Nordic Suzani Floral 2017 Agenda

A few months ago, Bookbinders Design approached me seeking to license my Nordic Suzani Floral pattern for their 2017 agenda. I highly recommend them as a contact to fellow illustrators, as my contact Philipp was wonderful to work with all around. He recently mailed me a copy of the agenda as it will be sold later this year (link to follow).

So far they kept the original palette – these images were taken with my matching gift wrap underneath. I think it’s a very usable and aesthetically pleasing agenda, measuring almost 7 by 8 inches, spiral-bound, with an elastic closure and weekly spreads. Here is a glimpse inside this lovely little book. :)

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Lush Winter Garden: fabric images

Another week that I was fortunate to place in the top 10 of Spoonflower’s contest, “winter toile” in a monochromatic palette as the theme. My drawing was inspired by the botanical or floral style of toile du jouy. These are photos of the fabric, taken by Spoonflower. The design is available as fabric, gift wrap and wallpaper here. You can view all of the contest entries here.

These are some of the pen sketches I used for the design:

There were so many stunning entries that were a lot more toile-style than mine. Here is one of my very favourites, by the extremely skilled and talented Vincent Desjardins. I love so many things about this design, including the wind-blowing cloud man, the black lab, the little house tucked behind a hill, the snow man and the beautiful style of every illustration. Click on it to see it in swatch- and yard view, or to purchase it.

Free international shipping on Spoonflower!

In case you haven’t heard and are interested, Spoonflower is having 24 hours of FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING for any size order, starting Monday, October 13, 9:00am Eastern Daylight Time.

This could be a great opportunity for you to:

– upload and order your own design(s)

– order designs you have ‘favourited’ or considered purchasing before

– do some of your early Christmas shopping for fabric, gift wrap, and possibly wallpaper

I know what will keep me busy until Tuesday morning…

Fabrics in the mail!

A few days ago I received a big Spoonflower order of some of my latest designs. After going through the always laborious task of photographing the fabrics and turning those images into presentable files, I figured I might as well share some of them here.

I am always delighted to receive my fabrics, but this time I was especially excited about the fact that I had ordered several yards of organic cotton knit. I love the quality of this fabric so much – it is relatively heavy (compared to the average t-shirt knit) and very soft to the touch. My other favourite fabric at Spoonflower so far is cotton poplin, which renders a crisp print and is perfect for dresses, shirts, pajamas, quilts, and more.

Which is your favourite fabric type at Spoonflower?

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Old Town in Spring & Old Town in Fall
Rhino Habitats & Rhinoceros Diet
Folky Floral Geometrics (warm) & Folky Florals (warm)

Nutcracker Winter Forest – new design

This week’s contest theme at Spoonflower is ballet, and I’m not a lover of ballet. But when I looked into various ballet stories, I instantly fell in love with all the details of “The Nutcracker”. It involves a little girl (Clara) who receives a nutcracker for Christmas, as well as the Mouse King, gingerbread soldiers (but since I dislike violence mine are not soldiers), the Sugar Plum Fairy, mice and bees…and a lof of candy. Part of it takes place in a forest, so this is how I tied it all together. One reason I did not feature ballerinas/ballerinos is that the design is more versatile this way.

 

Old Town Nostalgia – 4 seasonal colourways

Spoonflower’s contest of the week’s theme is “neighborhoods”, for which I drew pretty much my favourite subject matter: built and natural environments, here in the form of old houses and trees. Some of the houses, in turn, belong to my favourite house styles, featuring timber frames. There are different types of half-timbered houses in the world, and an even greater variety within each style.

As back with Spoonflower’s herb garden theme, for the neighbourhood contest I drew things I’ve been fond of (and wanted to live in) since childhood. Dreams that never fulfilled themselves. If you can’t have it (or be near it), at least you can draw something like it. I don’t know why, but I find there is some comfort in that.

Old Town Nostalgia by Christine Witte
Old Town in Spring
Old Town in Summer
Old Town in Fall
Old Town in Winter

Red Riding Cat’s Blackforest Hike

My latest design shows Little Red Riding Cat on her way to her grandma’s house, with a scenery of forest, food, and of course ‘the wolf’. I made it in a specified palette for Spoonflower’s current hiking contest, which takes place here. You can view close-ups of the design here.

Votes get tallied Wednesday, Aug. 20 at noon eastern time, although the voting page always stays up until the next contest starts.

I am a little conflicted about even mentioning current contests here, but I see that this is common practice among many top contestants on Spoonflower and elsewhere. Needless to say, please vote for whatever you like.

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Greetings from the garden: Herbie wins landscaping award!

Herbie, my cute little gender-neutral character, has a green thumb, no, green hands and an even greener garden.

One of my earliest life-wishes has been owning a garden, and in more recent years this fantasy has evolved into a lush oasis crammed with plants: deciduous and evergreen trees and bushes, fruit trees, hedges, brick walls, a shed, a greenhouse, a gazebo, a maze, narrow hidden trails and corners, all crowned by an old beautiful house in the centre. Admittedly not exactly a modest fantasy.

