CBTV WITH CREATIVEBUG

Hello there!

Some of you may have seen a sneak peek of a filming project that I was working on back in February on Instagram. Well, I'm happy to finally share the first of a multi-episode series that Creativebug has recently released! Their CBTV channel just launched the first episode, called "Creative Origins with Yao Cheng", and will be releasing additional episodes in the coming months. In these episodes, I will take you inside our design studio in Columbus, Ohio and talk more in depth about where my creativity first began, as well as how I have grown into the business that I run today! It's definitely a very insightful resource (and free for everyone to watch!) and my hope is that it will inspire you to get those creative juices flowing! 

I remember pouring over artist/designer interviews. Design Matters with Debbie Millman is a great podcast that I listened to when I first decided that I was going to make the transition from a full-time, corporate design job to starting my own business. At the time, I needed to know that there were other people out there who have done something similar and succeeded! After all, we all need encouragement from time to time when we are about to do something unknown and scary, and that was definitely how I felt. I knew 100% that I wanted to start my own business, but I wasn't so sure how to get to where I envisioned my business to be.

When Creativebug approached me about doing this mini-documentary series, I knew right away that I wanted to do this in hopes of inspiring other creatives who might have the same curiosity as me when starting out. After hearing from so many people who loved taking the online classes, it seemed like there was a real curiosity about how I "found" my painting style and an interest to know more about the background of how I began...Honestly, I really wanted to take the opportunity to talk about these things in more depth too! Art is something I am very passionate about, but building a business around art is something I have had to learn along the way and feel there is a lot to it that people may not necessarily know. The classes that I teach online are great for techniques and tips, but there was just never enough time to fit in these in-depth conversations that I also really wanted to have.

The first episode is about how I first learned watercolor and how my education abroad in learning traditional Chinese floral painting/calligraphy has really influenced my work. It is pretty funny how much of an influence it has become in my work now, mostly in how I think about using my brush strokes and how to capture "life" in natural subjects. At the time, I really did not know what I was doing there, especially since the discipline in art and creativity in China was vastly different from my education in the US. I felt very rebellious then and very constrained by the meticulous training in ink work and master copies. My thinking was, "how am I supposed to be thinking outside of the box when all I do is copy paintings that I cannot relate to?". Looking back, I am really grateful to have had that intense training. It laid a great foundation for how I approach floral painting now because I have an understanding of flower anatomies and how to capture them in a way that brought life and energy into the work. There is a strong emphasis on how to convey emotions in brush strokes, which was something I took for granted before. I started to understand that I could use my brush strokes as my visual vocabulary.

I also talk a little bit about those in my life who really believed in what I loved to do from the very beginning and how vital having a support system was for me throughout my life. There were many a times when I knew I wanted to go to RISD for an art degree but family members didn't take me seriously or couldn't understand why I would want to spend my college degree on something such as art. A lot of that comes from a lack of knowledge in what art is and what art can be in our daily lives, and I do not fault them for it. But I knew I wanted to prove them wrong, because I knew that art is so much more than what we might think. It is not just a pretty painting on a wall or in a gallery. Art, when combined with design, can enrich our lives in so many amazing ways! 

You can check out the full episode on Creativebug's CBTV channel and I hope this will give you a little more insight into where and how I began as an artist. Stay tuned in the coming months for more episode releases and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for those announcements!

Until next time,

Yao

NEW! COLLECTION INVITATIONS

Well happy Friday to you all!

I am thrilled to finally introduce to you all something that we have been hard at work here at the studio. We are proud and very ecstatic to share with you our 5 fully-designed Collection wedding suites that require very little customization and can be mailed to you in 2-3 months!

These Collection invitations have been a true labor of love to design for both me and my assistant over the last year. It is something that we scrutinized for months over, obsessing over every little details so that everything coordinates together perfectly. For me personally, even though this is one of most ambitious projects I've ever thought about doing, it was really important to me to make this happen! After working with brides on custom invites for the last couple of years, I began to see a real demand from brides who would email us wanting to work with us, but would leave feeling disappointed because of either their time constraint or a limited budget (both of which are very realistic and understandable reasons!). Having planned a small wedding on a budget myself, I could totally relate to the reality of having a busy schedule and the pressure to still put together the most memorable wedding.

