Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Drawing Chairs

Once again I find myself doing what is quite possibly the wrong thing to be doing. But it's drawing just the same. And surprisingly I do have a plan for my antique looking chairs

Still not sure how I want my chairs to be drawn. That's the hard part (and that's part of what I'm working on) is my new "look" or way of approaching a subject or drawing. How finished do I want a pencil sketch to be or how incomplete? Thick lines or shading or lots and lots of white? I'm guessing as I'm working this all out that it's going to be a few months or so to develop a style I love and that is all my own. Something I should have done years ago in art school but just pushed through my work hoping it would evolve on it's own. I have an idea of what I would like but I'm open to what it will become.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Olympic Logo

We all know what a disgrace the London 2012 logo is. It was such a disappointment from a mecca of great design. So I don't think I need to go into the ends and outs of the bad choice London has made other than I will find it hard to believe anyone will be eager to purchase logo merchandise. I'm sure it will be the lowest sales in Olympic history.

That being said, I did come across a logo that I can't believe wasn't used but has been saved for the Great Britain Team. Wow do I love it in so many ways. Even if they had taken just a concept from this logo, the official logo for the 2012 Olympics would have been a vast improvement.

I also stumbled across other logos that would have been a refreshing change for the logo that was selected.

I was even pleasantly surprised with the Rio logo for 2016. A logo with motion makes so much more sense for a huge sporting event then a jagged stale logo. Even the colors are used much more effectively.
But the Rio logo still reminds me of the Scripps logo here in San Diego.
I love logos and the work and thought process that goes into each one regardless of how bad they might be. They all tell a story in simple lines and color. We either love them or hate them and they either work or don't work.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Get Back To Work

Lately I've had a hard time feeling the energy to draw. Finding the time is hard enough, but when I have the few precious moments I need I find myself doing something uncreative. Trying to get back into the mood of creating can be hard at times. I don't have the problem of ideas, it's the motivation I lack.

Surprisingly I found a tweet that seemed to do the trick. Someone had tweeted : The 12 Crazy But True Secrets to Artistic Financial Success. Must-read......
then when you clicked on the link this is all you got
It cracked me up, but also made me realize I needed that stern no nonsense answer. There is no secret to success as an artist. I just need to get back to work!

So off to make my self feel a bit more artistic no matter what my mood I did some 10 second sketches..... not anything great and not what I really needed to be doing, but it was a start.
I need to get back to work and get some art done, I am bursting with ideas and how I want to tackle a new look that is part fashion illustration, part graphic design, and part children illustration. Not sure how it's going to look or turn out. But in my mind it's going to be great!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Music is something so special to artists. It feeds our creative soul as we pour over ideas, spin creativity in our heads and pour out our hearts through our hands. Music carries us through the day and cradles us at night. It's there when no one else is and is something we enjoy sharing with others as much as we do our own talents.I finally got to live out a teenage dream, recently when O.M.D. made a return visit to San Diego after not doing any concerts in the U.S. for over 20 years. I use to lay in bed at night playing "The Best of O.M.D." as I fell asleep and wake to the tape still playing over and over again on my stereo. At times I would wake crying in my sleep to "Joan of Arc" or "Maid of Orleans". Each song was so special to me in it's own way. I know all the words to "Secret", "Locomotion", and "Dreaming" that I would write out the lyrics in my notebook at school when I was suppose to be taking lecture notes. I was madly in love with Paul and Andy at the same time and would go into my brothers room and lay on his bed staring at the poster he had of them on his wall for hours. I had a lot to thank my brother for, he introduced the band to me with "Tesla Girls" and I was hooked.

Orchestral Manoeuvers In the Dark is my forever favorite. I'm in love with their sound all over again with their new album "History of Modern" There isn't a song that I don't just love, old or new. It's full of great emotion, fun, and love.
And getting to see them perform live only 12 feet from me was heart stopping! Okay I know it's crazy silly of me to have a band crush but I still do after all these years. They played every hit song they've ever done (except Secret) and even some great tracks off their new album. It was the funnest night of my life and I can't thank Donald enough for taking me. I felt young and yet so mature and energized. It was worth the long wait. Andy is still smoking hot and Paul still has that amazing smile that makes you melt and their voices haven't changed, everything was perfect! I left the concert dripping in sweat from rocking out so hard for 2 hours. I am so grateful that Andy and Paul have continued making unbelievable music that still inspires me and invokes such wonderful emotion.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Pros & Cons of Working From Home

Workspace in London before Kids.

