Category Archives: Manufacturers

Our licensing partners

Watercolor lesson: Painting a Colorful Bantam Rooster

Sorry for the long silence. I haven’t posted in over a month. This wasn’t my intention. I got all involved in painting roosters for a new project.

But I am crowing again!

Consider this post a watercolor lesson as I show you step by step how I painted this very colorful rooster. I used my chinese brushes , my favorite 1/4 inch scrubber (my name), a few smaller brushes (see photo) and a new favorite brush that is squared off but also rounded (the black and tan handle)

It has a wonderful rich feeling, thicker than most flats with a rounded edge.

my favorite brushes at the moment

Some of my favorite brushes

Once I found my reference (after looking at many photos) I  did my drawing and was ready to begin the really fun part, the painting.; But first I found a diagram of the feather groupings which are very complicated in roosters. This was extremely helpful.Once I studied them I could go to town and just have fun.

Feather Diagram

Feather Diagram

I found a wonderfully colorful Bantam photo.I named him Chuck just to keep it personal.

A prize Bantam photo

Firs I laid down loose washes for some of the major feathers. I would love to see a rooster preening and curious as to how long it takes to do a good washing. LOL no pun intended!

 Washes

Washes

I added the head and some feather details and the lucious dark brown body feathers.

Details and delicious darks

Details and delicious darks

Took this stage a little further with more feather details and added some pastel. It was so much more fun to use the pastels with the watercolors. I can’t wait to add more mixed media to my painting.

Finessing

Finessing

Then for the finishing touches.

Voila

Voila

Rooster Palette

Rooster Palette

My palettes always have this look I call it messy. But that’s the way they always end up. Everyone has a different looking palette. It’s kind of like a thumb print!

I always have great company while I am painting. Louisa May is truly a painter’s Cat.

Painter's cat

Painter’s cat

The 4 rooster paintings (finalists) and the designs that Dennis and I came up with are now complete. My next post which is coming on the heels of this one (or the spurs!) will be out very soon.

And I have earned another feather in my cap!

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Filed under Amia, Bantam rooster, Birds, Evergreen, Manufacturers, Nature, roosters, Uncategorized, Watercolor, wildlife and birds

The Atlanta Show January 2014

I had hoped to get this posted sooner ……..but……..after the show we went to visit our good friends Pat and Arthur Ginsberg in Palm Beach.Where it was…..you guessed it warm! It was a good chance to relax and chill out. While there we visited The beautiful and serene Morikami Gardens

 Zen Garden Palm Beach

Zen Garden Palm Beach

Relaxing in Palm Beach

Relaxing in Palm Beach

It was a welcome mini vacation and time with dear friends, light and sun.. Then back to the Arctic freeze in NYC.

TIP: Make sure to give yourself rewards for a job well done.

Having fun and relaxing is an important part of it all!

Since we’ve been back a week we’ve just devoted ourselves to the show follow thru. This is a very important part of the process. Don’t neglect any detail. Send what you have been asked and on time, early if possible.

TIP: Plan ahead on your calendar for follow thru time.

This may very well be the most important part of the process.

We had set up 6 meetings before we left  NYC and in three days at the show we ended up having 15 very good meetings with manufacturers we had wanted to see. And…….lots to follow up on. Designs to send out from our portfolio, revisions and additions to existing designs and reformatting for specific products.This time we also came back with some resin figurines to design. No contract yet but not a reason not to follow thru!

TIP: Stop in at the showrooms you’d like to have a meeting with.

If the art director is there request a meeting.

If he or she is not free then set up a time to come back and meet.. Sometimes there is someone who can see you on the spot.

More than 50% of our meetings happened this way.

Autumn melody mocked up as tableware

Autumn melody mocked up as tableware

One of our mockups is for the Autumn Melody design.Showing dessert or salad plates and mug designs.Again no contract yet but very important to follow up on specific requests for reformatting designs.

