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Digital Mermaid for Elemis

This year I am working with ELEMIS a lot and I can’t be more happy about that!! One of the last projects I did with them was the Elemis mermaid.

Until now, I had done mermaids but always with the features of someone. They needed a mermaid of their own, that illustrates the product by which she was created.

This time I used digital techniques for the body but the tale is still done with inks.

I’m also really glad that the new mermaid accompanies the Pro-Collagen Marine Oil in the ELEMIS online store. You can see some captions below!!

 

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Painting Giveaway

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Painting Giveaway! Don’t miss the opportunity to win one of my original artworks!

When I did this painting I was experimenting with the technique and with the process itself. And if I have to say the truth I remember painting it straight from my gut. Without previous sketches or colour palette. And it was a beautiful process that I really enjoyed! You can see how it was in the video below!

It is a very special piece and I want to thank you all with it…⠀

So yes!!! There is a GIVEAWAY and the winner will have this original painting in his or her wall very soon!!

To participate you just have to go to this link and answer 4 short questions. It will take less than 2 min!! Easy, right? ⠀

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There is a gift for everybody in the last question so don’t forget to put your email there and I’ll send you your gift! ⠀

The winner of the painting will be announced by email at the end of September! ⠀

Good luck!! 🙂 ⠀

 
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Live sketching at Glitzbox

Yesterday I had the honor to be at the Glitzbox launch party sketching some of their guests.  I love the concept of this start up so I’m very glad of having taken part of this amazing event.

It was such a new great experience! I had never done this kind of live sketching before, but I definitely enjoyed it so much! It was intense because there were so many guests, and so many sketches to do 🙂 But also was lovely to speak with them and to capture their features in an agile and spontaneous way.

Here you are a bit more of the night. The pictures were taken by the amazing photographer Stefan Jakubowski

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Live painting and demonstration with Escoda brushes

Last Friday I had the opportunity to be painting in one of my favourite shops in London: the Great Art store in Shoreditch. I did a demonstration painting with Escoda Brushes. Such a beautiful experience! 🙂

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There I met Montse, one of the members of Escoda’s team and she explained me a lot of things about the brushes that I didn’t know yet. She made a speech about how the company works, how they make the brushes and the characteristics that make them stand out amongst the best brands of brushes.

For me the most curious and amazing thing is that they do every brush by hand. All of them! Both natural and synthetic brushes are handmade with an incredible precision and the best materials. I would love to see one of their brush makers doing that wonderful work! It has to be amazing!

After Montse’s speech, I did a demonstration with their brushes painting a big watercolour flower. As I said on other posts, I use Escoda brushes almost every day for my projects and personal works, and it was a pleasure to make this demonstration with them.

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Thanks to Great Art and Escoda Brushes for the opportunity! And thanks for the beautiful pics!

I really enjoyed the experience and I would love to do it again 🙂

 

 

Mermaids for Elemis

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Mermaids for Elemis new product launch

Summer is here! and London is getting really warm but I’ve been doing a very refreshing project for Elemis these days!

I painted some gorgeous mermaids on Elemis’ boxes for the launch of one of their new products: Pro-Collagen Marine Oil. By the way, I recommend you to try it if you have dry skin. It has worked perfectly well on mine! : -)

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Back to the point! I’m so happy to tell you a bit more about the project because I’ve been working on it in silence up to now! and I love to share my projects (or at least the once I like most) with you.

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The main goal of the project was to paint some mermaids in 25 boxes using the same marine colours of the bottle. It was a challenge because the beautiful bottle colours have many nuances. Also the colours go from dark blue to light yellow in a very delicate way.

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So I was really focused (as you can see in the” behind the scenes” picture above :-)) on achieving that same sense of the bottle in the tail of the mermaids. It was interesting and fun to create the color swatches. I played with different materials and tones until I found the right ones.

