A Little Hut - Patricia Zapata

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A little hut has a new website!
As I mentioned in my previous post I will no longer be updating this blog. However, I wanted to quickly pop in and let you know I have a new online home. Please visit my new blog and site to keep up-to-date on all my products. Thank you so much for visiting this blog (10 years flies by real fast) and I hope to see you on the new one. Best wishes, Patricia

2015 - A year in illustration
This is my 9th and last year of posting a mosaic on this blog. Now don't worry. I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be online but not on this blog. I'm working a new home for 2016 and I can't wait to show you. For now, this will be the last time I post on this blog. Sadly, I haven't had time to keep up with it. So my 10th year here was more of a fizzle than a going-out-strong — which in the end has made it easier to let go. Everything has its time and place. I cannot sign off without saying that the experiences that I had and the people that I met through this blog are unforgettable. I will forever be grateful for everything and for all of you that visited throughout the years. Thank you, thank you. 2015 was the year where I got more confident with my illustration. I will always be grateful for headed in this new direction. My paper creations will always be my first love but it was time to stretch myself in something new. I'm so very grateful to those of you that embraced my new work and supported me with the publication of my new coloring book Flower Nook. Who knew that self-publishing would be something I'd do this year? Who knew that I'd go back to what got me interested in art to begin with? My paper projects where fewer but I can see how my illustration started affecting their style. I like that too. I think combining my graphic and organic styles is an interesting angle that I'll be exploring further. I'm working on a new site and new products so I'm ready for 2016 to get started. I can't wait. If you're curious my previous end-of-year mosaics are here: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Farewell Blogspot and hello new shiny site, that's in the works! (I'll post on Facebook and Instagram when it's ready). So excited to show off a clean slate! Thank you so much to those of you that have been around for so long be it here or anywhere where I happen to land online. Here's to a wonderful and shiny new 2016! Cheers and Happy New Year everyone!

Daisy duo gift set
I finally got my hands on some paper! It felt strange to be away for so long. It doesn't help that my studio looks like a bomb hit it. I started a purging process mid-summer and I haven't quite gotten around to finishing the job. The mess is not very conducive to any creative endeavor at this point. I need to move this decluttering to the top of my to-do list asap. I was reading an article on stamp collecting when I was sketching ideas for this Daisy Duo Gift Set. I put the two things together and this is what became of it. The set includes a gift box with a gift card holder, an accordion style card, a simple card and three different flower stamps. The negative spaces in the single flower designs allow for the addition of a stamped sentiment if needed. Below is an idea of a triptych that would be a very easy project to complete with the help of some frames. I favor Ikea frames for something simple like this. The subtle difference in pinks of the two flowers is something that I would keep in mind when selecting paper for this project. If the flowers were equal shades of pink the illustration would look very flat. By making the flower that is in the 'back' darker, a bit of visual dimensionality is added. You can now order the Daisy Duo Gift Set in the A Little Hut shop. Have a great day everyone—and enjoy the short week!

