27 March 2014

Creativity and Courage




I have been reading a few of my favourite blogs this week and have found a discussion which I find interesting Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? http://nyti.ms/1hfaEw5

Here are some good responses Will Terry http://bit.ly/1m8vVIh and addicted2etsy http://bit.ly/1dR7HNG

Well the people of colour are in a few books, I know this because I collect them. If I see a book with a black character I'm over joyed, start doing a little jig and buy it without a second thought for my nieces or nephews or just for me, I'm telling you the excitement is up there, possibly the same trill as a collector of precious stones presented with the rarest gem. Its sounds a little silly considering it is 2014 and we all "think" "hope" we live in "multicultural" or "colour blind society" that it is still considered such a rarity to I see a black child in a book.

Below are a few from my collection.



As an Aunt and one day Mother I want to show "my children" that they are important and they are included. I think it is important for children to see representations of themselves in all forms: picture books, greeting cards, dolls, animation and movies. Not stereotypes just Kids being Kids, representations that let their imaginations blossom and characters children can identify with.
 

The excitement children got when I did my per-launching for Nyha Cards featuring black and mixed raced children was overwhelming. Kids shouting "Wow that's me mum" and mothers expressing how much there is a need for such greeting cards and how hard it is to find brown faces on cards.



Unfortunately I can't see the current publishing market changing any time soon or fast. Publishing is stats/sales driven, but yes I'd love it to change. A discussion like this is a good starting point, but each person is responsible in some way. 
I know what I need to do, make more art and not focus on the racial hurdles. Talking about racism in the UK brings you nothing but agro it is uncomfortable so it is silenced, swept under the carpet, institutional racism occurs and not much changes.


While studying I was asked by a tutor why I did not represent black people and I should make more art that represented my culture or me. I did create more "black art" and when I graduated I could not find work. My portfolio was rated "too ethnic" or put nicely "not commercial enough" I spent years rebuilding a folio and regaining confidence in my art. 
I changed direction and opted for Graphic Design and I drew animals and I got more interest from Art Directors, Publishers etc. I did not want to get pigeon holed as the artist that only creates black characters. You will find I now create art with black characters regardless to whether it sells, as an Artist I have personally found not represent ones self in art only breeds creative and emotional conflict within yourself.

It is also hard to find direction within an illustration career without many mentors to help guide your way. I create my own way, its quite lonely and I'm always asked where the other black illustrators are... I know a few black illustrators, my fave is Vanessa Bentley Newton.
Luckily I'm an optimist (I try hard) not to see "NO's" as a brick-wall. I am my own publisher and work part-time in a publishing house as a book cover designer. 
I try to create ethnic inclusiveness in my art. I don't want to exclude but to include. Create children that look like me or represent people in my very mixed friendship group and environment. I am sure when the world catches up with my way of thinking I'll get more commissions... the longer I wait the better skilled I become, so a win win situation.

It will take courage, it will take patience, persistence and time.
I'd love to know your thoughts, thank you for reading.
Creative blessings, Ni

4 February 2014

Share the Love - Give Away Time


My month of January was for getting organized, which had been a little tedious but totally necessary. I have a great friend how has set me up with a handy stock-take solution which I can access on all my computers and iphone. While doing the stock-take I found I had some slightly scratched or marked products, which I cannot sell.

Nothing major as you can see in photos.


We all love free stuff and you never have enough notebooks if you’re a stationery junkie like me, I have a limited amount products going begging for a decent home.


So it is give away time! 15 lucky winners will get 2 products each

All you need to do for a chance to win is: 

1) Like my page at www.facebook.com/nyhagraphics

2) Like this picture

3) Share this pic and comment “Share the Nyha Graphics Love, illustrated goodness

Winner will be announced on the national day of love Valentines Day 14th February.

Please note: photo is for reference only! You can find all my stationery, notebooks and badges in my shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/nyhagraphics

Looking for Valentines Gifts?
http://etsy.me/1jdjJrs


16 January 2014

Handmade Christmas O2 2013 An Experience


I have been putting off my Handmade Christmas O2 review but here it is: The Practical News; The Bad News and The Good News. Feel free to skip to Good News :o)

THE PRACTICAL NEWS
In my experience Craft Fairs are hit and miss with the recession the odds are it’s a 40/60 chance it’s a great fair and you make your money back, factors to consider:

• Date - Craft Fairs trade can be Seasonal - Valentines, Mothers Day, Easter, Christmas
• Venue - Is it a good venue, with passing trade or easy to get to.
• Promotion - How is it being promoted?
• Price – Will you be able to make your money back for pitch, you always aim to make a profit I find  craft fairs are very good networking and promotional days.
• Products - You need lovely products and/or relevant to which season your fair is in.

Like many experienced traders I thought the time, venue were great, peak season of year for shoppers, my main product sales come from Christmas and I knew I could make some great new products. It wasn’t cheap, a basic stalls was £350 + VAT = £420
There was a big trust factor which came with Folksy.com endorsing the fair offering a discount, so I took the leap, signed up in July and paid up.

I saved money and plan, created new products for months and negotiated with new and old UK printers. Here are a few of the products, please click to view larger














THE BAD NEWS
Many traders had not made a penny on the first day by 5pm. I had a wonder around and morale was extremely low especial at the back and side of venue and the festive atmosphere understandably did not seem to be flowing at all.

The organisers started getting concerned feedback, but we all hoped Saturday would be the best trade day, but it wasn’t and the organisers were harder to find to ask questions or listen to upset traders. Sunday morning a few of your traders were so unhappy and started a petition, some stallholders had packed up and left, my neighbour so annoyed with the silence and brought her own festive music with the aim to bring spirits up in our area at least.

