Fanciful Garden – Coloring For Teens, Preteens And Grownups

I am very proud of this new release “Fanciful Garden: A Weekly Journal And Coloring Book” which will appeal to teens, preteens and grownups alike. Designed with room on each page to write around and among the illustrations, perfect for creative journal writing or diary entries, there are also bonus pages with decorative borders for additional notes. Pure colorists can make use of that extra space to add their own details or create colorful and inventive background effects.

Fanciful Garden Coloring For Adults

Filled with original drawings, Fanciful Garden is based on life in a garden that exists only in my head. There are giant snails amid Dr. Seuss like foliage, intricate butterflies, mushrooms with curious patterns and stems, fantastic trees dripping in jewels or blooms and a bounty of flowers. There is also a selection of unique garden fences and their contents, fanciful birdhouses of amazing architecture, tightly packed circles of blossoms or nuts or leaves and a smattering of mosaic style drawings encompassing all of these subjects.  This book is a testament to my fantastical and unique style. Every illustration is a labor of love, every hidden creature is a delight and I still smile when I look at each piece. Continue reading

The Smell Of August

The month of August has a definite smell to it… late summer mixed with a hint of fall and a dash of sweltering humidity,. It’s the kind of heat that when combined with a massive dew point is basically Mother Nature giving you a free steam bath and facial.

My childhood identified August by the fresh green scent of mowed grass, hints of honeysuckle and something yummy spattering and spitting on the outdoor grill. On extremely hot and sticky days there was a subtle undertone of grandma’s basement no matter where one was. In my late teens these smells were augmented by vinegar and heavenly french fries fresh from the fryer, a waft of funnel cakes dripping powdered sugar and, depending on the way the wind was blowing, a salty shot of ocean breeze or the heavy musky scent of bay waters. Even after all these year, no matter where I may be, these are the smells of August.

Odors and memory are tightly linked and can bring on strong emotions. Most years I sniff the August air, identify real or barely there imagined smells, and memories dance around the fringes of my mind. The strongest ones loom large but remain passive and content to hang about in the background, peeking around the corner but leaving me be. Most years…

August also has a soundtrack, a musical collage from that particular year in my late teens. Sometimes, usually in August, one of these songs will randomly begin playing in my head, as loud and as real as if a radio had suddenly been turned on. It’s been almost forever but that radio came to life again earlier this month. These artists and songs were the background to that one defining moment that changed my life forever. Every turn I made before that, every decision, every step taken, from my birth to that very moment, led me to that single second in time.

Every step taken since then has been defined by that split second. Before And After. Who I was then is not who I am now and yet, she lives on still, dancing in the shadows. So young, so innocent and hopeful, believing anything was possible, she embraced the best of that moment, that summer, which in the rear view mirror of time was simply perfect until it wasn’t anymore.

Everything happens for a reason and who am I to know if God planned everything to make me who I am now. Perhaps unbearable pain and longing that has never quite gone away was the only thing that would mold me into the person now typing this random missive to send out to the electronic ether. If that’s the case, I am grateful because I like me. I’m pretty awesome. I just wish there had been an easier way.

And so, as August comes to an end, I can smell a hint of the cloying sweetness of honeysuckle with a whisper of dank salty wetlands. As a sweat ball rolls off my nose, I can hear that old summer soundtrack far off in the distance, haunting and bittersweet… and like the radio in my head that clicks itself on every now and again, I will just leave this here, a little Prince And The Revolution “I Would Die 4 U” from Purple Rain, randomly.

RIP Carl Grimes And God Forgive Scott Gimple

Last night millions of Walking Dead Fans said a tearful and premature goodbye to Carl Grimes after eight years. RIP Carl. All I can say is God Forgive Gimple.

RIP Carl The Walking Dead God Forgive Scott Gimple

You, Scott Gimple, just changed The Walking Dead forever. Last night it lost it’s central theme of Hope, of Rick fighting to keep Carl safe, of every ounce of humanity that made the series so appealing to geeks like me in the very beginning. Since 10:00 pm October 31, 2010 I have been a passionate fan of this show – I have never missed a live airing of a new episode – but this morning I am sad and I am broken. Waiting for last night was like waiting for a dentist’s appointment; I just wanted to get it over with. Part of me prayed for a Magic Dumpster to save Carl (think Glenn in Season 6) but part of me knew what was coming… and on Sunday, February 25th 2018, it fell with a bang.

