“Art for fun” session

Today I was joined by 13 members of the public and two of the library team to take part in the above activity – how many of these sessions had I run before? None, this was the first one.

What did I provide?

The entire colour range of Winsor and Newton ProMarkers minus French Navy, assorted fineliner pens, colouring pencils and some sketching pencils. We looked at some of the surface I have drawn on from IKEA rolls of paper from the children’s department to my overalls coloured in this Christmas.

The library also provided some paper.

What to draw?

I provided some of samples of my greetings cards to provide some subjects, others chose images from books from the library stock.

Did we have fun?

Yes we did and I was even asked if such sessions would be repeated. It as a great and happy relaxed at to spend this Friday afternoon.

Thank you to all those who attended and took part.

Reviewing sales record

It is April and for the second year I have placed my order for the run up to Purbeck Art Weeks on the 26th. I visited the Artisan Yard yesterday to update my stock records and look at what is selling and deciding on my order.

As part of the process of organising my order I decided to compile a top 10 sales list for both greetings cards and giclée prints to date. These are my findings;

Greeting cards top 10 sellers

1. Swanage Beach Huts* 184

2. Santa over Swanage 138

3. Santa over Corfe Castle 137

4. Looking East* 129

5. Santa over Wareham Quay 97

6. From Prince Albert Gardens,

North across Swanage Bay 57

7. Santa over Chapmans Pool 52

8. Prince Albert Gardens and Bay 48

8. Spa Beach Huts* 48

10. Corfe Castle from GPS surgery 39

Here we have the first card I drew and sold cards to Swanage TiC along with Looking East and Spa Beach Huts which were commissioned designs by them too. In joint 8th place is my original design for TiC which I then edited for their card version. These were amongst my first cards available to buy in 2017.

All four Christmas card designs feature. Swanage and Chapmans Pool were available for 2017 and 2018. Corfe Castle and Wareham Quay went on sale from June 2018. So the new 2019 additions Kimmeridge and Studland will be available from Purbeck Art Weeks 2019.

Giclée prints top 10 sellers

1. “Hungry Hare” photo 8 Original not applicable

2. Swanage Beach Huts 7 Original sold

3. Year 3 sketching trip 5 Original donated to Swanage Primary

4. PAW studio in the snow 4 Original sold

4. Looking up at wintery sky 4 Original sold

4. From Prince Albert Gardens

North across Swanage Bay 4

7. Looking East 2

8. Winter sunset 2 Original sold

8. Sailing from Chapmans Pool 2 Original sold

8. North from Purbeck Ridge 2 Original sold

The encouraging aspect here is that only two of the originals remain available from this list. My printer James thought that Year 3 sketching trip was possibly not the wisest name but I stuck with it and it tells a tale of its own.

It will be interesting with time to repeat this exercise annually to see which remain the favourite designs.

Hand coloured cards and having fun

Yesterday while on duty at Purbeck Artisan Yard I took my materials to do some art. I was conscious that I had very little themed cards linked to seasonal events so I set about adding a; spring, Mother’s Day, Easter and flying Scotsman visit to Purbeck versions of my Studland bay land-rover defender card.

It will be interesting to see how many of these go by the end of April. This has been a great fun way to work on one picture and produce a series of one off pieces.

Spring

The idea of adding daffodils to the beach and a tree in blossom. It has been interesting how Instagram Defender groups have reacted to my frivolous designs.

Mother’s’ Day

Going with the flowers theme again and how lots of flowers are bought on the morning itself.

Easter

I admit the Easter bunny possibly looks more like a puppy. I loved the Defender design and an egg shaped sun.

Finally, the Flying Scotsman which is running steam trips on Swanage Heritage railway currently and bringing many visitors to Purbeck.

None of these ideas were planned before my deputy but they represent the chance to be creative and I love the idea of individual designs being out there and being enjoyed.

The final photo is of these cards, the original pen and ink card, still for sale too and a recent desert theme. I love the idea that people might buy my cards and add to them, I used to do this to others designs. Personalisation is great.

I was also happy and could be spotted doing a happy sales dance (the joy of the small business) when I also sold a framed copy of my giclee print of North across Swanage Bay that shows a range of boating types.

Feedback welcomed.

All of these are currently for sale in the Purbeck Artisan Yard, Church Street, Wareham – Open 7 days every week from 10 am to 5pm. The Spring, Easter and Mothers Fay cards are on the shelves inside the entrance at £3 each or £5 for 2 hand coloured cards. The Flying Scotsman, Desert and original card are in bay H with the remainder of my work. The original card sells for £2 or 3 for £5 with other printed cards.

I will be adding another print of the above picture when on duty on Tuesday 26th March.

