introducing... kindred art collective!

Some fun news today! Five very non-local friends and I are announcing our new artists collective - named Kindred Art Collective. See our pretty website here.

The six of us gals met online within the last 2 years through the Make Art that Sells course offered by the art agent Lilla Rogers. The fabulously talented Jan Avellana (along with the superstar illustrator Lucy Banaji) & I all roomed together in May 2014 when we went to Surtex. (Surtex stands for Surface Textile and is an annual ginormous tradeshow in NYC where artists show art, meet new and potential clients, and sell and/or license their art to manufacturers, retailers, etc..) The idea of a collective was first floated around then, and thanks to Jan, her vision, her reaching out to some like minded artists, and a lot of Facebook interaction, finally it has come to fruition. Some of us are plan to exhibit at the next Surtex in 2016. (But, more on that in the new few months...)

Here are links to the individual websites of my co-collective mates: Sara BrezziMalu LenziKelly AngelovicJan Avellana, & Antoana Oreski. We literally live ALL over the world. (Philly, Italy, Brazil, Colorado, Croatia, Hawaii). I think we might even represent all the time zones. 

Here is our facebook banner doodle which we all participated in drawing on. (Be sure to visit and like our page if you are so inclined...) Can you tell which ones are mine?

We will each be introducing ourselves daily on our blog/website.

For our first collective project, we each did a Halloween piece. Shown below are the first 2 pieces in my collection. And the rest you can find on the Kindred Art Collective Gallery site here

Wouldn't it be FAB to see this artwork incorporated onto a table cloth for a large home decor manufacturer? Well - OK - now you know one of my dreams + goals.

Thank you for reading this, and do have a wonderful Monday. Let's all have a productive week!

GTS - cultivating creativity

Well the 2014 GTS finalists have been revealed. A "top 50" were chosen from 999 entries. Unfortunately this was not the year for me - but that's cool as I still need time to grow (cultivate) my portfolio. :) (And I happen to be swamped with work at the moment - which is always a good thing!)

I'm very excited to see many familiar names and friends who are in the top 50 moving forward - including my 2 roommates from Surtex this past May. (Jan and Lucy - fabulous work by both of them!!) I can't wait to see what everyone creates for round 2.

GTS 2014 - artwork by Barbara Chotiner -

GTS 2014 - artwork by Barbara Chotiner -

My final piece was a combination of printmaking & drawing and there is even a iPhone photo of one of my yard plants in there too! I was away on vacation for the majority of the time that we had to work on this assignment, so I did not have as much time as I had wanted (+ needed) to add some additional final drawing details + make this piece even more lush and fabulous. In hindsight, I may have been a tad too literal about the wall art assignment. I did not add any characters and ended up keeping it more like an overgrown magical forrest/terrarium bursting with color and life. (I had drawn some birds & even a deer, but at the end of the day they just did not mesh in well with the rest of the canvas. It never even occurred to me to put in gnomes or woodland animals - but they are rather cute in some of the finals.) Maybe I'll have to make another (less serious) one.

My final touch was to create the vine on the upper right which is reaching up and breaking free from the garden. In the end I am happy with the work I created. And in my mind at least, It is leaps and bounds better than my last years submission.

If interested - you can puchase the print right here at my (small but growing) Society 6 shop. :)

breathe in - breathe out - rinse - repeat

Editorial illustration time! This illustration was created for this article about meditation for people who don't like to meditate. I for one do, (thanks to a bunch of awesome mamas at my daughters preschool) but I admit it is very hard to find the time. But once I find it, I find am happy and grateful for finding the time and sitting calmly for 15-20 minutes. 

This piece was originally started in gouache and scanned in. I have been playing around with gouache and recently started a project where i complete a (25 minute) gouache painting a day in a (non precious) sketchbook. It was inspired by my amazingly talented friend Jennifer Orkin Lewis. She has been doing this since January and the results are amazing. I am posting my progress on instagram - which you can follow here. I am starting with the mini goal of 30 days and once that occurs I plan to extend it longer.

Namaste and happy monday!

Meditation - the hardest part is getting started... 

