Sunday, January 26, 2014

Selling in Your Sleep - Artist Nic Squirrell

Valentine's Days is coming up and I have read now so much about what to like or not like about this particular occasion that I can't help it but smile.

But In the world of commercial art this is another opportunity to either sell or license art. I am trying to do both, license and sell through wholesale manufacturers and through POD sites. So I have create some designs for tablets and smartphone cases which could make cool gifts. They are available for purchasing at Keka.com.

LoveLove Collection
Speaking of POD sites, today I've invited artist Nic Squirrell to share with us her story and how she has been selling her art through online venues.

© Nic Squirrell
Nic lives in a village in Kent, England, "with The Chef, our daughter, and three cats (somewhat pesky studio assistants)" she says. Her family moved around a lot, and she grew up in Japan and got to go to lots of interesting places. She studied Creative Visual Art & 3D Design at the University of Greenwich and after graduating sold her paintings in local galleries, restaurants and caf├ęs. She tells us: "One day I saw a magazine article about digital art and it was a revelation. I got a small graphics tablet, taught myself to use Painter, and started my blog. Since then I have been selling most of my art on POD sites."

She then continues, "I love to paint quiet landscapes, slightly wonky towns and cities, and quirky animal characters which surprise me by falling off the end of my pen. Birds often sneak into my pictures."

© Nic Squirrell
Her techniques? Most of her work now is digital. She starts with sketches, photographs them, and uses iDraw (vector) or Procreate (raster) apps to work them into a digital image. "Using the iPad is great as I can work anywhere. I often use scanned hand painted textures to finish off in Painter or Photoshop," she adds. "I use Painter for my more complex landscape paintings. You can read about my process here. My favourite 'real' art material is watercolour. I love the unexpected runs and bleeds, the clear colours, and the lack of undo."

© Nic Squirrell
Nic also says, "My head is full of ideas, places and creatures waiting to get out. Everything about it is exciting, and I love seeing my art on products for sale."

Her main sources of inspiration are colour, nature, and life. In recent times she has been working on an exciting project, in fact she just finished an Advent calendar and started an ABC series. "So far I have finished A...", she says.

Nic is an artist who uses multiple social media platforms and understands how to use marketing to promote her works and sales. She simply but wisely says: "My blog publishes to my website, my Facebook page and Twitter. I blog sketches, works in progress, and finished pieces. I use LinkedIn and Pinterest. Marketing is really just telling people about what you are doing. Nobody buys art they haven't seen, so the more people who see it the better."

© Nic Squirrell
She is pretty new to licensing and hadn't even heard of it until last summer. "I have just finished the first part of Lilla Rogers' MATS course and learned a huge amount from it, as well as making lots of new talented artist friends who are kind enough to share their knowledge and experience. I'm looking forward to the second part in a few weeks."

Here are some tips for other artists: "When selling on POD sites, use more than one. Some images sell really well on Site A, but not on Site B, and it is hard to predict. It takes a long time to build up your sales and you have to do your own marketing - don't rely on buyers stumbling upon your work among all the other artists out there. But it is fun to wake up in the morning and see what you have sold in your sleep."

Nic's future aspirations and goals are to build up her portfolio and really get going with licensing her work this year.

© Nic Squirrell

Find out more about Nic Squirrell here:

Twitter@nicsquirrell

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 2014 Design Shows and Trends

With the new year many design shows start again in the month of January. The Atlanta Mart, for example, has been on all week as well as the CHA Trade Show in Anaheim, CA; I've heard they were both fantastic, as usual.

The 2014 Heimtextile Show in Europe also brought us the latest textile trends and products and soon Printsource in NYC will inspire the world of design with new and exciting ideas.

I recommend you read the various blog articles that will soon follow these shows. Since I wasn't able to attend any of them this month, I will update this post with the links to all the articles that will be coming out during the week.


Update on links on the Atlanta Show from other blogs:







All shows can be summarized with a few key and inspirational words: mix & play styles, personalized art and handmade crafts.

