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Irritant 6, September 2007

Posted by babychaos in Art, careers, Grumpy Old Bag, whinging, winging, Work.

I have a small irritant. It’s this. The people who buy my paintings keep suggesting I do some greetings card designs and send them to one particular company which is big over here – and very good, too.

Ever one to listen to my customers, moron that I am, I keep taking their advice.

However, the fact is, this greetings card company does not believe my style fits theirs. It’s their company and it’s their call so it doesn’t matter what our mutual customers say. Sigh. Anyhow, as you can imagine, the whole “have you tried _____?” prayer wheel is getting a tad galling. I am wondering if I should have a badge made for hand overs and delivery “___ said NO”.

Would that cut them off at the pass?! Of course not! That would be a totally psycho, strange, wacko and generally ocd thing to do…

Nonetheless… so tempting! 😉

Worse, I get suckered! Every time! And needless to say, after a few months of customer exhortation, I start to think okayyyyy maybe they didn’t really mean “no” maybe they’d like this and despite the screams of “don’t do this!” from the pragmatic, businesswoman’s sensible part of my brain, I do something different.

There is no maybe, of course. They know what sells for them and it ain’t what I do.

I just have to accept that this is the truth and stop sending them things, like a frickin’ idiot. It’s bad for the ego, annoying to them – even though they are always very nice about it – and it makes me look a complete tit.

I guess the difficulty I have is that my card artwork seems to fall in no-man’s land between the company it should fit with – well, in theory – and the rest… I know this is all subjective and I would never sell something (ie my art) I didn’t believe in and wouldn’t expect anyone else to either but the real trouble I have is that as far as I can ascertain my art IS commercial. Amazingly, people actually LIKE it and when offered the opportunity, they DO buy it. Or are all these people are just being nice because I’ve been recommended to them by my friends… I know it’s subjective but I was so hoping I could find somebody who knows the market who thinks they’re commercial, too*, it would be great to be able to sidestep the having to sell these myself aspect of this… I take to selling like a duck to quantuum physics… even things I DO believe in!

*That’s the whole point, of course, I may know marketing but I don’t know their market and they do so it would suggest I’m wrong or that my art is not commercially viable to a wide enough audience.  So there’s some typical beginner arrogance for you! 

Still, I suppose it keeps me focussed. It keeps me drawing things and that keeps my portfolio growing, this stuff might be useful somewhere and if it’s not then drawing it has served its purpose.

You see, up to a point, I reckon art is like writing, you have to practise. So, with writing, I reckon it doesn’t matter what you actually say, even if you are writing about how you can’t think of anything to write it’s practising smithing words which allows you to grow, to find your voice as a writer, to improve and to get to the point where you can write shit hot, witty prose straight off… well, ok um… a bit more quickly. 😉

So, that’s what I try to do with my art, somebody has a birthday, I draw the card. I try to draw something for them, in a style they will like rather than just send them a picture by me. So I’ve just done a pink fairy, so not me as to be laughable! When I’m done, I scan it for my files and send it off. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have what it takes to cut it in the commercial industry, it’s a drawing and its execution will have taught me something.

I paint, therefore I am.

…a fairy…

Happy Fairy

Still… now I have an idea for a fairies series… you know, The Washing Up Fairies, The Chaos Fairies, The Lawkeepers of Temporary Mislayed Items (these are the guys who will give you the thing you were looking for last week when you are looking for the thing you lost today) The Single Shoe Gremlins (the entities responsible for all those single trainers you see at the side of the road) and not forgetting the Two in One out Washing Machine Fairies – (they’re the ones who climb into the washing machine during the cycle and remove one of your husband’s favourite socks… for ever…).

