Jennifer Orkin Lewis works her gouache-y magic!

Here's a treat for you. In just 26 seconds you can watch Jennifer Orkin Lewis work her gouache magic. She doesn't really work quite this fast, but she is that good! Jennifer creates paintings like this constantly and never seems to run out of inspiration. 

Want to see more of Jennifer's stunning work? Just ask and I pull a gallery together for you in a jiffy!  Enjoy - (the other) Jennifer

 

Artsy Emojis by Bee Brown

Hi Everyone!

Earlier this year Jennifer contacted me with news of an interesting new project: Would I like to design some "Artsy Emojis" for a project being developed by the lovely Barbara Rucci and her design studio?

As a Graphic Designer by training I jumped at the chance. How cool! I've never had the opportunity to work on an App before and as a mum to two boys addicted to messaging on their iPhones and iPods, I was hoping to win a bit of credibility there too!

Barbara had a very clear idea of the kind of images she wanted to incorporate into her App so we rigged up a shared page on Pinterest where she could show me in quite specific detail the look she was after. This made my job much easier because I could see right from the outset the approach she desired: fun, quirky and colorful. I was excited to begin.

We started in the usual way with me responding to her list of subject matter with a series of simple black and white sketches. In total we worked on around 100 drawings for the App which we tackled in groups of 20 or so at a time. Once Barbara had approved these, the sketches went on to be made into vector shapes in Illustrator and then color was added. 

This is what Barbara has to say about the app and how it all came to be: "I started designing all of the emojis myself, but then realized I would never get this app done on my own. So I hired this crazy-talented illustrator named Bee Brown to draw about 100 of the emojis. I drew about 30 myself. Bee is really good at animals and faces, something that is not particularly my strength. I am very grateful to Bee for creating these drawings that are so whimsical and beguiling and F.U.N.! They are exactly what I was imagining."

"The emojis cover all types of categories, not just art supplies. There are flower and feather emojis, nature and beach emojis, food and dessert emojis, transportation and holiday emojis, and party emojis. They really are all so beautiful, I can’t wait for you to see them!"

Artsy Emoji's can now be downloaded from the Apple App Store
I hope you enjoy using them as much as we enjoyed creating them! - Bee

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Creating a Fabric Collection with Rae Ritchie

Hi Everyone!

Today, I wanted to share my process of creating a fabric collection with amazing fabric manufacturer Dear Stella! I’ve been working with them for a couple years now, and the medium of fabric design never fails to excite me!

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Every collection I create begins of course, with gathering inspiration.  Since many of the work I do is based in nature, I gather many photos of flowers, plants and animals as my main source of inspiration. Discovering new (to me!) species of plants and animals and trying to capture their essence is a driving force for me. 

Color palettes naturally come out of this research. I’ll start with Pantones right away, and pull the main colors I choose to use in the collection.

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The next step is planning the prints I’d like to create. I usually make a list for myself to use during the sketching process. Sketching is always the most intense portion of the process for me. This is where the look of the collection is first proposed. I’ll often use sales information from past collections to help with my decision making in layout and subject matter.

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Creating the actual artwork is my favorite portion of the process. Here, I apply color to the sketches and bring the collection to life! Sometimes I will do actual paintings, and sometimes create the art digitally on my Wacon Cintiq. It mostly depends on how complex the repeats are and the look I’m going for. I feel most comfortable painting florals in actual gouache, so most groups heavily based in florals will be hand painted.

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Cleaning the art and indexing the files into screen separations is the most technical part of the process. Making sure the integrity of the print is intact, while still limiting the number of screens is essential!

Creating colorways is a very fun step, because you can start imagining what the quilts can look like, and how the final impression of the collection will read. It also excites me to think about what my quilts will be made into and how they can inspire those around me. 

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Finally, I’ll add Pantone colorchips to the repeats and send the files over to be printed in strike-off form. Then, a little while later, the strike-offs are sent to me! This by far is the most exciting part. Seeing the art directly on the fabric is very rewarding! The Dear Stella team and I will work on choosing the final prints and colorways to run in the group, and from there a fabric collection is born!