But first, a thought on why I started designing invitations in the first place...Stationery was always a passion of mine, I suppose it goes back to my school training in textiles and always being around tactile things! At any rate, after seeing how people responded to my paintings that I turned into art prints, I knew I wanted to bring something equally as beautiful to wedding stationery. Painted florals is a big part of my body of work, so it seemed very natural to translate them into wedding invitations early on. For me, it wasn't enough to just design paper invitations though. I wanted our wedding stationeries to be like small works of art, something made with a lot of care and printed on quality paper so that brides and their guests can keep them for years to come. In fact, a lot of our bridal guests frame their addressed envelopes! 

With that in mind, I knew with these Collection suites that I was not going to compromise on the quality of the work or how special they feel. Instead, I would focus on offering brides a much shorter time frame since a large portion of the design process has already been done. This gives brides the flexibility to quickly coordinate pieces together or shift their budget around to accommodate other aspects of their wedding planning! Every suite is fully-designed from Save the Dates all the way to Reception pieces. We even have patterned envelope liners to match and bring a splash of color to your envelopes! I really wanted each suite to have the right balance in terms of variety, patterns, and color. Calligraphy choices were also carefully considered to compliment the right feeling. I chose to design 5 different styles of invitations to suit the different kinds of weddings that brides are planning. Looking for something more elegant to fit a church or ballroom setting? Eliza and Ambrose are the perfect ones for that! Or if you want to go more rustic chic or outdoors, Ingram and Meadow could be a great match. In fact, Meadow was inspired by my own Italian wedding in the heart of Tuscany! And Gardiner is very fitting for a beach or less formal setting, either outdoors or indoors!

We know how important and emotional this day is for everyone, which is why we work very closely with each of our brides every step of the way! If you'd like more information on our pricing, design process, check out our wedding catalog! Interested in working with us? Please fill out this form so that we can have some information on hand when determining a time-frame and the size of the project! You can always email us with specific questions or, if you are in the Columbus area, stop by our studio and see these lovely pieces in person. At this time, we only offer these designs as physical, printed pieces! We work with a trusted printing vendor here in the USA to offer consistent coloration and quality paper stocks. 

Are you looking for custom, Bespoke wedding designs? Feel free to reach out to us with your specific needs. I will be on maternity leave through the middle of September, so custom work will be scheduled later in the year!

Behind the scenes: in progress shot

I can't tell you how proud of these designs I am. Seeing everything photographed together was a real treat for me, since they've been swarming around in my head for such a long time! I wanted to include a few shots of us behind the scenes in the studio as these lovelies were photographed by the talented Christa Kimble! That's all for today, thank you for stopping by and hope you all will fall in love with these designs as much as we did!

All photography courtesy of Christa Kimble Photography

Have a great weekend,

Yao

WHY I LOVE WATERCOLOR

Happy Friday! 

I bet you are all looking forward to this holiday weekend; I know I definitely am! If you are looking for an activity to kick back and unwind to, "dip" (pun intended!) into a fun painting afternoon this holiday and be sure to watch my online watercolor classes! They will open your eyes to a whole new level of painting that doesn't feel intimidating or difficult, but rather enjoyable and relaxing!

I want to share this sneak peak video of the classes that I made in collaboration with Creativebug back when we were filming the watercolor tutorial series. These classes were one of the most involved projects I had ever done at the time, and it remains one of my proudest projects to date! I continue to receive so many emails and comments from you all who are picking up watercolor for the first time or are looking for a relaxing, creative outlet to tap into. I love reading about your enthusiasm for the classes and seeing how your work has progressed through the tips that I teach. It is very rewarding for me as a teacher and an artist.

I never really saw myself as a teacher before working on this tutorial series with Creativebug. I knew all the techniques and felt very comfortable in my knowledge about painting, color theory and such... but being able to communicate all of those thoughts and tips through words and video content was uncharted territory for me! Still, I saw a real demand and curiosity for painting in this medium and felt I could offer a new approach on how to use watercolor in a more modern way. Plus, I really treasure my friend who took the time to teach me and open my eyes to watercolor about 6 years ago, so I was happy to pass it on! And now, even though teaching is not the bulk of what I do with my business, I am really glad I have this series of classes to recommend to you folks. I talk to people all the time who are interested but don't know where/how to begin with this medium, so it's great being able to share these tutorials with them and assure them that "Yes, this can be a really easy, fun and enjoyable medium!"

