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Passive earning revolution

Today I collected this travel mug from the post office. This is a Society6 travel mug with my illustration printed onto it. I thought I had better start testing out the quality of these things if I am going to continue to promote them.

Like the mug? Find it here.

Recently I’ve awakened to the print-on-demand revolution. I’m somewhat of a latecomer as this has been around for years.

Over the past 8 years I have relied heavily on shops to sell my work. I have developed good relationships with the owners and I’m happy to consider special requests for images and designs. I’ve wanted to test out my artwork on products however that can be tricky as you often end up with a massive upfront cost and some products that don’t shift as well as you’d hoped.

With POD, there isn’t that massive financial risk. You upload your image onto lots of cool stuff then hold your breath and see what happens.

This isn’t entirely passive as there are many hours of work that go into setting this up. You have to consider the time to create the artwork then add the image to the POD websites. You also have to self promote which I’m unashamedly doing here.

I think in order to be a financially sound artist, you have to consider lots of different income streams. It isn’t enough to have your work in one gallery. Or even 5 galleries. I often find myself asking the very necessary question “How can I make my art pay for my rent/bills/ travel etc?” The options are limitless if you open your mind to them.

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An artwork’s journey to final judgement (and the toll it takes in the artist)

Yesterday I rocked up to a car park, gave my artwork to a man, and watched him drive away with it in a van.

As I am nowhere near the vicinity of London, I cannot take these to the Royal Academy myself. The option I took was art delivery service. When I arrived at the collection point, I was the only one standing around waiting. You have a 15 minute time slot to be there. I was taking no chances so arrived 30 minutes early.

Next to arrive was artist Christine (and now I’m kicking myself for not remembering her last name. Argh!) She had with her a gigantic, heavily padded work done in charcoal. I asked. I am curious about what others do but have that weird anxiety about my tone when asking. Sometimes people ask that question with a truck load of judgment behind it. Watercolours? Oh. That. Or if you’re asked subject matter and receive the raised eyebrow and ‘good luck with that’ look. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s happens.

Soon after, another artist showed up with her thinly veiled work. From what I could see through the bubble wrap, it was a gorgeous landscape/seascape work in beautiful colours. We noticed a couple other artists arrive and then the van showed up.

There weren’t very many of us. The van had only two other stops in Scotland. I’m sure there are a couple other companies collecting for R.A. but I don’t think it’s that many. In total I think there were 7 of us. Not sure what that means for Scotland’s chances of representing in the summer show. I assume the bulk of artists are in the London area.

And that was that. We wished eachother good luck and went our separate ways, feeling relieved and hopeful.

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Give it a wrap

Over the past several weeks I’ve been working away at creating designs for products. There’s a little thrill seeing one of my drawings wrapped around a mug, printed onto a duvet or splashed across a credenza (which is one of my favourite words).

It’s hard to know how to divide my work time. Creating large funky pieces for exhibition is a fun, challenging and I like to imagine these pieces up for people to see. Why make art if no one is going to see it? That’s part of the fun of creating.

There is also the part of my practice that focuses on products. Here I can use my pens, markers, think about splashes of colour and dash something out in much less time than the bigger works. It’s nice to have something finished over a couple of hours instead of a couple of months.

I have a Society6 page full of stuff for gifts, home, office or whatever.

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Royal Academy London Or Bust

Today my little helper and I collected the two artworks of mine that have been shortlisted for Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Detail Framing have done a phenomenal job as framing textiles isn’t an easy task. Jamie couple matched the wood of the frame to match that deep aubergine colour found in both pieces.

L has been on her Easter holidays this week. We’ve gone on Easter Hunt adventures, play date adventures and now work adventures. I love showing her this side of my life and I’m glad I have this blossoming, energetic girl to share it with.

Title of works:

Comfort Break and A Beacon of Hope That We’ll Make It On Time

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Necessity is a mother…

While my daughter has been at a holiday club today, I’ve been busy buzzy, ticking boxes of projects half finished.

Over the last few months I’ve completed works for commission, exhibition, small personal projects and this morning, I put my first self published sketchbook into production.

My friends comment on the crazy amount of stuff I’m posting on the social medias. I think it was today that I finally realised what was pushing all this productivity.

I absolutely love making art. It’s such a happy, freeing activity. The zone is a wonderful place to be and it brings me joy to see others enjoying what I make.

But honestly, the very big push has been Necessity. And my god, is she a mother.

It’s the realisation that my income has to cover everything. I don’t have a husband to pick up the tab. So old fashioned, but it’s true. And what if teaching dries up? Then what? And what if my car needs a repair? And what about new shoes and school clothes for the little? It’s mostly me. On me. On these shoulders.

I have this crazy dream of owning a flat one day? How am I going to do that? All these big wants and small needs. And no childcare after 3:15.

So. Print on demand? Why not? Self publishing? Go for it. This month I’m all about the passive income.

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Stick a fork in me…

…I’m done!

This baby is ready to be taken to her photo shoot so that prints can be made of this. After that she’ll be lovingly wrapped up and sent to the framers.

For this project, I was asked to match the accent colours in the room where this will be displayed. I used a variety of tweeds with flecks of teal and orange that work well with the bright greens and yellow.

Next week I’ll carry on with the second work commissioned by my client. In May I have two more commissions pencilled in.

Spring is shining brilliantly through the window. School holidays start in minutes. I’m so ready for a short break.