MATS Bootcamp March: Jello Molds

The theme for the latest Lilla Rogers Bootcamp, was Jello and Jello Molds! (Just google Jello Molds and you will find some very umm... interesting things!) I wanted to get back to creating some prints and drawings and ended up a bit abstract this month. I did some sketching, inking, some printmaking and ended up in Photoshop. A classmate whose work i LOVE said she could see it on a table cloth at Crate and Barrel. Oh to dream! 

See the entire gallery of 400 + interpretations of Jello here! (I made page 4 this month.)

Have I mentioned my new work is available for licensing and I am available for commissioned work?

If you want to see a little bit of the process of how I got here, please scroll down...

pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

more pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

more pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

mono prints created for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

mono prints created for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

a bavarian bonanza! (um what?)

Here is my last project for my Making Art that Sells course. The theme (of all things) for this final week, was to be inspired by Folk Art. But... specifically Bavarian and/or Ukranian Folk Art. How random and wonderful and it was something I would have NEVER thought of to draw inspiration from.

The market for the final week was paper/party goods. Ooh - how fun (read: amazing) would it be to have products in Target with my artwork on it? Hopefully one day! That is certainly a goal.)

We have learned SO many things in the 5 + 5 weeks of Lilla's class: Use icons. Use great color. Make sure it looks good small. Be yourself. Quirky is good. Be positive. And most important - PEOPLE BUY YOUR JOY!

Well, I tried to do all of this in week 5. I researched. I drew. I drew some more and then I embraced my inner quirk. I actually went "super quirk" on my little funny birds. I gave them them tights and high heels and knee high socks and hats and braids and surrounded them with yummy bavarian pretzels. I was certainly having fun dressing them up.

Barbara Chotiner | bzdesignstuff | created for Making Art that Sells

Barbara Chotiner | bzdesignstuff | created for Making Art that Sells

This class was amazing. I can't recommend it highly enough. The friends I have made from both sessions are invaluable as well as the knowledge and insight I have gained from Lilla and from Beth. I hope they run another MATS class. Word is they are planning on it. And once it is announced, I will be there toot sweet!

In the meantime, I am catching up on design work, creating more holiday cards for my etsy shop, and starting to gear up on a surface pattern design collection.

Happy Turkey Week everyone!


Happy Halloween! So… Week 3 of my MATS class brings me to the wide world of scrapbooking. Shown here are hand drawn and inked drawings which could be used for stickers elements and patterns for complimentary coordinating card stock. Say cheese! (but not cheesy!) :)

barbara chotiner | art for scrapbook collection - featuring retro camera / typewriter art

happy trails to you

How AMAZING would it be to have your own artwork licensed and printed onto kids clothing... a.k.a children's apparel? I think it would be pretty darn sweet. This is one of my goals/dreams as well as a favorite market of mine. I love perusing through (& saving) the Tea and Boden and Garnet Hill catalogs when we get them in the mail. I also love DPAM which my friend who travels to Paris quite a bit has turned me on to. And, while there are no more Olily shops in the states anymore, (boo) I still have quite a few of their old catalogs saved as well. 

Our theme in my MATS class this week was "camping". I created a little world of camping animals (& miscellaneous props) on an water and land adventure. I featured feathers and fireflies. I drew a TON and printed some background textures. Due to some other work deadlines, I did not have as much time as i liked to spend on this but I am pleased at the final. Would love to hear your thoughts!

PS who wants some s'mores??? 

"camp it up" artwork for children's apparel |  by bz designstuff

"camp it up" artwork for children's apparel |  by bz designstuff

ooh - its a blog parade!

So, the Making Art that Sells  class I took back in July and part B which starts up again in a few short weeks (yay!) has made me do all sorts of things...

First it made me make CRAZY amounts of awesome artwork in 6 short weeks...


Aftwewards, I purchased some video seminars from Surtex, as Lillas class made me realize I would like to build up a portfolio for licensing and surface pattern design.