Thanks

Andy

Merchandising and my art / photography

So far in the first two years I have sold original artwork in a number of formats from small easel style canvases, to pieces of work in a mount with backboard and cellophane wrapper to framed pieces. I have also sold wooden boxes had decorated in original art. Greetings cards and giclee prints printed for me by Art2card. Also original greetings cards and hand coloured versions of my pen and ink cards.

Apart from my first Purbeck Art Weeks in 2017 when I ordered a sample pack of merchandise and sold the fridge magnet, and key ring I have looked at but avoided introducing art based merchandise as the up-front costs present potentially a large financial outlay.

This week I have been reading about companies that “Print on Demand” from single items or more, I decided that as there is no upfront cost this would be a way to see if there is a market for AndyKnillArt merchandise. I have gone with “Red Bubble” and posted some artwork and photography, I will be adding more pieces to my portfolio. The system works by each product having a cost price, as the artist I then set the % markup for the public price and this is where I earn some income.

So I will be trying this method, plus Etsy and promoting sales in Facebook, Instagram and this blog /website too for 2019 at least and seeing what sales we can generate. Advice from others who have gone down this route before me your pointers would be gratefully received.

Into February

Today I covered a fellow artisan’s duty at Purbeck Artisan Yard. A few visitors helped by the improved weather and a few interesting chats with ideas to follow up for me. I spent my day working on some new pieces.

I have now completed my two 2019 designs for this year’s additions to the #SantaOverPurbeck series of cards. In discussion with people at events since last Purbeck Art Weeks I have decided that Santa May venture further afield for a second series of cards that I will start producing from 2019 to 2021 initially. Once the proofs of these cards are ready I will release pictures of the designs especially as it is still only February.

I also started work on a pair of bib and braces as my third piece of original artwork on an item of clothing. Today at the yard I also wore my Artisans on the Beach boiler suit which was a good conversation starter.

The photos below show me working on the initial pen work and then coloured area completed so far. I am very pleased with the the detail of work achieved.

A Flight of Fancy…PAW19

A change of plan re sharing my main piece I have been working on this week. So each year Purbeck Art Weeks has a competition at the start of the year linked to the chosen theme for that year. Art 2D or 3D can be submitted that fulfils the theme brief and may be selected to be used for publicity for the programme that shares details of Open Studios, the brochure that describes the music and dance events, the poster used to promote the Art Weeks.

Within my current portfolio I have a range of pieces, including two drawn in 2018 that are relevant to a “Flight of Fancy” in my “Santa Over Purbeck” series of Christmas cards, although of course they are not relevant for an event spanning the end of May and start of June. Although, this year during my Open Studio I shall have copies of the series of four cards already available and the new 2019 designs which I have yet to draw, but have planned. It surprised me when people wanted to buy the new designs so early in the year and in fact my first Christmas card order was made on June 1st.

So another idea was needed if I was to submit a piece of work. During “Artisans on the Beach 2018” event I designed and drew on two boiler suits. On the practice one (a paper diy version) I drew a panorama that circled the body of the Purbeck Coast from Sandbanks as far as the north of Swanage bay. It was drawn from the view a bird might get or an “oblique aerial” view as I would have described it previously when teaching Geography. Much to the surprise of visitors who asked I drew said view from my head with no reference materials to hand. This was based on my knowledge of the coastline as; a geographer, rowing to Old Harry Rocks with Swanage Sea Rowing Club, reading Ordnance Survey maps, seeing drone based photography posted on Instagram and Facebook by photographers in or visiting Dorset.

I was very pleased with the execution of this piece and it linked to a previous idea I had been considering for the PAW19 theme.

So I was thinking of how a sketching artist could gain the same view as drones and based on seeing a number of paragliders above Ballard Down on the north side of Swanage Bay. So my idea would be to:

1) Use a tandem paraglider where the pilot flies the wing while the passenger is able to sketch.

2) The “wing” enables inclusion of the PAW logo and also reference to the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci.

Originally I thought that I would choose a coastal view, but then decided to show the view onto Rollington Barn where the main PAW exhibition is based. It also allowed inclusion of the Purbeck chalk ridge and the village of Corfe Castle. Unlike the work for the boiler suit I had to refer to some aerial photography so used “Google Earth” as a source. There is distortion of scale and perspective as my artistic interpretation is applied. I don’t know that a paraglider without a motor would actually be able to “fly” over this section of Purbeck.

Having a fixed deadline motivated me to develop the piece over a number of days and I even went on a cycle ride on Thursday to take additional photos from East Hill above Corfe village to gain additional detail to what I could see on “Google Earth”. The final piece is very pleasing and has now been submitted. This has been one of my most challenging art pieces to date and will be available as an original and possibly as a print during my Open Studio. Feedback is welcomed.

