So recently I've gotten into Brene Brown, I've been listening to podcasts about mindfulness and have been learning about vulnerability and authenticity. I've been feeling all the feelings over here.
I got thinking about how these things could translate into my business as an illustrator. I realised that my business was probably lacking some of my personality - despite the fact that I'm a 'personal brand' - and also therefore some 'authenticity'. We like that word these days don't we.
I realised that I wanted to share more of my story with you - I have shared the 'how' with you through instagram before, but less the why. I spent my first year of business taking in way too much advice about marketing, and kind of forgot to just be myself online, so lucky you, here's your dose of me.
Like I said, I've shared my how before (long story short - I took graphic design at Uni because I thought I couldn't draw, then proceeded to discover illustration and dedicated my last two years of uni to - yup - drawing!) But here's why.
I became an illustrator because illustration seemed so 'free' and beautiful. I felt so smug to be scribbling away designing pretty book covers whilst others were agonising over target markets and trying to make people care about portion sizes and food waste. Explaining this part is simple - illustration felt so natural, and frankly, the most fun out of everything I explored in design. I didn't pay £9k a year to have a shit time feeling bored at uni - I came to have fun!
When I started my shop, my reasoning was still that it was enjoyable and freeing, but it came with some other reasons too. I first started putting prints up on Etsy last year because I wanted to make some money, I wanted to try out my illustrations somewhere and I wanted to start putting myself 'out there'. I sometimes feel like this reason is a little invalidated by all the people who have wonderful stories about feeling compelled to 'help people' or because of reams of followers begging them to put their work up for sale. I didn't have this - I had like no followers, I'd barely started sharing my work, and there wasn't people calling out for my work to be made into prints they could buy. I was just proud of them and I wanted people to care about them too. Looking back, they were shit (lol) but it's all part of the process, innit?
I branched out into other stuff beyond prints for two reasons. 1. Because I saw what other arty people out there were capable of, but also, 2, because Illustrationy/hand lettered stuff was becoming cool and mainstream, and hitting big name shops. Honestly, I just figured that everything that was cool right now, I could do too, and I could do it better, and I was going to.
It's funny how quickly, you look back on stuff and realise how much of a baby you were. I thought I had my shit together then, but in hindsight I was still so new to stuff.
My why now, is really just because I can't not. I have latched onto this awesome method of expressing my art and making money from it. I have already been the full rollercoaster with Annie Dornan-Smith Design and I'm so exited to keep sharing! I have two collections coming up, a big project (still in the dreaming phase) and more to work on this year, and every design, every launch, and every parcel I package up and send off is the most thrilling feeling. Thank you so much for supporting, purchasing, liking, following, tweeting, sharing and everything else so far, I can't wait to share more.