 By the end of this week we may be finished with most of the the follow up. Give as much time and thought to this stage as you did to planning for the show.

TIP: Follow through also includes making updates in your contact files.

Entering information about Manufacturer’s schedules for the year to come.When will they be looking for what and what the cut off dates are. Get your submissions in as early as possible.

We also saw some of the products and collections that came out of our show meetings in January and from subsequent mailings. This is such fun.

Dennis sends out our new designs regularly to our manufacturer and client base. One of the new contracts that resulted from this kind of mailing are the new Peacock coasters and trivets for Thirstystone.

TIP: Have a system for getting your new designs to clients.

Show them off on Social media, blogs and mailings!

In my previous post I showed how the peacock design came about. I got great feedback on this post. I love to read about how a design was done.

This was a team effort. And the other half of my team is so important to our designs.

Dennis Kendrick was a great gift and came into my life 33 years ago. He is a terrific designer/illustrator and very knowledgable on the technology side of things. My best friend (in addition to my sister Pat), smart, intellectual, funny and so solid and down to earth. Without him to anchor me I would be in outer space much of the time!

Our team

Our team

I was so excited to see the products at the showroom and to meet with Thirstystone again. This was another wonderful company that we met with at the July show. Totally unusual for me. I take so many pictures.

At the Dallas Gift show just after Atlanta The Dallas Arboretum picked up the design as a name drop for trivets. Name drop I found out means that The

logo of the Dallas Arboretum will replace our french label. We haven’t seen it yet but it seems like another good placement. We are keeping our feathers crossed that our peacock gets good placements and lots of them.

Our Peacock

Our Peacock

We also found out at the show that Custom Decor, a flag company will be doing three of our Christmas designs as flags, mats and mailbox covers. We’ve been designing borders for these products.I won’t show them until they debut at the July Atlanta Show. Custom Decor was a company we met with in Atlanta in January and we are very pleased to have them as a new licensing partner.

Seeing our new stained glass “Trellis” collection at the Amia Showroom was so exciting. There are around 15 or so different and beautiful products in this collection. I found it difficult to take photos because there was so much reflection from the lights on the stained glass and the mirrors on the shelves. And I wanted to take one of the Artist in front of her noew collection shots.  But the shelf was too low!

Here are the best shots from the showroom. We’ve been so busy since we got back that there hasn’t been enough time yet to unpack all our lovely samples which arrived just before the show.

Some of the Amia collection

Some of the Amia collection

One of our favorites

One of our favorites

And in between meetings we had lunch, coffee or met colleagues in the showrooms or hallways and always stopped to chat. We had dinner with our good friends Ingrid and Duane Slyder of Ingrid at Nutshell Designhs. That was a highlight of our visit to Atlanta.

TIP: Networking is very important.

And fun too!

It is social and enjoyable. Then too it is a way to compare notes or ask questions, get information and share the joys and tribulations of being a licensing designer.

We saw five of our designs in the Jelly Bean showroom. Two of them are coastal themes. JellyBean does very nice quality area rugs. The cats are going to love our new Jellybean area rugs and so will we. The one with the feet requires a special order!

Jellybean Lighthouse Rug

Jellybean Lighthouse Rug

This one has legs!

This one has legs!

Shell design Jellybean

Shell design Jellybean

 I have been reading Joan Beiriger’s three part posting on the Atlanta show.

“Licensed artist Joan Beiriger is widely regarded as an expert in art licensing. Her popular blog features informative articles designed to educate those interested in the art licensing industry and attracts hundreds of readers each week.” Joan’s maintains a web site, Joan Beiriger’s Art for Products,http://www.joanbeiriger.com/JoanBio.html. Her blog,  is always full of wonderful information and is a great source material for all of us in the industry,joanbeiriger.blogspot.com/ ‎Thank you Joan.

