Happy New Year from Bluehour Studio!

Debbie Styer 2013
 2013 was a strange year. Full of triumphs and disappointments. My business was pretty steady and I got into a few new shops this year but really need to focus and get myself out there in order to survive and thrive as an artist. My biggest disappointment? The holiday season. Truthfully, it was a pretty harsh reality check this season. I suppose I need to figure out how to sell illustration when customers are more interested in buying hand knitted scarves...Anyone have any ideas? My head is still spinning....

So, of course, It's that time of year and I'm sitting here thinking of all big changes I'll make happen in the next 12 months. The New Year is filled with such promise. It is a great time to reflect, get rid of what is not working and start again with a clean slate. I'm getting so excited to get going! Here's to an amazing 2014!!!

  1. Redo portfolio site! I need to add some of the illustrations from the book I've been working on.
  2. Finish that book! My deadline is April 1st!
  3. Create a hand written typeface for the book!
  4. Find part time job. This is pretty crucial to my well being!
  5. Get more involved with The Makeshift Society.
  6. Get more involved with my SFEtsy family. Help out more!
  7. Introduce myself to more magazine and blogs. Get published!
  8. Make more art! (At least 2 pieces a week!)
  9. Experiment with new projects!
  10. Make a new jewelry collection!
  11. Apply to City Arts Gallery!
  12. Less Etsy, more Gallery! (Of, course I will still be adding more work to my shop, but I think I need to get my work out there in the real world, where people can appreciate it up close)
  13. Start working on larger, more complex editorial pieces. 
  14. More walks, more cafes (basically get the hell out of the house more)
  15. Daily Journal writing... I'm restarting The Firestarter Sessions book!
  16. Get my work into more stores. 
  17. Start visualizing what my Big Picture looks like, instead of being bogged down by the little things!
  18. Exercise, move...get more energy to do more stuff!
  19. Make more connections, collaborate on projects!
  20. Redo this blog! Write more, post more, connect to others work.
  21. Keep learning and pushing forward!
  22. Bring camera with me always, take more photos, capture more references for illustrations.
  23. More mini vacations! 
  24. Get more organized!
A thought...I going to print this list! Carry it with me. Post it on the wall! Don't forget it!

What is on your list? 
Now imagine yourself with all the things DONE! Feels pretty good doesn't it! Yep!
Here's to You! May you have an amazing 2014!

It's Meetup Time...Happy September!

Joy of a Fallen Leaf by Arthur Rackham, 1906 via Plum Leaves
 I just love September! There is just something about the crispness in the air that brings me back to hard work and learning new things. Last month was ok. I got a few things done but clearly not enough. As a small business owner, September forces you to kick yourself in the butt and get all those ideas that have been floating in your head all summer to become reality.

Saying all that, here's what I have planned for the month:

  1. I've got a few custom portraits in the works, create a system to get multiple projects going at once. 
  2. Create a final cover and back cover for my book.
  3. Work on couple Halloween projects...yay for spookiness!
  4. Add a few new pieces to my Foundlings Series.
  5. Create a few new Writers Portraits, I've working on Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde right now!
  6. Update my portfolio with book pieces.
  7. Contact a few blogs/websites about my work.
  8. Apply to City Arts Gallery
  9. Research Holiday Fairs...Apply!
  10. Finish book!
  11. Learn the ins and outs of self-publishing.
Ok, now breathe! Are you excited about September? What projects are you most excited about?

What's The Meetup? Do you have any business goals to share? You are welcome to join us at The Meetup, where creative people join together online and encourage each other to share their goals and dreams each month. Sound interesting to you? You can find out more here.

New Month...New Possibilities!

Playground Springies (detail) by Debbie Styer 2013

I'm ready to start August anew! July flew by but I was able to get a lot done.
  1. I finished my first of my writers series, Edgar Allan Poe.
  2. I created new blog post and illustrations for "The Declaration of You! blog lovin' tour.
  3. I entered the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, (see illustration above) I didn't get to the next level but, man, did I learn a lot. I'm definitely going to enter more illustration contests. Do any of you know of any good ones?
August is always an intense month for me. It's my birthday (hello 42!) and it is the crazy catch up/planning for the upcoming holiday season. I also need to figure out my next big career steps and change my direction a bit.

It has been difficult lately, as any freelancer know, jobs tend to ebb and flow, and I need to figure out how to get it all a bit more balanced if possible. Here's my business plans for August.

  1. Design postcards to send to publishers.
  2. Create dream lists of art directors and publications.
  3. Learn best way to approach blogs about my work.
  4. Finish book!
  5. Design cover for book.
  6. Create at least 2 new illustrations a week.
  7. Blog 2x a week.
  8. Help out with SFEtsy Bootcamp!
  9. Increase hours at New Bohemia Signs.
  10. Create a illustration logo!
  11. Relax a bit and enjoy a mini vacation with my husband! 
I think that gives me enough to do this month... Yeesh! Here's to a fabulous August! I hope you all get tons of work done!

What's The Meetup? Do you have any business goals to share? You are welcome to join us at The Meetup, where creative people join together online and encourage each other to share their goals and dreams each month. Sound interesting to you? You can find out more here.

It's Meetup Time! Here's to June!

Here's a Sneak Peek of my book!
Wow, May went by so fast! My head is still spinning... But I am heading towards a fabulous summer. May was a pretty good month as far as getting stuff done. I wish that a got a bit more done but my energy is up and I am ready for good things ahead! The illustration portion of my book project is 95% done, will the perfectionist in me always going back for more. I've been busy figuring out the typography and all the layout options.

