Once upon a time, I had no ideas for projects. If an instructor said "Do whatever you want on this project", I would draw a blank. Now I have so many ideas, they often wake me up at night. Ideas come to me mostly as I'm falling asleep, but also when I'm walking to or from work, in the shower, when I'm looking through a magazine, when I'm watching movies. In other words, I'm CONSTANTLY being bombarded with new ideas.
I'm not really sure when or how this change came about, nor am I bothered by it. I LOVE it! The only negative (if you can even really call it that), is that I now have so many ideas that I have a hard time sticking to one thing and seeing it through. That is the situation I currently find myself in.
I have very recently (last weekend) decided to embrace my inner craftiness. It's something I've been fighting since Martha Stewart and scrap-booking became all the rage. Secretly, I would flip through Martha Stewart Living and drool over the cool projects I would never have thought of on my own. But for reasons too numerous to mention, I fought my desire to do crafts tooth and nail.
About 6 months ago, my friend Spring (check out her AMAZING work http://springmontes.blogspot.com/) was talking to me about crafts, and card making, and showing off her Martha Stewart punches. I poo pooed her and her scrap-booking nonsense, and continued my full time job as an unknown, struggling illustrator. But something stuck, and continued to tickle at the back of my mind.
Last month, I participated in APE (Alternative Press Expo), where our table-neighbor was Charlene Kelley otherwise known as Glitterside (http://www.glitterside.com/). I was really impressed with her work, and wanted to try it out. So I trotted down to the art supply store and purchased a slew of Martha Stewart glitter, some elmers glue and a wood board, and sat down to take a stab at this glitter thing. And man was it HARD! There was far more glitter on my face, and in my hair than there was on the board. But in the end, I had a not too bad representation of Papa Smurf. I was intrigued enough to try again, but I wasn't really sure what to try next. More on that in a moment.
In the meantime, because my job requires me to purchase products (art, candles, etc), I have been spending a great deal of time on Etsy. As I have been looking for items to put in the shop, I have been learning some of the ins and outs of selling crafts, and the sorts of things people buy. What I ultimately came to realize was that crafts SELL! That was all it took. My inner craftiness refused to be hidden away any longer. I ordered some books and a few things from Etsy (so I could deconstruct them), and spent about an hour (much to my boyfriends chagrin) wandering around Flax, and reveling in the world that was now open to me. I also watched You-Tube for about 12 straight hours, and at the end of that marathon, I knew how to make a wide variety of greeting cards, and candles (among other things).
The very next day, I opened my own etsy shop. I have nothing to list yet other than my original illustrations, but I have been thinking about what I want to sell, trying to narrow down all the options. I know I want to make greeting cards, especially considering the holidays are coming, but I'm not sure I can get enough practice in and make enough actual product to sell before the holidays really get going. So, what could I make that would still be Christmasy? That's when I remembered the glitter, though I wasn't sure what to do with it. Then it came to me; the Grinch!
Because I inevitably make things harder than they need to be, I decided I couldn't do just the Grinch. I needed to do Cindy-Lou Who and Max the dog too.
My first attempt at Cindy-Lou was a disaster. Started out well, but it went down hill very quickly (I'm still looking for a hole deep enough to bury it in). I had to re-group and try something else. I also felt like I was stealing Charlene's technique, and I definitely didn't want to do that. I needed to find a way to make it my own. After some serious thought, I decided to combine it with pastels (my chosen illustration medium), watercolor and color pecil. I'm MUCH happier with the out-come, though it's not quite finished.
I plan to do more of these, and hopefully sell them to parents who want to decorate their kids rooms.
All of this new-found craftiness has been a bit of a distraction where my book is concerned, but I am planning to get back to it with a vengeance this coming weekend. In the meantime, here's the title page, which I finished last weekend.
Check back next week for the last peek at the book, and the finished (hopefully) pieces of the Grinch.