“One of the points she brings up that I have found so helpful is asking lots of questions. Talk to the sales reps. They can tell you what is selling well and why. Ask questions in your meetings to get to know more about the company and its needs so you can target designs in their direction. Exchange some personal information. Remember you are forming a relationship not just looking for new licensees. I am a  people kind of person and love finding out about clients families, pets, what their life is like etc. A friendly and well meaning Yenta maybe!

TIP: Make notes of these conversations too and when you get back to your studio enter this info in your contact data base.

This information will help you to develop a more personal relationship with theCreative Director and give you more of an understanding of what his or her lifestyle is like.Find out about them on social media. What is their professional background?

It is much more fun to be sociable. I do this not only with our licensing partners but with our friends and family. Don’t expect to keep it all in your head.I like to keep up.

Another very good point that Joan makes is; ” Also notice what products the buyers indicate to showroom reps they want to purchase. Every bit of knowledge leads to insight on the art that buyers think their customers will buy. And, that will help you decide on the art themes to create that will have a better chance in getting licensed.”

Talk to and listen to gift shop owners. I have found that I can get valuable info on trends and best selling products from these talks. At the show and when you are in gift shops. Talk talk talk.

TIP:Remember that February is “cabin fever” month

Plan fun things to do, not just work! It’s a good time to send a bright and cheery message to your clients. We all have missed the sun!

And a happy New Year to all. I missed my New Year’s post so here’s my wish for you now. Enjoy life as much as you can. Laugh every day. And spend time doing what you love to do!

My painters cap is on again and I ready to rock and roll again.

My Painters cap is on again

My Painters cap is on again

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Filed under Artist Studio Space, Atlanta, Atlanta January 2014 show, Custom Decor, Dallas Arboretum, Gardens, January 2014 Atlanta show, Morikami Gardens, Thirstystone, Uncategorized

Last Post of 2013 republished

I accidentally pushed the button to publish this post before it was finished. Add to that that I am not sure if it went out to all my followers.

So please forgive. I am sending it again with the missing ending.

We’ve just been through our Christmas holidays and I hope that everyone had a warm and wonderful time. Dennis went to Connecticut where we always go to visit and be with his family. This year though I had to stay behind to take care of our senior cat maggie.

I was thinking about what my end of the year post should be.  The last designs dennis and I did this year is a series called Autumn Melody. Three different mums and a sunflower make up the melody.Think of Nat King Cole singing Autumn Leaves. I listened to that song as I painted.

I wanted richness of color and form this time.

AutumnMelody Red mums

AutumnMelody Red mums

AutumnMelody.sunflower.

AutumnMelody.sunflower.

AutumnMelody.brownMum

AutumnMelody.brownMum

AutumnMelody.yellowMum

AutumnMelody.yellowMum

I like what I achieved and now want to do more in this richer more solid color. My next project will be four rooster designs. Roosters are colorful and very patterned and feathers are fun to do. We have two weeks before the Atlanta’s Mart show and I am considering getting one painted before then. Maybe even two and a background. Roosters are always popular.

I’ve been busy getting our appointment schedule set up and I am definitely ready for something creative.

Amia, the company that does beautiful stained glass objects and who did my hummingbird and morning glory design, is now rolling it out into a full product line of around 12-15 lovely products. Can’t wait. Our peacock design is close to becoming coasters. New Christmas flag and bag designs on the way. A new coastal flag and coastal Area rugs which we should see at the show. Ooh la la Paree will be appearing on mugs, bags and  flags.

stained glass morning glories

stained glass morning glories

Ooh La La Paree

Ooh La La Paree

           .

One of my New Years wishes is to see more of our designs on diverse products. I’ll have to speak to the wish fairy about that.  Feel free to contact her with your own New Year’s wishes!

The wish Fairy

The wish Fairy

Happy New Year

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Filed under Amia, Autumn, Manufacturers

Fourth of July Fabrics

Dennis has designed some wonderful Fourth of July and Patriotic fabrics for Robert Kaufman in New York City.What made me think of this now are these absolutely fun photos that my friend Irene sent of her grandchildren Ben and Rachel.

