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Turning Over a New Leaf

After a year, I think it’s time to give a sneak peek of my new venture — one that grew out of my frustrated inability to find work as an illustrator. I’m not going to dwell too much on the negative here, but lately it has been very difficult to find any freelance work at all. Last year, I put a lot of time and effort into sending out dozens of self-promotional postcards, only to find a chorus of crickets chirping in response. It was depressing as hell, but instead of throwing myself off a cliff I decided to channel that creative energy into something that’s on my terms. I’m making my own art and will try selling it on Etsy.

The photo below is the first fruit of my efforts. It’s a drawing of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables screen printed atop facing pages from the book that bears her name. This was an, how we say, interesting experience. Many of the prints came out off-register and with blobby looking lines, but I might be deluded enough to believe those elements add to their funky handmade charm. They’ll get more professional looking in time. Anne is the first, but I have great designs ready for five more characters. The process has been an expensive learning experience, but I’m having a lot of fun with it. Each print is completely unique, and I think there are a lot of factors involved (nostalgia for printed books, new mommies wanting something special for their kids) that might possibly resonate with the Etsy crowd. Most of all, it’s a lovingly handcrafted project that totally reflects my style, not something someone else imposed on me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s already a success.

The Etsy store is not officially open yet. I want to get another character printed up so it’s not just Anne sitting there by herself. The shop ought to be going live in a few weeks.


6 Thoughts on “Turning Over a New Leaf

  1. Cristiane on April 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm said:

    Wow. That’s gorgeous. How much are you thinking of charging? Love it.

  2. Thanks so much, Cristiane! I’m thinking about listing them at $20 each. Thing is, I really have no idea what is a fair price for something like this. I suppose that will be worked out eventually as things go along. I will be posting here when the shop opens, so look out for it!

  3. Hi Matt – I LOVE IT. What a lovely idea and execution! In terms of pricing, I’ve bought a couple prints from Todd Klein’s blog before: His prints usually go for $20 plus shipping.

  4. Thanks, Kris!

    Maybe I’ll start with $15 and move it up if the demand is there.

  5. If you did some from Lenora Mattingly Weber’s “Beany Malone” books, I bet people from my book list about that author would buy them. Also, there is a GIANT Betsy-Tacy list that would probably snap up ones of their books.

  6. Great suggestions, Gael. This first batch is all classic characters from the 1800s and early 1900s but I could see expanding into later stuff, like Nancy Drew/the Hardy Boys or the ones you mentioned.

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