My First Year in Business

My First Year in Business

If you're a maker or a creator looking to find a way to sell your goods to the masses, I write about my first year in business on Etsy, debunk some myths, and share some tools I use to help me work more efficiently and effectively.

Authentic Art

Authentic Art

So many great artists are the victims of infringement and the sad part is you'd probably never know it. Sometimes THEY won't know it either. Find out some tips and tricks on how to identify authentic art and ensure your money is going to the artist.

Design at Play : The Concept

 My grandma at her 100th birthday party

My grandma at her 100th birthday party

My grandma passed away a couple of months ago now. She was 104 and she always amazed me with her determination to live life to the fullest and have fun no matter what was happening or how old she was.  

She never wanted to think she was getting older or feel like she was losing her independence so she kept life happening for as long as she possibly could before old age got the better of her.

She passed peacefully and her send off was a celebration of all her accomplishments and life experiences and, boy, they were grand. To name a couple, she had her 8th child at 46, she took a voyage on a Mediterranean cruise at 95, and also volunteered at a hospice thrift shop in her 90’s until she was 100. Of course there’s more but that is just a little snapshot to show you that she never let the grass never grow under her feet.

I do believe her young-at-heart spirit and playful outlook, kept her going for so many years and is what kept her mind healthy. The evidence of this may not necessarily be set in stone as fact but the studies that have been conducted state that feeling younger may lead to better health habits which in turn, helps you live longer. Makes sense.

Study or not though, this is a philosophy I believe in personally and try to practice as much as possible in my life because it just feels good to explore new things, be silly, get curious, and to not to take life so seriously sometimes. I also believe that everyone needs that. Just because we're adults, doesn't mean we have to be grown up at all times, right? NO! (That's just me though :) )

This concept serves as the foundation and inspiration for my design work as well which I hope to transfer to everyone that buys a little something from me. Whether it’s a gift for someone or a gift for yourself, my goal is to make you feel silly, happy, or help you brush off the icky things in life. That's what my "Design at play" tagline is all about.

So tell me, what’s your secret to life? What inspires you? What keeps you going? 
I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
 

3 Ring Circus : Sticker Pack

 Limited Edition 3 Ring Circus, 2016

Limited Edition 3 Ring Circus, 2016

I launched a colourful new sticker pack today inspired by my 3 Ring Circus art print I illustrated last year and my youthful obsession with candy.

These guys are 3 in the first (of possibly many) volume(s) of quirky ring pop characters and only 50 sets are available. 

I've also made available a one-of art print that you can purchase with a sticker pack complete with stamp of authenticity, signature, and edition number. 

Check out my Etsy shop for more details and let me know what other stickers pack YOU want to see in the comments below.

Selected Exhibition : Carded 2017

I was super stoked to be a part of the last event at Hot Art Wet City (HAWC) called Carded. This Smart Ass was my submission and I was lucky to be 1/50 artists selected to have their art printed on trading cards.

I'm a bit of an introvert, even though I have some extroverted qualities, so sparking conversations with people I don't know is sometimes tough for me. However, these kind of events are a little more than your usual mix and mingle since we're all trying to hustle for the cards we want. I love connecting with the artists and, of course, the collectors who seek me out for a signature or trade. I also do some seeking as well when I get a card that I just have to get signed. I turn into a fan girl, running around trying to find the artist for a signature and meet and greet. That's when it gets fun.

I met some really great people at this one - as usual - and they always impress so I'm hoping they don't die with the closure of HAWC. Time will tell. 

This Smart Ass is a part of a larger series I've illustrated and can be found in multiple shops in the form of art prints, mugs, shirts, plaques and more. So head over to my main page and you'll be directed to where to find them.

HOT ART Wet City : Eat Yo Self

 Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show

Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show

Confession: Statler and Waldorf's sit in the balcony of my brain—mocking, criticizing, and laughing with each new idea I have.

