I went to Collectormania last weekend, and I’m still recovering from the awesomeness that was the weekend. Awesome and exhausting I might add. I also almost got murdered (but not really).
Despite the fact I went to Birmingham MCM a couple of months ago, I feel like this one actually counts as my “first” convention because I had a full table all to myself, and had actual, proper stock. At MCM I had art prints and did commissions, but limited space and very little planning. This time I had a whole table, which actually ended up feeling like WAY too much space for little ol’ me but it ended up being fantasticly good fun.
I met so many incredible people, including all the Artists Alley folk, and some brilliant people
The highlight of the entire thing for me had to be the ever growing development of what has now been dubbed “The Llama Army”. I had a little A6 pad of paper and encouraged everyone who stopped at my stall to draw a llama and add it to the gallery of Llamas, which soon evolved into the army. There were people who insisted they couldn’t draw a thing, or hadn’t drawn since they were kids, or were extremely shy about having a go… and they all drew llamas, and they were all beautiful 😀 My favourite experience was a little girl who seemed quite shy, she drew a llama and looked SO proud of it, I got the impression she didn’t think she could do it but she DID and it was just so lovely.
Here’s a video of most of the llamas that were drawn this weekend (some were taken home by their creators)
Other exciting things included getting to see Hodor from Game of Thrones from a distance and fangirling slightly, as well as actor Deep Roy, who is SUCH a lovely and talented guy. I didn’t meet either of them because I didn’t have time to properly meet them but watching them from a distance was neat, even though I did feel a little bit like a creepy stalker.
He was awesome, and drew a llama while dressed as carnage. I approve.
I’m not sure when my next convention will be, but I’m already looking forward to it!
My Kickstarter ended a little over two weeks ago, and since it was rather successful, I’ve had a busy couple of months. Namely, I’ve been a busy bee getting the files ready to print. This has been an enormous learning curve for me – making sure the files are print ready isn’t something I have a lot of experience with, but I’m lucky I’m working with a very patient and helpful bunch over at Stones Ashford Ltd. I’ve had about 500 questions, but they’ve answered them without issue which has been extremely helpful!
I’ve also added the preorder to the new and improved Book Shop so if you want to grab a copy go right ahead and reserve yours. !
It’s gonna take me a while longer to get the book sent out – it’s still going back and forth between me edting it, thinking its fine, and then having Patrick check it and find more things to change. It’s the joys of self publishing while being dyslexic – you can check something 100 times but miss the glaringly obvious error, and then 101st time it jumps out at you like a glow in the dark tiger.
But it is coming! More updates to come…
Llamas in Pajamas Zine!
I’ve also been working on a couple of things Llamas in Pajamas related – namely I’ve just released the first Llamas in Pajamas zine. It’s an 18 page booklet with remastered versions of the first few Llamas in Pajamas comics that were released around a year ago. It’s something I wish I had when I was at the convention last month, basically to have something Llamas in Pajamas related that I could sell! They look great and I’ve already sold a handful online, I’ve got copies going to America, Australia, Europe, and of course in the UK. Knowing that Llamas in Pajamas is an internationally liked comic puts a giant smile on my face! 😀
There are more Llamas in Pajamas things in the works, but they’re a secret for now. Until then, enjoy the zine and I’ll catch up with you all soon!
Love you like an octopus!
Last weekend, a friend of mine put on Facebook that they were selling part of their table space at Birmingham MCM Expo. I’d told myself that, at some point this year, I would go to a comic con and have a stall and sell stuff. When I told myself that, I fully expected myself to be prepared and have a lot of stock and be ready. But, being the person I am, I saw my friend’s offer and was all “Hell yes, let’s do this thing!” and signed up. I wasn’t prepared. I had no stock except art prints.
What followed was a chaotic week getting everything prepped, not even being sure exactly how much table space I was going to get. Overprepping is better than underprepping and having an empty table, so I brought Too Much with me and my teeny stall looked okay since it was only a few days in the making.
And it was fun! I met so many awesome people. People who came up to my stall after seeing the llama comics and being all “OMIGOSH YES, THIS IS SO ME” was probably the highlight – getting to see peoples reactions to my work in the flesh. I was surrounded by amazing artists, sat next to me was Sammy Borras who’s work is SO GOOD, obviously my friend Ryuuza who is also AMAZING, on my row was Laura Howell and there were people like Sarah Graley… I have to admit I felt a bit like a fraud surrounded by all these amazing people. But the important thing was that I was there and I put myself out there and crossed off one of my goals for this year. And the biggest main thing – I learnt SO much about what to do differently next time.
