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1. She's alive!

For all of you who were wondering - I'm still alive! Sorry for not posting for so long. I've been super busy - with building my new company! Everything is starting to come together, slowly but surely - I officially incorporated my new company in the USA this week! Champagne Promises LLC - modern, romantic wedding invitations with my illustrations!

And check this out, I just branded my iphone! Hah!!!

my branded i-phone and my brand new business cards!

Greetings from New York everyone!

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2. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 17


When we give to others, it makes us happy in return! This is my inspiration for this weekend. Why not surprise a friend with an unexpected gift? We'll both share a happy moment. Hmmmmmm, what can I give to whom?

The illustration also fits the IllustrationFriday.com theme 'balloon' - we can't see the balloons, but they will be at the birthday party she's going to!

Happy Weekend!

PS: I created this illustration for DIESEL, for a store anniversary promotion

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3. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 16


Work like you don't need the money.
Dance like no one is watching.
And love like you've never been hurt.
~Mark Twain
One of my favorite quotes!

The illustration you see here is a glimpse of a design that I created for the German magazine DECO. Can you believe it, there's a gift service that sells Yodel lessons in the alps! That's what my illustration was for. I wonder if earplugs come with the package ;-)
Astrid

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4. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 15


Photographer Critsey Rowe from Couture Boudoir photographs brides-to-be in a very sensual way. The brides then often give the art photos as a wedding gift to their grooms. Great photography, very classy - compliments Critsey! I'm not a feminist - but let's just muse for a moment: why are women always the ones who have to be sexy? How about some role reversal? (smile)

In this illustration that I created for LAURASTAR SA - one of the world's leading producer in ironing systems - the guy is topless, and he is also doing the ironing. How sexy is that, ladies?

By the way, if you're interested in buying the illustration, it is available on a limited edition ironing board cover - only 3000 pieces sold worldwide. More info on www.laurastar.com

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5. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 14


Feeling tired, strung out? Exercise is always a good remedy to revive your spirits. Illustration Friday inspired me to this card, by asking for submissions to the word "strings". Strings...strung...strung out - there you go!

I created the illustration for the German magazine LISA. I worked in Corel Painter, using a thick and thin ink pen, coloring areas with the fill tool, then adding a chalk-like brush on rough paper for texture, and airbrush for the cheeks.

Happy Weekend!

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6. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 13


Illustration Friday asks for illustrations to the topic "sugary" this week - and here it is! Does this remind you of a sugary romance or what? Smile. This is a glimpse of the illustrations I created for the inner bride tool, which is now online on theknot.com. Check it out - it's fun! You can create your own bride, and email it to friends...

I've been in the shoes before where I almost chose a love that wasn't the real thing. Everyone has to judge for themselves, and everyone has different needs, so there's no one recipe. But what I wish for everyone out there that we all wait for the "real thing", the one shoe that fits. It's not always easy, but it's definitely worth it.

Happy weekend everyone!
Astrid

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7. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 12

"A woman can never be too packed with shopping bags!". Laugh. Well that's kind of absurd, and not very deep. But hey it fit's with today's Illustration Friday theme "packed"! For all fashionistas out there, the stylish fashion blog www.almostpacked.com also inspired me to post this inspiration card for this week's Illustration Friday theme.

I created this illustration for German magazine LISA, to an article that was wondering if shopping is in a woman's genes. How superficial. Of ourse it's not. Right?

Laugh. Have a great, happy weekend everyone!

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8. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 11

Illustration Friday asks us creatives this time to illustrate something to the topic "clique". I created this image for Radio Energy Zurich, Switzerland, for a casting show: seeking a "Heidi" from the mountains that wants to come to the city and moderate a radio show. In any case, I feel the illustration fits to the topic well. It shows an important aspect of cliques that immediately came to my mind: We still have to listen to ourselves, even if we are in a clique. And sometimes this may mean that we have to leave the group.

