Taking a Shot in the Dark

I created a series of tools. These are my Pliers Pattern

Hi! Hi! In this blog post, I want to discuss my current journey of creating patterns and illustrations. My first choice was to title this blog post "Throwing Shit at the Wall Until it Sticks," but it sounded quite crude. However, it perfectly captures what I want to discuss. Instead, I settled on "Taking a Shot in the Dark," which conveys the same sentiment in a nicer way.

Creating Patterns and Illustrations:

If you've been following my posts, you know that I've been creating patterns and illustrations with the hope of getting them licensed. So far, I haven't had any success, but I've received good feedback on several of my artworks, so there's potential that something may come out of it. Licensing is usually a long game, so it might take a while before I get a breakthrough. Patience is key though! Even if it isn't something I have a lot of. The first time I got licensed with Kennard and Kennard, I was both surprised and unprepared for it, as it was non-exclusive and not something I had expected at the time. It is a reminder that the industry is quite unpredictable.

Promoting Artwork:

I have portfolios on a few sites like Behance, and Illustrator Australia . I also need to update my  Loop and Dribble profiles. I also have my Redbubble shop. It's been through these platforms where my work has been discovered by both potential clients and art enthusiasts and posting up on these channels.

An element for one of my dinosaur pattern collection. Hand drawn, coloured with copics and scanned into Photoshop.

Exploring New Styles and Themes:

I've been working on whimsical, cute drawings, using different filters and mediums, basically taking a shot in the dark and seeing what sticks. Surprisingly, an old series of mine recently garnered interest, so I've started creating similar work and expanding that collection. I have also been experimenting with cuter designs that I believe might appeal to a specific market. However, my coach at Artshine advises me not to go too niche, as suppliers prefer things that can attract a wide range of audiences.

Close up of an old work that is proving to be popular

On one hand, I think it has been beneficial to explore and experiment with different styles, but on the other hand, I am concerned that I might be investing both time and effort in the wrong direction. I don't really keep up with trends because I believe that by the time a trend becomes popular, it's already too late to jump on the bandwagon. Instead, I work on things that currently interest me and focus on evergreen themes. For example, flowers are a good subject, although I admit I need to include more flower illustrations in my portfolio, which is something I plan to work on. Balancing personal interests with market demand is always a constant consideration.

A flower pattern work in progress still

Navigating Negative Feedback:

To be honest, I've been feeling a bit discouraged lately. I've been submitting my recent works to potential clients for licensing, but all of them have been rejected so far. For instance, the adorable little penguin illustration below, which I thought would be appealing, were considered too niche and cute by some and not easy to sell. Personally, I think they would do well with kids and anyone who appreciates cute artwork. I genuinely like them and believe there's a place for them somewhere, but it's disheartening to receive negative feedback on a piece I was actually proud of.

Penguins that are proving to be a harder sell

Despite the setbacks, I still want to expand this collection and see if it gains traction somewhere. Even though this particular pattern wasn't successful on the first try, it has opened doors for me to create another pattern that hopefully a client will be interested in, based on the feedback I received. We'll see how that goes!

Updates on Life as a Freelance Animator and Illustrator:

In other news, my contract at Studio Moshi ended last week!  It's always bittersweet ending a long production.  I get to relax a bit and concentrate on preparing and creating new illustrations.  I also have a new exciting project that I am working on but I can't say much about it yet.  Stay tuned for further updates! 

Anyhoo, to conclude this rather long blog post and congratulations if you've made it to the end, that so far my journey in creating patterns and illustrations is requiring a lot of patience, persistence and the ability to get back up despite negative feedback.  I know that while not succeeding immediately can be disheartening, the experience is providing opportunities for growth and the ability to explore new avenues. I do remain hopeful that my efforts will amount to something but I will never know if I don't try.

Would you like to share a similar experience? I would love to hear it in the comments or on email!   


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