Art Business

The Many Hats Artists Wear – Part 7 (Final)

In the concluding mini-blog of this series, my job as an artist involves the following:

Image from Pixabay

13. Struggles with technology

When I have a list of tasks to do in a day, there is insufficient time to deal with technology challenges. This is my biggest frustration and often makes me wish that we not be so dependent of technology. I was going to share my recent techno battles but took pity on my readers.

14. Finally, painting, drawing and embroidery

Yes, it is time to generate some artwork, but is 5 pm and there are dogs to walk and tea to cook. Maybe tomorrow will work out as an artwork day?

I do work in the evening; however, my artwork needs extremely good lighting, which is not relaxing for the rest of the folk in the room. I usually do my needlework in the evening as I find it less cognitive and more relaxing.

Before anyone has a chance to feel overwhelmed by my art business responsibilities, I would like to add, that even though I earn considerably less than I used to, my stress levels have also alleviated, and this is something I am not willing to trade for a fat salary. I sleep better at night; I am happy and enjoy life to the fullest. I no longer dread Monday mornings. I am surrounded by my best friends, Mum and the three hounds, Elza, Gaius and Quink, and I make the most of every day, grateful that I can be self-employed, doing what is most important.

I would really love to hear about your art business, or your thoughts if you are contemplating becoming a self-employed artist. As always, I am also keen to read any tips you may have.

At this point, I have not settled on the subject of my next blog but hope it will be an artist or conservationist interviews. Please watch this space.

Until next time…

Art Business

The Many Hats Artists Wear – Part 6

Following on from yesterday’s mini-blog, my job as an artist also involves the following:

‘Malherbe’s Parakeet’ DOODLEWEAR WOMENS’ CREW NECK SWEATSHIRT from my doodlewear collection

10. Retailers

Because of COVID, retailers are now reluctant to consider stocking any of my prints or greeting cards as they appeal to overseas tourists who cannot currently enter New Zealand.  As I think that artists need to spread their work as widely afield as possible, I hope to soon add my merchandise to Felt, and hope that Kiwis will be interested in buying merchandise displaying local flora and fauna.

Image from Pixabay

11. Packing and processing orders

When I receive a notification of a sale from my online store, I respond to the customer ASAP, as they have taken time to support my business, and I want them to know their patronage is valued. I like to process/package all orders within three days.

Image from Pixabay

12. Development

Artists are perpetually developing. We are planning artworks, exhibitions, product ranges, courses, marketing strategies or even just indulging in a little self-development (playing with new media, taking a marketing course, etc.).

Tomorrow I will share the last few ‘hats’ I don on a daily basis. Today’s blog is the sixth part of a series of mini blogs, which I will complete posting tomorrow.

I would really love to hear about your art business, or your thoughts if you are contemplating becoming a self-employed artist. As always, I am also keen to read any tips you may have.

Until then…

Art Business

The Many Hats Artists Wear – Part 5

Following on from yesterday’s mini-blog, my job as an artist also involves the following:

Image from Pixabay

8. Research

When I paint an endangered animal, I like to know something about them, so spend a little time researching them and their habitat so that I can create an authentic setting in the illustration.

Part of building an art business also means researching merchandising options and retailers. My target audience is animal-art lovers! I am aware that not everyone wants to buy an original painting or print, but most of us like to wear t-shirts, use tea towels and notebooks, build jigsaw puzzles, etc.

With that in mind, I am constantly researching manufacturing options for New Zealand-made, natural fibres, non-polluting, sustainable, reusable environmentally-friendly products. I am so grateful that I can work with Digitees (https://www.digitees.co.nz/), who print my designs on 100% cotton ethical clothing (the adult clothing is 100% organic cotton too!) with eco-friendly inks.

Image from Pixabay

9. Uploading designs to merchandise

Once a design is digitised, it needs to be uploaded for merchandise. Although I have designs on three print-on-demand platforms (Zazzle, Society6 and Redbubble), I only load designs on Redbubble now, as I hardly ever sell anything on the others. Redbubble is also, by far, the easiest platform to use. It costs nothing for me to put my designs on items, but in return, the royalties are small, and I dare not push them up for fear of chasing away customers with excessive prices.

