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Viewing Blog: A Girl Who Creates - Holli Conger, Most Recent at Top
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from the creative mind of Holli Conger
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1. The Evolution of a Product Line

Long overdue post but one I’ve wanted to do for a few years. Yes, years. The evolution of a product line.

This is the process of creating my “Peace Be With You.” product line for Carson Home Accents. Carson had told my agency that they were looking to expand their bereavement gift line so I concepted some ideas for a product line. What I wanted it to look like, the feel or it, materials, etc. This was just a sketch and a tiny little photoshop mock-up to get my ideas across in color. A lot of manufacturers really want a flushed out plan, color mock-ups, the whole nice yards, but since my agency had a good relationship with the client a rough sketch with ideas was sufficient to see if they had any interest in the product line.

So at this point, this entire line is just an idea in my head and a sketch on paper:

They passed on the idea, BUT my agency wanted me to do actual prototype mock-ups and send to them so they could really envision the line. So I hand sculpted two samples and sent them off to their office packed in prototype packaging as well:

Once they saw the actual 3D pieces, they loved it and wanted to pick them up as a collection for their bereavement line so now the major work comes in. They gave me this LONG list of categories and products (figurines, plaques, crosses, hanging ornaments, prayer stones, etc.) they wanted for grandmother, mother, father, general, pets, etc. I designed several figurines and prayer stones but only a certain number of products made it to the first (and really only) release of the line.

I scanned in lace and doilies my great grandmother made and used those as the main “art” in each piece. Then came all the sentiments. I don’t know how many dozen sentiments I came up with for this line, but after a while it got really depressing thinking of things to say that would be a comfort to someone who lost someone special to them. It was so trying that at the end of the day when I worked on so many sentiments a friends I saw that evening asked me what was wrong because I looked so sad. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting to be in that mindset all day.

A lot of licensing artist will just supply the flat color artwork and everything would then be created by the manufacturer to work on the 3D product. Since I have a design background, I was able to supply all the art needed for the factory. Renderings, b&w art for the molds along with the color layouts that the final product should match:

And here’s the final product line from Carson (It’s all available online through Amazon as well as some gift stores throughout the country.):

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2. Trudy

I tend not to blog much these days but am trying to get back to it and write more than what I would put on Facebook. If you’ve read by blog for a while, you know how much I love family history and keeping connected with memories. This is one of those posts.

Yesterday my Great Aunt Trudy passed away and she was the last one of my “Greats.” I always loved this Dorthea Lange-ish photo of her. Taken around 1940 would be my guess.

She was my grandmother’s sister and it was fun to listen to what sisters in their 80′s would talk about. She was such a sweet lady and for whatever reason, when I think of her, I think of pastel colors, pinks and peaches. I don’t really associate colors with people, but I always have with her. Maybe I only saw her in the spring and summertime and those were the colors she would wear. Not sure.

She was 95 years old and had a small and crackly voice that complimented her shrinking stature as she got older. I was actually just telling my kids about her little voice a few days ago. She retired from Walgreens years ago, and today I always prefer to shop there over any other drug store just because of the kindness and generosity the company showed her, especially when her husband passed away. She was a real sweet lady and by her passing, today she gave me the gift of looking through old family pictures and remembering the sweet and kind legacy I have.

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3. NEW consulting programs

I have 2 NEW programs of illustration career consulting starting March 1st. A 2-month program for people who need help finding their style and starting their career and a 1-month program that is a Marketing Kick Starter for those who want to get better with promotion. I still have some spots open for March so let me know if you’re interested.

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4. 2014 – You look good

No pretty pictures. Just words this time on a blank slate.

Everyone seems to have a word for the new year. My word for 2014 is confidence. Confidence in myself and my work as an artist. 2013 was a rough year. Being in demand is very flattering and very reassuring in this economy, but that yielded a lot of work and even more stress. More stress than I’ve ever had since I went out on my own 8+ years ago. I’m also adding a mantra for the year. “I’m only one person.” I’ve applied this label to myself that I can do it all. I’ll get it done. I always do, but it’s been at the expense of my sanity and my health. I’m a people pleaser but I’m not pleasing myself in the process.

