Behind the Scenes: Lieutenant Promotion

One of the highlights of my job is that I get to help my customers create that one-of-a-kind gift for special occasions. I’ve done pieces for birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, and new houses, but now I can say I’ve done a piece for a promotion!

Almost a year ago, my friend Cheryl contacted me about doing a drawing for her husband who was expecting a promotion to lieutenant in the police force. We talked about various options for the drawing’s layout, and hoped to have it ready for Christmas as long as the promotion came through. The promotion ended up being delayed, so we aimed for his birthday in January. When that deadline came and went, we put the project on the backburner.

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Special Christmas Orders

It’s that time of year again!

The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling off, everything is pumpkin flavored…and Christmas items have been in the stores for weeks.

Milo finished

Pet Portrait

I’m not sure about you, but I love celebrating one holiday at a time. I may start thinking about certain holidays sooner than others, but there should not be overlap in decorating, music, or major planning.

And here I am breaking my own rule.

Christmas is just over two and a half months away. A lifetime, almost.

jaxon jeana

Portrait of a Grandchild

However, I have been asked many times over the past few months if I can do a drawing commission for a Christmas gift. My answer is always YES!!!! I love helping plan and create the perfect and unique gift, any time of year.

The reason I’m bringing this up now is that it takes, on average, about 30 hours to complete a drawing. I want to give each drawing the attention it needs and deserves, which is why I am planning early.

Print file

Fandom Drawing

Drawings make perfect, one-of-a-kind gifts for anyone. I’ve done portraits of pets or family members, house drawings, and even drawings of a favorite location in a book or movie. The possibilities are endless, and they are a great way to personalize a gift for the hard to shop for person on your gift list.

I will be accepting drawing commissions through Saturday, November 14th. Any order placed after that may or may not be able to be completed by Christmas, depending on the amount of orders I am working on at the time.

I also am accepting custom jewelry orders through Monday, November 30th. This is for anyone who would like a necklace or earrings (or a set, includes a necklace and earrings) in a specific color. To see what stock I have available, you can check out my Etsy store here. I’m adding new jewelry every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and you can check with me to see what I have in stock that’s not online yet.

If you want to talk about details, place an order, or have any questions, feel free to comment below, message me on Facebook, or email me directly at shawnaapps@gmail.com.

Attica Founders Day Booth and Update

Hey everyone!

Yesterday was my first outdoor festival, and I’m really happy with how everything turned out. The bumps in the road that I experienced all last week worked out in the end, the weather was absolutely perfect, my booth looked great, and I made some new contacts.

Before I get into any more detail about how the show went, I know a lot of you have been anxious to see the finished booth!

Remember my initial design sketch?

I think I came pretty close to creating that:

The jewelry displays turned out perfectly! They hung on chains that were anchored to the ground, and although there was a little bit of a breeze, when there were gusts of wind we didn’t have to worry about the boards going anywhere! The mirror was a great addition; a lot of customers appreciated being able to see how certain earrings or necklaces looked.

We had to do some tweaking with this back wall after awhile. The table was supposed to be farther left, but because of the extra oil painting display, there wasn’t room for both chairs on the right of the table. The print display ended up blocking the sign, so we moved it over to the right side of the back wall, and it looked much better there 🙂

The hanging displays for the originals worked out great! We’ll be doing some tweaking to them to make them better (especially for windy days), but for yesterday they were perfect.

Highlights of the day:

– One of my customers works in the framing department at the local Michael’s, and he really liked my work. He sees a lot of different things, so it was a huge compliment that he liked what I did!

– Meeting a lot of new people, and putting faces to names! Thank you to everyone who took the time to come visit, check out my booth, and chat with us!

– We were getting ready to pack up, and a woman came back who had visited earlier. She really wanted a necklace and was afraid she was going to miss getting back to us! That really encouraged me 🙂

– So many compliments on the booth, the art, and all the little details! So many people loved the cut outs on the jewelry and then the free gift boxes as well. Someone even commented that they loved how the purple shopping bags I had for carrying purchases matched the booth colors.

Hard parts of the day:

– This wasn’t during the day, but getting those note cards done was so stressful! My ink arrived early afternoon Friday, and I still didn’t know if the printer would work with the computer. During the kid’s rest time, I redid some of the note card designs on the computer, thinking maybe the files had corrupted or something along those lines. That afternoon, I went to work on printing, and not only did the note cards I redid print out beautifully, but all the other ones I had saved from before did too! We’re still not sure what the problem was, but hey, it’s working now and that’s all that matters!

