Design detour

When I started this blog my intention was to share my work in progress with the website. This could be a really daunting task and I thought that maybe I could make life a little easier for others in the same situation, or at least get an idea of what not to do… However, I soon realized that I actually have to have content to fill my website with, otherwise there is no point in having a beautiful homepage. Clearly. Surely I have loads of patterns and paintings already, but a professional portfolio is so much more than randomly uploading a lot of images of them. So I had to rewind a little and do some hard core organizing. And as it often is, one thing lead to another, my original plan took a detour – just a detour, since everything I do right now has one goal, the same goal as before: to launch my website with the best portfolio I can acheive and start selling my designs!

So let me share some of the things I am into at the moment:

I have been organizing all my old work in Adobe Bridge, filing, structuring and cleaning up the files, one by one. I have organized them in collections and individul patterns, and also added a folder for prints – placement patterns that are not repeat patterns but will be great for printing as art or on pieces that doesn’t require repeat. 

On January 1 I joined a facebook group challenge called 100days2018 where the aim is to do something creative (your own choice) every day for 100 days in a row. I decided to take on the challenge with only my sketchbook and one marker pen. I set those restrictions for myself with a purpose – to get on friendly terms with my sketchbook and make it a habit of drawing everyday, and no matter how small or big, ugly or beautiful the outcome was I would share it in the fb-group and on Instagram to hold myself accountable. To this day we’re on day 55 and I haven’t missed a day so far! By day 53 I changed my own terms to include other artwork as well. I need to be able to create in other ways too and time is simply not adding up to achieve all of it if I prevent myself from connecting the different projects.

In the beginning of February I started a new online course called FolioFocus 2018 spring. This course aims at building a portfolio whilst working to briefs, one new brief a week. That clicked for me since that’s exactly what I need to do and there is no better way to learn and at the same time be productive in a very supporting environment than this! We’re only in week 2 but so far I am so happy to have joined the class. Below are my work for the Nautic theme and Park life theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there are many things going on and I am enjoying it all immensly. If I could do this full time I would be the happiest person in the world!

Life in a graph – a shocking image!

I had scheduled this blog post for last weekend. Well, that didn’t happen. It didn’t happen this weekend either. It happens today and I am very pleased since it’s Monday and Mondays are hard…It seems like an impossible task to go to bed on Sundays, no matter how much I need the hours. So I figured, why not talk a little about time today. My previous post was all about making plans, schedule to-dos and how to get a grip of what to do and when. Since then I have continued reading and using Lisa Jacobs fabolous book Your best year 2018. It has proven to be a real game changer and I’d like to share a thing from it, a short task that aim to show how I spend the 24 hours on a regular day. At first I was to list the main priorities in life, in order of importance. My list looks like this:

  1. My family
  2. Personal development – learning new things
  3. Creativity – design, art, music
  4. Friends and social life
  5. Health and self-care
  6. Stillness and reflection

Then I was to use a graph to illustrate how I invest time during the 24 hours, and it looked like this:


As you can see (although written in Swedish) the large field on the top right is sleep. The large field on the bottom is work (day job in large company). The small field on the right, between sleep and work is breakfast (categorized as family time). At 6 pm there is dinner time with the family. And now – in the field beween 7 and 10 pm – here are the things from my list, all six of them…

Please take a paus to reflect on that, because I went into shock when I realized how it looks and what it means. Somewhere between 7 and 10 in the evening I spend time with my family, I learn new things, I create design, art and music, I socialize with friends, I perform physical activity and practice self-care and to wrap things up I am in stillness and reflection before I go to sleep.

I think not.

I am still in shock but also very clear about how I want this chart to look like. I am 48 years old and I will now change things around. It might be the hardest thing I have ever done – I don’t have the energy of a 20 year old anymore –  and it might take longer than I want, but I will never forgive myself if I don’t go for it. I will make this chart look different.

I had this idea when I started this blog that I was going to share the building of my website. I will get back to that: I came as far as having built the fundament in Adobe Muse and now I am focusing on building my portfolio. Without a great portfolio there really isn’t much to put up on the site, so that makes sense. I also may be trying out Squarespace instead, since there is a built in solution for web shops. A looooot of time has also been dedicated to research about webb platforms, web shop solutions, payment solutions, manufacturing, print shops etc etc. So many decisions and so little time. Obviously.

See you soon and if you would like to see more of my creative stuff, please check my instagram account @madeleinewidelanddesign.