Irene and the kids designed their Fourth costumes this year using one of Dennis’ fabrics.

Ben and Rachel

Ben and Rachel

Ben all decked out

Ben all decked out

Here is the original fabric.

American Flags

American Flags

And some of the other Patriotic designs for Robert Kaufman.

Patriotic fabrics for Robert Kaufman

Patriotic fabrics for Robert Kaufman

And speaking of products we just received our samples of this classic coaster design we did for Counter Art.

Leafy Autumn Coasters

Leafy Autumn Coasters

This is the same design that we did for Design Design paper tableware. See how colors can change.

Leafy Autumn coaster and Plate

Leafy Autumn coaster and Plate

I’ll end here on this autumnal note. I’m already looking forward to leaves falling and our annual vacation at Leetes Island, Guilford Ct. That’s where we transition from summer to fall every year.

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Filed under Manufacturers, TABLETOP

Surtex 2013 part One

      Another Surtex has zipped by. The months of preparation and the excitement of the three days at the show is over. Now we are back in our studio and this is what we call “follow up” time. This is when we send artwork to clients we met with at the sh0w; schedule new art that was requested; enter new contacts into our data base and generally take an overview of how the show went.

Surtex 2013 at the Javitts Center

Surtex 2013 at the Javitts Center

I am going to do this post in two parts. The first is about our show experience, Part two will be about artist friends old and new who we saw at the show.

The two of us

The two of us

Overview of the aisle

Overview of the aisle

  Although the show got off to a slow start on Sunday by Monday it got much busier and continued that way through the end of the show on Tuesday.

We’ve become a good team when it comes to putting the booth together.

Bird Song series

Bird Song series

Amaryllis Rejoice

Amaryllis Rejoice

Parisienne Collage

Parisienne Collage

HALOWEEN CUPCAKE WITCH

HALOWEEN CUPCAKE WITCH ANDREA BROOKS STUDIO

PEONY BOTANICA

PEONY BOTANICA

BOOTH WITH CUST0MERS

BOOTH WITH CUSTOMERS

We had two ipads with our complete portfolios to show to manufacturers. For those of y0u who are not familiar with the show this photo of Dennis with two customers from Unique shows the set up. Our booth is a 10′ x 10′ size booth.  We’d love to have a corner booth since these have two sides open to the public. But that would mean moving from our “neighborhood of five booths” that we are happy with.

Our friend Tom Cathey came by and dropped off two days worth of fresh baked delicious cookies. Thank you Tom. Everyone raved about them.

Making Selections

Making Selections

Dawn Kirschner and Merry Cassino from Unique looking through our library of designs. We were glad that we had saved last year’s posters. It turned out there was an empty wall opposite us which we  split up with our neighbors. Those are our cupcakes in the backbground,.

Lindy is here

Lindy is here

Lindy of the Lindy Bowman company, Rachel Katz, Kathy Lorczynski and Ellen Birckner his right hand gals.

Randy Fritz of Carsons

Randy Fritz of Carsons

We had a good meeting with Randy Fritz  of Carsons Home Accents in charge of Flag production.

We saw many other manufacturers, but didn’t manage to get photos of them all.We thank them all for taking the time to meet with us.

I am also happy at how much more smoothly Dennis and I have become at working together. I had to let go of a lot of artist ego and realize that Dennis is a wonderful designer. My forte is watercolor. So now when we work together to create a design from one of my paintings I do the most minimal amount of art directing. In fact it is so much more relaxing. That’s one of the secrets too to a good companionable marriage. Lean on your partners strengths and vica versa. Let ego go.Not easy. but worth it when you succeed.

We were in the same little aisle as last year. Our neighborhood as we called it. Five booths with a cross aisle at either end.

I will be doing a part two to this post about the artists in our “neighborhood” and others throughout the show.

