Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reasons Why Fan Art is a Valuable Creative Outlet

First of all I am going to define Fan art as I am referencing it for this post. Fan art is made in tribute to a pop culture subject you love. It can be a mash-up of multiple genres, duplicating visuals from something you love, or original art inspired by a pop culture topic. If you are nervous about creating and sharing fan art, just remember you can create anything you want as long as you don't sell it (there are ways around this, but I am not a lawyer so I am not going down this rabbit hole).

1. What we love inspires great art.
Anytime I get to create artwork I want to, it is leaps and bounds ahead of artwork I had to create. We all want to create great art, and great inspiration can have a huge impact. If you love movies, why not incorporate a favorite movie into your art? If you love music, let lyrics and the style of the band spur your creativity. Let your muse inspire your next great work. You may be surprised on what comes out!

I created both these posters in honor of 30 Seconds to Mars concerts I was attending. I had them signed by the band as my own 1-of-a-kind souvenir.

2. Your point of view is important.
No matter how many people have done Disney Princesses Like You Have Never Seen Them, we still haven't seen them how you interpret them. Your voice is unique and deserves to be heard. Who knows, maybe your fan art will inspire someone else to create?

 I created this Daria/Beauty & the Beast mash-up and Little Mermaid/Star Wars mashup for #inktober2014.

3.There simply aren't enough jobs for EVERYONE to help on the next Disney Blockbuster.
I am not saying you aren't talented enough. I am not saying you don't work hard enough. But the world isn't fair and not everyone will get to live happily ever after working day-in and day-out on dream jobs. I worked 3 and a half years for the Disney Company. I worked in the parks, held 4 professional internships, and was a contractor for 18 months. I moved across the country three times chasing Disney but I am not there now.

So does that mean only those working at Disney get to have all the fun designing Disney stuff? HECK NO!!! We all want to work on the fun stuff. So what is stopping you? Create fan art just for fun, enter contests, and participate in creative prompts on the web that feature a topic you love.

Both of these fan art pieces were created for Threadless design contests.

4. Fan art will help you find your tribe.
Fan art connects you to other geeks who are inspired to create by the same geeky stuff you are! Fan art is a great way to start conversations on social media with other fans, other artists you admire, and in some cases the original artist, creator, or actor who inspired you. The internet has made it possible for anyone to connect about shared interests. You probably won't land a dream job offer for creating a work of fan art. You might not get a shout out from your favorite celebrity. But if you never create fan art the odds of these things happening is 0%.

I was retweeted by Wil Wheaton for my fun fan art piece!

Someday Steven Tyler may see a piece of fan art I created. But until then I will keep making fan art inspired by his music. Because that musical inspiration will keep me creating for a lifetime.

Just two of the many art pieces I have created inspired by Aerosmith.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Crazy Cat Lady Katie is Getting Started

I am your typical crazy cat lady. I am also a graphic artist who loves trying new designs and styles. I love making cards for family and friends, and take great care with giving thoughtful gifts. I love items that are beautifully designed but I would rather decorate with something meaningful.

And that is how Crazy Cat Lady Katie was born.

Sometimes when you get a new idea you just have to run with it! I have started a new shop called Crazy Cat Lady Katie. The Grand Opening will be June 1st. But until then please take a peak! I hope you find an item that you love! I am still working on my branding, and a business plan, but right now I am having a blast coming up with new products! If you have any ideas please let me know!

Little Miss is modeling next to her portrait.

I love how feminine and fun this one is!

I even have the purrrr-fect gift idea for Mother's Day!

Had to throw in a little Pop Art just because.

Because cats.

These are only $5.00 each!

$5.00 and a HUGE statement made!

I am not done designing my branding do to indecision (#GraphicDesignerProblems). So right now I am just running the store without the branding or full identity that is coming soon. In the words on Steven Tyler "Fake it till you make it."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pride and Prejudice Dreamcatcher

I have been seeing all these lovely dreamcatchers on Pinterest lately so I decided to give it a try. I love how it turned out! What do you think?

 It is now available in my Etsy shop. In the words of Steven Tyler, "Dream On!"