– Packing the van so everything we’d need right away was up front and things we’d need last was farther behind. We didn’t know if we’d be able to park right by the tent or would have to walk far for unloading, so packing was something we took extra time to figure out in the morning. Everything fit, and it was super easy to unload, especially as we were able to park right behind tent 🙂

– This is a really really silly hard part, but it was definitely a struggle! We were situated behind the pulled pork guy, the reuben sandwich guy, AND the kettle corn guy! Anyone who knows me well enough knows that those three things are huge weaknesses for me. It was so hard to not go buy from them all day, but we had brought our own food, and didn’t want to spend our hard earned money from the festival on food. We ended up not purchasing food at the festival, but having the breeze blow the smells into the tent all day was almost torture!

Things I’ve learned or have to change for next time:

– Have more things at different price points. I hadn’t thought about this too much because at the last show I had the gift tags which were a nice low price. I didn’t have anything like that this time, so I’m not sure if that affected sales or not.

– Have a sale/discount. My husband volunteered his entire Saturday to come help me, and halfway to through the day he said next time maybe do something like get a necklace and earrings as a set for a certain price, or buy two prints get $5 off. I had thought about that before, but it slipped my mind.

– Have my giveaway sign be clearer, easier to read, and standing up! If I hadn’t been mentioning it, I don’t know if anyone would have really entered.

– Figure out how to anchor the original print displays for wind. They were blowing pretty good, and we were afraid the originals might fall off and break if the wind was any stronger. We’ll be replacing the nails with small L hooks as well so the pieces will be better secured.

Fun tidbits:

This festival was only my second show, but first outdoor show. It fell exactly six months after my first show! My displays have changed so much since then, and we’ll see how things change from here on out!

Questions:

When is your next show? Are you going to do AppleUmpkin?

I don’t know, and I don’t know. I need a break from shows right now to concentrate on some projects that have been held up while I’ve been prepping for Founders Day. I would love to do AppleUmpkin (our village/town’s big festival), and I had been offered a space from someone who lives just off the main road of the festival for free, and I need to touch base with her. If that is no longer an option, I need to get moving on getting an official application in as it’s due by the end of the month, if I decide to do it. It’s a bigger fee, more work for the application, and it’s two days instead of just one. As soon as I know my next event, I will let you all know 🙂

Thank you all for your support and encouragement the past couple of months while I was getting this all together, and for those of you that stopped by to see me yesterday! I can’t wait to get started on other projects tomorrow, so be looking for sneak peeks within the next few days over on Facebook!

Throwback Thursday: Jaxon

This week’s Throwback is this cute little guy!

jaxon jeana

Title: Jaxon

Medium: Graphite on paper

Size: 8″ x 10″ with some drawing on the 11″ x 14″ mat as well.

When: November 2013

Purpose: Commission by John Soble as a gift for his daughter-in-law as a Christmas gift

History: John approached me sometime in November asking if I’d be willing to do two drawings for him to give as Christmas gifts. This one is for his daughter-in-law, the other was going to be for his wife. Both drawings were going to be of Jaxon, his grandson.

Thought process: For this drawing, John wanted some specific things, all which were easy to accommodate. I had to change the design on the onesie to a Boston Red Sox ‘B’, not draw the background of the photograph in, and then he wanted a border of baby blocks spelling out scripture references on parenting. It was pretty straight forward!

Problems I encountered: Drawing Jaxon’s hand was very difficult! I’m not sure if it’s the lighting from the photograph or if he was moving his hand, but it was hard not having the fingers look like they were swollen or were actually rubber costume gloves.

Also, getting the baby blocks to all be the same size, be different values of light and dark, and have the scripture references fit was no easy task. I remember the block border took almost as long as the actual drawing did! But it looks awesome, and that’s what matters 🙂

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Favorite part of the piece: Seeing it done! I wasn’t sure how the border on the mat was going to look; I didn’t want it to be too busy that it took away from the drawing. But it really worked, and adds something special to the drawing.

Least favorite part: When you can’t find the pretty pictures of a drawing, only a quick preview cell phone shot. This is what happens when you have two computers that hardly work that hold all of my disorganized photos from the past couple years. I have an external hard drive that holds all my photos now, so from here on out we shouldn’t have any more problems. Thanks for putting up with my bad pictures!

 

Which Throwback Thursday post has been your favorite so far? You can see them all here.

Throwback Thursday: Q.D.

Here’s a drawing done about 6 months ago:

QD final

Title: Q.D.

Medium: Graphite on paper

Size: 11″ x 14″

When: Sketched out quickly in November 2013, but the rest was done completely on December 28, 2013.

Purpose: Commissioned by Edy Steggs as a birthday gift for her husband, Dave.

History: I remember when I first met Edy at church; a series of 11 of my drawings were in the process of being displayed around the sanctuary, and I remember that she really really liked them. She approached me last year about doing a drawing of their great dane, Q.D., as a gift for Dave’s birthday. Q.D. apparently sits on the edge of the couch, and she wanted to capture that as a special surprise for Dave.