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Finally I painted the mermaids with inks. I didn’t use watercolors this time because the boxes were of smooth cardboard and the watercolor was not going to work well. Acrylics was the first option that came to my mind. I ruled it out because I needed something more liquid and organic. So inks were perfect to stick to the box and to give the fluency I needed. Also I used metallic inks to create some sparkle in some areas to add life to the mermaids.

I also used some pencils for the body and hair. We wanted a really sophisticated look for the boxes so I thought about leaving those parts in a bright and minimal style. I wanted to create a nice composition focus on the tail and the colours of the bottle.

And here you are the making of in case you want to see the process!

 

In short, it has been a precious project that I have enjoyed very much and that I would love to repeat. Even I am always looking for new things and I usually don’t do the same thing more than once : -)

 

 

My favourite art tools

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My favourite art tools

I think I’ve never told you about my art tools like brushes, pencils, papers… and which are my favourites. If you spend a lot of time working with this kind of tools, and you love as much as I do to try new things, this post is for you! It would be awesome if you share with me your favourites as well in the comments below 🙂

I’m going to start with my favourite tools ever! The brushes. I love working with watercolour brushes and I have tried a few during this time but I didn’t have any favourite brand in particular. However a few months ago I discovered Escoda Brushes and I am totally in love with them now!!

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Since I tried them I use them for all my projects and personal work because I feel really comfy and I get the results I need. Well, sometimes I don’t, but it’s not the fault of the brushes…

I’ve always preferred to use synthetic brushes to respect little furry cute animals, but the truth is that I never found any that really convinced me. The synthetic brushes that I had tried didn’t absorb well the water and I had not good control over them. But using the synthetic brushes of Escoda is like using ones with natural hair. The absorption is so good and they are as soft as the natural ones.

The ones that work perfectly well for me are the “Perla”, “Último” and “Versátil” ones.

In the picture below you can see my super favourite ones! I use them almost every time I paint because with these 7 brushes I usually can get any shape.

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Another important tool for watercolour painting is the paper. I think it is crucial to choose the right paper for your painting because it would affect hugely to the final result.

In my opinion the best paper for watercolour paintings is Fabriano Rosaspina. It is perfect for my paintings because it allows me a lot of control and also the water moves beautifully and the shades and colours mix perfectly well in an easy way.

As this paper is more expensive I like to use Canson as well. It works fine and I use it a lot for small pieces or watercolour sketches.

And for the moment I think that’s it! I have favourite pencils and watercolours too, but that is going to be a long post just with them… so I will tell you about them in the future!

Let me know if you find this useful and if you want me to tell you more about my art tools!

As I said before I would love to know which tools do you use, if you know the ones I mentioned and which ones are your favourites! Tell me in the comments!

xX

 
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How to take pictures and show your artwork 

I am always looking for inspiration! And not only for my paintings and illustrations but also for the pictures to show my artwork.

Now more than ever it is really important to spend time creating good pictures to show your work in social media or your website. How do you present your artwork or your product is as important as the work itself.

I am not an expert in photography, but I wanted to share with you what I have learnt and my tips. I’m still learning about it, so it would be great if you share your thoughts and your ideas as well in the comments section below.

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This are the steps I follow each time I need to shoot:

1. The background
The first step is to know in what surface we are going to put our artwork. It will depend on the size of your piece, the colours, if it is framed or not…

I usually take photos of my artwork without frame, so I like to put it on the wooden floor. My artwork is very bright and clean so with a natural colour surface I can create contrast.

If on the contrary the artwork has colour or is dark, I prefer to take the picture on a white wall.

2. The light
This is very important because the light and the shadows can change how your work looks in the picture.

When I first started with Instagram I could make beautiful pictures of places or landscapes using the filters. But with the artwork that worked different. If you don’t have a good picture of your work with a good light, the filters will not fix it.

In my case, I do not have professional spotlights, so I make the pictures by day and near a window to have a natural source of light.