If you are one of those people mentally telling me right now to hush hush because Chandler Riggs quit TWD to go to college or do other things and thus Carl had to go, you may have been living in a cave for the last three months. According to interviews with Riggs, Scott Gimple told Carl errr Chandler that he was wanted for three more years and after buying a house in Georgia, Riggs was unceremoniously fired from the long running zombie show on AMC and advised of his character’s death.

Was it because Riggs was about to turn 18 and could negotiate for more money? Some rumors speculate that Chandler’s father was a problem on set. Gimple’s repeated explanations that Carl’s death was necessary to Continue reading

RIP Carl Grimes

RIP Carl Grimes… even before it happens, in late February 2018 it seems, I am mourning the loss of The Walking Dead.

I know, I know, you hear it all the time from certain sections of the fanbase: “Bring back Beth or else!” and “If Darryl dies we riot and by riot we mean we will stop watching the show” and the age old standby, year after year, “start showing more zombies or I swear this is the last season of The Walking dead for me, I mean it.”

I am not one of those people. I have been a die hard love it all what a great story about human survival and zombies in the mix doesn’t hurt one bit sort of fan from the very beginning. From that dark Halloween night back in 2010, I was enthralled and have gone on the roller coaster ride of fighting to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic world along with Rick Grimes and his band of Survivors through every season, every horrifying death, every twist and turn. It is, was, the best damn scripted show on television since The X-Files, in my own humble opinion. And in case you don’t know it by now, I am a total geek. Completely, totally and unabashedly a sci-fi nerd and post-apocalyptic novels is the genre closest to my heart. I’ve never “read” The Walking Dead Comics because I like my books without pictures, but the tv show? It was made for me.

But something has happened, something even I cannot forgive. Continue reading

Fanciful Mandalas, Flowers And Patterns – A Coloring Book For Adults

August saw the publication of my third coloring book for adults, Fanciful Mandalas, Flowers And Patterns – A Stress Relief Coloring Book For Adults, available on Amazon. Fifty hand drawn illustrations fill this square colouring book, ready for colored pencils and pens.

I think this is my best coloring book by far. I had a blast drawing the mandalas in particular, which is a design element I had never worked with before. As I wrote on one of my Instagram posts showing a progress sketch “drawing mandalas is like having a kaleidoscope open in my head!” I enjoyed the orderly layout of each geometric symbol, getting a circle just so or a curve exactly right and then repeating it all around the mandala. As I mentioned, everything is hand drawn so there was no computer assistance on these designs. This means that each section is not 100% exactly the same all the way around the illustration but I think that gives the drawings an authentic and charming feel.

Fanciful Mandalas, Flowers And Patterns is one third mandalas, one third flowers and one third patterns. The floral pages range from jumbo blooms to mosaics and my favorite, twisting vines that look over themselves among a riot of leaves and petals. When it came to the patterns, well, some are truly repeat style patterns like diamonds, arrows and tiles. The rest of the “patterns” are a little more free style with hearts, four leaf clovers and a groovy peace sign drawing that feels very retro.

Since this is my third adult coloring style book and I have ideas for at least a half a dozen more rattling around in my head, I do believe I have discovered a new love. I do put an enormous amount of pressure on myself when creating the artwork for these books, trying to get each line just right, but it’s still  quite enjoyable. I am already pretty bad about forgetting to eat breakfast or even lunch when working, but when I am creating new coloring pages, it’s even worse… I completely forget that I’m hungry.

These books take months to assemble. First I lay out the designs entirely in pencil and then go over the sketch using my trusty Sharpie Pen (fine) and have been known to rethink and rework an entire section while in the Sharpie phase. Essentially I am drawing each coloring book design twice. Then I scan them into the computer, clean them up as needed, then move on to the additional inside pages and then design the cover. Only when all of the files are ready can I upload them for publication.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s a true labor of love. I really enjoy creating a black and white illustration and then seeing one of the coloring hobby’s colorists apply their creative touch to the drawing by adding their colors, shadings and highlights. I can’t describe how cool it is to watch.