This is how I think and of course, it could go some way to explaining why I have failed to find somebody who considers my work marketable (that and the fact I’m crap at pink fairies because I’m a tomboy). So people, I need your help here. Is the fairies idea too wacko? Would you buy into it? Answers on a post card, please…



1. GeekLady - 6, September 2007

…I very much want to meet these Lawkeepers, I think they have one of my USB sticks…

2. Joe - 6, September 2007

I think a line of themed fairy cards could do well, whether or not they get picked up Company X. It may be easier to entice a company to jump on board with an entire series already developed, or maybe you could self-publish and sell a pack of one of each on your own.

The concept is good, and there’s always a market for greeting/note cards. You could be even more successful!

3. Artinthepicture.com blog - 6, September 2007

If you think your cards might have a chance of success (and you obviously already have some clients who would love to buy your cards) why not use one of the online services to publish your own ? You never have to invest any money which is perfect to test the market. If it becomes a success then you really have a good selling point to go to these greeting card companies or just to continue publishing them yourself.

4. babychaos - 6, September 2007

Geek Lady, welcome back, when I have finished I will make sure you get to see what the Lawkeepers look like.

Joe, cheers for the endorsement and you are spot on, companies always like something tried and tested.

Artinthepicture, thanks for the encouragement and I another excellent suggestion!

I read something on Joe’s blog about companies that let you publish bits and bobs so I have now got links to cafepress and zazzle – there’s one over here called Vistaprint which is quite good, too and I have an eye on Etsy too.

I’m thinking about note pads maybe and some cards as well as the posters and flashcards I already have. Then I reckon it’s a case of taking a stall at my local Farmer’s market, which has a craft section to see how they sell.

Hmm… methinks I really should think quite hard about giving up the corporate puff altogether.

Cheers y’all


5. Geldoff - 6, September 2007

The three laws of successful selling:
Law 1. Don’t give up.
Law 2. Don’t give up.
Law 3. Don’t give up.

Okay, so Company X thinks your work doesn’t fit its market; there are other companies. Don McLean’s album “Tapestry” was rejected by 34 music publishers before MediaArts Records picked it up and released American Pie as a single and the rest, as they say, is history. You might like to have a look at the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook or the Childrens Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook to find out which companies are interested in greeting cards in your style.

Nobody sells themselves as well as other people sell them. So why not invite one of the people who suggested that you send your designs to Company X to have a try. That way it’ll be a new face in front of Company X, and one with an objective view who truly believes in your designs. If you could get several people to do it then Company X might just look at the clamour and have a rethink. and if they don’t what’ve you lost? 🙂

6. ali - 7, September 2007

can I have a fairy that will get rid of cockroaches for me? 🙂

or maybe a fairy that helps the Mister remember stuff…:D

hmm..instead of getting a card company to do your stuff, couldn’t you come out with your own prints? and then you can have an internet store for that and send them by mail..then you could have your own card brand and draw whatever you like. 🙂


7. Rachel - 7, September 2007

just have to accept that this is the truth and stop sending them things, like a frickin’ idiot. It’s bad for the ego, annoying to them – even though they are always very nice about it – and it makes me look a complete tit.

No, it doesn’t. How many stories have you heard of successful authors that got hundreds of rejections before they finally started selling their novels? Did they look stupid that they kept trying? Nope. It might never work, but it doesn’t make you look bad.

And I love the fairy idea. I think I’d like to decorate my office with them. Except that there’s no room on my cubicle walls anymore (they’re full of childrens’ art) But there is this kitchen I painted 18 months ago and STILL never got to actually decorating… hah – that would be perfect!

8. babychaos - 7, September 2007

Hey everyone! Thanks for the encouragement.

Geldoff Writers&Artist’s yearbook, both types, check (live and die by that thing). I hear you about the three rules of selling whether it’s to the public or a buyer it’s the same AND Don McLean… Beatles, Mr Spangly, Roddy Doyle… there are so many.

I have thought about asking a friend of my Mum’s who is a seller for the card bunch to suggest they look at my designs as I’ve been told this is the best way to get them to listen.

