Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

Nuggets of Joy

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Me and The Nancydraws Shop table at Ridgewod Market on September 21, 2014.

Back in August I decided to give myself a new challenge and bring The Nancydraws Shop to a craft show. Over past year a few friends and fellow artists I’d met suggested that I give that venue a try. My friend Janet had put the Ridgewood Market on my radar. It takes place near her home, in an up-and-coming neighborhood in the borough of Queens. I also found that the vendor fees were quite affordable, so I set my sights on having everything I needed ready for the September 21 show. As I began making my lists of items to bring, supplies I’d need to purchase, and what I would need to create a tempting display, I was invited to a mini-craft show opportunity that was happening earlier in September, and I decided to go for it. I can’t share many details about it other than it was a GREAT experience and it was fun to be in on a secret that hopefully will be public in the next couple of months! I will have to share more about that in a future post.

A few Christmas cards available at The Nancydraws Shop.

A few Christmas cards available at The Nancydraws Shop.

Many people don’t realize that the majority of my greeting cards are printed one-by-one with my wonderful, hard-working, reliable Epson printer. Once they are printed, most of them need to be cut to the size I designed them to be. My Epson does take its time but it is worth it because of the excellent quality prints that it produces. After the image on the front of the card is printed, I like to let some time pass to make sure it is completely dry before I put it through again to print the inside greeting.  Many of my nights after-work and a lot of weekend time leading up to these shows was spent printing cards and gift tags, or cutting them up and placing them in their clear sleeves. Luckily, my studio assistant, Mongo was on hand and made sure I took breaks.

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Mongo knows how to relax.

As an artist I am really lucky because my parents own and operate a custom framing store, so they have matted and framed a number of my artworks in the past. Since they are in North Carolina, we have worked out a situation where they keep my prints until a customer purchases them from my Etsy shop, and they  ship them out. For the craft shows, my father was wonderful enough to pack up and send what they had. I definitely didn’t have to worry about printing too many of my illustrations, but I added some from my “Love, New York” series and restaurant illustrations. On top of that, he sent some professionally printed cards and journals with my designs that I’d had professionally printed sometime before I opened my Etsy shop.

"Gluten Forever" Foodietoo

“Gluten Forever” Foodietoo

The items I was most excited to bring to the craft shows was my temporary tattoo designs, Foodietoos. They were already available in my shop as of early August and I had a number of those ready to go, along with the labels I had designed for them, but of course I cut out and packaged up some more!

After the car service dropped me and my stuff off at Ridgewood Market (I am SO glad I didn’t try to drag a rolling luggage, backpack, and two large bags through the New York City subway system!) it took me about an hour to set up. I had plenty of time left before the market opened, but it was good not to have to be in a rush because I had more space to fill and decisions to make than I had at the mini-craft show. There were a few lulls once the market was open to shoppers, but not many. It was fun seeing what caught people’s eye on my table, even if they didn’t make a purchase. A handful of friends were even able to stop by, which made it even more fun. Creating artwork is usually a solitary experience so seeing customers reactions to my ideas was very rewarding.

I worked very hard to get those nuggets of joy, but isn’t that what being an artist is all about?

Percival Featherington III, “NYC Pigeon Extraordinaire” was the most popular of my characters, along with the turban-wearing lady from “Love, New York.” I was able to chat with a couple of other sellers near me, and it was fun to share the experience with them. A few even stopped by my table to let me know they liked my work or display, ask questions, or make a purchase. I did the same when I had time to wander and shop when there weren’t many visitors around. There was such a nice community vibe going on.

One thing that surprised me was that a few people asked if I had designed all of the items, which I had of course, but that’s something I thought would be obvious.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll definitely be at another craft show in the near future! Stay tuned for more about that, and for the second half of my September Craft Show Wrap-up post, which focuses more on how I put my display together.

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A quick post to remind you that if you are in the New York City area this Sunday, September 21, I hope you’ll be able to stop by the Ridgewood Market in Queens.

I will be there selling items from The Nancydraws Shop: Foodietoos, greeting cards, prints and original art from my “Love, New York” series. Look for my purple and green table display!

