A new online market stallholder (no fingerless gloves required!)

Just thought I’d shoehorn in a little extra post this week as a.) I’m driving myself slightly mad dithering about what precisely I’m going to submit (after either rummaging through recent work of, thus far, indeterminate purpose, re-imagining and finessing some previous idea, or fashioning something entirely new into being) for the SCBWI Illustration Print Exhibition (venue: Winchester Writers Conference); and b.) I have the small matter of a punishing half-marathon charity race to run on Sunday, which I am anticipating will preclude me from doing – or even thinking – anything constructive for at least a day or too either side…

Over the last couple of months I have made some increasingly concerted efforts to resurrect my greetings card designing-and-selling enterprise (first mooted way back in February, I believe) and, in addition to some investigative truffling re. the all important print side of operations, have made my first tentative steps into the vast, coruscating ‘handmades’ marketplace that is Etsy. My own little virtual trestle table within what is, essentially, a ginormous and really rather intimidatingly-professional (none of your dried pasta and poster paint collages here – as far as I’ve been able to discern…) craft fair is still somewhat sparsely stocked, but I’m trying to add new items every few days now in an attempt to build myself a more convincing presence: please do have a quick browse if you have an idle moment to spare: illustratedbyamanda’s shop, for which I whiled away an afternoon painting up banner to hang above my assorted wares:

I’m afraid that my attempts to complete the required Etsy account sections have, rather predictably (for anyone familiar with this blog…), been severely blighted by my propensity for extreme verbal incontinence when confronted with a computer keyboard. This unfortunate condition is further exacerbated when attended by a need to communicate a lot of information, and especially where the manner in which such is to be expressed is governed by a vast array of Handy Tips and Pointers (which must first be read, assimilated and reconfigured before being disgorged as comprehensible text), must conjure an impression of oneself as both professional yet endearingly ditsy – a salesperson but a pretty nonchalant, friendly one – and is subject to the (probably unintended) tyranny of Useful Online Examples. In short, I managed to tie myself in ridiculously elaborate knots, attempting to distill all the functions I had identified as necessary to the language of description I used in each instance, that I have a horrible inkling the resultant word-orgy serves only to confuse and befuddle, rather than explain – calmly and concisely, and with an air of breezy (but, note, not smug or ambivalent) effortlessness – what I am about and how my wares may wend their way out into the world. It definitely needs some serious slicing and chopping about – being careful, though, not to create a Frankenstein’s monster of unintelligibility in the process – but is holding the proverbial fort for the time being while I marshal the other strands of my new Etsy endeavour into position.

While I intend, eventually, to have a veritably dazzling array of items on display in this particular little ‘shop window’, I have – as I mention above – been focusing chiefly on the greetings card element. However, with a view to offering something a little more bespoke and in the ‘handmade’ spirit of Etsy (art/illustration prints are permitted), I have been experimenting with a few different ideas that might serve as examples of potential commissions people may wish to make under the ‘Request custom item’ service. First among these is a (perhaps…) rather niche but nonetheless adaptable (I’m certain there’s a whole comic-reading population out there that might happily consider adopting a similar moniker – and physique – for the purpose a celebratory illustration piece…) design created for the inimitable Marvellous Dave (MD) in the occasion of his 30th birthday earlier this year:

That it bears only the most illusory resemblance (i.e. inclusion of a full and bristling beard, and a slightly-receding-at-the-temples hairline [shhhh!]) to the original MD is really immaterial: the comic book/graphic novel superhero stance and costume, dice belt buckle, and emergent numerals have all been rather obviously shackled to the cause of personalization for this particular individual’s birthday, and are intended to demonstrate how simply employing two or three points of interest/specificity can precipitate a construct entirely unique to the chosen recipient and one which is immediately identifiable to them. ‘Is the theory.

Similarly, lassoing a couple of Stupendous Steve’s (SS)* distinguishing features (super-short hair; Desperate Dan jaw) and splicing them together with one of his favourite foodstuffs (jelly sweets), the fact that he and his gorgeous girlfriend were embarking on a 7-month round-the-world trip, and his natural sense of direction (…*ahem*), resulted in a very personal design – one which I really enjoyed assembling, and which I hope SS and significant other shared a momentary chuckle over (with their Bintang while they basked in the amber glow of another glorious Balinese sunset… Moi – jalouse?):

*BFF of MD

Inspired by the forthcoming engagement with my nemesis of physical exertion, the half-marathon, I thought I’d crystallize all the injunctions I’d received to ‘think positive[ly]’ into a handy, visual aid:

Not that I expect a podium position to be reserved for me, or that the air will be fluttering with multi-coloured ticker tape (or, even more absurdly, that I’ll have the energy to be grinning quite so broadly and triumphantly – or, in fact, at all – as depicted), but if I can just imagine myself sailing over the finish line in something approaching he above-pictured condition, there’s a possibility wholesale disaster may well be averted this time!

Incidentally, if you would like the chance to win a signed, limited edition print of one of a selection of my illustrations in the very exciting raffle I have engineered in tandem with the running component of this event (The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon), you can secure yourself some tickets (and find out a bit more about the race and Scope, the charity I’ve chosen to support) by visiting my online fundraising page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AmandaPike and donating safely and securely through the Virgin Money Giving system. £1 = 1 ticket, and there are 10 prints to be won, along with a ‘top prize’ of the opportunity to commission your very own, original A4/A5 illustration! HUGE thanks in advance 🙂

And something truly wondrous to finish with (though, alas, not mine) http://bbc.in/oVOuzM. This one is particularly funny, but they’re all brilliant and I’d definitely recommend ‘Pub Dog’ – priceless, and so cutely observed.

Until next week, when hopefully the blisters will have healed and I’ll be able to sit at the iMac for more than a couple of minutes at a time without wincing with aching-leg-based pain, I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

AP x.

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About illustratedbyamanda

Illustrator and time-fritterer extraordinaire
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