Then to keep the creative juices flowing, I signed up for a fabulous and fun painting e course (currently in progress) called Daring Adventures in Paint. Here are a few of my favorite in progress paintings.

untitled acrylic paintings, 10" x 10"  4 of my in progress paintings for the class - Daring Adventures in Paint - taught by Mati Rose McDonough 

untitled acrylic paintings, 10" x 10"
4 of my in progress paintings for the class - Daring Adventures in Paint - taught by Mati Rose McDonough 

Then I entered a surface pattern design competition

Then I ran my first half-marathon.  (Wait - that's not related... but I wanted to share!) 

And today I am in a blog parade... It's all due to a wonderful (and private - sorry!) group which exists only online, and has emerged from the Making Art the Sell / Lilla Rogers' e-course. This international group of like minded artists has provided wonderful feedback and support and has been a valuable resource during and since the course. I have friends & supporters from all around the globe and it is a wonderful and vibrant - and ÜBER ÜBER ÜBER TALENTED - community.

I thought I would use this post as an opportunity to share here a few things I've been working on. 

Some recent design projects include: a few small brochure projects for Haverford College, a logo refresh for a NY law firm, a brochure for a company which specializes in home renovations, a poster for a public art project celebrating Mental Health recovery, a brochure for the awesome Fairmount & Queen Village Art Centers (in Philly) and last but my NO means least, a super fun illustration project! 

Map of Media, PA for Main Line Parent Magazine  |  illustrated by Barb Chotiner

Map of Media, PA for Main Line Parent Magazine  |  illustrated by Barb Chotiner

This family fun guide / map of Media, PA was something I Illustrated for the new issue of Main Line Parent magazine. That was a pretty fun job, as well as a labor of love!

Thanks for reading my words & please now get your little mouse or wacom pen & head on over to Julia's blog (aka MOOGBEE)! Julia is a super nice and super talented artist who also lives in the fine state of Pennsylvania. 

A final notes... thank you Linda for setting this BLOG PARADE up. And - a long overdue thank you to Ashley @ the Smash Works for including me in her showcase of Global Talent Search submissions.

Happy Monday Everybody!

gts - it's a process!

The finalists for the Lila Rogers Global Talent Search were announced yesterday. 50 were chosen from 1500+ submissions. (yowsers!) Unfortunately, I did not make the final cut. However, I was pleased that so many of my fellow MATS classmates did. (More than half I think!) Way to go you talented gals (& guy)!

I wanted to share my process and my entry in hopes to get some feedback. As you can see... where I started and where I ended are very different. This tends to happen and I feel now (as I have in the past) that something gets lost when I do my "finals." 

I had a blast with my initial sketching for the assignment. (Which was a 5x7 journal, for Paperchase (a fun & fab UK paper goods company) with the theme: vintage playground.) Phase 1 shows my favorite developed sketches of the bunch.

Phase 1 - sketching concepts

Phase 1 - sketching concepts

Then I started tightening up once of the sketches & added color: (phase 2).

I loved the dynamic composition but wasnt sure about such a large character being front and center, and you couldnt see the playground images. I also know her hair & eyes needed work! So... I revisited some of my phase 1 ideas.

Phase 2 - coloring

Phase 2 - coloring

Somehow I got very into the vintage metal playground spring animals & in one of those happy and delirious post midnight art-making moments, I created the art in phase 3. (In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken a chance and explored my new loose "smooshy texture + line drawing" style further and sent my final in this method.) It was done with printmaking, collage & hand drawing.

Phase 3 - a new direction

Phase 3 - a new direction

However, instead I did a bunch of drawings inspired by this above piece, and ended up with my final design submission: phase 4, shown below. I really focused on color, composition and character development. I wanted to make sure it read well small and kept your eye interested.

Phase 4 - the final

Phase 4 - the final

I was initially confident in my submission however, soon after I began to have my doubts. I could have pushed the coloring further. I could have perhaps cleaned up the subtle details. (i.e. eggs in the design for the rooster saddle, clouds for the toucan, carrots for the rabbit etc.) After a disappointing morning yesterday, I reread the post regarding the chosen few. It seemed very logical that one of the main factors for the narrowing down to the 50 was "a strong, evolved style."  I can freely admit that I am still trying to develop & find my own unique illustration style. While it is evolv-ING it is not yet evolv-ED, And, as I have been doing graphic design and art direction for 15+ years it is only recently that I am delving deep into the world of illustration, surface pattern design and art licensing.