The Ridgewood Market is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Location details:
Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. Ridgewood, NY 11385 (between Linden St. and Gates Ave.)
Near the L, J, and M trains
http://www.ridgewoodmarket.com/

Follow Ridgewood Market on social media:
Instagram @RidgewoodMarket
Twitter @ridgewoodmarket
Ridgewood Market Facebook Page

 

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photo 1Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work, is a great follow up to his highly successful Steal Like an Artist; once you have been inspired and created work, you need to share your efforts with the world. Show Your Work is very simply written, using bold statements, art/poetry, quotes, and hand-drawn charts to elaborate on the author’s ideas. I appreciated Kleon’s bare bones style of writing; for this subject matter it really helps to get the point across simply and makes what he is saying memorable.

photo 2The main subject of the book is to get your work out there, and learn new and effective ways of self-promotion for your artwork. I have found other self-promotion or marketing books to be more complicated or difficult to translate to the business side of being creative. Show Your Work takes take the complication away and makes the subject matter instantly relate-able. From my own past experience, self-promotion has seemed intimidating, but the straight-forward way Kleon presents his material can help motivate even the meekest self-promoter! He recommends beginning the process of sharing by first documenting each day what you do at different stages of your process. After compiling this daily log that you create for yourself, you can choose what would be most interesting and valuable to share with others via your blog, e-newsletter, or social media outlet.

Sharing what you’ve been working on is definitely important, but as Kleon mentions in Chapter 7, there is so much information being thrown at us via the internet and email, we don’t want to become “Human Spam” to others. This brings up a very important and helpful point. Networking is not only about tooting your own horn and saying “Look at me!” Kleon offers that listening is an important part of the sharing process. By listening you may learn something that will help your work and you may also be able to offer something to the person to whom you are listening to. Being a “connecter” rather than just gaining “followers,” sharing ideas or aspects of your creative process, and showing true interest in others work are some of the ways Kleon suggests widening your circle of fans. This is a point I really appreciated since many artists are natural observers and listeners, and the old concept of self-promotion seemed like it was based on constantly promoting oneself.

The author doesn’t want you to be Human Spam, but expresses that you also need to be able to tell the story of your work in an interesting way to someone who knows nothing about it. As humans we all want to connect to personal stories and make ideas more tangible. The better you can be at explaining what you do and why you do it will make it more emotionally valuable to your audience and potential clients. He uses a quote from John le Carré to further illustrate this point: “‘The cat sat on a mat’ is not a story. ‘The cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is a story.”

photo 3The aspects of the book that I’ve discussed here were the most powerful to me, but Show Your Work contains much more. I had heard some of the advice before, but the way it was presented and explained made it innovative and I think even the most seasoned self-promoter can use a reminder, breath of fresh air on the subject, or an update. Check it out for yourself and see if you found it as helpful as I did!

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As I mentioned in my last post, I joined an online class at Skillshare to learn about hand-lettering. I had some time to begin the class this week and I’d like to share what I have so far.

Our instructor, Mary Kate McDevitt hs structured the class project around hand-lettering a brief quote. I have chosen “Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up, never give in.” I heard the quote in Day of the Doctor, part of the BBC television series, Dr. Who.

I’ve done some visual research and I probably need to do some more. (See my last post with a link to my pin board showing some of the images I found) Here is the list of words that are associated to my quote to help me in my research.

ImageThe next step, which I am working on, is to choose one word from the quote and draw it in 5 different styles, chosen from a list of about 10 styles, per our instructor. Stay tuned!

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I began using Pinterest last year as an experiment to showcase my artwork and my illustrated characters’ lives as well as images or subjects that inspire my creativity. I have recently found it useful as a way to collect images for research related to my illustration projects.

I am taking part in an online Skillshare class about hand-lettering, and the main lesson revolves around choosing a quote to draw. I’m using Pinterest to collect the images I’d like to use as style and inspiration reference for when I am ready to begin sketching my ideas. The quote I have chosen is from the TV show, “Dr. Who.” I won’t reveal it right now, but I will share the Pinterest reference board and more about my work as I work through the lessons for the class: Hand-lettering Class Research Pinboard.

 

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In recent months I have been thinking about different ways of getting my art into other people’s hands as a fun way to get some attention for my artwork. Being a self-marketing machine gets pretty dull and repetitive, and for the amount of time I put in, it is often without much reward or acknowledgement from the public. What I do never seems like enough and I always expect, or would like more reaction than I get. So I made a fun challenge for myself and my friends Thelma and Louise (as luck would have it, they were interested). I wanted to give prints of my “Love, New York” artwork away as a fun surprise for the recipients.  I figured what I had been doing wasn’t getting a lot of attention, so why not try something else, and I held the same expectations for this experiment.

