“Make Art That Sells” Bootcamp, June Assignment


With a work project going on vigorously this month, I wasn’t even sure if I would have been able to complete and submit for “Make Art That Sells” Bootcamp‘s assignment this month. Thankfully there was a strange holding gap at my work schedule, and I was able to hurry, finish, and submit my final art work. I wasn’t happy with what I submitted, but participating is better than nothing!

Mini Assignment: Ship In A Bottle, Whales, and Nautical Theme
We were asked to doodle “ship in a bottle”, and maybe whales too. We were asked to use a medium that we are familiar and comfortable with. For me that would be Adobe Illustrator. This sounds very easy, right?

I thought this topic was so clever and I immediately fell in love with it. I even saw it in my head how my final submission is going to look like. I wanted to have a variety of boats in bottles with different designs. Some bottles has stories in them. Then I also sketched out whales and how they interact with ships.



I scanned these in, and started to trace them in vector. There I realized that’s just not how I envisioned it to be. I wanted them to be in watercolor, or any hand-drawn medium.

It would have looked GREAT if I were skilled  with a brush! With that limited 2-day gap, I was still able to re-draw these in watercolor, and I had so much fun drawing. I drew the bottles separate from the boats, and planned to put them together in Photoshop. Drawing was so therapeutic considering my work is on the computer 99.9% of the time.

Main Assignment: Wall Art
Let me let you in for a little secret: I am terrified by the word “Wall Art”. To me, to be able to create “Wall Art”, you have to be an “Artist”. Which means you have to be Pablo Picasso, and maybe Chagall and other Masters too. Yeah. That’s part of the reason why I always froze like a deer in headlights when I am asked to create “Wall Art”. I am just a little person who enjoys make little drawings of silly whales and boats! That’s not “Art”…

I wonder when I can break that mode of thinking. Maybe I need to get brain surgery.


Regardless, I was still having fun and not think too much about the end goal. I reminded myself that I am not drawing something for The Buckingham Palace, and I won’t be beheaded if it sucked. I was listening to “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson + Justin Timberlake, and kept coming back to the image where the whale was carrying a boat. I have watched a video about how a baby whale, who was tangled with layers and layers of fish nets, was rescued by people on a boat that passed by. The whale was very scared at first, but was so happy and thankful when it was rescued, it swam around the boat, making splashes, and took the boat on its back and went for a ride. So much love and so much happiness. It also reminded me of this handmade boat, similar to this one, I purchased from Ann Wood when I was pregnant with my son. The little birdie in the boat signifies my baby’s arrival. I felt like the mother whale carrying my baby through the oceans.

Yes. This was one of the projects I cried when I was drawing. Tears of joy.

Unfortunately my execution is very juvenile, and time was not on my side. I wasn’t thrilled with the end result. The colors wasn’t consistent, and it didn’t make sense to me that the whale was in a gallon of water, and the composition was so contained. I didn’t have much time and I have to submit anyway.


My work project is coming to a close, so I came back to revisit my Nautical “wall art”. I think the above image would be something I’d feel more comfortable in submitting. This was more in-line with what I envisioned in the beginning. I tweaked the colors in Photoshop so it falls into a more limited palette with greenish-blue, reddish-orange and yellow. And at the end, the boats don’t look as good as when they are contained in a bottle, so I freed them.

Hopefully I can gather enough courage, and pitch my work to manufacturers and it can be published in some form of media. Hopefully that day arrives soon. Like, maybe by July. That would be great.

Last but not least, the Official MATS June gallery is live and my silly whale is on the bottom of the first page. There are so many beautiful work this month so please don’t miss it!


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