Cooper Young Festival 2016 Poster Design

The annual Cooper-Young Festival is coming up next month, and this year I had the honor and pleasure of creating the festival poster! Each year for the past 25+ years, the festival committee has selected an artist who lives or works in the neighborhood to design the poster. I was happily surprised to be asked to take on the job this year!

Cooper Young Festival 2016 Poster by Jenean Morrison

My studio is located in the heart of the Cooper-Young neighborhood of Memphis, so in the weeks after receiving the assignment, I spent some time walking around the neighborhood taking photos, thinking about objects, textures and landmarks that I could use for the poster. I also spent some time with Tamara Cook in the CYBA office––we looked at all of the posters from the past years and discussed what we liked about them, what seemed to work best, and what message the festival committee wanted to communicate with the poster.

Cooper Street is lined with gingko trees, so I knew I wanted to incorporate the ginkgo leaf into the poster. My first few drafts of the poster focused primarily on the ginkgo leaf, but I also wanted to use more elements from the neighborhood in the final design.

Gingko leaves in Cooper Young

I was also drawn to the geometry of the gazebo that sits on the corner of Cooper Street and Young Avenue. I started thinking it would be a nice contrast to have the organic nature of the ginkgo leaves juxtaposed with the strong lines of the gazebo. I used my photos as a loose guide to create the elements of the gazebo. I first drew the gazebo in Adobe Illustrator. It’s easy for me to create something perfectly geometric in that program.

CYFestival 2016 Poster Work in Progress, Jenean Morrison

Once I'd created the template for the gazebo in Illustrator, I saved the image and took it over to my iPad Pro, where I opened the image in Adobe Draw. There I traced it and added some decorative lines other elements.

CYFestival 2016 Poster Work in Progress, Jenean Morrison
CYFestival 2016 Poster Work in Progress, Jenean Morrison

I then added some color so that when I took it back into Illustrator I could change those as much as I wanted to.

CYFestival 2016 Poster Work in Progress, Jenean Morrison

Once I had the gazebo drawn it was time to play around some more in Illustrator and Draw. I drew some flowers in Draw to represent the beds at the bottom of the gazebo. And since I see birds and squirrels out my window every day here in Cooper-Young, I thought it would be cool to put them in the mix. I also knew I wanted to include a kitty cat or two, in honor of the House of Mews cat rescue agency a couple of blocks from my studio. 

Cooper Young Festival, Adobe Draw, Jenean Morrison

And finally I wanted to add something related to the great music we hear at the festival each year, so I added the guitars. These were also drawn in Adobe Draw. I found an image of a guitar using Adobe Stock and then loosely traced it and added a pattern fill of those gingko leaves.

Here are a few of the rough drafts and early versions I came up with along the way.

Each year at the festival the neighborhood association sells posters and t-shirts featuring the poster design. In addition to the color posters, we also printed some in black and white for people to color!

Cooper Young Festival Coloring Poster 2016 by Jenean Morrison

Last week we had a poster reveal and kickoff party, and I signed posters for the guests. I brought some markers and lots of people colored their posters while they enjoyed some great music and wine. I also created an original piece of art based on the poster design and we auctioned that off as well. For the original piece I had the black and white poster printed on canvas and I used paint and markers to color it.

Cooper Young Festival Poster 2016 by Jenean Morrison
Cooper Young Festival Poster 2016 by Jenean Morrison
Cooper Young Festival Poster 2016 by Jenean Morrison
Cooper Young Festival Kickoff Party
Jenean Morrison Cooper Young Festival Poster Signing
Jenean Morrison Cooper Young Festival Poster Signing 2016

As you can see from the posters, the festival is Saturday, September 17th, and I'll have a booth in my usual spot on Cooper in front of my studio. If you attend the festival, I hope you'll stop by and say hello! I'll be selling coloring books, fabrics and lots of other fun stuff. Hope to see you there!

Giveaway: Smart Creative Style E-Course Scholarship

Thank you all so much for entering!  I LOVED reading your comments, and listening to your stories!  You are all so amazing and I wish you the best with your careers!  I wish I afford to send you all through this e-course, but alas, we can only have one winner!  And the winner is.... HEATHERLEE CHAN!!  Thanks again, everyone! 