Having into account that I live in London, some days I don’t have enough light to take pictures and I have to post-process the image in Photoshop to remove shadows and add light. I will make a tutorial of this in the future if you are interested.

3. Set a stage 
The composition of your picture is one of the most important steps. First you have to decide what look do you want in your pictures. This means if you want something minimal, dark, natural, etc.

Maybe you just want to take the picture of your work without any type of decoration. I often take pictures like this to show better the details of my artwork. But in other cases I like to create a stage to highlight the piece itself.

In my case I like to bring light and natural elements to my pics. My work is very related to nature, so I like to add elements like wood, plants or leaves. Sometimes I like to put some of the tools I have used, like brushes, watercolours or pencils. It depends on the day and what fits most with the artwork.

4. Shoot
If you have a good camera it’s worth using it. I have to admit that I often take the photos with my iPhone. But when I need more resolution I use my camera.

So now is time to shoot! Make different photos and later you can choose which one is the best.

As I set my stage on the floor, I usually take the photos from above. But is good to try and explore!

5. Edit the image
It’s time to look closely at the image and see how can we improve it.

Sometimes it is just the light. Giving more contrast and a little bit of brightness we have it done.
If you are a pro in Photoshop I’m sure you can do amazing things!


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And that’s all! Those are my steps when I have to take photos of my artwork.

I hope this is useful for you and I would love to hear your opinion and thoughts about it. And of course if you have some tips to share, they will be very welcome!!

 
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How to stay organised as a freelance illustrator or artist

I get a new idea almost everyday. I try to explore and develop those ideas but if I have other things going on at the same time, it is difficult and I usually leave them like that. Only ideas.
Is because of that it is so crucial to stay organised and to have all your ideas and projects clear in your mind and also (very important!) in a planner.

As a freelance illustrator, artist and designer I always have several projects in my hands.
I need to have the process of each project clear and I need to know the progress, the points and the times.

For me the best way of being productive is notting everything down in my planner.
But of course, it’s not as simple as it seems. I need to keep it up to date.

Paper or digital?
I use a paper planner because I like to make things by hand but also I use google calendar because I can have it always with me. If you prefer a digital planner there are a lot available! I have tried Wunderlist and I think is a good and free alternative.

So let’s see what I consider is the best way to be productive and stay organised.

1. Have clear your goals and define them with to-do lists

You need to know what you want to achieve before doing it.

Sometimes we just start working on something that we don’t have really clear or that we don’t know how and when will end.
Other times we just don’t feel the motivation and we give up the project.
If you set your goals and spend some time thinking about them you will get better results.

I recommend you to set weekly and monthly goals.
In my case I try to set weekly little goals every Sunday night. I decide what I want to complete or achieve the next week and then I am able to create to-do lists to make the goals happen.
This to-do list have to be very specific. You need to focus on the detail and put step by step what you need to do.
I usually change or add those points of the to-do list during the week, because while I am working I realise that I need to do something else or that I need to change some part of the process.
But all of this is ok for me because it helps me to stay focused on what I need to do.

2. Focus on one task at a time

If you have different projects in your hands as I usually do, the best advice I can give you is to separate the time of each project well. I like to have 1 or 2 weekly goals at most, so what I do is define the to-do list for each goal and try to set the time I am going to spend for each one. The simplest form for me is doing one task during the mornings and another task during the afternoons. As simple as that.
I try to work on my paintings and illustrations during the morning because I like drawing and painting with natural light and I spend the afternoons with the computer, doing digital work, updating my website and the blog, etc…

Many times I am not able of doing this because if I have a timeline I need to work more hours on something and I can’t divide my tasks that way. But as always, it depends about the week and the goals I need to achive.

3. Work in a friendly environment

For me this is very important, and I think the place of work really matters.

Now that I am selling prints of my work I have a temporary warehouse in my studio. I literally am running out of space, and because of this I need to be more organised than ever.
Even I have millions of prints, cardboard rolls, folders, papers, brushes, etc….. in my studio I try to have all tidy and clean. Otherwise I couldn’t move!

