Tag Archives: Journey

One year on etsy

My etsy shop turns one today! Happy etsy-birthday to me!

In celebration of my first year, use discount code BRturns1 for 15% off my etsy shop until 14th April!

Now that we’ve celebrated, on to an honest look at my first year on etsy…

Sales: 61

If I’m completely truthful, I was hoping for more sales in my first year. I’m really pleased to be getting a steady order per week, but at this rate, it’ll never really be a success. I’m hoping that adding art prints to my shop will increase sales next year and I’m planning on redoing my product photography in the next few weeks to freshen up the shop!

If you have any suggestions for items you’d like to see in my shop, please let me know!

shop banner 2017 3360 x 840

Views: 1,431 item views 

This sounds like quite a lot, but averages out to less than 4 of my shop items being viewed a day! I really need to work on advertising and marketing my shop. I feel like I’m constantly talking about my shop, but looking at my social media, I don’t seem to mention it very much!

Would it annoy you to see more marketing from me about my shop?

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Best seller: Christmas card pack

Without a doubt, my Christmas card pack has been my top seller. I tried to get ahead of the game and started to design them in Summer, only to decide I didn’t really like them in Autumn, and then had to start from scratch (whilst moving house!). This year I’m hoping to be more organised, but no promises!

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Next best seller: Otterly adorable card

After the Christmas cards, my otterly adorable card has proved most popular. I think it’s been a keen boyfriend/girlfriend favourite!

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Worst seller: Cakeday cards

I love my Happy Cakeday birthday cards, but it seems I’m in a party of one! Oh well, you can’t win them all!

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All in all, I’m so pleased I opened my etsy shop. I was so naive to begin with, thinking that all I would need to do is pop a few cards in the shop and then the sales would come rolling in – I was so wrong! It’s an endless process of self promotion, tweaking, creating new ideas and this is on top of the illustration, editing and artworking…

So, my first year has not quite gone as well as I had hoped, but I’ve learned a lot and now I know how much work it’ll take to build on these sales. On the bright side, 61 sales is far better than 6, so it’s a great starting point for year 2!

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ps. don’t forget, use code BRturns1 for 15% my shop until 14th April!

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

A few days late, but given that I’m actually managing to write this in January, I’m going to see this as a win!

Despite 2016 being quite a suspect year in general, in our house it was quite a year! I finally took the plunge and opened my etsy shop in March, we got a new car in April, and a few weeks (or maybe days) later, we put an offer on our first house. It took until September, but we finally got the keys and then spent October making it both liveable and lovable.

October also marked two years since going freelance, and although sometimes it can be a bit scary seeing empty pages in the diary, I’m still so glad I did it!

Since moving into our first home we’ve done exciting things such as buying curtains, light fixtures and even a rug – a huge step for us! Then we had the most laid back Christmas Day at home, just us two and the pets – bliss!

I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds!

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bethanyrobyn

My best 9 illustrations according to instagram!

Drumroll please… my Etsy shop is now open!

It’s open!! It’s finally open!

I can’t believe that a dreary, drizzly Tuesday in the middle of March has ended up being the day I opened my Etsy shop!

etsy about cards

I’m so excited, you may be able to tell 🙂

This is the first time I’ve put my art out there for actual strangers to love or hate (here doesn’t really count!) and I hope these 12 greetings cards are just the beginning!

Without making this sound like an awards acceptance speech, I would never have opened my shop without so much lovely encouragement from quite a few people. My Mum, obvs, was as supportive as always, my friend Catherine was my number one consultant throughout the whole process and a big bunch of people on a great Etsy facebook page reminded me I wasn’t the only one struggling!

So lovely people, please have a look at www.bethanyrobyn.etsy.com and tell me what you think!

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Plans for the future!

In the hope of convincing myself that I’m a real illustrator-in-training, recently I’ve been looking into printing some cards and possibly setting up my own little etsy shop.

There, now that I’ve told you, I’m going to have to do it!

I’ve spent the last week sketching, painting, inking, photographing and tweaking a few designs, so hopefully I’ll have 11 cards ready to go when I open up.

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I’d like to say it’s been seamless so far, but I won’t lie to you… the sketching and painting has been the easiest part!

Yesterday I tried to print some test cards, only for the blue and pink inks to run out 4 cards in – not ideal! It turns out that four leaf clovers look both ill and unlucky without the blue…

cards preview

Here is a little preview of said gradually-less-blue mock ups, I’d like to say the blurriness of the photo is to add intrigue, but actually I had to rush the photo before the cat could jump on them!

So today, I braved the outside world for the first time in 4 days, (does that make me sound terribly lazy?) on a voyage to speak with a local printers to see what my options are for getting a lovely professional finish.

I arrived to see that although they are indeed open Mon to Sat, just below these opening times it states ‘Closed Wednesday’. I wish I had spotted that a little sooner. What a waste of eyeliner and outside clothes!

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So it looks like another journey into the wild for me tomorrow – I will not give up!

If any of you are unfamiliar with etsy, its a website where you can buy lots of things from artwork and knitwear to jewellery and homeware. Each seller has it’s own page, a bit like it’s own shop window.

My lovely friend Flo has an etsy page selling her bright, colourful and quirky cards and prints and she also has a Facebook page with more of her wonderful artwork which you should definitely check out!

My first purchase from etsy was an amazing Audrey Hepburn print which is on my wall along with some of my favourite paintings. It’s by an artist called Ileana Hunter, who it turns out is based near Norwich, her beautiful portrait sketches are well worth a look.

AH wall

So that’s a little update on how I’m spending my days at the moment. Elsewhere in the house, I managed to catch Midna making this face while enjoying some dreamies yesterday, I hope you have something in your life that gives you this much joy!