When I was younger I was strongly influenced by what others were doing for a while (I was a teenager, what can I say). While that was good for me at the time, I started feeling stronger once I started to listen to my heart more and follow it. Duh - you may say. Yes, I know, it sounds so logical doesn't it? But it's not always that easy, sometimes we have to be brave when we want to follow our hearts. That doesn't just count for teenage cliques, but also for later in life. Sometimes we're stuck in a situation that's very comfortable to be in, but not necessarily following what our heart is saying.

That's what this weekend inspiration card is for: to give us power to be brave and always follow our heart.

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9. I received "I love your blog" award

I'm so excited - Senta gave me the "I love your blog" award! Senta, thanks so much, it's an honor to be nominated - especially by you: your illustrations are very nice! For everyone who hasn't seen Senta Plyer's blog, have a look, and see for yourself!

The rules for this award are:
1-Display the logo on your blog
2-Link back to the person you received the award from
3-Nominate 7 other blogs
4-Put links of those blogs on yours
5-Leave a message on their blogs so they know they've been nominated.

Here the seven nominations of blogs that I love:
Brooklyn Bride
Hostess with the mostess
Erin Skipley Makeup-Artist
Glamour This Wedding Inspiration
Decor8blog
Marguerite Sauvage's blog
art of the masses, by Emily

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10. Wedding Invitation and caketopper figurines


For customers of a high-end Swiss wedding planner, I developed a stylized illustration of the couple and a design concept, which were both being used throughout the wedding: on "save the date" cards, invitations, the menu, and as a unique extra, as caketopper figurines. The caketopper ornament was produced on plexiglas, and not only complemented the styling of the cake, but now serves as beautiful keepsake for the couple.

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11. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 10

I have to admit, things work out so much smoother when we face challenges with a solution-oriented, positive attitude... but isn't this a challenge sometimes? Even this Buddha seems to think so (smile). I created this icon along with 4 other attitude Buddhas for the 2008 fall issue of Girlfriend Getaways Magazine, New York.

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12. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 9

These days, I'm working on a new business endeavor. I read and learn as much as I can from successful business people. One thing I hear time and time again is that we have to dream big to achieve our dreams. If we hold ourselves back and don't dare to believe, don't even dare to have small goals, let alone big ones, we won't get there. So this is one of my credos these days, one that I keep repeating to myself. DREAM BIG!

Thank you for this inspiration Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill, Leili McKinley, thank you Jon Goldman, thank you my friend Gabriela, thank you Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, and countless others.

Being that I'm from Switzerland, I have to internally fight against our culture a bit. Back home, when one is too proud, too go-getter, it can have a negative image, people may call you arrogant, caution you to be careful and go slowly. It's such a pity, this can hold people back from living their dream! Just because one dares to live their dream and believes in it, it doesn't mean one is arrogant.

Another thing that can hold us back from dreaming big and achieving our dreams is clutter. This week's Illustration Friday theme "clutter" reminded me of this - thank you IF! Indeed, if our mind is cluttered, as opposed to clear and strong, we don't dare to dream big! So here's a wish to us all. Let's go for it! Let's get rid of clutter in our minds, find our dreams and dream big! Let's turn our dreams into goals, our goals into baby steps, and start walking.

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13. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 8

Today, IllustrationFriday.com asks for submissions to the topic "memories". This led me to create this inspiration card.

Many psychologists, philosophers, buddhist leaders, and other successful people have written about "staying in the present". Lisa Smith-Batchen is a world class athlete and successful coach, whose athletic achievements have appeared on the covers of The NY Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post and Winning Magazine. She writes on her blog:

"You know what's interesting - I've been reading a lot of Buddist literature and books lately - it talks a lot about staying present, focused, here and now, positive etc. I notice when I run if I stay focused on the step I'm taking at the moment - not the last or the next one- and if I keep a positive attitude my energy level increases - now this isn't that surprising - but - I also notice - if I start to think about resentments I have or people I don't like in a negative way- I actually start to get weaker- and if I than re-focus on something positive- or reframe the resentment to understanding I immediately begin to feel stronger..."

