BIG NEWS! I have two new books on the way!

I am so happy to share with you that I officially have two more books on the way๐ŸŽ‰! I've been working on these ideas since early last fall, and I am so excited that they are now both in the works :)

Katie Vaz Illustration

First up is MAKE YOURSELF COZY, an illustrated, interactive guide for practicing self-care and emphasizing the importance of โ€œme time." Next is THE ESCAPE MANUAL FOR INTROVERTS, an illustrated guide to humorous, sometimes absurd ways, to get out of social situations.

Basically, I write what I know, which is being introverted and anxious everyday, forever. 

Both will be published by Andrews McMeel in 2018 and 2019.

Here are a few sneak peeks ๐Ÿ‘€

A snippet from MAKE YOURSELF COZY.ย 

A snippet from MAKE YOURSELF COZY. 

A graph from THE ESCAPE MANUAL FOR INTROVERTS

A graph from THE ESCAPE MANUAL FOR INTROVERTS

A snippet from THE ESCAPE MANUAL FOR INTROVERTS

A snippet from THE ESCAPE MANUAL FOR INTROVERTS

Create Upstate Conference

Last Friday I went to the Create Upstate conference at the State Theatre in Ithaca. 

Create Upstate Design Conference

Working from home as a freelancer can feel pretty isolating at times (even for introverts like me!), so I know it's always good to attend events like this when possible. I especially like this conference because I know a few people that go, including my good friend Ilana from Sugar & Type. It's a nice way to catch up and have real life conversations that aren't through texting or email :). Although, nothing wrong with those forms of communication at all. They happen to be my favorite, being an introvert :) I just know I have to balance those with in person chats once in awhile. 

The speakers at the conference were pretty inspiring too. My favorite talk was by Tad Carpenter of Carpenter Collective. He's a designer, illustrator and author, and his work has an awesome mid-century style. He emphasized being yourself with what you create and allowing your life, your history, and location influence your art. At first, the "be yourself" stuff can seem very clichรฉ, but it is actually super hard to do and remember at times. I think especially now it can be difficult because we are surrounded by other artists and designers on social media every day, and I don't know about you, but I find it extremely hard not to compare myself. That struggle extends to all parts of my life, which can be a story for another time, but it happens a lot with my work. I really have to force myself to put on blinders and create what makes me happy and what feels natural to me, and forget about what seems trendy or popular with other people. So it was refreshing to hear someone very successful reinforce the idea and share his story of how he figured out how to be true to himself. At all of these conferences, I always end up leaving feeling so grateful to have a creative job, and so eager to go home and make stuff.

Tad Carpenter | Create Upstate Conference
Me and Sugar & Type

There are a few more conferences I'm interested in visiting in the next few years, one being Weapons of Mass Creation in Ohio, and the other is the ICON Illustration Conference, which is in a different city every other year. I've followed both on social media for a few years, and they look amazing. I bet they both would make for an inspiring experience and a fun road trip!

Local Fundraiser Poster

I recently illustrated a poster for an upcoming local bake sale to benefit Family Planning of South Central New York. It's a First Friday event taking place outside Atomic Toms in Binghamton in June. Find out more information about the event here: http://bit.ly/2pJFpF2

Binghamton Fundraiser | Katie Vaz Illustration

It sounds like it's going to be an awesome event for a great cause, and I was super happy to be of help :) If you are interested in donating baked goods or volunteering at the event, please reach out to me and I will pass along some contact information, or reach out in the Facebook event page here: http://bit.ly/2pJFpF2

New work + fabric samples

The 10-week portfolio workshop, Folio Focus, has just finished up and I am excited to share the rest of the projects I created. I'm really happy that I signed up for that workshop and I do think it helped motivate me to create some solid work for my portfolio. I find it so much easier to create work when I've got some sort of "real" assignment or deadline to follow. 

An illustrated map of Dessau, Germany. This is the city I lived in for two years while going to grad school. I remember most the food, the architecture, and the charming surrounding forests.

An illustrated map of Dessau, Germany. This is the city I lived in for two years while going to grad school. I remember most the food, the architecture, and the charming surrounding forests.

An ideal self-portrait

An ideal self-portrait

Abstract Pattern | Katie Vaz Illustration

Now on to an unrelated note, I received some fabric samples in the mail recently from Spoonflower. I recently opened a shop on there, so now my illustrated patterns are available to buy as fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap! I'll be adding new designs about every month, so check back often :)

Happy Snow Day + New Illustrations

This morning we woke up to a winter wonderland of at least 3 feet of snow on the ground, thanks to snow storm Stella. Yikes! 

Somewhere out there is my car!

Somewhere out there is my car!

I used to LOVE snow so much when I was younger. That changed once I realized how much I hate driving in it. Luckily, working for myself comes with the lovely bonus of not having to do that often :) Eventually, I'll have to go dig my car out, but for now I'll stay inside and draw myself some springtime.

Katie Vaz | Illustration and Surface Design

I've been meaning to catch you up on the last few weeks of the FolioFocus workshop I've been taking too! Here are a few of the recent illustrations I've created:

Katie Vaz | raccoon illustration | surface pattern design
Katie Vaz | Geometric Floral Pattern Collection
Kale Pesto Illustration | Food Illustration | Editorial Illustration

Building my portfolio and a Podcast!

Happy mid-February! Hope you are staying cozy and warm during this snowy week! 

Last week I signed up for Folio Focus, a 10-week online portfolio building workshop with Rise Design and Shine to help expand my portfolio. Eventually I'd like to start working more with art directors and manufacturers to license my art on various things like fabrics, gift wrap, apparel, stationery products, etc. A lot of illustrators attend this massive trade show in New York City, called Surtex, to sell their art this way. I don't feel ready to attend this year (but maybe next year!), so my goal is to spend this year making as much licensable art as possible. 

I was really excited to find out about Folio Focus, because I tend to work better when I have "real" deadlines. I am much more productive if there is something to hold me accountable, like this group workshop for example. When I try to give myself assignments, it's way too easy to get distracted by other projects that seem more pressing. Each week in this workshop, there will be a specific category to create commercial art for that will appeal to art directors and licensees. I think having the structure and guidance of this workshop will help keep me focused. 

Katie Vaz | Illustration | Valentine's Day Card

Anyways, last week's project was to create art for an "unconventional" Valentine's Day card. Lately, I've been on a cat drawing binge apparently, so more cats made an appearance here. I am quite happy with how it turned out though :)

On a separate note, fellow local author Jesan Sorrells, invited me on his podcast Earbud_U to talk about coloring books, what it's like to work for myself, cake, and a little bit about cats, of course. It's my first podcast interview ever! :) Listen to it here

New Valentine's Day Cards!

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday to design cards for! I just added a few new designs to my greeting card line, and you can see them in my shop here. I'm so pleased with how these new cards turned out and I'm very excited to share them with you!

I have such a hard time talking about my feelings and expressing myself vocally, so I prefer to write down what I feel instead. Usually, the things I want to say to people I care about end up being perfect for greeting cards, especially for this holiday.

Also, I just love this time of year when everything is pink and red and sparkly and chocolatey!