Moving Forward…

Hello! Long time to see….I know, it’s my fault.

Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I slowed things down over the summer. I didn’t disappear, I just wasn’t drawing as much. I made a decision to stop doing craft fairs, and I closed my Etsy online shop.

Things had got… well, muddled is perhaps a good word.

Yes, I was selling at craft fairs.

Yes, I was selling on Etsy.

But I was beginning to question the time it takes to prepare for a craft fair, or prepare one product for listing on Etsy. Ultimately I realised that those activities take me away from what I love – which is drawing.

Of course, I also have a “day job” – which is busy, and can be stressful. Due to a few changes there, my routine was thrown a little so I needed to adjust to that. (I love the day job. I think I have said before, no matter what path I chose, I likely will always have another job, as I need to the interaction. I am not one that can spend all hours alone in the studio all of the time)

In terms of my illustration work, I felt I was too focussed on producing designs that works for my printed items. I know that is ultimately what people buy – but that’s just it, I was being driven by what other people wanted, with no time to draw what I wanted. The printed items also have to be specific sizes and formats – so quite restrictive.

This will seem strange to any of you with a true business mind. I should of course be doing what people want, as that’s where the money will come from.

But that’s just it.

As an illustrator you need to keep your creativity. If you are constantly thinking about how commercial a piece is, you will just stick to a formula. You stop developing, no time to experiment. Eventually I believe that this would be bad for business, as people come to me as I can produce things that are different.

So – I had to take a bit of time out to figure out the direction I wanted to go in.

Was it successful. Well – yes and no!

I did progress a few personal pieces. I loved doing this. No client requirements. No time pressures. No budget to stick to (so no limit as to how long I could spend on these pieces). Ideas started flowing again. My passion for drawing returned. So from that perspective it was a great success!

Breathe in, Breathe Out
Breathe in, Breathe Out

However, I still don’t know what direction I want to go in! 😀

For the time being, I have reopened my Etsy shop. I will continue with my printed products but there may be less of them and those I do will be ones I like (selfish I know!). There may also be more original art.

I am increasing the one of a kind personalised work that I do –  this will be cards and illustrations (so be warned, there will be marketing ahead :D)

I will make sure I leave time for experimenting and for personal projects. And most importantly I will continue to develop my portfolio and work hard to become a professionally published illustrator.

I will not (and I am sorry to those who have visited me at events) be returning to the craft fair circuit. Not for the foreseeable future. The preparation time needed, and the time I spend there is just too much. One day at a fair is three days of work (plus travel, petrol, parking etc) and it’s just not economically viable. (So I do sometimes think with my business head on!)

Anyway. Thank you for reading all the way to the end of my waffle, and thank you for supporting Jac’s Little Welsh Studio.

In summary: I am still here and I still want to make the world a happier place  – one doodle at a time!

Till next time then,

Love Jac xx

Dreams versus Reality

Hello.

It’s been a while (again). I realise my posts here can be quite eratic – To be honest I have struggled with what to say (which will shock some of you I know!), but, for various reasons, I feel I have found my voice again, so am giving it another go.

 

I thought I’d start at the beginning (always the best place I find) – Who am I?

Well, I’m Jackie (Jac), and I am an illustrator (oo sounds like a confession lol!)

 

So. An illustrator. That’s me. But what does that really mean?

 

Well in my head it means indulging my passion for drawing all day every day. Sitting at my pristine desk, in my pristine studio, surrounded by clean white furniture,  bunting and beautiful art work.

 

The view to the side of my drawing board
The view to the side of my drawing board

But then, I always have had a creative mind 😀

 

Reality…

I don’t draw all day every day. I am a late starter. That basically means that by the time I set my heart on this path I had fallen into the conventional trap of job, house,car etc, etc.

Over the years I got used to leading a very pleasant life of a nice home, new cars, pretty shoes, dresses and eating out.

