Tuesday, June 13

Katiedraws' Degree Show Top Tips / 2017

If you follow along on Instagram, you'll have noticed that i've been reporting on degree shows for A-N The Artists Information Company. It's been great to see all the amazing work, and flick through a million sketchbooks.


While I'm not an expert on the subject (i've had 2 degree shows in my entire life and I don't remember putting any effort into either of them. Sorry Mum.) I have noticed a few things that would make it much more painless for the audience to find out more about the artists, and to share their work more easily. Maybe my next degree show will now be fabulous and amazing and the best thing I have ever created? Who knows - stay tuned 'cos it's coming up this August at Edinburgh College of Art.

Anyway, without further ado, let me tell you things which I think may be helpful.

Beautiful textile work from Fine Art student at Newcastle University, Eve Kershaw. https://evekershaw.wordpress.com/ 

Business CardsA million. You need to print a million. And sprinkle them everywhere so that even if each visitor takes 5, there will STILL be enough for the next people. At the degree shows I went to report on, only about 50% of the work had a business card to go with it. Postcards are nice too, but business cards are really necessary. I want to get home and look at the business card and think "ah yes! That person! That work! I remember everything".

Go back and refill your business card holders daily, and leave a little back up pile incase there's a very busy day.

Information to include on your business card:
  • Your name
  • An image which matches the stuff in your degree show
  • Your website (you don't have a website? Make one! My current website was built with Virb, and my new website is being built in Squarespace.) 
  • Your social media stuff. If your social media is all just personal/for friends then it's worth making a Facebook/Instagram/Twitter account just for your art. You don't have to do all three, but one is better than none.
Cool business card options I saw at the degree shows:

Business cards with little packets of seeds attached to them, big big long postcards, stickers, a business card made from perspex(!!), wooden business cards and top trumps-style business cards to name but a few.

Empty business card holders = a sad sight :( :( :(

'Woolarch' (a combination of wool and potato starch) created by Edinburgh College of Art product design student, Ellie Carr-Smith

I spent most of my time trying to figure out who did what. If your business cards are there then this is taken care of, but it takes 2 seconds to stick a bit of foam board with your name and a bit of writing (optional, of course) on the wall beside your masterpiece. When there are 3 people's names on a wall at the entrance of a room, it's *almost* impossible to figure out who did which pieces of work in said room. "Hmmm does this bit of experimental work look like it was done by a Rebecca or a Megan?" Don't hide your name. Don't hide your business cards. Put them somewhere obvious so that idiots like me can easily find them.

"Millenni-Med" created by fine art student at Newcastle University, Jennifer O'Neill. You can check out her Instagram here.

Have an online presence related to your art + be aware of your internet footprint
If people want to know more about your work, then there's a high likelihood that they will search for you online. Make sure theres something, ANYTHING, on there which involves some photos of your work, and a quick description of you and your practice. It takes 10 minutes to whack a few photos on a Facebook page, Instagram account or Twitter of your work, maybe even you in the studio. Make sure the work photos match the work in your final show - make it easy for people to find you.

Also, take a moment to log out of your social media and search for yourself. What pops up? Is it drunk photos of you from 2007? Revisit your privacy settings and make sure all of that stuff is buried in the past, privately, where it belongs.

Bla bla bla / too long, didn't read #tldr

If people can find you online, share your work and credit you, then you are more likely to reach a wider audience. Also, it's nice to get feedback! Let people tell you they like your work.

Make it easy for people to find your degree show stuff on the internet. Tell people who you are, share your work and be proud of all the stuff you made.

The end.

Wednesday, May 3

The Leaders of Tomorrow - St Gallen Symposium #47 - 2017

Hello from Switzerland! I'm here doing some editorial illustration as part of the magazine team at St Gallen Symposium, 2017. It's the 47th symposium, but the first time there's been an in-house illustrator.

Here are a few posters I illustrated to signpost rooms where work sessions are happening. There were 13 of them, here are the ones that A. I could find (the building is huge and sprawling!) and B. I could get a good photo of. There is some fancy blue and pink lighting/dark rooms where even MY wonderful iPhoneography couldn't quite capture them. Hah. Kidding of course.

Carla captured this shot of everyone holding an illustration and standing on stage. Alas, I missed that bit. Thank you for the photo Carla!

Thursday, April 27

Blockchain / Switzerland Preparations

Copyright Katie Chappell 2017

Preparations for Switzerland are well underway. My Etsy shop is closed until the 10th of May, and i'm in the process of creating illustrations for the magazine, reporting on the 47th St Gallen Symposium.

This is an illustration of blockchain. Isn't it pretty?

Anyway, I head off on Sunday morning so i'm off to get back to work.

Have a lovely week :)

Wednesday, April 19

Things I learned from doing a 100 Day Project

Doing a 100 day project made me super organised and productive (and it got me out of my overdraft).

I created all 100 images within 100 days, for some busy spells I created a series and posted them one-by-one to manage my time better, but all in all I didn't miss one single day. It was like a creative marathon, and YOU COULD DO IT TOO! I really recommend doing a 100 day project. It's a delicious amount of time for your brain to cope with, it gets you into a habit of making work every day, and it's lovely to look back on everything you've done.

Some people use 100 day projects to get healthy or build good habits, but I've found that making work every day has had a positive effect on everything else automatically. Being disciplined enough to sit at my desk and paint every day quickly spilled over into giving up coffee, eating 3 healthy meals a day, making my bed every morning and so on. Painting every day is like therapy. Even if the work you make is "awful" (and what is good and bad, really? It's all subjective) you made it! Feel proud! Something twitched in your brain, and came out through your hands into a piece of artwork. I think that is the coolest thing of all, never mind whether or not anybody buys it or even likes it.