Here's inspiration from the political arena: Today, Gov. Sarah Palin, who's serving her first term as Alaska's governor, made the nationwide news. Not only is she the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state's top political job, but now Sen. John McCain chose her as vice president! Go Gov. Palin!

Do you think she would be this successful if she often dwelled on her past? No way! So let's not dwell on the past, but focus on the now, and we'll have a future to look forward to.

This blog post is also dedicated to a friend of mine who still is being bothered by her past (and a very obnoxious, psycho boyfriend who can't let go and keeps bothering her). Girl, try to focus on the present. You left him, be glad! Try to ignore his efforts to still make you feel bad - focus on the now, on what you can and want to do for yourself, and work on your future.

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14. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 7

This week's inspiration card is for all you hard workers out there! It is also my contribution to today's Illustration Friday illustration theme "routine". Let's not lose sight of what's really important - let's remember to take a step back and see the bigger picture. It's so easy to get lost in everyday routine, isn't it?

I remember when I was still employed (as opposed to having my own business now), it was so easy to get busy busy busy, and just go from one day to the next, from one task to the next. Today, I enjoy working a lot more - for my own company. It still happens to me sometimes to lose sight of the big picture. Not so much regarding what's important to me personally, but regarding my business and all the things I want to accomplish. Here, I have to send a big thanks to my coach, Leili McKinley from www.soaring-phoenix.com - she really helps me to focus on clear goals now. Thanks Leili!!

I created the illustration in the card for Swarovski. Maybe you recognize her: she's "Stella", the fashion magazine editor who has her own column on www.swarovski.com!

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15. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 6

I'm dedicating this weekend's inspiration card to Illustration Friday theme "detach", and to one of my friends. She just left someone who treated her really badly. You go girl!!! It's not okay and there's no excuse for mistreating a woman (or anyone for that matter), be it verbally, mentally or physically. I feel with all the women out there who are stuck in relationships that aren't good for them. Hopefully this card reaches out a little bit, and inspires more women to be strong. There are really great, good men out there. Don't be fooled into believing it's as good as it gets if someone treats you badly. Be a princess, walk away!

Have a great, happy weekend everyone.
Astrid

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16. how to start out as illustrator

This one is for everyone who wants to become commercial illustrator!

I've been asked repeatedly by illustrators, how I started out. I'm sure much of this has been said before, but here are a few suggestions from me.

Network. Take every chance to meet people, tell everyone what you do – a lot of jobs come from people you know. Network with other artists, with business professionals, potential clients, friends, people on the train... everyone you feel comfortable talking to. I've gone to conferences before and it turned out the person next to me was the owner of a big corporation. You never know - the person next to you may actually need your services.

Make a customizable portfolio that can be geared toward each individual customer (pages can be shuffled / taken out).Make it nice, make it count, only show your best work, and show only work that is interesting to client.

Make a small portfolio that you have ALWAYS with you – I have mine in the form of business cards! The back of each business card shows another illustration. Other ideas are small laminated cards on a keychain, fit into every purse. I’ve gotten jobs from this before – you never know who you meet at a coffee shop or in the train!

have a website portfolio that’s clean, user friendly, and up to date.

Read and learn. Marketing books, business books, design books, art and business magazines, podcasts, audio training tapes – there are learning opportunities everywhere, you can never learn too much. Some of the art magazines that I like are computer arts UK and computer projects UK, How design. If you look for marketing tips and business training, check out tapes from Brian Tracy or the marketing newsletter from Jon Goldman.

If you want to grow, get a coach. I've recently started working with Leili McKinley from Soaring-phoenix.com. She's awesome!!!

Do what you love, not what you think the market needs. You’ll find a market for it when you have the portfolio. If you just do what the market wants that's great, but it may not make you happy.