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“Thelma,” our intern “Cherise,” and “Louise” after our reverse art heist.

 I have a handful of images for my “Love, New York” illustration theme and one focuses on a woman wearing a leopard-print coat, sunglasses, green turban, and she carries a large orange tote bag. For “Turban Lady,” my idea was to secretly place a small number of  prints somewhere inside of a department store without the employees noticing. I came up with a plan to visit a few of them in Manhattan with my gorgeous volunteers. Each of us were to shop in the store as if we were looking for clothing or an outfit. While in the dressing room, we’d conceal a print in the items of clothing. Each postcard-sized print was inside of a clear, plastic sleeve with a pipe cleaner attached to it for easily attaching to a tag or hanger; they were also sized small enough to be able to fit into a (preferably leopard-print) coat pocket.

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At Store #1 there were a huge number of employees out on the floor which got me nervous right away. I couldn’t walk 3 feet without someone new asking me if I wanted a dressing room or help finding something. It seemed as if they somehow knew I wasn’t really shopping! I got over it and attached my cards to the items, after trying them on, of course. We were sending each other image texts from the dressing rooms! Here’s a cute pair of shorts on me. (Pardon my black socks, I know they are a “Don’t” with shorts.)

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Placing the cards amongst the fashions in Store #2 was much easier, and Thelma joined us at that point, so that meant more free art for their customers. She was even bold enough to place one of the postcards inside of an orange handbag right out on the store floor.

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We had one or two more cards left so we made a third stop and left the remaining cards there.

I included my contact information on the reverse side of the card and asked if the people who found it might get in touch with me and let me know something about them. Unfortunately no one has responded, but we went into it knowing that we might not hear back. It’s entirely possible that with the large number of security cameras around, that people in the store noticed what we were doing and didn’t approach us, but tossed the cards.

Basically what I got out of the experience was being able to act on one of my ideas, a fun afternoon (we went out for wine and a snack afterwards with Cherise), and a touch of mystery. Who knows, I may still hear from someone, so stay tuned for that and my next art giveaway idea!

 

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I’ve posted two new original illustrations in The Nancydraws Shop as part of the “Love, New York” series.

Like the others in this group, I plan to create multiple original drawings based on the same designs as they sell, but I also offer prints at a lower price. Its a little experimental as far as how most people relate to buying original art v. prints made from an original piece. Each original is unique in subtle ways; the color and line work vary slightly since I draw and color them at different times. The prints are based on only one of the originals.

Image“Window #42” as seen from my friend M.E.’s backyard in Brooklyn where
I have enjoyed many barbecues and lovely parties.

Image“WIndow # 108”

This illustration is another from M.E.’s backyard; once I had noticed the previous one
I started looking around to see what other interesting things her neighbors kept in or near their windows.
Some artistic license was taken, of course.

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Bike rideAdele and Henrí ValentineAdele & Henrí Vespa BirthdayChristmas Gift Tagsbfly-retireBaby's 1st Birthday
Colson Patisserie, printColson Patisserie; Love, New YorkColson Patisserie, original artcookie-cardFlatbush Farm illustration printMore Christmas Gift Tags!
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I’ve had a Flickr account for as long as I can remember, which isn’t very long, 6 years (?) and only recently discovered how great it is for artist networking and sharing. There are all kinds of groups to join, and once you join them you may post images of your art to them. So far I have joined the Pikaland group (hi Amy!), What I Wore Today, Illustration Friday, Illustration, Paper Fetish, Good Paper Goods, and Etsy Greetings.

Aside from the obvious and directly-related groups I’ve joined already I need to find the groups that my potential clients and customers are following. I’m thinking NYC- and Paris-centric, or travel and design themed groups.

Other suggestions, anyone?

Off I go!

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Fashion Weak

Fashion Week started here in New York City on February 6, and I was freelancing with a fashion-related publication at that time and I thought of this image.

New York Fashion Week is such an exciting time… I have never been to a fashion show
but I like checking out  The Cut blog on New York Magazine‘s website or WWD for reviews and slide shows of the latest designs appearing on the runways.

Even though I have not experienced any of the festivities I’m pretty sure none of the attendees or models are wearing pajama pants!

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