Sunday, December 11, 2011


Oh man, it has been so long since I sat down and actually posted anything here. I have just been so busy. I always get a lot of commission requests during the holidays, and usually it is for smaller stuff that doesn't take very long. This year it has been massive stuff and I've had to stop taking the small stuff. I can't wait for my break at the end of the month, since I still have some projects to finish from before Wolfie was born. I know, what?!? In some cases I have clients who have gone MIA on me and in others they just said, hey, it's cool, take all the time you need. I love it when people are so accommodating, but it also makes it too easy to be a slacker about it. I definitely don't feel that I have been slacking this year though. I still managed to complete around 40 new paintings, tackle a new medium, change a number of business things, release some new products, sign a number of new licensing deals, oh, and I had a baby. I also started at least 150 paintings, which I still have all the sketches for. Some of them will eventually see the light of day, others I'll deem aren't as deserving and will either get re-worked or tossed.

In addition to commissions and a crazier than usual Christmas rush, I've painted a number of new seasonal paintings this year and though I am still working on some, they won't be released until next year. There isn't enough time now for me to get them done and released and for people to order them, so I will hang onto them for next year. I am debating shutting down the Christmas and Halloween-themed sections of the site until appropriate dates next year. The pieces are all in other sections of the site as well, so I just might.

I'm also excited for the break so I can clean the studio and get inventory figured out. I know, how crazy. But it's a mess right now and I'm hoping to get a better system in place.

I'll also be working on some cool new projects for next year. Among them will probably be a new portfolio book, 2013 calendars (yeah, already), and possibly a coloring book. I was hoping to release a portfolio book this year, but I just didn't have time to put something so big together.

In other news, my son is 9 months old now. I don't know how it can be that we are only 3 months away from his first birthday. That seems like crazy-talk, but there it is. He is starting to get really interesting now and we are having a lot of fun playing with him. He talks a little bit and is starting to walk. He can stand up almost reliably on his own, crawls when he absolutely has to, and has almost figured out how to climb out of his play pen despite its 3' walls. God help us.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dec. 9th Newsletter

December 9th, 2011 - Tiffany's Realm Update
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Hi everyone! The holidays are upon us, and Tiffany is still in the studio cranking out Christmas pieces. Will she ever stop? No one knows... (hee hee)

We're sticking with this simplified newsletter for now. The new year may see a new newsletter layout - who knows?

* First things first, Miss Klutz managed to break her toe on Monday, so orders are a little delayed. You would think a broken toe would stop hurting eventually... nope. Please order early! We can never guarantee shipping, but we do our best to make sure everything arrives before Christmas! And now we are running a little behind schedule since Miss Klutz needs to take frequent breaks.

* The $15 Big Print Sale ends TODAY. These are 12"x16", full-color prints that originally retailed for $30, and we're selling them for $15, but only until midnight tonight! Then they go away FOREVER. These are on crazy good archival paper, printed with archival ink, and they are gorgeous.

* Miss Klutz has also added a new section to the site, specifically for the series of moon faeries she has been working on: How many moon faeries will she paint? There is talk of an entire calendar in 2013 (help us).

* Miss Klutz has also added a new painting to the site, and should have another one done tonight which you will be able to locate in the aforementioned "Moon Faeries" gallery. Sugarplum Moon is available here:

* Greeting card selections have been updated and all greeting cards, including six packs, are on sale!

* PRINT PACKS: One new print pack has been added to the site. It includes TEN 8"x10"s of retired fantasy art, two 5"x7"s of retired fantasy art, and a 2011 calendar, which is signed and numbered! This is a value of over $150 for, drumroll please, $24.95! Supplies are limited and this won't be around for long. Plus gift wrapping for this pack is discounted by 50% until the 18th!

* eBAY SALES: There's a ton of prints up on auction in the eBay shop too, most at half off or more, and a bunch of originals and sketches to boot. All of those can be found in the "other" and "originals" sections of the eBay store:

* Plus, just about everything in the Christmas/Yule art section is on sale ( and just in case we left anything out, you can always browse the New Products ( on our site.

