My favourite art tools

favouritetools

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 ūüôā

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”, “√öltimo” and “Vers√°til” 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.

how to stay organised and be productive

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¬†ūüôā

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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custom portraits

Thanks for reading!  xX

 
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Logo design for the brand

Last graphic design work I’ve done has been this logo design for Justletic, the new fitness coach app.

It has been really exciting to create this logo because they wanted something to define their brand. They wanted their image and their logo to represent what the brand stands for.

Justletic is not just another fitness app. It helps you to achieve your goals based on your progress and your personal development. And it does it in a simple and clear way. The website and the app is really easy to use and it only shows the important information that the user needs to know to achieve his goals.

So that’s the spirit of Justletic and that’s what they wanted for their logo. Something simple, clear, minimal and very functional.

And I love working in those settings!

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The logo needed to reflect the spirit of the brand and act as a timeless and visual identity that people can easily associate with.

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Sephora project

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Sephora Project

This Christmas I have been very busy working for a special project for Sephora.

The project was about making 30 pencil and minimal portraits highlighting the most beautiful features of each person.  Once the portraits were done, we added real flowers to them, bringing colour and originality to the pieces.

It was a joint work with the floral designer Yena. You should take a look to her works! They are brilliant!

As I love flowers, plants and nature I have really enjoyed the project for the cosmetics brand.

The result of each piece has been amazing!

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Sephora Project

I hope you like it as much as I do!

 

 
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Botanical Calendar 2017

I am a very organised person. I love to plan my days and have my ideas, jobs or projects pointed out. Because of that I always need an agenda, lots of notebooks and of course a calendar 2017.

I wanted to have a 2017 wall calendar in my studio that inspires me every time I look at it. I wanted it practical, elegant and with touch of natural colours.

That’s how I started the botanical calendar 2017. Each month is represented by its flower, drawn on pencil and with points of colour with watercolours.

With the botanical illustrations I have done two calendar designs. One of them is in A3 size, so you have a lot of space to write next to the dates in each month. I use this calendar all together showing the current month with a beautiful clip.

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The other one is A4 size, so it is smaller but if you don’t need to write to much is the perfect for you.

I love this one because you can hang the prints in a nice composition like in the picture below.

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You can find both of them in my gift shop

Take a look!!

 
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Anatomy illustration for a runners book

I wanted to share with you something different today. Most of the time I draw people and I usually draw bodies, but I had never drawn the inside of those bodies until now. I have been working on some anatomy illustration for a book made for runners. It has been very interesting and I have the feeling of having learned something more.

Drawing bones and muscles makes you understand more about the body. Is definitely a good practice to learn more about ourselves.

I have used pencil for all the illustrations to create simple, clear and realistic images that are easy to understand.

I have been working on this project with La Esfera de los Libros. You will find soon the book in their website and bookshops.

 

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Botanical illustration postcards with a winter touch

These days I have been drawing some botanical illustration postcards using pencil and watercolour. The models were flowers, pines, a christmas plant and a peony. I really enjoy drawing and painting plants and flowers. It is very relaxing for me and also you can find a lot of meaning in all of them.

I think the designs are really cute, simple and elegant, ideal for prints to put in walls with beautiful frames and perfect for special Christmas postcards!

So today that the sun was more or less bright and I had enough light in the studio, I have been doing some pictures while I was packaging the postcards to show the process and the result. I hope you like the pics : )

The postcards and prints will be soon available on my gift section shop!

peony pencil and watercolor postcard

flowers pencil and watercolor postcard

botanical illustration postcards

cute postcards

 
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