Well, I may not have the privilege of owning (or having access to) such a garden, but I can draw one! Herbie’s garden collection is one attempt at capturing some of the features I love in a garden. And some of you liked Herbie’s landscaping (or lack of!) enough to vote it to the top 10 in last week’s “Herb Garden” contest on Spoonflower. Thank you – Herbie sends mossy regards from the green oasis!

Fabric image of “Herbie’s Green Oasis” (Christine Witte)
Fabric image of “Herbie’s Green Oasis” (Christine Witte)

The elusive No.1: Murphy strikes twice!

In line with my firm belief in Murphy’s Law, it seems that I had to go traveling (barely connected to the internet) for 3 weeks in order for a wonderful thing to happen to me that I was unable to share.

I won the surf contest at Spoonflower (169 participants)!! Then, just after coming home, I won their farming contest today (260 entries)! I thought that winning one contest is very unlikely, but the odds of two in a row..? I must have maxed out my lifetime limit by now!

And a farming design without cows and pigs? I originally wanted to call it ‘farm sanctuary’ but then I thought I better steer clear of anything remotely sounding anti-livestock-farming and call it a garden instead. According to Wikipedia, “Cottage gardens were originally created by farm workers that lived in the cottages of the villages, to provide them with food and herbs, with flowers planted in for decoration.”

A huge thank you to all who voted (unsolicited!) for my designs!

Here some of Spoonflower’s fabric photos of my design ‘Scandinavian Surf Summer‘…

Surfing Design Challenge Winner: Scandinavian Surf Summer by christinewitte

 

Surfing Design Challenge Winner: Scandinavian Surf Summer by christinewitte

 

…and of my ‘Cottage Garden‘ design:

Farming Design Challenge Winner: Cottage Garden by christinewitte

Farming Design Challenge Winner: Cottage Garden by christinewitte

Farming Design Challenge Winner: Cottage Garden by christinewitte

Fabric Project: Reversible Tote Bag (1-yard cut & sew design)

I finally made my reversible “Good Old Times Shopping Bag” that I’ve had on Spoonflower since their shopping bag contest a few weeks ago, and today I wanted to share the finished bag with you!

One side has fruit and veggies with a little pocket:

 

The other side has packaged and comfort foods:

The bag has a boxed style, making it easier to transport wider items:

 

View over 30 of my new fabrics here!

I’ve just received my latest Spoonflower order and have been busy taking photos and uploading fabric images to Spoonflower.

If you’d like to view my fabric images all on one page, you can find them here:

Of course, all designs you see are available at my Spoonflower shop – all as fabrics, and most also as giftwrap, wallpaper and decals!

Here a few previews…

Aunt Lily-of-the-Valley’s Garden on organic cotton knit:

Whales on a Blue Day on organic cotton knit:

Good Old Times Cut & Sew Shopping Bag on Kona cotton:

Recipe of the Month: Mami’s German Apple Streusel Cake

Spoonflower’s latest contest theme is “Mom’s Recipe Tea Towels”, which was chosen with Mother’s Day in mind. But since there is always some time between creating a contest-design and the day the top 10 are announced (well over 1 week), I didn’t realize until today just how close Mother’s Day really is. I wanted to draw (and print) her a card, but mailing it takes at least 1 week!

My tea towel is really unrelated to Mother’s Day; it features my mom’s apple streusel cake which she came up with for one of my visits. Yes, it’s vegan, and it’s so delicious that my partner and I ate 90% of it in one sitting on the day she made it (really rude, you might think, but she was glad we loved it).

The design is completely hand-lettered and pen-drawn.

How do YOU feel about Mother’s Day?

EDITED May 9, 2014: This design placed in Spoonflower’s top 10, and here are some fabric images:

Moms Recipe Tea Towel Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Mami's German Apple Streusel Cake by christinewitte

Moms Recipe Tea Towel Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Mami's German Apple Streusel Cake by christinewitte

In a time warp: MATS continued – Week 2 (part B)

With already 2 weeks of Lilla Rogers’ MATS course (part B) behind me, time flies so fast, it seems surreal. Similar to when I took part A, a day feels more like an hour and a week like a day when I’m completely immersed in making art. But now I feel more at ease with the assignments, a sentiment I have heard from some class mates as well.

This may have something to do with my participating in every Spoonflower contest since early November last year, except one: Chinese Paper Cuttings. That’s 21 contests in 5 months – a whole lot of practice in that!

As Lilla often says, keep making art! I hope she won’t mind me sharing this quote here: “If you want to get better, and make better art more often, the secret is simply to keep making art. And not just any art, but to try new things, to stretch and grow, rather than recycling old ideas.” I try to stay as far away as possible from idolatry (did you notice?) but Lilla is a very inspiring teacher and a pleasure to listen to. She makes people feel good about themselves and their art, which in turn makes them more keen on doing more art – why can’t all teachers be more like that?

