Bloggy Facelift!

Helloooooo readers!

Wow, was that like, an epic hiatus or what?? There has been so much going on around here that I just can't keep up with it all. But I'm excited to share it with you, one blog post at a time.

First of all, though.... did you notice anything different about my blog? It got a sweet little makeover! Er... should I say... BIG makeover. Like, I've been working day and night designing this thing for weeks. And it's still not complete. You can click around and explore, but be forewarned that a lot of my old blog links are broken. When I moved my blogger site over, all my old URLs didn't follow, so I've been tediously mapping each of them to redirect to the new page... you can imagine how fun that is. So hopefully in time everything will work 100% again (or close to it) but until then, hang in there! All the blog posts are still available, you just might not be able to get to them via the old links. And speaking of tedious URL mapping... anyone know a shortcut for how to do batch 301 redirects?? You would be my hero. Forever.

Anyway, I'm hoping new blog posts will keep my mind off all the tedious bits of making a new webpage... (I'm no web design genius, trust me, so I'm doing everything the slow-self-taught way) and overall, I'm pretty excited about the possibilities of this new site. It's gonna be awesome, folks.

In the meantime, have you seen my shop lately? I've been updating on my Facebook page, but in case you missed it, there's all kinds of great new stuff! Stickers.... calendars... new holiday cards... Black Friday sales galore! In fact, today is the last day of my Black Friday to Cyber Monday sale, so take advantage of the BOGO deals if you haven't yet!

Catching up! Father's day + illustration class

Sorry about my unintentional hiatus. It has been a crazy two weeks for me! Here's the down and dirty version:

1. I quit my job. I have an outdoor education job lined up starting next week and I'm pumped! I traded in my headset, tiny cubicle and steady paycheck for the great outdoors and minimum wage.... and I'm not even a little sorry about it. (This decision was also part of the Happiness 30 in 31 list of mine)

So this week I'm on a break between jobs and I'm loving that I have time to get stuff checked off my to-do list and get my own work done (read: Etsy). Which brings me to my next point...

2. My shop is in full swing with Father's Day quickly approaching! And a little publicity via Buzzfeed didn't hurt, either! The only trouble? Trying to package a million orders all by my lonesome. Tanner was out of town last week and thus his assistant duties were magically unavailable. (This same thing happened during Valentine's Day...) Coincidence? I think not. 

3. I had my last illustration class on Thursday. I'm bummed it's over, but I had a really good time! Our teacher even brought in an agent last week to talk to us about the "biz" and what a book agent really does for a writer/ illustrator. I feel like I came away with some in-depth information and some really great stuff to take forward in the future. Yay for unknown destinies! Wherever my path takes me, I'm excited about really pumping up my portfolio so that I can make a decent website and start writing some books. It's like a kindergarten dream come true. Seriously.

Here are the latest sketches of mine from a short story I wrote about a dinosaur:

And this one is a prompt from a website called Illustration Friday. Every week they come out with a new topic and you have to draw something to fit the bill and link your drawings to the site. (It's a good way to keep the juices flowing!) This week the topic is "Temptation."

And because this particular Father's Day card below is doing so well, I had some fun this week redrawing it in a new style to do a potential 5x7 print of it. What do you think? Do you like the old one or the new one better? Either way, it feels so great to be drawing consistently again. :)

The Craft Room

Tanner and I moved into a new place in January, and since then I've been slowly decorating the apartment to make it feel more "homey."

One of my favorite rooms to decorate is my craft room/ guest bedroom, since that's where I spend a lot of my time: doing Etsy orders, drawing new designs, working on my homework for my children's book illustration class, etc. So I wanted to have a space that was both functional and inspirational.

Our last apartment had quite a small guest room, which meant that my crafting space was crammed into a small corner. At the time, this was fine, since my shop was just beginning and I didn't need much room. But since then, my shop has blossomed and I have more supplies and materials than I had space for. So this new apartment was really a blessing, as the rooms here are huge!

So here is a look at my new crafting space/desk:

The artwork above the desk was created by me. I basically took a couple Doctor Who quotes that I liked and made a series of three prints. Yes, totally geeky. But I love them. And now you can buy them for yourself here!!

My newest addition is, of course, my lovely Epson printer below. It's huge, but I loooove it. It makes such pretty prints. Of course, I needed somewhere to put such a monstrosity, so I was on the hunt for a skinny table that I could use as both a table and a nightstand for the guest bed. After unsuccessfully being able to find a cheap one, Tanner suggested we go by Goodwill, just to check. I was skeptical about finding one, but lo and behold.... a skinny table with just the right dimensions for $15. Score!

I re-purposed one of our old bookshelves into a supply closet, holding all my paper, envelopes, shipping supplies, etc.

It's still a work in progress, of course, but the room seems to be coming together nicely! Now if only it weren't so damn hot up here on the top floor.... my next investment will be an air conditioning unit. ;)

New Products in the Shop!

I have some fun news! I added a new category of product to my shop.... 5x7 art prints!

I know it sounds like a pretty linear jump to go from greeting cards to art prints, but believe it or not, this addition was a LONG time in the making. I thought that shipping out prints would be nearly the same as greeting cards, when in fact it took quite a bit of planning.

For one thing, I needed to get a new printer. My old HP is perfectly fine for greeting cards, and it does a lovely job printing onto cardstock, but greeting cards are - more or less - disposable, while art prints hang on your wall or in a frame for years. As such, I knew I needed to get a nicer quality printer with nicer quality inks.

I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to an Epson. Practically giddy with excitement, I got it configured in my craft room, printed out my very first artwork and.... it looked awful. Like, AWFUL. I was heartbroken and quite a bit upset that this top-of-the-line printer was giving me less than exceptional results.

So I did a little research and realized what my problem was. For quality prints, you need quality paper. The cardstock I was currently using wasn't "Epson approved," as it were. But the more I researched papers, the more I realized it was hard to come by a nice, thick cardstock that also wasn't ridiculously expensive.

After weeks of research, and at the end of my rope, I suddenly stumbled upon some better priced art papers from Red River Press. And lo and behold, they even had a 100% recycled cardstock! This is unheard of in art papers, since they tend to coat them with some kind of special chemical that makes the printer ink more saturated and true to color. Delighted with the find, I ordered some right away, and when it arrived on my doorstep I did a test print and....


Now back in the game, I had to go about ordering new shipping supplies. Everything I currently use is greeting card size, and I now needed 5x7 plastic sleeves and stay-flat mailers so the prints wouldn't get crushed in the mail.

At long last, I had everything I needed to get the prints up and running... I put together some product photos, made up some listings, and posted them into my Etsy shop yesterday! This is just the start of what I hope will be a large line of prints, but I'm excited about it! I hope you like them, too.

Here's the sneak peak! Check out my shop for more.

You might recognize that bread print from this post (so long ago!)