Lately I have been dealing with a lot of cons when it comes to working from home and it's starting to bring my down. So I thought a list of pros and cons might be in order to make sure and set myself straight on my choice. Being a mother of 2 small children, a very gregarious 4 year old little girl, and a super cuddly 9 month old boy, it's very difficult to find those very valuable free moments to get any art accomplished. I find myself looking longingly at my unoccupied art desk as I try to meet my family's daily demands. I worked many years in a professional capacity and it was extremely hard to make the switch from Professional at a job to Professional at home with kids. For years I made more than my husband, I paid all the bills or a large portion of them. It's hard sometimes to remember why I made the switch and when will I see the reward in my choice in my art and in my family.

Making the choice to work from home with or with out kids is a very difficult choice. There is a lot to consider, a lot of sacrifices to be made, and a lot to adjust to. This isn't a choice anyone should make lightly.

Here are MY pros and cons

Pro: I don't have to deal with traffic coming or going from work everyday. None of this I'm running late and a scramble to get the kids off to daycare.
Con: There is no down time, unwinding time, or just listen to what ever I want time.

Pro: Don't have to deal with a boss who leaves at noon but still calls you while they are relaxing by their pool at 5:00 PM to have you run some report they will never look at in order to keep you from leaving at a decent time.
Con: Nothing con about not having a boss.

Pro: Don't have to deal with other employees that drive you crazy. You know the ones I'm referring to. All their petty ways and lame excuses are no longer an issue.
Con: There is a huge lack of opportunity to socialize when working from home. Most everyone I know still goes to a job everyday and they send their kids to daycare. Being at home with kids is very lonely because no one does it any more these days. There are very few stay at home adults to make friends with and that means you don't get many choices on who you get to communicate with. And let me just say that as amazing a vocabulary my 4 year old daughter has, it's still not what I would call stimulating conversation. It makes for a very lonely day.

Pro: I don't have to work on a really stupid project that my boss thinks is super great.
Con: Family and friends seem to think I should get giddy about doing a logo, art, or web work for them. And that pay should be minimal at best...after all they feel I should be grateful for the work. I'd really rather be struck by lightning.

Pro: I get to create what I want to create
Con: No guarantee that I will make any money from long hours of work. I can create image after image and none may every sell. My first 4 pieces I put up for sale after choosing to stay at home never sold.

Pro: Don't have to deal with clients that the "boss" brings in and do some really lame campaign that will ultimately kill your portfolio.
Con: Everyone and their dog asks you to do art for them for free or for some ridiculously low amount. They will gladly pay you what amounts to pennies an hour while they still demand $60 or more an hour for their time.

Pro: I get a lot of "wow" when I say I stay at home with my kids and that I also sell my art professionally. I also get a lot of "how do you find the time". Not sure this is really a "Pro" as I'm not sure what people are really thinking.
Con: Staying at home trying to make it as a respectable artist with two kids is very hard to do and there is little or no time in which to do it. It means late nights, sneaking in time here and there, and wishing on a star that I didn't need sleep at all.

Pro: I get a lot of respect from the older generations on my choice to stay home with my kids. They seem to understand the value of raising your own kids and taking on the biggest responsibility there is, the life, and upbringing of another.
Con: There is no respect for the fact that I do in fact have a job outside of raising my kids. At adult social gatherings with peers I am looked down upon for choosing to stay at home with my kids instead of perusing my career.

Pro: I have the opportunity to make way more than most of my traditional go to work art friends who are currently struggling to keep their crap jobs in this really crap economy.
Con: I don't know when my next piece of art will sell, I don't know how much money I will make this week, this month.

Pro: I'm not constantly bombarded with meetings or to do lists from bosses that keep me from getting my work done
Con: There are plenty of distractions and interruptions from neighbors, friends, family that don't seem to get that your trying to get a job done. It's the reality that they just don't seem to understand that YES I DO HAVE A JOB.

Pro: Don't have to deal with a client that loves your work, but then asks you to do something completely not like what you've been doing only to say in the end that they don't like it.
Con: EVERYONE is a critic. I thought dealing with the critiques in art school were bad, at least my peers and teachers knew what they were talking about. Listening to family and friends critique my work is painful even when they are being nice they still don't know what they are talking about.

