Etsy Canada has reached out to offer a gift card valued at $100 Canadian to one of my readers! To enter to win, please click on the shops above discover some of the Canadian Etsy talent profiled in the UPPERCASE Compendium of Craft & Creativity. Leave a comment below (make sure you include a contact method or link) to enter to win. Contest closes on Friday.
When it comes to illustration and licensing, I return to Lilla Rogers time and time again. She is the expert! I've featured her in issue 13, 17 and 21.... and the graduates of her program have been published many times, particularly in issue 21's Surface Pattern Design Guide.
Lilla's latest course, Make Art That Sells Part A is starting October 19. The course will guide students in building a professional portfolio while learning all about the most lucrative markets for art: bolt fabric, home décor, children’s books, wall art and the gift market.
If you want to break into these areas, I urge you to take her course. Having seen the work created by her graduates, I can see the difference that Lilla makes in artists' confidence and know-how.
My only caution is to hold true to your own style, your own voice... it is often too easy to start emulating other successful illustrators who have gone through the course. The best thing you can do for long-term success is to trust your vision, hone your style and point of view and you'll find your place in the big world of commercial art-making. The guidance and professional insight you'll gain from Lilla combined with your drive and dedication will be a winning combination.
Speaking of winners, the finalists for the Global Talent Search have been announced! As one of the industry judges looking over 49 finalists, I'm pleased with the results. Congratulations to Katie Vernon who was both the judge's top choice as well as people's choice. The overall winner, selected by Lilla, will be announced next Tuesday following their final round assignment.
In revealing the finalists, Lilla has some great advice about such competitions, which I think also applies to when you're submitting work to one of my open calls, too. Lilla writes, "Entering a competition is a scary and exciting thing. A competition can elevate our industry by pushing artists to make their very best work. At the same time, it's hard when you don't get picked. Back when I was an illustrator, I would use the experience of not getting into a particularly coveted competition as a motivator to up my game. It worked. I sincerely hope those not chosen do the same."
Sign up for Make Art That Sells and maybe we'll see you in the Global Talent Search finalists next year!
I enjoyed this video about Mary Kate McDevitt and why she teaches on Skillshare. I think it's great when super talented people like Mary Kate are not afraid to share their expertise with others... and this case, tens of thousands of others!
Check out my curated list of classes from Skillshare and other online resources.
So many UPPERCASE contributors and featured artists are teaching online classes these days so I've rounded up learning opportunities that will enhance the content you've discovered in UPPERCASE magazine. Just go to the "classes" tab in the navigation above to see more.
Molly Hatch has a new online course that launches today! (But you can start anytime.) I'll let Molly tell you about it:
Are you taking ceramic classes for fun and looking for some new surface techniques? Are you an art teacher looking for good techniques to share with your students? Are you new to ceramics and looking for fun ways to create surfaces in clay? Do you own my New Ceramic Surface Design book and are looking for video tutorials that compliment the projects in the book? Then this is the right class for you!
This 5-week online workshop will begin September 29th, 2015 with an open ongoing enrolment. This online workshop uses Molly Hatch's book New Ceramic Surface Design as a text to cover a wide range of surface design techniques for ceramics. Working at your own pace, each week for 5 weeks, participants will have access to an online demonstration video for new techniques, downloads of worksheets, templates and recipes as well as a second video each week featuring an interview with artists featured in the book about their artwork and the techniques they use. This workshop is great for anyone who has clay basics and is ready to make some exciting surfaces! Once you have enrolled in this workshop, you will have continued access, (forever!) there is no end to the learning!
With a basic knowledge of ceramics, this class will help you push to the next level with ways to approach the ceramic surface!
HOW IT WORKS: Working at your own pace, each week for 5 weeks, participants will have access to an online demonstration video for new techniques. Each week there are downloads, artwork templates and recipes as well as a second video featuring an interview with artists such as Lisa Congdon and Ben Carter. Most of the artists interviewed are featured in my book and will talk about their careers, what inspires them and how they use the techniques demonstrated each week in their own studio practice.
See the winner here.
Together with our friends at Make it in Design, we are offering a very special prize to ONE very lucky reader - one free place on the next The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design – The Ultimate Portfolio Builder course worth $895 (£579).
Places on this course are strictly limited and are highly sought after, but one person from this competition will be guaranteed a place!
The Ultimate Portfolio Builder is an advanced seven-week online professional surface pattern design course, consisting of an intense five-week class followed by two weeks of design reviews. The classroom is accessible 24/7 so you can join from anywhere in the world, and fit the course into your busy life.
This powerful course will give you all the tools and advice you need to grow, refine and strengthen your professional design portfolio, make your designs more sellable and give you the fast-track to trade show success.
Brought to you in association with Printsource, one of the top surface and textile design shows in the world, this course will provide you with exclusive insight to help you secure the right buyers for your work, deal effectively with clients, get trade show ready and discover the secrets to landing your dream work. Plus one lucky person on the course will win a free booth at Printsource Aug 2016 and $1,000 to get you to New York!
