What could be cuter than baby goats? Jill Howarth's adorable illustrations!

Hey! This past year I had the amazing opportunity to work on not one, not two, but three picture books with Quarto publishing about the sweet goats of Goats of Anarchy! If you are not familiar (which is likely NOT the case) GOA is a goat sanctuary in New Jersey, started by Leanne Lauricella, that takes in disabled goats. These little guys are as amazing as they are cute and their real-life stories were so fun to bring to life. Goats in coats, goats in duck costumes and a pig that acts as their nanny...what could be better? I actually had never really drawn a goat before, but I can't say that anymore! 

Proceeds from the sales of all the books go towards GOA's efforts to save these wonderful animals, making it both a fun and worthwhile project that I am honored to have taken part in. Recently, Leanne's story was a part of a piece on the popularity of goats on CBS Sunday Morning. Check it out! - Jill

Watch the entire video, if you have time... but if you are too eager, cut right to Goats of Anarchy and Jill's work, skip to minute 3:35. - Jennifer

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Jennifer Orkin Lewis answers your questions

Our own Jennifer Orkin Lewis answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. Where do you find inspiration? Do you go for walks in town, look at nature shows on TV, or just start scribbling and see where your muse takes you?

A. I find my inspiration everywhere. I may see a story in the newspaper or magazine that interests me. On a walk I may see some cute little critters, or a person that is dressed in a striking way. A garden is always inspiring. In summer I will paint a few beach and pool scenes; in winter, a snowy walk. There are also themes I love to paint and always go back to exploring, such as flowers, crowds of people, cats. Since I’m painting something new in my sketchbook everyday I can’t spend too much time contemplating what I want to paint. The main thing for me is it has to feel right for the day. It doesn’t work for me keep a list of prompts to follow. The painting usually has relevance to my day or my mindset. I sometimes wake up with the exact image in my head but other days I need to think about it a little longer. 

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Q. What’s your schedule like? Do you work early in the morning? Late at night?

A. I work full time. I usually get up to my studio by 8 or 8:30 AM. I try to get my sketchbook painting finished by 10 AM. I keep a list of the projects and am very good about judging how much I have to do on each one to be finished by the deadline. As I do the work on each one I cross it off my list for the day. I try to get to the gym at least 3 days a week and/or take a nice long walk. It wakes me up and refreshes me to continue working. By 7:00 PM I’m finished. There’s no more energy or creativity left to work at night unless I am really crunched for time. When things are a little slower I try to get out for tea with a friend, or go to a museum. I try to keep the weekends open for personal time. I do paint in my sketchbook each weekend morning for 30 minutes or so and may do a few hours of work so the week is a little less intense. Spreading it out! 

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Q. Do you begin by sketching or planning a piece of art? Or do you just dive in and see where your pencil takes you?

A. When I am doing my personal work I do a quick, light pencil sketch, mostly so the piece is centered correctly on the paper and to give me a bit of a guideline. I don’t really draw it out with any detail, just the general shapes and placement. Then I dive in with paint and experiment and play. I think of my personal work as a time to learn and explore. When I am doing client work I sketch it out with much more detail so I can show what I am thinking before we move on to color. Because the pencil sketches don’t look at all like the final piece I will sometimes sketch in paint so my idea is more accurately depicted. 

Hello! My name is Anisa.

WEEK ONE: Flow Magazine has asked me to blog for them on Wednesdays all month.  We thought it would be fun to share these posts over here too! 

I was born in Lansing, Michigan, and I was a very creative child.  I was always interested in sewing or painting, or anything that involved colors. I studied printmaking at Minneapolis College of Art & Design.  

After college I just wanted to travel the U.S.  so I funded my trip by sewing hand made dresses, and selling them at music concerts, It was a great way to see my country.  It also started me into a business printing, sewing and later manufacturing my own clothing. 

I made clothes and sold under the label Makool for many years.  When I gave birth to my son 5 years ago, my love for travel and adventure won again and we decided to move from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam, NL.  

 Anisa at work.

Anisa at work.

While living in Amsterdam I fell in love with the canal houses and the bicycles and I began painting and drawing. I started taking classes in illustration, and before I knew it I had a new career.  

Last year we moved back from Amsterdam, to Portland.  Portland is on the West Coast of the U.S. right above California.  It's in a temperate rain forest.  It rains a lot here, but the rain makes it very green.  

The city is covered in moss, ferns, fog and old growth trees.  It feels good to live here, the city seems to glow green, it’s very healing.  I missed this living in Amsterdam. 

I’m excited to share my creative process as well as some of my inspiration over the next few weeks.  I hope you’ll visit my website and follow me on Instagram.

Enjoy! - Anisa

WEEK TWO: I thought today it would be nice if I gave you a tour of my new studio. Part of the incentive for me to move to Portland from Amsterdam was that I would have a new house. Our house was finished last June and we were able to move in after a long wait. My favorite room is my studio, it’s open with concrete floors and floor to ceiling windows facing the south. It’s a L shape so it’s hard to photograph, also on the day I took these picture we had some unexpected sunshine in Portland, it’s very rare.

You can see my cat “Happy Kids T.V.”, showing you the butterflies I did for this month’s issue of Flow. She’s a Devon Rex cat and she likes to come to my studio and find things she can attack. 

This is where I spend the majority of my time. I like to draw with pencils or calligraphy pens, and paint with gouache, ink, or acrylic. I mostly don’t keep sketch books unless I’m traveling. I prefer to make a bunch of drawings, and tape them to the wall. I work with my drawings in photoshop and I find that having them taped to the wall, lets me see everything I have without toggling through folders. 

