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.