This week’s topic was baby apparel with a pirate theme. We were to provide a page full of any art we wanted related to this theme. I chose my Treasure Island at Noon print as the main one and made several coordinates. Then I created some clothing mockups, which turned out to be highly addictive. So much fun! I’m not very fond of pirate characters, which caused me to prioritize other icons – there is one pirate though! Can you find it?

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Time to think about Christmas…

…if you’re an illustrator, that is. This is the time of year for the paper market (and probably others as well) to decide on their holiday designs. Holidays like Easter and Mother’s Day are long over in their books for this year.

As counter-intuitive as it felt given the season, I drew this holiday illustration over the last few days for Lilla Rogers’ Making Art that Sells (part B). We were to design a holiday card incorporating a gingerbread-house made of candy. While at it, I almost forgot about the holiday part, all immersed in wafers, truffles and lollipops!

This is my presentation sheet for the course, showing coordinates as well, but that’s only the beginning. With so many details in the drawing, I can get a lot more patterns out of it. Perhaps this will prove therapeutic for my chocolate addiction?

This….

led to this!

Artist Profile: Amy Gale

Dear readers, let me introduce an artist with a great sense of humor, an affinity for monsters and quirky characters, and a joyfulness that shines through in all of her work!

Her name is Amy Gale, and if you frequent Spoonflower’s contests or the “latest favorites” page, no doubt you are familiar with her art.

I had some questions for Amy, which I’m glad she took the time to answer for us:

Amy, how did you come to be an artist?

“I have always loved to draw and my dear mother was kind enough to pass along her artistic ability to me. I remember as a little girl getting out my box of 64 crayola crayons and just going to town with them!”

What is your favourite artistic medium?

“My favorite artistic medium is my colored pencils. I have a few different sets, and just staring at all of the beautiful colors of the pencils totally inspires many fun ideas! Once I start to draw, the ideas usually take form soon thereafter.”

Do you have a favourite shape?

“My favorite shape is definitely the circle. Many of my designs start with a circle and go crazy from there. What is cuter than big round heads and fat little round bodies? That has always been so appealing to me!”

Are there any subjects you are particularly drawn to?

“I am particularily drawn to creatures, monsters and generally the weird side of life…..quirkiness! If given a theme or topic, my mind instantly goes to the irreverent, humorous, or wacky side of things. I come from a long line of very silly people so this is not surprising!”

What and who inspires you?

“I would say nature inspires me greatly. I have a strong love of animals, plants, all things in the natural world. My mother is a big inspiration as well. She can paint, knit, quilt, sew ~ she has always inspired me to create and use my talents ~ has always encouraged my creativity and for that, I am so very grateful.”

Would you mind sharing some of your plans, hopes and dreams for your career as an artist?

“Well, being able to design my own fabrics to sew with was a dream I had, and having accomplished that, that is one item off the bucket list! I would love to open an etsy shop of my own one day as well as possibly write and illustrate a children’s book., as I am basically a big kid in an adult body!”

Thank you, Amy, for letting me feature your work!

Amy’s designs on fabric, giftwrap, decals and wallpaper: http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/amy_g
Her art prints and on various merchandise: http://society6.com/AmyGale

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Forecasting sweet dreams tonight…#2 for Dream Town!

I’m ecstatic for my Dream Town design to be ranking 2 out of 254 in this week’s “Bedtime” Spoonflower contest!! I can’t believe it! I was already amazed at all the favourites it received; more than what I’ve been used to. But number 2? I’m really grateful for all those votes, favourites, and sweet comments! Thank you!

Coincidentally, I was thinking lately that I could use a new pair of pajama pants. The thought of making them out of this fabric makes me chuckle. But for now, I think this week’s little success is enough material for sweet dreams for me.

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Spoonflower’s photos of this design and the top 10:

Bedtime Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Dream Town by christinewitte

Bedtime Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Dream Town by christinewitte

Bedtime Design Challenge Fat Quarter Bundle

And a link to the design page:

http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/2916547

Rocky Road to Top 10 for my Treasure Island

My print “Treasure Island in Twilight” has made its way to number 7 in Spoonflower’s Geodes and Gemstones contest. One reason I’m very happy is that I really like this design for not only featuring a pattern of rocks or stones. Which is not to say that I don’t necessarily like those that do. I just like variety, and there were many among those 297 entries that depicted what comes to mind first: jewels and geode rocks.

Feel free to take a look at the results here:
http://www.spoonflower.com/contests/235
http://blog.spoonflower.com/2014/02/10-fabrics-that-rock-seriously.html

I have 3 colourways of my treasure island print, along with a growing set of coordinates (not shown here but viewable at my shop):

Fabric images taken by Spoonflower:

Geodes and Gemstones Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Treasure Island in Twilight by christinewitte

Geodes and Gemstones Design Challenge Top Ten Winner: Treasure Island in Twilight by christinewitte