I’m going to start the New Year off with some exciting news about my greetings cards. As usual, there’s a story behind this which involves my gut instinct taking me to unexpected places…
Last year I was thinking about spending a small fortune on a 3-month online course which would ‘help my career’. But then a newsletter plopped into my inbox from Marianne Cantwell, author of Be a Free Range Human.
She was running a 6-week online Ideas Adventure course and did I want to take part?
I looked at the sensible ‘career’ course and felt…zilch…nothing…numb.
I looked at the Ideas Adventure course and felt…excited…hopeful…sparkly (always a good sign).
So I went with my gut and signed up for the adventure. It made no sense. But after 49ish years on this planet, I’ve learnt that if my gut tells me something, I had better blooming well pay attention.
And, of course, the course was fantastic. We talked about ideas; how to have good ones, and what to do when your brain is crammed full of them (this is my problem in a nutshell).
We talked about designing a life we loved and what that might look like. Mine looks like this:
To cut a very long story short, we picked an idea that made us ‘come alive’, developed it over 6 eye-opening weeks, and shared our results with everyone at the end of the course.
Cue me having flashbacks to when I did the 30 Day Challenge with John Williams a few years ago and spent the whole course enviously eyeing up other people’s artistic ‘play projects’.
Determined not to fall into the same trap, I decided that this time I would do something I have always wanted to do; turn my illustrations into greetings cards.
To cut another long story short, by the end of the 6 weeks, I had 5 professionally printed cards in my hands!
I posted the cards on the Ideas Adventure Facebook page and showed them to anyone who came within a 5 mile radius of me. Within a couple of weeks, I had sold over 50 cards and posted them to people all over the UK.
But the story doesn’t end there.
A few weeks later, I was sauntering through town when I noticed a shop that was being renovated. I almost walked by but something told me to stop. Being the
nosy curious sort, I popped my head round the door to see what was going on.
And guess what – the shop was being turned into an gift shop selling work by local artists! I whipped out my cards (they were lurking in my bag, ready to show to anyone who looked like they were the card-buying sort) and asked if they would be interested in selling them in their shop.
They said…’Yes, we love them!’
So now my cards are for sale in an actual, physical shop. You’ll find them in PO10 in Emsworth along with some gorgeous work by local painters, printers, jewellers, engravers, potters, lampshade makers…
I have photographic evidence. My cards are top left:
And there’s more. Remember the Hairy Dog t-shirts I created a few years ago? I had 6 left, so I took them into PO10 a few weeks ago to see if they would sell. There are now just 2 left (not bad considering the limited colours and sizes there were for people to choose from).
Now I’m daydreaming about cards, t-shirts, and framed prints. Oh, and a picture book and animation one day (dream big, I say).
Which just goes to show – follow your gut instinct.
It may take you via the ‘scenic’ route.
And it may take you to a place you didn’t expect (or even knew existed).
But wherever you end up, one thing’s for sure – it will always be good for your soul :-)