* DECEMBER 18TH IS THE LAST DAY TO ORDER FOR CHRISTMAS. We will be processing, printing and packing orders through the 21st, and in most cases orders should still arrive in time for Christmas if they are shipped on the 21st, but they may not so please order by the 19th at the very latest. We will be taking orders until 2 PM Pacific Time on the 21st.

* We will be closed from 2 PM Pacific Time on the 21st until the morning of January 4th. Miss Klutz needs a break (pun intended), will be traveling, will probably read some books, paint some pictures, and oh yeah, inventory management. What a lucky girl. Orders placed during the break will be processed, printed, packed, and shipped on January 4th, but you are still welcome to order during the break.

* FOR INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: In most cases, as long as you order by December 12th your order should arrive in time for Christmas. Occasionally, things get caught in customs and may arrive late. We cannot guarantee delivery at any time of the year, but it usually takes about 10 business days. You may have to pay import taxes - we do not pay them and they are not our responsibility. Thank you!

* We will happily combine your Tiffany's Realm site and eBay store purchases into one shipment!

* GIFT WRAPPING SERVICE GOES AWAY AT MIDNIGHT ON THE 18TH. While we will still be processing orders the 19th-21st, there will not be time to gift wrap anything at that point if we want to get things out the door in time for possible Christmas delivery.

Thanks so much! Miss Klutz & co.


I can't wait for the break later this month. It looks like a tornado selectively struck the studio, and I suspect it will only get worse before we stop shipping for the year. Argh. It is particularly hazardous with a broken toe. I keep stubbing it on all kinds of things. Plus the cats keep knocking things down. Kittens are cute, but man are they trouble. Alright, back to work I go.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nov. 27th Newsletter

November 27th, 2011 - Tiffany's Realm Update


Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving for those of you who celebrate it, and for those of you who don't, I hope you had a great weekend!

Tonight we have a rather massive update so we're sending out a simplified, stripped down update.

* Tiff just finished adding two new paintings to the site, first one is "Winter Moon", and the second is "Peppermint Moon", . We figure Peppermint is Winter's naughty sister, or something. Both are available on prints, greeting cards, and our brand new ornaments/mini framed prints!

* You read that right! We have ornaments! These are tiny framed prints with hooks on the back so they can be either stood up on a flat surface or hung from a branch or on the wall. And yes, they are light enough to be hung on a real or fake Christmas tree!

* Greeting card selections have been updated and all greeting cards, including six packs, are on sale! And these sales will stack with coupon codes!

* Metallic prints are finally up on the site! We only have a limited selection and I am not sure if we will be ordering more or which ones will be ordered, so if you see something you want, grab it!

* A limited selection of dog tag necklaces have been added to the site. More will be coming soon but we only have one of each so if you want them you should get it before someone else does.

* Tiff has been cutting fancy mats every day and adding new ones to the new Gallery Shop. All kinds of one of a kind items can be found there:

* COUPON CODES: Now for the good stuff! Use the code CYBERMONDAY in the discount/coupons box of the shopping cart to take 40% off your oder of $25 or more! We're also offering FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more!

* PRINT PACKS: We have two new print packs tonight as well, one is 3 8"x10" prints for $30 (savings of $6-$15 depending on selection) and one pack containing 4 5"x7"s for $15 (savings of $9-$17)

* eBAY SALES: There's a ton of prints up on auction in the eBay shop too, most at half off or more, and a bunch of originals and sketches to boot. All of those can be found in the "other" and "originals" sections of the eBay store:

* Plus, just about everything in the Christmas/Yule art section is on sale ( and just in case we left anything out, you can always browse the New Products ( on our site.

* We will happily combine your Tiffany's Realm site and eBay store purchases into one shipment!

All of the sales on our Tiffany's Realm site will last through the 30th, but keep in mind that most things are one of a kind or extremely limited quantity!

