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.

37896603-CBF7-4461-919A-05EF5ECA8C8C

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.

DB98B863-2AF3-4B3C-AE3E-272211A822B5

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

FA205475-A0FE-4BE0-B782-4F52F196AB91

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.

E06BB5DB-F14A-42C2-8244-53EFB1FE991020596344-6EDE-4543-BB07-6BC2692D0DD3A08DA184-3AA4-4262-B3CD-4DB668CF608E

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.

ADC93FE0-9D41-4194-B6B7-636D458196492E1DA432-2BB4-4C9F-B6B0-CED0A497EA6A

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.

C1C4154B-8AB8-4DF2-B177-EB12F248DA49

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.

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?

Enthusiasm abounds

Today I went for a walk and then lunch at Studland Bay on the Purbeck Coast with Anne. We walked through the dunes, heathers and gorse and then returned along the beach to the National Trust Knoll beach cafe. This is often the place where I have left items of napkin art previously with most pictures being of Old Harry rocks.

A good lunch and then yes, a napkin piece of Old Harry was left on the raised table by the window. I later posted about leaving it on Instagram and received a response that it was found by one of the National Trust staff, this is the second person on their team who has enjoyed finding one of these pieces.

This is the Instagram edited version, the full picture is a panorama.

So an art achievement, enough then?? No, as I had gone on an early walk this morning taking photos of drystone walls and frosted area pieces to use as inspiration. Also, this afternoon I have paid my PAW membership for 2019 and completed my Open Studio application and emailed my chosen brochure image.

PAW studio in the snow – March 2018.

I have also upgraded my Flickr membership to allow more cloud storage of images as they have become important as a way to keep a record of my art portfolio but also images that inspire or help me to develop pieces of art work.

A busy day and now some rest is warranted.

Day 22 – 27th December

Well rested, a slower start and arrives at the hut to find concern that I wasn’t there.

First a paraglider pic as I left yesterday.

A dry, sunny but chilly day as the huts moved further into the afternoon shadow. Again posting on Artisans on…facebook page has become a simple statement about who is open and explaining to people how emphasis is Fri to Sun and we are the extra keenies.

Wore the updated boiler suit and added some hedges, winter trees etc around Sandpit field while wearing the suit.

Sales amongst the hutters varied. My new Square reader arrived but didnt need use ;0(

The sun setting led to a number of good shots of the skies colours. Again I also took pictures with the camera.

Noisiest part of the day – a TVR run with several phases in front of us.

Tomorrow beckons a onesie day and more boiler suit art additions.

Day 21 – Wednesday 26th December (Boxing Day)

Undisrupted sleep evaded me last night so I got up at 6 and was sat outside my hut by 7 a.m. I watched a magnificent sunrise, I can not post pics currently as they are on my camera. I watched the town’s unofficial swim from a distance but heard the collective gasp as they entered the water.

A quiet day trading with a few cards for me. Others fared better. 7 huts opened.

We have been entertained by water activity including a Zapcat, SUPs, kayaks, sailing dinghies, a passing yacht and a waterbike.

Other activity has included upto 8 paragliders at a time airborne over Ballard Down. Also lots of pedestrians with families out for walks, scooting, dog exercising.

A beautiful day to be on the seafront even if the temperature drops significantly once the sun moves behind the beach huts.

My main activity has been watching the world go by, taking photographs and adding more detail to my art boilersuit.

Day three or December 5th for you gregorians

My third day at the hut. The weather forecast promised a damp morning with a wet afternoon, but forecasts can be wrong can’t they. Last night I typed up and laminated an opening times template for each hut based on the information they had given me on Sunday.

On arrival the seafront was dry and mild. I got to work as earlier than the opening time of 10 and put up the signs for all lower huts where I had information. Damp wood on the upper huts meant these will be done another day. My new hooks to put up my AndyKnillArt banner wouldn’t cooperate so a parcel tape job worked, that would do.

A quiet day but some social hut drinks with passing friends and pricing up of items that I have moved from the Purbeck Artisan Yard. I also completed an updated stock take based on work in the beach hut on my tablet copy of stock spreadsheet.