Now I can return to my other piece based on drystone walls on the boundary of our home, this has also attracted some interest already too.

Developing a distinctive product.

When I first moved to Dorset I looked around for local scenes with Christmas cards. At the time in 2016 I didn’t find any but have seen some since. I decided that I could use this idea of Christmas cards to draw some well known local views which many people have done but in a new way.

So approaching Christmas 2017 I designed my first two cards – my theme – “Santa Over Purbeck” and I produced two scenes / 7″ by 5″ card designs. These were drawn originally at a slightly larger scale and then printed as cards.

The more successful design has been “Santa Over Swanage”, early comments included that Santa was on the water rather than in the air, but I was fine with that. I used the classic view north of Durlston Castle showing: Durlston Bay, Peveril Point, Ballard Point and Old Harry Rocks with Bournemouth in the background. The card sold well in 2017 and has continued to do so in 2018 also.

Drawn in Winsor and Newton Promarkers like most of my coloured work, Santa gave a reason to draw a deeper night sky.

The second card in the series also produced for 2017 shows a view you have to travel off the beaten track to see and is beat seen on foot. It shows Houns Tout, the headland I live on standing above Chapman’s Pool with the silhouette of the Isle of Portland in the background. A lower selling design but an idea that I will add to as there are several favourite landmarks found on foot here that you can not see as easily, it is why this coastline appeals to many walkers.

The cards were a success during Artisans on the Beach 2017. During the event I chose my next areas to include. I drew an original A4 piece for Wareham but then modified the design as I wanted to include the bridge as well as the Quay. This original remains available (If interested, please contact me)

.

The revised version was drawn at size to fit an 8″ by 4″ card template. I have been pleasantly surprised and this card has sold in better numbers than I expected in 2018. In fact if I had cards printed in time for PAW18 I could have sold Christmas cards in May/June which was a genuine surprise.

The fourth design and extremely successful design for 2018, almost catching the sales for the Swanage card is Santa Over Corfe Castle. Living on the edge of Kingston on the limestone ridge in Purbeck I am used to looking down into the valley upon Corfe Castle and Poole Harbour beyond through the gap in the chalk Purbeck Hills ridge. I have used this sort of view before for my piece North of the ridge. It is also a popular local angle used by photographers capturing Corfe in the mist.

This picture sold its original in 2017 and the print is proving popular too.

My first successful Lino print drawn by hand and then took hand painting with printing ink to get a satisfactory outcome as it was hand rolled. (This picture is in my private collection).

Both card designs had been drawn and proofs printed by February 2018 but cards weren’t ordered until August when they started to sell. For 2019 I have two designs in mind, again I shall be drawing them this month and having proofs made but there will be cards of all six designs ready for PAW19 just in case the demand is there again.

I am so pleased to have gone ahead with this idea and it has been very successful now accounting for up to 30% of my greeting card sales to date. I have had ideas suggested by visitors / customers and there may be a new “Santa Over….” series starting in 2019. If that happens you will be able to read about it here.

January 2019

So, Artisans on the Beach has completed bar the wash up meeting on Thursday 10th, I need to make some notes to share what was involved and also aspects of the event to work on. One that has come up in discussion is the importance of clear communication during the event and the importance of artisan peer support.

Tidying up after an event – an event can remove much of that artwork that dominates your home for a period. After the event there is bound for many of us to be work that returns home and restoring it to reduce friction with partners etc. I am in that phase currently.

Practical artwork, to be honest a few days off to just be and fight off lingering germs and start to reintroduce a daily nap when needed.

Planning ahead and items I will be blogging about;

– boiler suits and wearable art

– developing an ongoing range, for me; Santa over Purbeck series

– new ventures, possibly involvement in PAW sketching programme, I was volunteered but will have to see

– PAW19 membership and entry for open studio application due before end of the month

– develop some work linked to PAW theme possibly

– rationalising stock, materials and using accounts to plan how to spread costs more evenly.

– Purbeck Artisan Yard Bay rearrangements

A print framed and edited for client’s intended recipient, now totally unique – apparently very well received.

Colouring yourself in, in public – attention seeking boiler suit art during Artisans on the Beach and a lasting original idea.

Santa over Purbeck series – Swanage card after two seasons still in the lead, closely followed by this one of Corfe Castle in its first season on sale.

A sunny day in PAW18 having to draw in the shade outside Open Studio as too hot in the sun. Experimenting with drawing inks.

Day 25 – Sunday 30th December

Slow to start and then more people about but very little spending generally. Comments on art suit, liking pieces but not purchases. sold some cards, read my book and helped hutters finishing to have correct number of items in their huts.

One positive from the day was achieving highest monthly income as an artist to date as earnings topped £1000. A new record by almost £300 and very encouraging going forwards.