how I work

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

1). individual collage or painted elements created by hand on watercolour paper & scanned 2). a few of my tiny, very sketchy thumbnails most often drawn in my journal or day planner when I'm enjoying my early morning coffee in bed - it seems that's where many of my best ideas happen 3). combining elements from several of my thumbnails I do a larger, more detailed drawing to scan in and have as my guide while building my layered Photoshop document 4). my final Lilla Roger's July Assignment Bootcamp illustration - a few of my most favourite things - Flowers, tea & a cat or two

The discipline of creation, 
be it paint, compose, write 
is an effort toward wholeness 
Madeleine L'engle

Learning to just be me, to trust me, to have faith in me - the discipline & practice of creativity is an ever evolving journey, it's not a destination, it's not about creating your ultimate masterpiece (hard as that is for my perfectionist tendency to swallow) it's about the process, experimentation & allowing - all good stuff.

To make my final artwork be the most adaptable to licensing, meaning my art applied to a variety of potential gift, stationary or home decor products I knew it was essential that I learn to build the layers of my collage work digitally (Photoshop CS6). To say it was a steep learning curve is a huge understatement. I knew I had to learn it, to teach myself through online tutorials, e-courses ... I somehow had to make this leap from collaging the traditional way (+ always working smaller to fit my 9x12 scanner) or my work would not be viable in this world of art licensing.

It's taken a year or more of working in Photoshop to get to the place I am now, much of it trial by fire (so often the best way) learning as I'm working on a specific piece & I'm quite comfortable building my art in Photoshop now but as I said in previous post about that crazy big 12x5 ft Starbuck's map mural project, the one where I professed my undying love of Photoshop, I also admitted that if Photoshop was a giant iceberg (which it kinda is) I know & am comfortable with the teensiest, tiniest tip of that iceberg and am SO looking forward to learning more & more about this amazing program.

I'm happy to answer any questions about my creative process  & I'm also curious, if you could answer in the comments - how many creative entrepreneurs read this blog or post ?? I hope to make this how I work a regular feature on this blog, with posts about materials, small tutorials, tips & techniques. This was the final assignment of 5 in Lilla Roger's Assignment Bootcamp - it was lots of fun, lovely to get to know the work of so many other amazingly talented (mostly women) from around the world but I'm happy to move on to 6-8 weeks of  personal creative projects (hooray!) after a year of non stop a-go-go client/customer work, & tres thankful for all it, it will be so much fun to create lots of new things just for me ;-)


  1. As a dabbler in artwork and a big fan of your work, I find it fascinating to see the process.

    This particular piece is one of my favourites (so far), love the cat and the sentiment... altho in my case it would be coffee. This colour palette is really appealing.

  2. Dear Susan it is very interesting to see the process of your art collage and the different elements you combine for the finished painting.
    I love the sentiment and also how you draw cats, they always look so sweet.
    love and hugs
    xoxoxo ♡

  3. Dear Susan
    I love to read your blog every day and there are so many of your struggles that I share, as do many other artists I am sure. I learn a lot from you and from your links that you post within your writings. Thanks for showing us a bit of your process. This cat and tea is a great piece.

  4. Hi all ! it's funny I am very much a coffee girl as well - can't imagine beginning a day without it. That said generally I only drink coffee during my early morning "power hours" between 6am - 7:30 always, always tucked in bed with my journal "morning pages" and my day planner, occasionally I also write notes & cards to be mailed at this time.

    Afternoon is when I have tea, a small brewed pot or this time of year a big tumbler of sweet ice tea & lemon and there's almost always a cat (Oliver) or 2 Bleet sometimes joint me.

    Thanks for commenting my "usual suspects" BH & Dianne & thanks to you D much love to all xo Susan

  5. Hi Susan, I would love to see as many "process" posts as you want to do. I find everything you share very interesting...actually, you are the only blog I follow faithfully! Your courage and creative process amaze me constantly.

  6. Sara hello ! maybe we'll be neighbours soon-ish ;-) thank you for such a lovely, uplifting comment - it made my day, made me smile BIG :-) xoxo les Gang

  7. "Learning to just be me, to trust me, to have faith in me - the discipline & practice of creativity is an ever evolving journey," --- This statement is so true! I feel the same and am learning that when it feels "painful" to just move forward with it. Wonderful, inspiring post! :)

    Thinking of you sending oodles of love. xx

    PS I met Denise who lives here in Fort Collins, too! Will have to send you a photo of us. :D

  8. This one is another must have for me!!! Love it! I used to have the sweetest gray cat named Gray Baby! We shared almost 20 years. I still think about him and miss him.

  9. Nope. Nothing special here.

    Just your #1 FAN !


Hey ! We LOVE comments here at 29 Black Street.
Thanks for stopping by.