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The Learnening

Sometimes your personal learning process can take months instead of days. Onward.


I was having issues recreating my Love Nico designs in Illustrator. I’m not beating myself up about that- I just learned how to use it a few months ago, finally caving into something I managed to avoid for almost two decades. This program is a beast- so much so that it has actually BENT my Surface Book 2 from the heat. I’m serious. This expensive piece of sh*t now has curves in all the wrong places.

My issues weren’t with the program, though- nor were they stemming from any lack of knowledge in it. I took an amazing course through LinkedIn Learning and the teacher made sure I was well equipped to know how to achieve what I wanted.

I had to find out the hard way that my design skills were left behind in the dust of the current talent out there. My eye needed updating. So I practiced, tried, and tried again. And I looked at a lot of other artists’ work- particularly t-shirt designs.

After attempting a remake on about 8 old Love Nico designs, I finally started nailing it.

In the meantime I’ve already developed a different style for my “art” art, and those pieces are coming out the way I want. But they live on a different label, and therefore on different websites and online markets.

There will be a lot more Love Nico to come. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to bother keeping her alive (which is very obvious according to previous blog entries). But she’s getting upgraded. If I can look at a screen of my goods without a to do list of corrections- which is what’s finally happening- then I know I’m on the right track.

I think this is the first time I’m actually excited to work on Love Nico in years… it’s high time.

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K.I.S.S. (keep it stupid, simple)

The Pinktastic Paintstick that made all those "GUNNED" shirts.

(keep it stupid, simple)

I hope I don’t have any people that are still following my work at the moment, because if I do, I must seem like the world’s biggest flake.

But I swear I re-built and then tore down a brand new e-commerce website and exchanged it for a blog for a reason. Several reasons, in fact.

I’m now a first time mother, and I had TWO kids at once- identical twin girls- so my time (and my funds) are quite limited.

After about a year into momhood I thought to myself- “Okay me, everything is settling, I should make use of all of this art and fashion crap lying around and bring in some income while working from home to the soothing sounds of Sesame Street.” Picture a slightly overweight 30-something in black stretch pants “thinking” out loud at a couple of wide-eyed baby creatures while flashing flash cards of the ABC’s from a treadmill, in one ear. The poor things, what are these girls in for man?

I did some homework and looked at my options, trying to come up with a game plan that would fit all of these massive changes in my life.

First of all, making everything myself (t-shirts, hoodies, and whatever else Love Nico used to offer online), at home, is absolutely not an option– too time consuming, too much effort for nowhere near enough money. That was out the window right away.

But I had been keeping track of the fascinating growth in the POD (Print on Demand) industry, and I had a pretty good sense of how much more has become possible. The biggest drawback used to be a lack of ability to recreate my apparel. Love Nico has always been printed flat on a table and eyeballed instead of using a silkscreen machine- this expanded the printing area of my shirts to wherever I wanted. Then there was the look and feel of my bleach and color remover distressing techniques. Now things have changed and POD offers All Over Prints, some of them cut & sew, too. This means I can translate my originals exactly. For about a fraction of the cost as it stood in 2005, 2006.

So a couple of months ago I built a brand new e-commerce website through Shopify, and added the POD providers I’d chosen (Printify). But- no.

There were several factors that made it necessary for me to include extra apps, such as specific shipping integration and fraud scanners- which incurred extra cost. I didn’t realize exactly how much my monthly bill would come to until I woke up with my “account overdrawn at early am” notification text. Well, shit.

I sat on it for another day and then somehow, amidst everything else going on in this house, my brain managed to come up with a new format for all of this.

1- have a blog

2- sell on other websites that don’t cost you billions of dollars

3- put links on your blog

4- sit back and pray

And here we are.

LOVE NICO is still a brand.

It’s still out there. I’m designing like crazy right now, and there are a ton of products to come. They just won’t be on this website.

They’ll be on Etsy, Redbubble, Amazon, and a few others.

As soon as I made this decision and set this site up today, luxurious thoughts had the room to flood back into my mind again. Thoughts like, “I should take a shower”. You know. Nice things. So I know I made the right choice. It’s far less headache and I can get back to doing what’s important- focusing on the quality of the designs- rather than feeling like my website’s too empty so I should rush crap up there and expect people to pay for it. Naw bro.

Also, why am I so concerned with recreating Love Nico as it was? I’ve always been a painter, and an illustrator, and that’s where my real talent lies. Print on demand services ALL offer great wall art options- gallery wrap canvases, posters, matted and framed pieces- so do I have to keep making those repetitive guitar t-shirts first? Can’t I get back to my roots, and draw up some farting unicorns?

You know what, I can. And I will. So this is the first step. You’re reading it.

For those of you who have stuck with me all this time, I seriously thank the hell out of you. You’re beautiful. I promise it’ll be worth it. Farting unicorns here we come!