I have moved some items which are not originals, cards or prints as I try a more diversified range of items that allow me to share my artwork. Last year I completed some wooden boxes with local scenes, in 2018 I am trying some themed boxes. I received a commission for a client’s grandchild based on this idea a few weeks ago too, and to be honest they are fun to do.

So currently I have a Top Secret chest, two pirate treasure chests and a larger fairy cottage. These are plain boxes which I then draw onto using my usual pens.

I hope that they will all sell and possibly even lead to commissions for more pieces.

I have also moved some miniature and mini easel canvas pieces which I will share in a future post. I made one card sale today to a local artist whose son I had taught when working with a local primary school in February following last year’s event. We had a good chat about subjects, media and sketchbooks.

The afternoon saw more rain as promised and a number of photos of conditions to use as prompts for future pieces.

A yard day ..

Awake early,a positive dream about teaching and letting go,what does today hold?

A yard day ..

In May 2016 I explored the back streets of Wareham to find the Purbeck Artisan Yard as I wanted to find some art by Lucy Tidbury before I drove back to Essex. Unfortunately for Lucy my purchasing power was only to buy some cards to take back to Essex with me.

Twenty five months on I have been a bay holder at the yard for 4 months. What does this all involve?

The yard

It lies in Church Street, Wareham, Dorset. It is not easy to find ( this is an ongoing area to make us more prominent) as most visitors see the Quay, and ‘High Street’ (a combination of shops in South Street, North Street and West Street. It used to be the town’s fire station and also a builder’s yard. Today it houses 12 bays of Art, Craft, Artisan goods. There are spaces for guest artists too.

Bay holders

We rent a section in the yard for a monthly rent and we then staff the yard as a representative of the collective on average once every 12 days. We can rent a whole bay or with other Artisans we can share a bay – many bays are shared amongst 3 different Artisans. This splits the cost up and also the duty responsibilities.

Staffing the yard

Today I will be at the yard as Bay H representative not purely as AndyKnillArt, in fact on previous duty days I have had successful sale days for the yard but not so for my own work as I have focused on the teamwork element. My role is to have the yard open to visitors from 10 am to 5 pm. Outside that time I have to collect and return the float and any sales monies. We take cash and card payments so I must keep the technology charged,clean up in the yard and keep our sales records for accounting purposes and also so every artisan can monitor their personal sales.

I enjoy the interaction with visitors just as I do when doing my other role at Wareham Boat Hire. It gives me great pleasure to wrap sold goods so they can be taken away to enjoy. Chatting with visitors, answering questions where possible, signposting people to someone or some people who might fit their needs.

Importantly,while I am on duty there are other roles;

Today I will be hosting a new artisan who will ‘shadow’ me to see how a duty day unfolds and what is involved ready for their first duty.

I have some clients who bought some work from my home Open Studio during PAW18, but let me keep it on display until the end of the event, who are coming to collect their piece of my art.

Friends including fellow Artisans who drop by to catch up.

Anne who will come for lunchtime and if my last Saturday duty is anything to go by will help me to package goods (gift shop experience).

Finally, I represent my bay and AndyKnillArt. I will do some art work during the day as time allows. I often take much of my Promarker pen collection so I can share the media with others. I have produced a number of pieces while on previous duties.

The most significant started as a drawing of the view from the front gate of the yard. It shows very clearly where we are located and is a great example of my pen work at its best. Unfortunately rain on the day meant that I completed the piece from photos at the work table inside. Often I will work from photos while on duty.

If you decide to visit the yard today say hello and let me know you have seen this post. How will you find us?

– you’ve been before and know where we are

– follow the arrow signs in town

– look for St Mary’s church from my picture -its wind vane is a golden fish on top of the tower. It lies at the south side of the town close to the Quay. Walk to the church and from the front door look for the pink cottage, walk along the side of the churchyard to it. Take the small street alongside the end of the house and find the wall with words painted on about work you may see inside-you have arrived. Walk through the yard, past the pig and enter our front door.

Hope to meet you soon. If reading this from a place far far away from Dorset please comment and give me some feedback.

Thanks for reading

Andy

AndyKnillArt