Some weeks I feel like having a new business, full-time job and a part-time job is totally manageable…this was not one of those weeks. As I sit here stuffing business cards into packages, I’m straight up exhausted. I had a few deadlines coming up this week that I set for myself so I was illustrating until midnight most nights and then nannying all day. My mind is completely at ease when I’m illustrating so I would not have it any other way. Growing a business is overwhelming especially when you want to do it all (like I do), I had this unrealistic expectation that once my Etsy shop was open I was done with the work. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This summer was a breeze compared to what I have ahead of me. I just emailed a fellow Minnesotan about her very successful Etsy shop to see if she could guide me a bit and her biggest piece of advice for me was load the shop up with as many items as you can. She said her shop is most successful when she has 130 items in it and that is when I started having a breakdown. When I collected myself I started drawing my fall collection and realized if I want to be successful, I will probably be drawing non stop for a long while which is the end goal anyway.
There are small victories that I hold onto along the weeks that make every hour of work more than worth it. One of those little things happened today when my absolutely favorite fashion illustrator commented on my little whale on Instagram. I think I died a little inside. I always take a screen shot of those little messages to get me through a long day of work. I hope I never lose the excitement that I have today for art. It was most certainly the missing piece in my life up to this point.
Another aspect of getting my work out there is it is open for criticism. When I give people permission to post my work I always worry about what their followers will say or the critiques my work will get. I have mentioned this before but I have a very hard time talking about my art with other people because I feel like I have to protect it in some way. It is such a fragile piece of me. I put so many hours, thought and dedication to my craft sometimes I can’t bear the thought “what if someone doesn’t like it.” Recently, someone told me my work was quirky and immediately I was thinking, “no it’s not, it’s completely normal.” That comment stuck with my for a long time until I realized that it was one of the bigger compliments I have received. I have always wanted to have my own personal style of artwork in a way that when you see a piece it couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else’s work. I have emulated so many other artists trying to find my own style but what I really needed to do was just create more. Create more work and draw more often. I needed to look at other people’s creations but not try to be them. Let their creations inspire me but not cloud my mind. I just wanted “me” to show up on the page and I think I have finally reached that point where I no longer want to have a different style and my own is enough.
Thanks for sticking with me through that long post. Here’s a short update for you troopers.
::1:: Fall Collection in Progress
::2:: Multi-tasking while at story time with the three year old I nanny
::3:: A little Instagram project. Finally printed out some of my favorite pictures with the Walgreens app and taped them up with washi tape. Such a fun, quick and easy DIY project.
::4:: Inspiration for my next project. I’m thinking whimsical trees and a bunny or bear since the whale went over so well.
::5:: What I wore illustrated.
::6:: What I wore.
::7:: Whale inspiration.
::8:: Drinking coffee at all hours of the day thanks to these ladies.
::9:: Baby beluga
“A personal style is like handwriting, it happens as the byproduct of our way of seeing things, enriched by the experiences of everything around us,” Massimo Vignelli
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.