Monday, October 27, 2014

When Big Ideas...Fail

I just did something that made me very, very sad: I deactivated most of my newly uploaded prints and printables from my Etsy store. Why am I even sharing this? Because I'm disappointed and I want to talk about it. And because this blog is about being real, and in addition to all the awesomeness of life, I want to share the imperfections of life. We all feel disappointments, and I think we can all relate to that. Here's my latest disappointment and how I'm turning it around:

Sometimes you have big, bright ideas. Sometimes you get so excited about these big, bright ideas that you go after them, with all your heart, at full speed. Sometimes it all works out perfectly, with everything falling into place just as you wanted.

And sometimes, it doesn't.

Actually, in my case, everything did fall into place, at least at first. I had a great idea for a project (I won't disclose what, because I still intend to complete this project and want to reveal it when it's done) that would require me to get into Photoshop, and start offering digital downloads on my Etsy store. This got me thinking that first I should reproduce all my canvas paintings in digital format to offer as affordable downloads and prints. It was a great idea, and I dove in headfirst. I bought a laptop, spent hours and hours scanning my art, editing in Photoshop, making thumbnails for photo examples, uploading all my new offerings. Everything was going great...


I'd been feeling anxious about my new offerings for a couple weeks, even though I couldn't really figure out why. I did all the exhausting work right, I'd done the research, I knew the best way to print my files, and the best way to offer files for customers to print at home, but something in me didn't feel ready. However, I figured my files were as ready as they were ever going to be, and kept ignoring what I thought was just me being over-critical.

Then tonight it dawned on me as I pored over copies of my prints: my cute little canvas sets with their simple, charming art silhouettes don't translate well as scanned art.

I took all the time to scan each hand-painted canvas, edited slightly in Photoshop, and called it good, but the result wasn't perfect. I realize now that a hand-painted image has a different charm with slight imperfections, canvas textures and brushstrokes, but as a digital file, it would look better made completely from digital elements, at least for this particular style. I knew from the start that my canvas sets could be easily digitally reproduced from scratch, but I wanted to maintain my integrity as a handmade artist and use my own personal art as opposed to clip art that anyone could do. A great ideal, but not a great result, at least in my experience.

So what happens when you fail? You can give up, or you can...
There is good news! The fact that I became more critical of my work is because, since this project began about a month ago, my Photoshop skills have improved immensely! What was 'good enough' before, I now can remake even better! However, re-doing all those hours of hard work sounds overwhelming, and I plan on taking a break from it in order to focus on my original project that was my inspiration to create these prints in the first place!

Making these prints gave me the skills and info I need to proceed with my project that I wouldn't have had before. So this 'failure' was worth something! And if I keep getting stuck perfecting my failure, I will never get started on what I'm really excited about. So there it is, I failed, it sucks, I'm mourning its loss, but now I'm letting myself move on for the time being and focus on my mystery project.

And not every digital file was scrapped! I created one piece that is more the direction I think I should go in terms of digital files and prints. The artwork is still handmade, yet was designed and created specifically to be a print, and translates beautifully as a digital file:
It's a bummer to feel like I'm starting over, but I think it's actually a great place for me to be.

How have you turned failures around?

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