Enjoy! Rae Ritchie

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Anisa's Mural for Mud Bay Pet Store

I was recently hired to do my first mural! My client was a local advertising agency who produced the mural for their client, a pet food shop. I’m sure this helped to make things go smoother, as the agency was able to act as a go-between for myself and the customer. Mud Bay is a beloved Northwest-based pet food company with a number of locations in Portland and Seattle. The brief that was given to me by the creative folks at the agency spoke of a "welcome to Northwest Portland" message. I'm proud to say the mural is one of the first things you’ll see as you get off the freeway and make your way into the quaint, charming neighborhood of Northwest Portland. The town is filled with Victorian and Craftsman houses, so we reflected that in the mural, and added lots of pets.

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This is my original artwork for the mural. There were a few revisions before it became a mural. The building owner wanted his own dog in there, so the gray dog was changed to cute dachshund.

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Here’s the final mural. It's amazing they were able to do this! Though I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that there are a few changes and touch-ups I wish I could make. (That's the artist in me.) Also, it looks as if they stretched the drawing. Now I wish I could go in and add more flowers, they look a little bare.

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Overall it was a very exciting experience. It’s also super cool to see your art work so large like this! Hope you enjoy it too, Anisa

Jill Howarth tells all!

Our own Jill Howarth 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. If you hadn’t become a professional artist, what kind of career do you think you would have chosen?

A. That's a tough question but my best guess would be a teacher. I come from a family of them, with my mom, three brothers and all three wives in the same profession. My sister and I seem to be the only ones not in the family business!

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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'm somewhat of a mid-century picture book collector, having amassed a pretty thick stack of Little Golden books, amongst others. I don't stop at vintage though. I always had a soft spot for buying beautifully illustrated books for my kids when they were small and now I just buy them for myself!

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Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Did you strive to get your art on the refrigerator as a child? Describe your earliest artwork. 

A. My earliest memory is drawing Peanuts characters on large, white paper that my mom brought home from her classroom. I had several Peanuts books that I could draw from with my trusty “El Marko” markers (penciled sketched first, of course). That evolved into redrawing cute Hallmark cards for my mom's bulletin boards in her classroom. Around age 10, I knew that I wanted to be a “commercial” artist. I saw this as hopefully a practical way to make money with art, vs. fine art. Eventually this evolved into getting a degree in graphic design.

Where would artists be without inspiration?

Where would artists be without inspiration? Whether it’s a spring flower, a sunny day, or a cat napping near a window, artists draw inspiration every day from their experiences and the things they see.

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If you’re really lucky, like our own Jennifer Orkin Lewis, you can draw inspiration from an amazing trip to India! The sights she is seeing are awe-inspiring and we’re sure that they will inspire Jennifer to create some wonderful new images of her own. Just take a look at the some the amazing photographs from her journey. Enjoy! – (the other) Jennifer

Inspiration from The Potteries

Hello, Rachel Grant here writing from a rather damp, cold North Staffordshire in the UK.
 
I wanted to share with you a little bit about this area I live in and the way in which it inspires some of my artwork. 

Books and catalogues full of manufactured designs

If you have had a peek at my portfolio you will notice that I have a bit of a passion for painting images that include a piece of pottery or two! 

Burleigh ware in the museum with the original office windows
Burleigh transfer prints

North Staffordshire is known affectionately as "The Potteries" because historically this area has been an important centre for ceramics since the industrial revolution. Wedgwood, Doulton, Spode, Minton and many more all built their legacies here. The iconic bottle kiln is a familiar sight for me and although a lot of the local factories have been lost, there has been significant investment in regenerating some of our historical sites into heritage centres that have become wonderful places to visit, explore and be inspired by!

Iconic Potteries Bottle Kiln

One of the closest factories to me, only a twenty-minute walk away, is Middleport Pottery where the wonderful Burleighware is still manufactured today. The factory’s historical character has been preserved and recently a visitor centre has been created around it, including museum areas, displays and a lovely café with a cosy wood burner - and of course all Burleigh tea sets! It has become one of my favourite places to visit, mooch around, photograph and sketch at. 

In the heart of the old factory

When I was younger and learning about our local history I would often imagine myself as one of the paintresses or even one of our famous designers like Clarice Cliff or Susie Cooper. When I am busy at my desk now, I still channel a little bit of this dream as I paint the pottery pieces in my illustrations. I am particularly drawn to blue and white pottery which we have produced plenty of in the Potteries but also of course the beautiful Delftware from the Netherlands offers boundless inspiration. 

