Summer, Swimsuits & a Comission

Hi there. How are you? 

It's been hot and humid for weeks now in Southern Illinois. All I want to do is swim. Good thing we've got a lovely little public beach on the lake nearby. Hoping to head there tomorrow.  

I've been thinking about swimwear a lot this summer as I spent a good chunk of my studio time illustrating swimsuits for a commission. A few months back, I was asked to create some original artwork for a brand new tiny house rental cabin near of Lake of Egypt.   

 The stylish, light filled interior of one of the Dam Near Lake of Egypt micro cabins. Photo courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The stylish, light filled interior of one of the Dam Near Lake of Egypt micro cabins. Photo courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

 Pops of red, yellow and blue set off the mainly white, bright interior. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

Pops of red, yellow and blue set off the mainly white, bright interior. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

Dam Near Cabins

Dam Near Lake of Egypt Cabins is a brand new business started by Allison and Michael Hasler. They built and elegantly furnished two lovely rental "micro cabins" that are just 1 mile from Lake of Egypt Dam. (Clever name, isn't it?!)

I got to tour this cabin right before they finished it and I've got to tell you, it's gorgeous. It's diminutive 550 square feet is packed with high end finishes and feels light, spacious and airy. I would love to stay here sometime! 

* All cabin photos courtesy of Allison Hassler, Dam Near Cabins.

 The Dam Near micro cabins have a sleek, modern, and full sized kitchen and bathroom. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The Dam Near micro cabins have a sleek, modern, and full sized kitchen and bathroom. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

Bathroom Art

Allison commissioned me to create some original art for this charming bathroom. (I'm not quite sure why, but my art often seems to make it's way into people's bathrooms. Maybe it's the small size of my work?)

She asked me to illustrate vintage swimwear and I was happy to oblige. I was excited to revisit collage and take a break from abstraction, so I quickly got busy looking for source material. I took my cues for color from the pops of aqua, red, and yellow found in the cabin furnishings.

 A mixed-media illustration based on a vintage Tom Brigance swimsuit. 

A mixed-media illustration based on a vintage Tom Brigance swimsuit. 

Ink & Paper

I started with this adorable 1950's skirted suit designed by Tom Brigance. I did a preliminary drawing of the suit on red polka dotted paper, and then added in the details with my trusty black Bic ballpoint pen. 

 A classic 1950's bathing suit illustrated with patterned paper and black Bic ballpoint ink. 

A classic 1950's bathing suit illustrated with patterned paper and black Bic ballpoint ink. 

A Classic Shape

Next I worked on the yellow suit, also a classic 1950's design. As we know, that comes around goes around in fashion, and this style is in vogue again right now. In fact, I own a suit very similar to this myself. (It's a little less ruched and is red instead of yellow though.  Yellow is not my color!)

 A vintage 1950's bathing suit that doesn't look that idea for swimming that I illustrated for a client. 

A vintage 1950's bathing suit that doesn't look that idea for swimming that I illustrated for a client. 

Swimming in Velvet?

Though this one seems older to me, this is also a 1950's Tom Brigance design. It was made cotton and rayon, but almost looks like velvet to me. It doesn't seem that practical for swimming, but that's nothing new.  Have you seen this suit that can't get wet and is dry clean only?????

 The original illustrations framed up and hanging in the bathroom at the Dam Near micro cabin. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The original illustrations framed up and hanging in the bathroom at the Dam Near micro cabin. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The Install

A couple of weeks ago, Allison shared these pictures of my illustrations framed up and hanging in the bathroom. They look great, don't they? I'm so pleased with the way they turned out and so were my clients.

I absolutely adored working on this projects and I couldn't believe how quickly I was able to adjust to working in this illustrative style again. I'd love to do more more swimsuits in the future. (It may have to wait until the fall though. I've got so many other projects to accomplish.) 

 Vintage swimsuit prints are here! Click through to purchase. Buy the set and save $10.00.

Vintage swimsuit prints are here! Click through to purchase. Buy the set and save $10.00.

Prints are available! 

With the blessing of my client, I've made prints of my three swimsuit illustrations. They'd look great in your bathroom, beach house, lake home or pool. Each print is available for sale individually or you can buy a set of all three and save $10.00. 

Want to commission me to make something special for you? 

I really love being told what to do. (Seriously, I do!) Get in touch if you'd like me to create some custom artwork of your very own. 

That's all for now. Ciao! 

 

Sketchbook Tour - Spring 2018

Hi there. How are you? 

As spring is quickly turning to summer in Southern Illinois, I thought it was a good time to look back and share my sketchbook with you. It's fun to see the work that I've created in my trusty Moleskine over the past 4 months.

These drawings account for hours and HOURS of work. I work for days, even weeks on one page. It's hard to estimate the exact number of hours I put into a drawing, as they're done over many days. Let's say I average at least 8 hours per drawing.

* The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. If you click and purchase I will get a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

So, without any further adieu, here's my sketchbook.

 Ballpoint drawings by Jennifer Johansson made with a Yoobi 8-in-one pen. 

Yoobi Experiments

I got to experiment with my new Yoobi pen this spring. I will definitely be taking this 8-in-one pen with me to Europe this summer. On top of being ultra portable, the ink is really nice and smooth. 

