Annie tells us “Variety is the spice of life!” So it would seem: Annie likes to create her art offline from the computer first, using ink, watercolor, or acrylic paint as the mood suites her. After the act of creating with pen and paper, or brush and canvas, Annie takes it to the next level. She wields her graphic design skills to create patterns with the art, and to turn out polished and professional product mock ups. Her art benefits from the combination of traditional and computerized tools. Annie is inspired in all her work by…”Stuff!” What kind of stuff? Again, variety is her answer. “Flags, fabric, home decor , all of it. It inspires me to think of being able to brighten the world with my art. I am honored when a manufacturer wants to use my art to help sell their products.”
Annie’s designs are playful, vibrant, informal and upbeat — like an unexpected afternoon spent chatting with a beloved friend. Annie’s art can be found through Wayfair, Amazon, Walmart and independent retailers across the country. It graces cards and notepads, seasonal figurines, flags, cutting boards, coffee mugs, pillows and other household items. Annie says she feels honored when someone purchases a product with her art and hopes that it brightens their world.
And speaking of brightened worlds. Annie’s world is far from dull. She has a fondness for VW bugs. Her first one was a red VW bug that her daughter has adopted. Named “Doodle Bug,” it is the predecessor of two more adorable bugs, “Daisy Doodle Bug” and “Doug, the Doodle Bug.” At one point her house was recognizable as the one with the two boldly colored bugs parked out front. Red and yellow respectively, they were impossible not to notice. “Our cars were like Ketchup and Mustard!”
With all that fun and color even in her transportation, it’s no wonder Annie’s designs are bursting with such cheer!
I have been thinking a lot lately about how to work most efficiently and still get the job done for our manufacturer/retailer partners and honor the time of our artists on the Artistic Designs Group team. In today’s fast moving world, it’s essential for us to work effectively if we want to have any hope of balance in our lives. As an agent, a lot of time is spent making sure that our partners receive their presentations in a form that works best for them but at the same time doesn’t mean that we are redoing presentations and storing them in a zillion different formats – jpgs, pdfs, our licensee portal, our partners ftp sites, Dropbox, labeled appropriately for client 1, 2 and 3, etc. As you can imagine we are always on the look out for automation tools that make this easier. And also monitoring to make sure that the methods which we use are actually creating licensing contracts and not disappearing out into the electronic abyss. Two simple tools that have helped are Photoshop’s Image processing script and some of Adobe Acrobat Professional’s editing tools. We have experimented with digital asset management tools, but honestly haven’t found one yet that actually adds value for us beyond what we already have. Any thoughts you might want to share about tools that have worked effectively for you – or is this even an issue for you? Leave a comment below if you have a minute.
One of Artistic Designs Group’s newest artists, Julie Bluét infuses her art with whimsical personality and bright pops of color galore. She worked for many years as a traditional artist (yes, she touched paints, pens and the like–gasp!) and as a mixed media artist. About ten years ago she dove into the world of digital creation, allowing her to combine her creative flair with the precision and additional capabilities of Adobe Illustrator (her favorite), Adobe Photoshop, and Corel Painter. We looked for signs of lingering paint on her fingers but couldn’t find any–Since taking that initial plunge, Julie says she has never looked back!
Somehow in the midst of raising six children, and romping with the plentiful family pets, Julie has found time for success as an artist and graphic designer. Julie’s fun, fanciful designs are now found on everything from stationery to pillows and mugs, and from T-shirts to digital device covers! Her work has been licensed by companies such as C.R. Gibson, Legacy Publishing, Oopsy Daisy, Homefire Rugs, Pictura, Unique Industries and Crown Point Graphics.
Hearing the affection with which Julie speaks of her family, perhaps it’s no surprise to learn those relationships impact her creations. She says, “My family has always influenced my artwork and their support is a big driving force behind my creative efforts. Between the diverse personalities of my six children, and of course our three dogs, there is always ample inspiration for every new project I embark on.
Licensing Director Julie Ager, of Artistic Designs Group, says of Ms. Bluét’s cheerful and up-beat images, “Working with Julie everyday is just as delightful as her images are. Just this week, I got to hear from one of our clients how much they love Julie and her work, just like we do.”