Recently I started to sell my work on 100% cotton t-shirts on my own store, which are printed and drop shipped by Digitees (https://www.digitees.co.nz/), a Kiwi business. I am also proud to be part of the Kiwi artist collaboration, doodlewear (https://www.doodlewear.co.nz/) and sell my designs on 100% cotton sweatshirts and hoodies.

My endangered animals’ designs are also printed as giclee prints and greeting cards. These are sold on my online store (https://www.bumble-beesartandcrafts.com/).

All this merchandising work takes considerable time – creating merchandise options and entries on the online store and Facebook are very time-consuming, but it needs to be done so that customers can buy what they like and when it is done, it is rewarding.

Tomorrow I will share some more of the ‘many hats’ I don on a daily basis. Today’s blog is the fifth part of a series of mini blogs, which I will post over the coming days.

I would really love to hear about your art business, or your thoughts if you are contemplating becoming a self-employed artist. As always, I am also keen to read any tips you may have.

Until then…

Art Business

The Many Hats Artists Wear – Part 4

Following on from yesterday’s mini-blog, my job as an artist also involves following:

Image from Pixabay

6. Teaching

Early on in my art career, I was advised to teach classes. I love teaching children and adults watercolour, cognitive drawing and embroidery, and always hope that advertised courses run. Unfortunately, between one-third and half of all my advertised classes have been cancelled due to a lack of enrolments. When I have a class, I really enjoy it, even if it means teaching until 9 pm followed by a 5 am wake up (which is hard for a night owl!). Even if a class does not go ahead, I have still prepared material, written notes, created samples and examples, etc.

So why don’t I teach online? I do not have a studio and work in the living room – filming is tricky when folk are around. Plus, I simply do not have time or knowledge to edit film. It would complicate an already frenetic schedule, and I am super introverted and filming myself is acutely uncomfortable.

Image from Pixabay

7. Digitisation

When I finish an illustration designed for merchandise, I need to use image-editing software to remove the background paper or canvas from vignette illustrations. Although there are a multitude of ways to do this, the methods I found to ensure the best results, are not quick. I find this work exhausting and try to do it straight away and not save it up and spend days digitising multiple artworks. If there is a job in my business I dread, this is it – however, I am always figuring out better ways of doing the work, which brings considerable satisfaction. It is essential to use a tablet (Huion or Wacom) and a stylus or an iPad and pencil. It is simply not possible to do this work with a mouse if you create highly-detailed designs.

On Sunday I will share some more of the ‘many hats’ I don on a daily basis. Today’s blog is the fourth part of a series of mini blogs, which I will post over the coming days.

I would really love to hear about your art business, or your thoughts if you are contemplating becoming a self-employed artist. As always, I am also keen to read any tips you may have.

Until then…

Art Business

The Many Hats Artists Wear – Part 3

Following on from yesterday’s mini-blog, my job as an artist also involves the following:

Image from Pixabay

4. Planning

I use a diary-planner and a couple of notebooks to plan and implement tasks to promote business growth. Once a week, after I do the banking and accounts, I sit and plan what needs to be done during the week. A list can sometimes have between 20 and 30 tasks, varying in time requirements and complexity. Some of those tasks will be transferred to the following week’s list as I am working on them over a long period of time. Other jobs take just a couple of minutes and provides satisfaction as they are crossed off the list. Nothing is better than finally crossing off a job I have been working on for days or weeks.

I constantly need to remind myself that it may be months or years before some of my actions reach fruition. This can be discouraging, but all I can do is my best, take appropriate actions and hope they pay off at some point. I have had to accept, at times, that it is best to abandon certain parts of the business as they were not gaining momentum, despite hard work.

Image from Pixabay

5. Banking and accounts

I do business banking and accounts every week. It really pays off at the end of the financial year, as everything is already in order and can be wrapped up and sent off to the accountant quickly and easily. Each year I figure out new ways of streamlining and improving my processes to make it more efficient.

Tomorrow I will share more of the ‘many hats’ I don on a daily basis. Today’s blog is the third part of a series of mini blogs, which I will post over the coming days.

I would really love to hear about your art business, or your thoughts if you are contemplating becoming a self-employed artist. As always, I am also keen to read any tips you may have.

Until then…