The noble art of planning

For some of us the noble arts of setting goals, planning and organizing don’t come naturally. I am the kind of person who always seek structure but have a hard time creating that structure. I often get totally lost in the details – what kind of planner do I need, should I go for black or yellow, paper or digital or both, bullet journal or a printed? And when procrastinating gets really bad, I can spend an hour trying to decide if I should start journaling on the left or right page. You get it. So therefore I am extra proud to have overcome the most of my resistance (which leads to procastinating the things I really want to do) and nowadays I am quite good at getting things done simply because I get it on paper. During 2017 I did a loooot of things to get myself from thinking to doing. I actually have a hard time believing that I have done all those things: I read books, took courses and classes, bought utensils, joined communities, tried and practised, investigated and dug deep into myself to find out how to DO IT – not just think it.

It all started with a course by amazing Anna Lovind called The Creative Doer. It is what it says – a course to take you from thinking and wanting to doing what you want and love to do. It was such a game changer for me in many ways, and one of the most important things I learned was to Get it on paper. Get it out of my head and on to paper. I learned how to verbalize my dream as well as plan my days, weeks and months and all of a sudden I started doing things, taking steps towards something I had barely phrased in my mind. In that course community I found my tribe – a tribe that has grown through other courses and other communities and is still growing every day.

My next step towards my dream was the Make it in design courses, created by designer Rachel Taylor and her co-business owner Beth Kempton, focusing on pattern design and how to develop pattern design into a business. The two modules were so packed with useful information, creative exercises and even live briefs from several companies, that I am still catching up with all the material.

During the summer holidays I started reading Freedom Seeker by the same Beth Kempton as mentioned above. The book is a guide to finding out what makes you feel free and in finding that, being able to escape from the cage you’re in and taking steps towards the life you want to live. A bit simplified described but the essence of it, I think. (Hope Beth will excuse my dry language if she reads this!). This book is actually filled with entries that helps a lot in the quest of finding your path. I’ve had so many aha-experiences that I lost count of them…

Not to mention all the amazing courses by Bonnie Christine on Skillshare and another branch of the tribe, her own Roost Tribe. Plus many many other things I have investigated and learned this year.

A part of the timeline I am working according to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So to reestablish the connection to what I began this post with – I am planning for 2018 with the help of Lisa Jacobs’ Your best year 2018, Business edition and my new – yellow! – Moleskine notebook calendar. I have slowly but surely learned how to set goals and plan for making them happen, instead of dreaming and putting up obstacles in my mind and get nothing done. I am truly and deeply grateful to all the people I have ”met”, all the shared knowledge and all the love that is the foundation of those tribes. I have no idea where it all will take me but I know for sure that I am on my way!

 

The days in between

My nine best liked posts from 2017 on Instagram!

Christmas came and went and now we’re counting days to the next celebration, New Years Eve. Usually I am not very into Christmas, or at least I haven’t been for many years. This year I made a decision that I was going to embrace it instead of rejecting it, go with it instead of against it. I think at some point it was about embracing myself, my new self, who is much more happy with life and the path I have taken in the last year. 2017 has been a strange and difficult year for the world and the people on the planet. Me and my family have had our share of difficulties and some things have really put us to the test, as human beings and as a family. I started this year recovering from being burnt out and trying to figure out what I needed to be able to get back to work but not to the state I was in when I crashed. One thing had becom absolutely crystal clear during my sick leave – I had rediscovered my creative self and I knew that this was the key to feeling whole and not frustrated.

Some of you who know me might think that I have been very creative since I have been singing the whole time, performing even when I was ill. And surely, singing is still what makes me feel most alive and fulfilled – but I no longer feel the urge to sing at any cost, anywhere, at every occasion offered. I love to sing when I am free to express myself in the way I want and to use my voice to connect with people. Which leaves some rare occasions…
So this year I have been exploring the world of art and patterns. I have painted with watercolours as pure therapy. I have taken courses and classes in pattern design, connected to like-minded people all over the world. I have invested in hardware to be able to create and share my work. I have watched hundreds of tutorials learning everything from drawing simple motifs to the most advanced technical skills. I have created lots of patterns, exploring my style and the things I like. I have started to put myself out there, with my instagram feed, on twitter and with this blog. When I look back on 2017 I have accomplished a great deal and I am very happy and proud of that. Exactly a year ago I was if not a mess, at least a bit messed up and at the end of this year I feel strong and full of hope and I have a very clear picture in my head of what I want for 2018. I will continue to put myself out there, share what I do and start selling my design. I am usually not the kind of person who set goals and very decisively work towards them, but this time I feel different. I want this to happen, a dream I want and need to come true. I hope you will join me and I would much appreciate questions, feedback or just a like now and then.