Pro: I get to raise well adjusted, kind, polite, loving children. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how much everyone adores my two kids. I get a constant stream of complements where ever I go from strangers, family and friends.
Con: I get no credit in the fact that my kids are amazing. Can't recall the last time someone outside of my husband that is, said you are an amazing mom, or your kids take after you, or look like you.

In the end, my day is spent trying to make my kids the best they can be, I do all the house work, all the cooking, but (and that BUT is the size of Hyde Park) I get all the kisses, all the hugs, all the I love you's and all the thank you's. My kids are my constant review of how good a job a do at being a mom.

I am still struggling with the time I so desperately desire to get some art accomplished. It means for a very full schedule everyday. I don't watch TV, I don't read books (unless it's to my kids), I get updates on the world around me through carefully picked sources on Twitter, and socialization is almost non existent because I need to get art done during any free time I have.

So why did I choose to stay home? I wanted to raise my kids, not some stranger, I wanted to produce art I wanted to make that I felt passionate about not what some stream of clients think they want. I wanted to watch my kids grow and not hear about it from day care. I wanted people to choose my art, not force me to create art for them.

Current workspace in San Diego with kids.

1 very supportive husband, 2 kids, 4 blogs, 2 Etsy shops, 1 house, 1 yard, and a super exciting giant project underway. I'm very glad with my choice.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Look What I Found

Amazing how often we look to the past when working on the future. Was going through my inspiration drawer yesterday looking for images that would help inspire my next group of drawings and I found the above magazine clipping. My husband and I have moved around quite a bit, 11 times in 11 years I don't have the luxury of holding on to every magazine, catalog, and other bit of fun inspiration that might pass through my door. So I have found a way of dealing with not getting to keep it all. When I get a magazine or catalog and I fall in love with an image, typography, color scheme, or words, I just simply rip it out and put it in my "inspiration drawer". Then when I am in the need for images I don't just have to rely on Google to come up with something unique, I have my own little compilation of what I love to work with. Obviously I've been doing this for well over 15 years as the above image and article came out just before John Galliano's first collection for Givenchy. I'm still deeply saddened by the fall of someone I've been enjoying and been inspired by for years. I can't image who will replace Galliano, I have hope that someone amazing is sitting in Central Saint Martins right now that will blow us all away all over again. But for now I will move forward with my own ideas and hopefully find my magic and create unique images to inspire others.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Art of Saying Thank You

I am just finishing up my thank you cards from my daughters 4th birthday party and it got me thinking of all the times I've made my own thank you's over the years. I've always thought what a better way to say "Thank You" then by sending a piece of my art all packaged up neatly as a Thank You card. I've been making thank you cards since I was able to write out the words on my own, which as I am guessing was about 6 years of age. But amazingly so many have forgotten over the years that a thank you is so important. It's more that just a shout out on twitter or facebook. Taking the time to write a meaningful card to express our gratitude for what someone has given us, or done for us, or in my case as an artist, buying a piece of my art.

Below is a small tag that I like to attach to a ribbon around each piece of art when I send them out to their new owners. I also include a handwritten not on similar stationery. I am so grateful for every sale.
Having kids has been another one of those big Thank You times in my life. It's always amazing to me the generosity of others when you announce you are pregnant or that your bundle of joy has been born. I've looked at it as a time to be creative in my thank you's back to all those who have taken the time to give so much to me.

Below are two Thank You cards I have given after having my daughter.

If you can or if you can get your kids involved, make your own thank you cards. They will be more treasured than a store bought card. And remember when thanking someone, it's never ever too late to say "Thank You!", always address the person personally, thank them for the gift by naming the gift and expressing the delight in which it is now being used. If you were given the gift in person let them know how special the time was seeing them (time is a gift too!).

Monday, February 28, 2011

The art of Shades

I love the idea of framing your eyes. You see art, ideas, and beauty every day through them, why not frame them up nicely so every thing is always in a frame. And I am never one to pull back and go cheep when good design and fashion are on the line. Last weekend my husband surprised me with a trip to the mall to pick out a new pair of sunglasses for the year. I was super excited, but in the end he was the one that found the best pair for me. I'm very fortunate that my husband not only enjoys great design and fashion, but also shopping!

I got my first pair of Fendi sunglasses and I have received nothing but compliments on them. Not only do they look super chic but they also do the job they were intended for and that is great design at work!
I've also included a few more of my more choice sunglasses over the last couple of years. I really love my Tom Ford's too. they are slim and delicate with a light tint for the gray but bright days when a bit of tint is all you need and I get to look sophisticated too!