Thursday, March 19, 2015

#TBT #ThrowBackThursday #CrazyCatLadyKatie

Sometimes I don't feel like I am growing as an artist. I feel stuck, in the same place, designing the same things, not creating anything amazing. But if I take a look back it is amazing how far I have come and it validates my creating and trying new techniques everyday.

Everything I create might not be a 'home run' but I am getting better everyday because I practice. Lesson: Never Give Up. #TBT #ThrowBackThursday #CrazyCatLadyKatie

Like Steven Tyler, I am getting better with age!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rustic Invites for Gettin' Hitched

This city girl was lucky enough to design wedding invite for a friend of mine. Her wedding theme is rustic/country and she wanted invites to follow that look and feel. I started out with her showing me invites she really loved and ones she didn't love so much. I pinned a million different invites while researching then I came up with four different designs.

We settled on the upper right-hand design with a few edits. Cara really wanted to include the reclaimed barn wood look she saw on Pinterest.

After a few tweaks, these are the beautiful finals! Perfect for a summer wedding in the Dakotas!

In the words of Steven Tyler, "My favorite thing that drives me wild. Is when a city girl walks a country mile."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Investing in the Dreams of Others

This post isn't a typical one for me. Today I want to talk about crowdfunding, why I invest in the dreams of others, and hopefully inspire you to invest in the dreams of others too. Just so we are are on the same page, crowdfunding is raising money for a project through small donations by many, instead of the traditional, large donations from a few.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the two most commonly known crowdfunding platforms out there right now. They allow people to launch dream ideas with help from people just like you and me. By getting relatively small donations from a large population, vast sums of money can be raised to get a project off the ground without any angel backers. I have a passion to empower the creativity of others, and crowdfunding allows me to tangibly put that ideal into motion.

Not only do I get the satisfaction of knowing I helped create something good in this world, but when I help launch the dreams of others I too get inspired. I have received tactile pieces of inspiration and gratitude including postcards, books, and actual products I have helped bring to life. But the most inspiring piece of swag was a conversation with someone I look up to, Sean Astin.

Vox Populi Radio project I backed.

 Calendar featuring reading inspired artwork I received for backing Reading Rainbow.

 My amazing KitRex!

Sean Astin is a renowned actor who starred in The Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings, and even voices Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT 4 LIFE). He is also a dedicated long distance runner and creator of #Run3rd, a political supporter, and hosts a political talk show called Vox Populi. His success in so many areas makes him a poignant example of passion driven progress. My reward for supporting the Vox Populi Kickstarter campaign was a skype call from Sean.

I had a whole spreadsheet of questions to ask to prove my intelligence. But when I heard the ring of the call I threw them out. I decided to not worry about how scholarly I sounded and instead soaked in all the inspiration I could by listening. We talked mainly about Sean's Kickstarter campaign. His team started with a spreadsheet plan and then the campaign blew up like an "atom bomb," said Astin. The team pulled off a successful campaign with hard work and hustle, something you can't find in a spreadsheet. This reaffirmed my pre-call decision to be my authentic self, spreadsheet be damned.

So is backing someone's project all about what you get in return? "Absolutely not. Except when it is 100% of the time," words of wisdom from Sean Astin. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and by being part of someone else's success gives us courage to pursue our dreams. Who knows, maybe someday I will write a blog post about my skype call with Steven Tyler.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rockin' Event Review: Tour of Spark Letterpress

On January 22nd 2015, I took part in the AIGA event Solopreneurs: 
Tour of Spark Letterpress. I have never toured a letterpress shop and learned so much! I knew the basic concept but learning the step by step process made me appreciate their product even more.

I thought this wedding invite concept was extremely clever and well done. It is outside of what you would expect from letter press but fits the printing medium perfectly.

This invite was a layered piece that was very striking in person. This was probably the most 'busy' design there. I am amazed how letterpress work creates such striking clean design. That is something I surely can learn from in my career.

Ok, I kinda geeked out on how wonderfully this set used graphic/font texture on the envelope.

If you find yourself in the Arts District in Minneapolis be sure to check out their showroom and studio. If you are lucky they may even be rockin' & rolling the presses Steven Tyler style!