I am a bit late in posting today because there was a little switch-up on our schedule. We decided to get to the gym as early as possible so we could get back here as soon as possible and get to work. I think Keith is feeling the same sense of being overwhelmed as I have been feeling the past couple of days. There always seems so much to do and last night at 9:30 as we were both still working on stuff for the business, I heard him mutter “why aren’t there 48 hours in a day?” I wonder where I heard that before?
There are so many behind the scene tasks that take up time regarding the business. Things like correspondence with both businesses and personal customers are the type of things that are necessary, but sometimes it is difficult to see how far you push the pile when attending to those things. I truly enjoy corresponding with customers and answering their questions, as well as participating in the few forums or on Facebook. Its a good part of the job and something that makes the job fun and interesting. But in the past week or so, I have had little time to socialize – whether it be for business or pleasure and I have been just trying to keep up with things and keep pushing the pile.
I spent the majority of the day working on the 36 photographs that I am using for the witches’ boots pattern packet. I find that when presenting a pattern for painting, it is especially important to calibrate the colors so that people can get a clear picture of what is going on. Each of the 12 boots have three step-by-step pictures which show the base coating, shading and highlighting techniques that I used to create them. In order to have perfect consistency when I take step-by-step pictures, I use the scanner whenever possible for these shots. That way it doesn’t matter whether it is sunny or cloudy and it eliminates the worry about making sure that the pictures are the same size and that the lighting is the same. It works very well for flat items such as ornaments and makes it much easier to make a professional looking pattern.
The final presentation pictures however, are done with the camera using a light box. I feel this gives the truest color and overall makes the best looking pictures. On all of them, I like to remove the background, so that you don’t see the boxy gray shadow around each shot, which can be distracting and look messy. I have to turn a blind eye to my earlier photography in my older patterns, as this is something that I have learned along the way.
Keith is in the process of working on the 500+ photographs from all our patterns to date. Since as I said, many of the patterns were created years ago, I certainly didn’t have the knowledge or experience to do things in the most consistent and efficient manner. Many of the photos had giant file sizes, and the quality was poor. While a couple of hundred of kilobytes doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, when compiling them into a 25 page catalog with over 500 pictures those extra kilobytes really add up. The photos of the projects in the catalog are characteristically small, with many being under a square inch, so it is really unnecessary to have a 750 KB photo used for that item.
So Keith has been spending the past couple of days going through every single photo and adjusting it and many times improving it and bringing them down to a size that is functional for the catalog. Not only will this make the catalog easier to maneuver on our own computers, but also it will hopefully reduce the 4mb size that it is in PDF form so that people will be able to download it much quicker and those who may not have the most up to date systems will still be able to browse through it without much problems. We haven’t heard any complaints so far, but reducing the file size will only improve it we think.
Also there is the issue of the older patterns that I talked about regarding my painting patterns yesterday. Unfortunately, there are also instances where I have some older patterns that are really nice and cute, but not in the catalog or on the site because of the older formats used. Below is one example:
This was a set that I designed probably a dozen years ago. In finding them and looking at them, both Keith and I thought they were nice and we really liked them. I think that I am going to re-cut them and recreate the pattern and make it over again. It is something that we both feel that our customers will enjoy and it will be worth the effort.
Not all of the older patterns are like this. Some are hideous and better left dead and buried. But it seems a waste not to offer some of the ones we feel are acceptable to stay hidden and with most of the line work done, it seems like a good choice to take the time to recreate them.
The same goes true for my painting patterns. Many of the dozen or so that I like are done in a different brand of paint than I use now. In order to make the pattern packet with the step-by-step pictures that I feel is necessary for a proper pattern, I will need to re-paint them and choose new colors from the DecoArt paint that I use now. But again, that isn’t a bad thing. I found some designs that are really cute that I think others will really enjoy. When I first created them over ten years ago, I didn’t have an outlet for others to see them or buy them, as I had neither a wholesaler or a website. Since working with the Artist’s Club and Monika Brint and getting some exposure from my paintings, I find that more and more painters are coming to my site and I want to have more things and designs to offer them. These would certainly be welcome there.
So it is quite busy. Today I am going to be writing up and hopefully finishing the boot pattern. I also am starting to draw the next and last set of ornaments that I will be submitting for the fall flyer for Artist’s Club. I have a good idea of what I want to do, and I think they will be cute. I will certainly keep you all posted on that as I develop them.
I wish you all a wonderful Monday. I told Keith this morning that I had a feeling something good will happen today. I don’t know exactly what it will be, but I am looking forward to it. He thinks I am crazy, but that is OK. There are just some days like that when I wake up and feel like this. More so than not I am not disappointed.
I hope you all have a wonderful day too. Have a fun and product Monday!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"