2018 Year in Review Part 2: Art
Last week I wrote about my travel experiences in 2018. Check it out.
I love to do daily challenges. If I haven’t committed to something very specific, it’s too easy to realize that 5 days have gone by without doing any drawing. In 2017 I did a huge one my #365accordionproject – where I drew one continuous drawing in Moleskine accordion fold sketchbooks – resulting in one drawing that spans about 50 feet! In 2018 I did a couple of smaller challenges.
Starting in April I participated in the worldwide #the100dayproject and learned to do repeat pattern designs and basically made one a day for 100 days. Some days I did more than one variation of a simple one and some very complex patterns took more than one day to complete – but I ended up with at least 100 patterns. Some successful, some not, but it reawakened a love for surface design that had been lying dormant since grad school. I learned how to do repeat patterns in the early 90s, but we did them on paper with scissors and tape. It’s much more fun to create them in Illustrator!
I used some of these patterns in client design work and put a bunch of them on Spoonflower and products that are available on my website. Posting them on Instagram every day as I was designing them got me some good attention and resulted in this beautiful article in Paducah Life Magazine.
In October I participated in the #inktober challenge of doing an ink drawing every day of the month. I did my own variation (cheated?) and used digital “ink” and drew on my iPad. I’d been meaning to start using it to draw and a daily challenge is the best way to get myself to commit to a project. I asked my followers on Instagram and Facebook what I should draw and someone suggested mermaids – so the first two days I drew some beautiful fat mermaids. But then I had a different idea. I’d been wanting to design a calendar and didn’t know what to put on it – and the idea to do birth month flowers came to me. So for the rest of the month, I drew flowers every day. I didn’t complete one each day, as they got more and more complex and detailed as I went along.
By the end of the month, I had 12 beautiful flower drawings that I turned into a gorgeous wall calendar that has been my single most popular creation to date! I haven’t completed the accounting yet, but I think I sold around 200 of them! I also put the flowers on pillows, tote bags, mugs, aprons and greeting cards and made prints of them and they were all hugely popular! I did more marketing and promoting of these products than I have ever done in my life, and it really paid off. I did really well with them. Now I have to figure out how to keep that momentum going throughout the year.
I have my work available for sale year-round in Paducah at Bricolage Art Collective and at Raven & Moth. I sell a little bit at each place every month, but not a lot. This was the second year that I participated in art markets at the Smedley-Yeiser – organized by Raven & Moth – and I did really well at most of them. I did one in October, two in November and one in December. They were all fun and worth doing – but by far the best one was on Small Business Saturday. A combination of great weather, a lot going on in town that day and the Birth Month Flower calendar and other products made it my biggest single day of sales ever!
Another project that I had thought would be my big one of the year took a back burner because of the surprising appearance and popularity of the flowers. My biggest patron and fan (my sister!) bought me a Glowforge laser cutter and engraver. I had thought my big project for the year would be making jewelry on the Glowforge and selling it. I did make a small number of really cool things and am excited about taking it further and seeing what I can do.
On the not-so-great side of art related things, I entered several competitions, submitted to several juried gallery shows and applied for a big grant that I didn’t get. That’s always discouraging. But rejection is a part of the job and I have a list of other things I will try for in 2019.
Also in the disappointing column, I did almost no encaustic work in 2018. I miss it. But there are only so many hours in the day, and I like to sleep for a bunch of them!
Up next, a post about my client/design work.