 Ballpoint experiments by Jennifer Johansson for a custom wedding invitation. 

Wedding Work

I've been working on invitations for my brother's upcoming wedding. These were both experiments for the actual invitation, which has a desert/succulent theme.  It was fun to work in one of my most favorite of color schemes. 

And before you ask, the burgundy pen is a Pentel RVSP. I've only been able to find these on Amazon. I suspect that they might not be manufactured any longer as they're about $5.50 a pop! But that color is pretty darn great, so I gave in and bought. 

 I experimented with the Perfecto pens that a patron sent to me from the Netherlands. 

Going Neon with Perfecto Pens

I also experimented with my Perfecto ballpoint set that a generous patron sent me from the Netherlands. (Thank you Natasja!)  The colors are so vibrant, especially the orange! These photos just don't do it justice.

*I would link to these Perfecto pens if I could find them anywhere on the internet, but alas, they are nowhere to be found. 

 These patriotic ballpoint drawings are destined to become backgrounds for voter postcards.

Destined to be Postcards

I got a little patriotic with these two. Both were drawn to be backgrounds for voter postcards. You can see how I used the bottom drawing here. 

 My most recent ballpoint sketches.

My Most Recent Work

These are my most recent sketches. The blue one has become the background for my new Kentucky state print. 

 Ballpoint drawings by Jennifer Johansson. 

The Oddballs

I started the black drawing on top when I was particularly frustrated. I don't even remember why I was frustrated, I just know I needed to start drawing without any thought behind it. It's a weirdo, but I like it. 

I set out early in the year to make some large drawings outside of my sketchbook to submit to some museum shows. I made this one above, but I'm not so sure how I feel about it. 


This concludes our Spring 2018 Sketchbook Tour.

I hope you enjoyed it. I'm about to leave for a week on the beach, which usually means lots of time for sketch booking. Stay tuned! 

Before you leave.......Wanna keep in touch? 

Join my email list and you'll have access to a hyper lapse video of my drawing process. 

5 Books for Creative Encouragement

Hi there. How are you? 

The creative life can be hard to navigate. Sometimes you need a little guidance or a little encouragement to keep you going. In the past few years, I've noticed a deluge of books on the subject. Working at the public library, I've had a chance to read many books about the creative life, and I thought I'd share my favorites with you. 

 Books that have provided me encouragement along my journey as a creative. Click through for purchase details. 

Books that have provided me encouragement along my journey as a creative. Click through for purchase details. 

5 Books for Creative Encouragement

These titles have all provided me with practical guidance on my own creative journey. (Note the word PRACTICAL.) None of these books offer pie in the sky, get famous fast solutions. Instead, think of them as creative pep-talks, each with actionable steps you can take to live your best creative life. They're NOT just for visual artists, but for anyone who has a creative pursuit.

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Written by the author of the smash hit "Eat, Pray, Love," this is my absolute favorite book on the list. Though Gilbert discusses her own creative process as a writer, the sage wisdom she doles out is applicable to anyone with a creative pursuit. She encourages creatives to NOT quit their day jobs. When your creative pursuit becomes a job, you've got more pressure to produce and it often takes some of the joy out of it. She also puts to rest the myth of the suffering artist. Making good art doesn't have to be torture!

2. Steal LIke an Artist by Austin Kleon

This is a very quick read filled with practical advice in a graphic style. Kleon purports that "Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination."

 One of my the many humorous illustrations by Martha Rich inside "Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk"  by Danielle Krysa.

One of my the many humorous illustrations by Martha Rich inside "Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk"  by Danielle Krysa.

3. your inner Critic is A Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa

After reading Danielle's blog "The Jealous Curator"  for years and religiously listening to her podcast "Art for Your Ear", I was quick to purchase this book. In her humorous, light-hearted way, Danielle lays out her 10 truths about what it means to be a creative person.  Cheeky illustrations by Martha Rich throughout the book bring even more levity to the discussion. Using anecdotes from successful artists and from her own life, Danielle discusses creative roadblocks, like "Imposter Syndrome," when you feel like a fraud, insecure about your art and creation process. (Boy, can I relate?) She also offers simple, practical exercises to help you get over those roadblocks and get down to the business of making good work. 

 One of the awesome handwritten spreads inside "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon. 

One of the awesome handwritten spreads inside "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon. 

4. show your work by Austin Kleon

In this follow up to Steal Like an Artist, Kleon explains how to "Share Like an Artist."  In his signature style, combining handwritten pages, illustration, and text, he lays out 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered.  This is another quick read with actionable advice to help you get your work out there. 

5. Growing Gills by Jessica Abel

More than any of the other books on the list, Growing Gills provides a step-by-step process to help you find your creative focus.  Complete with a downloadable workbook, this book is like your own private workshop, helping you build focus to finish your creative work. 

I've read and re-read these books. 

They're all that good! I tend to grab them off my shelf when I'm in an artistic slump or feeling like a fraud again. These little creative pep talks sure do help. 

* As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase the books I've listed through these links. It's a small way for you to support the work I do. (Thank you!)

Anything I should add to the list?

Do tell! Leave a comment and let me know. I'm always looking for inspirational reading.

Ciao! Jen