Course alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, win national awards, be featured in design books, on leading blogs and more. Fancy a bit of this action too? Read on to find out how to enter.
The Ultimate Portfolio Builder includes:
Five weeks of exceptional in-depth teaching on subject matter (objects, characters, nature, geometrics, typography and abstract), colour and media, the power of recolouring, designing for occasions, genre and style, audience and market and so much more
A series of advanced design challenges to help you grow as a designer and build a strong, rounded portfolio
An array of LIVE briefs from real companies looking to sign the next big talent – is it you?
A series of video based technical masterclasses from guest designers on typography, characters, photography, mixed media collages and more, to hone your professional design skills
Insight into the practicalities of managing a growing design studio
Trade show planning advice direct from Printsource New York
Opportunity to put questions to Rachael Taylor
90 days’ free access to the top trend forecasting site WGSN
One lucky person on the course will win a free booth at Printsource New York, August 2016 and $1,000 towards the cost of travel to the show
An incredible four-part creative brief from Printsource to help you attract the clients you want and the kind of work you dream of
Bonus material on managing your finances, how to be your own career strategist and thinking outside the box
Access to a huge library of textures to give your work depth and distinction
Access to exclusively styled room set images ready-made for you to render your designs on
A selection of colour palettes intended to help you push your colour choices
And a whole lot more – this course really is jam-packed full of goodness!
The prize: ONE place on The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design – The Ultimate Portfolio Builder course starting September 21, 2015, delivered on-line.
How to enter:
Check out the course website to find out more about it, then come back to this post and leave a comment with a link to your website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so that we can contact you and write in no more than 50 words why this course would benefit you right now and how it could transform your design career.
Deadline: 5pm GMT on Friday September 18, 2015. Any comments left after this time will not be counted.
Terms and Conditions: This competition is to win a place on The Ultimate Portfolio Builder course from Make it in Design starting September 21, 2015. One entry allowed per person. The winning place is not transferrable – either by date or to another individual and must not be sold on and no cash alternative will be offered in the event that the winner is unable to use the prize for any reason. By entering this competition you agree to your entry to be promoted on the Uppercase and Make it in Design website and their associated social networks. The winner will be jointly selected by Janine Vangool and Rachael Taylor and announced by Sunday September 20. The judges’ decision is final.
Earlier this year, I had the chance to visit the Creativebug headquarters in San Francisco. Kelly Wilkinson is the editorial director and a co-founder of this subscription-based online video workshop service. Over a lovely outdoor lunch on a (rare) sunny January afternoon, we had the chance to share our content wish lists and compare notes. Not surprisingly, we are fans of quite a few of the same people and things—and we thought that our respective customers might be, too.
There are many videos on Creativebug that relate to UPPERCASE in one way or another. Molly Hatch, for example is the cover artist of our current issue and through a Creativebug video you can learn how to apply your designs to ceramics and glassware.
I invite you to watch the beautifully produced free preview videos on the Creativebug affiliate page that I've curated specifically for UPPERCASE. If you enjoy learning new crafts or are inspired by watching others create, please click through the page links and sign up for a membership.
If you need a creative infusion, Lisa Congdon will be teaching a four-week class on the basics of line drawing over on Creativebug. Whether you already draw and want to deepen your practice — or want to overcome the intimidation of picking up a pen for the first time — this class offers something for everyone. Participants can benefit from weekly chats with Lisa, as well. Access the class with an monthly membership to Creativebug (now only $9.95 per month). I've been a paying member of Creativebug for many months—their videos are terrifically produced and the content is great. I'm still benefiting from the Brand course I took through Creativebug.
One of the best things about being the editor of UPPERCASE magazine is the doors that it opens. I love being able to meet with creative businesses and get a glimpse behind the scenes. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Creativebug. If you're not familiar with Creativebug, they offer an entertaining and informative selection of craft video tutorials. From crochet, collage, quilting and a lot more, there is an ever-growing wealth of content that can be accessed through a monthly subscription. I enrolled in their Creative Brand e-course last year and it was fantastic. And though I don't have a lot of time to craft these days, I like to play a video on my laptop while I work on other things... vicarious crafting through video-watching!
Welcome to Creativebug's creative space...
The Creativebug viewer and UPPERCASE readers are kindred spirits. We both love the creative process, setting our hands to work on making marvellous things. I look forward to collaborating with them to help grow our subscribers and share the love of handmade.
It's week 2 of Creativebug's Building a Creative Brand online class (you can still register and watch the first couple of videos to catch up) and I am pleased that I signed up for this course. This week's video (over 40 minutes!) was particularly good, delving into pricing, business plans and financial considerations. It was really Todd Gibson's show (of Oliver + S), he had a wealth of great advice and I look forward to the online chat with him and Liesl on Thursday that is part of the course benefits.
I signed up for this course for reasons I assume are not typical of other participants. I do have a business brand that is working fairly well and have been at this for a few years, but I am interested in online classes since I hope to offer some from UPPERCASE one day. One of the best ways to learn is from the perspective of a student. I am also interested in Creativebug and how this company markets and presents its content. (One minor disappointment is that the course downloads are not especially well-designed and don't do a service to furthering Creativebug's own creative brand, though the content is adequate.)
