Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cleaning Up

When I do something not-quite-right the first time, it always gnaws at me until I change it, or improve it, or go the extra mile to make the needed adjustments to my satisfaction.  In some ways, I can be a perfectionist (NOT with housekeeping though, but laundry folding DOES have to be exact!), so when I make something that my silly brain deems imperfect, I can't ever see it with the same eyes as other people.  Remember the artwork I made a few months ago titled "She Shows Sea Shells"?  This one?:

Gah!  I don't even like looking at it in this state!  Well, I considered it finished, I framed it, and even displayed at a gallery, but I never liked the thing really.  For one thing, the hand on the left is all wrong.  I can see where the left hand and shells makes sense to be blurry, and I drew it that way on purpose, but as the arm comes toward you, the viewer, it should be entering that area of tighter focus that shares the same depth-of-field as the right hand and shell.  That would be the photographic term for it.  Anyway, that doesn't happen in this drawing.  And yet, that's not how I cared to correct it.  I was ready to saw off a couple inches on the left side, and the top, and re-center the rest of it after painting the background solidly with a smooth, matte paint.  And YES, that's exactly what it needed, in my humble opinion.  And frankly, the primary opinion I'm concerned about, when it comes to my artwork, is my own! But if feedback from others is important at ALL, my decision to alter this artwork was confirmed as the correct course of action by the mere fact that the piece sold immediately after this change occurred.  Actually, it sold before I was completely finished with it.  So, do you agree that this change was the way to go?

It's a much cleaner presentation, and I'm happy to have gone back to clean up that mess!

I'm also in full swing selling my beaded bracelets for the holidays.  After finally completing two display racks, my bracelets look more professional.  I  purposely made the displays with a rustic look, and that style also blends well in the two galleries I've chosen to sell my work:  Art Connections Gallery in LaGrange, TX, and Mosaic in Smithville, TX.

If you're interested in a nice hand-made gift for someone, stop by either of these awesome establishments and see my work, and lots of other fine things!  Also, if you're the kind of person who doesn't like shopping at an actual store, you can check out my website (  and custom order anything you see there.  I am happy to make bracelets in your exact size, with just a few subtle changes to the design so that they can always be called 'one-of-a-kind'.

While I was at it, building these display racks, I decided to redesign my logo to fit the rustic handmade feel I was going for.  After all, the word 'handmade' is in the name, so I felt it works better to look loosely rendered, even though it is an actual font, not really hand-written.

...and the related logo for my price tags:

In keeping with the heart icon in the logo, I started using a heart-shaped punch to make my own price tags.  The first batch only showed 'RK h' without the smaller '' printed below it. You can see them dangling in the picture above, but here's a close-up:

I realized I needed to reinforce the whole name, besides just the initials, so the second batch of tags were printed with the small print added.  So.... a step in the right direction.  I'm using antique brass eyelets, natural hemp thread to tie the tags, and I'm complimenting everything with the packaging, using 'old gold' tissue paper and rustic brown kraft paper bags with handles.  My first order of business cards came back with the square logo off center, so they reprinted them, but I was allowed to keep the original ones.

With a quick trim, the design was centered, and I cropped the bottom information, just keeping the logo, which I attach on the bags.... and viola!  No need to print bags or stickers for now.  The only change I made to my logo was adding the heart, so these will have to suffice without the heart until I make stickers with that new version of the logo.

Here's a little tip, if you want your own custom tags, but you don't want to print thousands of them.  Use an inexpensive printing service, like Vistaprint or Overnight Prints, and have a small quantity of post cards printed of multiple images of your logo.  It's a little tricky to get the layout precise, because you'll want to be able to punch out your logo with the right amount of border around it.  In my case, the heart shaped punch would require a lot of white space at the top of each logo.  But with careful planning, I was able to get them spaced correctly.  It helps to print a paper copy first (even a poor copy will do), and punch out the tags, if there's a specific shape you're going for.  Also, don't forget the likelihood that the printer may not register your design exactly.  You'll want a little wiggle room in your layout, meaning a little extra space around all sides.

If you're going for a square or rectangular shape, and you don't mind a little variation, you can slice your logo's apart willy nilly, and it really won't matter how they're spaced.  I've seen really cute tags made by using scissors with the deckled looking zig-zag edge, and they looks just fine.

I realize the average person feels their eyes glaze over about now!  I get it.  I'm not one of those people, but it's okay.  But we can all appreciate cleaning up our to-do list, and wiping out those pesky tasks we've procrastinated on for so long.  So, I'm cleaning up my act!  How 'bout you?