31 December 2012

Best of 2012

2012 has been a very exciting year for my blog. It all started with The Girl with Seven Horses that I published in january. It's the first project I've done that has really spread through the internet like a fire. Booooooom just put it in their Top 15 of 2012 list. And it's my only post where I've recieved over 100 comments. I'm truly thankful for the amazing support from my fans and followers. Posters from the series where ordered from all over the world, from Australia to Brazil, from Canada to Portugal. Thank you!

My animated braid GIF also turned into a favorite on tumblr, I found pages where it had been shared 90 000 times! Unfortunately, that was before I put the water-stamp on it and therefor my blog never recieved any new followers by this little GIF. But that's how tumblr works I guess?

My sister came to visit and I shot one of my favorite photos from this year of her. My sister is visiting now too and I'm always thankful when she flies home from Italy. She has always been really supportive of what I do and always makes me feel like a super important artist :)

My vintage dresses fromt he opera kept joining me in my self-portraits. The top picture is shot in my old photo-schools studio when I flew up in march to teach. I had a one week workshop where the theme was dreamy fairytale photos. The school is called Lofoten Folkhøgskole and is in the very north of Norway. They have a new catalogue now, I'm even on page 9 or something.
All the nordic and fishermen themes in my illustrations comes from my years there.

In april I presented my bachelor project Puzzled S[h]elf and was pretty much finished with my three years at Ingvard Kamprad Design Center here in Lund. I learned a lot during these three years but as it's looking now I'm searching for work as a graphic designer and not as and industrial designer. Click here to see more projects that I did during my education.

After my presentation I took a one week holiday at my sisters in Italy. I played with her dog and cat and with their two big horses. They are renovating a big "castle" and the top photo is taken in the castles old kitchen. The bottom is of me in the stables braiding Abes tail.

For my mums birthday I illustrated the picture above. It's still one of my favorites. I really like all the recent illustrations I've made... and have a pretty hard time looking at my old since I think they're somewhat terrible.

In june I complained about the fact that I pretty much had no one to photograph so one of my readers, Isabella, contacted me and told me she could help me out. It was the first time I ever met a reader that I didn't know from before. But it wasn't as scary as I thought :) I had found this great location in my own little town so I photographed Isabella there.

In july I made a last minute decision to go with my mum to my home county Latvia. We lived by the beach and I got in touch with my roots again. It was good for me because this was a pretty tricky summer to get through.

For a few months we had self-portraits tasks on ulicam open for anyone to join. In the end there were very few people delivering photos so I decided to end it. Haven't heard any complains so maybe it was for the best :)

In september I opened my shop! That was so much fun, I'm so thankful that sites like Society6 exist, what an incredible place for artists to sell their work. Seeing t-shirts and iphone cases with my illustrations on instagram and blogs is incredible.

In november I started selling my calendars as every year, it's been a lot of turns to the post office and a lot of stamp-shopping but of course completely amazing that you support my little foxes and cats and are wiling to have them on the wall all of 2013.

The years last posts included some very cute rabbits (I'm sorry to tell you that Ryan recently died) and beautiful Laura has entered a new project that will continue next year.

So, I will wrap this up by thanking you for all the support and that you keep returning to my site! It's been a great year for the blog with a lot of new followers. Even my facebook page has gone from 0 to 1863 likes in one year. My official homepage got a great facelift during the summer and is now frequently updated. My shop will keep selling new illustrations all year.
I hope I will see you next year too.
Happy new year!

- Ulrika Kestere

25 December 2012

Handmade Holiday Gifts

When christmas is over I often tell myself Don't make your gifts by hand next year.. it takes foreeeever!! But then a year goes by and I forget what I told myself a year back. Often I also want to explore new ways to create gifts... like painting porcelain, I've never tried that before.

To Robert I bought some cups but I also wanted to try and paint some myself. So I bought a simple white teapot in IKEA that I thought fitted a good amount (1,7 liter) and simple white cups in a different store. I didn't use a porcelain-pen because the black was out of stock until january, so I bought a little jar with color in panduro. It can be tricky to paint correctly with a brush so I mainly used a very thin iron-wire that I dipped in the color. Then you let it try for 24 hours and afterwards you leave it in the oven for 35 minutes at 150°. It's tempting to buy vintage porcelain to paint.... but remember that old porcelain isn't as good at handling oven or microwave. I don't think you have to bake the color if you draw with porcelain pencils though... but then it doesn't really stand the dishwasher.