The making of flower nook
The way my Mom tells it, it was my Dad who was the most concerned with keeping us stocked up on crayons and coloring books. That's where my love of artwork started. I loved coloring and drawing before I even started going to school. There's one thing that I haven't shared about how my coloring book came about. It's on the personal side of things – something I've never talked about – but I figure, why not share it? I've always known and believed that my artistic abilities are not my own. I was born with them — they are a gift from God. I draw, create, design because I'm compelled to, but also because, with time, I've come to understand that sharing my gift is a must. That's how I approach all my work but for whatever reason I had it more present than ever with the creation of Flower Nook. Coming up with 50 illustrations for the coloring book was challenging because I wanted each drawing to be unique but still feel like it fit in with the others in the book. When I couldn't come up with a fresh idea I started a little ritual of just closing my eyes for a moment and asking God what I should draw. I'd open my eyes and jump in. The images and ideas would just flow. It was as simple as that. It was like it was all meant to be. So, yes, this is a special book. I feel like I've come full circle with a destined purpose fulfilled. But it isn't the end of a path by any means. It feels like a new beginning – the start of a new phase of my work. Very exciting! So there you have it. Sorry for the mushiness. I just had to get this out. Back to more creating and for now the reality of putting clean laundry away. Haha! • • • Diane and Kjansma, you are the winners of the Flower Nook: A Coloring Book giveaway. Congratulations! I will be in touch shortly. Thank you to all of you that participated and shared your thoughts on coloring. I loved reading every one of your comments and kind words. Too bad we all don't live close enough to have one happy coloring group — wouldn't that be fun!? Maybe an online version? Hmmm.... • • • Cards These are three new cards I made for my stash. My Mom liked my previous three (last post) so much I gave them to her, so I needed some replacements. Lol! -- I drew these illustrations on Borden & Riley Boris Layout Paper for Pens and then attached to A2 sized card stock. I used the Borden & Riley Boris paper to create all the originals for my coloring book. It also takes the marker ink really well. I will definitely be getting more of this paper soon! One more thing I am revamping my newsletter. I haven't been terribly creative with it and some of you may have unsubscribed from it (I don't blame you!). I have a new plan in mind and look forward to creating a weekly treat for your inboxes starting next Wednesday. If you'd like to join in the fun subscribe here!

Happy national coloring book day!
Tomorrow is National Coloring Book Day. Who knew? I just found out by chance a couple of days ago. I celebrated a day ahead by coloring one of my Flower Nook coloring pages and then turning it into a trio of note cards. This weekend also marks the end of our vacation (insert sad face). We stayed home this year and I took a very close to 100% internet and work sabbatical. It was a fabulously relaxing week and now I feel energized to take on the end of the summer and the start of school in a couple of weeks (ahh! too soon!). I'd been wracking my brain to see how one the illustrations from Flower Nook could translate into a paper craft project and I just couldn't come up with anything. I want it to be a bit like what I did with the Fantasy Bloom Gift Set. The week off gave me the mental space to finally come up with an idea that I think will work. We'll see! • • • To celebrate National Coloring Book Day I'd like to give away 2 signed coloring books (and a few other suprise goodies) today! All you need to do is leave a comment below (include your email address or a way to contact you) by answering one little question: what do you like the most about coloring and what is your favorite coloring tool.. or just say hello! I'll pick a random winner from the comments that are posted from now until Monday (August 3rd). That's it. Good luck, happy Sunday and happy coloring!

Color and frame - part 2
I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday and I thought it would be a good idea to answer some questions about using my coloring book. First of all my favorite tools for coloring: - Right now I’m into markers. I got some Prismacolor Double-Ended Art Markers for my birthday and I’m really hooked. One end has a flexible brush tip which is wonderful to give strokes a more organic look. The other side is a fine tip which is great for more detailed work. - I’ve always been partial to Prismacolor colored pencils. Thery're just the best. - Pastel pencils - My dad had a set when I was little and I was so careful with them. I just thought they’d crumble under the pressure I used back then. I've loved them ever since then because the blending options and soft look is just beautiful. I want to give them a try again with these coloring pages. - Good old regular lead pencils. Sometimes I keep a drawing in black and white and just add some shading. That’s a lot of fun too and less decision making. The coloring book has illustrations on only the right hand side of each spread - so the backs of all the drawings are blank. This makes it safe to use markers. Just remember to place an extra sheet of paper behind the page your working on so that the ink doesn’t bleed onto the next image. I move my paper around a lot when I’m coloring or drawing. Sometimes I want a stroke to be just so and the angle of the page is just wrong if I keep it straight in front of me. That's why I like single sheets. My coloring book pages aren’t perforated (it would’ve made the book much more expensive!) but you can cut them out with a few simple steps. 1. Place a letter-sized sheet of chip board or cardboard (a cut out of a cereal box would be perfect) behind the illustration you’d like to cut out. 2. Place a ruler at the point where you’d like to make the cut. Make sure the ruler is covering the image to protect it (in case your blade goes in the wrong direction!). 3. Make sure the cardboard is pushed in as close to the spine as you can get it and under the area you’re going to cut. 4. Hold the ruler steady and cut. Done! As you can see in the photo I also used the cardboard to protect my clipboard from the ink bleeding through the page. I hope these easy tips help you out. If you have any other questions feel free to ask below. Thanks again to all of you that believe in my work and have been ordering my coloring book. It’s been an exciting week! If you don’t have a copy of Flower Nook: A Coloring Book just yet you can order one on Amazon. If you do - thank you! - if you have a few minutes I’d appreciate you leaving a review on the. I’d love to see what you think! Have a great day everyone!

