I thought it might be interesting to talk about illustration and the business of illustrating, from my perspective. I am going to try and blog about it more often.
As many of you know, I am a classically trained children's book illustrator. I have a degree from Hollins, and have had the wonderful opportunity to study illustration under many amazing people.
I was also raised by an amazing woman, who ran a craft business they whole time I was growing up.
But, like many artists, my illustration skills do not support me. Most of my income comes from my 8-4 teaching position, and I almost never get a chance to illustrate someone else's book.
Last year, I did get hired to illustrate a book. It is finished, and I got paid: but with everything happening in the world it has not been released.
I used to supplement my teaching income by teaching art classes through my Gallery, Dragon Art. All of my live classes were stopped due to COVID. So, like many businesses, I had to pivot.
I opened a Patreon, and started pouring content into it. www.patreon.com/dragonartco .
This has been really fun While I show my art, style, and teach classes, I find that I am spending more time with surface designs than ever before.
I have always loved patterns, and I can't remember the first time I designed a tile to repeat on fabric or paper. I took a henna class with my daughter over ten years ago, which made me notice patterns more, and I find them in my illustrations all the time. Several years ago I created this sloth pattern to compete in a surface design contest on Spoonflower. #spoonflower. And then like many people I got distracted and only dabbled in it occasionally.
But since March of last year, I have been using surface design patterns more deliberately. I found I had time to create patterns for spoonflower, and Redbubble. At first these were made from pictures I already had. They were not very good. But then, I started really working on new material. I am improving.
Recently on my Patreon, I have been using surface designs to design all kinds of downloadable papers and projects. I have been adding new fabrics on spoonflower on a regular basis, and I have been designing clothes on several different platforms. I even ventured out and designed some really fun shoes.
These new skills are not bringing in money, yet, but I am having fun making them. I also see a possibility that surface design may bring in some money in the future. For now it just amuses me to see my designs on all kinds of products and that is pretty fun.
Box Two has directions for Fairy Doors, Fairy ears, and a charm bracelet. It also contains a DVD, all of the materials and tools, and the box itself has a new pink dragon.
The Dragon Art Craft Box has been two years in the planning. We have been taking business classes with RAIN an organization that helped us plan and expand our ideas. You can order the box by clicking on Dragon Art Craft Box page above.
This is a subscription box.
Each box includes at least three projects with full color instructions, online videos, and full size tools. There are also bonuses, collectibles, and extra materials put into the boxes. The projects are designed by artisans working in the art field today. We are creating innovators! Come join in the fun. There is also opportunities for business owners to advertise in our box. Our customers will appreciate the ads, because the money raised from adds will be used to give customers coupons for cheaper boxes or to buy them extra materials.
To find out more click on our dragonartco link above.
Dragon Art has moved. Our new location has a gallery. We are looking for other artists who want to participate in a co-op experience.
So, I was hired to illustrate a book. I am starting some practice sketches, to start playing with characters and working out the concept. None of this will make the finished book, but it is nice to have a purpose to play.
This past month, has consisted of secret creating. I finished many custom secret projects. Today, I find myself at the Brownsville Art Center getting to quietly sketch and plan some future projects. It is very relaxing. I will be here today and tomorrow.
The Brownsville Art Association consists of an art co-op and craft sales. This sweet little town, is a perfect fit for the Keppol's art. We love the warm inviting atmosphere. Though we each only work 1/2 a day each month, our items can be found there during regular business hours for now on. The town has a holiday celebration coming up!
We are at Jayne Smolley Studios today, with some of our work. We also have work in two other shows right now. Too fun.
I was excited to see that one of my latest illustrations made the cut for the November/December issue of the Newsworthy. The Oregon chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators puts out the Newsworthy every other month. I am thrilled to have an illustration chosen for it.