Perseverance Watercolor

Watercolor Is For Everyone

It’s important to note that Watercolor Is For Everyone isn’t a how-to painting workbook for how to use watercolor paints. This book doesn’t go step by step through how to create gradients, how to mix colors, or anything like that. It doesn’t give you instructions for painting roses or laying out landscapes. Instead, this is a free-form mindfulness exercise which is about setting loose all those expectations and just playing.

In that sense, it works reasonably well. There are other books out there which cover the basics of how to hold a brush. Other books cover details about creating grassy fields or handling a person’s anatomy. This one here is to shake yourself out of expectations. It’s about simply letting things go.

I enclosed three of my examples from using this book. Sometimes like in “Perseverance” the end result is indeed supposed to look like something recognizable. Sometimes, like in the floral field, it’s sort of an impressionistic project that teaches you a new skill, in this case rolling a brush to form petals. And sometimes like with the “dendrites” which was done with a straw, it’s simply about having fun and going abstract.

I’m a strong proponent of mindfulness. I enjoy the philosophy of the book. So why didn’t I give it a full five stars?

First, I like when Kateri includes samples of a finished project from various other students. That gives us a variety of ideas to look at. She does it sometimes but not other times. I’m not sure why we didn’t get that variety for each project.

Next, there are times where her instructions are confusing. I’ve read a number of watercolor books, so I’m not new to this topic. Even so, there were situations that even after reading a few times it just wasn’t worded well. Similarly, there are cases where the instructions don’t quite match up with the images. She’ll say to do something, refer to an image, and the image contains something that doesn’t happen until the next step. So that also becomes confusing.

I’d like to have a few more examples. I’m not sure why the number 21 was chosen. If there were 31 it’d be absolutely perfect as a month-long meditation which you could restart at the next month. With only 21 lessons, it feels as if you’re left hanging.

This is the kind of a book that I’d buy in shares with a group of friends. I’d use it for a few months and pass it on. Someone else could use it for a few months and so on. Or I’d borrow it from a library. But I’m not sure that I’d keep it in my library and keep re-reading it year after year. By the time I did an exercise 3 or 4 times, I’d know the exercise well enough to do it on my own in my own watercolor practice.

Ask with any questions.

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How To Create an Art Shop on CafePress

I created an hour-long how-to video on my Twitch channel giving step by step instructions on how to create an art shop on CafePress.

Since Twitch only keeps a video live for a short period of time, I have now loaded the CafePress video onto YouTube for you to watch and enjoy:

Here are the text instructions which go with the video. I highly recommend you WATCH THE VIDEO FIRST as I cover many basics in it. Then when you start to do it yourself, use the following instructions to go step by step through adding your own sections. Ask with any questions!

1) Go to https://CafePress.com

2) Click “sign in” (or “join” if you need to create an account). Sign in.

3) Once signed in, click your name in top right to activate the menu and go to “Seller Dashboard”

4) This is your main dashboard for all seller activities. To work with your shops click on “Your Shops” in the lower left.

5) If you have an existing shop in here, you can click on it to work with it. If you don’t have a shop yet, you can click on “Open a New Shop +” to start your new shop. I recommend watching my video to get a sense of how to organize your content with a shop, multiple categories, and multiple products within each category. So let’s assume you need to start a new shop. If you already have a shop, you can skip this next step.

6) Click on “Open a New Shop +”. On this page, customize your shop with useful keywords. Again, my video goes into these types of marketing details. You want people to find you through browsing for “watercolors” or “cyanotypes” or whatever it is you’re creating. If they don’t find you, they can’t buy from you.

Choose a color theme that matches your mood. You can always change it later. Don’t obsess.

Choose products to begin with and choose a starting image. Again, this is all just a starting point. Don’t obsess too much about this stage being ‘perfect’. Just take the steps to get a baseline started.

When you add your default image and press “Create My Shop” BE PATIENT. CafePress is doing a lot of work to do this initial setup. It could take a little while. Just wait. If it stays there for more than five minutes, then go ahead and shut down the window. Go back through the above steps to look at “Your Shops”. You should now see your new shop in the list. Now you can start working with your shop.

7) So at this point you have a shop. On the “Your Shops” page, from step 5, you see at least one shop in that listing. First, make sure you customize the shop as a whole to be able to draw in buyers. Click on the shop name to get to its details.

8) Click on “Edit Shop Profile” – the box with the person’s head – to get to the main details about your shop. Make sure you have a title, key words, etc., that all have words a user is likely to search on. Avoid unusual words like “GibbyGabby shop” – the chance of someone randomly browsing for that is slim to none. If your shop has Mandalas, use the word Mandalas. Use words people are likely to search on, so they find you. Save your changes.

9) Go back to your main shop page by clicking the shop name in your top-area breadcrumb line that says Your Account > Your Shops > SHOPNAME. Now click on “Manage Products and Sections” which has an icon of a tshirt. This is how you manage all the areas and products in your shop.

10) This is where you create sections for your shop and put products into those sections. Again, watch my video for step by step instructions on how to organize your shop. You want to organize it in a way which helps the visitor easily navigate and look through your options. In general you want SECTIONS on your main shop page, each holding a type of image. You don’t want to clutter your main shop page up with thousands of individual products. Create a SECTION for each type of image and then put the actual products within that section. It’s easier for a visitor to navigate that way. So in this storefront of yours, click on ADD A SECTION.

11) Click on “I’d like to add one design to many products”. That’s the ideal type of section to put here.

12) Now you’re defining this type of image you’re loading in. Use good key words that are likely to be searched on. If you are putting up a mandala, don’t name it “happy smily”. Say something like “Serene Mandala of Joy”. You want to use words people are going to be likely to search on. If they can’t find you, they can’t buy your items.

13) Choose the image. Make sure your image is LARGE and CLEAR. If it’s pixelated or low quality, people won’t want it on their shirt. If it has giant branding for you, people aren’t going to want to wear that. If you need to sign your artwork, do so in small letters. If you are taking a photo of physical artwork, do it in sunlight with a camera. Never scan artwork or take photos inside under artificial light – it alters the color cast of the art.

14) Set the price markup based on how much profit you want to make. START LOW. You want to build traffic and reputation for your store. If you set high prices, few if any people will buy your items and you won’t grow a following. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

15) Choose your products. I have defined a set of products called ‘Full Set’ so I just choose that and have my item put onto every item in the store. In the beginning it’s fine to hand select items to get a feel for what they offer. As you get more comfortable, it’s faster to simply define a set of products that has what you want and to choose that set.

16) You can tweak individual products if you want. To me it’s not worth the time. I’d rather simply have my product on every single item, quick and easy, and then move on to the next. Carefully tweaking every single item on the random off-chance that someone cares that item X is a millimeter to the left is a waste of time :). It is up to you. At least to start with, I’d go for bulking out your store rather than twiddling with every single little item.

17) CLICK DONE. That saves your work.

Voila! Your section full of products is now live in your store. Simply keep doing this to add in more items! Ask with any questions!

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