Color and frame
  Here is a mock-up, inspired by vintage botanical illustrations, of how you can display some of the images in Flower Nook: A Coloring Book. I kept the color to a bare minimum just to see what a limited color palette would look like. Full colored versions of these would really pop against the white background. Why not display your handy work? I'm still pinching myself because I can't believe this project is finally complete. Thank you so much for all your kind messages on Facebook and Instagram and for all your orders. I've been smiling all day long. Now onto the next big thing. I'm already thinking of the theme for the second book and I'm sketching ideas for another A Little Hut set. I need more hours in the day!

Flower nook: a coloring book is now available!
Look what I have to show you today! I'm so happy that Flower Nook: A Coloring Book is ready to go into the world. I still marvel at the idea it all started with some simple sketches I posted on Instagram. Several people asked me if my illustrations were available for coloring and here I am. The process of creating the 50 illustrations in the book took about two months. My sketchbook was my main source of inspiration and if you've been following me there you'll see the connection right away. I also remembered childhood fantasies where I wondered what it would be like to be tiny (like Thumbelina) and walk through blades of grass that were twice as tall as me and being surrounded by enormous flowers. That's why I included about 5 illustrations that have little girls enjoying the flowers and tending to them. I truly hope you enjoy the book as much I did creating it. I got silly excited when I got my proof copy in the mail. Ha! It reminded me a bit of what I felt when I got my first book. It never gets old. This project confirmed (yet again!) that I love working on ideas that my customers can take to the next level. Whether you're building something out of paper or adding color to pages, you're contributing your own dose of creativity and that thrills me. Hopefully, you're also having as much fun as I have when I'm working on all this – it truly is a joy to do what I feel I was born to do. Thank you so much to those of you that have been so encouraging during this process. Special thanks go to my amazing (patient!) family, to Jenean Morrison for sharing her expert advice and Natalie Barsalou for helping me name the book. You can order your copy of Flower Nook: A Coloring Book on Amazon. As always, thank you so much for supporting my work!

Cover to cover
I finished this sketchbook yesterday after working on it for a little over a month. It has been an unexpected fun routine to work on these small pieces in spurts of a few minutes here and there. Each illustration took me about 15-30 minutes to complete. As many of you know, the paper in Moleskine sketchbooks is fairly thin so the ink did bleed through the pages. I skipped a spread in between each illustration to keep from ruining my previous work. I was inspired by many of the flowers that I saw popping up this spring. For the most part I tried to interpret them in my own way without being entirely accurate. They're my made up versions of flowers. I liked that by working that way I could draw at leisure and just go with whatever was happening — very relaxing! I have larger sketchbooks I can jump into right now but I think I'm going to get another small one like this, to start this process again. The size is just perfect for quick ideas like these. What I used: - 3.5" x 5.5" Moleskine sketchbook - A variety of black ink pens (Staedtler 0.5 and 0.7, Micron 0.5, Sharpie) - I just used whichever was closest but my favorites (for this size of a sketch) where the Staedtler and Micron 0.5. - For shading: pencil and a gray double ended Prismacolor marker (love the brush end!) - One day I used a red LePen that a friend of work gave me. The tip is tiny and really smooth to use. For now I'm back to working on my coloring book which is coming along thanks to this sketchbook. I used these illustrations as ideas for that book. The opposite is true too. Some nights I'd work on something for the coloring book and it would influence a sketch the next day. It's been great to go back and forth between the two projects. Needless to say my work with cut paper has taken a back seat right now. If only there were more hours in a day! The good news is that I have ideas for my next A Little Hut set which I think will be a lot of fun. Stay tuned!

