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Terrarium final artwork and GTS entry

The wait is over! I woke up way early this morning, partly because there was a small earthquake, but mostly because of the excitement to finally see who made the top 50 for Lilla Roger’s Global Talent Search. As I scrolled down the list I was happy for the many familiar names that were there, thrilled for them that they made the cut. Reaching the bottom I admit I felt a bit disappointed that mine wasn’t there. But looking through the gallery of all 999 entries I saw so many gorgeous pieces that didn’t make it. It must have been a really tough choice! But as Lilla pointed out in her video, the selection is made in view of a particular set of clients for her agency and not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the work.  In any case I’m very glad I entered for the experience of it and all that I’ve learned by doing the assignment. 

Above is the piece I submitted last week. You can see it with everyone else’s work on page 17 of Lilla’s GTS gallery and also on the 2014 GTS Entries board on Pinterest. While I’m happy with my submission, after resting a bit and looking at it with fresh eyes I made a few iterations which I feel brought some improvements. I wrote this blog post the last couple days to walk through my process in part to share with whoever might be interested but also to remember what I did when I look at this down the road!

I started out with the main architectural elements by constructing the vector shapes in Illustrator. I find that working in the computer after an initial hand sketch helps me refine and take the design in a direction I may have not thought of if I was only concepting on paper. 

From the roof I worked my way down to the boat element. Who would ever think to make a balcony shaped like a boat?

For the large window I wanted some decorative elements to have more of an art nouveau style so I borrowed the pattern on wooden doors from the era.

As for the gravel I had first envisioned a printed texture of some kind. I tried applying ink on rocks and pieces of wood then pressing onto paper but each time I barely got any marks. Then while working on the design I thought having something a little more ornate would sit better with everything else. I searched for “rocks pattern” and stumbled on a beautiful handmade tile with a Jelly Bean rocks Nautilus pattern.  It took me about one and a half hour to draw all the little rocks and extend the design to make a rectangular shape then another hour or more to digitize and clean up. Wouldn’t you say it was well worth the effort?

Throughout this course every time we have had to include text in our work I’ve been very nervous of doing hand lettering. I don’t know why because I used to do it whenever there was a poster needed in my college days and as a kid my mom would tell me I had a beautiful handwriting. Maybe it’s all those years on the computer and the gorgeous lettering we now see all over the web that made me lose confidence. But this time I decided to take the bull by the horn and just DO IT. For inspiration I looked at serif font examples on Creative Market and posters from the 70s since terrariums were popular in those days. 

Another thing I’ve been afraid to do in the MATS course is painting. There are a lot of skilled painters in class and I wasn’t sure I could produce results that would be professional enough. Waiting until there was one day left I had no choice but to dip my paintbrushes and try a few plants. No way I could do all these in vectors on time. I wish I tried earlier because in the end I really enjoyed it! There is a method to theses mini exercises we normally have to start our assignment with. if I had just started to paint plants instead of waiting to find my concept I could have had that bit of extra time I needed. But I’m really glad for this experience because now I’m going to start painting more :).

A clear trend I’ve noticed looking at recent interior design is the blending of black and white contrasting elements along with pops of bright colors, most times in tints of coral and blues. I swapped colors around a lot in photoshop after importing my painted plants to get a similar effect.

After sleeping a few hours Monday morning I took a fresh look at my submission work and felt it was a bit too busy for my taste. I wondered if the concept would be clearer and stronger without the figure in it. I remove it and ran both ideas by the group for feedback and asked a few friends. I got mixed responses. All had good arguments for each option so I played around some more the following days.  For one, I think there were too many black elements making the piece heavy, so I removed the sun, the crow and the main window and lightened the roof and layers.

Above is the final piece I chose to put up in my portfolio. I was just going to toss a coin between the one with the figure and without when a friend reminded me how much more engaging photos with people in it are compared to ones with just a landscape. How could I argue with that? Well what a learning this all was. Rather than the end I feel this is just the beginning and I plan for a lot a growth in the coming months. I will be following the rest of the competition with interest and cheering on the contestants. Congratulations to the top 50 and good luck!!

illustration wall-art

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