As a business owner, I could also use some motivation and mentorship—Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop mentioned last week that being a boss is tough. And in my experience, it can feel pretty lonely, too, at times. It is difficult to ultimately be in charge of all the decisions, it can get tiresome and draining and running a business can certainly take over from the creativity that started the business in the first place. Today's video addressed some of this and I'm taking some of Todd's advice to heart. He also addressed issues of pricing products which was particularly useful as I bring something new to the UPPERCASE shop shortly.
Another fringe benefit of the course structure was being introduced to Mightybell, the community platform that the course uses for chats and conversations. I've been looking for something like this for UPPERCASE for a while and Mightybell's aesthetics and functionality is quite appealing. (And it's free!) So I've started a fledgling community and am pleased that we have 50 members so far in just a few days. Join us and we'll develop this place together as wonderful way to connect and share around specific projects or interests.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey earlier this month. It was important to get your feedback about incorporating ads on the blog. As you can see from the sidebar, I'm starting to incorporate ads and affiliate ads. It is necessary to help support the content here on the blog and in the print magazine. Our ads are affordable (starting at $25) and all the details are on our Advertise page.
Some of the results of the survey:
88% of responders said that advertising could be in print and online.
"I have no problem with ads in your online presence. I prefer UPPERCASE with ads to no UPPERCASE at all."
82% of the responders were either subscribers or purchase copies of the print magazine in the store.
"I like feeling connected to UPPERCASE in my daily life, just like I have the creative and curious pennant on my wall, the magazines always close to hand, reading the blog and following UPPERCASE on social media is one more way of feeling connected and, in a way, part of the story."
"Because I love the print publication so much, the online site is like little bites to get me through to the next edition in my mailbox."
For the kinds of ads you'd prefer to see online:
41% would like to see ads from creative services, designers and illustrators
39% would like shopping links like Etsy shops, indie artisans and makers
8% wanted brand names and no one really liked "responsive" ads.
"My Dad said way back (he was in advertising when I was a kid) that ads are only ads when they're not of interest to you. Otherwise they're information. I'd prefer not to see brand names (generic Target/blockbuster movies/car ads) or responsive ads (which again, I assume are probably generic). But if the ads were 'chosen' with the same care as the content, I doubt they'd be seen as ads at all."
"Keep up the good work! I don't think ads would detract from what you are doing online—I think people realize that bills have to get paid."
"What I like about the magazine/blog is that the focus isn't on consuming, so if ads are going to make an appearance it would be great if they were consistent with the small and creative vibe."
UPPERCASE has always been about making, doing, participating, creating community... so we will endeavour to include advertisers who suit that outlook. I hope that many of our talented and savvy readers will decide to advertise on the blog—it would be the ideal way to connect with an engaged and interested audience.
The affiliate links included are of services or sites that I use in creating UPPERCASE and/or support creative entrepreneurship and the UPPERCASE community in some way.
I'm looking forward to the Creativebug "Building A Creative Brand" class that starts next week. As a creative entrepreneur, it feels like I'm always forging my own path (the hard way). It is inspiring and motivating to learn from other creative women who have had success in their creative endeavours... to benefit not only from their sage advice, but the confirmation that that you're on the right path can be valuable as well. Keep going!
Use the code UPPERCASE to get early bird pricing extended to October 13th. The series starts off October 14th and other than the release of each subsequent video, the pace is up to you. Click here to learn more about the course.
As a creative entrepreneur, I've admired Creativebug since their launch in 2012. And although I'm firmly and lovingly rooted in print and paper, I consider video and video editing my hobby (I just happen to use UPPERCASE as a guinea pig testing ground for video projects.) I got to see the Creativebug team in action earlier this year at the Makerie and it was fun to see them at work and to learn a few new techniques through observation of their process and watching the finished videos.
Earlier this week, I saw that they were offering a 5-week video series called Building a Creative Brand. With instructors Lisa Congdon, Christine Schmidt (Yellow Owl Workshop), Heather Ross, Liesl Gibson and Melanie Falick heading the course, I signed up right away. I'd been meaning to sign up for a while, and this course was the incentive that I needed.
Coincidentally, Kelly Wilkinson, one of the founders of the company, emailed me a few days later to ask if I'd share the workshop information on the UPPERCASE blog. If you're interested, please sign up and we'll take the course together!
The early bird price is $125, and Creativebug members get a special price of $99. You can subscribe through October 6th for $9.99 a month and then you'll also get the member pricing on the Creative Brand Series. (Use the code UPPERCASE to get early bird pricing extended from October 7-13th.) The series starts off October 14th and other than the release of each subsequent video, the pace is up to you. Click here to learn more about the course.
Since the blog is taking steps into hosting advertising on the sidebar, I will also be providing affiliate links to services or products that I use. If you click on the Creativebug links provided in this post or on the sidebar and proceed to signup for a course, UPPERCASE will receive a small commission. Thank you.
If you enjoy "startup" stories like I do, here's the backstory on Creativebug: