Friday, August 8, 2014

A Wedding: Starting the Roadtrip

Hello again!

Yes, I know it's been awhile, but I have so much to write about now, I think I can post more within the next couple months. I just have felt so inspired in the last couple of weeks I am not even sure where to begin! I guess I should start at the beginning of the road trip in California I just did.

Let's start with the wedding I went to 2 weeks ago. (I can't believe it's already been 2 weeks! Time sure does fly when you are having fun!) Two of my closest friends tied the knot on July 26th in San Diego. My sister and I traveled together to the wedding. We got in the day before, but because we had had a CRAZY week before, were so exhausted all we could do was take out our wedding clothes and crash. Of course, because of the time difference, we woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. The wedding was at 12:00, so we had a lot of time to get ready!

One of our friends met us at the hotel so that we could get ready together, but we still had so much time to kill. It was the first time I had ever been ready early for a wedding. We made our way to the church and actually managed to get there just in time, even though we were ready early. (It took us some time to figure out the gps).

The wedding was beautiful. The bride looked gorgeous, and the groom didn't look too nervous. It was the first wedding I have been to that I am really good friends with both bride and groom, and it was so exciting. I am so happy for them!

The reception was at a vineyard nearby, and it was lovely. I didn't take many pictures because the camera just couldn't capture the prettiness of the interior. You really needed to see it all at once. The dinner was delicious, the toasts were heartfelt with just the right amount of humor and tears, and the dancing was so fun! We didn't know many people there, but we still had a blast.
My sister and I with the bride and groom
We were also huge fans of this orange tree outside the vineyard.

All in all it was one of the most fun weddings I have ever been to.

Wait, you say, where is the art?? No worries, I am getting to it!
I was really happy to be able to do the invitations for my friends. They were so easy to work with, and so understanding about timing, etc. I think it helped that my friend Cathie is a graphic designer, so she knew a lot about how this kind of stuff works.
When I started designing, I was a little lost for ideas. They were having the reception at a vineyard that looked like a castle, her colors were a wine color and hydrangea blue, but they didn't want anything too flowery. I didn't want it to be corny, which I though trying to do a castle idea might become. Then I got the idea to do a vine, like a grapevine, but instead of having grapes, I would do polka dots in a more graphic design kind of way.
I was really happy with the result:
The final invite...or so I thought
Then came printing. I took them to the printer I usually use, and...the color was NOT right. Not even close. I panicked. This had never happened to me in all the times I had used this printer. They were so helpful and let me sit at their computer for an hour trying to fix the colors, but the printer was calibrated incorrectly, so everything I did came out too yellow, too grey, too purple. I couldn't figure it out. I called the bride with dread to tell her we were going to have to change the design, and she was super ok with it! I was so afraid she would freak out (and she would have had every right to), but she was so calm and understanding, and even offered some suggestions (The benefit of designing for someone who has dealt with this stuff before!).
So I had to change the color. It still took me about half an hour at the printer to make it right, but this time I was able to get it close. 
The full invitation

The main card

the rsvp. It was a postcard. They came up with the wording and I loved it!
The other cards
Honestly, once I had glued and glittered and assembled all the invitations, I was really very happy with the color change. It made the invitations look much more elegant, and they were so pretty. So I guess all the stressful hours were worth it! The bride and groom were very happy, so I was very happy. 

Unfortunately, I can't use the printer again because I can't do that to a bride and groom again. I love supporting small business, so I am upset I won't be able to use them again, but....I did get a new printer! Now I will be printing invitations myself. I got a printer I can print 5x7 cards on, and a nice paper cutter, so I won't be spending hours and hours again cutting things. It was probably good that this happened, because I needed a new printer anyway, and now I will be producing and monitoring the quality all myself. My next purchase will be a nice camera so I can take better pictures for this blog!

It was really fun to do these invitations, and a really fun wedding!
Be on the lookout for more blog posts about my trip!