Thanks so much! Tiff & co.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Commissions in 2012

After lots of thought and consideration, I have decided that I will not be taking commissions from self-publishing authors for book covers in 2012. Before I got pregnant I had time to give self-publishing authors the attention and advice they needed. Increasingly I find that I don't have that time anymore, and dealing with individuals who don't know the specifics for trims, bleeds, and so on, takes more time than most self-published authors can afford to pay me for. I have also found that I can't charge as much with a self-published author as I can with a small press or other publisher, and I don't think I need to expound upon the expenses of a child, particularly one who was recently hospitalized for an extended period of time. I also feel that my commission prices are too low considering the amount of time, care, and level of detail I pour into my work, and most of my self-publishing clientele cannot afford to pay more.

I have found over the last few years that I thrive in environments with deadset, short-notice deadlines. I like chaos. I like e-mails at 11 PM that say, "We need this by 5 PM tomorrow." I don't do well when the process gets drawn out and depends on the availability of funds, the author's ability to be available every day to approve each step, and so on. It just drags on, and on, and I get bored easily. I like short, fast, and sweet.

If you have a contract from me for a book cover, and you really want one, you have until November 1st to return a signed contract. All book covers signed during this next week will be scheduled for beginning and completion in January 2012. I will be painting Christmas stuff all through November, and I like to take December "off" to paint, ship Christmas gift orders, plan paintings for 2012, get caught up, and probably work on stuff for publishers.

If you want a book cover done, but for whatever reason it doesn't work out with me, you can't make the November 1st deadline, you can't wait till next year, or whatever, I will happily provide a list of colleagues who are willing to take you on as a client.

Sorry if this seems to have come out of the blue. I have been thinking about it a lot this year and I've recently decided that this would be the best thing for me, but I didn't want to say anything until I was absolutely certain. Thanks for understanding.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


This week has been so crazy I don't even know where to start, and I'm only really here because I need to get rid of some junk-thoughts.

We are remodeling... again. This is probably it for the rest of the year. Once this is done the entire interior will be done with paint, leaving only the trim outside and the garage doors to paint next spring. We've got new kitchen lights so the mismatched flourescent fixtures are gone, the linoleum is completely gone and replaced with tile, new baseboard is going up, and the back hall closet is being made over. It no longer looks like someone had a cage fight with an angry raccoon wearing 2 pairs of black-rubber-soled sneakers in my laundry room, and pretty soon all the holes along the bottom of the wall will be covered over by the baseboard. It's crazy how many scuff marks, scratches, holes and dents were behind the dryer. I don't even understand how it could have gotten that way, unless the mutant raccoon cage fight I mentioned before was a real thing.

My husband also mused that it could have been the time out corner for a very troubled child. I am not sure a child that troubled should be given time out or appeased with offerings of human sacrifice.

We'll also have a remodeled bathroom, so then both of the bathrooms will be redone. I have never seen a house with worse bathrooms than this house had, and the master "suite" was more like a bedroom with a hallway attached that someone had thrown bathroom fixtures into. It had a door at both ends and a pygmy shower you couldn't wash your feet in because your butt would hang out the shower door, but it was actually the better bathroom of the two. The other was not-so-lovingly nicknamed "the truck stop bathroom", and no one used it unless they were planning on crop-dusting it with last night's Mexican dinner.

I am quite possibly the most spoiled artist in the world right now. My grandpa has done most of the work by himself and has paid for most of the materials to do it as well. I am not sure why he likes me so much but I feel pretty lucky to have him. I think he's hoping it will help us sell the house (hard to imagine it wouldn't) so we can move back to where he lives. I don't want to move right away, because I want to enjoy our basically new house a little bit while it's not in construction, but I am also anxious to get back to Washington. I will miss our friends here pretty badly, but I don't like anything about Montana.

And of course while all of this renovation insanity is taking place, I am tucked away in the studio trying to keep up or maybe just not get as far behind as if I just gave up entirely for a week. I don't think I am keeping up by a long shot. I need to invoice and pack orders and I can't even believe I have orders to pack. It seems like I did so much this week there can't possibly be more work to be done, right?!? Hah. There is always more to be done.