Hi everyone!  Big news today!  I've teamed up with Monica Lee from Smart Creative Women to offer one lucky winner a paid spot in Monica's upcoming ecourse, Smart Creative Style.  It is a $440 value, and I am so excited to share this with one of you!  You are going to LOVE this course!

Smart Creative Style ecourse from Monica Lee.

I took this course the first time Monica offered it, and it was eye-opening, to say the least.  I don't know if you guys have noticed this or not, but in the last few years there has been an influx of artists entering the world of surface design and licensing.  Now, more than ever, there is a need to stand out and be noticed.  This isn't just limited to artists-- it goes across the board as we are all trying to figure out where we fit in and where we stand out!  The best way to do that is to develop and cultivate your very own style.  Monica's class takes you on a deep journey to find your own unique voice and carry that voice across multiple platforms--from your identity to your product offerings; from your logo to your website; from your business policies to your marketing plan.  Monica has brought in industry experts such as Rachel Shingleton, Sarah Jane Wright, Amy Flurry and Amy Butler; and they all offer amazing insight and advice.  One of my favorite guests was Khali Whatley, who came on several times offering the best business and marketing advice I've ever heard!  And it is delivered in the sweetest voice and the cutest accent-- just a little bonus while you are listening to all of that business talk!

For me, this course made me see myself in a whole new way.  Just by the sheer number of hours I have put into art and design, I know I've developed a style that is unique to me.  I started working toward this career in 2004, and now that it is 2014 I have put in my 10000 hours.  Ok, maybe 20000 by now.  Still, it can be hard to see your own style from the inside looking out.  I remember having a conversation several years ago at Quilt Market with Marisa from Creative Thursday, Lizzy House and Liz Kalloch.  I remember saying to them, I know who you guys are as artists--I can see it so clearly!  And Marisa replied, we know who you are.  I remember thinking, really?  Because I'm not sure I know-- how can you guys know? 

During the SCS course, one of our assignments led me to create this board on Pinterest:

Pinterest board-- Jenean Morrison
Pinterest Board-- Jenean Morrison

I didn't look at it while I was pinning, but once it was finished and I saw it, I couldn't believe all of the detailed work I was drawn to!  If you are familiar with my work, this might be obvious to you, but seeing and analyzing these images was really exciting for me!  Later, I did an image search on myself and this is what came up:

Jenean Morrison image search

Oh, the detail!  There it was, right in front of my eyes--haha!  I'd just been way too close!  Obviously, I know what I like, and I know what I like to design.  I'm not saying it was a complete shocker to realize how much I love detail, the 1960s, and a very specific palette, but it was really nice to see this all together.  And, when mixed with all of the other exercises and audios/videos from the class, it was extremely beneficial.   Now it is time to take it even further!  I took Smart Creative Style toward the end of last year, and I am steadily working to implement the things I learned.  Pairing the knowledge I gained from both this course and Alt Summit, I have a very clear idea of where I am headed with my business!  And I am going confidently down that road knowing that my path and my plans are not like anyone else's!  I have BIG ideas, folks, and this course played a huge part in helping me identify and focus on those plans and ideas! 

By the way... one of the things I realized recently was that I want to give more and share more with you guys!  This scholarship is a great place to start, right?!  Leave a comment below to be entered in this drawing.  (Click on the link to the left below the date, where it says "comments").  I'd love to hear why you want to take the course and what you hope to discover!  I'll choose a winner on Monday morning, 10am CST, so you have until then to get your comments in!  The course starts Tuesday, so get ready to discover your own smart, creative style!

NOTE:  Comments close at 10am CST Monday, February 10th.  I'll be posting the winner soon after!

Alt Summit 2014-- Exactly Where I Needed to Be!

I'm back from Alt Summit, and as usual, I can't say enough good things about this conference!  This was my third time to attend, and this year I felt more relaxed and at home than ever before.  Over the years I've gotten to know so many of the attendees that Alt now feels like a really fun family reunion!