So with that all said, I’m approaching life and work differently this year. Clearing out the chatter of social media (it has been such and annoyance and time suck for me at the same time), TV (there’s just too much junk on), news, comparing myself to other artists, etc. out of my mind and sticking to what I really want to do. What I know I am called to do. I am passionate about illustrating for children as well as designing products and new product lines. THAT is what I want to do! I want to have time to make art for the sake of making it and not think that I can only work on things that can be commercialized later. I want to help other achieve their creative dreams. I want to write. I want to do. I just want to create. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll be on FB some, blogging a little more but more importantly, creating the heck out of 2014!

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5. New Christmas Book

I have a Christmas book out that’s similar to the Poke-A-Dot Halloween book I did. It’s like endless bubble wrap fun and they are in Sam’s Club stores now. My little guy loves it and even sat still long enough to demo it on video. Take a look:

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6. Halloween Giveaway!

Thanks to all who enter the contest! The winners have been chosen via random.org

3 Barnes & Noble $50 gift card winners are:
Kyrstin Avello
Holly Stone-Barker
Gina Perry

Grand Prize winner of the 1 year portfolio subscription to That’s My Folio:
Lisa McGriffin

^spread from my latest halloween book Poke-A-Dot 10 Little Monsters

Halloween is this week and I have no idea where the month of October went. It’s supposed to rain all day here on Thursday so I might have to come up with an alternative trick-or-treat experience for my super hero and “Pink Lady.” I think a movie and popcorn will be in there somewhere! So, with Halloween upon us, to celebrate, I’m excited to be hosting another giveaway with That’s My Folio! It’s a great website for artists to promote their work. When I did a giveaway with them in 2011, I interviewed the brainchild-ren (is that a word?), Patrick & Lanette on why they stared it and what type of advertising they do for the site. You can check it out here.

The prizes are:

  • Three $50 dollar Barnes & Noble gift cards
  • A one year subscription to Thats My Folio
  • To be eligible to win, all you just have to do ONE of the following:

    • Leave a comment on this blog post, telling me one of your favorite Halloween movies or candy (mine is Bettlejuice & snickers). Be sure your comment links back to your website so others can see your great work.
  • Copy this retweet on your Twitter status RT @HolliConger enter to win a 1yr subscription to @thatsmyfolio http://tinyurl.com/m6jts9j
  • Take a picture of your home halloween display or a piece of your own halloween themed art, post it to your instagram account and tag it with #thatsmyfoliocontest @holliconger

  • This is a great prize for any illustrator looking to promote their work. I will pick the winners this Friday, November 1st. Good luck everyone and thanks for spreading the word!

    There are many ways to connect with us:

    That’s My Portfolio

    Holli Conger

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    7. Chalk Art

    I had the opportunity to do some illustrations & lettering for a product catalog and the best part was I got to do it all in my “secret” chalkboard style. I haven’t shown this chalkboard style before because I’ve been keeping it under wraps, but I will have some new products to share soon with this style. They supplied the photos and I illustrated the kids interacting with something for each pose. Super fun project and it was nice to do some drawing by hand for a change.

    ^click image for larger view

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    8. New Personalized Books

    I have about four books released this month and I’ve been really excited to share these since I stared them last year. I had the opportunity to work with I See Me books on a couple of new board book projects. This was the first time I worked on a personalized book and it was such a fun challenge to make sure things were placed just right so personalization could happen at an automated level.

    1-2-3 Blast Off With Me! can be personalized with images and text:

    You can see the entire book here. There’s also a cute coloring book to match!

    Hello World! is a book for new babies and can be personalized with images and text (love this cover!):

    You can flip through it here.

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    9. New Halloween Book

    I have a new Halloween book out from Innovative Kids (available exclusivley in Sam’s Club stores now). They are a very clever counting book with clear buttons to push on each character throughout the book. My kids have not stopped playing with them since I got the samples a few months back. It’s very much like popping bubble wrap that you can do over and over again.