Cafe Table at the Heritage Centre

In my most recent series of artworks I decided to give this inspiration centre stage and created a little collection of paintings with a piece of blue and white pottery in each one. All of these original works on handmade paper sold and flew off to new homes before the New Year, but they are now available to license. 

My blue and white collection
My blue and white collection continued

While I paint these pots into my illustrations my mind often wanders to the (unfeasibly dark) wood clad designer’s room at Middleport Pottery Factory and I dream of continuing the Potteries legacy in my own small way by designing patterns for a range of ceramics. That really would be a dream come true. So you see these little still life pieces hold more than just those flowers and the foliage, for me they hold a little piece of my heritage.

On my desk - pattern work in progress

Thank you so much for allowing me to share this with you. Until next time, Rachel

Rae Ritchie’s Gift Guide Cover Design Work with the Los Angeles Times!

Happy holidays dear friends! I am over the moon excited to share a project I worked on for the Los Angeles Times last month! When Jennifer contacted me about a project with them, I was so excited, and I admit, a little nervous. When she said they wanted a cover design for their holiday gift guide AND an illustration for an article, I was pinching myself. I’ve always wanted to work with the Times, so this was really a dream come true! Here’s a look into my process for this exciting project.

In the idea stage, I stick to little thumbnails, just to flesh out the ideas in my head before I commit to an entire page. The client said they wanted to focus to be in hand lettering with some imagery that gets L.A. and Cali-handcrafted gifts across. 

When I decided on a basic layout that I liked, I proceeded to sketch it out for real! I then sent over to the LA Times team along with a color palette. They had a couple little tweaks as far as landmarks and placement. Once those changes were made, I was ready to proceed with the final art!

This is where the fun part begins; the painting! For this, I painted everything separately, then placed it together in Photoshop. This way, I have more flexibility in terms of layout and color tweaking, if needed.

It was a "star on top of the tree" moment when I added the Los Angles Times logo to the final art!

I followed a very similar process for the article illustration, beginning with a sketch, painting it up, then finessing in Photoshop!

Happy holidays everyone! Cheers <3 Rae

Our newest artist draws inspiration from quiet, still moments in an otherwise chaotic world.

Jennifer Nelson Artists is proud to present Rachel Grant! Please join me in welcoming our latest artist to the fold. 

Take one look at Rachel’s art and you can imagine her working in an old terraced house in the north of England somewhere… listening to music as she paints… knitting, gardening, baking bread, sewing clothes or snuggled under blankets watching great films in her spare time. And you’d be right!

Rachel is based in North Staffordshire where she draws inspiration from time-worn surfaces and the consistency of the natural world around them. As she says, “Quiet, still moments in an otherwise chaotic world."

Incorporating a range of media in her artwork, include drawing, painting, collage and print, Rachel brings them together digitally at the end. Her portfolio of evocative images embodies her love of a slow, peaceful life. “My overall aim is to capture an atmosphere of peace and harmony,” she says.

If you would like to see a custom gallery of Rachel's work, just ask! We have loads of her utterly charming work and I really do love to share! —Jennifer

Jennifer's Inspirational Retreat

My whole life I have wanted to live somewhere other than New York and Rhode Island. But it hasn't happened... yet. This summer I decided to just pack up my supplies, rent an Airbnb, get on a plane, stay for 3 weeks, and see what happens. It was a wonderful change of pace.

I spent my time on Vashon Island which is a ferry ride from Seattle. This was my view from the deck of my house and from the work table I set up in front of a big glass window. Different, yes!

The first day I was nervous. I had a stomach ache because of it, but as I adjusted to the situation I felt myself relaxing. It just so happened that a few jobs got delayed which meant I really had time to explore the island, see new things and play around with painting. I've been wandering the roads and the beach, collecting wildflowers and rocks and seeds... so many little bits that inspire me. My eyes are open wider.

There are really nice houses there, cute cottages, gardens that are out of this world, and amazing views. I took lots of pictures so I can refer to them later for reference. I also have done a lot of plein air painting which I don't get to do very often.

I  painted many loose, slightly abstracted watercolors in a cheap sketchbook just to get going. For me, if I work in a very quick way, without regard for the final outcome, I can find new ideas and directions. Even here I still have times where I have no idea what I want to paint, what is inspiring me. But I took a walk along the beach, or a hike in the woods. Or go to a cute cafe and sit for tea. These small mindful things are so necessary to the creative process and sometimes in the business of everyday life I forget to take time for myself.