Thought process: This was pretty straight forward; Edy sent me a few pictures of Q.D. sitting on the couch, and narrowing it down was pretty tricky. Trying to figure out how much of the couch to include took some time; I wanted enough in the picture so you knew what the dog was doing, but yet not so much that it took away from the dog. Once I figured out which picture, it went pretty well.

Face

Problems I encountered: Finding the time to get it done was a bit challenging. I did my initial sketch in November, but then as I got two drawing orders as Christmas gifts in, I put Q.D. to the side as this drawing had a later due date (I didn’t have to have it done until December 29th). With the craziness of the Christmas season, I didn’t have a chance to pick it up again to work on until December 28th, the day before I had promised it finished. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh? Luckily the 28th also happens to be my birthday, so sitting around drawing for an afternoon was a perfectly acceptable thing to do 🙂

Figuring out what to do with the pillow was tricky. The pillow in the original picture has a floral print on it. I didn’t want to do the exact pattern as I was afraid it would be too busy and would take away from Q.D.. What I basically ended up doing was making a gray pillow and then using two different erasers in two different patterns to create a design on it. It was soft enough to not take away from the dog, but still interesting enough to create a nice composition.

Pillow

I thought doing Q.D.’s chest patch was going to be difficult with the black skin markings with the white fur on top, but it ended up being ridiculously easy!

ChestFavorite part of the piece: I think, hands down, my favorite part of commissioned pieces is seeing the joy on people’s faces when they unwrap the drawing for the first time. Edy was thrilled, and the Sunday after Dave’s birthday, they both came over to thank me for the drawing. I love being able to make people happy!

Oh, and is it weird that I love Q.D.’s paws? I love the spots on them! Isn’t it cute?

PawLeast favorite part of the piece: I don’t think there’s anything I really don’t like about it! Man, I love it when that happens 🙂

Fun tidbits: Between Q.D. and Milo, I’m discovering that I love to draw animals! I’m debating what animal to try next: a long haired dog, a curly haired dog, or a cat.

Also, this post wasn’t supposed to go up for another couple weeks. But, I just happened to look at the church calendar and discovered that today is Dave and Edy’s wedding anniversary! It felt appropriate to rearrange my posts so this could go up for them today. Happy anniversary, you two!

 

What animal should I try to draw next?

 

Mother’s Day Project

The week before Mother’s Day I posted a picture on Facebook of a project I was designing, and then a quick little teaser of the piece done. I have to apologize as I said that I didn’t have permission to post the full after picture yet as it was a surprise gift someone commissioned. And that’s not exactly true. You see, that piece I was working on was for my own mom; I just knew I wasn’t going to see her anytime soon and didn’t want to ruin her surprise 🙂


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Medium:
Graphite and colored pencil on linen parchment paper.

Size: 8″ x 10″, framed

Purpose: Gift for my mom 🙂

Time to complete: From starting to design to completion, I’d say about 4 hours with doing other odd jobs in that time as well

History behind the piece: My mom LOVES genealogy, and is in fact pursuing opening her own genealogy business. I saw this family tree design on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and knew that I had to do something similar for her as a gift at some point. Mother’s Day sounded like as good as any time, so I got to work.

Thought process: The original piece is done on a pillow case. I wanted something that could stay nice for a long time, and as there are 6 people and 2 animals living in my parent’s house, I didn’t think a light colored pillow would be the best option. Something that could hang on the wall, even in my mom’s computer/office area might be nice. I didn’t exactly like how the names on the left side of the original piece were upside down, so that ended up getting switched so all the names are easier to read. I thought the piece needed some more color, which is why instead of the knot in the tree, I added a heart 🙂 All the names are lowercase; I was going to try and do capitals where necessary, but knowing that a ‘P’ would just look funny was not the best option. I think it turned out okay regardless of capitalization or not.

Detail of trunk

Problems I encountered: Oh. My. Goodness. Getting those tree branches to be spaced just right was ridiculous! And as there are an odd number of people in my family, and knowing I wanted both of my parents at the top was just crazy to figure out design wise. I think it took me an hour and a half AT LEAST to get the branches positioned in such a way that looked okay. I even had to trace my sketch onto the final paper as that was the only way I could get the position to stay just right.

Design stages

Another problem was my niece and nephew have longer names than my kids do, so getting the tree to not look lopsided or super awkward as one side was sticking out farther than the other was challenging.

My favorite part: I love the way it looks framed on a wall. It looked amazing on our living room wall that I actually kept it there for a few days after photographing it. I just like how simple it is. I may even make another one just of the five of us for my living room!

My least favorite part: I don’t know if there’s anything I don’t really like. I wish I could have put more leaves on the trees, but that would have made it very crowded.

 

What did you do for your mom for Mother’s Day?