Banner by Linda Tieu
Next week will mark one year since I launched Feral Pony! It's been a super fun year. For my blog parade post I am supposed to introduce myself and my work so I thought I'd share some pictures, thoughts and projects from Feral Pony's first year. Enjoy.
One of my first greeting card designs
Feral Pony was launched at the 2012 Ravenswood Art Walk here in Chicago. It was a fun weekend of
meeting people and hearing lots of interesting comments about my work. If you are starting out or unsure what direction to take your illustration business I really suggest doing a fair like this. You can collect tons of feedback and see what pieces of yours people respond to and purchase. Lots of good information. If you decide to do an art fair be sure to google booth display tips and how to prepare. There is tons of good info online.
I started Feral Pony after years in the fine art/ gallery world. That art world had become very stale and boring to me. I created work for the same small group of people over and over. The gallery audience is a small population. It didn't feel like an authentic creative experience anymore. What originally interested me in art and still excited me were really wonderful images, children's books, often work that would be considered illustration. So I jumped in. It has been so fun and challenging and I have met soo many new people and expanded my audience- I haven't looked back!
One of the main challenges has been settling into a style. When I started out I had a few choices. I've always loved simple line drawing and making funny little pictures but never thought it was "enough." Which was wrong headed. I am also pretty good at realism. I guess I've had the misconception that art has to be hard to do to be something special. But that isn't true. As Lilla Rogers says "People buy your joy." And doing what comes naturally to you and you enjoy is usually your best bet. I still stupidly struggle with these points for some reason- but I'm working on it.
Like a lot of things you just never know until you try. After slogging through some well paying gigs with my more detailed and realistic style I realized - this just isn't fun! I made an executive decision and got rid of the realism. My style has really started to fall in to place since then and now I'm bringing a little of a painterly aspect back into the more free and fun Feral Pony style. This work is mostly in progress though and still in the studio.
One of the most valuable resources for sorting through this has been taking Lilla Rogers Studio School Making Art That Sells course. After being pushed pretty hard out of my comfort zone for 5 weeks, (and after a short rest) I was able to take stock of things and suss out where my style fell short, where it really shined, and where I was just throwing in everything that Lilla talked about and making a crazy unauthentic mess. I learned a lot from those messes! As well as from Lilla and my classmates.
Miss Chipmunk's Kitchen, an illustration I made during the MATS course
All images copyright Molly Schafer, Feral Pony Illustration, except for blog parade banner by Linda Tieu.
Thanks for hanging out!
Now off to the next stop on the blog parade: Doodles and Dalliances the blog of artist and designer Karma Voce whose sweet illustrations and patterns I'm sure you will love!