Watching this video reminds me of what I love and what I do, every time. I don't know if it's because I rarely ever see my watercolors come together at this pace or if it's because it's a compilation of so many different types of work that I make. Either way, it's neat to see them all together! A lot of this footage came from when the Creativebug crew (and what an amazing team!) would leave me alone to paint for about 30 minutes each day while the camera continued to film me from above. I got to put on my headphones and create whatever came to mind. That kind of freedom was refreshing after a whole day of teaching on camera. This is where the magic really happens, when I don't need to rely of words to express how I feel or what I want to say. I love being in that zone, it pulls me right into what I'm doing and I become so enthralled with what is exactly in front of me. Now if only this was my entire day, everyday... but more thoughts on that later!

I hope you guys will feel inspired to paint watercolor, especially during your long 4th of July weekend after watching this video! You can check out my Beginning Watercolor class on Creativebug or view the entire series here!

Happy holidays and have a safe weekend!

Yao

NEW! LANDSCAPES & FLORAL PRINTS

©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

Hello there!

I'm excited to share some landscape art prints and floral stationeries with you all today! Shop these new additions here. Getting a head start on Mother's Day shopping? Pick out some of our latest "Thank You's" and greeting cards to send as a note to your loved ones!

I wanted to take a minute and share some of my inspirations behind the art prints that we are introducing today. For those of you who have been following me over on Instagram @yaochengdesign, you might have seen some process posts of me creating these beauties in the last week or so! Indeed, I've dedicated a few days away from all things business and just spent some time painting them in the studio. How blissful it has been...

(left) Positano Art Print // (right) Santorini Art Print // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

(left) Positano Art Print // (right) Santorini Art Print // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

Lake Como Art Print // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

Lake Como Art Print // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

Images of these adorably colorful houses by the Mediterranean have been swirling in my mind since our honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast over 2 years ago. I still remember sitting by the beach making watercolor sketches of the houses. What strikes me most about these landscapes of Santorini, Positano and Lake Como are the colors! Talk about being seductive eye-candy for me, how could I resist? I really could paint these for weeks on end, because creating each house leads me to the next one and to the next. Before I know it, I've fallen completely into that world and have gotten lost in a maze of shapes and colors. I like how refreshing it has been to paint with so much detail. It's definitely a departure from the way I usually create my pieces. Challenging myself in this way gave me a chance to fully indulge in the obsessive details...I wanted to capture every window shutter and every stoney step! Without sketching ahead, it also helped me hone my hand-eye coordination since I had to rely a lot on observation to stay in perspective and in ratio. The thrill of starting with one house and see a whole landscape build on top of each other is really neat too. Next time, I would love to capture that process in a video and share with all of you!

Here are some of the sketches that I made while at the Amalfi Coast. Sketching in real life is not something I get to do with all of my subjects, so having been able to be there to observe the light change throughout the day and hearing the hustle and bustle of everyday life was a bonus!

(Caroline Rose Bouquet) Art Print // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

(Caroline Rose Bouquet) Art Print // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

(left) (Wreath in Violet) Stationery // (right) (Wreath in Springtime) Stationery // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

(left) (Wreath in Violet) Stationery // (right) (Wreath in Springtime) Stationery // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

(Anemone Blooms) Stationery // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

(Anemone Blooms) Stationery // ©2016 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved

In addition to landscapes, we also have a few new florals to introduce! I was in the middle of finalizing our wedding Collection suites (more on that later!) when I felt like it was the perfect time to update with some new florals in our shop. Color-wise, in the last 2 years, I've very much steered away from violets and purples in my work. I'm not exactly sure why that was.  In my corporate job we didn't get an opportunity to explore that color family, so it felt very unfamiliar to me. However, I'm glad I'm starting to incorporate some purples in my work now. Roses with accents of periwinkle hydrangeas and deep lavenders like in the Caroline Rose Bouquet has a great balance of soft and bold colors. That one is perhaps my favorite to date! You can find these designs and more in our new greeting cards as well. Our new "Thank You's" will be perfect for Mother's Day!

Well, that's all for now. I'm heading off to San Francisco for a week of vacation with family and friends, hope you all will have a lovely weekend too!

Cheers,

Yao