I have been putting dog tag necklaces I made up on Etsy, and last night we finally got the canvas printer running canvas prints and now I have a ton of canvas prints to deal with, but they look freakin' sweet. There's also going to be some 1 of 1 hand-embellished ACEO/ATCs and who knows what else? I hope there is a nap somewhere in there too. I'm beat.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I've been hearing a lot of rumblings lately. Specifically, from my stomach. Not sure what's going on in that department except that it frequently hurts and I haven't been getting a lot done since it started. I'm on some medication that will hopefully help, but until then it's kind of touch and go.

I will try to update the blog a little more though, I hate it when I log in and see it's been weeks since I posted anything. Eek!

My house is all torn apart again, so that's also put a damper on creative pursuits. In the end it will be worth it. A lot of my kitchen and laundry room floor was apparently rotten, so in addition to getting tile a lot of the sub-floor has been repaired. There will only be a few more small things to fix and then the house will be totally renovated. It's weird to remember what this place looked like just two years ago when I moved in. My poor husband has totally lost his man cave, but even he has to agree it looks good.

I did finish a digital painting yesterday, but I'm waiting to release it because I have a huge backlog of #1 prints to auction off, and last night and this afternoon I cranked out 3 cute ACEOs. You can find those in my eBay store. I'm going to try to do an ACEO every day for a while. I'm getting pretty fast and they don't take much time at all anymore. They used to take me hours and were not really worth it, but now each one might take 1-2 hours at the most. They are still really tricky and sometimes I get really bad hand cramps from the tiny little details, but they are really cute and fun.

I have some more paintings in progress, but when don't I have something up my sleeve? I have a new pen & ink drawing, and I hope to do more of that this winter, a couple of digital pieces, an acrylic painting, and we're working on canvas prints. My husband finally figured out what was wrong with our canvas printer and I'm excited to put him to work stretching canvas prints.

You read that right - the epic Epson 2200 saga has finally come to a close. After replacing all the motors my husband discovered a little lever-thingy was out of alignment, and after an hour of struggling to reach the tricky little thing since it was pretty deep in the printer's mechanical bits, he finally got it to slide into place. No joke, as he hit the power button and the printer churned back to life, his netbook started randomly playing him "Ride of the Valkyries". I figured that was a sign and when no flashing red lights appeared, I did a little dance.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New eBay Store

A few months ago I decided to close my eBay store and try out Etsy for a little while. Even without my eBay store and just putting up the occasional auction, I was still making more at eBay, so I decided to re-open it! I haven't put much in it since I opened it, but today I spent quite a bit of time putting things up. And there are things on sale! I also put some new stuff on my site.

Let's start with eBay:

I just put up a TON of these matted mini prints. Normally they only go to shows, but a huge box of these was forgotten when we left for our only show this year, so I thought we'd put them online for our online customers who never get a chance at a fresh batch!

Click here to view all of them!

OR click HERE to view all of them PLUS a few that I only had one left of on my site!

And I've been adding all the prints from my website to my eBay store, in 4 different sizes. There's a sale on the 12"x16" prints, so they are half off. We don't normally carry that size anymore, but we found a bunch of packaging and paper that size, so we're printing these to order.

I've added all the work from the "dragons" gallery on my site, and I'm working on getting all the work from the "faeries" gallery up but I think the rest will have to wait till tomorrow!

Click here to see all the dragon prints, including sale prints!

Of course, all of the artwork mentioned above, plus more, is available at my website right now!

I don't think I'll get much time to paint this weekend. I need to update Wholesale Fantasy Art and get it all ready to go, design and order promotional postcards for WFA, and I'm not even sure what else! When I wasn't working today my hubby and I made naan bread and slow-cooker pulled pork. It was delicious. Now we're watching Buffy, uploading eBay stuff, and I think very soon I might go take a nice hot bubble bath... or something.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Remodel Mission

We've been remodeling around here, again, which is really not unusual. My husband bought this house just a few short months before we met, and while he thought it was a great man cave, I obviously had, uhm, different feelings about it. We have, with the help of family members, taken out wood paneling, demolished two bathrooms, replaced one (the other is a work in progress), painted, repaired, refinished the kitchen (it's amazing what paint and new drawer pulls can accomplish), put in a garage floor, and put a safety wall around the outdoor staircase to the cellar.

