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! πŸ˜€

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 –Β  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 placeΒ  – one doodle at a time!

Till next time then,

Love Jac xx

Balloons, Bunting and Books

A couple of weeks ago myself, Ted and my long suffering husband (Mr E) went on a day Β trip to a little place a couple of hours drive away, called Hay on Wye.

It’s a small Welsh village/town – which is, in many respects like many other Welsh villages…

but Hay is a town of books. There are books shops galore. New books, old books, really old books. Picture books, fiction, non fiction…. I think that if you can imagine a book you can probably find it in one of the many amazing bookshops in this quiet little town.

And the week we went was no ordinary week … this time, Hay was not the sleepy, quaint little town I had been to before , or the way you imagine a little Welsh town to look.

Instead, it was bustling with people. There were balloons and banners, the streets lined with stall selling all sorts of items from Welshcakes (yummy), to ice cream (just as yummy), to clothes, to candles.

There were adults of all ages, children and dogs. What an atmosphere!

But why, what wakes a quaint little town and make it a huge attraction?

Why books, of course! We had travelled to Hay for the annual Literary Festival.

Hay Festival Fun
Hay Festival Fun

It was the first time we had ever been (yes, I know, we only live two hours away, no excuse – but it’s true), and it certainly won’t be the last. Ted & I loved every minute. (Mr E did too – but he mainly did the town and river part).

BUT – before I get carried away with the romance of it all – a word of warning.

It’s busy. Very busy. Narrow streets see lots of traffic – pedestrians and motorised traffic. If you don’t like crowds, it’s probably not for you.

At the festival site, there are queues. For everything – you will queue for coffee, queue for ice cream, queue for the loo (although that’s normal anywhere I think!), queue for the shows, for the signings, at the book shop… Be prepared to spend lots of time queueing.

And beware of grumps. I think it’s linked to the queues. I encountered one or two very grumpy people. Small children I can forgive – queues are very boring.

Grown adults of 50+, being rude and grumpy at such an event – no need. I do hope you don’t get one of those in the book shop queue – honestly – the sales assistants are doing their best, give them a break!

But – yes, another but. -If you can get past all that, there are books.

Lots of books.

Storytelling, Activities. You can spot celebrities. You can watch people’s eyes light up as they pick up a book, see their favourite author or simply eat some rather delicious food.

There are smiles, there is laughter, there are people just all getting along. We were there when the UK security alert was at critical. There is nothing makes you smile more than a heavily armed police officer talking to children about the Giant Jumperee. (OK a child and me….)

And, there are many talks and shows you can go to. Ted and I went to one.

We went to see Julia Donaldson – author of (you guessed it) The Giant Jumperee and The Gruffalo – and many others of course. This was inspirational – she talked about her process, how she works with illustrators – we saw a video of Illustrator Helen Oxenbury in her studio – got to see snippets of Axel Scheffler’s sketchbook…

Julia and her family even acted our the Giant Jumperee for us all, and we all sang along to the Jumperee song. I met Julia afterwards – got her autograph – and she even spoke to Ted. (She was lovely)

The day Ted met Julia Donaldson
The day Ted met Julia Donaldson

To see the faces in that audience – see how the children were engaged.

Some say books are dying out due to e-books and online content – well if that day at the Hay Festival is any indication that is very far from the truth. Books and story telling are very much still with us – and the future looks great.

 

Find Your Happy Place
Find Your Happy Place

As you know – my dream is to be an illustrator of children’s books. Well – that day – that one special day, I felt like I was one step closer to that dream.

Hay – we loved you – and we will be back!

 

PS – don’t forget, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

I’m Still Here!

Can anyone explain why it is so hard to write a blog? Honestly – each time I write I say “I must do that more often”, and then I can’t think what to write about. So today, I just opened up the computer and here I am typing.

It has been so busy here at Jac’s – I am exciting to say my Little Welsh Studio is really starting to grow. Lots of orders on the go at the moment for custom cards and pictures – weddings, birthday’s, new babies – people still love that personal touch.

I’ve also done a lot of extra work bringing my online shop up to date, so there will always be items in stock that you can buy – from a special card to a keyring, I hope I can help you find that perfect item for that very special person.

One things i have noticed is how much sunshine affects me – all this extra daylight has seen me being more creative and lots of new designs are in the pipeline – so do keep an eye out on my various social media channels.

Not much more news – but coming up on the drawing board this week are lots of animals, teddy bears and a wedding… (card, not an actual wedding – although that would be fun :)). Jac is going to be a busy bee over the next few weeks.

Busy Buzzy Bee by Jackie Evans
Busy Buzzy Bee by Jackie Evans

As always, you can track progress on Instagram and Facebook.Β I really look forward to seeing you there!

Till next time – Love Jac xx

A new challenge. A new opportunity.

Eek – what have a done?? I am already a busy person. There are never enough hours in the day – and I just added another thing to the list!

BUT – this is good. It really is.

So – what is it??

Well… As you all know – my mission is to make the world a happier place, one doodle at a time.

It is so uplifting to know that my creations – whether that’s a quick sketch or a detailed commission – can make people smile. I feel so proud that “little old me” can bring a little happiness to the world.

And I know from feedback that sometimes those moments have happened justΒ when someone has needed it.

I also know that creating art makes me happy.

Like most people, I have low days. Like most people, I have worries.

Like soooo many people – my brain never stops. Sometimes it spins. My brain thinks about everything all at the same time. It even thinks about things that haven’t happened yet (and probably never will!)

Except when I draw.

When I draw I am in another world – my own world. (I like to think of it as being in my own little bubble).

I forget everything outside that bubble – I leave the worries behind. My breathing slows down. My shoulders relax. My brain stops whirring like a mad thing. It’s like my own method of meditation. Just me, paper, pencils and paint.

(I often forget the housework too, perhaps not such a good thing!)

Recently I have been thinking – what if I can held other people?

What if my own art skills and experience could be used, not just to make people smile – but actually help people to cope with difficult situations?

Magic Pencils
Jac wants to bring happiness to the world through her work.

And, after much consideration, I have decided to study for a diploma in Art Therapy. It’s another commitment – but one I really feel will be worth it. Invest a little time now, to benefit lots of people later.

My course materials have arrived, so I am all set. I can’t wait to get going.

I imagine you will see my progress, as I am sure I will learn things that I think will interest you too – so keep an eye out here and on all my social media channels (no escaping me lol!).

Till next time

Love Jac xx