Jumping in without any ado: old business. Way back in April, I announced that I would be doing a quarterly financial report to track how my artsy efforts were being rewarded monetarily. We’re now well into the 4th quarter of 2019, and I flew right by the 2nd & 3rd quarters like a Cornhusker football sailing past the outside of the goalpost.* So, quick like a bunny, a long overdue financial update.
- 2nd Quarter earnings = $2.60 from a Spoonflower sale of one yard of my “Ambrosia Bites” tea towel to the same buyer who bought the same design in February.
- 3rd Quarter earnings = zilch, nadda, nil.
- Total for the first nine months of 2019 = $3.90. That would buy three and a half packs of Trident gum.
In other news: Spoonflower Challenges. I keep telling myself I need to focus on other things for a while, like fleshing out existing designs instead of creating new ones in all-consuming challenge sprees, but I keep ignoring my own good advice. In the last five months, I’ve entered ten challenges and started (and abandoned) three. I’m starting to feel like a challenge veteran.
The placement results have varied anywhere from Bottom 50% to Winner’s Circle, and I’ve started to see a couple of patterns. When a design comes together easily and I upload it early because I feel that it’s as good as it’s going to get, it does better in the popular vote. The designs I struggle with either technically or aesthetically and drag out to the last possible minute in the hope that I’ll stumble upon a magic solution do less well.
I’ve also noticed, however, that if I use different metrics, the opposite is true. If I ignore the popular vote and go by my own sense of accomplishment and enthusiasm, then the design that did the worse, was one of my favorites, and the one that did the best, was kind of a slog.
It put me in search of a short-hand method for depicting waves and surf and got me better acquainted with the power of Photoshop filters. And those little islands made me so happy! I wanted to live there! But my repeat was too simple and linear, my subject was too predictable, the palm trees looked too much like dandelions, and my competition was too magnificent. This was one of my favorites from that challenge: “The Fantastic Colors of Vietnam” by Heidi Abeline Jespersen placing #8. So gorgeous!
My most recent entry, “Russian Khokhloma Style Tea Towel,” came in 7th in the Folk Art challenge, but as the design was based on a well-established style with predetermined elements—berries, flowers and swirls in red, green and gold on a black background—it felt like a paint-by-number project. Very formulaic: “First I put in the strawberries, then I add the stems, then the blossoms…” Since I knew how it was going to turn out, there wasn’t much excitement or sense of adventure. Although somewhat satisfying and fun, it still felt like driving the same 200 mile stretch of interstate for the gazillienth time.
Morals of the story:
- Abandon a flailing design sooner rather than later because that tough decision is less painful than spending a week watching the voters confirm what you already knew: it was only half-baked.
- Don’t be afraid to step off the trail and wade through the thorny undergrowth because you never know what private oases you might discover.
- Use more turquoise.
That’s the latest from my tiny corner. Hope all is happy in your world!
*Credit for the football metaphor goes to my quick-n-witty husband. He can always make me laugh.