This time we replaced the flooring. I always forget to take "before" photos. It's not like anyone really wants to see the stinky, dirty, nasty, faded, gross, and did I mention dirty, nasty, stinky, faded, and gross with a capital OH MY GOD what is that tremendous stench, carpet? We now have laminate wood flooring throughout the house with new tile in the work-in-progress bathroom and around the fireplace. Next time we'll put the same tile in the kitchen and dining area, laundry room and by the back door. There's also quite a bit of it near the front door, which is awesome because last winter the mud was insane around here and a lot of the damage to the carpet happened because of that. The sparks flying out of the stove and catching it on fire didn't help much, either.

Of course thanks to all the remodeling, it looks like a truck from that Hoarders show blew up in my living room. So I'm probably going to spend a pretty good chunk of the next week, maybe two, or three (dear God please no, I will be better I promise) reorganizing and cleaning our house. There is only one thing I hate more than getting paint in my latte, and that is cleaning.


Thursday, August 25, 2011


A couple days ago we accidentally knocked the internet out at my house. We're still remodeling and a breaker blew and killed the modem. My husband, nerdy as he is, is the only one who knows how to make it turn back on. It is very particular about how it is plugged in, or something, and no matter how hard I tried it wouldn't work until he got home from work and fixed it. I did get pretty far on a new painting though!

Today I am hoping to finish that painting above, but more importantly I am trying to get all the artwork up on Wholesale Fantasy Art so we can have our grand opening in September. I'm excited about it all. Katherine Rose Barber will be our featured artist for September, and I think I've picked out October's artist, too. I'm also trying to fix my site, get caught up on e-mails and clean out the old framing room. It will be my son's bedroom and I'll still be using half of it for work but I don't need the whole thing to myself anymore.

Since I've been cleaning that room out I've found a number of things I'd like to get rid of. There's huge boxes of clear bags in sizes I don't use, old artwork that I don't make prints of anymore and haven't made prints of in years, and merchandise of the same variety, including mouse pads, key chains and greeting cards. I'll probably be auctioning off big packs of old stuff on Facebook this week. I don't think I will start today because it will take some time to get everything photographed. Look for that tomorrow!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Poor Man's Copyright

Can I confess something to you? Nothing annoys me more than the "poor man's copyright" myth.

The "poor man's copyright" myth is based on the idea that one could simply print out your artwork on some copy paper or put it on a disc, date it, put it in an envelope, seal it up and mail it to yourself, and that in a court of law the date on the envelope, stamped on by the US postal service, will hold up as evidence of when the piece was created, thereby giving an indisputable copyright date.

Hah. Nice theory.

In reality, unsealed, empty envelopes make it through the mail system on a regular basis. You could easily put a batch of envelopes in the mail, addressed and stamped, but unsealed, and watch them all come back to you. I have had this happen numerous times with bills and both business and personal correspondence. It just doesn't work.

In fact, judges have thrown this out in the past. It's just not proof beyond a doubt. Sorry!

You can use certified mail, since that envelope has to be sealed before it can be mailed, but what do you actually get from a poor man's copyright? Not much.

With "poor man's copyright" you can sue for actual damages, which are extremely hard to prove. You might have a copy of the offender's books and be able to say, "look, he made $9,000 from my art!" but then he can say, "yes, but I spent $8,999 worth of my time and expertise marketing that artwork so that I could make a $1 profit." Ouch.

So if you're really concerned about your artwork, the best way to go is to register it with the copyright office. It involves paperwork and a little money, but in the same situation you can sue for punitive damages. Punitive damages are exactly what they sound like; Punishment. You can get punitive damages that exceed what they actually made off of your artwork. In fact, if I remember correctly, you can sue for up to $150,000 in punitive damages for the illegal use of 1 artwork.