Alt Summit 2014

I shared a room with Monica Lee, and she is the best roommate a girl could have!  You've listened/watched her on Smart Creative Women, right?  Well, every day of the conference we set aside time to talk about the day's events and the things we learned.  It was great having her there to bounce ideas off of, and to help me figure out my plan of attack for 2014!  She is also quite the party girl!

Monica Lee and Jenean Morrison-- Alt Summit 2014

For those who don't know, Alt Summit is a design conference geared toward bloggers.  That being said, I'm not what you might call a traditional blogger yet there is tons of information that is applicable to me as an artist.  You meet lots of artists, designers, shop owners and photographers, as well as people from all creative fields.  We learn about social media and blogging as a way to grow our businesses and connect with our communities.  I always learn from the classes-- check out the Alt schedule-- but I also learn from conversations and connections.   For me, this year was all about the connections.

Monica Lee and Jenean Morrison-- Alt Summit 2014

There is a generous, giving spirit among the women at Alt.  Everyone is open and willing to answer questions and share information.  There isn't a competitive feeling in the air-- just an overall excitement about learning, growing and meeting new people.  It feels like we are all contributing to a big, amazing collaborative project!  I love this picture below from the Cricut party, where we were all asked to wear green.  I can imagine other events where seven women show up wearing the same dress-- "oh, the horror" they might say!  But not at Alt!  They celebrated their adorable matching dresses from Target!

Alt Summit 2014-- seven happy girls, same gorgeous dress.

I love seeing the same dress styled seven different, unique ways!  So cute!

In addition to meeting tons of awesome, talented, hard-working women, you get to meet fabulous sponsors!  On the Wednesday nights before the conference starts, the sponsors take us out to dinners.  I chose to dine with Cricut at the Melting Pot, and what a great choice it was!  I got to meet the super-cool Cricut team, hang out and chat with Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte, Mindy (pictured above third from left) from Mindy Joy Media, Ana from We Love Citrus, among many others! 

Alt Summit 2014-- Cricut party!

And to top off the great meal and wonderful conversations, Cricut gave us all new Cricut Explore machines!!!!  There aren't enough exclamation points to convey my excitement about this machine and the fact that I'll be getting one in a couple of weeks!  As you probably know from my Quilt Market booths and my Creative Bug classes, I am passionate about no-sew projects using fabrics.  This machine is going to open up a whole new world!  I can cut paper, fabric, iron-on, cardstock, even leather, all using my own designs! 

There is a lot going on at the conference, and it is three full days of parties, meals, classes and networking. This year I made a special effort to take care of myself and tend to my own needs as an introvert.  I know I am a better when I am well-rested and make time for myself.  Sometimes that means heading back to the hotel room for a quick mid-afternoon nap.  Sometimes it means sneaking off to a quiet table, hiding (or trying to hide) behind a plant and devouring some cheesecake! 

Alt Sumit 2014-- Jenean Morrison + delicious cheesecake.

People say you need to make the most of these conferences... take in every minute.  I agree, but over the years I've learned to carve out some alone-time.  I also padded the trip a little by coming in the day before the conference and leaving the day after.  Monica and I spent Saturday afternoon relaxing, and that evening we had a lovely dinner (filled with tons of strategizing) with Sarah Jane!  Not only did I come back this year feeling inspired, I also feel refreshed and ready to go!  2014 is off to a great start! 

Images by Justin Hackworth for Alt.  Image of Monica and I at the #partylikealulu party taken with my iphone and decorated using the Studio app-- more info about that great app soon!!

True Colors Blog Tour

Just a quick reminder that the True Colors Blog Tour starts today over at Sew4Home!  There will be lots of projects, inspiration and giveaways!

Photo courtesy of Sew4Home.

Photo courtesy of Sew4Home.

It's going to be lots of fun!  Also, be sure to pop over to Creative Bug where Joel, Anna, Heather and I share projects featuring these collections!

Creative Bug classes featuring True Colors fabrics.

I'm leaving for Alt Summit in gorgeous Salt Lake City in the morning!  It is such an inspiring and fun event-- I can't wait!  In addition to all of the regular Alt goodness, I'll get to spend time with two of my faves, Monica Lee and Khristian Howell-- these women always inspire and motivate me!  What a great way to start the new year! 

