Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I’ve been passionately creating since I was a little girl but I never understood that I could have a career in art outside of being a gallery artist, which I wasn’t interested in. I double majored in Studio Art and Speech Communication in college with no intention of pursuing art as a career. I did know I wanted to be in a creative field and I got my first job working in an architecture & interior design firm. I ended up being an interior designer for almost 8 years. As an interior designer I was introduced to Photoshop and Illustrator and realized that I was more interested in print design. I started taking night classes while working full time and eventually got a job as a designer for a large stationery and gift manufacturer. For the first time since college, I was drawing and painting again. But this time I was creating art for products and I loved it! Working as an in-house product designer was an extremely valuable experience because I worked on all stages of the process including getting retail buyer input, designing, production all the way through to product sample reviews. I would highly recommend working as an in-house designer for a product manufacturer early on in a design career, it’s a great way to learn the ins and outs of making art that sells product and knowing how to work with manufacturers. At this job I developed my illustration style and after a few years realized that I wanted credit for my art. I started my own illustration and art licensing business, Anne Was Here, in May of 2014.
Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I work in several mediums including gouache, watercolor, Illustrator and Photoshop. Most often I work right in Photoshop using my Wacom Cintiq which allows me to paint digitally. Having learned Photoshop from the vantage point of multiple fields of discipline I received a really well rounded and in depth understanding of the program. After getting to know a lot of artists in the art licensing industry, I realized that so many of them were doing things the hard way when it came to Photoshop. I started creating some short video tutorials for artist friends to help them save time and hassle. Eventually I decided I wanted to share my time saving tips and tricks with artists on YouTube. I’ve included my YouTube channel information below, please subscribe if you’re interested! If enough people express interest, I’m entertaining teaching a more in depth Photoshop Class for Artists in the near future.
What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by the things that many artists are; nature, culture/travel, and amazing artists past and present. But even more than that, I am inspired by people who take risks to pursue their passions. I listen to a lot of creative podcasts/webinars and get a lot out of the interviews. Some of my favorites are, Smart Creative Women, Fresh Rag, TED Radio Hour, and Creative Live. I think there is so much to learn from listening to other creatives talk about their own successes and failures, how they got where they are, how they worked through problems and how they strategized for the future. I always feel so fired up after listening to someone who I admire talk about their creative journey. I am also involved in several artist groups that meet either physically or virtually on a regular basis to provide support, feedback and inspiration to each other. The artists that I have met and befriended in these groups have been incredibly inspiring to me!
What are you working on now?
I am thankful to have so many exciting projects that I am working on right now! Some of the bigger projects are my third fabric collection for Clothworks, a series of calendars for Orange Circle Studio, several gift lines with Tri-Coastal Design, developing my own product line, and preparing for my debut exhibition at the 2015 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas! I’ll be blogging about preparations for the show and sharing tips from my experience as well as lots of photos of set up, finished booths and people at the show. I found that while there is a lot of information available about Surtex, there is very little information out there on the Licensing Expo for artists. I’m hoping to change that! You can follow along on via Instagram, Facebook or my blog. Details below.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
If I could offer advice from my humble experience, I would say do not underestimate the value of paying for good advice or assistance. The right advice is worth every penny! I don’t have an agent, and so far I’ve been able to manage on my own better than I expected to. That being said, there have been times that I’ve needed help and I paid for expert assistance. I have never regretted doing that. Not only did I receive help on the immediate problem, but I also learned through the process of working with these experts how to better handle things in the future. The awesome Maria Brophy who “helps artists master the business of art, one strategy at a time,” helped me navigate through a complex contract and also negotiated on my behalf. Check Maria out at http://mariabrophy.com/. I can also recommend Jennifer Nelson, who is an amazing art agent that is offering her advice and consulting for professional artists. Jennifer offered incredible insights to my licensing career and also helped me craft language for a contract I needed. I ended up getting everything I wanted out of that deal! You can find out more about Jennifer Nelson’s advice for artists at http://www.jennifer-nelson-artists.com/advice-for-artists/.
Are you an early riser? or night owl?
Neither! Isn’t that horrible!? I am Oscar the Grouch in the morning and turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. However, I know that this is not a recipe for success so I force myself to get up early every weekday and be productive. I may or may not spend most of the day working in my pajamas though.
What is your favorite food?
I have a life long love affair with Mexican food. Can’t get enough.
You can find Anne:
Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/AnneWasHere
Society6 Shop: http://society6.com/annewashere
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