announcement: i have an etsy shop!

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase with the link, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping me buy art supplies. <3

It's been a looooong time coming, but I have finally figured out my printer so I can make prints of my original art at home to sell to you good folks! I have been wanting to do this for months, but I looked into getting prints of my art made and it turned out to be too expensive, so I had to save up to get my own printer. That also required some time to research, and then I got the printer and I had to figure out printing in general. You know, how to scan and edit my work so it resembled the originals as closely as possible. 

Anyway, since I extended my long weekend to 5 days, I spent most of that time working on getting this all sorted out, and today's the day I opened shop! I'm SO excited, and SO nervous. But I've watched so many videos on YouTube from people basically just saying to open the shop and you'll figure the rest out as you go. 

So here it is! My cute little shop on the internet. 

I'm starting by focusing on prints right now, because that's something I can make at home with relative ease, and I already have the supplies so I don't need to purchase anything else. I also don't have to store product as I can print-to-order. But in the future I definitely want to explore getting stickers made, and maybe enamel pins! Oh, and I'm definitely going to make some hand painted totes. Here's an example of that. I took a tote I already owned and customized it with Posca paint pens. I loved the process so much that I'm going to save up to buy some blank totes to paint and sell! 

I bought this tote from  The Outrage , and painted it with Posca paint pens!

I bought this tote from The Outrage, and painted it with Posca paint pens!

You can visit my shop here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/JessCoutureArt 

the world needs more body positivity in art

I've noticed a pattern with myself. Whenever I'm feeling particularly bad or gross about myself, I take that feeling and turn it into a piece of art meant to uplift others out there who might be feeling the same as me. Sadly there are far too many people with a constantly-negative inner dialogue, and mine has been particularly nasty lately. Not just crapping on my soft, lumpy body, but on my inability to adult and my inadequacy as an artist, too! 

When I'm feeling this way and creating these sorts of body positive pieces, it often serves double duty in making other people feel good, which in turn helps me to realize that my body image hangups are not unique, and therefore not interesting, so I shouldn't worry too much about them. It's that whole, talk-to-yourself-like-you-would-talk-to-your-best-friend thing. I'm trying to shut down my negative self-talk by spreading a little positivity. 

A painting of a girl in a bathing suit that I painted in my sketchbook with Posca paint markers.

A painting of a girl in a bathing suit that I painted in my sketchbook with Posca paint markers.

Actually, when I started this piece I wasn't feeling particularly bad about myself, I was just struck by the beauty of the photo posted by Nettle's Tale Swimwear on their Instagram. You should definitely check them out! And then for some reason, as this week went on I felt like I was on an emotional downward spiral.

I think I hit the bottom last yesterday, though. I'm generally a really happy and positive person, but yesterday the only two things that made me genuinely smile were a sweet text message from a friend (thank you again <3) and the song Roar by Katy Perry, which I listened to many times after that to try and pull myself up.

I'm feeling a little better going into this long weekend, which I extended by adding days off at the start and the end. I needed time away from my day job to work on my various projects related to my art business, as well as just get some space away from people for a while. I'm sure some of you know how that is. 

Side note: I'm really into Posca paint pens right now. Expect to see a lot of work done with these babies. 

Well, this turned out a little more ranty than I had planned. Let's move on. :) Here are a couple of other pieces that came from me feeling shitty about myself, which both ended up being very well-received on Instagram. 

Illustrated lettering that I created in Procreate on my iPad pro.   I was feeling really horrible when I made this. It was hot, I couldn't wear a skirt without spanks because my thighs would be on fire in no time, and I was feeling really uncomfortable in my clothes. I also wasn't taking the best care of my skin so I was broken out. I was hiding my body from my boyfriend. It was a bad time!

Illustrated lettering that I created in Procreate on my iPad pro.

I was feeling really horrible when I made this. It was hot, I couldn't wear a skirt without spanks because my thighs would be on fire in no time, and I was feeling really uncomfortable in my clothes. I also wasn't taking the best care of my skin so I was broken out. I was hiding my body from my boyfriend. It was a bad time!

Lettering and illustrations created in Procreate on my iPad pro. This piece started with the legs. When I was practicing figure drawing the poses were so short that when I looked down I had a page full of legs and was inspired.   Again, this one came from heat. It was way too hot to wear pants, but I was way too busy to waste time shaving my legs. Eventually I got over it and just had exposed leg hair! And truth be told I don't think anyone even noticed.

Lettering and illustrations created in Procreate on my iPad pro. This piece started with the legs. When I was practicing figure drawing the poses were so short that when I looked down I had a page full of legs and was inspired.

Again, this one came from heat. It was way too hot to wear pants, but I was way too busy to waste time shaving my legs. Eventually I got over it and just had exposed leg hair! And truth be told I don't think anyone even noticed.

I've been wanting to draw more humans. It's something that terrifies me because humans are complicated and so, so diverse. But I'm still trying to push myself out of my comfort zone each day, so I'm incorporating more human figures into my art. And I vow to base my sketches on real people. People like me and people not like me. My style is not super realistic at all, but that doesn't mean I can't base my illustrations on natural bodies. We are much more interesting than what society wants us to be, and art is so much more interesting when it's diverse. <3  

there's a blooming corpse flower in my city!

