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Art vs art

A lovely customer posted me a copy of head2head. The cover looks great! I’ve had a few people tell me that they’ve seen my artwork at their offices and health clinics! I’d love to be able to draw more magazine and editorial illustrations like this.

head2head_mag

Last month my contract with my agent ceased. I’ve always known that business and art making can be competitive, it can get commercialised, it can be very subjective and it can also be brutal to the artist’s ego. I’ve had positive feedback from retailers who stock my stationery, saying that my products and packaging are very professional and very well made. My notebooks and paper dolls have been very popular in store. But I’ve also had feedback from other retailers as being “too cutesy and too kiddy” and requested if I could do general patterned or plainer designs. Or maybe less of my Little Mo character.

redfeathers2

These are all valid feedback and I have nothing against them. As an artist you have to be open to all kinds of criticism. Art can be really subjective, it can be based on what’s trendy and what other shoppers are buying and re-creating the same kind of art and formula. I’ve always known from the start that my drawings will never be everyone’s cup of tea.

As quoted from Sarah “Not everyone is going to want to buy your product. But that’s okay. Finding your target market is about finding the people who appreciate you for who you are and what you do. These are the people who need somebody like you to bring a little handmade goodness into their life. These are the people who want to buy everything you have to sell. And these are the people who will go out of their way to tell their friends about you.”

And I’ve had customers and friends like that! Mostly YOU! You who read my blog and facebook page and bought Little Mo goodies! You motivate me to continue drawing cute and happy illustrations. And you make me excited whenever I come here to blog about a new artwork. Thanks for keeping me in check! While my art isn’t for the mass market, I’m thankful that my art has its own niche.

brown_giftwrap

So for this coming year, I want to work harder at drawing more Little Mo goodies and promoting my art as it is! I’d love to know your thoughts on this post!

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17 Responses to “Art vs art”

  1. Nyjole Says:

    Helena, you are a gem! A gorgeous little gem that shines brightly and always makes me happy. I am, and as you know a complete fan and buyer of your art! For the past year I have seen you grow and blossom into such a wonderful artist and person. You are sweet and lovely, I love your art and you. Never loose yourself in negativism, always be yourself. Why you ask, because I think your are beautiful. ??

  2. Jess Says:

    Absolutely Helena! You have a character, a well-defined style – and it’s your niche. Why would you make ‘general patterned’ stuff when zillions of people do that already?

    I personally think you’d make an amazing children’s book illustrator :)

  3. Nyjole Says:

    Sorry I tried to do hearts but they turned into question marks.

    I second what Jess says about the general patterned stuff, who needs more.
    And the Children’s books sounds such a wonderful idea.

  4. Christine Says:

    Your style is gorgeous and you should be doing what you love not what trends say. We Love Little Mo here :D

  5. littlemo Says:

    Haha nah i’m fine really! xoxoxo I’m glad I got to experience having a wholesale agent and then now being back to myself! I’m even more grateful now for having less pressure and less burden on creating products.

    I guess more importantly I just want to continue creating things that I enjoy…which is probably always going to be cute. I can’t give that up! Thanks girls, you’re my mojos.

  6. Nadiah Kimie Says:

    You can do it Helena :) You definitely have a specific style and should absolutely stick to it. Plus, heaps of people can do patterns, but only you can do little mo.

    However, I reckon you could strengthen your market by coming out with Little Mo story books for girls and boys. I reckon that would be so much fun! You can be the new Peter and Jane :D

  7. littlemo Says:

    Peter and Jane!! I had the whole series from 1A to 12B!! Peter and Jane and Pat the dog!! Haha! Yep I’ll try to work on my own storybooks..it’s one of my goals:)

  8. Karen Harries Says:

    Helena
    You stay strong and stay yourself! Your style is beautiful and enviable. The innocence of Little Mo is sadly something we all lose when becoming grown-ups. Don’t go blending in to the abyss. xo

  9. Caitlin Says:

    I love your stuff so don’t change it one little bit! :)

  10. littlemo Says:

    Oh so true Karen, to be honest sometimes at markets I get the feeling that some people feel shy or embarrassed to come by my booth because it looks too cute and they are all grown ups. But I like your description of innocence and childhood! xoxox

  11. Chantal Says:

    I agree with the many who have already commented. You have such a great style which is easily recognisable as yours. Many other artists would give their right arm for this! Yes, I guess its a downside that with a distinctive style not everyone will be a fan, but then if everyone’s art looked the same the world would be incredibly boring. I think you can still always continue to develop your own style and take it down differnet paths but ultimately, you need to be happy with what you’re producing or you’ll lose heart and end up not enjoying yourself (and that will probably show in your work too!).

  12. Irene @ Missy Minzy Says:

    Hi Helena,
    it’s easy to get side track with what other people might say. The true is that you just keep on doing what you doing and make it perfect everytime you make it. People who love your art/work will see your passion towards what you love doing and it will paid off eventually. Please yourself and not others. Just so you know your work inspired me to be as good as yours. Keep up the good work!

  13. lakshmi sarkar Says:

    Helena, your style was the reason I was drawn to your work. I was able to relate to it very well. Probably because my style is somewhat the cutesy style. But then, thats what sets you apart from others. I could recognize your style anywhere.
    Keep plugging away , do what you do best, and you will reach new heights. Good luck !

  14. Allana Says:

    …what they all said!! We love you and Little Mo at our house and wouldn’t want you to do anything you weren’t 100% happy with. We look forward to the day you announce your book release and would love to be wearing Little Mo tshirts too ;) xxx

  15. iam_artisan Says:

    Oh don’t worry about it Helena… criticism can truly motivate you to know more about yourself, art or simply what you want.

    To quote from what I read on a magazine… “Trash all the positive comments, because you already know that, it will only make your ego big . But read more of the bad ones, for they can motivate you to stand up and be humble.”

    April

  16. Kate Says:

    Hi Helena,

    Little Mo and friends is fantastic and I think it is adorable the way it is.
    Keep up your good work Helena, you do a marvelous job.
    It is Australian artists like you who have inspired others (like myself) to sell products.
    cheers,
    Kate

  17. Little Mo and Friends » Marketing your Art workshop with Helena Tay Says:

    […] draw plainer designs without my Little Mo character. I wrote about that experience in my blog post art vs art a couple years […]

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