How the hell is it almost 2018 ALREADY?! It only seems like yesterday that I started my ‘new me new diet’ (again). As we approach the end of the year, I thought I’d reflect on the key moments of my little illustration bits, what I got up to and what I’ve learned as I plan for next year!
Blogging ‘n Vlogging
I was inspired by Ross Mathews’ (Drag Race judge) podcast where he shared advice on making it in the entertainment industry, and he said the key is to create great content and put it out in the universe. It made complete and utter sense to me. I’ve been in a rut recently with my work and It was then that I realised that I actually haven’t produced anything new in ages, and maybe I could have fun with creating new types of content and see where it goes. So I dusted off the dormant blog page on my website and I jumped right in. I joined a local community of bloggers called The Soton Bloggers who were lovely and welcoming and were there for advice and support for my blog - and my shop too! I steadily built up my blog with reviews on restaurants, events and shows, and it’s given me the confidence to write about my work as well.
I also started a YouTube channel which is TERRIFIYING. It was however, really fun to make and edit videos which vary from timelapse art videos to vlogs about my day. I only have like 27 subscribers and I’m terrified of pre-teen trolls coming after me, but I’m enjoying the creative process and hopefully I’ll start building a following on there soon.
Check out and subscribe to my channel here! youtube.com/channel/UCNDtIDt3l4MqK1kOxwARXXg
Another Wedding Order!
Last year I designed a couple of bespoke wedding stationery suites which I LOVED, and this year I was asked again by the lovely Leah and Dan. I loved this project; I was briefed on the theme, colour scheme and the overall aesthetic of the stationery. I got stuck in and designed a full suite of invitations, RSVPs, Info and Reception cards and the order of service. I’m really happy with the design and the finished product as they were printed beautifully with gold foil lettering to finish. I really want to jump into the wedding game and I’ve been saying it for years, but 2018 WILL BE MY YEAR FOR WEDDINGS. Stay tuned!
My Day at Instagram
This was crazy. I was flicking through an old-ish copy of Glamour magazine I had on my desk and I read their article about the head office at Instagram (dreamy). On the bottom of the page was a little paragraph about a competition for small businesses to enter to win a day of workshops with Instagram, and the deadline was that very day I was reading it. I entered, feeling kinda hopeful but didn’t want to get too excited, but then a few weeks later I got a DM saying that I was one of the winners and I can come up to London! AAAAAH I never win things, ever! It was an amazing day, and I met some lovely people who taught me how to use the app for my business, how to make ads and I also won some ad money to promote my posts. Not only did I leave feeling inspired, but the tools I learned and the prize money boosted my page so much that I received lots of pet portrait orders for Christmas and I met my goal of 1000 followers by Christmas (it does teeter under that every now and then but oh well!)
I’ve now reached a cheeky milestone of 50 sales on Etsy and I opened my main shop on my website too. I’ve broadened my range of products to include bookmarks, A5 notebooks, gift wrap and sticker sheets which are proving quite popular. I’ve also started selling my greeting card designs on Thortful which is a good tool for me to see what designs sell (Love Island and dinosaurs!). I’ve learned from my Christmas markets (including the very first Southampton Etsy fair!) that the dinosaur designs are by far the most popular and the plain floral greeting cards aren’t a great seller. I’ve got an idea on how to jazz them up for next year but I won’t reveal that just yet! I’ve also thought more about my packaging and promotional materials. I bought a stamp of my logo which I use for the envelopes, and I order thank you postcards and new business cards to pop in the packages. I still need to develop ideas for presentation and postage, I reckon more sturdy envelopes or boxes for the bespoke prints and maybe order more stickers for decoration. I want my orders to be sent out looking fun and special.
This year I had a eureka moment with my shop and that was discovering the popularity of my pet portraits! I’ve developed my style which has evolved over the years from fine line drawings to gouache paintings. The stories about the pets and the reasons for the prints are unique to each order, and I love feeling like I’ve made something really special and unique for someone. One of my goals next year is to make a difference in the world somehow with my artwork, and bringing loved pets to life in a painting can mean so much to different people for different reasons. I’m hoping to expand the options of bespoke paintings (I’m practising humans now!) and maybe wedding bouquets. Again, watch this space!
And that’s that for 2017! I feel that I’ve had a turning point in my work and I’ve realised what I love to do, what wasn’t quite as successful and where I want to go in 2018. I want to thank everyone of you who have followed me on social media, bought something from my shop or shown an interest in what I do. It makes me smile a LOT. Tune in next week when I share my goals and ideas for 2018!