Who else has this dilemma?

I used to listen to them a lot, thinking they knew best. (Sometimes I still do) I see them as my protectors who are saving me a lifetime of shame, embarrassment, and humiliation.

However, when I listen to them as much as I do, I find myself yearning and wondering 'what if'. That's when you know you have to tell them to shut up and sit down.

While I haven't found a way to get rid of them all together, I have learned to care less about what they think. I hear their criticisms and warnings but I try new things anyways, which really helps silence them - especially when I succeed. And even when I fail, I tell them that it's still a success because I know what doesn't work for me or maybe I know a better way to execute an idea now that I've failed. It's really a win-win.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend encouraged me to submit art to an art show at Hot Art Wet City. And of course Statler and Waldorf had a hay-day to know that I was entertaining the idea since it was completely out of my comfort zone. 

Even still, I kicked around some ideas and spent a good week or two developing and executing concepts. In the end, I had 4 strong concepts that I was really happy with and submitted for review and approval. Whether I was approved or not, was definitely not the measure of success on this project since that part of it was out of my control. The real success here was actually doing it and loving the results; Knowing that my little engine "could".

Low-and-behold, my pieces were approved and I was asked to drop off framed and unframed copies before the end of May. 

Take that Statler and Waldorf!

Here are the details for the event. I'll be there on June 3rd for the opening reception so hopefully you are too!

"Back to the Future, Circa 1985" : Illustration

 Back to the Future, Circa 1985 illustration on t-shirt

Back to the Future, Circa 1985 illustration on t-shirt

"What if I send it in and they don't like it? What if they say I'm no good? What if they say 'Get out of here, kid. You got no future.' ? I mean, I just don't think I can take that kind of rejection." - Marty McFly

So...who can relate to this? I know I've experienced many "Marty McFly" moments so I definitely can.

Sometimes before we even put pen to paper to start a new project, our minds prepare us for ultimate failure. The 'what-if's' swirl about and the potential rejection seems to be too big to ever come back from. Our dreams flash before our eyes and we make a decision to not even bother. 

On one hand, you want to get out there and make your place in the world; Show them what you've got. Then there's the other side that is scared of being judged, criticized, and rejected. Putting yourself out there can be a scary thing so it's natural for your brain to want to protect you from all that. But in reality, it's usually never as big of a deal as we make it out to be. If we want to gain any traction or want experience new things though, we have to do those scary things anyways. 

This was a block for me, for quite awhile. I didn't pursue what I wanted or share my work for the fear of being seen as amateur, not having what it took, or doing it wrong. A bit extreme, yes, and I had to do a lot of personal work to push through that. Once I did though, I became more confident despite those criticisms. I improved. I tried again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It is slowly becoming habit and instead of seeing the 'what if's' in a negative way, I'm starting to turn them into curiosity & wonderment.  'What if I succeed?!'

I also wonder if there's a slight fear in that thought too. What IF you succeed beyond your wildest dreams? What IF you realize something new about yourself? What IF you unlock new worlds? Is the risk of rejection worth it? Um...YEA! 

When I sat down to design something inspired by Back to the Future, I watched the movie to refresh myself and brainstorm people, words, phrases, and key points in the movie.  Originally, I had a very different idea but it already existed so I had to change direction.

I'm a big nerd for organization and love the photos where people lay out their wardrobe for the day or travel accessories in somewhat of a grid system, so I decided to combine those two ideas. The thought of illustrating everything overwhelmed me but I was up for the challenge. When I finished, I immediately wanted to ditch it. That little voice said, 'It's not enough.' Then it said, 'Maybe it's too much.' So I sat for a bit and thought about what worked and what didn't. I added. I removed. I sized. I rearranged. Until it had just enough to make it feel balanced. 

I was able to get passed all the noise in my head and, in the end, I was pretty happy with result. It's now up on my RedBubble site for all to enjoy and I even have a t-shirt of my own on the way which I will share on my Instagram when I get it!