Also, I've met the most wonderful, warm, kind people here! And been invited over to so many incredible homes. With all the stuff going on in the world right now it's such a pleasure to turn off the news and just enjoy simple, beautiful, generous humanity. Best, Jennifer

Lauren Lowen’s Blueprint Show Poster (And 4 Fun Facts About It!)

Hello! I am so happy to show the poster I designed for Blueprint’s third (yes, third!) show coming up this May 12-16 in New York City. Everyone at Jennifer Nelson Artists was honored to have one of us create it. Paul Turk, the show organizer and also awesome Big Cheese of Cinnamon Joe, gave me a lot of freedom. I designed two sketches which you can see here, and Paul selected the busy New York scene, which totally captures the energy of both the city and Blueprint.

I have always had a soft spot for posters. In fact, a common assignment I would give to my pre-college students was to do a mock poster for a favorite musician or band. They’re just so much fun! I love the chance to combine my lettering and illustration into a piece, so this project was perfect for me.  Luckily, the hand lettering contributed to the feeling Paul was going for- that handmade, raw kind of look that’s full of texture. He’s so on trend!

When designing a poster, it’s important to remember that the main function is all about communication. If the viewer can’t get the info they need almost instantly, it fails. When designing, I knew the exhibitor names and show information had to be clear and obvious. Of course, little Lauren Lowen just had to be ambitious and submit a really busy, colorful idea! But by making sure the lettering dominated first, I was able to have fun with everything else and it all came together. To help the message, I made sure to keep the Blueprint header design and color scheme it has had the last two shows. By keeping the same look and just doing a more hand done version, I kept the branding intact (I also kept the staggering blue and orange exhibitor names as a call back to previous posters). Since we wanted to hand letter the exhibitor names,  I used Myriad Pro as my “skeleton” in Photoshop and hand drew on top. I got a completely original font out of it that fits the poster, but this step made sure that the names were somewhat consistent and easier to read.

Here are 4 Fun facts about the poster you probably didn’t know!

  1. The 615 on the taxi is a shout out to Nashville’s area code. I am based right outside Music City (and yes, my husband is a musician. I can play classical kazoo, thank you).
  2. The mermaid was inspired by urban legends speculating what lurks underneath the streets of New York City. While most stories talk about huge abandoned pet alligators or radioactive rats, I decided it would be fun to have a more fantastical interpretation.
  3.  Originally I wanted to draw Paul as the taxi driver, but I thought he might be shy about that idea. I have always loved Paul’s moustache, so the Walrus because a sort of avatar for him (the walrus is the moustache champ of the animal kingdom). I’m not saying Paul looks like a walrus, mind you. No. Also, this is a very handsome, classy Walrus. He’s well read and knows his fine wines (and drives a taxi, apparently).
  4.  Paul and I have actually crossed paths before when I was an in-house designer at a large paper & gift company. It was always a good day when he would visit our art department!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the process behind the Blueprint Show poster. Jennifer Nelson Artists will be there this May, so please say hello and schedule an appointment with us! - Lauren

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 &nbsp;Lena Podesta,&nbsp;Adrienne Vita, Vera Brosgol,&nbsp;Peg Serena, Tara Lilly, Kinoko Evans, and the little blue person on pink paper is by Rilla Alexander)&nbsp;

(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

Bee's Jolly Circus Growth Chart for Samsung

Hi Everyone! I was really thrilled to find some wonderful samples in the mail today of a wall chart that I created last summer. Their brief asked me to come up with some happy animal shapes having fun in a circus setting and positioned in a kind of fun 'animal stack' format.

I love drawing happy, colorful animals so this was a dream brief for me! 

The process was a very simple one: I started off by making some quick pencil sketches which once approved, were then scanned into Illustrator and coloured up. The lovely team of in-house designers finished off the file by placing in the measuring scale and voila!, we were done! Enjoy - Bee

 Bee's tight sketches show the client what they can expect.

Bee's tight sketches show the client what they can expect.

Here is a snippet of one of the first round of pencil sketches, a colour proof of the final finished growth chart and a photo of the packaged product, ready for retail

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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

JNA artists in FLOW!

Wow, wow, wow! I am SO HAPPY to see the artists featured in FLOW this month! If you don't know, Flow - check them out here. You can subscribe to the magazine, Flow Weekly, find inspiring blogs + articles + great links to illustrators worldwide, and more! Design delights abound!