The office buzz at Artistic Designs Group is that Julie Bluét has a new line called Barkley & Wagz coming out, celebrating man’s best friend with “pawtraits” and other goodies inspired by her rambunctious family pets. We are looking forward to seeing all the wonderful places and products where Barkley and Wagz will venture.
Julie shared her favorite quote with us: “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” How true! But if we’re honest, we believe Julie Bluét can — because she’s already there! Check out some of her designs here, and see if you don’t agree, www.artsdg.com.
Ephemera wizard and vintage paper product designer Jennifer Parker has been with Artisitc Designs Group for a couple of years, but her rich style and her successes had their seeds in childhood. At age seven, her incredible journey began when she set out to make a special gift for her mother. Working with a poster board, Jennifer transformed a box of family photos into a collage. One collage led to another, with magazine clippings and photos providing new materials through Jennifer’s high school years. An enjoyment of greeting cards also took hold. From there, a college job at a gift boutique shop led her to pursue a career path in the gift industry–and what a career she’s made for herself!
For more than two decades, Jennifer served as art director and designer for distinguished gift industry leaders, and she excelled as one of the early pioneers in vintage paper product design. Jennifer was honored to design vintage paper products for The Gifted Line/Michel & Company with John and Carolyn Grossman’s Collection of Antique Images, one of the largest unique ephemera collections in the world. This well-preserved 250,000 ephemera collection now resides at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Jennifer says the foundations of her niche style of vintage digital collage were developed under John Grossman’s art direction. Then as Studio Manager, Art Director and lead Designer for the Northern California office of Punch Studio, Jennifer and her team were instrumental in the early development of the popular Punch Studio style. From concept to completion, Jennifer oversaw and designed numerous top selling custom products for retail and high profile chain stores.
Perhaps an ordinary human would have trouble finding time for other hobbies, but this powerhouse likes to be active, fit and to travel. Jennifer loves listening to live music, dancing, mountain biking, TRX Suspension Training, and Yoga. Still, she continues to grow as an artist.
When we asked Jennifer what inspires her timeless pieces, she had a ready answer: “I’m inspired by world travel, nature, Bohemian fashion, textiles, found objects and weathered ‘things’. I find great beauty in light, color, shape, and in natural and un-orchestrated arrangements.”
Jennifer’s work can already be found with Department 56, Evergreen, Studio E, Thirstystone, and also with Potluck Press, Madison Park Greetings, Calypso Cards, Amber Lotus Publishing, Kaf Home, and Development Global Solutions.
Ephemera art, by it’s nature is short-lived. The wall calendars and greeting cards of yesterday–with their inspiring and eye catching images–are often today’s recycling or tomorrow’s forgotten scrapbook pages. But this artist and her creative images aren’t going anywhere! Chances are, you’ve already admired examples of Jennifer’s work on greetings you’ve received, or on beautiful fabrics, paper products and giftware. But sometimes we can’t get enough of a good thing. For a peak at Jennifer’s latest work and other collections you may have missed, check at: www.artdg.com or https://www.pinterest.com/artsdg/new-products/.
One of ADG’s most versatile design artists, Carla Schauer first earned credibility and distinction in the craft and hobby industry. As she worked, though, she found herself yearning for designs others weren’t producing. Unwilling to settle for second best, she set about learning new software and tools to make the kinds of art she craved. Set free by her own determination, Carla now creates bright florals, strong geometrics and other patterns she (and others!) love. She uses clean, bold lines with rich color to produce attractive work in a wide range of styles.
Carla describes her work with passion. She says, “I can get lost in Illustrator and Photoshop for hours, designing and digitally painting pieces. The digital work appeals to my perfectionist left brain. I also love to explore with acrylic paints, creating textures and mixing colors to use in collage art. My right brain stays happy with the smoosh and spatter of real paint, and keeps my left brain from getting too bossy.” We don’t know how Carla does it, but her two-brained process clearly works to all our benefit!