Wednesday night I'll be going to a dinner sponsored by Cricut-- I love them!  And I cannot wait to meet the teams from two of my favorite apps, Studio Design and Flipboard!  I'll give you a full report upon my return-- you know, after a little recovery time! 

2013: The Year in Review

Wow, 2013, what a year! 

Every day I wake up and focus on what needs to be done that day.  It is rare that I stop to think about what has already been done, what I've already accomplished.  As I looked through my photos from 2013, I realized just how much got done while I was focusing on the day to day business.  Here's a look, in photos, of some of great things that happened in 2013!  Click on the images for descriptions!

I'm headed back to Alt Summit next week!  I can't wait!  And I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store.  I have BIG plans for this great new year!  I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start!!

Make Art That Sells + Global Talent Search + Lilla Rogers

The last couple of months have been eye-opening for me.  I spent five weeks in the Lilla Rogers/ Beth Nicholls e-course "Make Art That Sells", and it was truly amazing!  It is one of the best courses I have ever taken, and I highly recommend it.  It is incredibly well planned, absolutely packed with information, and Lilla is one of the kindest, gentlest, most inspiring teachers I've ever had. 

I've been licensing my artwork since 2005, and while taking the course I realized that this is the first time in all these years that I have stepped back, taken a deep breath, and focused solely and deeply on stretching myself as an artist and going beyond my self-imposed limits.  The most important thing I learned by going through the exercises and completing the assignments, was that I have so much more to give than I thought!  You see, I know what I am good at, therefore I tend to stick to those things.  I'm good at designing decorative repeat patterns, so I often wake up and get to work designing patterns.  Do I ever wake up and say, "Today I'm going to illustrate the cover of a fairy tale".  No, I don't.  Or, I should say, I didn't before taking this class.

The assignments pushed me into uncomfortable territory, and man, did I ever need to be pushed!  The class also taught me a new way of working and thinking about art.  Here is a look at some of the work I completed while in class.

Week one was all about bolt fabric.  I figured this would be a fun week for me, and it was!  Our theme was vintage kitchen, and we were to include mushrooms and pyrex dishes in our design.  I would NEVER have included such imagery in a fabric design because, for the most part, I've stayed away from conversational type prints.  Yet, I'm so in love with how this turned out!  And I'm totally digging my gingham corn-- haha!


Jenean Morrison-- Week One, LIlla Rogers' MATS

I would LOVE to see these designs on recipe boxes and cards-- I think it would be so cute!

Week two focused on Home Decor, and our assignment was to design a plate that we could imagine being sold in Anthropologie or Crate and Barrel.  That's a dream every designer has, right??  In fact, I plan to revisit this assignment because it was so much fun!  Plus, it was hard choosing just one idea.

Jenean Morrison-- Week Two, LIlla Rogers' MATS

At this point in the course I was feeling pretty good about my work.  Then we hit the dreaded week three-- children's picture books-- yikes!!  This is so far out of my comfort zone that I didn't even know where to start.  Yet one of the great things about the class is that Lilla eases you in to new territory by assigning "mini assignments" to get you going.  The minis aren't intimidating.  They are just exercises and they are meant to be fun.  When she gives you the big assignment, it doesn't feel scary because you are already halfway done!  I found myself loving this week.  Here is my first version of designing a cover for the fairy tale, "The Snail and The Rose Tree".

Jenean Morrison-- Week Three, LIlla Rogers' MATS

I finished early and started to turn this in as I was quite happy with it.  Still, I wondered if it really stood out.  Was it memorable?  I felt like it was good, and it probably fit the assignment better than what I turned in, yet I wanted to do something unusual.  That's when I had the idea for this 60s rock poster inspired illustration.

