I am super excited to announce the grand opening of my little shop Tori & Ollie Illustrated Goods. Most of you know I have an obsession with cute things, this is my way to share that love with others. I’ve been working on this little shop for awhile, trying to figure out the ins and out of Etsy, consistent branding, what type of products I want to explore, and most of all, how to squeeze it in with so little time I already have. For those who manage an Etsy store while having a 9-5 full time job, I’m highly impressed.
The purpose of this store is to embrace my dream of creating super cute stationery products. I thought I had to be in a big studio to fulfill this dream, but why not do it now? I want to design tiny little notebooks, packs of cards, and other little knick knacks. The biggest challenge of starting Tori & Ollie was deciding the brand look and target market. It’s not 100% figured out, but that’s ok, one step at a time. On the other hand, the planning and organizing aspect of the shop is a treat for me, I enjoy thoroughly mapping out action plans and calculating cost of production and margins of profits.
Another interesting part of this journey was product photography. I haven’t touched my dslr since I graduated college, I am pretty attached to my iPhone and Instagram. With that said, I was very rusty with the first few product shots. I created mood boards of how I wanted my products to feel when viewed by customers. I chose to go with clean white backgrounds with a little bit of wood showing through to demonstrate that my products are handmade yet professional. I used product styling as an excuse to buy flowers and simple frames.
I still have much to learn and experience with selling online. I hope to one day participate in craft events or conventions. Stay tuned for a few projects I have in development.
Also first 25 orders will receive a surprise 5×7 art print and a sticker!
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Last month I was contacted by a sweet lady asking for portraits of her daughters. It was incredibly flattering for her to take the time out of her day to tell me she loves my art and would like to commission me. She is the coolest mom ever and spoke fondly of her two adorable daughters. She wanted to surprise them with personalized artwork which she deserves major brownie points for. She also encouraged the arts and cared deeply for her daughters. I had a blast doing the two portraits and listening to my clients story. Getting to talk to people and hear about their life makes creating art so enjoyable. I look forward to doing more portrait commission, it’s a nice change from the commercial freelance I normally do.
A couple of weeks ago I found a Rendr sketchbook on clearance at my local Michaels craft store. It was more than half off, a bargain I couldn’t pass up. I’ve always wanted to try the Rendr sketchbook. One of my favorite Copic marker artist, Nuri also known as Actionhankbeard, recommends this sketchbook to all of his fans. This humble guy is incredibly good at copic markers and is a must follow on Instagram.
I always thought copic markers were nifty but never the tool for me. I didn’t know how to blend them well or what colors to use. Individual markers are so expensive, its hard to experiment with them freely. Throughout college, I picked up a few grey scale markers to do value studies, but that was pretty much it. While following Nuri’s Instagram, I was inspired to give copic markers another shot. I made the poor choice of purchasing the super vivid six color primary set. I had no idea what to do with them, it was a rainbow mess.
I eventually found a few colors that I liked; a nice flesh color and a pretty mint. It wasn’t until I bought this Rendr sketchbook I fell madly in love with copics. Cresent’s Rendr sketchbook has a nice smooth finish which was a nice transition from Moleskine sketchbooks that I normally use. I mainly ink with a brush pen and textured paper is not my best friend. My favorite part about this sketchbook is how well it handles copics. No bleeding at all, meaning you can use both sides of the paper. The way the page absorbs the ink is fantastic and layering is no problem.
I can understand why artists love copic markers so much. The colors are so vibrant and exciting to use. Sailor Moon was my first doodle in this book. I utilized the neglected primary colors I purchased earlier. I still use Montana Acrylic Markers for color blocking. The pages might curl up a little, but overall the paper holds up well. I can’t wait to expand my little copic collection and experiment more.
At the beginning of the year, two of my favorite artist, Mike Yamada and Victoria Ying (you can see their work here) started a sketchbook challenge. The objective was to fill a sketchbook by the end of January. Pretty ambitious goal and a fantastic excuse to by another sketchbook, but I resisted. I decided to make the challenge more personal by using old sketchbooks from college that I barely used. It was a ton of fun and a great way to explore without the pressure.
Sadly enough I didn’t finish the challenge in time. Lots of exciting projects were happening at work, that I cannot wait to share. This sketchbook overlaps with the #Sketch_Dailies that I mentioned in a previous post. In this sketchbook, I wanted to break away from the standard looking forward portraits I doodle and practice drawing different poses. I feel silly for not doing this diligently before. I’m putting my shyness aside for my love of sketching. My sketches also lack movement and emotions, I real want to capture feelings in my work. I practiced by drawing people at cafes by sketching them as quickly as possible. I still have a long ways to go but at least its a start. Here is an example:
I also discovered how much I love to use my brush pen. One of my favorites is the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, the soft version. I picked up a hard tip version and I really like that one too. Towards the end of the sketchbook, I started experimenting with Montana Acrylic Markers. I’m pretty obsessed with them now and invested in a couple more dozen markers since. I think I might have an addiction in art supplies.
I learned a lot in this sketchbook, I’m excited to learn more in the next one. On a side note, my dear friend Allison made me the sea otter sticker for Christmas, you can check out her cute work at http://allisonranieri.com I absolutely love sea otters if thats not noticeable yet.
To see more work from this sketchbook, you can visit this link here.