In addition to her successes with ADG, Carla has licensed designs with Clearsnap Ink and with Trim-a-Rim. Another great triumph has been her recent release of “A Case of the Mondays,” an adult coloring book, now available on Amazon. Not content to leave coloring for the perky and unicorn-loving souls of the world, Carla offers her quirky, non-motivational take on the coloring book craze, including apathetic phrases “for those days you wish you could have just stayed in bed.” We can’t wait to see what Carla will do next, and we bet we’d even be willing to get up on a Monday to see her next project.
I have been working recently with Joy Allen as she starts to develop a new character brand called “Live the Life you Love”. It’s all about celebrating the Mature Woman, their strengths and their outlook. Right now, there are four women developing their own voice, and their own environment. Take a look and let us know what you think of Betty, Zelda, Gertie, and Lou. Do you think there is an appeal to a group of characters sharing their thoughts on the experiences during this point in our lives?
Speaking of mature women, … I have been working with two much younger (but also mature) women, our interns Tiara and Kristi, as we move our technology into the 21st century and establish a social media presence. I have to say right now that this thought had me a bit timid. However, they persevered and encouraged me to take it by the horns. It felt kind of like when the doctor says they will give you a shot on the count of three and then sneaks it in on two. I was telling them that I was ready to go live, and they informed me, “you’re already live”. What! I welcome you to join me in this path as we share a little behind the scenes of our wonderful team here at Artistic Designs Group. Wishing you all the best! – Julie, Missy, Tiara, Jenny and Kristi
Like many of you, we recently came home from the Surtex show in New York City. It is constantly amazing to me how two months of work can go by so quickly in those three days. First off, thank you to all of our friends and new friends that stopped by the booth to meet, to celebrate BaZooples 10th Birthday, to check out the debut of Barkly and Wagz, or just to see the newest art from the wonderfully talented team here at Artistic Designs Group.
I have to say how proud I am of all the new items that our artists produced for licensing this year. I had more than one moment when I looked around the booth and just smiled. Whether it was Carla’s Case of the Mondays that had most folks giggling, Joanne’s newest releases from her wonderfully successful Zenspirations line, Debra’s yummy new floral line, Michael’s eye-catching use of color from seascapes to Americana, Jenny’s always spot-on trend Indigo Coastal, or Annie’s Fresh Air, featuring fun loving, spunky birds flitting through a spring floral bed, I couldn’t be prouder. Joy introduced a new line this year called “Live the Life you Love” celebrating the strength and success of the mature woman. With so much new and promising work, who could blame me for smiling? We know what we think, please let us know what your thoughts about the new lines by dropping a comment.
From boyhood, Michael remembers loving to paint and draw. His parents must have recognized something special in him even from an early age, as they gave him ample encouragement. With private art lessons and his own unique eye, Michael harnessed his childhood passion in a big way!
ADG is thrilled to have Michael’s contribution to the team! He brings with him a great deal of experience, especially his more than a quarter of a century working in the greeting card industry. Julie says he’s proven to be “one of the quickest studies when it comes to interpreting an art director’s needs.” Experience pays off! Michael is himself a Creative Director for a national greeting card company, where he has served in that capacity for more than ten years! Here at ADG Michael is known for his “out of the box” creative thinking in order to meet customer requests. Julie says, “he always seems to find a way to get what the customer needs in an effective and efficient way.”
Michael finds inspiration in other artists, especially the impressionists, citing Monet and Renoir as favorites. He also enjoys the works of Picasso and Chagall, and finds ongoing inspiration in nature. Fortunately for us, Michael has a ready muse. “I love the water and currently live ten minutes away from one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen,” he tells us. “The constantly changing lighting from the sunrises and sunsets are awe inspiring.”
Fans may have seen Michael’s own line of boxed cards at Walgreens and other retailers, but not all of his work has been with cards. His paper designs have been sold at Walmart, and both Spencers and Amazon have sold his phenomenal posters. Michael’s designs have also been displayed at Marshal Fields and at Lord and Taylor. Most recently, Michael has been hard at work –or play?–immersed in Photoshop, writing and illustrating a children’s book from home.
Check out some of Michael’s work here… and stayed tuned for more, as Michael continues to put all that experience and creativity to good use!