There have been quite a few positive changes recently in the way that I work and in the artwork I’ve been creating. I have a new sense of direction that has been slowly building from all of my past artistic experiences combined. So while I can’t exactly see how and where things will end up, I’ve been enjoying the process and anticipate the path in front of me continuing to become clear.
One big decision I’ve made is, for the moment, to remove most of the made-to-order jewelry items from my online shops. I gave this decision a lot of thought as some of my most popular jewelry pieces fall in this category, like rings and bracelets. I made this decision for two reasons: 1) I’ve realized making the same pieces repeatedly in a production-style mode is not where my passion lies and 2) I’ve been drawn back to 2D artwork time and again. So, I think this change will allow even more creative freedom when I’m at the jewelry bench and also give time to focus on artwork.
Another change has been to increase the amount of time I spend learning about new techniques and business methods. For example, I invested in an online class for intermediate users of Adobe Illustrator and gleaned little golden nuggets on how to use it more efficiently. It has already improved my workflow tremendously and has Illustrator feeling much more comfortable! There are other classes I’ve taken and ones I’m eyeing for the near future. And books: I’ve added some to my collection as well.
Speaking of books, I invested in some specifically for artists learning to draw plants and animals. Nature has always been one of my biggest inspirations, so it’s wonderful to have these resources. And with this investment has come the change to actually spend more time creating. That may sound strange but there are so many distractions for an artist running her own business. If you’re not careful, creating can easily take a back burner to all the business tasks that “have” to be done, some productive and some not so much. So, a habit I’ve formed is to end my days with quick pencil sketches using my new books. The benefits have been threefold: 1) it scratches that creative itch 2) it helps inform the artwork I’ll later create (with more accuracy) and 3) it helps me wind down.
Here are a couple of my recent sketches:
There has been a great deal of momentum on the digital front, too. I’ve considered the model of selling digital files more and more (in addition to printable art) and have dipped my toes in a market I hadn’t previously considered: clip art and graphics for designers. Clip art is generally more simplified from the fine art pieces I’ve made in the past and suits me better, I think.
For example, I illustrated this digital watercolor floral wreath that a designer might want to use on their stationery or party invitation:
And these red cherries for someone in need of food artwork for their personal blog or scrapbook:
While I don’t know at this point if clip art will be a large offering of mine, it’s given me a playground to test ideas and simply practice illustrating. And I love it.
Lastly, and the thing I’m most thrilled about, is considering the world of art licensing. It was just an idea in the corner of my mind as I played with patterns last spring and then introduced my Pixels shop. But the idea has taken root and I’m having visions of my artwork printed on fabric and other products. So I have been tinkering with pattern design again, invested in a design-for-licensing class and, most recently, created my first collection for my portfolio. Working with an end-product in mind has a different feeling to it and requires a solid design effort. But now that I’ve walked through the process once, I definitely want to do it again and build on this momentum.
My first professional collection: pears on repeat (of course!). I can see these used on kitchen products, perhaps plates, tins or aprons, or even a journal.
The creative flow has been strong. And for that I’m so, so grateful. ❤