I’ve always found photography for my Etsy listings to be such a challenge. The right lighting, placement, set of images, background… all pulled together make a fantastic shot, which it seemed I could never attain. I have a great camera – a Canon EOS Rebel T3. It takes great shots… of the kids. But I could never figure out how to set up my shots for etsy.
After my vendor show, I had a few paintings that didn’t sell that I wanted to list on Etsy. I knew I needed better photography than I’ve used in the past. Frankly, I’m more excited about this set of paintings because they are all hand lettered. I’m more proud of them than some of my earlier work. I started going through the camera settings and decided, based on the description, that landscape was probably my best bet. I also knew I needed natural light, not sun. I’ve got this old ladder in my dining room that sits by a set of bay windows in the back of the house. We are facing East/West so this area is bright in the morning, but just right in the afternoon. After much trial and error, I found that setting up the tripod and timer helped capture great photos that weren’t wobbly!
Here’s where I was before:
Here’s where I am now! (very excited about this new photography!)
It’s amazing how great improved photography makes things look more appealing!
I did it! After writing my last post – I’ve always been crafty – I started delving into all sorts of goodies to help get my creativity on track, my mind focused and my heart in the right place. I was trying to work on “spreading my wings”. After taking some SkillShare classes (which I am still in the midst of finishing), I felt a higher level of confidence in myself as an artist. I have also been doing quite a bit of soul searching. I realized that I needed something to push me out of this sheltered space that I have been hanging out in – something to get my (and my work) out in the open. A goal, a push, and a solid date on the calendar. In steps the Building Blocks Childhood Center’s Ladies Night Out fundraiser, of which I served as the event Marketing Chair. Ladies Night Out is an intimate night of vendors, wine, raffles and fellowship.
Like I said in my last post, I strongly feel that challenges are placed in our paths for a reason and this event was my challenge to push outside my comfort zone. I signed up to be a vendor! It was, admittedly, a lot to serve on the committee as well as work in the background to make sure I had enough product to sell (on top of being a mom, wife, and working part time!), but it was so very rewarding. I was amazed at how many people I know and interact with frequently that had no idea I was an artist on the side! I made some great new connections, took a few orders, sold a few paintings and was very proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone!
Here’s a shot of my table:
I found some pallets to hang my paintings on – using “S” hooks. I wanted a simple and rustic backdrop:
I love how the table all came together!
What’s next? I have a few orders to fill and my etsy shop to give a little love to. And, I have some Skillshare classes to finish up that fell by the wayside as I was preparing for the event. There’s a long winter ahead of us Chicagoans, and plenty of hours to accomplish LOTS of great things!
But I’ve never been a blogger. I’m a pretty modest person. I don’t like to brag. I don’t like to “put myself out there” or feel like I’m advertising myself. But, personally, I’ve hit a roadblock. And I think this might be just what I need to do.
Let’s jump back a little…
I started my career in advertising, moved into advertising sales, and then to consumer promotions. I was working for a large consumer goods company in Consumer Promotions. I enjoyed this job! It allowed me to serve as more of a creative liaison between the brands I represented and the various creative agencies we utilized. During my time at CPG company K, I became pregnant with my son and had a great maternity leave with the company. My dad was fighting non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at this time – it was most wonderful to spend this time with my dad and my son while on maternity leave. I will always be grateful to this company for the generous amount of time I received, not only to spend with my son, but with my dad as well. Within a few months of returning back to work full time, my dad would lose his battle with cancer and I would be out of a job!
At this time in my life, I knew that staying home with my son was the right decision for me. And stay home I did – for 6 years and the birth of a beautiful daughter. During that time, I needed something different to do. I had always enjoyed painting, so decided to paint a blessing onto canvas as a wedding gift for my sister. I had read about a distressing technique on a blog (I can’t recall which one, otherwise I would link it!) that I thought I would try. I LOVED how the painting turned out! And my sister did too – she said “you should sell these on Etsy!”, and so, with a lot of nervousness and serious self doubt, I opened an Etsy shop! My quotes and paintings have evolved as well as my process. Instead of working mainly with layout, I’m now focusing on hand lettering my paintings. The hope is to make them prints and paintings, but baby steps…!
So here I am – I’ve been taking some Skillshare classes and reading some blogs to help inspire and guide me as I try to make a living from a hobby. I was most inspired, as of late, by Miss Mustard Seed’s“How My Business Began” series. I found her post on starting her wonderful business to be education and inspiring. You see, I believe that God places challenges in our path to move us to something greater, to challenge us to grow. This is where I am now.
I’ve been so inspired by my Skillshare Hand Lettering class – though, I admit, I’m a little stumped at the actual digitizing process. I’m pretty slow at Illustrator, so that aspect of hand lettering has been a bit neglected… Truth be told, it’s been stalled. But on an inspiration front, my mind is overflowing with font and quote ideas that I can’t get into my sketchbook fast enough! This has been such a fun aspect of learning hand lettering. I’m very thankful for the inspiration this class has provided! Here are some things I’ve been working on:
Working with some fonts:
Another quote – the inking is in progress here:
The quote below has been inked and is ready for digitizing:
I’m having so much fun playing with quotes, layouts and various fonts! I need to focus on completing the digitizing process so I can add colors and go to print!
