Saturday, March 9, 2019

When a WIP Takes Up too Much of Your Time Put it Aside.

My Bear Sachet Design ©Suzanne Urban
The hardest part of being an illustrator who sells on ETSY is finding time to develop new creative products. Some artists seem to do this with dexterous aplomb, not so me, or I just am unaware of all the piles of discarded ideas other artists have in their studios. And some stick to just a singular product. I have a drawer with files of "WIP"projects started and then abandoned when I hit a mental block or technical road block, like the chef ornaments that would sport chef hats made from champagne corks, I couldn't find illustration board to back the printed happy chefs with that would be easy to cut out. Surfing around for a tool that could cut out thick board smoothly made this odyssey more confusing and frustrating. There's the cookie cutters I designed on a 3-D printer from my own illustrations to make Salt Dough cookie ornaments, after over a year of testing recipes and all kinds of flours, I finally realized it wouldn't be a viable product for my ETSY store as one has to bake them for like FIVE hours to get the salt dough to throughly dry out, also cookies fell apart, or the plastic cutter wasn't sharp enough for a nice cut.

Such trials are a blow to my ego as I start out with what I think is a unique and creative idea, bursting with enthusiasm I draw up a design, and then the medium presents too many technical conundrums to the point my brilliant product idea gets abandoned. And I mourn the lost time when I could've created something safer, something more familiar like a print or painting.

Sometimes the issue is more with the illustration. Last week Spoonflower ran a FREE SHIPPING proposal, I've wanted to create some cute character sachets filled with lavendar grown in my own garden. But I hadn't drawn something up that I liked enough to get printed up, until now, but I was unsure how I wanted to execute the drawing–ink? ink and intense pencil? Acrylic and white ink? I didn't come up with a satisfactory solution, so I missed the deadline. Hopefully Spoonflower will come up with the enticing promo again, because by then, I should have the finished designs ready to send off, as I do like the two drawings I came up with, I just need to experiment a little more when I have the time and I need to know when to shelve an idea, rather than plow through and through ad nauseum, until I'm ready to freshly re-visit it.

Please comment below if you can relate to a drawer full of Works In Progress, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Mr. Pumpkinhead Guy, My Recent Release in SuzanneUrbanArt Etsy Shop

Available at: SuzanneUrbanArt
Today I finished another handpainted wood slice brooch, this one featuring a grinning Jack O' Lantern a.k.a Pumpkinhead  guy flying through the skies grasping a large Corn Candy. I love the Pumpkinhead character that first emerged in early American postcards. He embodies whimsical fun and humor and thus figures in many a contemporary folk-art Halloween artist's work. In fact even famed artist Jamie Wyeth painted a startling self-portrait aptly titled: "Pumpkinhead". 

For me this big, bright orange member of the gourd family also symbolizes prosperity, it's seeds easily grow more pumpkins even if tossed in a compose heap, it's pulp offers up enriched delights from pie, to breads to smoothies and it's empty shell with a glowing candle within provides a guiding light for Trick or Treaters, and oh! Don't forget the most popular Fall flavor in a Starbuck's latte.

The fun for me in creating this fat headed creature lies in the pure delight that he can be a she, dressed or undressed, scary or happy, whatever my imagination dreams up, goes, restrictions don't apply. As a self-professed holiday freak, his presence is welcome all year long in my home.

Vintage postcards featuring Pumpkinhead guy is a sought-after treasure for Halloween, ephemera and early Americana collectors, although prices vary, still just one card can demand a decent amount of cash to be forked over.

Have you ever drawn the Pumpkinhead guy? I look forward to your rendition, just post in comments section below!

To learn more about the history of Jack-O-Lanterns click here:

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I Believe Pigs can Fly, My Newest Artful Brooch to Welcome Spring

This handpainted brooch as you can clearly see is hot off the presses, but then artists seldom have clean hands.

I've always wondered who was the first to coin the phrase "when Pigs fly" as flying pigs often pop up in my sketchbook. Well, turns out the phrase has Scottish roots, and since I've got a bit of Scot in me, it seems fitting. Herewith more on the history of a phrase that's infiltrated so many conversations over the years:

This brooch is now in my ETSY shop, colorful and fun, it adds a bit of wit and whimsy to one's Spring jacket lapel:

Friday, March 1, 2019

My Newest Handpainted Brooch on the EHAG Emporium

Handpainted Brooch by SuzanneUrbanArt
I've been a member of the EHAG (Eclectic Halloween Artists Guild) since it's inception on eBay over ten years ago. EHAG is a juried group of artists who love all Halloween. This group of inspired talent do not offer gore-horror art, but rather the beautifully decorated and inspired creations to enhance your outfit, or home décor. Some have gone on to become champions in the illustrative field of decorative painting. I am proud to be counted among this original group of seriously talented creatives. Oft times the group's moniker has been hijacked by other people, but consistency and solid skill always wins out as seen in the monthly postings on Ehag's Emporium blog. Please visit to see some of the work presented today to find out why so many Halloween collectors clamor to buy a piece of authentically made work:

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Handpainted Wood Slice Brooches Now in My ETSY Shop!

For the past two weeks I've returned to my studio to create some wee character brooches with Easter/holiday collectors in mind. Shown here my whimsical bear admiring his own Easter egg. I use artist grade acrylics and all of my painted pieces are sealed with non-yellowing satin gloss varnish. I take care to use kiln-dried wood slices to prevent bark separation or splitting. To see more of my line of whimsical brooches just click here:

Friday, February 1, 2019

New Funny Products from Smirking Goddess™ Studio

Special Announcement! 

I am adding new inventory to SmirkingGoddess on ETSY! Now you can order some of my funny magnet designs in a ceramic 11oz coffee mug. Perfect conversation starter at work, even MORE PERFECT? As a gift for your coworker, friend, Mom or daughter or wife!

I invite you to check out my introductory line here:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Voila! My Finished Handpainted Woodslice Ornaments

I've continued my journey of seeking out art surfaces in my studio to handpaint on. Initially, I was woodburning designs, but on smaller slices with strong grains, the effort was hard, and I wanted to return to paint.

I'm enjoying adding my whimsical repertoire of hand drawn characters to my line of whimsical art products in my etsy shop: SuzanneUrbanArt

This wine enthusiast porcine is ready to add a little wit and whimsy to your decor and come christmas he'll happily perch on your holiday tree.

Also available, is my finished Chef Valentine Ornament, a delightful treat for the kitchen foodie or chef.