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My thank you post

This time last year, after 4 years of working with the same company straight out of uni, I handed in my notice.

Work had became a home from home and a reassuring constant as I moved between 7 homes in 3 years and travelled back and forth every weekend to see the boyf, so handing in my notice was like cutting the strings and seeing whether I could stand on my own two feet. It’s a relief to say, I’m still standing!

I had so much support in making that decision and I was fully prepared to fall flat on my face. I had nothing lined up after my notice period and didn’t think I knew enough people in the industry to reach out to other agencies. Luckily, it turns out that the people I did know were so fantastically generous with their time and connections!

Through their help, I have had the opportunity to meet with a variety of agencies and work on some great projects. Happily, each agency I’ve worked with has asked me to come back to work on further projects, so I’m doing something right!

I realise this isn’t really a post about art, but I thought that if the only thing I can complain about recently is a lack of inspiration with my paintbrush and having to stay an extra night in Paris due to strikes, then I am obviously in a good place right now, so I wanted to celebrate and share it with you. I am so thankful and grateful for the support you have all given me this year, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you!

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My third flower girl

Today I’m sharing my third, and currently my final, flower girl.

She’s the perfect choice for this glorious sunny day. A gorgeous tan that I couldn’t ever dream of achieving, a beautiful grecian dress and a lovely flower crown. I think it’s definitely a holiday look!

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She was one of the first paintings I completed when I started doing art again and it’s great to look back over the paintings I’ve done and the sketchbooks I’ve gone through in the last two and a bit years.

I’m going to be launching a new page to my website soon, with a slightly different focus to my illustrations, which I am really looking forward to sharing with you all.

If you want to catch up on my first and second flower girls, they can be found here and here. I’ll be sharing another happiness is this coming week, so keep an eye out for it!

Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine,

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My first flower girl

Today I’m posting the first of a little 3 part series of paintings.

For most of the last two years, my paintings have centered around pretty girls and beautiful outfits. It’s only been the last six months or so that I feel I have started to branch out and away from this, and even now, I still find myself returning to fashion inspired illustrations.

I feel these three illustrations typify my painting style of the last few years and despite being painted at different points through that year, they share a springtime flowery theme.

I’d like to think each of my paintings has a little bit of fairytale for inspiration and as a fan of the countryside, I love to sneak in a few little flowers, so here is the first of my flower girls.

flower girl

Ok, so it wasn’t a little flower! I’ll share my second flower girl later this week.

Do you find similar themes and ideas sneaking their way into the things you create?

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Decisions, decisions!

One thing I can never decide on is whether to pen the outlines of my paintings.

To start with, I loved adding the pen; it would hide all the edges that had smudged across or bled into the neighbouring colours. I could add a strong bold edge and exaggerate the shadows. With the pen I could also add fine details and definition that I couldn’t seem to achieve with just the watercolours.

Now though, I’m less keen to add the pen. As I keep my colours quite pale (more out of habit than a conscious choice!), I quite like the smudged lines and subtle changes between the different parts of the painting. The look that little bit dreamier (more dreamy/more like a dream?) and softer, which I really like.

More often than not, I’m adding in a pencil line afterwards for any extra definition. Which hopefully stops me from trying to hide my watercolour mistakes with the outlines. Also, once the pen is there, it’s not going anywhere, it’s irreversible… this makes me nervous!

Here is one of the first times I added pen to my painting and over a year later, I still can’t decide which one I prefer!

What do you think – strong definition with pen or sketchy and light with a pencil? Let me know in the comments box below.

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walking pencil

(apologies for the dodgy shadows on the photo!)

walking pen

Lesson 1: don’t forget the water

Last summer I was lucky to be able to ‘borrow’ a set of watercolours and brushes from my mum to get started. I say borrowed, but over a year later and they are still in my artbox… Sorry mum.

I started out full of confidence that not only would I be able to recreate beautiful photos with my sketching but also be able to bring them to life with my new paints.
As you can see from the below attempts, years of sparse doodling had taken its toll! My pencil couldn’t quite create what my eyes could see and I seemed to forget one very vital ingredient of watercolours, the water!

first attempt

My second attempt was a little better, but it really hit home that you can’t just pick up a pencil or brush and expect it to come flooding back. Disheartening to say the least!

second attempt

As with everything I draw, I sent it through to my mum to ask what she thought; ‘good use of shadows’. Even with these she found something nice to say 🙂 and more importantly gave me the encouragement and confidence to persevere.

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Starting again

suitcases

After roughly 18months of life as a (very well looked after) nomad, I finally got a place of my own in May 2012. The year and a half leading up to this point had me living in five locations (one twice) as a house guest in various locations to various degrees of success.

Each time I moved I would pack my little Peugeot (RIP) to the brim with most of my worldly belongings and trundle along the motorways to the next stop. Each weekend, no matter the location, I would try to get back to East Anglia to see the boyf and every few months I would travel to a far flung exotic location for work (ok, mainly to Birmingham).

In short, my life was dominated by suitcases and unfortunately none of them looked as stylish as the above.

The glorious and amazing day that we finally got our little flat and I was able to put away those ever-present cases was just perfect; no more weekend bags, no more Friday/Sunday night traffic, no more weekend rail replacements, no more cold Sunday evenings on the platform and no more wondering where and when I would next be moving.

Like I said, amazing! In the grand scheme of things, I know these are trivial issues, but it was huge for me.

And the whole point of telling you this is that finally settled, I had time again to think about what I wanted to do with all this new found freedom and the answer was art.

Painting, sketching, cutting and sticking, glittering, colouring and creating: starting again.

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