    There’s also a Christmas book coming out too. More to come on that, but here’s a little peek:

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    10. Grandparents

    This blog post has been something I wanted to write for a long time, just so I could look back and see all the little things I do because my grandparents did them and how they transport me back to that time. Since today is Grandparent’s Day, what better time to do it.

    What I do because they did:

    • Feed the birds and the squirrels – ALWAYS!
    • Use Coty Loose Face Powder & Avon’s Satin Hands. The two scents instantly bring me back to Sunday mornings at my grandparents’ house, getting ready for church.
    • Have a garden – Every year I try and I hardly ever succeed at any kind of harvest (a few tomatoes and cucumbers here and there) but I keep at it every year.
    • Cucumbers with onions in vinegar or with sour cream and dill.
    • Say “scat” when my kids sneeze.
    • Sing the “yawning man” & “somebody’s getting sleepy” to my kids – which I can’t get through without yawning myself.
    • Give my kids a measuring cup to try and fill up with tears when they are crying and fussing from trying to get their way. I tied and tried to fill mine up as a kid, but I instantly couldn’t cry when she handed it to me. Smart woman!
    • Stop and watch Lawrence Welk when it’s on PBS – instantly places me to my grandparent’s living room
    • Always stay quite when the weather report is on – my granddaddy was a farmer and you HAD to be quite when the weather was on.
    • Fix deviled eggs for big family get-togethers.
    • Always have iced tea in the fridge and make it with a big pyrex measuring cup.
    • Use oscillating fans in the summer – love the sound of them.
    • Enjoy just sitting outside, preferable on a porch swing or rocking chair.

    I see myself adding more things they did without even noticing and they then become a part of my daily life. I guess it’s just my way of keeping them close to me and I love that.

    What do you do that your grandparents always did?

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    11. NEW drinkblots™

    click to enlarge

    Just in time for the summer sea breeze, I have some new coastal themed coasters out by the fabulous studio m. They are reusable, recyclable and there are 24 different designs. If you are a retailer, you can find a rep near you. If you are an individual, you can buy the, online here.

    I also have some Christmas ones out that I’ll be posting about in the future, but you can take a peak here.

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    12. Surtex is coming up

    After being absent from Surtex for the last 4 years, I’ll be back this year. Well, I physically won’t but my art will be. My licensing agent, Courtney Davis, Inc will be exhibiting and showing my work along with their roster of awesome artists. Lots of new work & ideas to show so I’m super excited to hear how it went when they return.

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    13. Songs

    Ocee was singing this morning and it made me think of all the songs our parents and grandparents sang to us as children and now I’m singing them to my kids. This is a regular one we sing. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s from Guys & Dolls. Her’s Doris Day’s version:

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    14. I’m 2!

    We celebrated another b-day this past weekend and Ocee turned 2. He went around all day saying “Happy Day!” Robots were the theme so I used the robot classroom decor I illustrated for Creative Teaching Press as the party decorations. I even use some of it for the cake.

    All the food was robot themed too and we also used out metal robot collection for the table too. I knew those little guys would come in handy one day!

    Close up of the cake:

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    15. I Believe

    Early this week a very close friend of my cousin was in a skiing accident and has severe spinal cord injures. Her name is Lindy and although I’ve never met her, she has been in my prayers and on my heart all week. Instead of checking facebook for my daily dose of what people are eating for lunch or what plans they have for the weekend, I check to find an update on Lindy and my newsfeed is full of people talking about her, several like me that don’t know her personally but are amazed by her story and are rooting her on. I think what hits me most is that she has a 6 month old son and the simple pleasure of holding him again is going to be an uphill battle. She has an incredible support system and her given motra has become “Believe in Lindy.” Please check out this blog post to learn more about her and her spirit. I #BelieveInLindy and after reading it I know you will too!

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    16. 2012 Ornament Exchange

    I participated in Cindy Ann Ganaden’s annual ornament exchange this year and to go along with my Santa theme I made these for my group. You can check out more of the ornaments here.

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    17. A Santa A Day

    I’m posting a Santa a day until Christmas over on my facebook page, so be sure and like my page to see them all:

    I’m also booking consulting for next year now, so let me know if you’re interested by emailing me.

