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Creative Goals and the First Quarter of 2019

Creative goals
I decided it was a good time to see how on track I was with my creative goals for 2019. Ironically I couldn’t remember what my specific goals were. I had to look back to a post I wrote in December. Here’s what I wrote:

My Creative Plans for 2019

  • Paint within a theme. 15-30 day challenges. Explore a theme for two weeks or more. Give myself time off in between.
  • Grow my Etsy shop. At the end of 2018 I began offering my illustrations as digital downloads on Etsy.
  • Learn and explore. I want to continue painting acrylics, would like to try block printing again, and have signed up for a sewing class!

My Creative Reality January – March 2019

I am not really painting in themes for 2 weeks to a month. But what I am doing is painting five mornings a week and working on what I feel like, which are often seasonal illustrations. I am very happy with how this is working out. The work I’m currently doing in the mornings is leading to products for my Etsy shop, as well as using all the accumulated illustrations I’ve painted over the last five years.

Growing my Etsy shop is still my number one project. I am really enjoying painting (of course) but also using those illustrations to design different types of digital products. I feel I won’t be truly able to gauge the success of my shop until I have 100 products in it (not including out of season products).

I haven’t really painted in acrylics BUT am committed to making that happen soon. I did take a sewing class and made a pillow, but haven’t motivated to try to make something else. I really want to use my own fabrics!

Teaching wasn’t a 2019 goal (It was a 2018 goal), but I embraced an opportunity that presented itself and began teaching first and second graders at an after school art studio. I loved it! I’ll get the chance again over the summer. One thing I try to do is be open to opportunities, even if they are out of my comfort zone.

I’m glad I took stock on how I’m doing so far. I’m happy with my progress. And even before doing this, I decided that I would try to pursue the other types of creativity on the weekends. Here are my revised goals.

My Creative Plans for 2019 – Revised

  • Paint regularly. 5 mornings a week
  • Grow my Etsy shop.  100+ products
  • Paint with acrylics on canvas. Seascapes including a 2 canvas piece.
  • Teach – online and in person. Note to self – finish the ice cream cone project. I have two other project tutorial PDFs in my Etsy shop.
  • Submit work to a gallery show (I have a specific one in mind)
  • Collaborate with a sewing blogger – is that you? Contact me!

As I write these revised goals I’m realizing that the more specific the goals, the easier it is to go for them. How’s your creative year going so far?

You may be interested in reading “Writing a checklist to help you achieve your Creative Goals”

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Printable St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Pages and Book

Class lesson about Ireland for St. Patrick's Day coloring pages kid's activity
March is a great time to teach children about Ireland. Coloring pages are a great way to show children the symbols, landscape, and even mythical stories of Ireland. I’ve created coloring pages that include:

  • castle
  • thatch cottage
  • sheep
  • donkey
  • shamrocks
  • the Irish flag
  • map of Ireland
  • the claddagh
  • harp
  • leprechaun with his pot of gold

These printable coloring sheets are available individually or order the printable book which contains several sheets together. Fold them and create your own book about Ireland!
Visit my Etsy shop at: www.etsy.com/shop/EileenMcKennaArt
printable leprechaun pot of gold rainbow coloring sheet kids activity St. Patrick's Day printable shamrocks coloring sheet kids activity St. Patrick's Day
Printable Ireland castle sheep fields coloring sheet for St. Patrick's Day Printable Ireland thatch cottage fields coloring sheet for St. Patrick's Day
Printable Ireland St. Patrick's Day Coloring Pages make a Coloring Book Kids Class Activity Digital Download is a great way to teach kids about Ireland. Color and fold to create a book! Perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
The printable book contains six coloring sheets. Fold them and create your own book about Ireland!


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Everything is coming up roses!

Watercolor Roses Heart Valentine's Day or Anniversary Card Digital Download on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/EileenMcKennaArt
I am having such a good time, turning my sketchbook illustrations into various digital downloads for my Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/EileenMcKennaArt.

My shop offers:

  • Invitation borders and backgrounds
  • Clipart
  • Digital prints like family trees
  • Printable watercolor painting tutorials
  • Logos

Printable Valentine's Day cards invitations gifts | Personalized Valentine's Day gifts

With each season and holiday, I’m inspired to paint and draw new things and I can’t wait to see what’s to come. Please come visit my shop! 🙂

Customizable Family Tree Digital Download Printable | Unique Grandparent Mother's Day gift

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.


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My First Vendor Event

Selling art prints at a vendor fair
For the first time – tonight – I’ll be selling my paintings in person at a small vendor event. I’ve shied away from selling my paintings at these types of events, because I did a few when I designed invitations and stationery and they weren’t financially worth the time I put in to them.