I hope you enjoy Fanciful Mandalas, Flowers And Patterns – A Stress Relief Coloring Book For Adults. If you are on Instagram and color one of my illustrations from the book, please post a photo of your masterpiece tagging @theartofvikki and use the hashtag #theartofvikki so I can see how you made my mandalas beautiful.

NEW! Custom greeting cards with real foil printing

Zazzle has just announced the addition of the new metallic foil ink print process on greeting cards and it’s very exciting! Real foil printing opens the door to customers who crave real shine and bling now being able to purchase one of a kind custom and personalized cards printed with real “sleek foil”.

It’s not hard to understand why all my weekend plans were thrown out the window when Zazzle metallic foil was announced late on Friday. I was beyond thrilled to design these new greeting cards and shelved all other projects so I could dive right in. In my Artful Designs By Vikki shop, I started with the holidays. I created new high contrast black and white gray scale graphics to work with the design tool filters and technology. Christmas trees, Menorahs and snowflakes, oh my!

These new foil cards are too much fun. I ran the gambit from Hanukkah to Christmas, Holiday typography to Chrismukkah, and threw in a 50 And Fabulous card for good measure. One of my first designs was “Joy To The World” in silver foil on white with modern polka dots. I was feeling out the design process when I created this card. It’s on the large 5″ x 7″ horizontal size, includes a photo template so the customer can replace it with their own family portrait and two text templates inside; the greeting “Joy to the world The Lord has come!” and an optional signature line to imprint the family names. The outside is a jumbo silver JOY in a light grey shimmer circle surrounded by several more metallic circles in both the same light silver and the darker true silver foil. The bottom of the card has the line “TO THE WORLD” in a simple modern font. While it was actually the second personalized foil card that I made on the 29th, it shows as the last card in the batch. I made a last minute design change right before dinner Saturday night and re-made the card. You know how artists are!

I have so many projects on my list right now but I can’t stop designing these metallic greeting cards! It’s not work, it’s a joy. Every new card that I create inspires a new design just begging to come out. It’s like when I was a kid and was presented with a new box of crayons or a new watercolor box. Zazzle, my dear Zazzle, I may need you to send over someone to dust because I’m having too much fun with the new real foil custom greeting cards.

If these foil cards look half as nice in person as the site previews indicate, these are going to be a big hit. The new cards some in three sizes, folded: 5″ x 7″ [greeting card] 4.25″ x 5.5″ [note card] and 3.5″ x 5″ [mini]. There are two mettalic foil finishes, gold and silver, and the customer has the option to change a silver foil design to gold foil if they wish, and vice versa.

In addition, three paper types are offered in all sizes and the customer can choose their own paper:
Paper Type: Standard Matte
[17.5 pt thickness / 120 lb weight / 324 GSM]
Light white, uncoated matte finish with an eggshell texture

Paper Type: Premium Kraft
[18 pt thickness/ 125 lb weight / 338 GSM]
Kraft, smooth and refined vellum finish

Paper Type: Premium Grey
[16 pt thickness/ 130 lb weight / 352 GSM]
Neutral grey, smooth finish

I love how the silver foil looks on the Premium Kraft paper, and the gold on Premium Grey. The Kraft and Grey have a slightly higher price point but do look rich enough to deserve it. All these new metallic SLEEK FOIL cards are proudly made and printed in the USA, and in my case, proudly designed in the USA. If you find one of my holiday designs pleasing and choose it for your Christmas cards or Hanukkah greetings, I will be almost as happy as I was when I designed it.

Surface Design and Spoonflower Fabrics

I recently added Spoonflower to my roster of Print On Demand shops and I have been having quite a lot of fun playing with surface design and creating specialty fabrics. Spoonflower primarily sells one of a kind fabrics designed by independent artists but they also carry the same surface designs on wallpaper and wrapping paper, which is sure to make crafters happy.