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    18. Consulting

    Wanted to post this since I get so many emails asking about my consulting, but my last 2 month consulting “sessions” for the year will be September-October. If you’re interested and ready to start before the year is out, let me know by this Friday.

    You can find out more info here.

    Each session is personalized to you and where you are in your career. You can be relatively new to the industry or a pro who just needs to refocus on marketing and get more work coming in. The focus for consulting is children’s illustration but I tailor it some towards licensing if that’s of interest. We go over portfolios, finding clients, promoting & more. There is a lot of work on your end with assignments given weekly but at the end of the 2 months, the goal is to have a flushed out portfolio/website, a postcard mailer complete and a strong mailing list to send them to, and a consistent plan to keep you moving forward with your career.

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    19. Stained Glass

    If you follow me on facebook I kind of showed step-by-step a new stained glass piece I was working on but I didn’t get it framed and hung until this weekend. Here’s my process:

    Step 1 was designing a pattern:

    Step 2, 3, & 4 was cutting, foiling, soldering and adding patina:

    And here’s the final piece hung between my kitchen and bonus room doorway:

    I originally wanted to learn stained glass so I could make side lights for my front door. Here they are matching my existing stained glass front door:

    Can’t wait to make some more projects!

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    20. Cinco de Mayo Giveaway

    It’s almost May and that means it’s almost May 5th and that means “Cinco de Mayo” and that means you can learn all you ever wanted to know about the holiday from my new book with Lerner Publishing written by the fabulous Lisa Bullard called Marco’s Cinco de Mayo! I love how the completed book turned out. It’s a colorful 9.5″x9.5″ hardback.

    Our family loves Cinco de Mayo simply for the fact that we love Mexican food. LOVE IT!! The Woog would live off of quesadillas if we let her. When I had Ocee, the hospital had some killer quesadillas so I ate them for lunch and dinner every day while I was there. 5 meals of them I think. Every since I have been on the search for quesadillas as good as those and I think I finally found them at Chuy’s. Ahh…

    So in celebration of Cinco de Mayo and yummy food, I’m giving away 3 signed (by me your loving illustrator) copies to 3 lucky people. But there’s a catch. You have to give me your favorite Mexican food recipe to enter!

    I’ve closed comments on my blog after months of dealing with spam ones, so you will need to go and “like” HOLLi CONGER studios on facebook and look for the post with the Marco image above. Then, leave a comment with your favorite Mexican food recipe (it can also be a link to it on the web). That’s it! On April 25th, I’ll randomly draw 3 winners and announce them on facebook.

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    21. creative warm-ups

    Since last week I’ve started doing daily creative warm-ups to get my creative juices flowing. Here’s today’s and you can see the other on my facebook page:

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    22. Teacher Gifts

    Just in time for teacher gift season I have some products available in Dollar Stores around the country and each one is just a $1!!

    Note pad, notepaper booklets & note cards. Each sold separately.

    Note pad, notepaper booklets, note cards & gift bag. Each sold separately.

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    23. creative victory

    I love coming up with new sayings for these and I really love this one. Oh, and I got my 1,000th “like” on FB today. Thanks to everyone for keeping my creative spirits up!

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    24. Freebie Facebook Cover Image

    I’ve kind of taken a blogging break and have opted for mini blogging over on my facebook page. Seems easier and a better way to converse with others. I’ve been trying to stick to some daily warm-ups when time allows so this morning I came up with a warm-up that’s also a freebie for all you creatives out there. A cover image for your facebook page. It’s taken from a Matisse quote and then I added to it because that’s just what I do.

    So click on the image below for the full size image, download it and add to your FB page.

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    25. New Books

    I have two books coming out August 1st written by Lisa Bullard and illustrated by me. Daniela’s Day of the Dead and Hailey’s Halloween. I love how the final printed books look and how the color pops off the pages.

    Spread from Daniela’s Day of the Dead:

    Spread from Hailey’s Halloween:

    *links above are affiliate links via Amazon.com

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