CREATIVEBUG FACEBOOK Q&A

Happy Friday!

For those of you who have specific questions about my Resist Painting Techniques class or any of the other classes in that series, I will be hosting a live Q&A session on Creativebug's Facebook page tonight from 8pm- 9:30pm EST. You will be able to join in whether you have something to ask that you have been wondering about or are simply curious to know how I approach a certain technique! I will be happy to take any questions or comments you guys have about the series of online tutorials. In addition, I will be announcing the winner from the Pretty in Paint giveaway at the top of the hour, so definitely stop by and see if you will be the lucky painter!

I collaborated with Creativebug on a Facebook takeover previously and it was a hit! Many of you stopped by and asked a lot of questions that I didn't have the time to go into depth about in the tutorials. I really enjoyed being able to nerd-out on the medium and talk in detail about why I love painting...There's so much to watercolor that I am even discovering or still learning about all the time. It's definitely a process medium and something that needs a little bit of time to understand how to work with it and get the results that you envisioned. For me, that's what keeps me pulled in and constantly intrigued! I have certain tools and tricks that I have learned over the years from trial and error, but I know there's still lots of techniques that I don't know about yet. My goal for this series of online tutorials was to introduce a few ways to try out watercolor, but I wanted to leave it open-ended so that you guys can try things on your own too!

And so, I look forward to having another open conversation with any of you tonight who would like to stop by and talk about what you love or find challenging about painting with watercolor. This will be a great chance for me to see what questions are asked often and possibly, new class ideas in the future! My mind is already spinning in that direction...I will also be announcing the takeover on Instagram and Facebook.

That's all for now, hope to meet you guys there tonight! 

Yao

RESIST PAINTING TECHNIQUES WITH CREATIVEBUG

Photography by Creativebug

Photography by Creativebug

Happy Tuesday!

I'm so happy to be announcing that my latest watercolor tutorial - Resist Painting Techniques with Creativebug is now available! This will mark the last class in this series on Creativebug, and I think it is the perfect way to end this series! I go over some specific painting techniques for using the resist medium with watercolor, and you really don't need a lot of artistic background to achieve some stellar watercolor results!

My design background is in textile patterns, so naturally, a lot of my resist painting has to do with creating patterns within my watercolors. The way I visualize a painting, whether it is something abstract or an intricate landscape, always comes back to its connection with pattern. When I'm painting abstracts, what I love about using the masking fluid to create the "resist", is that it gives me the freedom to create dynamic watercolor washes without worrying about protecting the white, background spaces. It's the ultimate balance of keeping control while also completely letting go! Yes, there's a bit of planning that goes into figuring where within the painting I want to keep white or how I'm going to layer on top of the resist. However, I really think the final result is so unique and interesting. Now, everyone has their own way of using resist, and yes sometimes, if you're not using it in a way that helps enhance what you want to say with your painting, it can become tacky. Therefore, I always make sure to ask myself what the purpose of using resist is in what I'm working on. Do I want to add strokes and lines that will enhance the sense of movement in a painting like Ocean Waves in Blue? Or do I want to add a layer of pattern to bring more complexity that will tie the whole painting together like in our Emerald Green Triangles throw pillow? Either way, it's important to have a specific purpose in mind so that the painting comes across as intentional and not just as merely decorative.

When it comes to painting landscapes with resist, I am greatly inspired by the work of Van Gogh - his paintings move and sway in a way that makes me feel like I'm right there in the painting. In my work, I reinterpret that idea and always try to find a way to abstract it by adding patterns within the piece. It brings a sense of life to me in a way that I find very unique! For example, when I see a photograph that I want to use as an inspiration for a new landscape, I always imagine the grass as swaying in the wind, the trees as undulating with the grass, and the clouds as moving softly along the sky. That imagery helps me determine and plan out where I want to lay down with resist and where I want to use other techniques such as broad washes or using a paper towel to "erase" and take away. Check out my Intermediate Watercolor on landscapes for more tricks and ideas on that subject!

