So life got in the way and I didn’t get to paint all 5 of my fave Lupita Nyong’o looks like I had planned. C’est la vie. But I did watch the Oscar’s telecast and what a fun night it was! Ellen, Pharrell, the pizza, and of course Lupita’s win and amazing speech.
That dress though?! That sky blue slice of heaven by Prada? Gorgeous. I sketched it over and over again and realized — it’s the perfect material for an animation experiment!
I’ve been wanting to try animated sketches for a while, and Lupita’s look at the Academy Awards turned out to be great inspiration. Five quick watercolor sketching and some fiddling in Photoshop helped me create my first animation. Definitely will be trying more of these soon.
Ever since the arrival of my Fabulous Brown Girls cards at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how other people can start their own greeting card lines, and how they can get them into stores.
First, let me be up front: My greeting card line didn’t start with T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. In fact, I had been selling Fabulous Brown Girls online for a few years before the stores took notice. I now have a licensing agreement with a manufacturer who produces my cards for the stores, but I still sell a number of my designs independently.
Whenever someone asks me how they should get started, the advice I give them is always this:
Share and sell your work online.
The Internet makes things incredibly easy these days, and there are a variety of ways you can use it to share your work and reach potential customers.
So if you have artwork you’re ready to turn into cards, here are three ways you can do it:
Sell through “print-on-demand” sites.
Sites like Society6 and RedBubble are specifically set up to help artists sell their work, without having to worry about printing, shipping or inventory. You can turn your images into cards, posters, phone cases and even pillow covers (among other things), and when someone places an order, the website will print and ship the product on your behalf. I have portfolios on each, and RedBubble is where I still sell many of my greeting cards.
Sell through your own online shop.
Etsy, Shopify and Big Cartel are just a few of the many e-commerce sites out there set up to help small businesses start selling online. You’ll have to print your own product (either on your own, through Vistaprint or through a local printer) and you’d be responsible for keeping inventory and shipping to each customer. But you’ll also have more control over the quality of the product and the pricing.
Shop your portfolio for a licensing deal.
This of course, will take the most time, effort, and you might be met with a bit of rejection. Shopping for licensing deals is a big undertaking (in most cases, you should already have a good portfolio of artwork ready to show), but if you’re successful, it can be rewarding. Licensing is a MASSIVE industry and there are a lot of deadlines, guidelines and general best practices to be aware of, so check out blogs like Art Licensing Blog and All Art Licensing to learn more.
Again, I’m a big proponent of taking advantage of today’s technology to share your work with the world. With sites that print and ship for you and social media channels that can help you advertise, it’s easier than ever to launch your own creative business. Hope this all helps!
If you’ve been following my Facebook page, you’ll know that I’ve been dabbling in watercolors as of late. It’s a medium I’ve rarely worked in, so what better time than now to start sharpening my skills?
You’ll also know that I’m totally smitten with actress Lupita Nyong’o, who is, by all accounts, the human embodiment of total flawlessness. (The skin! The hair! The wardrobe! Oh my!) So for the rest of this week, as we get ready for the Oscars, I’m paying to tribute to the lovely Lupita with daily watercolor sketches of her best red carpet looks.
Today’s sketch is based on her look from this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, where she won Best Supporting Actress and completely SLAYED in this turquoise gown by Gucci. She was even daring enough to match her eyeshadow to her dress — an old-school beauty faux pas — with stunning results.
What do you think of this look? What’s your favorite Lupita look of this awards season?
I kept a secret for a couple of weeks.
Last month, I got an email from a producer from the local ABC station here in Philadelphia. The station caught wind of my holiday cards being sold by Marmaxx, and wanted to interview me about my illustration business.
This was surreal. I worked in media production for a long time, but never was I the subject of a television interview. But I guess that’s the beauty of letting people know about your passion and your product — someone’s going to notice! And now, a trio of someones was scheduled to visit my place and interview me about my work.
I had to get my studio ready for visitors — and cameras, and lights, and microphones too. Before I knew it, veteran broadcaster Lisa Thomas-Laury arrived at my house — MY house! — with a producer and cameraman in tow. Set-up took awhile, as is the nature of broadcasting, but it wasn’t long before Ms. Thomas-Laury was asking me about my process and my dreams of being an illustrator when I was a little girl. Oh, and the camera man convinced me to pull out a few, slightly-embarrassing childhood photos, (so just pretend you don’t see them in the video below.) I had a hard time keeping my face straight through the whole thing, and my guy, a Philly native, was a bit star-struck by the veteran anchorwoman sitting in our house.
Before I knew it, it was over, and the crew from 6ABC was packing up and heading out. But it was such a great and fun experience. And a few weeks later, I got the email letting me know that my segment was airing as part of the station’s “Visions” special on local entrepreneurs.
Seeing myself and my work on TV is… well, surreal! When you’re simply doing work in your office (or in my case, my studio), you never quite imagine that someone is going to come interview you about it. At least I didn’t. But I’m super excited that it happened.
Check out the segment below and let me know what you think!