To Roberts sister I made a little purse from curtain fabric and an old purple velvet skirt. I painted the outside with a textile pencil... I had to borrow one from Robert though, because the ones they sell in panduro really suck. I normally use jars with color for this too... but it takes forever to draw with an iron-wire and it doesn't get very precise.

For Roberts father I painted a jar with glass color and filled it up with good night tea. His mum got an apron that I sewed from a tulip fabric I bought a long time ago and an old red linen curtain. The name's painted with a textile pen.

In January I'll celebrate christmas with my family, and I have hardly started on those gifts yet...määh.

I hope you had a wonderful christmas! 

22 December 2012

How cute

The cute ones, Holly refusing to continue walking and Robbi looking all handsomeish in the wild.

How is your christmas looking? Is anyone going away to a cottage in the forest to spend some days in front of the fire with a big dog while a snowstorm tickles the windows? I wish I could do that? Aaahh... I have this dreamspace in my mind... the perfect little cottage. All in dark wood, always smelling like pancakes and freshly baked bread and meatballs. Someone knitting a big icelandic sweater in a rocking chair. A big furry dog lying on his back sighing in his sleep. Someone reading an old novel and two people playing some silly board game. An open fire and a few lit candles. Maybe someones playing the flute... or a piano... but there wouldn't be a tv or a stereo...and for gods sake..no cellphones blibbing and farting all over the place.
Just so so calm and peaceful. Maybe when I'm old, I'll be the old granma in the chair knitting the sweater.
Do you have a resembling happy-place?

20 December 2012

All rights reserved

I've discovered that there are a few people out there who nip your art and do whatever they please with it. I won't mention who the ones I've found are, but unfortunately I have to be a little harsh in this post and once again state that my readers don't have permission to take my illustrations and make their own iphone case from sites like CaseApp. Buying your case from CaseApp costs 300 SEK and buying a case from my own shop Society6 costs 245 SEK and gives me a 23 SEK profit (before tax and other fees nip more from that sum). I don't make a lot of money from selling calendars or prints so it really sucks when I see that the copyright isn't respected.
I know there are many of you who DO respect it and this post does absolutely not apply to you :) But especially young people haven't really learned about the rights artists have to their work.

19 December 2012

Gingerbread house

Me and Robert made this piece of crazy candy gingerbread house this weekend. Neither one of us had ever made a real gingerbread house, sure I made some in Norway but they weren't proper houses with candy and chimneys. It's such a treat for the eye and it makes the room smell great :)

15 December 2012

Little winter birds

So, my sister has asked me to post something because she's bored. So here are some birdies :)
We've bought a little bird house were we keep birdfood so now we can se the little ones from the kitchen window. These are not shot from our window thought... and yes...that's not a real owl ;)

14 December 2012

Hot Chocolate

I don't know what says cozy more than a cup of hot chocolate during cold snowy winter. This photo was taken for my portfolio where I added a few cookbook-spreads. The ship was photographed during a killerwhale-safari in Norway.
I saw The Hobbit yesterday, anyone who has seen it and really liked the forest wizard with the rabbit sled? Gosh... I liked that.

11 December 2012

Fox on Fishing-boat

For sale on Society6

This was actually an ordered illustration, but I haven't heard back from the buyer so I give myself permission to post the illustration :)
Update: The buyer didn't want the illustration so the original drawing (paper size 24x24 cm and illustrated area 19x19 cm) is for sale. Contact me on ulrikakestere@gmail.com if you're interested.

It's about taking care of who you love (giving your dachshund a bath) and craving what you can't reach (kitten on pole).
This time I thought I would show a little of my sketching process and my inspiration-images. I've always LOVED these old tiny fishing-boats, especially when they're used up and just laying on the shore side. When I lived in Norway I had one of my exhibitions glued up on an old fishing boat. It was blown away by a storm the next day.

It often takes me a week or two to decide what things I want to include in my illustrations. During the process some things always disappear whilst others just appear while drawing the last version.