It's important to keep in mind that lawsuits like these frequently put small business owners out of business. Cases like the ones mentioned above can stretch on for years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you win, you can sometimes get your legal fees paid for by the offender as well, but the fact of the matter is that very few people who are stealing artwork actually have that kind of money laying around, or even have enough assets to cover that kind of money. You may never actually see any of it.

In most cases a strongly-worded cease and desist letter will convince the offender to cut it out, but I have been told, and I am not sure if this is true, that if you send a C&D, the recipient can send a letter back that says "okay, sue me." and then you HAVE to sue them. So you should definitely consult an attorney, or at least someone with more expertise than I have, before firing off C&D's in every direction.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Today was just not a good day. I had planned to get up, ship orders, paint, run another auction on Facebook, you know, just the usual breakneck pace I always run at. Instead I cried for a while, distracted myself with PHP and HTML, indulged in a little retail therapy, and gesso'd some new canvases. I think any day that starts with the news that a lovely friend has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly is just not meant to be a very productive, or very good, day.

I was very lucky to have met Christine Winters. We started running into each other at art shows, and then life took me to Montana, and I only got to see Christine once a year, at NorWesCon. This year I was upset because we were not on any panels together. Now I am even more upset about that fact. I hardly saw her at NorWesCon this year, and now I will not spend another NWC enjoying her company. It is hard to imagine NWC without her.

I got to thinking while I was gessoing that canvas about how people will say things to the effect of people come into our lives to teach us a lesson. I think it's kind of selfish to believe that people exist solely to teach you, big dummy, to live better. But I think it is important to learn something from everyone you meet, otherwise their time in your life is wasted.

So I thought to myself, "What did Christine teach me? What will I try to do better in order to honor the time Christine spent in my life?" and I decided that ultimately, Christine would want me to be the best mother I can be, to always remain true to myself, to always pursue art, and to be very, very good to my dog.

I will miss her (oft unsolicited ;) ) advice, her wisdom, her sense of humor, and her beautiful, smiling face greeting me at every art show.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Putting Your Name On It

Has it really been a week since I updated? Yikes! It sure doesn't seem like it. Over here in Tiffany's Realm, I have been climbing over mountains of furniture, construction supplies, and laundry (eesh) just to keep things running sort of normally here in the studio. A lot of the things that are normally in the studio are still hanging out in my garage, and tonight I think I'll finally bring in all the boxes of reference materials, art supplies and other gizmos and get it all back to "normal" in here.

This week I have been thinking about putting your name on your work. I always sign my paintings, and all of my prints, but I have always been hesitant to put a line of text on the print with my name, copyright info, the name of the piece and my website. I am not sure why, in hindsight. I think a lot of other artists are also hesitant to put their name on it. Thinking back, I can't even recall the number of times I've bought some artwork, got it home, and realized the artist's name was nowhere to be found. Sure they signed it, but I couldn't read their signature, so now what?

I recently started representing other artists in a wholesale venture, and I realized that I really wanted people to know who the work was by. So I started putting a little line of text at the bottom of the print. It's faint, not very large, but it says "Piece Title" Copyright © Artist's Name. Then I realized, why am I not doing this with my own work?

If it really bothers somebody, easy. Put a mat over it and you'll never see it. It's not on the artwork itself, it's on the white border along the bottom edge of the print. Now if someone looks at it five years from now and can't remember where they got it or who painted it, they can just pull it out of the frame and oh hey, there's the artist's name and everything! Problem solved, I think!

So, to summarize, be proud of your work. Sign it, put your name on it, and when you sell it, make sure that there is a legible line of text somewhere (front, back, a sticker, something) that tells them who made it. Ta da!

Friday, August 5, 2011

It Is What You Name It

Something I've been thinking about recently is what people name their respective art companies. A lot of artists go with something obvious, like John Smith Illustrations, but sometimes people go with things that are less obvious all the way to downright obscure.

I chose Tiffany's Realm for mine. Why? Well, a lot of fantasy artists will go with Jane Doe Fairies or Jane Doe Fantasies or a combination of both, but I don't just paint fairies or fantasy art. I paint all kinds of different subjects, and I want people to feel like they are a part of the little "world" inside my head, full of dragons, fairies, vampires, mermaids, wizards and whatever else decides to poke its head out.