A hopeful sign at the Javitts Center

A hopeful sign at the Javitts Center

When we emerged on Monday the hibiscus in front of theJ avitts Center were all opened up. A lovely surprise and a hopeful sign.

We finished off the day by taking our gear home to the west village, feeding the cats who were happy to see us  and having our ritual show closing and celebration. A beer and a burger at the White Horse Tavern.

Our ritual end to Surtex

Our ritual end to Surtex

Stay tuned for Part two of the Surtex show in which you will meet some of our fellow artists who exhibited.

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Filed under Carsons Home, Javitts Center, Lindy Bowman, Manufacturers, Surtex, The White Horse Tavern, Uncategorized, Unique Industries

The New York Gift Show at the Javitts Center

In years past the New York Gift Show at the Javitts Center was a great place to meet and see some of the larger paper goods and giftware companies like CR Gibson, Boston International, MeadWestvaco and Enesco to name a few. This has been changing over the last five years as more and more of these companies no longer showed here. The reasons had to do with the downturn in the economy . As products other than paper goods (such as jewelry) began to sell more and as Business

has been changing and the Gift show was no longer the right place for them to make their sales. Many moved to the Atlanta Show.

Gift Show Divisions

Gift Show Divisions

The show was divided into sections. For example the General Gift, Tabletop, Accent on Design and Children and Baby and personal accessories.

At the Gift Show

At the Gift Show

The Accent on Design section was a bit of a disappointment. I remembered it as being an exciting, innovative and inspiring part of the show with booths from all over the world and varied product lines. This year it seemed to me to be a bit lackluster.

The weather outside was .....well wet

The weather outside was …..well wet

Despite the rain and snow the show was well populated which was encouraging.

Dennis and I were very surprised at the overall change in the show. We found very few gift and stationery companies in the Gift Division. There were more companies that sold pillows and clothing. Many more companies that sold the kind of giftware that would fit in with some of the categories I names above.For the most part not the kind of products that would require licensed artists for the designing.There were lots of big publishers like Penguin, Chronicle and Workman to name a few. More companies that sold Judaica and body care products. In the tabletop division most of the companies that have always shown at the gift show were there.

Despite these drawbacks (from our point of view as art licensors) we enjoyed walking the show. We made new contacts and did some trend spotting. Of course owls everywhere. We also had a good meeting with a potential client. We returned to the studio and began working on a few presentations for this company.

Tonight I was remembering advice that was given to us when we were first starting out as illustrators and we took a wonderful course offered then by Elaine Sorel which truly gave us a legs up on our journey into the world of illustration and commercial art. Elaine beside being the wife of Ed Sorel the well known illustrator and one of the co founders of the Push Pin Studios was a thorough professional and very knowledgable person about how to do business as an artist and succeed at it. She had been an artists agent for 15 years representing top people in creative fields. She began doing the workshops when she stopped being an agent. One of the things she told us that I have never forgot (and I paraphrase). “It’s important to genuinely enjoy the people that you are doing business with.” Don’t fake it in order to get work. You are much more likely to get ahead if you form relationships that are mutually enjoyable by all.” I was reminded of that today as we had our meeting. She also said, and again I paraphrase ” Don’t show your work with the expectation of getting work. Show it because you are proud of what you do and want to share your creativity.”

Stitchery illustration by Margaret CusackImport

Stitchery illustration by Margaret Cusack

I also have the pleasure of knowing Elaine’s very talented artist and teacher, daughter Madelaine Sorel. Madelaine and I are both part of an illustrators lunch group that was founded and kept alive by the efforts of Margaret Cusack, who is both a wonderful stitchery artist and a world class promoter. It was difficult picking an image to use in this post as Margaret has many varied and wonderful stitched art that has been used in editorial, advertising and gallerty exhibits. This lunch group has been meeting once a month for lunch for over 20 years. It has been a life saver and thriving sharing creative community for those of us who have been regulars.We share business, art and our personal lives at these monthly meetings.

