Interview with Anna Grape from A Grape Design

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Tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Sweden with my boyfriend and dog, and work as a freelancing illustrator and designer. I take commissions from companies and also have my own shop where I sell my illustrations.

What do you craft? How did you learn?

I illustrate, both digital and analog techniques. I’ve always loved to draw, but it was about 6 years ago that I started to do it more and thinking about a career in illustration. After a couple of years of practicing, I started to get sort of good at it.

Your style is very unique. How would you describe your work?

I would describe it as lots of colors, pattern and details. Fun and sort of childish in a way.

Can you give us a little insight into your process? What materials do you use and what is your favourite medium to work in?

When I work with markers, I first sketch with a pencil, and then fill in with marker pens. Then I scan it and color it in photoshop.
With my digital illustrations, I work with a wacom and photoshop.
I don’t really have a favorite, both techniques have its charms :)

What sort of things are inspiring your right now? Where do you go for inspiration?

I just finished a collection called Mods, so naturally I had a lot of inspiration from the sixties and the mods fashion. I often get inspiration from fashion. And animals.

When do you feel most creative?

At night usually. I have a lot of musicians a friends, and when they are jamming or whatever, I often get inspiration and sit and draw and listen!

What is your proudest career achievement to date?

I got to make a poster for a famous swede, for his tour. It wasn’t really a creative achievement, since they wanted the poster to look exactly like the Sound of music poster but with his head instead of hers, but it was cool to see my work on posters and billboards!

What would be your dream project?

Oddly enough I can’t think of anything. Well, I have dreamed about having an exhibition, and having a bit budget so that I could make super big 3d-models of my characters, and other weird stuff. That would be so much fun.

You can find Anna’s awesome work on her Etsy store – A Grape Designs

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Interview with Becky Kemp from Sketch.inc

Sketch.inc is one of those stores that I could quite happily buy everything I see. Not only is Becky a talented artist with the most gorgeous prints available for purchase but she also stocks a range of Geometric Brooches, Nesting Dolls and the cutest Plates I have ever seen! The one thing that I love about Becky is that she has her own unique style which makes her store stand out from the somewhat crowded Etsy marketplace.

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Becky Kemp and Sketch.inc is the home where all my Sketchbook creations can reside. Sketch.inc HQ is my home studio in Colchester in the East of England.

You sell a variety of items on your Etsy store from prints, nesting dolls, brooches and more. How and where do you find the inspiration for your products? 

My inspiration comes from everyday life! Places, events or memories. I wouldn’t say that any one thing inspires me. My sketchbooks act as a visual diary where I can doodle and mess around with colour combinations, pattern designs and character sketches. The nesting dolls for example, where inspired by the memory of defacing my Grandmother’s Russian Dolls as a child with a marker pen.

You have a very unique and distinct style. How would you describe your style? Are there any crafters, artists or designers that you look up to?

I enjoy the act of play and discovery, I guess that’s why I’m attached to my sketchbooks. My work is an exploration of geometric abstraction, Japanese illustration and Nordic aesthetics. I particularly enjoy the characters of Kay Bojesen and Alexander Girard.

What is your favourite medium to work in?

I am a Sketcher and Painter at heart but I would never define myself as either. I love to learn and test new techniques, you never know what surprises and ideas you may stumble upon. There are so many fantastic mediums out there to express yourself, I find it very hard to stick with just one or two.

When do you feel most creative?

My Ideas seem to flow better when I’m sleepy. I worked night shifts in my last job for nearly 10 years so working late is a habit I don’t think I will ever break.

Where can you see yourself and your business in 10 years time?

I’ve recently worked freelance on licensing my designs which was a lot of fun and something I hope to do more of.

I will always be a strong supporter of the small handmade entrepreneur but I guess to move the business forward manufacturing is the next big step for me. As a small business owner it’s difficult to know when to take the plunge and it’s something I have struggled with in an effort to keep Sketch.inc’s carbon footprint as small as possible. Hopefully I can keep future manufacturing exclusively within the UK and support our economy but it’s not easy.

And words of wisdom to anyone starting a business on Etsy?

Funny you should ask! I started posting monthly Etsy Tips on the blog back in August.

Etsy can seem like a minefield when you’re starting out and I wanted to pass on what I’ve learnt so far to save others the time and mistakes I’d made along the way.

I guess the best piece of advice I could give is to standout in a crowd. With nearly 1 million sellers on Etsy getting noticed is no easy task but creating your own shop style is probably the most effective way to be recognised.

What’s your favourite product in your store and why?

My favourites change pretty often but I do love the Frida Kahlo Print. She started out as a commission piece but after a few alterations from the original I listed her on Etsy.

I think I enjoyed researching her work and life as much as I did painting the portrait. The surrounding wreath is filled with symbolic elements from her life and work. I have a few more iconic ladies sketched and waiting to evolve in paint which I hope to finish in the new year.

Find out more about Becky and Sketch.inc on EtsyFacebookInstagram or her own blog.

 

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Interview with Catherine Keher from Per Dozen Design

I just love it when you come across a store on Etsy that is so unique and wonderful that you can’t help but get a little excited as you scroll through their products. Whilst picking out your next purchase, you are busy choosing the best spot in the house to display it because you know it’s going to be a conversation starter. Well, I found that store and it’s called Per Dozen Design.

We interview the very talented Catherine Keher from Per Dozen Design. Her beautiful plates can be found on her etsy storeOr follow Catherine on her Facebook Page for the latest updates on her work.

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a designer, maker and teacher. I live in Ireland where I teach art to high school students and printmaking and photography to adult students.

Your work is just so striking and unique! Tell us how you started out and how you came up with the concept of drawing such beautiful images on plates?

A lovely reaction – thank you! My work developed by firstly selling my craft pieces at a great market in Dublin called the Dublin Flea. I began doodling on plates and nervously brought them to the market to sell. They got such a good reaction it gave me the confidence to make more, develop the designs and finally to set up my Etsy shop.  In my other artwork I have always had an interest in capturing sound as a visual and most of my doodles have been geometric shapes and patterns. When I discovered these wonderful porcelain pens – I had a new doodle surface! I have always loved art that also has a function so I’m delighted that the illustrations can also be used.

How would you describe your style? Are there any crafters, artists or designers that you look up to?

I have been very much inspired my my travels to Berlin and Scandinavia over the years. There is a beautiful clean aesthetic to so much of the design there. I hope that my work captures a little of that but also with an element of fun. There are so many amazing designers and crafters in Ireland at the moment – meeting so many though the markets I have been selling at has been my main inspiration. I would encourage you to look at this website by Irish Design Shop who showcase the best of Irish design.

What is your favourite medium to work in?

I trained as a printmaker so paper will always have a special place in my heart. But at the moment I am really enjoying learning about ceramic processes and have been developing porcelain jewellery which I will have up on my Etsy shop, Per Dozen Design after in the new year.

When do you feel most creative?

About two days before a deadline when it is too late to act on it!

Where can you see yourself and your business in 10 years time?

I just hope that I am continuing to be a maker and designer and enjoying whatever level of success that comes with that.

Any words of wisdom to anyone starting a business on Etsy?

Just do it! Even if you only have a few products to sell, start setting up your shop – it is the best motivation and so satisfying to make something and be able to show it to the world right away. Etsy have lots of very helpful videos about setting up that you should watch – how to photograph your work, how to price it, and read about people who got to give up their day jobs because of it. I found that the most inspirational!

What’s your favourite product in your store and why?

The whale and bear illustrations – I really love drawing them!

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