Jenean Morrison-- The Snail and the Rose Tree

I chose to post this one for one main reason-- I could imagine what the entire book would look like.  There was a very strong direction, and if I ever get the chance to illustrate a children's book, I would have so much fun doing it in this style!  I got so excited about how this turned out that I'm now working on a series!  And the thing is, never in a million years would I have sat down to do this had I not challenged myself with this class!  And crazily, the image below has more likes on instagram than any other photo I've ever posted!  Even more likes than my sweet cat photos (see sidebar)!

The Princess and the Pea-- Jenean Morrison

I drew both of these completely on paper, then digitally colored them in Illustrator.  I added the faces later because I was nervous about messing up! 

Jenean Morrison drawings

Ha-- I just realized this is turning into an epic blog post!  Here's a quick wrap up of the last couple of weeks!  Week four:  Wall art! 

Jenean Morrison-- Week Four, LIlla Rogers' MATS

Week five:  Gift! 

Jenean Morrison-- Week Five, LIlla Rogers' MATS

It was thrilling to be venturing into new territory!  It made me realize how safe I've been playing it by only doing artwork that I know will be good!  I've been afraid to make mistakes.  And part of this is because I am always in a hurry, always rushing to make more and better art.  It has been a long time (with the exception of some of these paintings) that I spent an entire week working on one piece of art.  Part of it is because there is always so much to do when you are acting as both artist and agent for yourself.  This is precisely why I entered Lilla's Global Talent Search.  I really want to work with an agent so that I can spend more time on the artwork!  And there is one more important reason--There were a couple of times during the Art Review sessions of MATS where Lilla reviewed work by her own artists.  She mentioned how she and the other agents at LRS could not wait to send that artwork out.  And I was thinking what a great feeling it would be to know that when you make great art, it will be getting shown to art directors!  Immediately and with enthusiasm!  That, in and of itself, is a great motivator to make great art!  As soon as you do, someone in your corner is going to shop it and sell it! 

So here is my entry for the competition.  One of Lilla's mottos in school was "Give a lot".  You can see that written in the painting above, and it is another one of my big takeaways from the class.  With this journal cover, I have given a lot!  Any art director could take this, pull it apart, and use the different patterns and icons in many different ways!   

Jenean Morrison Global Talent Search entry.

I have longed to work with Lilla, and even submitted to her for representation in the past, but I was never sure if I would be a good fit for her.  I've looked at Lilla's stable of artists and considered them, primarily, illustrators.  I've categorized myself as more of a surface pattern designer and, with the exception of Rachael Taylor, I didn't see a lot of her other artists that I felt I could relate to.  But this class made me realize that I, too, am an illustrator!  Granted, I'm just starting this and I have a lot to learn, but I can illustrate.   I can do so much more than what I've been doing!  In fact, this past week I got an inquiry for an illustration job from a design firm in Phoenix.  I was terrified to take it, and part of me wanted to turn it down out of fear.  But with my newfound skills, attitude, and the encouragement of my husband, I accepted the assignment and (according to the art director) I "nailed it"!!  Who knew?!  I can't wait to share it with you!  The thing is, I didn't even really learn new "skills" per se... I just learned to start thinking in a new way about myself and my art.  Why have I been putting myself in a tiny box all these years?  I've been closing doors on myself, if that makes sense.  I face so much rejection in this business-- why have I been rejecting myself?  Golly, does it sound like I went to therapy or took an art class?!  Thanks for letting me share all these thoughts!  By the way, a special thanks goes out to the ever-awesome Monica Lee who, in the middle of her vacation, took the time to walk me through how to talk to the art director about the illustration job!! 

Earlier this summer my husband and I named our wireless network "Challenge Accepted", a reference from one of our favorite shows, "How I Met Your Mother".  Joel suggested this be the "Summer of Challenge Accepted", and I said (what else), "Challenge accepted!"  It feels really good to look at all of this art and see what I've accomplished in the last couple of months.  Plus, now that I've gotten that first illustration assignment behind me, I can't wait to do more!

By the way, I'll be in Part B of Lilla's course starting this fall, and you should think about joining me.  You will meet the nicest, most talented artists from all over the world, and you will instantly have about 400 supportive new friends!  Gosh, this might be the longest blog post I've written in years!  Thanks for hanging in there with me!  I really appreciate you guys!!  Now I'm off to make more art!