Friday, May 16, 2014

An Update and a Peek at my Process

Hello All!
It's been a loooooong time since I updated my blog because I have been keeping really busy! I have been working on two sets of wedding invitations, one of which is done, the other is about half way done. I am starting to design yet another set, and working on some commissions and some personal projects. I also am still doing some graphic design work for a home linens company. So I've been keeping super busy!
That being said, I thought it was about time I did another post about my process. This fall, I had a commission to paint a piece as a wedding gift. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I was really happy with the result!

First, I started with the reference the client gave me for the project. They had already been to the wedding, so they had taken pictures of the bouquets for me.
The reference. There wasn't much to go off of, but I did at least have an idea for color
From there, I made some REALLY rough sketches to send to the client. I knew the client very well, so I knew she'd be able to work from these. I also offered to send her clearer sketches, but she got a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do. From these rough sketches, I did a final sketch, then transferred it to watercolor paper to paint! I love my lightbox, it has made my life so much easier. (And the best part? It was a garage sale find!)

Before I start painting, I always do a rough color composition in photoshop to give myself a general map for the painting:
As you can see, I just put the general colors in, outlining two of the flowers at the top and giving them shadows so I know that the direction I want to take the painting in will work
Then it's time to start the painting!
I have all my paints ready, my brushes, and the painting taped onto my drafting table. I also work with my sketch next to me so I know where the shadows and hi-lights need to go. The color comp I leave up on my computer screen to follow.
I paint these like a paint by number. (Did any one else love these as a kid?) First I painted the light grey background. Then, I mix the shadow, base color, and hi-light for a flower. (I typically use gouache to paint all my pieces). Then I start with all the hi-lights of a certain color, than the midtone, then finish with the shadows. After I have done this for all the flowers, I do the white outlines:
As you can see, I paint it color by color until all my guidelines are filled in! It's a very exact way of painting, but it works really well for me. It's also really fun to see the painting come together piece by piece!
The finished painting with the original sketch. Time to take the tape off!
Here is the finished piece:
I loved painting this piece because the colors were so fun! The client was happy, and I believe the bride was too!
If you would like to commission a piece for a wedding, contact me via my etsy store or at

Also, a reminder that you can now follow me on facebook and on instagram! (anneappertillustration)

Now, back to work on everything else I have to do!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone! 2013 really flew by. I can't believe it's already 2014!
2013 was a pretty good year. I made a LOT of wedding invitations for two weddings, put another calendar together, took a textile design class and a bookbinding class, started/finished some commissioned pieces, and received a couple of work opportunities that I  can't share yet but will in the future. There were some down times where I did not feel creative or productive, and there were times where I was painting like a maniac. I did not get as far as I had hoped, I would have liked to get even more work done, but there is always this year to work even harder. Most importantly, I feel I learned a lot about myself as an artist and about my process so I hope this will help me have my most productive year yet!
I probably shouldn't post resolutions here, since last year that failed miserably, but I have a good feeling about 2014 so what the heck. I really do want to post here more often so that you can all keep up to date with my  process and what I am working on. It's hard when I have jobs that consume all my time (like wedding invitations) where I can't post the information until after the event, but I am going to try my hardest to keep doing other work at the same time so as not to get in a creative rut again this year.
I also want to get back to doing more children's illustrations as there was a sad lack of these in 2013. Children's illustration was what got me applying to art schools in the first place when I started out, so I really want to get back to my roots (so to speak). I have some sketches and some ideas that I started in 2013 that I am excited to pursue in 2014. Hopefully, you will be seeing some of those here on the blog.
I don't know if anyone reads this outside of my facebook friends, but I just wanted to say I have two new places you can follow me and my creative process! I published my facebook page this weekend and also have an instagram account. Look for me there as anneappertillustration and follow my soon to be daily posts (another new year's resolution).
I am off to a good start for 2014: This weekend I cleaned up my studio so I can actually get some painting done in 2014,  put together a new office chair so I don't have to worry about slicing my hand on my old one, published my facebook page, worked on a commissioned painting (which I will post when I can), worked on a graphic design project which I can hopefully tell you about in the future, and worked on a crocheting project that I meant to start last year. Yes I know crocheting isn't technically art related, but I find being crafty helps me get into my creative zone and jump starts my process. Therefore, I will be looking to do more of this kind of project in 2014 as well.
Sorry for the lack of art in this post and all the vague project mentions that I can't actually share yet. The next one will have some art in it and soon I will be able to tell you more about the projects I am working on. (Including 2 sets of wedding invitations!)
Here's to a productive and creative year for us all!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another Wedding Project