Here's what I will be up to in June:
  1. Design book cover, front and back.
  2. Design title page with spot illustration.
  3. Finish up custom portrait, ( my goals is to  get 2 custom portraits a month)
  4. Write guest blog post/blog tour for Michelle Ward & Jessica Swift (The Declaration of You!)
  5. Learn about art licensing options.
  6. Start working on freelance projects.
  7. Create new art to my writers portraits series.
  8. Get outta town (aka don't forget it's summer).
  9. Get back to a better blogging schedule (currently reading, Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho)
  10. Rework portfolio site. Add more editorial work!
  11. Work on editorial projects.
  12. Exercise, I just gotta...
  13. Rework my Etsy Mission Meetup.
  14. Join in more Makeshift Society and  SFetsy Events
  15. Research Summer/Fall Art Fairs. Do any of you have favorites you like to go to or participate in?
So that's my month. I hope you all have a amazing and productive month!

What's The Meetup? Do you have any business goals to share? You are welcome to join us at The Meetup, where creative people join together online and encourage each other to share their goals and dreams each month. Sound interesting to you? You can find out more here.

P.S TODAY ONLY (June 3rd) I am participating in this amazing/crazy sale with other members of SFEtsy. Save 40% off everything in my shop! Just use coupon code SFEtsysplash40 when you check out! Enjoy

Let's Focus on Illustration

Last night I went to a talk about blogging at the Makeshift Society. One of the speakers was Victoria Smith of SF Girl by Bay, one of my all time favorite bloggers. I was so happy and inspired to talk to her for a bit. I'm amazed at all she has accomplished on her own.  It got to thinking about my own blog and what direction it is going in.

So here's what I'm thinking...I've got a lot to learn about being a professional freelancer. I've gone as far as I can on this level and would like to see what else there is in the world. I would like to share a bit of this learning experience with my readers. Maybe what I'm learning will help others on their art journey too.

After a years of reflection, I've come to realize that some of my favorite things such as helping others, doing research and illustration might actually be a good thing to share with the world. Maybe this sharing thing might be the one thing that is missing right now.

One of the biggest things that I have learned in the last few months is the importance of community. I think one has to surround themselves with creative folks to take some of the pressure off themselves. I mean, no one wants to do everything alone. We all need a cheerleader or two.

 The next few months I will be focusing a bit more on graphic design and layout. I won't bore you too much but I'll be putting may hours into taking Lynda.com online computer classes. This summer, I will also be publishing my first book collaboration. I'm pretty damn excited about this and will be sharing a bit more after I meet with the author again in early June.

Here's to learning new ideas and sharing them with the world!

P.S. As a reader, do you like the idea of sharing? Is there anything you would like me to focus on?

It's time for the May Meetup!

Mlle. C.H. Dufau painting Via Library of Congress

 It been a very interesting month. I was excited about the upcoming SFEtsy show that opens tomorrow. Woo Hoo! Most of last month was spent getting ready for the art show. I'm only showing one original and some prints but I had to totally work my Etsy shop to reflect the sizes and prices the gallery wanted. April was a huge learning experience and I am excited about what's next.

May is going to be another busy month. And I'm switching focus a bit.

  1. I want to start focusing on the bigger picture with my illustrations. I want to start focusing on editorial work.This will require a lot of research and learning about the industry. Can any of you recommend any good books on getting into the publication world?
  2. Get a better blogging schedule. I've lost my way a bit and really need to get back to posting at least 2 to 3 times a week.
  3. Add more pieces to shop. Add more folk tale illustrations (seasons series). Learn about SEO and better tagging.
  4. Work on some editorial for my portfolio. I think I need at least 15 editorial pieces by the end of summer.
  5. Get Jewelry done! Consign to shops and add to shop!
  6. Work on new custom portraits.
  7. Create a couple samples for custom portraits.
  8. Go camping...get out of the house and into nature.
  9. Get back on an exercise schedule.
  10. Research local art fairs, apply to at least one for this summer.
  11. Apply to more galleries.
  12. Work on money fears issues. I am currently reading, "Overcoming Underearning" by Barbara Stanny. I highly recommend this book. It has really been blowing my mind.
So that's where I'm at. Seems like enough to keep me busy, don't you think? May should be a really good month. Bluehour Studio will be celebrating it's two year anniversary in July and I really want to be in a good position the time come around. It seems like a really good time to push myself. Wish me luck with all that!

So what is your month like? I hope you all have a super creative and highly productive May!

What is the Meetup thing, you ask? It is a group of creatives that encourage each other each month to make and complete their goals. Join us...it is an amazing to watch the progress of others and yourself...
Contact Liz for more info here


Ok, so I am a bit embarrassed to admit this but,  I have always had a huge problem with procrastination.  I think I am finally starting to break through this crappy part of my personality. To help with this, I've been reading, "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore, and it has been super helpful. It has helped me rethink my approach to "work".  Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm getting pretty excited when I can cross things off my to-do list.  It feels so good.

I found this little guy outside tending to the lavender in the backyard. It is so cool watch how fast they fly around and get shit done. I'm working on that. So... finally as of this week  bluehour studio is an official legal business. All the paperwork is done. YAY!!!!! (I'm doing a happy dance now)

Little steps...can be kinda big. Don't you think?