These are my thoughts on the days in between. See you soon!
And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram: @madeleinewidelanddesign

Saturday night amusement

On Saturday nights some people do things like spending time with family and friends, having a nice dinner or watching tv. I spend my Saturday night in front of the iMac and some tidying up in what we in Swedish call ”filträsket”. Freely translated into ”the file swamp”, a place that I know all of you are familiar with. The creative work demands a certain structure and organization, which can appear to be obvious but oh so hard to achieve for some of us. For me at least. The pattern making is a process with many steps and sometimes there has to be several kinds of files in different formats: a work file (original file) in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, made in layers and with all the motifs, correct settings, colours, swatches, and so on. Then you might need a .jpg or .png for web. If you are to send a file to a manufacturer you need to adjust the settings to their requirements and save for that purpose. This is a very time consuming work, since these programs seem to have a life of there own and even might have been designed to destroy the lives of creatives. I tend to be very organized in the beginning of working with a new pattern, but as the creative juices start to flow a forget to think ahead and stay organized. So when the pattern is finished and I am satisfied with the outcome, I often end up with a document that is a disaster. Luckily for me I haven’t done this for a very long time and I don’t have hundreds or thousands of patterns in disastrous documents, so I decided that before I start presenting my patterns in a portfolio or launching my website, I must organize my patterns carefully. I decided to use Adobe Bridge CC since I am used to that from work and I find it to be powerful and give a good overview.

I started with a folder named Collections and numbered each collection folder 01, 02 etc to make sure they appear in chronologica order.

Each collection folder contains the patterns named with the number and name of the collection, the name of the pattern and size of the file. I also mark the file with ‘repeat’ if that is the case.

There is a seperate preview window and a very extensive meta data list underneath. I like the keyword feature where you can add as many keywords you like which makes it easier to search for a specific pattern later on.

This is a very technical blog post, I am sure, so those of you who are not into pattern making, or at least the technical side of it, I am sorry if I bored you to death…

Have a nice weekend – what’s rest of it anyway!

A new year approaching

I am creating calendars for Christmas gifts and that makes it obviously impossible not to think of the new year and what lies ahead. 2018 – what do you have in store for me? Or maybe it should be the other way around – 2018, what do I have in store for you..?

The other day my husband called me a fatalist and that stunned me for a while. We talked about it for a while and I explained that I really am nothing like a fatalist, I am actually more of a cynic. However, with the twists and turns of life and having been in some bad places I decided that I needed to be much kinder to myself, and that meant learning to let go of control, learn how to lean back and trust the universe. In that I have faked it ‘til I made it, telling myself that the universe will take care of it. It gets really tireing to be a cynic and have a deeply rooted conviction that nothing will ever sort itself out, I have to sort it out myself. The mind and soul needs to rest sometimes and that it was trust do.

But. If I want to change things. If I need to follow a dream. I will have to work hard and not leave everything to universe to take care of. So I will – in a kind and gentle way – take a grip on 2018 and offer it some great stuff, and much of that I will share with you along the way. To help myself with planning the business side of making a dream come true, I have today ordered Your Best Year 2018: Productivity Workbook and Online Business Planner Lisa Jacobs from Market your creativity.

And I will of course use my Calendar for 2018 – with inspiration and tips from wonderful designer Bonnie Christine – I have come to April, so there is a good chance it will be finished before New Years Eve!

 

How to go crazy when building a website part 1…

..or part 5, I don’t know really. I am sure that there will be many more parts to come so here we go.

 

Today I thought I would try to add a link from the website (building that in Adobe Muse) to my blog (using WordPress), and I was convinced that adding a link is not very difficult. One hour later I am thinking that I can manage with paper and pen in the future. I made the blog text part of the menu in Muse and no matter how and where I clicked there wasn’t a hyperlink option anywhere in sight. So I started googling and suddenly I found myself downloading RSS feed widgets and trying to install that in Muse with the widget library and that rendered an ugly text box and not my nice looking blog. And then I thought that it MUST BE POSSIBLE to insert a hyperlink to a text box so I added a plain text box and then it was very possible to just add the link to my blog…as I thought in the first place…

Tada!

I’m back!

And I’m super excited to share my stuff with you again – this time in a little different way, though. I have decided to write in English this time, since I have so many new friends around the globe after taking courses in surface pattern design and creative business. This blog will mainly focus on my creative process, my patterns and everything connected to the birth of my business.

The blog is under construction, as well as my website – mwdesigns – and I want to share the construction work with you. Some might have an interest in the nitty gritty of webdesign and others maybe like my patterns. Don’t be strangers – I would love to make contact and I will answer any questions in the best way I can.

mw are my initials.
mw is short for my world.
mwdesigns is the name of my business.

See you!