This is another belated post, but while I am working on my calendar, I thought I would get you ready for more flowers. Also, since this project was a gift and I know the person now has it, I feel comfortable blogging about it.
The wedding thing seems to be taking off for me. This summer, I did a project for a friend that also had to do with weddings (on top of all the wedding invitations I made!).  She loved the paintings I did for my 2013 calendar, and asked if I could do a painting for her to give as a wedding present to a friend. Of course I said yes. At first I was just going to do a flower painting for her, but then came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea: I would draw the date of her wedding, with the flowers forming the dates, like a trellis of sorts. My friend loved this idea so I went ahead and sent her some sketches.The bride's favorite flowers are johnny jump ups (or at least this is what I was told) and her bridesmaid dresses were a lovely lilac color, so this formed the basis for the painting.
 This was a much bigger painting then I had done for awhile, so I miscalculated the time it would take me but I was very happy with the result.

The colors!

starting to paint the flowers

it was a slow process

halfway there!

flowers are done!
stems done
numbers and letters done, now just the leaves
now to outline everything

finished! time to take the tape off

the finished painting (the colors are a little bit more accurate in the other pictures.)

The leaves make up their wedding date and their monogram.
Although a pain in the neck at times (and I do mean that literally, I must hold my head in the same position for a long time when I paint),  this was a good project, and another that I hope to put on my etsy store for people to see and order their own versions. (I am currently working on a similar project which I hope to post in the next couple of weeks) I thought this was such a nice way to remember such a beautiful and important day!
And now, back to feverishly painting my calendar!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Textile Design Class: Black and White

One of the things I decided to do to keep myself busy this fall is take a class. I chose an online textile design class and so far it's been really good. Our first set of assignments dealt with creating black and white designs. First we had to come up with a concept page. This was basically a page of images that inspired our design process. We were also allowed to make a Pinterest board. So, of course, being me, I did both.
Pinterest board
my concept page
As you can see, my main inspiration was wrought iron. I liked how this combined both a delicate and graphic look often achieved in black and white designs. I also used nature inspired images, and lace. From this concept page, we had to come up with at least 5 motifs. For some reason in my head, I thought these had to be square, so this is what I came up with.

my motifs
Of course, I had to edit these when it came to designing the prints. There is only so much you can do with squares. We had to submit as the final project five different layouts: a basic set design ( think tiles) a half drop design ( tiles that are offset instead of perfectly lined up)  a tossed design (basically exactly what it sounds like, you, "toss" your motifs somewhat randomly on the page), a border with a field ( design that has a border) and a stripe layout.

basic set design
half drop design
tossed non-directional design
border with a field design
stripe layout
I was actually pretty pleased with the result. Designing patterns is so much fun! I'm also learning a lot about Photoshop that will come in handy for my own work.

I definitely would recommend taking a textile design class. I find taking classes outside my field really inspires my work within my own field, and helps get the creative juices flowing. You come up with more ideas just because you are learning to think differently!

I've been working slowly but surely on calendar 2014 (updates and calendars following soon!), and some other commissioned projects that I can't post now, but will as soon as they are in the hands of the rightful owner. I'm also trying to start participating in Illustration Friday again, so be on the lookout for those posts too!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What I did this Summer: Wedding Invitations

 It's been awhile since I updated here, mostly because my summer was so busy with weddings!