And I'm not going to see it irl. 

Uncle Fester by Jess Couture, made in Procreate with brushes from Bardot Brush

Uncle Fester by Jess Couture, made in Procreate with brushes from Bardot Brush

Don't get me wrong, I love seeing everyone's Instagram posts, and I do think the corpse flower (aka Amorphophallus titanum, ours is named Uncle Fester :) ) is beautiful. But I have a very sensitive schnoz and I'm not a fan of gagging or puking in public. 

Even though they say that he's not as stinky as most because he bloomed prematurely... still no. No fomo here. Yes it's rare, and yes I'm excited that my city has such a cool botanical moment to share... still no! I'm happy to enjoy it through the eyes of others from afar.

testing out more custom procreate brushes

I hope your day is as magical as this rainbow forest!

This was painted in the Procreate app with the prismatic marker brushes by Lisa Bardot.

This was painted in the Procreate app with the prismatic marker brushes by Lisa Bardot.

These brushes are like magic. I don't really know what else to say about them. They remind me of the colour-changing markers my friends had and I wanted so badly when I was a kid. I never did get them but I would borrow them from my friends at school. I'm not used to working with such vibrant colours but I'm a fan! 

This marker set by Lisa Bardot of Bardot brushes comes with three sets of brushes; flat, authentic, and prismatic, as well as three recommended colour palettes. She also includes install instructions which I was grateful for. Well worth the $14 US price tag. 

You don't need this. Procreate comes with enough brushes to keep you busy for a really long time, I just really wanted them when I saw the way they worked on her Instagram demos. 

sketching on the train - finding time for art practice

Yesterday we took the Skytrain out to the suburbs to have dinner at Graham's parents' place. I packed my sketchbook in my purse on the off chance that I could get a seat and get some sketching done.

It was my lucky day! 

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

I wasn't working on anything in particular. I have been wanting to incorporate some abstract whimsical trees into a piece, so I spent some time drawing trees I was seeing out the window. And after I got tired of that I sketched some elements from the patterns on women's clothes on the train. Lastly I drew that odd face representing the person who coughed for the whole 45 minute train ride. I feel bad about it now but all I could think on the train is that I'm probably breathing in those coughs. 

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

I love odd the little fish, which was inspired by a lady's tote bag that was covered in fish. I feel inspired to incorporating these elements into upcoming patterns. Maybe not the coughing face though. 

This is proof that just carrying around a sketchbook helps you take advantage of the pockets of downtime we encounter in our days. 

testing out custom procreate brushes

For some reason the first thing I thought when I woke up was I need to draw balloon animals, like, right now! Well it was my second thought. My first thought was actually the same first thought I have every morning. Coffee please. 

While Graham made us our cups of hot, dark life liquid, I got to sketching these cuties from reference photos I pulled up on Pinterest. 

Painted with gouache brushes by Lisa Bardot (all but the colour splashes in the background).

Painted with gouache brushes by Lisa Bardot (all but the colour splashes in the background).

I was really excited to test out the new custom Procreate brushes I grabbed from Lisa Bardot's Creative Market shop. I haven't really messed around with custom brushes too much yet, but I found her on Instagram and saw what results she was getting with the brushes she was making and I knew I needed to get two of her sets. The gouache brushes and the markers. I'll do another post about the markers after I have time to get used to them. But trust me, they are incredible. There's just a bit of a learning curve to learn how to get the best results from them. 

Here's a rough swatch test of the gouache brushes included in her kit. It's not pretty but it gives you an idea of the various textures you get. 

gouache-brush-swatches-lisa-bardot.jpg

These sets are incredibly affordable considering they all come with loads of brushes, and I imagine a lot of work goes into testing and perfecting them. I can't allow myself to browse anymore brushes for fear that I'll spend all of my money on them. :p 

my favourite feature of the recent procreate update

In case you didn't know, I use the Procreate app on my iPad Pro + Apple Pencil to make my art. I think I'm coming to terms with the fact that I've completely transitioned from traditional art, even though I haven't let go enough to get rid of all of my art supplies. 

Anyway, I could probably write a whole blog post about that internal dialogue, but it's Saturday, and I don't want to get that deep today. 

Procreate released an update recently, I don't know the exact date, and it included a handful of really cool new features and tools. I haven't had a chance to play around with all of them yet, but I took some time this morning to test out the one I was most excited about; the symmetry feature. 

 

Symmetry assist in action

Symmetry assist in action

One thing I noticed is that when you use brushes with texture or patchiness, like the pencils, you end up with a bit of distracting banding. It's most noticeable in the the pink watercolour flowers with the ruffled edges on the petals. This can be fixed by applying more pressure to reduce the instances of gaps in the line, but it's something you'll want to pay attention to. 

Pink and red floral pattern by Jess Couture

Pink and red floral pattern by Jess Couture

This feature will be getting a lot of use in the future. It makes creating flowers and patterns so easy and fast! And I can see mandala artists finding this very useful.