Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sugar Plum Fairies are Flying!

Time to share a little holiday cheer ~
click to see the 30-second movie:

I created a book cover
as part of the ongoing fun
inspired by Lilla Rogers Studios.

Sugar Plum Fairy Adventure School book cover by Christina Mann Designs

Since I painted a couple of fairies, 
and imagined them going to school to learn
their various adventurous fairy skills, 
I decided I had to animate them!

May your season be filled
with sweet things,
a sense of meaning
and ways to contribute
to the world,
and a whole lotta

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Free December Printable Calendar Page

It's my last free calendar page for 2016!

Free St. Nicholas December Calendar Page | Visit I Gotta Create!
Click image to download your calendar!

Celebrating that jolly fellow
St. Nicholas,
who was known for his miracles,
his secret gift-giving,
and as the patron saint of children, among others.

May the spirit of
gratitude, generosity and care for 
one another abound in every heart!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Free Printable November Calendar Page

Happy November!

Free printable November calendar page features gouache hand-painted mums and squash | Visit Christina Mann Designs

It was such a joy 
to hand paint in gouache these 
beautiful mums and squash!

I've also loved using my brush pen
to practice hand lettering 
the months of the year.

Now I want to share this joy with you 
in the form of a free, printable calendar page!

You can click HERE to download
your printable calendar page.

While you're at it, check out
these other November printables and crafts on my
popular Maker & Crafts blog:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ada Lovelace: First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace as a child. First computer programmer. | Art by Christina Mann Designs
Ada Lovelace, 1st Computer Programmer, as a Child.

The first computer programmer
was a woman.

Her name was Ada Lovelace 
and she lived in England in the mid 1800's. 

Ada's brilliant mind easily connected
intuition, imagination, and science
to explore concepts in new ways.

She called it "poetical science."

She saw a century ahead of time the implications
of modern computing in the simple "analytical engine" first described in 1837 by Charles Babbage. She wrote the first algorithm for it.

Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated in mid-October
to raise the profile of women in
science, technology, engineering and math.

Now that's brilliant!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hello October! Free printable calendar page

Free printable October calendar page by Christina Mann Designs

I love the month of October!
So I'm going to share it with you
in the form of a free
printable calendar page.

Just click the photo
to get your download!

Happy October!

By the way...
If you have some art you'd like to share
on my popular Crafter & Maker blog,
come join the party HERE.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Share Your Art Party on my Popular Maker's Blog!

It's a party for YOUR ART
and for artists!

Share Your Art Party at I Gotta Create & Christina Mann Designs!

Would you like the opportunity
for a little more visibility?

My popular Maker and Craft Blog
I Gotta Create!
has been visited more than 
2.6 million times!

And I'm hosting my very first
on the blog.

You can go there NOW,
or share your art in the link party gadget below
and it will show up here AND there!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Using Live Paint in Adobe Illustrator

Using Live Paint and paint bucket in Adobe Illustrator | Tutorial at Christina Mann Designs

Today we're going to focus on 
using Live Paint in Adobe Illustrator.

Color is endlessly fascinating!
The same image can convey a different message and mood just based on color.

We'll keep this tutorial simple and
straight forward so you can begin
exploring the effects of color
using your own sketches.

If you're a beginner,
and you haven't yet turned one of your
sketches into a vector image,
check out my tutorial for that HERE.

Using Live Paint and paint bucket in Adobe Illustrator | Tutorial at Christina Mann Designs

The advantage of vector art 
is that it can be resized from tiny to huge
without losing quality.
This allows YOU as a Maker
to easily resize your art to 
create posters, greeting cards, 
fabric, or any number of 
fun projects.

So let's start coloring 
one of your vectorized sketches!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Happy September!

In this hemisphere,
September means Fall is on the way!

I'm celebrating by offering a
free printable September calendar page.

Head on over to my Maker & Craft Blog
to download it right away!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Turn your Sketches into Vector Art

Turn your Sketches into Vector Art. How to Use Image Trace and Live Paint in Adobe Illustrator.  | Tutorial at Christina Mann Designs.

I realize many of you
may be using Adobe Illustrator
to turn your images into vector art.

But if you're a beginner,
this tutorial is for you! 
We're going to stick with the basics today.

I love to sketch! 
Whether realistically or in a stylized contour-drawing manner, its so much fun.

"Vectorizing" your drawings 
--which means they can be resized 
from tiny to huge without losing quality--
means you can use them for posters, 
greeting cards, fabric, or any number of 
projects that appeal to Makers.

Turn your Sketches into Vector Art. How to Use Image Trace and Live Paint in Adobe Illustrator.  | Tutorial at Christina Mann Designs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Celebrate Every Good Thing

It is truly amazing what a difference
an attitude of 
celebration and gratitude
can make in your life.