A note on social media: This 100 days was a steep learning curve for how I used Instagram. I made some massive changes and found out things I had almost no idea about. Namely hashtags, WHEN to post, writing captions and boosting engagement. Major shout out to Me and Orla for all of Sara Tasker's great Instagram tips. The 'Instaretreat' is a wonderful resource and i've seen an increase in engagement and followers on Instagram, but also Facebook and Twitter have benefitted. I'm by no means a social media expert but incorporating a few new tips was a lovely little boost.

If you'd like more resources and information about setting a 100 day goal - Julia Bickerstaff at the Small Business Bakery is wonder woman extraordinaire of all things goal-setting and small businessy. Her email list is worth signing up to. It's free and during the goal she sends out little reminders and encouragements every day.

The next one starts on the 1st of May.

My 100 Day Project Book. Available to pre-order now! Will be shipped in May.

100 days, one book, a set of floral cards, and a trio of pigs later, here are some things I learned:

Do something every day.
100 things mounts up. Now I have a book from this 100 day project, and another travel book from the work I created while I was travelling through Asia last year. There's no way I would have made either of those books if I hadn't committed to chipping away at my goal for 100 days.

Live illustrating for Edinburgh University last month. I wouldn't have applied for this job if I hadn't been all efficient and 100 day projecty. Photo credit:Anna červinková

Work even when you don't feel like working, and magic things happen.
Here are some of the magic things that happened: I got my first children's book commission (completing that is going to be my next 100 day project, ha.) I started selling original paintings for the first time and they sold! I made greetings cards and they sold! My travel sketchbook got reviewed by the king of reportage illustration, Gary Embury, I had lots of commission requests and had to start turning work down. I also started recording how I was spending my time every day on a time sheet. It turned out I was spending a lot of time emailing, and not much time making, so I changed that around. I held a children's art workshop in my local tiny town and almost 30 children came along! (Exactly 27 children came, and that is my lucky number. Yaas)

You can be creative every single day.
You have time for whatever you make time for. I deactivated my Facebook account for these 100 days and VOILA I had an extra 1-2 hours per day on my hands. Yes. I definitely did spend that much time aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. Millenial problems. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking "ah i'm not in a very creative mood today" or deciding that you don't have enough time for X Y or Z. Rubbish. If you look carefully at your schedule, you'll see something that can go. If you want to carve out time for creativity, you can make time. Social media, watching TV and films, going to the pub, spending ages cooking elaborate meals - whatever it is, you can cut it out. No need to live like a hermit, and remember it's not forever, just give yourself the extra time you want/need. I didn't miss Facebook. Instagram and Twitter are much nicer anyway.

Work out your painting and drawing muscles and you'll get faster and better.
During the first couple of weeks of the 100 day project I was spending about 1 or two hours on my 100 day paintings, but as time went on I got SUPER SPEEDY. I also set a timer so that I wasn't spending my entire days painting one picture. This has had an effect on all of my work. I've been able to study full-time, work on freelance projects and get both done to a standard i'm happy with without missing any deadlines.

I love being obsessed with things and focusing on one goal/outcome.
And this was no exception. Might as well use that obsessive tendency to get some work done! Figure out what your strengths are and work with them.

Breaking a task down into tiny manageable chunks is A Good Idea. 
It takes away overwhelm and anxiety. I'm a world class procrastinator but this do-a-thing-every-day made all the difference. If I can do one tiny thing a day, so can you. Dump perfectionism, it's a waste of energy. Also, stop worrying about what other people think. "There's one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about."

Set a goal for your 100 day project!
My goal was to earn "a living" in 100 days from illustration. I chose a number that seemed achievable but also a bit scary. I smashed it! In 100 days I've gone from being in my overdraft, to having a bit of savings and being able to move out of my Mum's house and pay rent. Magic.

Thank you to everyone who bought an original painting. They've been sent out to California, Paris, all over the UK and Germany to name but a few. Thank you for buying mother's day cards! And my old travel sketchbook! (There are only 3 left for sale now.) Thank you for buying pig prints and prints of the 100 day project images. You are all the best. 

Are you thinking of starting a 100 day goal or project? I'd love to hear about it and see your progress. Let me know if you're joining for the 1st of May :)

Katie x

See all of the project images here on Instagram - @katiedraws

I'm also on Facebook and Twitter

**This blog post is not an advert for anyone or anything - I only write my real-life opinions**

Tuesday, March 28

Pre Order the 100 day project book!

**trumpets sound**  There are only 2 weeks left of the 100 day project, so pre-orders of the 100 day project book are now available. Wahoooo.
If you're a Patron then you get a special discount code in an email, which entitles you to 10% off (thank you to my first ever patrons!)
If you're one of the lucky first 5, then you choose your favourite image from the entire project and i'll make those into postcards for everyone else. Ohhh the power!   Visit my Etsy shop (and order your copy) here: 

Monday, March 27

Latest work - The Bad Idea Bears

Here's a fun bit of work I did a couple of weeks ago for Kimberly, who was looking for a unique gift for her friend.

They call themselves the Bad Idea Bears so I drew them like this, wearing big bear suits. Bahaha.

Kimberly left this lovely review over on my Facebook page. Thank yooou!

If you've got an idea for an illustration you'd like to give as a gift, then get in touch! I am friendly, I promise.

Email: katiedraws.hello@gmail.com (or feel free to message me over on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook)
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