A bit more on the chunky side but an amazingly gorgeous! These Gucci glasses will always be a treasure! Also a pair that my husband picked out for me. They come with a matching silky to keep them clean and the floral print has a story!
In 1966, Rodolfo Gucci, Guido Gucci's son, enlisted the help of refined artist Accornero to help him create a silk scarf especially for Hollywood mega-star Grace Patricia Kelly, a silk floral scarf that went on to become the most sought after accessory of the 1960s.
And finally my Chanel glasses. A wonderful white frame to brighten up those gray days. the tint is perfect for the not so sunny but you still need some thing to shade your eyes from squinting. I wore these all over London for 10 months and with all things of great design they still look brand new and gorgeous on!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Book Blog!

I have so many books I want so badly to share that I thought that making a seperate book blog would be the best way to share all my wonderful treasures sitting on my shelves. I have put a link in the upper left corner of this blog for easy access between my two blogs. This is a unique book review blog as it will showcase unusual books on illustration, art, design, fashion, travel, and children's books. These won't be the easy to find books that you would see in Barnes and Nobel or Boarders. I will do my best to give a link to the location in which I purchased the books or you can always check amazon. I am always on the look out for special books so if you know of any please share!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2010 Favorites

Reflection back on 2010 I thought it would be fun to share my favorite art, fashion, and hand made gifts we received or purchased.

Starting off my favorites is a gift of fashion from my husband on mothers day. I was due to have my son in less than a month and was dreading having to lug around a diaper bag again. Even with a Petunia Pickle Bottom bag stored away from when my daughter was a baby wasn't enough to get me excited about looking so unfashionable. My husband saved me from mommy fashion and got me this wonderful Burberry tote! It holds everything I need and more, it wipes clean in seconds and I get loads of complements everywhere I go. And the best part is I still feel fashionable!

One of my favorites that Donald and I gave to our family and each other was Emma and Ewan's first year together. It's a compilation of images that I took through out 2010 of our two loves. It's a hard bound book that I made through My Publisher. We are already looking forward to making more of these books from trips we have taken a past years of images we would love to have all bound up in a book.

Having a new baby always brings out the creative in others. And having Ewan was no exception. My dear friend Holly made a wonderful cross stitch of Ewan and had it framed for his room. Another great friend of mine, Irene, purchased the super cute piggy bank and had it hand painted with airplanes, clouds and Ewan's name.
A million years ago I was a nanny to 4 children when I was starting collage. Mary Jude, the lady I nannied for was brilliant with making quilts and created this super cute cowboy quilt for Ewan which I love to bits!
In keeping with the cowboy theme my great friend Julie from Let Her Be Little clothing company made Ewan his first jean jacket with a cowboy theme!
I can never pass up unusually illustrated books and have been constantly on the lookout for Boy books to start Ewan's book collection. I fell in love with this book and it's just as cute inside with an amazing message for any child you read it to.

Emma Turned 3 at the beginning of 2010 and she got her first big girl bed. So I was off trying to find the cutest comforter cover I could. Not an easy task. But finally at the Land of Nod, thanks to my good friend Wendy's suggestion, I found this adorable comforter cover that has a look of hand made and girl charm.

Emma loves how fancy her big girl bed is and this is essential when making that transition from crib to bed.
Another great find in the land of Books is Birdie's Big Girl Shoes. The illustrations are to die for and also has a super sweet message for all our big girls who love mommy's shoes!

My Dad is amazing when it comes to making things out of wood. Emma had this tiny little picnic table from Target that didn't last a year and only seated two kids. I was sad but asked my dad if he could take a look at it and make something like it only bigger to fit at least 4 to 6 kids and hold up a bit better in the weather. He out did himself! Emma loves her new picnic table and I can't wait to have both my kids and their friends sitting around it on play dates!
Finally I would like to add just a few more books of art and fashion

A life of Style was a book I just couldn't pass up at Anthropologie. It's gorgeously illustrated and is an amazing read! A must for all fashion minded girls!
My last two books were gifts from my friend Holly. She knows of my love for British Fashion. This is a fun book with a great overview of the many different fashion houses in the UK.
And Holly also knows my love of museums and wanting to go back to London. This book will be very handy for my next trip or move to London!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Importance of Protection.

With the web comes the ability to share and show things you have created, pictures you have taken, words you have written, ideas unfolding. And as much as we all love to share just like we did in kindergarten there is always those out there that ruin it for the rest of us. Those who steal, take with out asking, ignore copyright, have no respect for others creations, ideas, pictures or words.

