Friday, May 14, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - penelope and pip

Rachael's prints at Penelope and Pip are so lighthearted and fun, it just makes you feel good... and everybody needs a little of that around the house! I first met her shop of little friends when looking for a goat, to go with a blog post about my zodiac sign, Capricorn. What I found, "Don't Panic" was so cute, I knew I would enjoy her other drawings. And all Rachael's illustrations have a story - something that gives the artwork even more depth, if I do say so myself. Come and tell us what YOU think!

  • What's the name of your business/shop?
My business is called Penelope and Pip. I named it that after the original first two characters I found myself drawing when I started studying illustration and design. Penelope is a little girl and Pip is her cat.

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog ?
I have just started a website that is a place where I post pictures I am working on as well as links to other artists that I enjoy. Depending on how busy I am in the studio I try to post something at least once a week.

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I sell prints of my illustrations. I usually design characters or drawings in ink and then use all sorts of layers of colour and texture digitally to create my final piece. I use a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop and since Christmas, when I received a super lovely graphics tablet in my Santa stocking, I have been doing a lot of watercolour embellishing in my work. I work back and forth between all those mediums so it can take quite a while for a piece to be finished. In the future I would like to expand my illustrations onto other mediums, but for now I am just trying to fine tune my skills and create beautiful prints.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
I have been working this week on a series entitled “And then they flew away…” which are drawings of little animals flying away into the sky on balloons. I am always inspired by blue sky and fluffy, sunset clouds, so this was a perfect chance to draw some into my work.

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?

At the moment I am busy drawing some little four-colour mini-prints. These are small 6 inch x 6 inch illustrations using my favourite four colours and they involve lots of new characters. All of them feature a little pink bird.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I always use the avatar of Penelope that I started using when I first went online. Apart from my website, I have a Facebook page which I have just started this week. I am running a competition at the moment to kick it off so some lucky fans will win one of my prints! Apart from that I occasionally use the promotional tools in Etsy such as ‘Showcase’. Advertising is definitely my next project!

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
On my website my favourite widget is Yaami stats. I found Yaami back when I first started my shop and used their widget to create a stats box on my page of my sales and hearts. I always find it so exciting when someone adds me as their favourite and it seriously feels like I have won the lotto when someone buys something. I also find it very motivating to keep track of all the beautiful shops that heart me, especially when you see successful artists.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
At the moment I am only on Etsy, but I am just in the process of joining an Australian site called ‘Made It’ – I like the idea of trading locally. Etsy has been an amazing find for me – it has really inspired me to improve my drawing and to follow my dream of one day being a full time artist. My favourite feature is all of their blogs – reading about artists all of the world and seeing people’s imaginations come to life is exciting.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I have heaps of bookmarked blogs on my bookmark menu! I love reading about people’s work and their lives. Facebook is a new adventure for me so we will see how that goes.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
Apart from research, the best advice anyone has ever given me is to start as you mean to go forward. Since I have been running my little business I have been diligently trying to run it as you would a big company. I am my own Sales, HR, Development, Quality Assurance and Production team, but I strive to provide a quality product and fast, efficient friendly service to all my customers. I think just being friendly and honest can get you much further than you might think.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I have recently been researching this quite a bit as I had a few people asking me about buying my work wholesale and it put me into quite a spin! I am now following the advice I have seen on a lot of other blogs which is to add the cost of your materials and postage and your time and then add a percentage for wholesale and a bit more for sales in your online shop. I don’t really take my time into account at the moment, as I am being cautious not to overprice my work. It certainly is hard to be confident with your pricing when you start, but you don’t want to be too cheap as it undermines everyone else’s hard work too.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
This is the little studio where all my ideas are brought to life. I am usually joined in here by one of my cats Mister Mo. He is lovely company!

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
In the past six months I have felt a strong attraction to heading back to study Illustration full-time for a couple of years so that I can one-day support myself and my family with my artistic passions. For now though, by this time next year I would just like to be continuing with my business and improving all the skills needed to make Penelope and Pip a beautiful illustration folio for people to enjoy.

  • OK, it's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!

How bizarre and wonderful this piece is! It just makes you smile.

I love the thought that goes into all Rachael's work. This is the Moustache Merchant... Reginald "had studied hard at school and found himself graduating in at the top of his class. There were so many options open to him: medicine, law, assistant to the Manager of the Biggest Corporation in the World. And yet, something from his past lured him to a profession far from the halls of the prestigious universities...he indeed had become a merchant, a purveyor of the finest moustaches in the world..."


BeadedTail said...

Oh her work is so fun and whimsical - I love it! It makes me smile! Wonderful interview!

NICO Designs said...

What adorable illustrations! And I find it fascinating that people can use the computer so well with their art since I can barely understand my photoshop stuff:)

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

What cute illustrations :) Love the little kitties :)

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