What I've Been Working On (November 2019)
by Anne Kostecki
Hello! Happy Autumn. Did you notice a rather severe drop in temperature in October? Because here in St. Louis, I did. I was able to take a leisurely stroll in the crisp air with my daughter almost every day until about mid-October, and then an "Arctic blast" hit, and suddenly the temperature was 19 degrees F. I don't want to be the person that says "I missed fall!" with a pout, but I can pinpoint that the temperature actually dropped about 45 degrees in a matter of a day.
So after Inktober, I felt like I had a runner's high. I couldn't believe the volume of work I had accomplished. I did so much better than last year, and I felt the quality of work improved too. Last year, I rarely planned what I'd draw, I found out about the challenge late in the game and just drew what I could when I could. I also had a newborn baby, so I was amazed I accomplished anything last year. But this year, I did a lot of planning, and tried to work ahead as much as possible. Anyway! On to November. I applied to two different upcoming art shows, and happily one of them accepted one of my works! I was pretty bummed about the other show, especially since you have to pay around $35 for each show to even consider your work. It's discouraging when you apply for art shows, and you choose up to 3 works, and none of them are chosen. I understand that it's very competitive, and each juror has to make tough choices. But for me, who's on a limited, almost "starving artist," income, it stings when you pay for consideration and you don't make the cut.
So for November, I did some personal projects. I painted a zen garden, because it looked otherwordly. It looked like full size trees and shrubs in a stone bowl.
I'm always on the look out for art challenges and competitions. Especially ones with prize money. So I saw that They Draw and Travel had an illustrated map contest, but I only had 6 days before the deadline, so I hurried up and painted the quickest big illustration ever. I drew a map of Maui, and made the island have multiple, full color illustrations of some famous features and landmarks (including ones I plan on visiting next month). It was not easy concepting this, finding images, sketching and painting in such a compressed timeline. I knew my chances of winning were slim. I still hoped. Well, as you can probably guess, I didn't win one of the four top spots. That also stung.
I found another art challenge with Art Philosophy Co. They have a weekly prompt, like "storm + lake", and artists portray this for a chance to be featured. I painted the below picture. And, I did not get featured.
On the design side, I had two quick print projects: a baby shower invitation design, and my family holiday card. The baby shower invitation I drew, edited, and completed in one day (!) and managed to have them printed and cut in 2 days. The holiday card, which I photographed myself, and added my own personal lettering, took about a day (with some additional Photoshop work). I have that in the printing queue, with my stamps picked out, and even the envelopes ready to go. I broke out the ink pen and did some navy calligraphy for the baby shower invite, and once the holiday cards are done, will probably do those in red or gold calligraphy. Those photos I will have on the site soon, so stay tuned and I will show you the result!
So as Thanksgiving draws to a close, I'm reflecting on what I am grateful for. I am grateful that I am privileged enough to work sporadically and not be dependent on steady income while I try to get my business off the ground. I'm very lucky that I have support while I'm doing this. I had very reliable income earlier this year, but once my contract ended, it's become more unpredictable. I've spent countless hours trying to market myself on Instagram, doing lots of research, working on my photography, trying to constantly create fresh content and making sure I post every other day, but clearly I am not doing something right. I've asked lots of friends and colleagues for advice, but most people tell me that they post constantly, offer lots of giveaways and freebies, and to get featured on massive feature accounts. I've tried almost all that I can, but with the nature of my work, I can't post something brand new every single day, and I've tagged every single art feature account on my work, and I've only been featured on one account. I really don't know what to do at this point. I'm willing to take any advice anyone has out there.
I'm looking forward to December.