Last year I had one New Year’s resolution. After 6 months of working at Etsy and being constantly impressed by our sellers, I resolved to open my own Etsy shop. This involved not only the logistics of having inventory to list, in my head meaning I needed 20 or so drawings, but also changing every technique that I used in my art. Prior to 2012, I never drew in pen. I usually worked large and in charcoal. Here are a couple of examples from the prior year:

While charcoal is extremely fun to work with, it’s messy and takes a lot of space. I used to haul everything up to the art students league, as I don’t have a studio space, and then haul everything back. If my parents didn’t take the drawings, they ended up in the bin usually. To sell, I wanted something easy to ship, meaning it should be small and smear-proof.

And so, I started making doodles and experimenting with pens. I thought drawing animals would be a way to be keep my criticism at bay. This is my first, and still most popular, dog doodle:

And in February, with about 25 listings, I opened GoodAfternoonan. Not only have I been able to sell a lot of custom pet portraits, I also attended my first craft sale, got over my fear of calculating shipping costs, and learned to loosen up with a pen. I’m a far cry from where I’d like to be, which is mainly a confident freelance illustrator, but I’m one step closer.

When I work on my ink drawings, I don’t sketch anything as prep. I just dive right in. I work small so if I screw something up, I can start over. Usually I don’t though. I just keep going:

There is a lot more I’d like to do though. I want to work more on my details. I want to vary my lines more. I want more thought out layouts, with deep blacks and well conceived blank spaces. That is why this New Year’s resolution will basically be to learn to edit. Meaning, I’m not going to dive right into all of my drawings with the pen to start. I’m going to keep a sketch book. I’m going to work in pencil. I’m going to layout and plan my ink drawings.

Resolution: Learn to pencil sketch prior to inking.

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