I've myself been playing around with some art and crafts for the past couple of months and have enjoyed experimenting with different styles and paints on linen, leather and other mediums.


Watercolors on Linen - © 2013 Alessandra Colombo


Acrylic on Leather - © 2014 Alessandra Colombo

Acrylic on Linen - © 2013 Alessandra Colombo

It has been really fun to just let my imagination and creativity run free - and it has been giving me some interesting insights into my own path through both the art and the art licensing worlds.

More on that, soon! In the meantime, happy creating, everyone!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Doing Exactly What You're Supposed to Do: Artist Shelley Brant

The holidays have been full of surprises! The new year has started full of promises for a wonderful and productive 2014.

To begin with, the new direction for this blog is included in the new logo title: "The Moon from My Attic ~ My Life as a Designer & Artist." I will publish more articles about design, photography, fine arts, illustration, DYI and crafting, as artists are working across multiple trades and more are now expanding their reach into other creative industries in addition to art licensing.

The show is on - Happy New Year everyone!!

Artist Shelley Brant
To start the new year with a bang, we interviewed artist Shelley Brant.

The Moon from My Attic: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your art? I'm currently operating a studio called Figgy Pudding Designs that provides whimsical digital artwork for products in the gift, craft, seasonal and home decor markets.

I grew up and attended college in Iowa, where I received a BA in fine art. I went on to wade through a variety of art related jobs like screen printing, paper printing, teaching and advertising until I landed a gig in Dallas, Texas illustrating digital embroidery designs. I worked there for over 12 years and have unofficially drawn every object under the sun. I did marker and colored pencil drawings in every theme and style imaginable and estimate that I produced over 24,000 4" by 4" designs during that time. Talk about honing your skills!

When I wasn’t drawing, I was crafting. Then one day I stumbled upon an ad for a product designer at Michael's corporate offices. It's as though I had been preparing for that job this whole time. I spent 4 years with Michael's and learned a ton about manufacturing, design and the business side of the craft industry.

I attended Surtex every year to help purchase artwork and in April of last year decided to take the plunge, resign from my position and show at Surtex myself. Figgy Pudding has become a culmination of all of the work, drawing, crafting and creating I've done over the years. I couldn't be happier with the direction it's headed and am super excited to wake up and get to work every day. I finally feel like I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.

TMFMA: What is exciting about your creative work? I'm steering the ship! If I feel like crafting one day, that's what I do; if I have a new drawing style I wanna try out, I do it. I have more ideas than time and being in control of my own schedule has allowed me to really put on the rocket boosters. Every day is different; that in itself is very exciting to me!

TMFMA: What's your favorite medium or tool you create with? Everything I do for Figgy Pudding is done in Illustrator. As a product designer that has worked with a variety of purchased art, some good and some not so easy to work with, I want to supply clean vector art that's easy to alter and adjust to suit a number of different uses. I also love to paint and will forever be hot gluing, sewing, cutting, and crafting.

TMFMA: Tell us of a fun and creative project you're currently working on. I'm currently working with some overseas manufacturers. I help them understand trends and design for an American consumer. Art direction has always been a very daunting process to me because I feel as though design is such a subjective thing, who am I to say what's good or bad? I feel like I'm learning with every assignment and the research and development involved have been invaluable to my growth as a designer as a whole. Sometimes analyzing and researching colors and trends and new products feels like it takes too much time when you'd rather just get to drawing- but it's something you must do to make sellable art.

TMFMA: What's your art licensing experience and how do you like it so far? It's been great! There are so many resources and the community of people involved are so open to sharing experiences. You can plan and research all you want but until you start, you'll never know what you don't know. I've learned more in the last 8 months than I ever imagined I would.

TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals? I just want to enjoy every day. I want to be inspired and challenged and proud of what I produce. Wherever the road leads in order to do that is where I'll go.



Figgy Pudding will be showing at Surtex in May, booth #1015.
Shelley says, "Stop by and say hi!"


See more of Shelley's work at: