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.

Weymouth – a non Purbeck subject

A friend posts pictures often of his travels. He recently visited Weymouth, a Dorset coastal resort we have visited several times and taken photos to use later. I decided to try one of his photos as it would give me a chance to practise my use of perspective, a skill that I am far better at now than I was previously. Like the wall styles post I now try to keep a set of progress picture to show how my work has evolved. Feedback is welcome.

So the original photo.

Some of the colours of buildings might change slightly and although the fishing boats are a common feature along the near bank here I decided to leave it out. I prefer pictures of boats to focus on the boat as the main subject.

My first task the fineliner pen and ink drawing. This is freehand and drawn straight into pen, this stage went well.

I started the colour layers on my first sitting while on duty at the Purbeck Artisan Yard, Church Street, Wareham, Dorset where I have a sample of my work in Bay H upstairs.

This was the end of my work on Wednesday’s duty. I was covering a duty for a fellow artisan who had covered for me at the last minute when ill post beach huts event. I hoped that I would get time to continue with the piece on Friday and maybe complete it.

Once adding colour to the vegetation I shared the piece thinking had finished. However I had left a tree in front of the top row of houses. I added this and improved (in my opinion) the main bank of shrubs. The second picture below is the completed piece which has had very positive response from friends. I was pleased with the additional work on shadows and lighting, something I need to use more now.

Drystone Wall Styles

Contrasting styles

Having completed my drystone wall piece in pen and ink on kraft paper I decided  to produce a second canvas piece at 80 x 30 cm. This time my focus was the two walling  styles adjacent to the drive to The English Stamp Company from the Langton – Kingston top road between Swanage and Corfe Castle. Only recently a local waller has rebuilt the wall adjacent to the road in the diagonal style particular to Langton Matravers.

My work was based on photos taken and then zoomed into particular sections. The pictures were taken earlier this month when we had snow in Purbeck.

The work started as a pen and ink drawing and may have stayed that way, in this project however, I found my idea about presentation changing as I developed the work. Now that I am more patient in producing pieces, specially these larger ones there is more time to think.

The surface of the canvas is rougher than the kraft paper I used on the previous piece which didn’t suit the Sakura Pigma Micron fineliners as well. I found the Copic fineliners worked better on this surface.

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At first I was notable to focus on a small section, then came an evening where I was very motivated and completed the older wall section and drew the entire diagonally laid piece in one session. At this point I was very pleased with the pen and ink work but couldn’t see how pen and ink would work at this scale with the landscape features behind the wall.

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The lines needed to be thicker so I went over the work in a thicker nib next.

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At this point the details of the tree in the field were developed, the addition of the two bus stops, the telegraph pole and tree to the right of the picture. The grass was done in several layers allowing different colour grasses and the snow areas being left blank. Having being so bold with the stone borders I decided that this would need to include colour in both walls to make sense.

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These images show how I added colour which was then given a second and in some cases third layer of marker. The last picture showed my companion the ladybird who kept appearing as I worked.

I was pleased at this point but was unsure how to show the shrubby tree/ bushes behind. This section started as fineliners branches, then the addition of marker pen. Eventually I coloured over the branches for the sky then returned to redo the branch and twig patterns – I was uncertain by now if this was just going to end up as a learning exercise and found this difficult to deal with initially, but know it is a skill I will need to take on board.

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The piece has now been completed and the sky is not as smooth as I would like but I need to look at using other media possibly for skies behind strong marker pieces – admitting I need to do some art that is not just pen based, possibly.

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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.

“Hillview Drystone I” is complete

My largest pen and ink piece to date – an upcycled canvas using brown kraft paper stapled over the canvas – 80 x 30 cms.

So how did I go about it?

I have a clear view of this from our utility room at the back of the house. The long wall is part of our garden boundary. The other wall acts as a barrier to a section of the garden. The boundary wall in particular contains at last three ages of walling during the plot’s life. It is a view I have wanted to draw for a while and wanted to do it justice. My final thought has been to leave the entire picture as a pen and ink piece and not introduce any colour.

I started with the outline of the walls without any inner detail. Each wall was then drawn as a flat view showing the stone patterns. Meanwhile the grass to the left was added and shadow outlines marked. The longest single section was the chippings. Our home is surrounded by a “moat” of chippings on all sides. I chose to draw these as angular pieces individually – both the chippings and stone patterns include an element of artistic license in their recording.

Once that section was completed (over several days to allow for eye strain) I added the cross hatching to indicate the gaps between the stones and shadows cast. Th surface texture of the stones was also added. The final action was to record the shrubs and try that are seen above the boundary wall.

Sale time

So now it will go up for sale and I have decided that I am keeping a photographic record of these pieces but not having prints made making each one that I do a true one off. First refuser has been contacted – if you are interested in pieces like this please contact me.

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.

Daily art again

Carrying on from my last post I am currently working on two main pieces. In addition I am sketching when out in my sketchbook and / or on napkins as last week showed. The two main pieces are:

Panoramic drystone wall piece which also features a large expanse of stone chippings in the foreground. The last few days have focused on gradually infilling the chippings area, working upto an hour at a time before a break is needed to rest my eyes. Once this area is complete I need to develop the vegetation above the wall. That will work include trees and shrubs immediately behind the wall and then plants beyond them. I am still considering whether to keep the piece as a pure pen and ink piece or to use colour for the grass and vegetation areas.

The second piece is on the theme of “Flight of fancy” linked to Purbeck Art Weeks 2019. I had an idea that I developed and started to plan while based at the beach huts in December. The work has been added to over the last 3 days. I am very pleased with the progress. The idea is complex and is coming off well so far. I have shared online the initial subject of a paraglider and dual passengers. The rest I will keep a record of but not share publicly until the decision is made about which images PAW19 will use. I aspire to having my piece chosen but I doubt it.

So more information and images next time of pieces progress.

Getting busier

This week I have drawn three separate #napkinart pieces in two different cafes. This aspect of my art is a great release using a surface material that is not always easy. I am starting to get feedback from staff in two cafes about the art pieces, I do not know if the third one today were even aware of what I had done.

I have started a panoramic canvas piece 80 by 30 Cm that so far initially is a pure pen and ink pic but may include colour for some elements. The scale of it is so much larger than pieces done previously, so for example this afternoon I spent two out of what may be four or even five hours potentially of drawing stone chippings. I have it in mind to develop a number of larger pieces this year to display and possibly sell during Purbeck art Weeks in May/June.

Thirdly I researched a number of aspects that I wish to use to produce a pic for the theme of PAW2019. His meds to be done by the 31st if I am to enter it for consideration for the three publications that carry artists pieces achieved year. The publicity would be useful for my work, however the key idea for me is to draw a ice that challenges my skills and a concept that links my geographical, artistic and outdoor sporting interests in the Purbeck landscape.

So there are going to be plenty of pieces of new art that I hope to be sharing through this blog over the next three months especially in the lead up to PAW2019.

If you have any questions, suggestions, comments please just add them after the post or send me a message using the contact form or a direct email at andy@andyknillart.com.

Drystone walls and other stone features

When I was a child family holidays included the Yorkshire Moors, North Wales and the Lake District. I spent my university days in the Cotswolds. Each of these areas display a range of drystone walls of different appearances and different stones but they are an important landscape feature I have always admired.

When we moved into the property we live in currently in Purbeck it comes with a garden bounded by and including Purbeck drystone walls and after some digging I also found some stone pathway and an outbuilding with traditional roofing including stone tiles.

I find these interesting to draw. I don’t claim to achieve 100% accuracy of record but I do my best to record a faithful picture of the structure within a particular wall. While we have lived in the area I have noticed a number of distinctive walking styles, some are clearly older patterns and some are produced or reproduced by wallers working in the local area. They lend themselves well to my pen and ink style and are usually pieces which require a lot of focus which helps a peaceful and mindful drawing experience.

Today I visited an exhibition at Durlston Castle, south of Swanage and saw an exhibition about how we respond to the landscape around us. One of my reactions is to take many photographs, now it is also often to add to my drawing portfolio and keep a wider record of walking styles.

The pictures below are a representative sample of pieces, some have sold, others I am still working on. One day I would like to record pieces of stone and my own attempts in a series of drawings to create even just a small section of wall.

I picked up this leaflet today and will be exploring some of the points it makes and examples it shares.

Walls and outbuilding inspiration around our home that inspire me regularly and as you can see they act as a backdrop to a range of flora and fauna.

Pieces all done within a 15 minute radius on foot – I realise how lucky I am.

What landscape features near you that are man made inspire you?

Informal sketching Meet-ups

For 2019 I have proposed to Purbeck Art Weeks especially the Visual Arts Forum about holding informal sketching meet ups rather than a formalised programme. It develops what I was doing in the autumn at Purbeck Artisan Yard where I advertised an event each time I was on duty for people to join me and try my art markers and / or draw.

So, the first one is next Sunday January 13th, the obstacle with the Artisan yard is that it is always very cold but I would love to meet up with other artists for such meet ups more often in Purbeck. There is an Urban sketching group now based in Bournemouth and Poole who meet on a regular basis too.

Later in the year I will look at some informal events around my Open Studio during Purbeck Art Weeks (Saturday May 25 to Sunday June 9). Also later in the year exploring more local landscapes including Studland, Chapman’s Pool, Dancing Ledge, Swanage Bay etc.

Your thoughts and feedback are welcomed. This is not intended as a sole effort and I am not creating another organisational role for myself.

Drawing on myself….not the usual way to sketch, but an interesting challenge during Artisans on the Beach 2018.

Drawing during PAW open studios on a sunny day – a friend who is also an artist taking the opportunity.

Trying a new media with drawing inks during PAW 18, the resulting picture is shown below.