In this tutorial, I not only go over the various ways I like to use this medium, but I also talk about what my favorite brand of resist is, what brushes I use, and tricks on how to use this medium correctly so that you don’t end up ruining your brushes or the painting! There is definitely some trial and error while using this. It's very time-sensitive so make sure that you check out this class before jumping into using this medium for the first time. You'll find some easy ways to paint patterns and designs without feeling overwhelmed if you're new to making art! This is when watercolor really shines through, so go ahead, go crazy with washes and get ready to fall in love with watercolor because when the white areas are laid down and "masked away", all you have to focus on is enjoying making the washes and blends. And if you’d like a refresher on making washes and color-blends, you can check out my Beginning Watercolor classes!

Photography by Creativebug

Photography by Creativebug

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**This giveaway is now closed**

In addition to this class release, I have partnered with Creativebug for a Pretty in Paint giveaway that you can enter below! We will be giving away a variety of products that I have designed in the past few years that will show you an array of how resist can be used! One lucky winner will receive the following:

-Emerald Green Triangles Pillow Cover, size 18x18, insert not included

-Print Set Featuring Entertained Colors, and Entertained Colors No. 2. Both prints sized 8" x 8"

-1 Box Set of 8 Stationary Cards featuring 4 Ocean Wave in Blue cards, and 4 Blue Waves cards.

So hurry and enter this free giveaway below before it ends at 11:59 PM PST on 2/2/16. I will be announcing the winner on my Creativebug Facebook takeover on Friday, 2/5/16. Stay tuned for that announcements and many more over on our Instagram and Facebook! I hope you guys will love this new class, and if you guys have any thoughts about this watercolor series or ideas for new classes that you would like to see, please leave a comment below!

Happy painting everyone!

Yao

INTRODUCING DINNER NAPKINS

All photos courtesy of Christa Kimble Photography.

All photos courtesy of Christa Kimble Photography.

Hello there!

Today I am introducing our NEW napkin collection, and let me tell you, I am so proud of how these beauties turned out! You can see all of our new products here. This is a collection that I've been thinking and talking about for over a year... I really wanted to continue expanding in home-decor, and adding dining textiles seemed like the natural next step after tea towels. It was also a great opportunity (and the best excuse!) to throw myself into a few weeks of just designing surface patterns again. Designing patterns taps into a very different part of my creative brain and can be a breath of fresh air from designing layouts and composed artworks!

Now a little bit about the making of these napkins...
As with every other category of our products, the designs always start with me painting through tons of the ideas/ colors/ pattern motifs that have been swimming around in my mind. With so many paintings laid out on the floor, and I really mean this, it's like a tornado went through my painting desk! I will then pick the ones that jump out or speak to me the most. However, there are also always a few patterns that I never really thought about using until the last minute, and Funfetti is actually one of those! In hindsight, it's now one of my favorite designs in this collection. Funny how collections come together... Anyway, once I select the ones that I think will work together, I bring them into the computer and create repeats and color way options. This part of the design phase is usually pretty grueling, but it is completely necessary to scrutinize every detail, scale and color to make sure that they all complement each other. Especially for this collection, I wanted you to be able to mix and match to your heart's content, so each design had to have its own voice but also be able to work well with the other ones. For example, I created a mini-series of indigo designs with Navy Grid, Honeyberry, Maritime and Indigo Hash. These four can be paired with each other without feeling redundant but still be in the same color family. They can create more variety for your dining table and also, if you are like me, you can switch between patterns in case you don't want to look at the same pattern everyday!

Our napkins are printed with the same process as the rest of our textiles using fiber-reactive dye. You can read more about it here! I love this printing method because it provides beautiful color ranges as well as makes it possible for our customers to actually use the products in their homes! They can be laundered like normal household textiles and will actually become softer with each wash. Once they are printed, our amazing seamstress sews and finishes every napkin by hand. Tags are placed on, and ribbons are tied. That last part of this process is, I think, the most rewarding! It's definitely a challenge to keep so much of our production process in-house, but for me it's worth all of the hard work to be able to oversee as much as possible to ensure that the product reflects our brand. 

NavyGrid_YaoChengDesign
Honeyberry_YaoChengDesign

What I love about these napkins is that they are so versatile. You can mix and match across color ranges, in different scales or throw in a few of our wash designs for color emphasis! Our wash napkins are very unique to watercolor, although they do echo tie-dyed fabrics. I wanted to re-interpret this dyeing method using watercolor washes and blends. So go ahead, check out our napkins collection, and if you are not sure which designs will go well together, we've created a few color stories here in lemon, mint, raspberry and indigo. If you would like to select your own napkin set of 4 patterns, email us and we can create a custom set for you! 