Attend design conferences – stationery fairs etc.

Become part of business associations – have a look around, here in the US they have quite a bunch of associations that help new businesses, many of which are free!

Never ever leave your house without a business card – you won’t believe how many business people I’ve met who don’t have a card on them. Too bad, I may have recommended them and brought them business otherwise...

Advertise your business, but don’t spend a million – many folks will try to sell you advertising space. Be smart, a lot of it is cheap or for free, and it might bring you jobs – and some very expensive ad places won’t bring you much more... Targetted marketing is the key (know your dream customer – where would they go look for you?)

Be something special to a few, not nothing to many. You can't be everything for everyone, you have to choose your customers. Niche targeting is my recent success discovery - focus on one thing and one very specific customer and get very good with your specialty. Then go from there.

Believe in yourself
and reach for the moon and stars :-) One of my favorite quotes. Don't listen to negative voices. It's good to listen to feedback, but don't let it drag you down. Learn from it and move ahead. Stay around positive people, not negative people. Visit my blog every weekend to see the latest inspiration card that I posted!

These are just a few thoughts... there are many many tips out there. Further interesting articles are tips by illustrator Nate Williams or the blog living the creative dream.. If you're interested in children illustration, have a look at illustratorgroupsoup.com - among cool sites like jacketflap.com.

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17. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 5

This weekend's inspiration card is a playful approach to a very serious topic. Jilian Curtis from blog-me-til-midnight.blogspot.com invited me to create an illustration for a home-schooling project that she was doing with her children. She was building a small Holocaust memorial in their front yard, to help the kids remember all the Jews that lost their lives.

Jilian's invitation made me recall a speech that I was able to attend recently, by Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein. The lecture hall was extremely full, people were sitting in the aisles, standing in every free spot, and listening intently from the crowded entrance. Her lecture transfixed the entire audience, you would have heard a penny drop. Instead of seeing a defeated elderly war-survivor telling horrifying stories from the war, I was baffled to encounter a still very good looking, warm-hearted, positive woman on the stage, with a big (though sometimes sad) smile on her face. I was fascinated how a woman who had lived through such atrocities could be so positive! I left with some of her inspiring words resonating in my mind. This is a part of her speech that I remember (not her words, but mine, recalling): "Imagine wanting to go home, but not having a home. Not having a passport. No money, no own clothes, no rights. In one of the camps I was at, there was hardly enough food for us. A large pot of soup for too many people, with maybe one potato at the bottom. If by pure coincidence one day you received this one potato, the happiness you felt was unbelievable. I lost my father, mother and brother, I was deported to work. This happened to me and many others. When I was freed it was a miracle. I was given my life back. I feel extremely lucky that I was allowed not only to survive, to be rescued, but to be able to marry, and live a long happy life with my later husband in the United States. My message to you is that we should all be happy for what we have. Let's enjoy every day and everything to its fullest. We have it so good. Let's appreciate every little thing we have."

Mrs. Klein has written many books, won an Academy Award, and founded the "Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation". Her speech, wisdom and attitude to life is a great wealth of inspiration to me. The topic Holocaust is also almost overwhelmingly complex to boil it down to a small inspiration card. But I had to choose. While this inspiration sentence doesn't reflect any core reason of the Holocaust, it reflects a contributing factor (that was missing in Germany at the time), and one of Ms. Klein's missions with the "Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation": to be tolerant and respectful of others.

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18. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 4

This week's inspiration card is one to remind us not to take life (and ourselves) too seriously. Thank you Denise for that suggestion! If anyone has an idea for a future inspiration card, please don't hesitate to email me: astrid(at)PotatoMammaDesign.com

The illustration also fits well to this week's illustration friday challenge "poof!".

Wishing everyone a weekend without accidents! Hope to see you back on my blog next weekend for the next inspiration card!

