Endangered Animal Calendar for 2020

This year, the only real goal I’m setting for myself in terms of work is to learn to follow through with self-initiated projects and actually adhere to deadlines I set for myself.

I work much better under a little pressure and some constraints, but I have a hard time sticking to those I set for myself. I’ve had so many projects go unfinished and so many ideas I never ended up starting.

This year I’d really like to tackle one project every month and actually finish it in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, If I get really busy with commissions and client work, I will allow myself to set my own projects aside as I still have bills to pay. But instead of starting something and then getting bored and doodling random stuff, I want to actually have more substantial and practical work to add to my portfolio.

And what better way to start on this new goal, than to make a calendar for myself to keep track of said projects and deadlines?? I thought of this idea rather late, so of course it wouldn’t be finished before the new year, but I could at least get the first page done before January.

My specs for this project were fairly simple:

-Basic, clean calendar layout made for standard 8.5×11” paper

-Not too ink-intensive to print, but still some nice artwork to look at

-Animals with the aqua, pink and yellow combo I’ve been really into lately worked in (I settled on a list of Endangered animals to narrow down my choices)

I’ve successfully finished my first project for the new year! Now I can use this calendar for scheduling out all of my client work, commissions, and self-initiated projects~

I’ve gone ahead and made a printable version to add to my Etsy shop if you’d like your own! I’ve also included a blank version where you can fill in the months and days yourself, so it can be used whenever without wasting half a calendar (I’m totally guilty of waiting until March or April to finally replace my old calendars).

Now, on to the next project. Thanks for reading!

Huge Rush Order and Hard Lessons Learned

As the Christmas season rolls in, I get flooded with commissions. I love it, painting lovely families and their pets is such a joy! This year I got to tackle the largest commission I’ve ever done in terms of size and with the tightest deadline I’ve had yet.

I was commissioned to paint 4 individual pet portraits, each on 16×20” canvas. And I had to finish and ship them all within 10 days. It was insane. I love how they turned out, but it was definitely a struggle to get them done. I had to have approval on the sketches before I could paint, feedback on the final paintings and make sure they were completely dry before packaging them to ship. This means the total time I actually had to paint them was just 7 days, on top of other smaller commissions and a day job. There was no time to re-think artistic decisions and precious little time for any corrections to be made so I had to do better than my best to get them all done right the first time. It was such a huge relief once I was finally able to send them out, and an even bigger relief to hear they arrived safely and on time.

The commissioner of these portraits contacted me through Etsy, asking about larger paintings done on canvas so I was excited to start from the very beginning. They were super lovely to work with as well. They knew what they wanted but left plenty of room for me to be creative, they weren’t afraid to mention if I had made a mistake and they also super quick to respond whenever I contacted them with a question or a progress shot.

It was incredibly stressful but also super enjoyable to work on these portraits. I finally got some experience painting on large canvas, which had been a goal of mine for this year that I hadn’t gotten a chance to try. I have also never shipped anything this large, so the expensive shipping cost was a crappy surprise, but live and learn. I also realize how much more paint a large canvas consumes versus small paper. I barely broke even with this commission and came very close to losing money. Something important I learned during the process was to more carefully consider materials, shipping and including a fee for rush orders. While these were financially difficult lessons to learn, I still had a very positive experience, and I think the knowledge I gained from it was worth the loss.