That costs money and the starving artist syereotype is not for me (and my hubby probably wouldn’t be keen either).  Sorry – I know – many people sacrifice all for their art, and perhaps if it was just me I would do that (maybe) – but it’s really not fair to take other people with me!

 

The need to maintain this pleasant lifestyle lead to me having a full time job, as well as my illustration work.

4 days a week I travel 100 miles round trip to be an Information Manager for an emergency services organisation. (the one with the big red trucks). It’s fun, rewarding and interesting work (for those that like that kind of thing :D)

 

Every day off I get, I spend in the studio. Ish.

I also might run a duster round the house occasionally, do the odd bit if shopping, drink a lot of coffee and eat a bit of cake, washing, ironing and all sorts of other “real life” tasks – you know, those things we all really don’t like but are a necessary evil to our civilised lifestyles.

If I could, every day off, I would be in that studio from dusk till dawn (and probably longer). And some days I am 🙂

I do try to draw every day though, be that working on a commission piece, something personal for my portfolio or just a very quick doodle in the sketchbook. (Those that follow me on social media will be familiar with my evening Daily Doodle slot).

Do I wish I didn’t have another job? Well, sometimes – if I am honest – sometimes I do think that. But,on the flip side, that income means I have time for the personal portfolio projects, I am not pressured into taking on every commision (like those I know my work woukd not suit so much).

It also gets me out, I work with some great people, which I would miss if it was just me and the four studio walls.

And what about that studio?  Is it pristine??  What do you think? Absolutely not!

It’s “lived in”,  “creative”…  Ok a little bit messy. But you have to have a dream don’t you!

Speaking of which, my dream is to illustrate children’s books… So, its back to the drawing board for me. A dragon awaits!

 

Dragon - personal project - work in progress
Dragon – personal project – work in progress

If you would like to see more of my work (the illustration side – not the information part!), then you can find me on:

Facebook – www.Facebook.com/JacsStudio

Twitter – www.Twitter.com/JacsStudio

Instagram – www.instagram.com/Jacs.Studio

Celebrations

Wow – what a week it’s been. I think this is the busiest week so far for The Little Welsh Studio – and I am loving it!

I have spent a lot of time recently working on promoting my business – and it looks as if all that hard work is starting to pay off. And, as its my passion, none of it feels like work at all! (well – OK – not strictly true – the paperwork side isn’t my favourite, but has to be done 🙂 ).

As well as having lots of bespoke orders, I’ve also said good bye to a lot of my ready to post items – sending to destinations such as Malta and the USA (Yep – I’ve gone global :D). I really need to get creating!

Please understand – I’m not trying to brag here. I simply believe that it is important for people to acknowledge and celebrate their success – every time – no matter how big or small that success is.

It could be that you got up early and walked to work instead of catching a bus,  it could be losing 1lb at a slimming club – it could be geting a new job. It doesn’t matter the size of the achievement – it’s ALL positive.

And when you celebrate every success, every achivement – record it somewhere, tell someone about  it, whatever you choose it makes you happy. It motivates you. It motivates you to do something else. To move forward, even a tiny step.

And that’s what I shall continue to do. I may lead a busy life. Sometimes I may not feel like I have enough hours in the day. But even if I have just 5 minutes that day to work towards my goal , then that 5 mins is the most valuable 5 minutes in a 24 hr period.

So – keep going. Take note of the positives – they will soon wipe out the negatives. And if you do have a bad day – think back to a recent success and remember how you felt – knowing that you will feel like that again.

As I have alway said – when life gives you lemons, there are so many things you can you can do with them!

When Life Gives you Lemons
When life gives you lemons – there is so much you can do with them!

 

Till next time folks – keep smiling!

(And if you would like to see what items I have ready to post, do pop and visit my Etsy shop – The Little Welsh Studio, or if you would like to see more examples of my work – check out my Facebook and Instagram pages)

Love Jac xx