This year I was inspired to create handmade cards for friends and family instead of having one of my designs printed. This meant that I was not able to send them to a long list of recipients as in years past but in the end I think I made and sent about 45 cards.
To keep the cards affordable, simple, and colorful I started with large sheets of plain, brown craft paper, then ripped up and glued down shreds of colored tissue paper that I had on hand.
After the glue dried I cut the craft paper into 5″ strips and cut those strips into 8.5″ lengths to form individual cards. After that, it was time to draw and personalize …
I began with a handful of images and themes sketched out on a piece of paper but sometimes allowed the shapes and colors on each card speak to me. I liked making each card a little different. Even if I reused an image/idea, I tried something new with the drawing.
It was important to me to send out something personal and special since I have received so much love and support from my friends and family through my career change and relocation process, which is far from over. I wish I’d had the time to make more of them so I’ll have to try it again for another occasion!
Supplies used to create these cards: Craft paper, tissue paper, glue stick, scissors, ruler, Uniball pens, imagination, love.
If you like to cook with a sense of humor, then check out my Foodietoo temporary tattoo designs applied to kitchen aprons. I am testing out this new product idea since the images in their original form were such a hit with my customers.
My friends Beth and Philip allowed me to use their gorgeous kitchen as a location to take photos for use with the Etsy listings. Beth and I enjoyed figuring out the best angles, framing, and arranging the different foods for me to pose with. She happened to have cheese, kale, and apples at home, so we switched out the food whenever I changed aprons!
The photos below are some fun out-takes from that day.
Since the warm temperatures are with us once again, I’d like to remind everyone that sharing your love of food with one of my Foodietoos (temporary tattoos) is fun and entertaining! They are a conversation-starter at any barbeque or picnic. Just think: You could wear the Foodietoo equivalent of an ingredient in the salad or snack that you brought to the party! Wear “Lucky Kale” and bring a Kale Caesar Salad. Curate an artisinal cheese and charcuterie board with “Quel Fromage” on your arm. Procure laughs and paninis while displaying “Gluten Forever.” Foodietoos are the perfect summer accessory.
I have also expanded the line to include greeting cards which have Foodietoos attached as gifts for the recipients. There is a “Gluten Forever” love card (inside greeting: I love you more than carbs themselves.), and two birthday cards, one features “Quel Fromage” (inside greeting: Yep, it’s another birthday. But at least there’s cheese!) and the other, “Lucky Kale” (inside greeting: Wishing you lots of love, luck, and greens this year.”).
I created my line of Foodietoos during the summer months of 2014, and in mid-August they first became available to customers. Now I have been selling them for about 9 months via the The Nancydraws Shop, and at a few craft shows I’ve attended during that time. With this project I’ve been able to show my talent of combining words and images while sharing my sense of humor at the same time. It has been so enjoyable to hear laughter and positive comments at the craft shows or after I show them to people that I have met. These reactions are just as affirming, if not more so, as when someone makes a purchase!
So, check them out in The Nancydraws Shop! The tattoos are available individually or in a set of eight: Nuts-Seeds-Snacker, Lucky Kale, Love-Death-Yogurt, Gluten Forever, Honeycrisp Apple Cult, Love Links, Quel Fromage, and Quinoa Queen.
I began an online class assignment in 2014 on the subject of hand-lettering a quote. It’s a good thing that the class is “work at your own pace;” I have been itching to get back to it and have a new sketch to show for it! This is the central image, I will be adding the rest of the quote and embellishments as I continue.
A gorgeous sunset from my trip with Kelly to the Chesapeake Bay area in the Fall.
The sun is setting on another year and I have been thinking about goals, both old and new. It’s important for me to remember to celebrate accomplishments first, before moving too far into the goal-setting stage. I found myself ignoring that last week, my thoughts focusing only on what I’d like to achieve in 2015. Taking a moment to compose this post is bringing me back to more positive reflection.
For 2014 I am proud to have welcomed a new rescue cat into my home, The Amazing Mongo! He has a very loving and entertaining personality. I am also glad to have deepened some new friendships and renewed some older ones. I brought my artwork to three craft shows and heard great responses from new fans. I conceived of, produced, packaged, and began selling a set of temporary tattoos in my Etsy shop: “Foodietoos.” My parents and I went on trip to visit beautiful Tuscany and Rome (the latter has a very different beauty compared to the Italian countryside) in the spring, and then visited my brother in Colorado for a week in the summer. (Greg and I spotted a bull moose in the forest one morning!) Friends and cousins came to visit me throughout the year and we enjoyed what the city has to offer. I have been keeping sharp at my freelance day job in magazine production and helped the publication complete some important articles. I’m so thankful to be part of the process each month. I made sure my friends kept laughing. I discovered a new genre that I’d like to explore with my drawings … which leads me to 2015.
Mom, Dad, and I at lunch in Sienna, Italy in April.
Goals and resolutions are definitely important but I never can actually accomplish everything I set intentions for at the beginning of each year, unless they are very low goals! (Eat fruit. Don’t wait 4 weeks to do laundry.) I have learned to not let myself become discouraged if the way things turn out isn’t quite the way I expected or would have liked them to be. It is too easy for me to get into a negative mind space and start thinking about what I “didn’t work hard enough” at, or “didn’t do enough” of, which tends to dissuade me from moving forward.
Looking back at what I did in 2014 reminds me that I am living a full life and I have to allow myself to be fluid within it … if I only stuck to my goals I might have missed out on some surprises and detours that enriched my year.
In light of that, I’m not going to post any of my specific goals here (Are you surprised? I am, too.) but I will share my general mantra for the New Year: Keep exploring, stay positive, reach out and up. (I stole that last one from yoga class!)
What about you, do you prefer very specific goals or more general ones? Why?
This is a great year for the Christmas/Hanukkah card! I had these printed up a couple of years ago and they have been listed in The Nancydraws Shop, but this year Hanukkah and Christmas fall so closely together I am hoping this card gets the attention it deserves.
A Hanukkah & Christmas card.
On one side, Adele is trying to wrap Christmas gifts at home, but Henrí has decided, as cats do, to take a nap in the middle of the operation and might have pulled a decoration or two off of the tree to play with.
On the Hanukkah side of the card is a dignified Percival Featherington III, slurping up some Lo Mein noodles with an urban landscape in the background. I know that this isn’t quite how Hanukkah is celebrated, but I have gotten a lot of laughs and good reactions to it.
There are interior greetings to go with each side of the card. The Hanukkah side simply says “Happy Hanukkah,” next to two fortune cookies. The Christmas greeting says “Merry Christmas, it’s a wrap!” With a small drawing of Henrí bundled in wrapping paper above.
If you prefer one greeting per card, each image is also available on its own card, but this one is a two-for-one bargain, don’t miss out on the perfect year to send some to your dual-religion friends and family!
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Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work, is a great follow up tohis 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.
The 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.”
The 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!
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.