In the meantime, tell me all about your "Marty McFly" moment.

"Hickory-Dickory-Dock : Owl" Illustration

  2nd illustration in my Hickory-Dickory-Dock series

2nd illustration in my Hickory-Dickory-Dock series

“It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking to it that one overcomes it; often it is by working on the one next to it. Some things and some people have to be approached obliquely, at an angle.” - Andre Gide quotes (French writer, humanist and moralist)

You might consider this to be what I found beyond the fence; An illustration inspired by my own work.

When I sat down to coax the creativity out of me, I didn't know what I wanted. All I knew is that I wanted to create something amazing, something fresh, something new.

I immediately lost all motivation.

After awhile I realized that "new" wasn't my answer because it was getting me nowhere, fast. So I sat down again, and tackled things from a different angle; Why am I doing this in the first place? It's not for clients, it's not my audience - however, I do appreciate the love :-) - it was for me to have FUN and breakaway from the process! And that is what I wanted to get back to. 

So I looked through all of the projects I have thought about or completed in the last 6 months and considered how much fun I had with each. Hickory-Dickory-Dock was the clear winner after all was said and done. I remembered how mysterious it was from the very beginning and how it just naturally unfolded into something quirky and put a smile on my face so that was my motivation - and goal - for this next piece. 

I didn't do as much drawing for this one - since most of the parts were already built so I sketched up a basic idea & composition, adjusting where I wanted to adjust things, changing what I wanted to change from the last one, and adding new pieces, for interest. I recycled and reused to rebuild something completely new and unique to itself. Especially since there was no owl in the original nursery rhyme.

This one had its share of surprises and it unfolded completely different than what I had originally planned for it but that's why it was so fun. I had found that freedom and curiosity I was missing. I even started giving it new direction with a new character which may inspire something completely different for the next one. 

We will see where the path leads next...

In the meantime, you can purchase a print of this on my RedBubble site.

Ground Control to Major Dog : 1st Design Approved!

What's the point of doing it, working that hard, and not telling people about it? At least open your window and shout. - Barbara Walters

As a graphic designer, selling is an important part of your job. For freelancers, it's what you have to do to stay alive. For in-house designers, it's what you have to do to pitch an idea. You have to hustle, take risks, tell the world you're here, show people what you're made of. It can be a vulnerable place to be. The trick to getting passed it is to face it and put yourself out there regardless of any fears or doubts you may have. If you succeed, great! If you get rejected, take what you can from the experience and move on to the next! 

A few days ago, I finished a new illustration of a dog in space. He was inspired by something I saw on Reddit and couldn't resist the urge to draw & digitize him for a t-shirt. Browsing Threadless, I noticed a "Sh*t the Internet Says" category and decided to enter him - since that's where my original inspiration came from. I'm happy to say it was approved! While this isn't for the purposes of putting food on the table, it IS an attempt to "open my window and shout".

So please share, vote, or fund. I appreciate your support in whatever you choose to do.

https://www.threadless.com/designs/ground-control-to-major-dog

"Hickory Dickory Dock" Illustration

I’ve always been fascinated with children’s stories. Like a dream, they leave so much to the imagination that readers can draw their own conclusions on how things became to be.

I began drawing my latest piece as part of my #draw21days challenge and just ran with it. I knew I wanted to work in a steampunk theme but had no idea what kind of story I might tell; I just started drawing. First the cat, then the clock, then it all unfolded from there. A few pipes, a mouse, some other random items, and even I was left with a wonderment of what might be going on. What was the mouse up to? Where was he going? What would happen if someone pulled the chord to the steam whistle. So many questions led to so many possibilities and outcomes, which is why I enjoy it so much.

22 hours from sketch to final design, it is now up in my shop for all to enjoy on a pillow, a t-shirt, a laptop, iPhone skin, and many more items...check it out!