Brockport Arts Festival 2018

This past weekend I participated in the Brockport Arts Festival! It was my third year being a vendor at this show.

I didn’t know how to mentally prepare for the festival this year, partly because I haven’t really worked on my art business lately, but mostly because I was so uncertain about how it was going to go because this show was going to be so different: I wasn’t bringing my jewelry, which is hands down my top seller. Instead, I was bringing only originals and prints. I’ve only ever sold a few prints at any festival, even the two day ones. I was taking a big risk, and with this being one of the more expensive shows that I do, I was really nervous that it was going to be a big flop.

Little did I know how unprepared for the weekend I actually was…

The New:

I love love love how the new displays turned out. They really make the prints stand out, and they make set up and take down go SO much faster (set up was a new record at an hour, take down clocked in at half an hour!)

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I also had more print designs! I finally have about 95% of the drawing a day challenge pieces as prints!

The Good:

This was the first time I’ve ever had to come home from a festival and work that night!!! Because I sold so many prints during the day, I had to restock Saturday night! And then I sold all but one of those newly restocked prints on Sunday!!!! I’ve never sold that many prints before, nor did I even expect to. I don’t know if it was just because the weather was so good this weekend, people can see the prints better now, or what exactly it was, but I was horribly under stocked and under prepared for that kind of business.

I’ve also only ever sold one original in all of my festivals, but I sold THREE original drawings on Saturday! One was to “Skunk Lady,” who came running into the booth asking where her skunk was, another was the giraffe, and then one woman and her husband came in, saying they weren’t buying as they had spent all their money, they just wanted to look around. However, when they saw my Blue Heron drawing, they had to have it. They both collect herons, and even just bought a house with a pond so they can see herons all the time!

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Saturday was record breaking sales for this particular show for me; it was by far my best Saturday and my best year at this show so far.

The Bad:

Only having a small supply of print paper and packaging in stock so I couldn’t restock my prints as much for Sunday a much as I had hoped to. But I ordered a bunch more while I was printing off what I could so I can make up a bunch later this week.

I was the only one in the Drawing/Graphics category, which means that even though I was judged, no awards were given out for the category because there wasn’t competition. I’m not in it for the awards, but it’s frustrating.

The Ugly:


The street under my booth. Oil spots galore, blech! Mental note: get an outdoor rug to make the ground cleaner and prettier! I think it would help tie everything together and just feel more cohesive. But I’m not sure there’d be room in the van for that….


Funny Things:

It’s not unusual for me to have people walk into my booth and ask if I have a certain subject available for a print. Sometimes I do, and when I don’t, I will add it to my list if I think it’s something I’d enjoy drawing or that many people would like. Well, I had one request that left me speechless. A gentleman entered the booth on Saturday, looked at the prints, paused. Looked at the originals, paused. And then came the request:

“Do you have any stick figures?”

I must have looked pretty funny standing there, caught off guard with my mouth wide open, because he replied “I think not! Too much talent!!!” and walked away!!!!

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Another question I got was “Are you an I artist?”

I had NO CLUE what that was. So I asked the woman what she said, and she repeated it:

“Are you an I artist?”

I told her I didn’t know what that was, and she laughed, saying that she can’t get over how well I draw EYES, that they really make the animals look real. We laughed about that, and I said yes, I am an Eye Artist, that I love doing the eyes the most!

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Things To Change:

Part of me would like to do two more of my print displays so I can have more up. I’d have four be along the wall where the three are, and then the fifth one would be along the back wall in the corner by the others. But, I don’t want to overwhelm shoppers with too many choices, and fitting them all in the van would not be easy. I could get a trailer, but I really don’t want to drive it around!!!!

I also need to bring a lot more prints!!!! There are certain styles that I’ll definitely need to bring a ton of stock in because I couldn’t keep them on the shelf.

I need to get some of these squishy foam tiles! My feet always hurt from standing so much at these festivals (yes, I have a chair, but I always stand to talk to customers or to package up orders), but my genius neighbor had these and said they save her back and feet.



Will I Do This Show Again?

I don’t know. I love this show. I had the best sales ever this year, I have customers who come back to find me every year, and this is just a fun show to do. However, there are some things that I really don’t like about this festival and how it’s run, and because of that, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I don’t want to not do it because I do so well and I love my customers, but I have to figure out what is most important to me for doing a festival and go from there. Thankfully I have a few months to decide!!!!


Have you been to any festivals yet? What is your favorite part of attending one? I’m a sucker for the food, especially the candied almonds!


Boathouse, School, and Public Speaking, Oh My!

Can I let you guys in on a little secret?

I hate public speaking.


Okay, so maybe hate is too strong of a word….how about I thoroughly dislike public speaking?

Being in front of people and having them look at me gives me the heebie jeebies. I break out into splotchy hives under my neck like this:


HIVES!!!! In my WEDDING pictures!!!! Thankfully this is just a mild case…

I’m always afraid I’m going to say something wrong and make a fool out of myself, and being the center of attention is not my cup of tea.

But I love my job and Boathouse Mouse more than I hate speaking in front of people. So when my son’s fourth grade teacher asked if I’d be willing to come in and talk to them and the fifth graders about being an illustrator, I jumped at the chance!

It was a lot of fun visiting with the kids this morning. I spoke for about 40 minutes (which flew by!) and then there was Q&A time for about 10 – 15 minutes afterwards.

Some things we talked about were:

  • Who makes up the team that makes the Boathouse books (there are four of us!)
  • How long it takes to make each book (about 6 months for the whole book, with about 5-10 hours on each page)
  • How I come up with each illustration idea
  • How I design each character; we walked through the process of designing Boathouse and learned what ‘anthropomorphic’ means

Explaining which parts of Boathouse are made up and which are real mouse based

  • What supplies I use; they got to see the difference between the watercolor paper they use in school vs. what I use for illustrations, see my special graphite paper, and hear why I use three different mediums for coloring

I’m showing them where the graphite is gone from being transferred to the final paper


One of the kids feeling the difference between cold press and hot press watercolor paper

  • How the skills they’re gaining in school help with publishing a book (reading, math, public speaking, computer, etc.)
  • I broke down each step of the process; they were surprised at how much work really goes into a book!
  • Aaaand they may or may not have gotten to hear an excerpt from Book 2! But oh man, they were not too happy with me when I wouldn’t read any more!

I had to be careful about what pictures I included; I wish I could include some pictures of the kids getting excited about Book 2, but I don’t have permission to include any kiddos in my blog. I do have permission to include the boy’s head in some of these pictures, but it also helps he belongs to me 😉 My eldest was also at the presentation, but she was my photographer extraordinaire (aka she took over 1,200 pictures!).


Q&A time!

I had such a great time that when the fourth grade teacher asked if she could tell other teachers about the presentation and see if any of them want me to come talk to their classes, I of course said yes 🙂

Maybe public speaking isn’t so bad after all? Or maybe it’s not so bad because it’s over and I don’t have another engagement lined up at the moment 😉


Do you like public speaking? Give me your best tips for feeling comfortable in front of a group! And let me know if you have any questions about the illustrating/book making process!