One of these things is: Omigosh I REALLY need to get Llamas in Pajamas books made up. A lot of people were asking about them. I have bumped it up on my to do list.
The other incredibly important thing is that I bought this guy.
IT’S AN ALPACA AND IT’S WEARING PAJAMAS.
I HAD TO.
In other words, I have the willpower of a small child.
My absolutely favourite thing about the entire thing though was an experience I had drawing a commission for a young girl. She must’ve been around 12-13 years old and she seemed super shy about asking for a commission. When I gave her the drawing, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed “Oh my gosh, it’s SO cute!” and took it off me eagerly. She seemed to have a bit of a skip in her step afterwards and it really stuck with me. I think doing caracatures – even cheap £5 chibi caracatures like I was doing – you have to capture the Real person. You have to see them. When I’m drawing people, I want to see you, not just draw what I see on the surface, but the inner-you. I think maybe I captured that girls inner-person and that said “Hey. I see you. You’re awesome.” And that’s kind of why I love drawing. You get to capture people’s truths.
I’ve always felt that my website is a reflection of who I am as a person. Who I am as a person changes regularly – since I’m a human being I’m always evolving, changing, and growing. Because of this, every few months, I feel this deep, inner pull at my heart strings – “I’m growing”, it says. And as a result, my website feels outdated and I need to make a change.
So I did.
Welcome to the new design of Sarah and the Strange! It puts the blog back on the front page, and looks more simplistic and clutter-free. Does anyone remember when I would blog every week? I wrote tonnes of blogs, and had a pretty solid community of people who came and commented. I stopped blogging when illustration and (ironically) writing became my focus because I felt like I should focus on making products instead of wasting time writing blogs. But I really miss blogging, writing my thoughts down, getting in touch with all the interweb people who find themselves somehow on my website. I wanna start it up again.
So I’m gonna.
My life right now is kind of in flux. I might be more financially secure than I have been for a long time, in that I have a very location independent job, and my kickstarter was a runaway success. But my living situation kind of turned on its head and I’m in a position where I have to move ASAP, and it feels a bit like having the rug pulled out from under you. Swings and roundabouts, ups and downs, life is a rollercoaster etc. I throw myself into my creative projects as an outlet for the insanity life throws at me!
I’ll figure it out 🙂
A long, long time ago (
in a galaxy far, far away), I had a website called Everyday An Adventure. It’s no longer active and I’ve lost all the posts on it, because I’m a numpty who forgot to back it all up. The purpose of the website was to document my adventures, basically little mini blog where I shared all my fun activities – not stuff that was Facebook worthy, but big stuff like places I’ve gone and exciting things I’ve done. When I stopped using the website, I kinda stopped tracking the adventurey stuff, and ended up not doing them as much.
I want to bring the Everyday Adventure back into this website. And since it’s my website and I can do what I want, I’m gonna go ahead and do that very thing.
Starting with my bucket list.
I wrote my bucket list in… ooh, 2010? And I’ve crossed a handful of things from it. But sharing it on here gives me a bit more accountability and might be fun for other people to read, too! (See, I’m not just an illustrator and storyteller! I’m an all round oddball :D)
I have given my bucket list a permanent home here and I’ll be keeping a journal of everything I’ve done from now on on my blog.
Inspired? Make your own bucket list! Start out with a small list of maybe 10 things and grow it from there. That’s how I started, and now I’ve got over 100 things on my bucket list! 😀
Hey everyone! So in a couple of weeks I’m going to be launching a kickstarter to fund my very first Children’s Book, Love You Lots Like Jelly Tots! I announced the kickstarter last week, and since then I’ve had a bunch of comments from friends and family admitting that they’re not quite sure what a kickstarter is, and that they’re a bit confused by the whole thing. These people want to help me, but they don’t know how! So I’m here to help you figure out how to support my kickstarter.
If you have any more questions, please please ask me! If you want to support me but don’t know how, all you need to do is ask. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook me, or contact me in any of the ways you usually do 🙂
What IS kickstarter?
Ok this is probably a good starting place. Kickstarter is a website that let’s a person or an organisation get the financial backing to run creative projects. For example, I need £700 to fund the first print run of my book. In order to get the money, I ask lots of people for small donations. These small donations build up and eventually (hopefully) by the end of the month I have the money to print the books.
