They’re Here!!

I’ve been taking giant breaks from the news to putter around with my new Coded Color Cards. They’ve been in the works since last November, and I finally had them printed last month. They’ve been such a nice distraction. Like playing with rainbows.

There are 900 cards in the whole set, and each one has its own hex code and HSB (hue, saturation, brightness) value printed right on it. I can hold them up to anything IRL and know exactly what color I should dial into the Adobe Color Picker, if I want to be super matchy. They make me feel so powerful! Like Batman, if Batman’s mask let him color code the Batmobile. (Ok, that would be easy. Black = #000000.)

I printed them on Spoonflower’s Prepasted Removable Smooth Wallpaper to get the most intense color. There is some assembly required, or in this case, dis-assembly, as I had to cut them apart myself, but they cut like butter. They’re smooth, sturdy, and easy to organize. I kind of heart them.

Here’s how it all went down:

L: I divided the 360° color wheel by 30, so each hue is 12 degrees apart. R: I divided the hues by 30 again. Each sampling is the same for each hue, so I can compare apples to apples.
The card files in all their digital glory.
The uncut, in-real-life cards. A little darker and not quite as much nuance as the digital versions, but that’s just the way the color world works. Still yummy and useful.
Laid out and ready to be cut. As tightly rolled as they were in their Spoonflower packaging, they unfurled nicely.
Cutting, cutting, cutting using my Omnigrid ruler and my trusty X-Acto knife.
4 families down, 26 to go.
All done!
Sorted by hue.
Sorted by saturation and brightness.
Close-ups of 3 of the Saturated/Brightness families: L: 100 100, M: 10 84, R: 10 34.
Tucked away in their Snack Baggies.

This year’s #the100dayproject on Instagram started on April 7, so I decided to test drive the cards by creating “100 Palettes.” The timing was perfect. Here are the first four:

Ginger-Infused Vodka, Citrus, Tomatoes on the Vine, and Rubber Duck palettes.

If you want to follow along, you can find me at @leahsoha on Instagram. I’m excited about what’s ahead. Having more confidence in my color selections feels like leveling up.

Peace, love and rainbows! Stay well, everyone! XOXO

Sometimes it Pays to Ignore the “Road Closed” Sign

Color Family Sampler IRL

The Color Family Wallpaper Sampler I ordered from Spoonflower arrived, and—Good news!—it shows that despite the fact that all kinds of beautiful saturated colors were being identified as “out of gamut,” they all printed just fine.

BEFORE I hit the Gamut Warning button.
AFTER I hit the Gamut Warning button. Who ate all my colors??

I started to get nervous when I was working on a set of full-spectrum color cards (like Color-aid Paper only more of them), and the triangular “out-of-gamut alert icon” on the Color Picker kept popping up. I was afraid I would have to make a major detour, but thankfully no. The “Really, Really Red” I wanted, for instance, is in fact really, really red, and not a dingy off-red or grey.

False alarm.

The greens do appear to be a wee bit off in the upper right corners. There’s a yellow tinge to them, but it’s not off enough to exclude them.

Funky greens.

There may be other nuances I’m missing—I don’t think I’m a super human tetrachromate—but I feel like I can use all the colors willy-nilly now without concerning myself with their gamutness.

I finished the first set of color cards earlier this week, and I’m waiting to see how they print before I continue with the other four. The sampler also showed that Spoonflower doesn’t trim their wallpaper exactly along the design’s borders. The top and left edges are missing an eighth of an inch. Probably wouldn’t matter if I was using the wallpaper as wallpaper, but as a one-off piece, it looks goofy. Like I don’t understand how rulers work. That’s good to know though. I was able to make some adjustments on this new design and gave everything more wiggle room.

First set of color palette swatches.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the color cards. Everything hinges on them.


Spoonflower Power, Part 2

Way back last September, after I decided that the first step I should take toward building an art/design career would be to establish a royalty revenue and that the best place to start would be Spoonflower, I had the brilliant idea to start entering weekly design challenges again. This was my logic: if I was voted into the Top 10, I would win Spoonflower credits, which would pay for future samples. (Any design that is made available for sale has to be proofed, which costs $1 to $5 each.) Even if I only made it into the Top 50, my challenge entries would be automatically placed in the Marketplace. I figured I made it into the Top 10 once, and I could do it again.

“A very smart and cost-effective plan,” I thought, patting myself on the back.

I entered two challenges back-to-back: a Limited Color Palette for which I misread the rules that said, “use of black and white accents is optional,” as “not optional,” and a Cut-and-Sew Fat Quarter project which was a whole new adventure for me. Despite the fact that I turned them both into extra-challenging challenges, they were a lot of fun to work on.

Since my last entry, I’d taken a terrific online course with Sherry London called, “Photoshop for Designers,” through the Textile Design Lab, and I got to use some of the fancy tricks I’d learned from her. I also taught myself how to set custom shapes and use the pen tool, which got me away from futzing with rasterized drawings. I felt like I finally had the chops to run with the designer big dogs and was so pleased, I was strutting around the studio high-fiving myself.

And that should have been the signal that pride would be coming (or is it “going”?) before an eventual fall.

When the votes started flowing in (or in my case, trickling), it became crushingly apparent that while I had personally grown by leaps and handsprings, I still had not caught up with the amazing illustrators and painters who had continued to develop their skills and make connections while I was off on a four-year coffee break. I was still paddling around the design harbor in my little kayak admiring the scenery, and the others were cruising out to sea on their big, beautiful schooners.

My Limited Color Palette entry, “Winken,” 265th/555 vs. willowbirdstudio’s glorious “Fabulous Feathers,” 1st/555.
My Fat Quarter Cut & Sew entry, “Gingerbread Bell Tota,” 69th/262 vs. gaiamarfurt’s charming “Christmas Doll 2018,” 1st/262.

In the first challenge, I placed in the top 47%, and in the second, top 26%, which did put me only 19 spots away from the Top 50, but still not in the Top 50. It dawned on me that trying to subsidize the development of my fabric collection by winning Spooncredits was like trying to bankroll a movie deal by playing the Powerball. No guarantees! Plus, I had created two random designs that didn’t fit in anywhere.

I finally had to admit that challenges were probably not the smartest use of my time.