A couple of years ago, one of my closest friends got married. My sister Elizabeth and I were trying to think of something unique we could do as a gift, and thought, why not ask if she wants us to do her wedding invitations? She and her now husband accepted and we got to work.
I started with a couple sketches, she picked the one she like best and then I made a prototype for her to see. We wanted to make it special, so my sister came up with the idea of making envelopes for it. I don't have many pictures but here is the finished product:
We cut out each envelope and added the ribbon pockets at the bottom
They came out beautifully but took us way longer than expected! Lesson learned? Never make envelopes again. While they added a nice touch, they were a pain and were the main reason it took us so much time.

Fast forward to last spring when another close friend got engaged! She hired me to make her invitations, and I was really excited. However, she was going to be living in Australia for the year before her wedding, so I had to have the design finalized before she left. It was super easy to work with her and her husband, so coming up with an idea was quick and simple. In fact, I had too many ideas for her to choose from!
For these, I did not make an envelope, but I still hand cut and hand glittered them all. I thought it would be easier, since we weren't making the envelopes this time, but she wanted close to 200 invitations! I wish I had kept better track of the hours I spent on these invitations because it was a lot.
The glittering table
All 540 pieces of the invites
all packed and ready to go!
the finished invitation
A closer look. We ended up going with two different cards for mailing and the online RSVP, but this at least gives the idea of what they looked like.
They came out beautiful though, and I think they captured my friend's personality wonderfully. She and her family loved them which was the best part of the whole experience. I also made the design into a template for their wedding website and their programs. All in all, it was a great experience except for being so time consuming. I was sure I had given myself carpal tunnel after cutting over 700 pieces for the invites! Lesson learned: find a place to get them printed and cut in the future.

At almost the same time, my sister Emily was getting married. (She got married two weeks after my friend Steph!).  I had offered to do her wedding invitations as a wedding gift so for months I was working on invitations. She was slightly harder to work with because it was harder to gauge what she and her husband wanted, but in the end I think the invitations were beautiful and they loved them. I had found a website for envelopes when I did Angela's , and discovered all sorts of good pocket folds like the kind we had handmade for Angela. I got them printed at a local business and cut and they were gorgeous. Plus I didn't get carpal tunnel.

back from the printers! the Washington postcard rsvp layout was better, but for the purposes of the blog post, I had to remove personal information
the glittering and assembly station
getting ready to mail
a slightly closer look
the finished piece... you can't really see it, but the tulips on the actual invite have a white glitter on them that was subtle (for glitter) and added a touch of elegance that was beautiful.
with a nifty little pocket for all the pieces
For all the brides and grooms I asked that they come up with their own wording, and gave them websites where they could do the research.

The photos here are slightly blurry unfortunately as I had to rely on a not great camera for them, but I think they will give you an idea of the projects.

I want to start  a business designing wedding invitations because it is quite fun and I think it could help get my illustration business off the ground. (It is a lot of hard yet rewarding work too).  I hope to get these that I have done as examples and a custom order form set up on Etsy soon. First, I am going to try to finish my 2014 calendar and have it on Etsy (previews coming soon!)
I already have the next set I'm going to be working on. My brother Richard just got engaged to his now fiance Brianna and I'm doing their wedding invitations! I'll be starting to think about those in the next couple weeks.

if you or someone you know is looking for unique, one of a kind wedding invitations, Send me an email: and send them the link to this post.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My 2 Cents

I rarely post anything political on facebook. In fact, I have a policy not to: the one and only time I did I received anonymous hate mail telling me I was going to hell for my political decisions (this all based on an assumption they had made based on my status)
I figured people didn't need to know where I stand on things: facebook is a social network, not a soapbox. If my friends wanted to believe different things than me that is fine.
However, there is one political issue I feel strongly about, enough so to break my silence and take a stand for what I think is right.
And so I made this picture based on the symbol for marriage equality and an idea my sister gave me.
And now it is my profile picture.
Because I firmly believe no one should be denied rights because of their sexual orientation.
Ever. And certain people need to remember the message to love one another.
Feel free to make it your profile picture too if you support marriage equality!
or if you want the human rights campaign logo in its original colors