Today marks the end of the first year of my little illustration shop (www.hansmyhedgehog.etsy.com). What a year! A year ago, I knew nothing...I was researching backing boards, archival plastic sleeves, giclée printers, colored envelopes and papers, business card printers, you name it! A year later, I did better than expected. I met lots of new friends from two Etsy teams, I not only had my first show but had five of them!, and I found a way to work color into my work that prints beautifully and doesn't compromise the integrity of my pencilwork. I finally have a workspace in my home, and still more ideas than I have time to draw. It's been a year of creativity and wonder, of lots of hours at the sketchpad, and even more trimming prints, assembling notecards, lining envelopes and stuffing packages. Lots of hours spent at Books of Wonder and the zoo becoming inspired by the natural world and by the work of amazing illustrators.
There's plans of expanding the line to include stuffed pillows, ornaments (currently in beta testing), and maybe even puppets (I still have to learn the latter, but look what can happen in a year!).
Considering that this all took place after my teaching duties at two universities, I'm proud of what I've accomplished. I worried that I wouldn't persevere, or that I would fizzle out. But it's been a gift that unwraps itself inside of my imagination bit by bit. It speaks to me when I am not attending to it and grows when I work. Hearing feedback online and seeing customers' faces in person lets me know I'm on the right track. After many years of discontent in my worklife, this has brought me equilibrium.
A year of thanks...