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19. Windy voyage

This illustration is the result of me playing with a new kind of oil pastels I just came across. Pretty fun! They look like rouge make-up containers, and have make-up utensils within the same box: little smear sponges. Love those paints! And I kind of love the illustration too, I wonder what story it has behind it?

These are my first steps in children illustration, feedback welcome!

Pencil, oil pastel on cardboard

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20. Scared Rabbit

Except for the paints (I accidentally got the cheap kind of gouache!), this was fun! I don't know how I came up with this illustration idea, but I sure feel bad for the scared rabbit now.

These are my first steps in children illustration! Comments are welcome! (As with all other posts too of course)

Pencil, Gouache, Ink.

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21. 2008 PotatoMammaDesign Birthday Contest


Hello friends!

On April 1st, my company turned 2 years old. Celebrate with me, and take part in the 2008 PotatoMammaDesign Birthday Contest! Tempting prizes, and taking part will only take you 3 1/3 minutes. Precisely. Just go to:
www.PotatoMammaDesign.com/news , download the word document, and email it to me (instructions within)

Submit at the latest by April 30!
Good luck & Happy Potato Greetings,
Astrid

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22. They want to take our copyrights!

Call for all artists and people who want to help us!

It looks like big companies are about to implement a new legal bill in the USA that would deprive artists of their copyrights!

The extremely successful artist Mark Simon wrote a detailed article on the subject, and tells us how we can help. Everyone tries to skip long articles. But this one is worth it. Please, everyone, read it and help us artists! On page 2 you'll see what we can do (write to Congressmen etc.).

Read his article here: You Will Lose All The Rights to Your Own Art!

Thanks!
Astrid

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23. New: Happy Weekend Inspirations by PotatoMammaDesign

Who doesn't need inspiration and motivation every now and then? I sure do! 2 days ago, I made my own screen saver with inspirational cards - each with one of my illustrations or patterns and a power-boosting message on it. I ended up really liking them, and suddenly thought that this may be interesting for others too.

This led me to start a motivational card series here on my blog. From now on, I'll post a new inspirational illustration card every weekend. The cards are for everyone out there who needs a cheer-up (geared towards women, because I'll use a lot of my fashion illustrations). The cards shall make everyone happy, and give you all power to reach for the stars!


My first inspirational card: reach for the stars!

This project is not just for me, it's for everyone who likes the cards! So I'm inviting everyone to give me feedback and make suggestions. Do you have a motivational quote or saying that you'd like me to use on a card? The words of wisdom can be sassy, fun, silly, or serious, whatever you like - they just have to be short, and they have to cheer people up. Send your suggestions to: astrid(at)PotatoMammaDesign.com

See you back here in a week!
Now have a happy weekend!
Happy Potato Greetings,
Astrid
PotatoMammaDesign.com

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24. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 2


Wow, thank you everyone for emailing me your positive feedback, and for making suggestions! There's a lot of inspiration within all of us, I see!

As it happens, this inspiration card also fits very well with this week's illustration friday theme "enough". Enough is enough with feeling bad about ourselves!

I've decided to make this one for all us women out there. For the days when we think our hips are too wide, our nose is too long, our chest is too small, our feet too big... FORGET IT ALL! We're gorgeous like we are! :-)

Happy weekend everyone!
If you have a suggestion for next week, I'm happy to hear from you! astrid(at)PotatoMammaDesign.com

See you back here next weekend with the next inspiration card!
Astrid

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25. Happy Weekend Inspiration Card 3


Here it comes, my third inspiration card. I thought it would be too crazy to always have positive cards. It's totally okay to NOT always have a 100% happy mood. We all need some down time :-)

Lucky coincidence, I just realized this post also fits well to this week's illustration friday theme "canned". Hey, if I was canned, I'd be crying too ;-)

This little fellow is one of my "mopies" characters. They're all always having a bad hair day. You can buy a lot of fun products with "the mopies" in my online store.

Have a great weekend!
Astrid

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