And now with a good night sleep behind me - I find I am actually quite happy to be freed up to make some new art and take all the things I have learned in the past few months and put them into play. And so with this... I will more forward and draw some more. I will make more art. More prints. More projects. And joyfully still run my design business. And I will eagerly await October and Part B of MATS.  

And on a final note... in a non related email that also got yesterday morning (from my local hair salon which I love btw...) this quote was randomly mentioned. It was very apropos for the day and I'm pretty sure I have never quoted a president before! :)

"I will prepare and some day my chance will come." – Abraham Lincoln

I welcome any feedback & comments whether here below, or via email

Oh and thank you for reading my longest blog post ever. :)


lushy drawings

Hi - so on the final weeks of MATS class, we were to be inspired by our collections. I decided to raid the buddy bins of my 2 & 4 year olds and draw their plush little (stuffed animal) buddies. I can't tell you how excited they were to see "peaches", "flamingo", "seal" & others. Unfortunately I forgot to draw "Bora Bora" (he's a shark) but i'm sure he will make it into the next mock up! :)

I also decided this week to purely draw and not use my monoprints as I have been in doing previous weeks...

Be sure to click on the photo to see the detailed & process drawings.

the Snail and the Rose Tree

Book cover illustration for Hans Christian Andersen's The Snail and the Rose Tree. (Read the not so happy fairy tail here.) Created in conjunction with Making Art that Sells.

I'm not sure where this "smooshy texture + line drawing style" has come from - but i am totally digging it and going with it. I have an inside spread I have yet to finish but i hope to soon.


wall decor

Here are my two pieces I created (last week) for the Lilla Rogers art course I have been taking. Once again I started with a few hours of monoprinting cut shapes and then added line drawings and a few random scanned objects. The assignment was to create "wall" decor for a canvas. There needed to be collage elements, a flower, a bit of text and my assigned colors were orange and blue. (yay - to Syracuse (my alma matter) and to the Mets (my original home team!) The target demographic happened to fall within my age range - so that was a help. I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out. I think i've found a new way of working! I think i may even get the first one printed on canvas and hang it in my daughters room. (She wants the top one. She even carried a printout of it around the house this weekend.

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Submission

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Submission

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Second Design

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Second Design

delicious florals!

Another week of joy & fun! I am loving this Making Art that Sells class. I am leaving my comfort zone of vectors + Illustrator and having fun in the process. Here are my plate designs for the latest assignment. (Plate designs for my dream clients: Anthropologie, West Elm and Crate & Barrel.)

The assignment was to be inspired by "odd pods" and seeds. I started with some monoprinting (see post below) and did then a bunch of little pencile and ink drawings and then had a blast playing with them all digitally.


print/making + making/prints...

Today I started out with some drawings and was feeling a bit rusty - so i decided to let loose and do some monoprints/painting & printmaking. It turned out to be a pretty fun afternoon. (Despite the crazy rain + a PA tornado watch...) Looking forward to seeing what become of these monoprint "floral sketches." I'm thinking some (ink?) drawings on top. Perhaps some digital additions... (Click on the photo for a few additional images.)

PS I'm so pleased to be a part of this class! 

going back to school...

Happy. Nervous. Excitied. I've signed up for the Lilla Rogers e-course on "Making Art that Sells". What a great opportunity to learn from the top as well as freshen up my portfolio!

Its been 5 years since I've really sat down and made some art and now that my kiddos are 2 & 4, i'm feeling the urge to create once again. (Hence I took a recent printmaking class too.) It looks like there are some super talented students in the class which will really keep me on my toes. Class (finally) begins next week!

I made this little collage in preparation. It's a little bit of analog and a little bit of digital. I've never made anything like this before - but it was a fun process. Looking forward to more explorations in the next 5 weeks!