10 December 2012

The white tent #1

Finally, it's begun! After the 7 horses project I've been wanting to start something new. It has taken a year but today I did the first shoot for my new series. I always try to find ways in which I can include dogs in my projects... mainly because I think that they're amazing creatures and that there is way too few good photo projects with dogs. However, many dogs don't have that photogenic look. They simply look too energetic and goofy. That's great for some projects but not for the one I had in mind.
One day however, I met the great pyrenees Laura. Right away, I knew that she was the one I had been looking for. The theme started with her. Then I thought of the white cotton tent and the journey Laura would make.
The true story behind the photos often becomes clearer to me while shooting, so I might have a few frames left before I can tell you about it.

Your comments for my moomin snowhouse were so sweet. Thank you, it's always more fun to create when I know I have a great audience to show it to later :)

08 December 2012

Muminhuset i snö / Moominhouse in snow

Yesterday it was just around 0° so I decided that it was time for this years first snow sculpture. I made a long (alarmingly penis-looking) snowbase and then started to cut out the shape with a big kitchen-knife. I made it very straight. But when the night came... it got less straight.

As you can see, it looked more like the leaning tower of Pisa the next day. But it hasn't given in yet.
While building mini-Lollo came and visited me. Mini-Lollo is a neighbors cat that looks like Lollo but is half his size. Mini-Lollo really liked the front porch and quickly decided to live there. After a while he got a little too comfortable and pretty much wrecked the whole thing so I had to re-build it. When I went inside to get my camera, mini-Lollo sneaked into the house and then suddenly big-Lollo was standing face to face with mini-Lollo and big-Lollo was not liking it AT ALL. Mini-Lollo was chased away. (I would however like to comment that mini-Lollo is out walking in the snow all day while my big-Lollo is scared of the snow and refuses to go outside which has put him in a rather deep winter depression)

It's going to be pretty bad snow building weather from now on (a.k.a really cold) but I hope we'll get a little warmer day so I can make a few moomins as well.

P.S Don't forget the free shipping link, it 's the last one this year!

07 December 2012

Bunny and Dwarf Hen

Some of you wonder what my tricks are when I photograph animals. Honestly, I don't have that many. Number one is simply to shoot until the animals get bored. That's when they stop wobbling around and just stare. Be patient and be friendly with the creatures, if you handle them fiercely and annoyed they're only going to get more stressed.
When it comes to cats, it not as easy. I find yoghurt to be the solution most times. When I photograph Lollo I always have a small plate with yoghurt. I put this in the place I want him to be and let him taste a little of it. Then I take the plate away and hold it in the direction I want Lollo to look. When his concentration breaks I give him the plate again and then repeat the procedure. Sometimes a string works just as good, but then the cat has to be in a playful mood.

Free shipping in my shop thru sunday if you go through THIS link

06 December 2012

Old Sock Lana Del Rey Curls

What does your old socks have in common with Lana Del Reys fabulous hair?
It's not that they're both smelly. Because I doubt that that's true. (but what the heck do I know)
My mum is named Lana too and she doesn't smell at all. (fact)
It's actually that socks make great curls that have that Lana-Del-Rey size. When I use a curling iron the curls often get very small and if I just put my hair up in one bun the waves don't stay very long. Socks are great because the have a good thickness to them, which gives larger curls than if you just roll your hair up in fabric straps.
I rolled up my hair in 5 socks for this effect. I didn't make a proper tutorial, but there are some high-voice girl on youtube that did.

So, get your socks out and put that lipstick on!

And yes, before I forget (nag nag nag), Society6 has free shipping until sunday, but you have to go through THIS link to receive it (Offer excludes Framed Art Prints, Stretched Canvases and Throw Pillows with insert)

04 December 2012

Kick-sledding fox

If you're an owner of this years calendar this is the last illustration in it.
Kick-sledding fox is now available in the Society6 shop. Free shipping until sunday if you use that link!

I'll be removing the 7 horses photos from the shop soon... so if you want a copy get it within the next weeks. I think I want to keep the shop mainly with illustrations.

Also, our local post-office has informed about the dates to which we need to post things in order for them to arrive before christmas. So if you want to buy the calendar and give it away as a holiday gift, you need to order before these dates:
Within Sweden: 20th December
Within the EU (including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland): 14th December
Rest of Europe: 7th December
Outside the EU: 7th December


03 December 2012