And once again Dennis and I are back at work doing what we love most. Designing and painting and dreaming about our next project. Top priority is finishing the two remaining Halloween cupcake designs.

Whoo knows

Whoo knows

Art licensing is a risky and exciting business to be in. Whoo knows where it will lead us next.

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Filed under Art and Design, Artists, Halloween, Holidays, Javitts Center, Licensing, Manufacturers, NY Gift Show, Owls, Trade shows, Trends

Happy Holidays

This is a short Happy Holiday post for our followers and readers.

 Before we leave for the January Atlanta show next Wednesday I hope to have Part II of Everything You Need to Know About Trade shows out to you.

Then when we get back I’ll have lots to show and tell about the show.

Savannah Afternoon mug

Savannah Afternoon mug

The Burton and Burton new Spring Showroom will be displaying my new Savannah Afternoon collection. I hope vendors and you will be as excited about it as I am.

The weather outside is frightfulBut in here it's so delightful

The weather outside is frightful
But in here it’s so delightful

This is a good time to show off a few of our Christmas products.

Ho Ho HoSantas

Ho Ho Ho
Santa

This cute little pillow is a delightful needlepoint that our Friend Sonja made from our original whimsical Santa design.The original was a needlepoint stocking kit by Dimension.

I keep it out all year round! The design has also been a Christmas tote for Jean Marie Creations , a needle point kit and one of a set of Holiday Gift card Holders.

IMG_2216A New Yorkers dream

A New Yorkers dream

I grew up in the West Bronx which at that time still had lots of green trees and grass. But it wasn’t the country, and  I was always fantasizing about living in the country. For that reason I loved painting this woodland scene for Current. It was used on a number of their products including stationery and computer papers.

                                                            Snowman and Friend

Snowman and Friend

Holiday season as a child meant lots of snow, freezing cold fingers and toes, rosy cheeks, sleigh riding on our flexible flyers down the hill and the happy sounds of lots of kids making their snowmen. This memory inspired The Snowman and Friend design which originally was used as a holiday tote design for Jean Marie Designs,  and also as a card design.

Gingerbread Tree

Gingerbread Tree

My sister Pat and I always dreamed of having a tree like this. Although we celebrated Christmas and Hanukah my parents drew the line when it came to a tree. Painting this one gave me a lot of joy. Dennis created the design to fit it into so that it made a lovely little tableau. I was reminded of this yesterday when we did the annual tour of holiday store windows on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Tiffany Holiday window 2012

Tiffany Holiday window 2012

IMG_2317

Saks window

Yesterday along with our good friends Barbara and John we enjoyed the holiday windows on upper Fifth Avenue. My two favorites for nostalgia were the lovely  Tree and Staircase in one of the Tiffany windows.The Tiffany displays were very small, approximately 15″ x 12″. My other favorite was this Saks window of a snowman and little boy with his dog. Of course the dogs tail wagged!

Sisters

Sisters

The holidays are a time to share with those you love.Pat, my older sister, had me tagging along wherever she went, invited or not. That’s me on the left.

Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies

Holidays are a great time to enjoy all the goodies of the festive season That’s what insired me to paint these wonderful Christmas cookies for Woman’s Day magazine.

Pat

Pat

Brothers at holiday time

Brothers at holiday time Dennis and Fred Kendrick

Briana and Aunty Andy

Niece Briana and Aunty Andy

And best and most of all it’s a time to be with those you love. And have lots of fun.

Happy 2013

Happy 2013

We hope you all had very happy holidays and wish you a wonderful New Year full of all good things.

Time to fulfill that resolution to become a follower of our blog.

warmly,

Andrea and Dennis

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Filed under Atlanta, Christmas, Cooking and Baking, Kitchen and Food, Manufacturers, Nature, New Year's, NYC, Trade Show