I must be stuck in a mermaid frame of mind. It seems like everything I draw lately comes from under the sea. My two year old son has joined his sister as a "wa-wa" swimming enthusiast so needless to say my days are filled with lots of wa-wa. This set started as a pattern for a fabric contest. Unfortunately I didn't win, but you luck out because now I can offer the patterns and clip art for sale in my shop. As an added bonus, it is offered in two different colorways (mainly because I couldn't decide between them, I love them both!). Mermaid clip art and digital papers are all now available individually or as a discounted bundle in both colors in the shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CitrusandMint
Last fall I took my daughter to the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville for a mommy-daughter date. It's no secret that I love art and museums, but I didn't expect to have a child so interested in it as well, especially at 4 years old. I thought I would have to be one of those moms forcing my kids to be cultured and appreciate all forms of art. I've lucked out!
Fun fact--historians often can't identify children in portraits or even tell if they are male or female because the children dressed the same until the boys were 5 or 6 and "breeched" or put in pants. Also, isn't Balthasar Carlos adorable, I mean, besides the rigid dress and sword? The following four portraits are all of Prince Balthasar, all by the same artist. Prince Balthasar was destined to be King of Spain, but unfortunately died when he was 16 from smallpox.
In the painting below, the oldest son's pose and face suggest that he died before the portrait was finished. How sad! And it doesn't matter what century it is, kids love bubbles.
The painting below is my favorite (besides the Naughty Child, I know that look too well). Her eyes remind me of my son's. I couldn't find why she is holding up one finger, but it's an interesting pose. Is she one years old? Is her father the #1 painter (this is the painter's daughter)? Is she about to make a intelligent remark? Was her father getting upset at her fidgeting and decided to play the how-long-you-can-stare-at-your-finger game?
I decided to add objects to my child portraits for the same reasons artists did in the past; for meaning, and to tell a story. I want to capture the child at that age so that anyone who views it will know more about his or her personality, likes, and mannerisms.
At one years old, my son loves choo choos, bananas, and his blue swaddle blanket from when he was a newborn. He will follow dogs all the way down the beach if I'm not watching and his favorite time of day is reading stories before bedtime. Unlike his sister, his only word is "mah" which means many things-milk, mama, daddy, more, and Mickey Mouse.
At three years old, my daughter ate a peanut butter sandwich every single day. Now, at four, she won't even touch them. She loved to learn letters and quickly taught herself how to spell the names of all family members. She would spend at least 3-4 hours coloring each day, just because she loved it. She was obsessed with princesses and "chocolate lemonade cupcakes", a dessert she made up on her own. She was always asking us to "watch her a long time" and "can you do this" followed with a crazy dance move of some sort.
Already my children are so different! It's crazy to comprehend sometimes how fast they grow and change. If you would be interested in me documenting the story of your child, check out more information HERE or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you want to spend way too much time learning everything about the 18th century, check out this Pinterest board (https://www.pinterest.com/CeruleanHMC/). It's probably one of the coolest boards I've seen. It's like a visual encyclopedia of everything from jewelry to riding habits to shoes to daily life to Georgian dogs to home decor!
Lately I've been curious about other artist's tools and processes. It's fascinating how you can tell 10 designers to draw a cat and each one would be completely different, partly because of style, but mostly because of tools and process. My process is very simple and clean and cheap (err, I mean cost-effective). I don't like to use a lot of tools and lately I've been trying to use only one computer program as well. It makes my life more organized and is easier when I have two littles who get into everything (like yesterday when they almost flooded the bathroom...yikes).
The first thing I would save in a house fire would be my wacom tablet...okay, maybe not, but it would certainly be the first thing that I repurchase. People don't believe me, probably because I don't show them, but I cannot draw with pencil and paper. My high school art teacher required pencil sketches before we painted anything and mine were mostly stick figures...I'm not sure how he let that slide. Anyways, I don't know how drawing with a tablet makes drawing any different, but it does! I'll save you some of the stress that I felt when researching which one to purchase--get the Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet ($99). You'll find that you really don't need a huge drawing space or any buttons. I don't even know how the button feature works. I bought a cheap protective film on Amazon to cover the drawing space and save it from scratches. The only issue I have is that the cord is very short. After three years of complaining about the short cord, my husband finally said, "You do know that they make USB extension cords?" Well, now I do. :/ The extension cord is cheap and now my only problem with the tablet is solved. It does take a lot of time to get used to. I would practice by pulling photos into Illustrator and tracing them with the pen or pencil tool. Don't get frustrated, keep practicing because it will be worth it!
I know that you are probably thinking, duh, why would she include this, but I do have a point. When you look on Pinterest or read other famous blogs, every single designer will have a sleek white cordless Mac. I would love to one day be super rich and buy myself an Apple desktop/computer in one. Unfortunately that day has not come. The good news is that my HP desktop computer and LG monitor work perfectly fine for a fraction of the cost of an Apple. It doesn't take a fancy computer to start designing, just one that can run your programs and isn't I'm-going-to-throw-it-out-the-window slow. A note about monitors-buy the best one you can afford. I've had problems with cheap monitors and accurate color representation. I don't like laptops for design because they are slower, don't have as much space (Photoshop files are HUGE), and the keyboard gets in the way of the tablet.
This may seem odd considering I just said that I don't sketch very well, but a sketchbook is handy for when you are away from the computer. Inspiration always strikes in unlikely places and a sketchbook is a cheap and mobile tool for documenting a great idea, no matter how stick figure-ish it looks. :) Many pages in my sketchbook are filled with lists and notes while other pages document composition for different pieces.
I love my iphone. It's my camera (besides the recent shop photos, I've had no need for a DSLR) and my access to the designer world. I use it to check emails, check etsy, make to do lists, schedule events, and connect with customers. I especially love instagram these days. I love peeking into other artist's process and getting inspired by their photos. I'm on instagram as @citrusandmintdesigns.
adobe illustrator and photoshop
Every graphic designer is different. Some use only Photoshop, others only Illustrator, or InDesign. I don't know enough about any program to use it without the others so I use Illustrator and Photoshop, however I'm using Illustrator more and more as I learn more of what it can do. I draw, select and modify colors and composition in Illustrator, and then I copy and paste it over to Photoshop to save as a .png or .jpeg. I also use Photoshop to clip layers together (something I can't quite figure out in Illustrator yet) or add textures if needed. I love Illustrator because it has a huge design space and the files are quite small. Also each part is vector so I can edit and resize it unlimited times without losing quality. Some designers draw in Photoshop, which scares me because your revisions are limited. I tried using other vector drawing programs and I didn't like them. Nothing quite compares to Illustrator!
There are a million versions of Adobe programs and now creative cloud. Don't get anything below CS3. I have CS3 and CS6 (for Illustrator only). Photoshop CS3 has been fine for everything I've needed to do. Illustrator CS6 is better because it has the pattern making tool, which can save you hours on designing repeating patterns. You can find cheaper used versions of both programs on Ebay or Amazon.
This is just as important of a tool as my computer. The fountain of life and energy. I don't keep diet coke in the fridge because then I know I'll drink it nonstop. I take a warm can, put it in the freezer and 45 minutes later drink little sips of heaven. There are only two rules: only one can a day, and you have to drink it before 3PM otherwise you will be up all night.
What do you think? Do you have designer tools that you can't live without?
Hi! I'm Rachel and welcome to Citrus and Mint! Here you will find unique hand drawn illustrations for yourself or someone you love.