Kickstarter isn’t a give with no return process, either. Each kickstarter offers something called “rewards”. When you donate (or “pledge”) to a kickstarter, you are buying a particular reward. In my case, I’ll be offering anything from digital copies of the book, to printed copies, signed copies, commissions, and more.
What if you don’t hit your target?
If I don’t hit the £700 target on Kickstarter, I don’t get any money. Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” platform, meaning even if I raise £699 and no more, I get nothing. The project flops, and I pick up the pieces and figure out what I did wrong. It’s a big risk, but at the same time it could reap enormous reward… However: You won’t be charged for your pledge until the campaign has ended successfully! At the end of the month, if I’m not successful, you don’t get charged and your pledge doesn’t go through. If I am successful at the end of the month, your pledge will go through!
Why Kickstarter? Why not just find the money yourself?
True fact: I’m broke. I’m a self employed independent artist, what do you expect?! I could get the money together myself, but it would take a long time and frankly by the time I do it, I’ll probably have finished a whole bunch of other projects that I really want to work on as well! Doing a kickstarter means, when successful, I’ll have access to the money right off the bat. There are other benefits too – Getting a successful kickstarter is a huge marketing boost, you reach a whole new audience who might not have heard of your work, and make all sorts of new connections. Plus, it’s fun. Yeah, you heard me right. This is fun!
What’s stopping you from just taking the money and running?
Honestly? Not a lot. There’s a lot of trust involved in this kind of project. There are also, however, a lot of better ways to scam people out of their money and if I really wanted to do that kinda thing, I wouldn’t be doing this. Running a kickstarter campaign is a LOT of work, and I’m more interested in creating books and drawing pictures and telling stories than I am in stealing yer money. If you don’t trust me, don’t pledge. Simple as that 🙂
I have to give my card details to Kickstarter but I’m nervous – is it safe?
It it absolutely safe. Kickstarter has handled over $9 billion worth of transactions since it started, and hasn’t had any issues with security. And at the end of the month, when the campaign is over, you can remove your card details. Please remember to do this AFTER the 31st of March if you’re planning on doing it, or you’ll have to give them all over again in order for the pledge to go through. Remember – Kickstarter doesn’t take a payment from you until the end of the campaign, in my case that’s the 31st March.
For more information kickstarters security, you can view their own FAQ about the subject here.
Coming next: HOW to pledge on kickstarter
UPDATE: We did it! The book funded in just 14 hours and reached its first stretch goal of £1000 by the 24 hour mark 😀 I’m blown away by the success! Thank you!
Love You Lots Like Polkadots is my first fully illustrated Children’s Book. It has been available as a PDF for over a year, but I’m finally making the step to getting it put into print. To do that, I’m launching a kickstarter on the 28th February and I would love it if you would be a part of it.
This is a 36 page, fully illustrated, beautiful vibrant children’s book about love. My target goal is £600 – this allows me to print out 50 copies of the book, including the cost of shipping the book and other rewards to each location. £600 is the minimum amount needed to get the minimum number of books printed and shipped.
What rewards are there?
Of course on kickstarter you don’t just donate money with no payback! Here are some fantastic rewards that you can expect to see:
- Digital copies of the book, and the digital colouring book,
- Your name in the book
- Signed copies of the book,
- Copies of the book with illustrated inside covers,
- Fully illustrated, handwritten thank you letters
- Much more!
I’m also planning some fantastic stretch goals in case we smash through the above target. I can’t give too much information about these yet as I am still working out cost, but I’m excited about the possibility of reaching them!
Tell me about the book!
I originally wrote this book as a silly little poem for my boyfriend. It was three stanzas long but he loved it and encouraged me to share it online with my followers. I got fantastic feedback from there, and I was encouraged to make the poem longer and then illustrate it as a Children’s Book.
What it evolved into was a magical full colour PDF that has been available as a downloadable file on my website for some time. And it had a beautiful reaction; people messaged me saying their children loved the book and they would quote it at each other. They were requesting multiple rereadings of the book, and would join in on their favourite pages. It was bringing parent and child closer together, and I knew then that the book had to be brought into print.
What followed was a year long journey learning about self publishing. I’ve always wanted to self publish children’s books – it’s been my dream ever since I was a kid – but I had no idea how to do it. But I found a fantastic publisher who helped me edit the files, and I finally got the proof copy in my hands shortly into February this year.
The print copy is coming and I can’t wait
I can’t quite explain how much it means to me to finally see the end of this project in sight. I absolutely adore this book, I love reading peoples reactions to it, seeing the smiles it puts on peoples faces, and hearing small children shout “Love you loads like BIG EXPLODES!” at each other genuinely makes my day.