I’m working with a different, reputable vendor to enable me to offer art prints for sale at reasonable price points. You can shop too at my website shop.eileenmckenna.com.

The event is an interior design workshop my friend Interior Designer Erin Andrews of Indigo House Interiors is hosting. I was very flattered when she invited me to sell. I want to support her, as she is supporting me. I figured the size of the event makes it less scary.

I don’t have any expectations as far as profit. I’m really doing it as an experiment. I want to see what kind of reaction I get to my work. Are people more interested in prints or canvas originals? I also thought it would motivate me to look through my stuff and figure out what to sell and how to present it all. I’m looking forward to meeting the other vendors, who are creative friends of Erin’s that she has talked about.

Similar to teaching watercolor this past summer, this opportunity came to me, and I’m looking forward to the experience.


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Valentine’s Day gifts from watercolor art

Valentine's Day gifts by Eileen McKenna on Zazzle #valentines #day #gifts
My first countdown to a holiday, with a daily painting/illustration, was back in 2015 when I counted down to Valentine’s Day. I really enjoyed the challenge because for the first day or two you explore the obvious stuff, but as the days go on you dive a little deeper into the theme and get more creative. After experimenting this year with uploading Christmas countdown art on Zazzle for cards and ornaments, I thought it would be fun to upload some of my favorite Valentine’s Day creations. I hope you like them! Click here to visit my Zazzle shop and see them all.


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Creative Holiday Gifts for budgets big and small

Ornaments #ornaments #creative #gifts #Christmas

If you are looking for a creative gift, browse my ornament designs at www.zazzle.com/eileen_mckenna.

Want to make a bigger impact? Canvas prints make a great gift! Browse the available paintings at shop.eileenmckenna.com.
Mini canvas

How about some wearable holiday spirit? Give an enamel Nutcracker Pin!
Nutcracker enamel pin 
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Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.

Get creative with your gift wrap! Six holiday designs to choose from – including these toy soldiers, available at www.spoonflower.com/profiles/eileenmckenna.
Christmas toy soldier gift wrap

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A Valentine’s Day Card and a past career

valentineEMcKennasmw
When my daughter was born fifteen years ago, I left my Art Director job to stay home. I did a little freelance work, but focused on starting a custom invitation and announcement business. Since I didn’t draw and paint the way I do now, the business was part work and part creative outlet. For a while I really enjoyed it, and created some beautiful things. I produced everything myself – trimming and folding, and often added hand details – bows, buttons, layered paper, etc.

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At this point in the industry there were some websites out there, but nothing like the explosion that was to come. I did this on the side, while taking care of my three little kids, from 2000-2007/8. Over time I realized I was spending a lot of time – because it was custom work – designing, finding paper, etc. And I didn’t necessarily get paid for all of it – there was only so much I could charge (that people were willing to spend). It no longer felt like a creative outlet. And by this point, I was taking drawing and painting classes.

The way to make money was to offer a few designs to pick from – and then just fill the orders. But as a designer, what was the fun in that? At the same time, that I was losing interest in the business, the economy shifted. People were not willing to spend money on invitations. Also, the internet was exploding with cute, affordable designs. I toyed with the idea of opening my own online shop. In the end I didn’t, because there was so much competition, and I was burned out.

I started working part-time in an office (email marketing). I found it a nice break from the three little kids at home, and it was much much easier to separate work and home. I spent several years working, outside the house, as a Graphic Designer, dabbling in freelance work from home, and the occasional invitation. I now work exclusively for myself, directly for clients, offering Graphic Design (print/web), and Marketing (social media/email).

What is so amazing, is all that has happened since 2007. Randomly, on Twitter I found Thortful. Thortful is an app, that allows you to upload a card design – make it available to others and/or print it for yourself. They are new, and are just cards. (They are based in the U.K., so I’m wondering what shipping to the U.S. will be.)

Of course there are so many other sites that allow you to upload your designs and purchase and/or sell them on stuff. The one I’ve know the longest is cafepress.com. In the last few years, I’ve learned of society6.com, zazzle.com, redbubble.com, spoonflower.com. Many of these sites have their own twist. I’d love to know, do you have a recommendation?

I’m not sure as a designer, which gives you the best chance of actually making money – again there seems to be a lot of competition. I wonder if there are people out there who make a chunk of their living off these type of sites. It is nice, that you don’t have to handle the production. That you can outsource it without producing large quantities (that you don’t need/might not sell.) You can focus on being a designer. What an amazing world we live in. And what’s coming next?!