I’ve been working carefully on my SkillShare Hand-Lettering Challenge. I’m loving all these new tips and tricks I’m learning in this class. So many fun things to try out! To work through the challenge, I chose the quote “Enjoy all the little things”. This means something to me as I’m trying to remember the little things through stressful times (moving anyone!?). Here is my initial sketch:
I think I was trying to do too much here, so in my inked version, I ditched a lot of the doodles and stuck to just the quote:
I felt like the simpler version was more me. I like the cleaner lines better than the doodles. I’m happy with where things are with my drawing, but I’m struggling with the Illustrator aspect of my drawing, so I need to go back and re-watch the lessons to work through the coloring process!
I’mw working through this class and challenge a little slower than I had hoped, but I’m very excited to be back at the drawing board!
I recently enrolled in Mary Kate McDevitt’s SkillShare class – The First Steps of Hand Lettering: Concept to Sketch (Lettering 1). I have always, as long as I can remember, been obsessed with fonts (I have thousands on my computer!) and lettering. In high school, I made the posters for our football team. I’m always doodling and experimenting with letters and fonts. I came across this great class and am LOVING it so far! Though I’m still working through the first session, I tried a little work on my own as an anniversary gift for my husband. I’m certainly still working through Mary Kate’s class, but did want to do something special for my husband for our anniversary. I took the refrain from our wedding song, Bob Dylan’s To Make You Feel My Love, and wrote it out in my own way. Here’s the rough version:
Since steel is the traditional wedding gift for 11 years, I’m going to etch this into a piece of steel and frame it! Almost like making a printing plat, though not using it for printing. I’m hoping this turns out, but if it doesn’t, at least we can frame my rough draft!
I’ve just joined the July Hand Lettering Challenge, so as I progress through the challenge, I’ll share my work with all of you~
In about 6 weeks, we sold our house, found a new one, closed on both houses on the same day (another story for another time) and moved. What a whirlwind! My mantra for the entire time this was happening: We are never moving again. While I loved the purging that comes with moving – keep The Japanese Art of Tiding in mind here – I HATE the unsettling process of moving. I don’t feel like you can ever be completely prepared no matter how hard you try. Is this just me? And getting into a new home is SO exciting, but still unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, we are all thrilled with our new space and feel so blessed to be here, but now all the boxes we packed have to be, yes, you guessed it, unpacked. MORE work. When after all the work of moving, all I really want to do is live. But, alas, it must be done. Admittedly, we still have work to do to get our house set up, so I have shuttled a number of boxes to the basement (which we have never had before!!) to store until we are ready for them.
The best part of moving? I have an office space! My own little place to do with as I choose. I am SO EXCITED!! I’ve spend some time organizing said space, and it still needs paint, but for now, I can’t wait to settle in there and do some work!
Work… that reminds me. I have set a firm goal for myself to start to transition my part time job outside the home to my own career from my home, working my own hours. I’ve been doing a lot of research and planning. And, for the first time in my life, I can actually imagine this dream happening. My official kick off date is November 5, 2015 where I will have my creativity on display at the Ladies Night Out event that acts as a fundraiser for our church preschool. I have my work cut out for me, but am really excited to have a goal in place! Now… to start the work!
The last month has been a whirlwind! I joined Skillshare a few months ago and had been taking the Intro to Surface Pattern Design course taught by Bonnie Christine. It’s a great course, though I’m just getting back to it after being on hiatus for a few weeks. Just as I was getting into the class, my hubby and I decided to put our house on the market. Talk about stress! But, we are very blessed and thankful to report that it sold in 2 days. 2 DAYS! Now the challenge is to find a new place for our family to grow. Now that things are settling in that arena, I’m getting back to my Skillshare class and LOVING it! Up to this point, we have been going over the essentials of Illustrator (which I’m not well versed in) and it has been a great overview. But, now we are getting into the dirt of actually finding our inspiration and designing with it. I am so excited to get started on this aspect of design. I’ll keep you posted as I go through the process!
It took me a long time to work through my logo, and I feel I’m still working with it. It seems to be an ever evolving design. I recently started working through some classes on SkillShare – so I’m sure my design will continue to evolve. It’s my dream to be a freelance designer of some sort, but in order to make that dream a reality, I feel I need to work more on freeing up my personal restrictions to explore more. There’s always something more to be done (the house, kids, work) that can easily become a distraction. I heard a saying not too long ago – if you have time to watch TV, you have time to workout. Doesn’t that work the same for art? It should. Or, at least, it should for me. There’s my goal – spend more time on developing my passion. In the meantime, my logo is as it is. But we shall see how it evolves!