While researching Spoonflower prior to opening my store, I stumbled on an Etsy forum discussion where people were assuring each other that they are not allowed to sell anything in their Etsy shops that were made using Spoonflower fabrics, because of artist’s copyrights. I almost wished I had an Etsy account just so I could jump in and explain that this is not true! I think these lovely Etsy folks were being super respectful of copyrights, which is a breath of fresh air compared to what most artists encounter these days. The fact is, if you purchase fabric from anywhere, including Spoonflower, you have every right to sew a bag or a dress or a scarf, and then sell it. You bought the material, the artist/designer was paid, go have fun with it. What you *cannot* do is steal the artist’s design and sell it on fabric or a pillow or a card, even if you printed or sewed it yourself. I really appreciate the Etsy people being so careful of fellow artists, but if anyone out there reads this and can get back to the Etsy sellers, please tell them I would be super happy if they purchased fabric from my Spoonflower shop, sewed a tote bag or doggie bed using said fabric and then sold the new creation in their Etsy store!

Spoonflower has weekly surface pattern design challenges that are super fun. I have entered a few and these contests have helped push me out of my comfort zone. Artists can get a bit too comfortable staying in a particular genre or medium, and while I am very happy when I find a rut that I like, it’s good to spread those wings and see what happens.

The one and only downfall I see about Spoonflower is that a designer must proof each design before it can be sold, and that costs money. Starving artist and all that. While I have a handful of designs proofed and available for purchase, I hope to add to the current selection in the very near future.

Wedding Fashion And Traditions Coloring Book For Adults

Coloring Books For Adults

Wedding Fashion And Traditions: A Coloring Book For Adults
Stress Relief for Brides, Bridesmaids and Hopeless Romantics

 Wedding Fashion And Traditions: A Coloring Book For Adults
While I was sketching out the rough outline for my first adult coloring book, The Classy Lady’s Coloring Book [pub. winter 2017] the idea for my second book popped into my head: Weddings! The whole time I was drawing illustrations for Classy Lady I was simultaneously thinking forward to bridal designs and themes. Thank goodness my brain can multi-task.

The wedding fashion part of the colouring book includes wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, fancy wedding shoes, a veil, a tiara [you know I love me a tiara] rings and wedding bouquets. Another selection of artwork is typography basked with classic wedding words in fanciful styles: Bride, Groom, Husband, Wife, Save The Date, Love, Mr. and Mrs. and the blessing Something Old Something New Something Borrowed Something Blue.

The remainder of the hand drawn illustrations run the gambit of wedding day. There’s a church steeple and a floral wedding arch, the ring bearer’s pillow and the flower girl’s petal basket. There are hearts, wedding bells, rice and bubbles and two wedding cakes. One of my favorite drawings is Just Married and it’s the back of an old fashioned car dragging a string of old fashioned cans with JUST MARRIED scrawled across the back window and LOVE for the license plate. It’s not a fancy bit of artwork but it’s so innocent and hopeful, just like a bride and groom on their wedding day.

A Unique Gift Idea For Brides And Bridesmaids

Wedding Fashion And Traditions: A Coloring Book For Adults is not only a perfect way to relax for brides who love to color, but it’s also a fun gift idea for brides and bridesmaids alike. Create “wedding survival” gift bags filled with aspirin, bottled water, snacks, a split of wine, colored pencils or markers and a copy of Wedding Fashion And Traditions with a handwritten message inside the cover for each bridesmaid. Hopeless romantics will enjoy this grownup coloring book too, because you don’t have to be planning a wedding to believe in love!

If you are hoping for an adult colouring book filled with realistic women and men modeling wedding clothing or gray scale images with the shading already done, this is not the book for you. My style is fanciful, whimsical and unique. I sketched each illustration on paper with pencil first, getting the design just right, then finished the final pieces by going over the lines using fine tip black Sharpie pens. I would die without my Sharpie pens! Each coloring page was then scanned and cleaned up in a graphics editor, but only a little. The lines are not perfect because this wedding coloring book is all hand drawn and totally original. I want that human touch to be included in each image that you colour. I hope you enjoy filling in these lines that I drew because I had a heck of a lot of fun creating them for you.