Monday, July 31, 2017

Day in the Etsy Life: Illustrator Cindy Lindgren

by Cindy Lindgren

My studio with areas to draw, work on the computer and drawers full of card inventory.
Ever wondered what a typical day is like for an Etsy artisan? It's different for each of us, but I'll give you a glimpse into what it looks like for me.

First you should know I was a full-time Illustrator before opening my Etsy shop in 2009, so I always intended it to be a business where I switched from illustrating for clients in advertising and graphic design to illustrating for myself and selling my work online. Today my business includes my Etsy shop, an Etsy Wholesale shop, working with retail reps at Anne McGilvray & Company supplying art products to museum and gift shops, licensing/royalty work with Modern Yardage, Spoonflower, Check Advantage and Janome, and consignment with The Linden Tree. I create illustrations that are used for cards, art prints, posters, magnets, checks, embroidery designs and textiles.
I print all my own art prints that I sell on Etsy.
My day starts with packaging Etsy and wholesale orders. Thursday I had two Etsy orders and one wholesale card order heading off to California to box up, print shipping labels and walk to the post office. I live near a Byerly's with a mail service pick up twice a day and banking that is very convenient. Plus, the deli and flower departments are welcome distractions. If I post something on social media, it's usually in the morning after I photograph the listing or have an art show event to share.

I work around the Twin Cities rush hours by doing most work errands between 10 am to 3 pm. Today I pick up postcard promos for The Women's Art Festival at the organizer's porch and deliver a wholesale card order to St. Croix Retail. I deliver all my local wholesale orders to shops like the Minnesota History Center so I can see how my cards look in the shop, get to know the staff and get ideas for new illustrations from them. 
My Birch poster at the Minneapolis Airport store called Uptown.
Most days I eat lunch at home but today I take out my friend out for a birthday brunch at The Original Pancake house to have swedish pancakes with lingonberry sauce. Yum! Then I spend a couple hours working on a new illustration of the Carlson School of Management at The University of Minnesota. A professor contacted me thru Etsy asking if I'd consider illustrating the school building because she'd like to give her graduating students art prints as gifts. Since the UofMN Bookstore is already a wholesale client of mine, I said yes, knowing they would like the illustration on cards as well. I had taken photo reference, drawn up the pencil and was now redrawing it on the computer and adding color. I also spend time doing a little sketching for a new fabric collection I'm working on and keep each project in file folders. I like a tidy organized work space.

Almost every day requires ordering something to keep work flowing smoothly, and today it's ordering boxes of card envelopes from a local company to pick up the next day. Other days it may be ordering cards at a local printer, catalogs, boxes, backing boards, clear packing sleeves or filling orders for posters and magnets. My least favorite part of the business is doing Quick Books for accounting and I have a person help me balance my account and print out tax reports twice a year.

Then late in the afternoon, I head to Lake Harriet to the Trolley Depot to drop off my cards of the two  trolleys I've illustrated for them. They'd like a new card of the depot so I spend some time taking reference shots and talking to the conductor and shop manager about the best angle to show. It's a busy evening at the Depot as kids come at 6pm in their PJ's to ride the trolley and have a story read to them. The depot was my first card client, so they are very special to me. Then I take a short walk by the lake before heading home.

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2 comments:

Brian Western said...

Thanks for a wonderful glimpse into the underpinnings of your art life...a lovely convergence of creativity and discipline--Bravo!

Shelly Daood said...

Really neat to get to know you and your business! I love that you meet with your stores in person to get to know them - human contact and conversation is key. Love this.