The final week of #makeartthatsells with @Lilla Rogers – The Gift Market

Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

I thoroughly enjoyed making this piece for the last week of the #makeartthatsells course.  I’ve never taken my painted images and layered them like this in Photoshop. I thought there must be a way to make layers semi transparent and discovered how through Googling.  It’s very simple to do in the layers palette.  This week I didn’t have the turmoil of will it be picked? will Lilla like it? Hooray.

That I like it and feel I have progressed is enough. I’ve learned patience and to enjoy the moment. I realise this is obvious but you can get so caught up in what others think of you and it’s a real problem for artists  – sometimes.  Listening to Tracy Emin talk on Radio 4 this week I was struck by her self belief – incredibly strong, which is why she is where she is.

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

The final thing ended up looking almost oriental, we were asked to do something ‘lush’ with florals and our collections.  I really enjoyed drawing a beautiful face for a change.. this one was just done from my head but I used my own hand for a model there (with improved nail).

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

Bit tricky! I just leaned on my left elbow and drew and painted it in my brown paper sketch book.

Without talking specifically about the brief too much we were asked to create artwork for a decorative zip lock pouch.  I seem to have accumulated some lovely old china and from time to time I go to crystal healing so I have a few colourful shiny things about and some vintage jewellery. We were also allowed to use any elements of past weeks if that was appropriate.

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

These scribbles show you how I start my ideas off! Ha!

thumb nail sketches... © Gabriella Buckingham

thumb nail sketches… © Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham - tiny rough sketches

© Gabriella Buckingham – tiny rough sketches

Acrylic and pencil  © Gabriella Buckingham

Acrylic and pencil © Gabriella Buckingham

This is a small mock-up I did on blue to show how it might look manufactured

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

Today I remade the artwork as a potential notebook. I printed it and put it together to photograph:

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

I’ve made some lovely new Facebook artist friends throughout the world from taking part in this course and it’s been wonderful. A big thank you to Lilla Rogers and Beth Kempton who have worked so hard to make this course so informative and fun. Thank you to Tammie Bennett for a mention in her blog about the course last week, you can read all about her gorgeous design this week here.

I am looking forward to the October Part B very much and in the meantime am going to keep making art with the aim of discovering what kind of artist I truly am. Moobaacluck may get a dose of spice!

If you’ve seen the five pieces I’ve made you’ll know they are all quite different.. at least when you look at them at first. I am going to do some serious self-examination over the coming months but really the only answer is to make art. Theorising is all very well but it’s a visceral experience, you have to DO it. Your best work gives you joy and a certain excitement at revealing it. If you don’t feel that you know it’s not the best you could do.. maybe it is that day because that’s what you came up with. If however you feel a mild disappointment or  get stuck you need to go away for hours and look afresh, either make changes or begin again. You know you’ve learned something when the next thing makes you giddy with happiness.


Why I am loving the #makeartthatsells course and Week 3 with @LillaRogers

This weeks topic on the Make Art That Sells course by Lilla Rogers was children’s books. I felt calm about this as I’ve done some in the past – some that I like a lot more than others it has to be said.

There were a small amount of must-dos but after reading the text we were encouraged to create in any medium with any mood we felt was appropriate for us. I love to paint so that’s the way I chose to do my work this week, in acrylic on water-colour paper. The subject was a strange thought-provoking fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen.

© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013

© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013

I hand drew the text with a dip pen.  I struggled with how to place it but I was pleased with my handwriting at the bottom. I went to a convent school for 11 years and we had to write in Italic so I know a bit about letter formation – but not a lot. Outlining elements with a fine brush was a new departure for me so I definitely feel that I have pushed my style on from where it used to be – hooray! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

© Gabriella Buckingham

© Gabriella Buckingham

I can’t lay my hands on my initial snail character sketches, I seem to have deleted them from the computer, but here are the scribbles of the final character above.

For the main composition I did some ink thumbnails in my sketch book; when I have a clear enough idea I just want to get on with painting so I do really quite scribbly drawings – the exploration when actually painting is what interests me most. If I’ve drawn it all out accurately first I tend to feel like I’ve already done it.

I did have cream as a background in mind but the colouring of the rest of the piece evolves as I paint. People who know me know I am not a great forward planner – more a gut feeling, wing it person – hard-working though. And in this case obsessive. My family haven’t seen me a lot lately – I’m always around like a mad professor in the shed or passing through with a pot of water and brushes or dashing for the garden to tweak something before photographing it again.  I tweaked a fair bit. This painting is A2 ( just under) and the original has this girl character in it:

© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013

© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013

I painted her quite small and monotone initially – the idea being that she’s a memory that the rose-tree has, then added to her as I enjoyed how she looked so much.

When I posted my first version to the MATS Facebook group some of the other artists kindly pointed out that she was distracting – detracting from the two main characters. They were quite right. I couldn’t quite bear to paint her out so I used the wonders of the clone tool on Photoshop, trial and error to achieve the result above and it does work better.

I love the Facebook community for this course; understandably Lilla can’t comment on people’s work directly as the class is so huge – apart from a selected few once a week after the deadline. It would be thrilling to be selected by Lilla for comment but I haven’t been as yet. Of course you feel a bit disappointed but that in itself teaches you self reliance, it’s a lesson to me not to look for others approval constantly. You have to love your own work – or at least the work that makes it into print.

The feedback we get from other course members is wonderful, I feel as though I’ve made new friends with a lot in common.

Essentially this course is making me think. It makes me appreciate the gifts I have and that it’s up to me to progress, be selective and believe in myself.

Lilla is an inspiring teacher and I really like the way she suggests we approach each task. If I do what she says – pretty much – I get there in the end.

Hope you enjoyed looking this week.

Breaking the blog lock with a giveaway . . .#nationalstationeryweek read down to the bottom ;

original shoot51

It’s been over a month since I have blogged. I feel like I am at an AA meeting… only it’s a BB one.

I’ve had much on my plate as I have been taking a course on Illustrator with Nicoles classes, had a fair amount of work to do, a bit of a social life with friends to stay and actually going to a dinner party!! as well as adding and revamping my Etsy shop GabriellaBuckingham. Alongside family life. Am I making too many excuses?



There’s also a burgeoning idea I have which I am mulling over  and aim to use the last week of the illustrator class to do the graphics for  the simple packaging it will involve. Then I will have to do the hard bit: costings and market research.


During the course of adding finalised designs and some original canvases to my Etsy shop I had to ask myself a lot of questions about positioning, scale of image – all the usual things when you’re designing. It was very helpful to place some designs onto my Facebook page and ask for opinions. As a result of all the printing out and reconsidering I have a lot of cards that aren’t quite there but are still lovely.. some only have round corners where I then decided squared off would be better.

G I V E A W A Y !

As a thank you for all your help I am going to give away some sets of cards, a mixture of final designs and the ones that didn’t make the cut..( of my chomper!) or did but shouldn’t have. All you have to do is : visit my Etsy shop, look at both pages and tell me which are your favourite two cards of the whole selection (there are several different looks) and which is your favourite canvas – if any! Then either go to my Facebook page, (like it if you do but this isn’t essential) and leave your answers under the post I will be doing shortly about this competition or come back here and comment here instead. I will choose 4 winners (2 from the Facebook page, 2 from here) in two weeks time to send a bundle of cards which will include at least one of your favourites. Easy! Really look forward to hearing your thoughts. All comments welcome.