I didn't realize just how throughly
I have cultivated that habit.
That is, until I saw reactions
to an event that made it clear
I've apparently "rewired" my own circuits,
which consequently brings
an deep measure of joy into my life.

The reactions jarred me into a compassionate desire to share what I've learned. Because they showed me in stark terms how we humans can push away positive things because they seem "too small."

Imagine a river of  potential joy going unnoticed because the raindrop that feeds it seems inconsequential. 

Might you be pushing away joy
along with a more fulfilling life that is already 
right under your nose, waiting for you to notice?

Here are some possible tip-off phrases:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Global Talent Search Recognition!

Good News!

I'm thrilled to be one of just 83 artists 
out of the nearly 1,000 artists
submitting work to the 
Global Talent Search
hosted by top art agency Lilla Rogers Studio!

Christina Mann Designs: teacup art for licensing is recognized by top art agency Lilla Rogers Studio

my art is available for licensing

My work was among the 33 in the
Honorable Mention category,
and I am indeed honored!

50 artists made it to the
semi-finalist round, so I will
be keeping an eye on their amazing

In the meantime, I will remain
happily busy working on this
theme for licensing. 
I've got some sassy women
who will make your tea time a real hoot!

Good luck artists!
You can read the entire list of 
recognized artists HERE.

Thank You, Lilla Rogers Studio!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Lift Your Pinky Darling ... tea cup design

Christina Mann Designs:  Lift Your Pinky tea cup design for licensing

I had a BLAST developing concepts
and completing artwork
for teacup, saucer and napkin designs
for a theoretical pastry shop.

The assignment is part of the Global Talent Search

Christina Mann Designs: illustration and designs for licensing

My process started with exploring
various types of tea cups.
I tend to like anything vintage...

Christina Mann Designs:  lettering and designs for licensing

I then played around with lettering.
I had painted
dessert elements in the days
leading up to the assignment.

Christina Mann Designs:  Lift Your Pinky tea cup design for licensing

I decided to go
with a classic shape
but then get a little saucy and quirky with it.
Playful, Sweet and Saucy all at the same time!

I've got a ton of ideas 
for a whole line, and am happily 
drawing and painting up my ideas.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tea and Honey

Sweet little Tea and Honey Illustration by Christina Mann Designs

I had fun pulling together
this little illustration.

I especially love the wonky lines
juxtaposed with my 
straightforward little honey bear.

You can get the honey bear as
clip art in my shop Here.

I was inspired by the preparation theme
for the Global Talent Search

I do love tea!
I have plans underway for many more
teacups, teapots and related items
for art licensing.

What's your favorite beverage?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Children's Book Illustration: Vicuna

They're not llamas.
They're a much cuter cousin.

They're called Vicuna and they live in the Andean Mountains. I learned all
about them as part of my assignment
creating a concept for a 
children's book illustration.
Christina Mann children's book illustration of Vicuna -- Sweet and Saucy, giving Raspberries!

What do you look for in children's books?
Cheeky little characters?
Finely detailed art?
Graphic shapes and colors?

I explored a variety of moods and approaches
with this assignment.

I painted Vicuna with watercolors...
Christina Mann children's book illustration of Vicuna

and played around with different marks and textures, even getting a bit strange with some choices.

Then I just painted watercolor patterns,  manipulating and layering them digitally to merge with my Vicuna shapes...
Christina Mann children's book illustration of Vicuna
which achieved a dreamy and ephemeral look.

Next, I used color pencils...
Christina Mann children's book illustration of Vicuna
which created a nice, soft look. The watercolor flora and clouds bring in a bit of dreaminess again.

Christina Mann children's book illustration of Vicuna -- Sweet Version. The Saucy one is giving Raspberries!

But in the end I fell in love with the gouache version. Here she is embellished with watercolor Peruvian lilies and rug.

I enjoyed making her sweet, but then wanted to have my characters do something a bit playful, maybe even a bit ornery. 

Christina Mann children's book illustration of Vicuna -- Sweet and Saucy, giving Raspberries!

So I painted them giving raspberries.

Christina Mann children's book illustration of Vicuna -- Sweet and Saucy, giving Raspberries!

You can see my assignment and other
artists' take on it at the 
Make Art That Sells Bootcamp Gallery

On a more serious note,
Vicuna have been hunted for their
exquisitely soft fur, which pushed them to
endangered status.

The people of the Andes
conduct a round-up every 3 years
to shear the Vicuna. It takes that long to
grow the fur. Vicuna have slowly made a comeback, but poaching still happens.

May the Vicuna with their
big dark eyes and lashes be free
to roam and play
in the Andes

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Catching Fish With My Watercolor Brush - Without a Net

These days I'm painting without a net!
Yet I was still able to capture this 
little goldfish with my paintbrush.

