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

Taking steps…

It’s March and the next event I shall spend a lot of time at will be the Easter Weekender – Meet the Artists at the Purbeck Artisan Yard.

I have posted events on the Facebook page for Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday when I will be based in bay H upstairs at the yard offering the usual chance to have a go with the Promarker range of 148 colours to produce an art card or greetings card. All for free. The activity will target all ages who would like to have a go.

I will be in the yard from 10 until 5 on each of the days. On Easter Sunday I shall be at duty at Wareham Boat Hire and openly invite people to come and draw while boating, or draw others boating. I won’t be providing materials as I shall be wearing my boating “hat” / shorts – delete as applicable.

Between Easter and Purbeck Art Weeks 2019 when I am opening my studio as Studio 22 on the trail I hope to be doing an afternoon’s free art session in Swanage, details to be confirmed before I say anymore.

Then from May 25 to June 9 it will be my third Purbeck Art Weeks as an Open Studio based artist. As usual I shall be open for 16 / 16 days from 10 am to 5 pm. Today saw some preparation for PAW with the design of my new flier for this year’s event which is now off to the printers. I have also had electrical work done in the outbuilding, which now has working sockets and double the lighting of the last two years, so the art will be easier to see on any dimmer / wetter days.

Publicity is an ongoing skill that I hope I am pitching ok. It is great each time to have a range of newer images to include. This year there may be two spaces showing the art. Refreshments will be available again. Dogs as always are always welcome in my studio.

The new profile pic is one I tried for my first foray into using Procreate on my new iPad with an Apple Pencil – not an iPad Pro. New mentions this year also to some of my work being available on Etsy and Red Bubble under the name – AndyKnillArt.

Don’t forget feedback always welcomed.

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.

Happy birthday to AndyKnillArt

Today has marked the second birthday of AndyKnillArt. Reading an article online last week about keeping accounts for your artwork especially if selling and what the trigger point is to be called a self-employed artist (£1000+ in sales apparently).

I have utilised my IT skills gained when teaching to have two main art spreadsheets; my accounts and my stock. These have made life far easier to track and reduced ordering new card stock or prints until the figures say more are needed depending how sales are going. The stock sheet will be especially useful when I have my 2019 Open Studio for Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) as I will know where copies of prints in mounts and / or frames can be found as these days I have stock at home in the studio, at Rollington Barn and in the bay at Purbeck Artisan Yard.

So two years as a self employed artist ( yes I pass the threshold income). Each year I am reducing outgoings as I develop a stock of tools and materials. My main costs become printing of cards, fine art print copies and frames, these are now better attuned to sales than when I started. The income has also increased and in Year 2 I have earnt 67% more from selling my work than in Year 1.

In Year 3 I aspire to record a profit for the year. Each of the three tax years have seen the gap between income and expenditure narrow.

Thank you to all my customers and supporters, two years in and many many more to come.

“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.

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.

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 26 – Monday 31st December

Well there were certainly lots of people about in Swanage today and quite a few came and investigated what we had to offer at the artisan huts. For me more card sales and an original that has sat in Java – a Swanage Institution for a while has been sold to my best customer.

December has been my best month as an artist in the 23 months since I started with 50% more sales. This links to being in a large event but is very pleasing and a sign that things are moving forward.

2019 starts with two more days at the huts with some possible interest in at least one more print perhaps going. Either way I am going to enjoy my two last days for this episode at the seafront.

Many thanks to all my customers and supporters this year, you are all appreciated.

Andy