Usually this happens with out us artist ever knowing until we stumble upon this miss use of our work by accident, or a good friend brings it to our attention that someone is using something of ours with out permission. So we protect ourselves with no right clicking to view an image or copy information. We water mark our images and art. We openly discuss intellectual property with friends, family, anyone who will listen to understand that what we create as artist belongs to us the artist. But sadly it still happens.....

.....It happened to me at Christmas this a relative

I was instantly stuck in an incredibly difficult situation. After years of expressing my anger over fellow students stealing my ideas in art school and the importance of respecting artist. The ugliness was now being forced on me in my living room Christmas morning. I had to bite my tongue. I never thought in a million years that my photography would be stolen from my blog and given as a gift right in front of me! I was angry and hurt.

I know that my anger and hurt must have been written all over my face because the item in question was not mentioned again and put away. It's now over a month later and no one has mentioned the item to me, no one has apologized or asked about my feelings. As an artist, my feelings are hugely important. So to have them ignored is just as hurtful as the crime of stealing my photography. I've turned what has happened over and over again in my mind trying to decide what to do from here. How do I protect my art and photography not just from strangers, but from close family and friends.

I want to warn others of this. I don't want anyone else to get caught off guard by such an unfortunate situation and extremely awkward moment. So I would recommend a few must do's for fellow artists in any field.

1.Of course the obvious is necessary, ALWAYS copyright your work! Even if you are just sharing with a close friend or family member, if you don't want others to use your art, words or photography, make it clear up front.

2.Leave no room for interpretation. Such as, "The photography, art, and words on this blog are copyright Suzanne Litzenberg and may not be used or duplicated in any form except by Suzanne Litzenberg". May seem a bit steep but it will go a long way in avoiding confusion, anger or hurt by lack of good judgment of others. It's very easy to wrongfully trust others to respect your art, photography, and writing.

3. If need be water mark each image! This will help further your cause in making others aware when trying to rip your images off the Internet.

4. Continue to educate your friends and family what copyright means and what intellectual property is.

Christmas 2010

2010 was a hard year on me creatively. I had hundreds of burning ideas in my head and heart but the time and energy was lost in my pregnancy and taking care of my new baby and gregarious 3 year old. So most of my art was limited to what I had to do personaly....Like Christmas cards.

Ewan made his first appeance in my art on my 2010 Christmas card. I used the theme of the Nutcracker for the art since Emma is in ballet and Ewan would make the perfect toy soldier.
I feel really strongly about letter writing and card sending. If your going to buy a card and send it out then by all means send some form of communication with it. Seeing how this may be the only letter you send for the year make a bit of effort and don't just sign your name. A nice letter, hand written note and a picture of your family / kids are a nice touch too!I love sending a cute picture of the kids. Most of my friends and relatives live so far away that this is the only way they will get to see my kids despite my blogging efforts to keep family and friends informed most just wait for the annual Christmas card, letter and picture. This years picture was taken by me one cold rainy morning in front of our Christmas tree.

This year was also my first time drawing a Santa since I was about 10 years old. I wanted him to be cute round and happy and be smiling up at Emma and Ewan Christmas morning with a cheery note thanking them for the wonderful treats they had left the night before. I'm thinking I'm going to make cute stationery out of my new Santa for next years Etsy Remarkable Bird store Christmas sales!

Ewan's Birth Announcement

I Finally have a free moment to share a bit on this blog that I have neglected for much longer than I would have wanted.
Just like I made Emma's birth announcements when she was born I did the same for Ewan. I love birds especially blue ones and I love owls too so I combined the two for Ewan's birth announcements. Thought they were still sweet enough for a baby and boy enough for Ewan.

I designed the whole thing and took Ewan's picture for it too and printed it all out and cut it all out by hand only to realize that I was going to print on the back as well as the front. Ugh! Okay, I'm an artist I can fix this with a wrap around!
It's so funny how major mistakes can turn out to be great design successes if you are open to working around the problem. The wrap around became one of my favorite elements of the piece and I still had room to add the darling quote "Every Great Man Was First A Boy"

I also like how when you opened the announcement it peaked out at you right way to hoot "look whooo is here!"
I had to add a sticker closure...all in the name of good design and packaging! I think even simple little letters should be gifts themselves!
I used a very clean basic grid design so that the focus would be on Ewan's sweet face. Here's the stack of 100 announcements ready for stuffing into envelopes.