Some of the business names I have seen over the years left me scratching my head. Sometimes I wonder why people give their art the names that they have given it. This is just an example, but why use something like "Cruddy Art"? You're already telling everybody what to think of it! That's no good. You are inviting the inevitable internet troll to come by and tell you that it is indeed cruddy. And they will, believe me. There are more bored people out there without much common sense or courtesy and an abundance of free time than you can imagine, at least until you've been in the art business for a few years.

The other that really confuses me, is business names that are hard to understand, pronounce, and spell. If I can't remember it, how am I going to find you again later? "Now, was that rEihgmnlagh, or rIeghmnlagh?" I get it if you're from another country and it's a common word in your language. That's cool. But I see a lot of people in the good ol' US of A doing this, plucking a word or two that means something cool out of an almost-dead-language and then throwing it in their business name. You have to be sure to carry around business cards with a name like Reighmnlagh, 'cause good luck trying to explain to passersby at Art in the Park how to spell that one.

What I'm saying is, it is what you name it. If you call it crappy, messed up, turd-worthy poo-poo art, guess what? That's what it's going to be remembered as. If you call it obscure, hard to spell and/or remember art, guess what? It's going to be obscure and hard to remember. Forever. Because no one will remember how to spell your domain name.

It's better to pick something that means something to you, rather than something that seems cool and trendy. Eventually the trend will fade, and you'll be left with a real dud of a domain name and 5,000 business cards with "Turd-Worthy Art" printed on them.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How do I...?

This morning was another of those mornings that I wake up and discover an e-mail in my inbox from a frustrated and confused fledgling artist, who wants to know...

"How do I make it in this industry?"

Man, I wish I knew. I wish I had a magical, one word response, that would make it so everyone who wants to be an artist can succeed and make a comfortable living at it. But I don't think there is such a word.


Maybe some mixture of "all of the above"? I can't even tell you how frustrated I have been at times. I have questioned whether I really found my calling, or if I was just kidding myself. At times it feels like I have been lunging at the same hurdle for the past 7 years, trying to figure out why I couldn't get over the dang thing.

My personal hurdle is responsibility. I was never really taught to be responsible, although my parents often complained that I wasn't, and my irresponsibility has plagued me my entire life. Well, until recently, anyway. Once I figured out what was getting in my way and decided to deal with it, it's been surprisingly easy to overcome.

See, I really did think I was a responsible adult. I didn't realize that I wasn't, because I didn't really understand what responsibility means to me. I knew what it meant to other people, and I exhausted myself trying to live up to that ideal of responsibility, but I never felt satisfied.

Responsibility to me means eating better, exercising every day like I should be doing, answering every last e-mail I get every day even if it almost kills me, getting time-sensitive work done on-time (and ahead of time if possible!), and cleaning up my studio every. single. day.

I know, boring, right? But there are other personal hurdles that many of us have to overcome. Fear of success. It sounds stupid, because the thing you want the most is success, right? But do you really? It means a lot more work than you're doing now, more attention, more rejection. All of that can be very scary, especially for someone who isn't used to it and can't just shrug off rejections.

Once you learn to get out of your own way, it's a lot of trial and error and the things I mentioned before. You can't give up because you get a rejection, or because you only have four fans on Facebook. You have to keep telling everyone about yourself and your artwork. Be active in art communities, post on art-related forums, make up postcards of your art and have the guts to send it to shops and try to get wholesale orders. Grab every opportunity that you see, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

As you go along you will learn all kinds of tricks of the trade. I look back at some of the stuff I've learned over the years and laugh at the thought of what it would look like to a normal person, let's call them non-art folks muggles, inside of my brain. Probably a lot of nonsense and way too many ideas of what you can do to save a painting with a cotton swab.

Sometimes you will have to flip burgers on the weekends, sometimes you won't be able to buy the expensive paper you really want. But if you keep trying and never take "no" for an answer, you will eventually make it.

Besides, who wants to give up completely and wonder for the rest of their lives what might have been?