Monday, June 29, 2015

lettering with makewells: the art of the ampersand

Hi guys! It's Megan and I am back today to talk all about the ampersand.
I have a love/hate relationship with the ampersand. 
I love it: it's flexible. A super character. You can draw it in virtually infinite ways and people still seem to understand its meaning. I pretty much consider it the 27th letter of the alphabet. it can stand alone or join other characters together. 
I love the ampersand. Yet I avoid it. Because for some reason, this character has been tricky for me to draw. Until now, because I'm here guest posting on Alisa's blog today with the intention of mastering this tricky little fella'. 
To start off, I broke the ampersand character down into 3 basic categories:

I then approached drawing practice, the same way I did the lettering practices. 1 Letter, 100 ways. I mixed in practicing all three styles above. (since my style of lettering is more calligraphic, I am not as drawn to the contemporary style, so you won't see much of this in my examples). 

Remember to keep in mind that even the slightest variation can totally change the feel of each character.
I mentioned before using tracing paper for practice. If you struggle drawing the ampersand (or any letter/character), print out a few different fonts from the computer, and using tracing paper, let them guide you as you draw the basic shapes. 

I played around with flourishes and embellishments, line weight, and any variation I could think of. Below are some favorites from my practice session:

I had so much fun practicing drawing ampersands, that I decided to take it up a notch and create a larger illustration based on this simple, yet complex, shape. 
After very lightly penciling in a line drawing of a traditional ampersand, I created a floral illustration.

I made sure to use a black pen that didn't bleed (such as a micron, sharpie pen, or copic marker). 
Next, I used my favorite watercolors, Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolors, to fill in my doodles. 

And just for fun, if you enjoy Alisa's coloring pages, I created a fun page of my own for you to download and enjoy! Download HERE

Have fun lettering and creating! 

You can check out all of my lettering posts HERE and don't forget to share your progress using #redefinecreativelettering. 

Xo, Megan
@Makewells (instagram)

Friday, June 26, 2015

baked chicken flautas

Once summer hits I start craving fried treats and one of my favorites is flautas. Typically flautas are fried but I like making a healthier version.

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup of corn
1/2 cup black beans
1 cup of spinach
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
10-12 medium flour tortillas

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees
Warm up a little olive oil in a skillet and quickly heat up the corn, beans and shredded chicken.
At the very end, add cream cheese and shredded cheese.
Mix everything together.
I like to heat up the tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften them up then fill and roll up.
Grease a baking sheet with butter and then line the sheet with the tortillas.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until they are brown.

Serve flautas warm with your favorite hot sauce and guacamole!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

coping with creative burnout

Creativity and making art is a really interesting process- as much as you would like to control and schedule when inspiration and productivity hits, most of the time you are the mercy of the process. After a lifetime of creating, learning, developing my style and growing a business, I've learned A LOT about the cycle of creativity. And today I am talking all about coping with creative burnout!

burnout from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

I used to freak out when I would hit a wall or struggle with burnout and after years of fighting it, I finally learned that the best thing I can do is embrace it!

When I hit a wall, the last thing I typically feel like doing is exercising. But I've found that when I drag myself outside, move my body and breath fresh air, I ALWAYS feel rejuvenated and energized!
EXERCISE from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

I've found that when I am coping with creative burnout, it helps to focus on something totally unrelated to painting, drawing and running my business. Instead I look for things outside of my reality that are creative and interesting. My favorite is anything that has to do with cooking- for some reason watching a cooking documentary or making a meal in the kitchen instantly helps me relax while being creative in a different way.

A lot of the time I take myself and my creativity WAY too seriously so when I hit a wall, the first thing I need to do is lighten up and have a little fun!

have fun from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

There is an ebb and flow to the cycle of creativity and sometimes the most important thing you can do is trust the process. Creativity, ideas and energy can come and go but if you have passion and the space in your life for creativity, you will bounce back from burnout. It may take a little while but I promise it will come back.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

summer bundle giveaway!

My summer series of online classes start in a couple of weeks and today I am giving away 10 of the Summer Bundles! What is a summer bundle? It is all four mini classes! You can read all about the mini classes below.

To enter leave me a comment.

Tell me something fun you have planned for summer.

I'll randomly draw 10 people and announce the winners (as an update to this post) in the next couple of days!