There is part of my feedback letter to organisers:

“Firstly the price off stand is too much for the traders you are targeting and type of fair you are providing. Trade prices but only a standard market pitch without any frills for example I traded at Portobello and paid £58 per day and arts craft market only £25 per day. Maybe the event should be end November or early December, when shopper are still buying, not many buying customers this could have been one of the reasons. Advertising - Budget for more advertising, you cannot rely on twitter and a Facebook / word of month for an event to be advertised. Show guide, map? What happen to these? I think was the least the stallholders would have appreciated to document the fact they attended and exhibited at this event. Music, Santa grotto more crafts for shoppers and children. Christmas music is a must, not only does it keep the stallholders spirit up shoppers expect it. A lot of customers did not think charging to get in was good as they paid to shop and there wasn't any give-aways other than popcorn or anything to really see. Sign posting of event needs to be better as it is quite tucked away in the back of the o2.”

I haven’t had any response from organisers. I personally would not recommend this event to crafters in a similar position.

Here are a few other reviews

Folksy
http://blog.folksy.com/2013/12/20/handmade-at-the-o2

The Patchwork Fairy
http://patchworkfairy.com/handmade-christmas-at-the-02-a-tale-of-woe/

Sarah B Jewellery
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.237132623129339.1073741874.175891659253436&type=1

A Facebook Group for Handmade Christmas O2 Stallholders
https://www.facebook.com/groups/233359600163916/

I hope some of the issues are taken on board by the organisers and rectified for the
Spring Fair O2 stallholders.


THE GOOD NEWS
I had a great pitch right near the front.






There were lots of visitors as promised, I’m a very happy trader and get caught in a Nyha Graphics bubble I try to keep it upbeat – giving away candy canes, chatting, laughing my Rude Robins open lots of conversation and draw customers in, I also have many combo deals.

I promoted and invited lots of past customers, friends so always have good stream of customers thankfully. Although I pushed myself to an uncomfortable degree to get my products made in time they were all worth it. I shouldn’t have printed so many large bird calendars; my Children’s calendar was most popular by children and adults. I met some amazing creative traders; I have a nice guest book with wonderful comments. I had affirmed my art makes people really happy.

I almost made my stall money back so I am considered one of the "lucky traders" but if I consider the price of my stock some of which I can not sell this year ie calendars, display and decoration costs, chip pin device, transport, hours put it in I made a big financial loss and I was absolutely exhausted.

But my art created, my products, new insight into my brand and how best to move forward have made this experience solid gold.
 
Money / funding is becoming an issue as my products evolve. Its becoming clearer I need more support, guidance and possible need a little team now especial for PR, Marketing and Sales. It’s exciting, scary, my passion is trying to become a real business and I’m thankful I am still learning new things everyday, which can help me with the next steps.

I hope you find this post informative.

Thanks for visiting,
Ni

9 January 2014

Time to Reflect_Illustration Friday Time

Bye Bye 2013, darling 2013 what a year, time went so fast, everything I did went so fast. I made time for art, fun and the people I love - for each of these things, I felt there was still not enough time.
I pushed myself so hard it felt unreal and made monumental steps in a short amount of time.

Now I give myself time to reflect and rejoice in my blessings and achievements. Before I set any more Goals, To Dos or Plans. As an artist you are forced to learn about yourself like it or not... good and bad traits reveal themselves. So far I've realised I am a person, which enjoys learning, expects a lot from myself and tries to do better and be a better person. It’s not easy pursuing dreams, happiness or a different life for yourself. It’s not without resistance or down days, but understanding, persistence and patience are my virtues and the pluses, rewards out weight any cons.

I will take time think, evaluate, give thanks and continue.


This is piece is European Goldfinch on Thistle a illustration from my last 2013 calendar project.




My Calendars are now on sale via Etsy. A little thank you discount code for my blog members 30% off with NEWYEARS30

I have some lovely new notebooks and sketchpad too, so do pop over and grab yourselves a limited piece of my art.

I’ll blog about Handmade Christmas O2 experience and all my new products at the weekend with a few pictures.

Happy New Year, wishing you love, creative energy and growth.
Thanks for stopping by.
Ni

7 November 2013

Reason FOUR - Great Etsy Customer Reviews

Reason #4 for shopping at http://etsy.me/1b8njfZ
Please click image to enlarge.


For more reviews please check reviews  



Thank you for stopping by.
See you soon,
Ni



Illustration Friday - Secret


I'm just finishing up my calendar 2014.
It will be my first calendar ever, so quite excited. I say quite because as some may know. Nyha Graphics is a one women band. I illustrate, design and product everything I sell on www.nyhagraphics.etsy.com and at craft fairs...oh yes and now to a few shops.

The journey to end product can keep me grounded, I'll be really excited once my local printer has given me a nice affordable quote; I get my prints back and all my colours, stock and finishes are as I envisioned. Then I sell it, I don't put too much pressure on myself at this stage, and I'm not a pushy sells lady. If like what you see enough you will buy it. Also I feel this platform is more about me connecting with my peers. Each sale I get or feedback I receive does excite and motivate me and I'm filed with immense gratitude. If I ever get too stressed I always bring it right back to the art, the act of creating is the core think that is important to me.

I have to patient, I am one person, that is the secret and to have lots of fun doing it.

Below are some progress snippets of my bird calendar, which I posted in real-time via my https://www.facebook.com/nyhagraphics





See you soon,
Ni
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