Tuesday, March 03, 2015

drawing words with Megan Wells





Hello everyone! It's me, Megan, I'm excited to be back with my third post about lettering. 
In my first post I shared that hand lettering is really the art of drawing letters. So, as we start to combine letters to form words, don't forget to keep in mind that you are drawing, not writing. And drawing takes practice! 

A few weeks ago I introduced an exercise to show you the endless possibilities with lettering: 1 letter, 100 ways.

Today we are going to tackle a similar exercise, but with a combination of letters!


100 seemed like a bit much now that we are on to words, so, I loosened up the boundaries. Maybe you draw a word 25 ways, maybe 50...but the goal is to explore many different ways that you can combine the letters to form a word. 

I chose the word "harmony" for this example because it has a wide variety of letters in it, giving the combinations of these letters tons of possibilities! Here are just a few of my variations (with some tips below)

Play with interesting ways to connect letters
In #1, I connected the first and last letters; the cross bar of the "H" with the descender of the "y". But in #2, I connected the first and last letters with letters in the middle. 

Break the rules
For #2, I wanted to great a balance between the "H" and the "y", so I reversed the loop in the "y". It's not the correct way, but you can read it right? Don't be afraid to break the rules when drawing letters!

Vary your guidelines
Try out different paths for your words. Draw some straight, while others on a slant or arch. 


Use different drawing supplies
Sometimes I use pencil a pencil and eraser, other times a pen. Each tool draws a little different, so mix it up as you experiment!

Change speeds
Draw really slow and methodical on some, and speed it up and get messy on others. 

Get out of your comfort zone
My comfort zone is script lettering. It really stretches me to write serif and sans serif lettering, so this is where I really need the practice!


Don't be confined to white paper

This is my favorite tip of all! Often times plain white paper can feel intimidating or too rigid. One of my favorite ways to loosen up while experimenting with lettering is by getting a little messy. Try covering your pages with washes of color (I use cheap, watered down acrylics) and letting them dry. Then practice lettering on top!


I often use paint left over from other projects (I don't like to waste) and cover pages in my sketchbook. Then they are primed and ready when I need some lettering practice!



Working on painted pages is a great time to try out different combinations of materials.




I may draw with pen and shade with pencil. Or draw in white ink, and add a drop shadow with a gel pen. Just be sure your paint is 100% dry before using your pens - especially the pricier ones!



Oftentimes, by loosening up and not being afraid to layer and "mess up", new ways of drawing words are discovered.



So what word will you draw first? Use hashtag #redefinecreativelettering on instagram to show off your practice. I love seeing what you are up to!

xoxo - Megan 
Instagram: @makewells
website: makewells.com

Monday, March 02, 2015

(almost) spring sale!



Ok you guys, I want spring to be here SO BAD that I am going to pretend that it's here! March has arrived and I am celebrating with an (almost) SPRING SALE...you know how I love a good sale! So this week take $10 off all of my online classes and I am throwing in my class Sketch Into Spring for free for those orders over $50. Prices have been marked down and you can view my complete class offering HERE








Thursday, February 26, 2015

frequently asked questions- time management




I get all kinds of email and asked TONS of questions about all sorts of creative things and once in a while I will take the time to answer many of the frequently asked questions here on my blog!

Questions I get asked a lot are- How I am able to be so productive? How I manage my time? And how do I juggle being a mom and running a business? So today I am sharing a little insight into how I manage my time and I've put it all into video format. Like most of the videos that I share, I talk a lot (32 minutes to be exact) so of you don't have the time or patience you can skip to the highlights below!





SET PREDICTABLE HOURS

I've found that setting predictable hours for art every day has been something that has worked well throughout the many different phases of my life. Back when I was working a day job, I only had evenings and weekends to make art and grow my creative business. Even though my time was limited, I was able to predict and plan projects that fit into those hours. After I spent so much time working this way I became very accustomed to being productive in smaller chunks of time. This process served me well once I became a mom. Instead of working 8 hours straight, I am most comfortable (and productive) working in small predictable chunks of time throughout the day. I still end up working 8-10 hours day it just looks a little different.



STICK TO SET HOURS



Sticking to the hours that you set for yourself is something that is key for me- I mean what is the point of setting predictable hours if you don't stick to them? Back when I had a day job it was really easy for me to be flakey about committing to an art making schedule. My day job provided a safety net with steady income while art was just a side gig that I didn't depend on. I learned over time that if I wanted my dream of being a full time artist to come true I really needed to have some discipline with my schedule and sticking to the hours that I set for myself.



SET BOUNDARIES



I've learned that the best way to make use my time is to set boundaries in my life. Now that I am a mom I don't have a lot of free time and the free that I do have, I want to spend with my family. In order to juggle and make everything work with my loved ones and my business, I've had to set a lot of boundaries with my time and how I fill it. Sometimes it means saying no to social engagements, sometimes it even means saying no to family, sometimes it is simply making the choice to go to bed early so I can be well rested. My boundaries always evolve and change with different projects but making a point to set some limits for how I spend my time really keeps me on track.



IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES



Taking a little time to identify your strengths and weaknesses can shed light on the things that are working (or not working) in your schedule. While it is pretty easy to name the things you are good at, it can be a little harder to focus on failure and weakness. But understanding your challenges and the things you are not good at can really help you grow and better define where you want to put your energy.





GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE FLEXIBLE




While it is great to set hours and stick to them, it is also OK to give yourself permission to be flexible. Sometime "life happens" and it's just not realistic to get all crazy about time management and schedules. While I would love to have everyday be perfect and really productive, this doesn't always happen and that is where flexibility and a lot of grace come in handy!




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

updates from the studio

I've got all kinds of stuff going on over here and today it is time for a little update from the studio! 