10 petals for 10 years!
This blog is officially 10 years old. How?! My babies where 5 and 2 when I started this. That seems like a lifetime ago. I've been about ready to shut the whole thing down several times and in the most recent I even took down almost all my posts—then almost immediately regretted it. I guess I'm not done yet. I feel like a new chapter is coming on. My work has seen such a transformation over the years and I've learned so much professionally and personally. I'd never finish this post if I listed every lesson, every unexpected opportunity and every kind message from friends and total strangers alike. Needless to say, it's a privilege to live in a time when I can make a living doing what I love and sharing it here with those of you that kindly visit. Right now, my illustration is getting stronger and my confidence in moving down this new path is going full force. So much so, that my current projects and ideas revolve around this. I can't wait to see what happens. My birthday was a little over 10 days ago so that seems to have put some fire under me too. I'm giving myself a year to see these new ideas develop and take stock next May. For those of you that still stop by, thank you so much for sticking around. I know that I haven't been consistent in recent months but I decided to be gentler on myself. I think my work and more importantly my family have benefitted from this new stance. Slower but better. It only took me 10 years to finally make that stick! Live and learn. Onward! xo Patricia

Fantasy bloom gift set
This one took much longer than expected. It's been in the making since I translated a hand drawn sketch into a much larger paper cut version. I'd been wanting to get back to it and it just hadn't happened until today. We're having a spectacularly uneventful holiday weekend because both kids are studying for finals (read: a lot of long faces around here!). So... in between going back and forth asking questions, I got to finish this. I really like that I stayed very close to my sketch. It gives the piece a little more of an organic feel that translates well in any size. I hope you enjoy working with this set as much as I had making it! Have a wonderful weekend!

My coloring book
These are two spreads in a mock-up of what could've been my coloring book. I was testing the paper (a lot of markers and coloring on this!) and it's perfect because it took the ink really well. I say 'could've been' because today I found out the costs behind trying to go down this path — not feasible. I want to make a quality book but at the same time it needs to be affordable and this option, however awesome, wouldn't be. I was really disappointed when I found this out just today. But... As luck would have it I have received information from a very generous, sweet person (thank you!!!) that will make my project a reality. The book will be reasonably priced and even though it won't be designed exactly how I had planned it, it will work well for everyone — my customers and me. Double-yay! I couldn't be any happier! So... now to continue drawing, drawing, drawing. I'm surrounded by sheets and sheets of flowers, leaves, and many other garden pretties. I can't wait for the reveal. I'm not sure of my timetable quite yet but let's just say that the beginning of summer (no homework, more sleeping time, etc) will be very helpful! :) Have a great weekend everyone!

To and fro
I always move between two worlds with my work. I go from very illustrative and loose to more graphic and simple. If I had to pick one I'd stick with the latter but I enjoy working both ways. I find that lately I've been craving the work with the loser illustrations and sketches. I've been working on them during the week as a warm-up to my day. It's been a great practice that keeps my design mind nimble. Typically, I look at my lose sketches and imagine them in a more graphic and reduced format. Today is a great example of how my sketch inspired a pattern that I'm really loving at the moment. Behind the scenes I've also been working on an adult coloring book. I'll show you some spreads when the time comes. Cant wait! • • • Most of these products can now be found in my Society6 shop. I haven't had time to update my Spoonflower shop but that will be forthcoming as well. Ta-ta for now!

Happy mother's day!
Have a wonderful day everyone! I'm enjoying it tremendously with my family and my babies (not so babies anymore, but in my heart they always will be). XO Patricia

Who wants to color?
I was going to take the sketch at the top as inspiration for some 3D pieces, but now I don't have time to do that. Another project has taken the front seat. I may tackle it down the road, but for now I decided to share the image with any of you that would like to color it in or for those of you that would like to try some paper cutting. This would look amazing cut out by hand! Just make sure to print it on some sturdy card stock. Get the free download here. Feel free to share your creations on my Facebook page or Instagram. I'd love to see what you do with this. More importantly, have fun!

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