files, researching product photography, brainstorming product photography, bugging all my friends for opinions multiple times, searching and purchasing styling pieces within some sort of budget, losing sleep over how to best style photos, figuring out what to photograph when, arranging gallery shots, styling two "rooms", hanging a fake gallery for 12 hours for just two photos, spending way longer than expected taking the photos on the cloudiest/rainiest day in all of Florida history, helping the photographer edit the photos, getting frustrated over the color and clarity of the photos changing for each website and platform, uploading the photos and writing this post..........(big breath and drum roll)..........THE PHOTOS ARE HERE!!!
1) I am not a product photography stylist. It takes a certain skill that I just don't have, no matter how many articles I read or photographs I studied.
2) Michelle (my photographer) can work magic in Photoshop. Even after all my years of digital scrapbooking, I would never be able to do what she's done. You'd never be able to tell that it was extremely dark and stormy the day we took the pictures. Thank you a million times Michelle for putting up with my crazy.
3) Speaking of crazy, it's crazy how much work goes into what turns out to be 5 finished photos (not including all of the individual product photos). I will not be taking a job in magazine styling anytime soon.
4) Let it go. I finally had to give up on planning it all out perfectly and just go for it. I ended up nixing almost everything that I had planned for that day, just because in reality my ideas didn't work. So I spent months agonizing over something that I had to make up as I went along anyways. Despite all this, the photos turned out way better than I expected!
I'm working on uploading everything to Citrus and Mint Gifts, and when I'm done I'll be back with more to share on all of the new products I'm releasing. Here are some preview photos for your viewing pleasure. Let me know what you think!
As you may know, I am mostly self-taught in all things graphic design. I find classes and articles wherever I can, but I found that there is very little information out there about artists and their processes. I don't know if that's because they are too busy creating to share their wisdom, or if they are afraid that others will steal their work. Whatever their reasons, the lack of information is extremely frustrating. I thought that I would take a few blog posts to share some of my design secrets to help those of you who are as frustrated as me.
The first design secret is one that I just figured out and it has made my life so much better. Design Sponge regularly interviews creative business owners in a series that they call Life and Business. A few weeks ago they interviewed the artist Cecilia Ruiz. Her interview stood out to me because of it's honesty, especially this quote:
"The biggest lesson I have learned is that in every project (or almost every one) there is a moment of darkness…internal darkness. There is always a moment when doubts, insecurities, anxiety and procrastination arise and it is only with work and through work that one can see the light on the other side. I keep re-learning this with every project I take. Sometimes the dark cloud passes fast and sometimes it lingers for a couple of days. I have learned to be patient and I try to embrace it since it is just one more stage of the creative process."
This. is. me. I experience periods of darkness in every single project that I do--every single one. Sometimes it lasts for days or months, or sometimes I cycle through the process several times before the project is actually done. Before I read this quote, I thought I felt internal darkness because I was inexperienced, an amateur, or not a real designer. It is so liberating to know that this is something that all artists experience, no matter how good or experienced they are. Now that I know this, I can anticipate the depression stage of a project and embrace it like she says. Because, as frustrating as it is, the process truly does move me to dig into the most creative depths of my soul.
I created the Creative Process poster (pictured above) to hang up by my desk to remind me that designing is a process. I almost added a separate button that says "I am here" to remind me where I am in the cycle. I've seen different versions of this creative process in several different places (one in Show Your Work), but this is my version. You can download it below so that you can remember that creation is a process, and anything worth creating will take time and emotional investment.
Hi! I'm Rachel and welcome to Citrus and Mint! Here you will find unique hand drawn illustrations for yourself or someone you love.