#ItsAdvent 2016 Wrap Up

So I fell behind posting my advent illustrations on the blog. I think I'm going to research posting here directly from Instagram for future illustration series to keep things simple. Below are all the remaining illustrations for this advent challenge.

When I started out on this challenge I imagined that I would have 24 illustrations that would all go together into one collection. It didn't quite turn out that way. I have the possibility of a few collections from these pieces - many need refinement and tuning. A few I will just discard or maybe completely redo. I've made a few notes about each illustration below mostly for my own reference.

I discovered that the Christmas season is a really busy season and it's a huge struggle to complete so many illustrations on such a quick timeline even when I started early. But I'm going to take what I learned and grow next year!

I like like the color combination and the pattern combination in this stocking. I think I should explore this as a stand alone pattern for a Christmas collection.

Pretty Stocking by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Pretty Stocking by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

I really enjoyed working on this gingerbread boy. I'm currently revisiting the baking pattern in the background. If you want to see this background as a fully developed pattern check it out on They Draw and Cook!

Gingerbread Boy by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Gingerbread Boy by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This swan is so dainty and so soft and the colors very calming. This illustration is where I began to deviate from the style that tried to carry through this challenge. But it's okay - I discovered something new for me. I think a nice nursery collection could be explored around this piece.

Swan Princess by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Swan Princess by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

I wanted to do so much more with these mittens but the number of pieces I was working with kept crashing my computer! I will go back to it in the near future as well. This illustration is where I realized that to do a challenge like this I had to work more quickly and simplify my ideas. That doesn't mean I can't explore more later.

Folk Mittens by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Folk Mittens by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This snowflake pattern is pretty straight forward. But for future reference  I learned from a friend that snowflakes only have six points.

Snowflakes by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Snowflakes by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

I got a lot of great feedback from this pair of clogs. I like the color combo here.

Klompen by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Klompen by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This little rocking horse was done on my new iPad Pro completely in Adobe Draw. I did it while traveling. I had my logo saved into a Creative Cloud library and was able to create and post the entire piece while I was mobile.

Painted Rocking Horse by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Painted Rocking Horse by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This church was also done remotely. This was the first illustration in which I realized that a square format did not suit all of my illustrations. There are a couple of illustrations like this which I felt were too far removed from the viewer because of the square composition. I'll note to plan accordingly next time around. Instagram does allow rectangular images to be posted now so that's an option if I desire.

Small Country Church by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Small Country Church by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This Santa was also to tall for the frame. I got lovely feedback about the patterns on his outfit, though.

Santa Claus by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Santa Claus by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This is my least favorite illustration of the entire challenge. After my 100 Patterns challenge maybe I'll do a hand lettering challenge.

Holly and Ivy Wreath by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Holly and Ivy Wreath by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

I really like the composition of this illustration as well as the color palette.

Joyful Noise by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Joyful Noise by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This illustration was also drawn on the iPad Pro but in ProCreate this time. I really like these stockings! I had fun being able to achieve subtle shading in this app. Again you can see that my hand lettering weakened the piece.

Ice Skates by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Ice Skates by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

For this illustration I continued my experiments on the iPad pro. This illustration was done in Adobe Sketch. It's very similar to last years Christmas illustrations which I painted in Photoshop using Kyle's brushes.

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

I liked all of the pieces of this composition but had a hard time fitting them together into the square format. It turned out okay in the end. This was also done on the iPad Pro.

Merry & Bright by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Merry & Bright by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This candy cane pattern was done using scanned and image traced artwork. Instead of keeping the brown linework like in the first illustrations I chose to use colored linework. It created a very different feel. I think this is a pretty strong pattern for a Christmas collection I'm just not sure what to pair it with. I think it could work well with the snowman.  I have a lot of playing around to do, though.

Candy Cane Pattern by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Candy Cane Pattern by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

This pattern was by far the most well received. I do like it a lot even though there are lots of small adjustments and finishing touches to be done before it is market ready. One things I really need to do is to simply the number of colors that I used which will be quite a challenge.

Fruity Christmas by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Fruity Christmas by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

The last illustration in this challenge was Christmas village. This little pattern was a lot of fun but it's not very Christmasy as is. I have a lot of finessing and many details to add. I worked really hard to get a repeat that worked. I want to do four versions of this pattern - one for each season.

Small Town Charm by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

Small Town Charm by Amber Lynn Benton for #ItsAdvent2016

One Egg Cake

I have a lot of treasured family recipes that have been passed down to me from my Mom and my Nannie. My recipe box is filled with photocopied versions, typed versions, email versions, and my own notepad versions from those quick dinnertime phone calls. But I have very few original copies of their recipes - ones that they wrote out by hand.

The little blue piece of paper in this illustration is one of those treasures. If you would like to read the story of this Third Generation One Egg Cake recipe and see the illustration large scale just follow the link over to the They Draw and Cook website.

amberlynnbentononeeggcaketp.jpg

 

 

Make Art That Sells Bootcamp

So this year I have been taking classes. I have a lot of things to write and share but I thought I would start by just sharing where I am right now.

I'm currently enrolled in Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells Bootcamp course. Bootcamp is a five month long class. Each month we receive a mini assignment to explore and play with. Then on week two we receive our assignment in the form of a brief.

Our first mini assignment was 1920's hairstyles. I began exploring the 1920s pretty deeply that first week. I watched a couple of TV shows, created a Pinterest board, and after a lot of sketching I even did some watercolor pieces. I discovered that I have spent a long time avoiding drawing faces and this assignment forced me to face that fear. 

The brief that we were given to work from was to design an adult coloring book cover. We were given leeway to make the project fun for us, so I turned my project into a color your own desktop calendar. Here is the layout I came up with:

Mulled Wine or Cider

For drink the gentleman had only wine, often diluted with water and mixed with honey, ginger, and cinnamon to sweeten it. Water alone was regarded with justified suspicion. There were no hot drinks except mulled wine at festivities. ~ The Middle Ages by Bishop

Mulled wine, popularized in the Middle Ages, is an ancient drink dating back to the time of Hippocrates who used it as medicine. The more familiar cider is a similar but non alchoholic hot beverage made using the juice of apples (unless you use hard cider).

You can mull it over, but no matter whether you decide to warm yourself with wine or with juice both are made in a similar fashion.

First, you will need some sort of sweetener such as sugar, honey, or even dried fruit like raisins. Captured between the tartness of the drink and sweetness of your sugar is the depth and character of the spices. Their scent wafts to your nose with the steam from the hot drink and you feel warm before even the first sip. There are many spices that you can choose for mulling and there really is no need to follow a recipe ~ cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, and allspice are all likely candidates. Often a bit of citrus in the form of a cloved orange, sliced oranges or lemons or their zest are added for brightness.

Go ahead and pull out the crockpot and mix up a batch of holiday cheer! If you feel like you absolutely need a recipe here is a version from Joy of Cooking which uses a mulled syrup rather than adding the spices directly into the wine:

Mulled Wine

Make a syrup by boiling for 5 minutes:

2 1/2 c. of sugar1 1/4 cups of water4 dozen whole cloves6 sticks cinnamon3 crushed NutmegsPeel of 3 lemons and 2 oranges

Strain the syrup and add to it:

4 cups hot lemon or lime juice

Heat well but do not boil. Add 4 bottles of red wine or Madeira, port or sherry. Serve very hot with slices of lemon or pineapple.