Watercolor story

50 States Series


50 States Series

I’ve been telling the stories state by state over on my instagram but I thought it’d be nice to compile them into a 6 part blog this one answering some questions, and then 10 states at a time and go a little deeper into my process and their Stories! So here are some of the common questions I’ve been asked.

How I pick which state to paint next?

Though It might be smart to have some kind of order to follow to keep you on track, and I’m usually dedicated to systems and rules to follow, I just followed my heart on this and made sure I was excited about the state and scene before I painted it. Some ideas would come and I’d paint that State next, Other ideas I’d save, building up the motivation and sometimes just the courage to paint it! Sometimes I’d have an idea I liked but wait on it, and then an idea I loved would come along instead.

How did you come up with this idea? 

It’s not a new idea to paint a scene in a State but, I’ve seen very few full maps because it’s honestly quite a progress! You have to dedicate yourself to it and leave little parts of yourself all over the country. I now want to travel everywhere I’ve painted! I’ve been able to see beauty in each State, it’s a constant reminded to me that no accident could have created it.

Do you paint a State a day or how long does it take?

This one just depends on the state. I thought when I started 50 states = 50 days of painting, haha but it’s more then that. I spent a total of 3 and a half months on the whole project. I think my process had become faster as I went on. But, some states took more time then others. There is the planning, researching, and figuring out how the scene can fit in the state shape part before hand. And the Scanning, digital, and Photoshop ending process. Which brings me to the next question.

How do you get such Clean State Shape lines?

One word, Photoshop. Haha! I’d draw out a rough state shape and paint like that but then cut out in photoshop. I knew I wanted those super crisp cuts and photoshop is a great tool in our digital age!

What’s Next?

This Series has grown me so much as an artist, I never thought I’d be painting everyday when I started watercolors back in 2016! I also would never have thought I’d be painting landscapes or that they’d become my favorite thing to paint! When I finally started developing my own style. I call my Cartoon Realism I had no idea how to get that to work for landscapes, I honestly avoided them for a long time and really thought I just couldn’t paint them. But the states idea came to me and kept tugging at my heart, so I set out to find a teacher! The internet is full of great resources and the Artist Matthew Palmer was the perfect teacher for me to work on the style I already called my own but for landscapes. I spent about a month or two painting his scenes of places like Ireland and really learned how to capture different types of landscapes. I feel like that is still more to learn. And as people we’re always growing. I’m excited to see what will happen even in the next 5 years. The States adventure has come to a close but my Watercolor journey is still just beginning.

Let me know if you have questions, and check back in for the State Stories coming soon!

Head to etsy to Purchase the Map or individual states!

My Watercolor Story

Some people know from a young age that they were born to be an artist, everything they touch turns beautiful and looks right. I was not one of those kids… 

My childhood art looked like most kids art, ugly stick people and suns in the corner of the sky with huge sun-rays (don’t tell me you don’t know what I mean! haha) I was still an artsy kid despite my bad art, but as I got older I left the art to my sisters, who had much more of a knack for drawing!

I found other creative outlets like music and later photography. Then for a season when my Niece was born I was a fill in Nanny for my sister while she was on maternity leave. The 3 year old I was nannying loved watercolor and we would paint together often. During that time painting with kids watercolor equipment I found that it was something I really loved to do. 

The next fall I went out on a whim and bought some real watercolor supplies. I decided it would be a great winter hobby when my photography season was slow. Even if it was something I wasn’t great at, it was something I wanted to do. So I just started, I soaked up youtube tutorials like crazy and actually started to see my art grow. I’ve learned overtime in  my life though I am creative, I need to understand, wrap my brain around things. So finally being taught art,  and learning techniques really helped me!

When I started working on original art, I got the idea to try selling it on Etsy. I had no idea if it was just my family telling me I was good because you know they’re family and they can do that. But when I made my first sale I was overjoyed, Someone liked my art enough to buy it!

So I kept painting and adding stuff to my shop. I had no idea my hobby was becoming a career and business of it’s own! 

Fast forward to today, February 2019, my Etsy shop has been open for two years this month and I’ve made over 200+ sales! I feel so blessed to have people love my art as much as I love painting it.

There are so many tools that teach everything under the sun like Youtube and Skillshare. If you have the time, quit telling yourself you can’t. Learn something new even if it’s just for fun!

-Emilie Taylor