So yes, to have your mind organised you need to have your environment organised as well.

4. Save time

Another important thing of being productive: don’t waste time.

It’s very difficult not to be distracted if you are working on the computer. Or even if you have the phone close. Notifications, emails, research, internet always is calling you… But once again you need to be focused if it’s time of working on a task.

One thing that saves me a lot of time is to post on my social networks at once. I just post a picture on Instagram and with the website ITTT the post appears on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest too.
This is really useful because you can have your social networks to update all at once by just posting in one of them.

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In my planner I have a monthly, weekly and daily part. I think this is really useful to create the steps of each goal. In the picture above yo can see my monthly calendar. For the moment I just have put an Scotland trip for April :p but I will put my goals for that month soon! And also the planner had some month of 2016 and as I am not going to use them in 2017 I have used this part to put some ideas and notes.

Back to the planner parts, for instance if you yearly goal is to prepare an exhibition, you can divide in months each part of it, like “to think about the concept”, “look for galleries”, etc and in weeks you can put more detail on that division as “make a list of London galleries”, “prepare and send an email to London galleries” etc…

I hope all of this is helpful for you and please feel free to tell me what do you think and some of your tips to stay organised in the comments bellow!

 
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The creative process: Where to find inspiration

I am always looking for new inspiration. I seek it from all kinds of sources and I think the inspiration can appear from anything, you just have to look at it.
That reminds me of a Henry David Thoreau’s quote:

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. “

So I try to always keep my eyes open absorbing all I can to apply it later on my work.
I watch films, I read, I observe people and places that surround me. Colours, shapes and concepts… they are all there.

But nature is always my strongest source of inspiration.  From open spaces to little plants I feel strongly linked with nature in a way that allows me to express a lot of kinds of emotions. It appears in many of my artworks in a different ways but it always has a powerful meaning. And living in London has magnified that feeling that I already had. Even there are lots of buildings (of course London is not like living in the countryside) you have the sense of being close to the nature and you can see nature almost everywhere. I don’t know if this happens to everyone or if I see and feel things in a different way now.

Anyway, it keeps me inspired 🙂

And of course I look for inspiration in other artists, painters, illustrators and designers. It is important to know what is going on, what other artists are doing and not only the artists that work with similar techniques as you or do the same kinds of work. It is important as well to know what other creatives are developing at the same time.

For example I love the work of David Scholes and Mark Demsteader. You can see both below.

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A powerful source of inspiration for me is always photography. I usually check the work of photographers like Erwin Olaf or Flora Borsi.

In other hand, as an interior designer I have into account what is going on with home stylists, designers and architects.

I think everything is important and how many more sources of information do you have more rich and varied will be your inspiration. And I believe it shows in your final works.

So if you want to know more about what inspires me you can take a look to my Pinterest. For me this is the best tool to keep organised “my inspirations” and ideas!

I hope you like this post and you find it useful! I would love to know what inspires you and where you search for inspiration! Let me know in the comments below!

 
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Original artwork just for you

As you all know I love drawing and painting realistic portraits! I am very fortunate to do many custom portraits for people who want to immortalise a special moment or make a great personal present for their loved ones.

In each portrait I love to add some elements, like plants, flowers or something with meaning for the person who has commissioned the artwork.

Usually I draw the portrait with pencil and I make the elements with watercolours, putting some colour to the artwork. Also I love made portraits with black watercolour or ink to create something more dynamic and dramatic.

So if you are interested in a personalised original artwork you can go to my commissioned artworks page or send me an email to info@taniaestevez.com

If you don’t need the original artwork, you can have your digital custom portrait.  This means that I will send you the digital portrait by email and you can print it by your own! Easy peace! Check the links to know more!

Oh! You can see some of the portraits I’ve done until now below.

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Thanks for reading!  xX

 
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