I've been participating
as I'm able in the June painting challenge with
Jennifer Orkin Lewis, 
also known as August Wren.

I love Jennifer's work and watching her paint!
It really inspires me to jump in and paint.

I've been getting bold and not even sketching before painting these lovelies--I'm painting without a net. It's been very freeing! 

Thought I'd share a little something here.
You can see my other watercolors

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Playing with Painting Shadows

Watercolor Fork Shadows by Christina Mann Designs
Watercolor Fork Shadows by Christina Mann Designs

Just a quick share of some fun play
with shadows!

Here's all you do: take an object and let it cast a shadow on your sketchbook page. Then sketch or paint what falls on your page, not worrying about being exact. 

What a great way to warm up, stay loose and play with colors and composition! I think I'm going to be addicted to this technique for awhile.

Inspired by Lisa Solomon's
shadow-casting technique class
on Creative Bug.
Thanks, Lisa!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lumberjack Ornaments

It feels either late or super early,
but it's been looking a lot like Christmas around here!

I've been creating lumberjacks and their woodland animal friends and developing them into lodge-inspired holiday ornaments.

The assignment came from MATS Bootcamp, and the gallery of artists' take on it can be viewed here.

You can see some of my animal friends


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Walrus Update

Just a little update on a previous post
about the Walrus
I'm painting in watercolor and gouache.

Can't get that Beatles song
outta my head!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Honey Bear Collection

I adore tea.
I drink it every day.
And it inspired me to create this
interactive clip art collection!

You can use the 

Honey Collection

to make cards or other printables or gifts
for anyone or anything you're sweet on.

Mother's Day is coming up.
But these would also be perfect for an
engagement, shower, anniversary,
birthday, thank you, spring or summer party,
or Valentines Day.

The collection contains:
two types of bears, a honey pourer,
3 sizes of bees, 2 types of spoons,
3 types of honey wands, the honeycomb,
the heart with the word 'honey'
and a few backgrounds.

This way, you can decorate your
bears or honey pourer as you please!

Grab 'em at my etsy
for about what you'd pay for a latte!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Walrus in Progress

This crusty guy is coming along swimmingly.

Going to go for a bit of a stylized cute factor.
Gouache and watercolor

Just sharing a little #WIP
Work In Progress...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Coloring Book cover featured on Make Art That Sells

A big shout out and thank you to Lilla Rogers and the Make Art That Sells team for featuring my coloring book cover art in your instagram feed!

You can follow that feed here.

I have a bunch more 
beautiful women and 1920's flappers drawn up. 

I'd would love to work with the right team to bring these beauties to life in a real book.

I'm open to lots of possibilities for a color book. One idea I had: wouldn't it be fun to make it a mixed media "color book?" 

I'd love for these rich images to be lush with watercolor, gouache, marker, various inks and jewels applied by all you creative types out there.
That would make them fun to frame for home
decor or give as gifts. 

And I'd love to license them for cards as well.

I can feel that this is going to happen...

Contact form is to the right on my sidebar!

Artists, check out MATS bootcamp here
for fun assignments like this one to inspire you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Coloring Book Cover: 1920s Flapper theme

So my latest project has been so much fun!

We've been drawing flappers
and all things 1920s.

I whipped out a bunch of pencil sketches, played with various styles, completed some drawings, and played with markers. I really enjoyed the theme, and although they aren't easy, I do like sketching faces. 

Of course, you can see
my latest meanderings on

In previous projects I had sketched out some flowers. To that, I added sketches of pussywillow, one of my favorite spring plants.

I then brought these creations into adobe illustrator to complete
 our assignment: a coloring book cover.

The idea with the cover is to color some of it in, leaving other areas blank. I decided I wanted my color book lines printed in gold foil on my cover.

Here's a look at my cover:

Is this a coloring book YOU 
would be interested in? 
I'd love your feedback. 
I just realized I've had my comments off, 
so I fixed that in late August. :/

My hat is off to Lilla, our MATS Bootcamp leader extraordinaire, who came up with this fun assignment. You can learn more about that and see some of the other artists' work here.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Planting New Seeds


I'm planting new seeds of creativity around here. 

You may know me from my popular craft blog
at I Gotta Create!

My lifelong passion for creative pursuits (writing, crafts, home decor, home design & building) has expanded as I've fallen in love again with drawing, sketching and painting.

This is the place where you'll find a sampling of my artwork available for licensing to create: 
fabric, home decor items, gift items, scrapbooking,
children's literature illustration, editorial illustration,
and so much more.

Thank you for your interest in my work!

Connect with me anytime through my contact form on the sidebar.