With the new year in full swing I have been spending a lot of time evaluating and reevaluating my creative business. For the last few years, I had to make some choices about where I should put my time and energy- to be honest this is always changing and evolving. I had to make the choice to cut back on creating handmade items to sell so I could put more energy into teaching live and online classes. While this has been working well for me, I really miss making things. Making and selling handmade is where I started and is really at the foundation of my creative business. So this year I set a goal of trying to find a way to blend making and selling handmade back into my business. 

What I came up with (which I have been trying out for the last few months) is making limited editions of handmade items that I offer each month in the shop. So far it is working great and making smaller quantities of art and handmade goodies (instead of lots) has enabled me to continue to create online classes year round. So those of you who are looking to shop for handmade items- like pottery, art journals, purses and more, expect shop updates with new things each month. I will be announcing when these updates happen via Intstagram, here on the blog and via my newsletter. And know that if you miss out, there will be more goodies in the coming months. 

With all that said- today I have a pretty big shop update today!

Once upon a time (like 10 years ago) I was attending a wedding. I was wearing a little black dress and needed a colorful clutch to finish off my outfit. I couldn't find anything I liked in stores so I grabbed one of my paintings from the wall, ripped it off the stretcher bars and sewed it into a clutch. This moment changed my entire creative perspective and my business forever!! I went on to write a book about remixing canvas, I taught classes on "redefining" your art and I sold thousands of handmade canvas bags. A few years ago I had to scale back on making bags- I just couldn't keep up with the demand . These days I still make them just in smaller quantities and I am happy to announce that I have a big batch in the shop HERE



I have continued to collaborate on pottery with my parents and am LOVING it! You can read more about my history with pottery HERE. My mom and I have another batch of bowls in the shop HEREMy mom makes the bowls and I glaze them with pattern and we fire them in our kiln. I cannot tell you how much I love these pretty bowls! Each one is made with SO much love and creativity. 



I've also got another batch of handmade art journals HERE.

My latest class The Business of Being Creative is in full swing and it's not too late to join in! If you are looking for some inspiration and insight into running a creative business and a peek behind the scenes of my own business- this is the class for you! I've also got a a fun lineup of classes coming in the next few months. For my complete offering of online classes you can head on over to the shop HERE.

I've had a lot of inquiries about whether or not I will be offering live classes and retreats this year in my studio and as much as I love teaching live, I have decided to take a break from teaching live this year. I have not taken a break from teaching since I started back in 2006 and my gut told me it was time for a little breather. Rest assured I will be back and will keep everyone posted about my live teaching schedule here on the blog. In the meantime I will continue to offer all kinds of new and creative online classes


I am super excited to be one of the teachers participating in Jeanne Olivers's class Studying Under the Master III course. Here is all the information about the class:

There is a lost art of studying the works of others to find your own style. All of the "masters" were first apprentices. The apprentice sat beside the "masters", listening to their process, paintbrush in hand, mixing paint, creating strokes that told a story, and stirred their creative spirit.


Have you ever taken an online course, gone to a retreat, purchased an art technique book and were taught an artist's techniques and mediums?  Have you ever been worried about what is your style and what is "their" style?  Have you ever been afraid to create art that was inspired by another artist?  This course is for you!


Join six artists as we become the “apprentice”. Through discussion and technique videos, each artist will share their week with a “master”. You’ll learn who their “master” artist studied under, who influenced their work and what techniques and mediums they used.

An integral part of the artistic process was to “copy” the master artist.  In this course, you will watch as these artists practice using the works of another artist. They will share what techniques they learned and what they learned about their own creative process.  You will then learn as they create art in their own style incorporating the techniques and/or medium of their chosen artist. 

I am crazy excited to be studying and teaching the style of Jean Michel Basqiuat for this class! Basquiat has always been a big inspiration for me as a painter. Basquiat was an American artist who first became known for graffiti during the late 1970's. By the 80's he was exhibiting his Neo-expressionist and Primitivist paintings in galleries and museums around the world. In my early days as an art major, I was painting wild, messy and very influenced by street art. I can remember my painting instructor pulling me aside, insisting that I check out every book I could find on Basquiat. This moment changed my perspective on painting but even more importantly the art world. I am so honored to be sharing all that I can about Basquiat!


Register now for only $49.99 by clicking on the paypal button below. prices go up after April 6th

After you have paid from the above link  go to jeanneoliver.ning.com and register on the site where the course is held. 

To celebrate the launch, Jeanne is having a HUGE art giveaway (worth over $1300!!) you can check it out HERE

Monday, February 23, 2015

a statement wall for Lucy

My long time readers know that we co-sleep and while it has been working well for us, recently Lucy asked for a bed in her room and we JUMPED on it! For the last year we have been using her room as a play room which worked great but since she was the one to initiate getting her own bed, we really wanted to make it happen. We know that the transition from co-sleeping to sleeping in her own bed isn't going to happen quickly and that it fine with us but we want to have a "big girl room" set up and ready for her

I decided to surprise Lucy with a little room makeover. I didn't want to spent a lot of money so I came up with a fun statement wall to make a big impact. You all know how I love a statement wall! Paris, France has become a big part of Lucy's make believe right now- she talks about Paris, pretends she is in Paris and calls herself Faulette a french chef from Paris. So I thought it would be fun to paint a whimsical black and white wall inspired by Paris.

I started by painting the wall black. I then painted a whimsical interpretation of Paris- my goal was to have the design read like pattern.

The entire project took less than 3 hours and the end result is SO MUCH FUN!

I organized the space, moved furniture around and brought in a mattress. We went ahead with a floor bed for now (cause this kid is a crazy wild sleeper). I did a surprise reveal for Lucy and she was so excited!!!!

The space is only 100 square feet but the updates actually make everything look and feel bigger! 


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