Both Jennifer and Anisa are featured this month!

 Jennifer Orkin Lewis's (August Wren) gorgeous feature!

Jennifer Orkin Lewis's (August Wren) gorgeous feature!

 Complete with stunning postcards to mail!

Complete with stunning postcards to mail!

  This is one of Anisa's pieces that first caught my eye.

This is one of Anisa's pieces that first caught my eye.

More exciting work to share in future issues and a book! Enjoy! - Jennifer

The Portland Chimney Swifts

I recently got a really great commission and I wanted to share it with you. 

Portland hosts North Americas largest concentration of Vaux’s Swifts. Every September the birds nest in the chimney at Chapman Elementary School.  Vaux Swifts normally nest in hollowed out snags of old growth trees, but we have lost a lot of our old growth trees, and the largest population now nests in this chimney here in Portland.  In the 80’s when the birds began nesting in the chimney the school stopped using it’s heating system during the weeks of roosting.  Students and teachers wore sweaters and jackets until the end of September.  In 2003 the Audubon Society donated a new heating system to the school. Now the chimney is maintained sorely for the Swifts.  

You can imagine my excitement when I was approached to illustrate this beautiful scene.  The Swifts are a beloved Portland event, hundreds of folks gather every night in September to watch the show.  Enjoy - Anisa

Stamps by Monika Forsberg

As a member of Jennifer Nelson Artists I enjoy the work of the other illustrators but I don’t often get to see them or work with them. Here’s what happened when we had a rare chance to collaborate.

One night at dinner whilst doodling with some fellow artists, I  noticed that some of us have a tendency to fill up every available space in a drawing, while others (like me) tend to use a lot of negative space. So I thought I’d try switching it around and experimenting with adding art to every inch of the page.

I met Anisa Makhoul  my fellow artist at JNA for the very first time this summer. We met by the sea in Brighton when she was travelling around in Europe with her family. Anisa and I enjoyed a couple of days together and our sons Oslo and Reginald became friends, laughing, eating ice cream and getting up to mischief. I love Anisa's work, she is a fantastic girl and so funny. We had a blast and we said “We need to find a way to collaborate.”

What we came up with was to make stamps, because its a way to travel the world without getting on a plane. Being an illustrator gets rather lonely sometimes and projects like these are a brilliant way to communicate and spend time with like-minded people.

The first theme chosen was horses so I indulged in a bit of pony homage and drew some chubby horses. Then I got sidetracked into making motorcycles as my mind raced away with a made-up word association game. Horses - Horsepower - Motorbikes.

Anisa chose the second theme: love. I got off to a rocky start but then I started drawing little tiny Mexican tin hearts and soon... my love stamp was born. That’s the true story behind my new stamp art. Enjoy - Monika

Victoria's Autumn Project

This past autumn I decided I wanted to do some designs that would work well on fabric. You can't get more autumnal than squirrels so I started by sketching a few. I had a lot of success with my Give Thanks fox and sunflower fabric designs a while ago but didn't want to repeat myself. So I spent a happy evening building myself a mood board inspired by something I love that is quintessentially autumnal - tan leather and heather grey knit. I'd also been quite taken by the grey pumpkins that kept popping up all over Pinterest. They contrast beautifully with the usual orange ones.

  Squirrel sketches

Squirrel sketches

Once I had my palette established I created a collection of six designs featuring birds, squirrels and autumnal foliage. I think it came out nice and had a very different (less whimsical, more collegiate) feeling to the Give Thanks fabrics.

  'Give Thanks' fabrics still available at Joann's

'Give Thanks' fabrics still available at Joann's

  Tan leather, heather grey knit and grey pumpkin inspired moodboard/color palette

Tan leather, heather grey knit and grey pumpkin inspired moodboard/color palette

Apparently my mom was also inspired by my color palette and knitted it into a cushion cover!!! Enjoy! -Victoria

Meditative Mind - roughs and process

Hi!...Bee here!...just thought I'd share a little glimpse into part of my creative process today. Whenever I start a piece of artwork I always like to get my ideas down by making some drawings on large pieces of paper. I generally like to use loose sheets as I find working in a sketchbook (something I tend to reserve for when I'm out and about) too restrictive. I also love to use soft graphite sketching pencils.

Once I'm happy with how things are coming along, I'll then move onto finishing my drawings digitally." - Bee