Ali, I have been thinking about doing it myself, too! After all, if Roddy Doyle can self publish his books I’m sure I can get a little stock going and sell my own cards. On the fairies side, although I have no fairies to remove cockroaches there is a special type of gremlin which takes the words from your brain just as they’re about to come out of your mouth so you forget what you were saying mid sentence. Perhaps they are the ones affecting your Mister! 😉 They do it because in the twilight dimension they live in there is no way of manufacturing words so they have to steal or recycle ours. That’s where all the old newspapers go (don’t believe the hype about recycling). I might see if I can get hold of the Fairy of Remembering to do things just in the nick of time!

Rachel. Thanks for saying that. I’m sure that’s true and thank you for the Fairy vote of confidence… The whole idea should be so not me but now I have an idea of something like Ricky Gervais’ Flanimals, only about all sorts of strange and unlikely fairies and goblins who do things like wash up, take the ink out of pens you thought worked, position windscreen smears, make the phone ring when you’re on the loo… you know the kind of stuff!

Cafepress or Zazzle definitely sound like a good place to start, just to test the water with designs and see what people like…

Thank you again, you’re very kind people.



9. Bruno - 7, September 2007

And ofcourse, which I forgot to say, I wish you the best of luck with this and I’ll definitely be one of the first to support this new adventure.

10. RubyShooZ - 8, September 2007

Hey Love, I found a few minutes here and been trying to catch up (it’s not gonna happen but I can try) – and after reading your post and seeing that fairy, the very first thing that came to my mind was “Wouldn’t that be a great illustration for a childrens book?” .

It’s not something you mentioned but I wonder if you’ve thought of it at all? I do love the idea of the fairies though and thought too they’d be great titles for children’s books and you could prolly go wild with them.

Just my two cents.

Peace, love and fairies.

11. Mrs. Nicklebee - 8, September 2007

BC, I agree with everyone else. Don’t give up! I love looking at your work! I have nothing else to add but my pro-BC vote. Self publishing might be the way to go. Are there any touristy gift shops in your area that might sell some of your stuff, like notecards? Oh, and I love the fairy idea!

What does Mr. BC say about this?

12. Geldoff - 8, September 2007

Of course with all the wonderfull ideas we’re coming up with means that we’re all millionnaires already. 😉

13. babychaos - 8, September 2007

So many ideas so little time eh Geldoff! Ruby and Mrs N, I have some illustrations for a book coming along… although very slowly! Possibly faster as time goes by though!

Mr BC loves the fairies idea and yeh, there is a book cooking!



14. chrisfiore5 - 8, September 2007

hmm… how about the Godfairy of kite flying? still chuckling over that one.


15. emon - 10, September 2007

You probably know the story already but I like to relay it a bit differently. Almost every publisher turned down her new book deeming not marketable or some other shit they’d explained to her…but one of them thought J.K Rowling’s story about the boy wizard had something to it.

When established folks/companies (read asshole suits) can’t figure out what to do with your work yet your supporters feel you should be all over the place…then you know you’re on to something while the suits are out of touch and full of shit.

I’ll bet you this. Sometime soon they’ll all wish they ‘discovered’ you and your work first. You can have a lot of fun posting their ‘we don’t see your work for our market’ letters on this blog. Leave it to us to ridicule them in public.

I like your fairies series idea. I’d buy it.

16. babychaos - 10, September 2007

Chris, too right, the fairy Godmother of invisible black struts lost for ever in the grass, kind of thing! Emon, I had heard something about JK Rowling but didn’t realise the entire story… I guess anyone who ever achieves anything like this, at whatever small level, has to have some Beatles at Decca moments first!



17. Martha Mihaly - 10, September 2007

Hey babychaos,
It’s a blessing really to not accept rejection. No doesn’t always mean no. Sometimes it means ‘not yet’ or ‘not now’.

Don’t drive yourself crazy. Drive them crazy instead!

I like your fairie.


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