I hope I have convinced you to jump on board with us on this project. I’ve got a whole bunch of work to do in between now and the 28th when the Kickstarter launches, but I absolutely can’t wait for the day to come! Come and join me, and we’ll get this book in PRINT!
See you on the 28th!
(PS: Love you most like a spooky ghost!)
2017 is so close I can almost taste it. I’m so ready for this year to end that once or twice in the past few days I’ve actually been preemptively writing 2017 on the dates. Usually I struggle to get the right year when I’m writing it down, because I haven’t mentally made the transition into the new year, but this year it’s like I’m jumping right in!
For a lot of people I know, 2016 has not been a good year. For me personally, the last few months have been the hardest time of my life. But I don’t want to focus on the obvious issues I’ve had to face in my personal life because I’ve already talked about them a lot. I want to focus on what I’ve done this year, what I’ve accomplished this year, and what I want to focus on next year to make it a year to be proud of.
Jumping in the deep end
In January 2016 I made the decision to jump into the deep end, leave the security of employment and try my hand at working for myself. I was making money working self employed already, and I’d always struggled to hold down a Proper Job (something about regular employment makes me go crazy) so it seemed like the best thing to do. Twelve months later, looking back on the decision, I can see that I wasn’t 100% ready and I probably should’ve waited until I was a lot more financially secure… But I learned more in the first 6 months than I would’ve done through anything else. I made so many mistakes, but I can honestly say I’ve learned from them and when I relaunch my business in January I’m going to be putting it all to use.
Yes, 2016 for me was the year of the Book – I redid the illustrations for my first ever Children’s Book “Love You Lots Like Jelly Tots”, finished the illustrations for The Girl Who Could Fly* and self published my first colouring book. I learnt bucket loads through all of these things but unfortunately failed my ultimate goal of getting one of my children’s books physically published. What can I say, things kind of got hectic. Next year I will actually be able to get them printed, and there’ll be more information on that coming in February.
*(although I later discovered that most of the illustrations for this need redoing. Ah well, live and learn!)
Etsy, society6 and more
January is also the birthday of my Etsy store! It’s apparently quite uncommon for people to make more than 10-20 sales in their first year of Etsy, but I’m happy to say I’ve made over 50 sales. I’m gonna be having a huge discount to celebrate my relaunch next month, and it’s equally going to be celebrating my Etsy birthday. I also started a society6 store, where you can buy loads of my artwork on… well… stuff. Awesome stuff. These two outlets have been fantastic for me!
Llamas in Pajamas! and other comics
I can’t make a list of all the awesome things I’ve achieved this year and not mention Llamas in Pajamas. This comic has kind of been my Thing, it’s brought a lot of people to me and has given a lot of people a lot of smiles. Other comic achievements have been finishing the first chapter of Space Bunnies in Space and while that’s taken a back seat for the mean time, me and Patrick will be starting work on it again in the new year.
I turned 30
Not a big deal perhaps but for me it marked a change in my attitude towards my business. Back at the beginning of the year I decided that if, by my birthday, I wasn’t doing well, I would go back to working for someone else. While I wasn’t doing amazingly, I was turning enough of a profit to be able to keep doing this. I decided, rather than go back to full time employment, I would focus on building the business and helping it grow.
Cards for Cancer
I started the Cards for Cancer project this year and it blew up. I really threw myself into this project, the original goal was to raise money just to support my brother while he recovered from surgery. When he died the month after I started it, I put the money towards helping my parents instead. We raised almost £400. The project itself isn’t over either. I want to bring Cards for Cancer with me, every year putting the money towards different charities that helped my brother throughout his illness. I’m still ironing out the details on this but I’m hopefully going to be able to give you more information around February time.
Last, but certainly not least, I should talk about my Patreon. I absolutely love the platform of Patreon, and while I didn’t start it in 2016, it’s grown from strength to strength. I’m currently taking a short break from the platform but I’m relaunching it all in January with all new content. I’ve got some pretty exciting goals to work towards and 2017 is gonna be the year I reach them!
So what now?
As you can see, 2016 has been a very busy year. I’d actually forgotten half of these things had happened this year! I’ve been more productive this year than I think I’ve ever been and it’s fantastic to see the growth I’ve made. Stepping into 2017 is going to be challenging. I’ll be making a new post next week to discuss what my goals are for next year, but I can assure you if this year is anything to go by, 2017 is going to be extraordinary!
Lots of love