Class goes live July 6th
A mandala is typically a circular form with a center point with all kinds of shapes and symbols emerging from the center. Creating mandalas are one of my favorite ways to get lost in the process of drawing. In this class I will be sharing my own techniques, tricks and tips for creating all kinds of different mandalas from a variety of materials.

register for class HERE

Class goes live July 27
There are so many unique ways to make marks in your artwork and they are one of my favorite ways to add texture, pattern and interest to my surfaces. Make Your Mark is a fun little class all about using a variety of tools and materials to create unique marks. I will be sharing how to look for inspiration, painting with your hands, working expressively, using non traditional materials, layering and more. This class is sure to inspire you to look at mark making in a completely different way! 

register for class HERE

Class goes live August 10th
Like many of you out there, I am obsessed with washi and decorative tapes and I use them in all kinds of different ways. In this class I will be sharing a variety of unexpected ways to put that pretty tape to use in your art journals, mixed media projects, drawings and paintings.

register for class HERE

Class goes live August 24th
There is nothing more important in my work than creating a really dynamic background and over the years I have developed and sharpened my skills when it comes to creating backgrounds. Beautiful Backgrounds is a little class where I am sharing my favorite techniques and materials for creating a really great background. From painting with watercolors, acrylics to using collage materials I will share my secrets for creating a really great background!

register for class HERE

Individual classes each cost $15 or purchase the "Summer Bundle" at $50.00 to receive a $10 savings! And for the rest of the month I am offering an early bird discount of an additional $5 off.

register for bundle HERE

Head on over to my shop HERE to view all of my class offerings!

Monday, June 22, 2015

kids markers- tips and tricks for adults

Here is the deal...I LOVE kid's markers, specifically Crayola Washable Markers (and no I was not paid to say this). Even in my days before before Lucy, I would grab kid's markers instead of spending lots of money on all those fancy markers. Today I thought I would share some of my favorite tips and tricks when using kid's markers for adult mixed media projects!

Any washable or water soluble markers will work with the things that I share but I really do have a special place in my heart for Crayola Markers. They remind me of coloring as a kid, they come in a really great variety of colors and they are a super affordable way to add color to drawings and mixed media projects. The best part of using kid's markers is that I don't feel guilty when I am hard on them or treat them bad! I am notorious for loosing, ruining and and using my supplies in crazy ways so spending $3.50 on a package of markers is perfect for me.

My three year old Lucy loves to color which means we always have markers around but I also like to keep my own stash on hand. I typically will purchase a few packages at a time and I set one set aside for coloring only and then I use another set for experiments, layering and blending.

Markers and colored and colored pencils are so easy to toss into your purse and head out to create on the go!

Kid's markers are great to use for adding color to doodles and drawings. While they may not come in the color options that fancy illustration markers come in, they still have really nice classic colors that will transform any line drawing into something vibrant!

You can also layer and blend with them which makes coloring WAY more interesting!
I like to start with a light color and then I go over the top with another color (typically in the same color family).

Then I grab the lighter color and go over the top of everything- the two colors will begin to blend together.

I repeat this process over and over again until my colors are blended to my satisfaction!

I like using this blending technique when I am coloring my designs. It is a great way to add depth and layers of color.

One of my favorite things about the Crayola Washable Markers is that they are water soluble which means they will wash out of clothing but they also can be used like watercolors!

Add water to the surface and you can dissolve that pigment and blend it or even paint with it!

I LOVE using this process to transform marker drawings into something that look a little more like watercolors by softening edges and blending the color.

Remember a while back when I shared how to make a watercolor pencil travel palette? Well the cool thing about washable markers is that you can do the same thing!

Simply fill a page with marker pigment. When you are ready to paint, you can pull out your sheet of paper, add water and use the pigment for painting.

TIP: I always use a water brush when I am painting on the go. Because you fill the handle with water, it cancels out the need for a jar of water!

You can toss these pages into your pencil pouch and paint on the go without the hassle of bringing lots of supplies!

Another cool thing you can do is actually wet your paper first and then use the markers to draw onto the wet paper- you get a pretty bleed very similar to a watercolor bloom.

I like to use this technique to create real loose, watery background that I draw on over the top of.

And last, one of my favorite ways to use those markers is when they begin to dry out! I remove the ink and drop it into a small jar of water overnight. The ink will seep into the water and you are left with a liquid watercolors! I add this to spray bottles and misters and use them in my mixed media backgrounds.

TIP: You can even add the ink to rubbing alcohol to create your homemade alcohol inks!

There you go! I hope I have convinced a few of you that kid's markers are GREAT supply for adults!


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