Thanks for stopping by my studio. Next week I’m going to introduce you to some of my friends. - Anisa

WEEK THREE: 

This week I wanted to show you how I stay creative and social.  Having creative social outlets helps me to stay inspired, by thinking about making art in different ways. 

Portland is a very creative city, I feel fortunate to be a part of the art community.  Last year a group of women artists started an event called “Ladies Drawing Night”, it a private group,  when I was asked to join I was very excited.  The group meets once a month, we get together to sit around a table, drink wine, share snacks, and make art.  This has connected me with some amazingly talented local women, whom I admire, and it’s been a great resource.  Last month I brought my camera along to share a picture with you. 

 (pictured here, from the right around the table is  Lena Podesta, Adrienne Vita, Vera Brosgol, Peg Serena, Tara Lilly, Kinoko Evans, and the little blue person on pink paper is by Rilla Alexander) 

(pictured here, from the right around the table is  Lena Podesta, Adrienne Vita, Vera Brosgol, Peg Serena, Tara Lilly, Kinoko Evans, and the little blue person on pink paper is by Rilla Alexander) 

Another project I do with friends is “Stamp Art Club”, once a month we each make a postage stamp based on a theme.  There are four of us, and we make these images to share on  Instagram.  We have a hashtag #stampartclub if you’d like to view the whole project. 

The artists are Tara Lilly from Portland, Oregon, Monika Forsberg from London, and Kate Mason from Australia.

One great thing about stamp art club is that it keeps me in touch with friends who live far away.   We are doing a project together so we can’t fall out of touch, also it insures that I have one playful assignment every month that’s just for myself.  So much of what you do as an illustrator is making work for clients, constantly thinking about what the client wants can get tiresome. 

I hope to encourage other creatives out there to begin some sort of “creative playground”, someplace where there’s no pressure just connecting with other artists in fun ways.  It can help to get you out of your own head, and the connections you'll make are priceless. - Anisa

WEEK 4: I used to think I couldn’t draw, but now I think drawing is like a muscle if you don’t use it’s not very strong and the more you use it the better it works.  

When I was in college, I always got C’s in drawing no matter how much energy I put into the class. This was discouraging for me and I only took the required amount of drawing to graduate art school.  I ended up studying photography and printmaking.  

After college I went on to teach myself how to sew and design patterns for clothing.  I did some screen printing on the clothing, but not very much.  I spent the next 10 years building up a business, selling hand made clothing designs.  Meanwhile I always felt something was missing.  I noticed myself spending time on the internet admiring the work of artists and illustrators. 

It was when I moved from Portland to Amsterdam that I stopped the clothing business it just wasn’t possible to move it.  I had a lot of time to be alone with my creativity which was really nagging me.  I felt lost not having a creative outlet.  One day when I was on Amazon shopping for books a suggestion caught my eye. It was Lilla Rogers “I just like to make things”, the title alone spoke to me and I ordered the book.  Shortly after, I began taking her classes, and things just snowballed from there.  Today I couldn’t imagine not drawing and painting every day, it feels like I’ve been doing this my whole life. 

Here’s a suggestion to get into drawing.  Give yourself an assignment.  I used to tell myself I’m just going to draw an object 50 times.  I discovered if you draw a chicken 50 times it’s not possible to have 50 bad drawings of a chicken a few of them will be interesting and pretty good. It’s a great way to get yourself into drawing and to discover your style. 

Thanks you for spending the month with me, I loved blogging every week.  - Anisa

Jennifer Nelson Artists + Heart 2 Art Talk!

This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of wonderful Periscope interview with Ann Was Here and Jeanetta Gonzalez, both illustrators, surface designers, very clever teachers & co-hosts of #Heart2ArtTalk.

It was so fun (even though I was a tad nervous)... we talked about newsletters, agents, treating your business like a business, building a client list and so much more. Click here to watch the Heart-to-Art interview. 

 Anne Bollman, myself + Jeanetta Gonzalez

Anne Bollman, myself + Jeanetta Gonzalez

If you need advice on a personal basis, schedule an appointment with me for one of our hour-long Advice For Artists sessions. 

Jennifer Orkin Lewis is a Smart Creative Woman!

I am so happy to share Jennifer's interview with the multi-talented and infinitely fascinating, Monica Lee this week on her podcast, Smart Creative Women.

 Jennifer Orkin Lewis (aka August Wren) at work in her studio.

Jennifer Orkin Lewis (aka August Wren) at work in her studio.

Here is how Monica sums up the interview: 
"Jennifer is a hot new artist that has been around for some time.  After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design as a textile stylist designing prints for children’s clothing and lingerie, she raised her family, designed textiles and worked away. Fast forward several years she started a daily sketch book project that reignited her career in a huge way! I love her story and how she is such a hot ticket after working as an artist for the last 20 years (that’s pretty much the best kind of story).  Tune in and listen to  her journey,  it’s a refreshing one! Her  work is inspired by the everyday small things,  a bird in a tree, a garden, crowds of people, a beautiful table with luscious food and her clients (like Kate Spade home and Abrams Books!)  are eating up her style, her voice and her point of view. Can’t wait to see what she does next!"

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. You can find August Wren at her widely-followed Instagram, 30 minute painting a day. Enjoy! - (the other) Jennifer

My sketchbook featured in RISDxyz alumni magazine

I was really thrilled to be asked by RISD if they could feature my sketchbook project in the quarterly xyz alumni magazine. To have the association with RISD after all these years is so special to me. In addition to this, I created a card that all alumni will receive as an email on their birthday, so if you are graduated from RISD be sure they have your birthdate! - Jennifer

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