The winners from the original canvas giveaway are:
Blog: Comment number 2, Kari!
Congrats! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get started talking about what you want your canvas to be about!
And now, for my top lessons learned over the last year as an artist!
(in no particular order of importance)
1.) Make lots of art. Then make even more. Seriously, if I stopped creating art or taking photos every time I ran across something I didn't like, I would never get anything produced. I have learned it's ok to make a lot of things I don't even like, because once I practice over and over, art and photos start showing up that I do like! Love even.
2.) Be kind. Be kind to customers, fellow artists, and yourself. It seems there are so many accusations going around about this person making that person's art or whatever or mean comments left and this and that. Basically, I think kindness towards others and ourselves really matters. Sometimes it can feel like the expectation is to be a perfect blogger, perfect artist, perfect at it all. The truth is, if you're a handmade artist, you are a human being putting art out into the world. Not a machine. So if you make a mistake, forgive yourself.
3.) The business side of things takes hours and hours and hours. And more hours. Keeping up with emails, taxes, recording finances, shipping items, and yes, even blogging, takes up a lot of time. I don't mean to sound negative but if you're picturing artists sitting around sketching for hours a day it just simply isn't true. The art is the reason why I create in the first place, but it happens in a tiny slice of my artist's life.
4.) Good quality products come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. I've tested out expensive art supplies over the last year and very cheap ones too. I've ordered from Amazon and Dick Blick and bought things at Hobby Lobby. While I always want to be open to trying new supplies and products, I have really discovered what I like to have in my artist toolbox and it isn't always the most expensive thing out there. For example, one of my favorite mark-making tools is the bottom of a .99 flip flop I bought at Wal-Mart! Thinking outside the box is a must and a lifesaver for your wallet.
5.) Share because you care. I have been the most touched by the people who have shared my shop, blog, or Instagram simply because they cared. In this day and age it seems like almost everyone wants to collect a fee for advertising on their blog before they'll even mention your name. But it's not entirely true. From people like Alisa Burke featuring my studio, to friends both near and far giving my shop a shout out just because they care, I have really seen caring in action and people spreading the word about my shop without expecting pay.
6.) Keep your head down. A.K.A. "the toothbrush effect". Looking around at other people's art or sales can sometimes be helpful. Like a tiny amount of the time. Maybe you're going to learn from them. But mostly you're probably going to compare. At least I do! Brett and I call this The Toothbrush Effect. Sometimes I'll see someone with thousands of followers and a shop that sells out every single time they post something. They could literally post their toothbrush and people would clamor over who got to it first. And then you think...wait, there's me spending HOURS and hours trying to sell one piece of art. Well, you can see where that conversation will get you. Nowhere good and stuck. So, don't look around too much. Stick to your own lane, head down, making art and genuinely connecting with others.
7.) HAVE FUN. HAVE FUN. HAVE FUN!!! Remember, that's what got you into the game in the first place! Have fun with your art and photography! Enjoy it and allow yourself time and space to breathe and learn new things! I'm certainly going to....
In fact, come back tomorrow to read about my summer break,
why it's necessary, and what I'll be up to!
(and at least come by to tell me what you'll be up to yourself!)