Enjoy!

Yao

RaspberryWash_Funfetti_YaoChengDesign
Funfetti_YaoChengDesign
LemonDrop_Funfetti_YaoChengDesign
Hash_HoneyDew_YaoChengDesign
DewBytheSea_yaochengdesign.jpg

3 YEAR BIRTHDAY SALE!

Photography // Yao Cheng Design

Photography // Yao Cheng Design

Happy Friday you guys!

Ok, so this is a super exciting announcement. We are having our BIGGEST flash sale this weekend in celebration of our 3 year birthday anniversary this month! Enjoy 35% off your entire purchase over $20, this weekend only, so hurry and get your holiday shopping done! Simply use code "35BDAY" at checkout. The flash sale will end this Sunday, 10/11. 

Photography // Christa Kimble

Photography // Christa Kimble

I cannot believe how quickly these past 3 years have flown by. Allow me to rehash for a minute how crazy starting your own business is when you don't have financial backers, a studio space, or more than 2 sets of hands to do everything from accounting to taxes to designing and shipping products! It is the most amazing/crazy/difficult job I have ever had, but that's old news, right? That's what everyone says, especially in an age where so many of us entrepreneurs are leaving comfortable, corporate jobs for our own businesses. However, every word of that is so true. The first year was pretty challenging, as there was a lot of fear of failure and uncertainty from myself that this wouldn't work out. I am really lucky to have a close group of family members and friends who always lent an ear when I was frustrated or just needed a good cry. But it truly is the most rewarding job when you know you have earned every penny and that what you work so hard at makes people smile! 

I often get asked how I started my business or how I knew this was what I wanted to do. The answer I always give is that I just always knew this was where my career would take me. As soon as I decided an art career was meant for me in high school, I knew this is where I would eventually be. I like being in control of my work, and it just seemed natural to assume that one day, I will be able to oversee what kind of designs I will create and how I will go about shaping my career. I did not wake up one morning and decide to embark on my own career by myself, however. It was a very calculated decision that took about 2 years to prepare for emotionally and 1 year to save up for. Even then, it still felt like I was diving into something that I didn't know much about, although I actually preferred to approach it this way. After all, knowing too much was probably going to scare me out of making any steps towards this, so I just went for it.

Saying goodbye to a very cushy corporate job was pretty difficult, but totally liberating! As soon as that happened, I was off to embark on this new career. I felt I was learning something new just about every day for the first few months. Art school did not prepare me for how to budget my finances, file my expenses for taxes, write agreements for myself that would protect my work, or choose what equipment to invest in for selling my own art prints. There were lots of emotional ups and downs thrown in there, too. But, I figured it all out, one at a time... I learned that it is more important to always create great, quality work that I believed in, than to take on projects that paid more money. I stuck to that philosophy and I'm so glad I did. Quality and authenticity are still at the bedrocks of what our studio is growing into today! I also learned that it is really important to build great relationships between my clients, customers, followers and colleagues. Every interaction is one worth taking care of, especially in my line of work where I'm sharing something very personal with others!

The second and third (this current year) flew by much faster than that first one. Even though I am still learning so many things and putting on a lot of different hats everyday, I have become more comfortable with task management so that I can juggle the different industries that I work in (designing for larger companies at the same time as working on our home-decor line and fulfilling bridal needs). Money took on a new meaning for me too, from first feeling all too precious to waste even a single penny to recognizing that it means I can reinvest it back into my business.

I have met so many of you guys at craft shows and local events. It meant so much to me to hear and see how my work has inspired you all! I even did a whole series of online tutorials with Creativebug, which has helped me reach even more of my audience. And most recently, I was able to invest in a full-time employee to help me accomplish and grow some areas of my business that I no longer have the time for! We are currently looking for a new studio space, so I foresee this coming year to be filled with a lot of new firsts for us.

All of the hard work has really been paying off, and I feel as though it's been a very organic- though carefully planned- transformation into what it is today. I learned that it is smarter to take my time in expanding our product categories and make sure every one of our new products are made well and exactly right than to just hit certain benchmarks. I hope to continue growing this business and that you guys will continue following along with us. Who knows where we will be in another 5 years? I definitely can't wait to see what new products we will have (I have so many ideas still floating around in my head!) and what new opportunities and collaborations we will make! 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone and happy shopping!
Yao