Update training Voor de Kunstenaar: Fish out of water

Ah well… I thought I would feel like a fish out of water when opening the answers to my survey.


But this couldn’t have been further from the truth!


In two weeks time up to 42 people filled in my questionnaire. Those were people that know me personally, but also people that I don’t even know that well: people who follow me through this blog, facebook, twitter or LinkedIn.


Admittedly, when the first feedback came in, I had to swallow for a bit.


When I studied at art academy, at times I felt so angry about the way feedback was given. One day during painting class Mr. Favorite Teacher told me quite frustrated that what I was doing was the “painting-by-numbers technique”: “What did I think I was doing?!” Steam came out of my ears! Even more so when one week later Mr. Favorite Teacher told me: “Fantastic! You know what you are? A true painter! ” I looked at the satisfied face of a man who thought he had managed to get this quality out of me by addressing the fighter in me.

I have had so many discussions about this. Artists are so well at criticizing each other. Indeed, the fighter in me is awakened when I get negative criticism, but there has to be another way, right? Yes, I am naive, and okay, also an idealist. But besides that it has been proved that a competence oriented approach works best! It is more effective to approach people from a positive angle than constantly pointing out to them what is wrong.

I’ve now become accustomed to occasionally getting it in the neck and I have learned to view feedback from a distance, to not take it personally, but to see it as an opportunity for progression.

This time I asked for it explicitly for a change. At the top of my survey it said: “Be honest, do not hesitate!”


Phew! Prepared for the worst!


And then it shows the people who filled out my list are all very nice! Occasionally there’s a critical note, but always with a positive tone. It has worked so refreshing, and enlightening, to be in touch with potential customers this way.


What a pleasant people, those ‘fillers’ of mine!


Prior to the survey, I posed the question: Will the people filling in the survey be most attracted to the work that is closest to my own handwriting?

And the answer is yes!

At the moment I’m working on building my new website. My own style is getting clearer every day. And what happened? The interviewees appreciate that style the most!


A summary:
(Scroll through here if you do not like figures)


The survey was completed by:
62% female
26% male

Of which:
45% 25-34 years
19% 35-44 years
19% 45-54 years

On average, the interviewees purchase a creative/ artistic product between 1 and 4 times a year (44%).

My work is appreciated with a 7 (out of 10) by 43% of the interviewees, and with an 8 by 36%. 60% Feels most attracted to the illustrations in which I combine line art with color planes (in other words the most recent illustrations!). 48% Would also want to buy these illustrations as art prints. The remainder opts for other work. 10% Does not feel attracted to my work (“not my taste”).

When one could choose an application of my work, the print is most popular (54%), followed by the postcard (50%) and the t-shirt (31%).

38.5% Of the interviewees would buy an A5 art print for 15 Euro. 35% Would Buy an A4 art print for 35 Euro. 20% An A3 art print for 50 Euro.

Good suggestions I got for applications of my work: duvet, pillows, iphone cover, shopping bag, underwear, potholder, towel, collaborating with an animator.

Of the people who would like to buy my artwork as a print, 44% would hang the print in the living room, 33% would give it to someone as a gift and 26% would hang it in the nursery.

Besides that, the workplace (through art library) and the toilet (whoehaha) were mentioned as possible spots.


And then for the best part, the descriptions interviewees gave my work:



“Simple drawings, with a nice twist to the topic. ”
“Cute and simple, but still with meaning.”
“Loose, carefree, cheerful with a touch of ‘pain’.”
“Sympathetic animal prints in which emotions are captured beautifully.”
“Contemporary Pop Art.”
“Airy and bright illustrations, playful yet solid.”
“Fresh, timeless, to make you happy.”


A few critical remarks:
“Too modern, sometimes too difficult.”
“The work is very diverse.”
“Work goes in a lot of directions, might have more individualit.”
“A little goody-goody.”
“It doesn’t touch me, I don’t experience it as something special.”


For your and my inspiration (and secretly for the homework assignment ‘competitive analysis’) a number of interviewees gave me some links to competitors:

Pix-i illustraties
Floor Koop
Jeroen de Leijer
Han Hoogerbrugge
Wilma de Bock
Job van Gelder
Nanna Koekoek
Geeske de Graaff
Fred & Guus
Ugly Dolls


And now what?

What follows now (and I am going to take some more time for this one), is researching potential clients: conversations with publishers, image editors, graphic designers etc.



Website Voor de Kunstenaar:

Update training Voor de Kunstenaar: Ah well…

Ah well… Being a person that is expecting people to open up on a daily basis in her psychology practice…the day will come…


On the second day of training we learn more about one of those expressions that always sound so terrible to me: market research. It brings me back immediately to the big F on my economy exam.


In order to make money selling your work, it is useful to know where your market is lies. And how you can position yourself in this market. And there are those words coming to me again. Ah well…




Marca van den Broek knows no “ah well…”. Filled with enthusiasm, she tells us how we can get a better picture of our customers in a good and pleasant way. Our heads are  being stuffed with information. Terms that previously sounded like abracadabra are becoming surprisingly simple. The homework: making a competitor analysis, taking a customer survey and having informative talks with (successful) people in my network!


The questions I want to ask my customers are coming to me very quickly. What fun this is! I am becoming more and more curious how my work is seen by the people around me, especially by potential buyers. Behind the scenes I am continually developing my style. For the Voor de Kunstenaar exhibition everything must come together, so from that moment on I can ROCK in acquisition. Will the people who will be filling out my survey also be most attracted to the work that is closest to my own handwriting?


And if I’m really opening up here, in two weeks time I will also have to discuss the results with you. Ah well…



Website Voor de Kunstenaar:

Update training Voor de Kunstenaar: Target in sight!

The last (start-up) months of Voor de Kunstenaar have been so incredibly informative in terms of crowdfunding and social media (not to mention product photography – a surprise workshop by Fred van Welie!).


Last Saturday the official launch of Voor de Kunstenaar had finally arrived: first day of training!


Before us stands Martin Buursen, a smooth guy stuffing our eager little souls with the promise that in 2012 we will have achieved our dream?! Yes, he is, and this gentleman is also using the same techniques I have used so often with others, can you believe it?


Imagine yourself a year from now at exactly the place you want to be, being a successful entrepreneur. What would that look like?


It turns out to be a wonderful day. Fantasizing is being encouraged, in fact, ‘yes but’ is being swept under the carpet: anything goes.

My idea of success has been clear to me for a while now:


Since I’ve been to Hamburg last year, I want to be a Hamburger!


In Hamburg graphic designers and illustrators have ‘open’ studios everywhere (especially in the quarter St. Pauli). Nobody seems to be only one thing or does only one thing. Everywhere the most fantastic combinations are being made . In their workspace designers are running a bar, a barber shop or a store. I would love to rent a large space together with a fine group of people from different disciplines. A large space in which we can work and simultaneously sell our own work and that of others. A place where doors are always open and where there’s a lot of interaction going on.


“You can not get there from here, but you can get here from there,” says Martin.


After all the dreaming comes the practical part: how are you going to make this happen? We chop the dream into small bite-sized chunks, consider possible obstacles and well, why not also their solutions?

On the wall in my studio now hangs the greatest poster ever. Who knows…will you join me in celebrating the opening of my studio and shop on October 1, 2012?


Website Voor de Kunstenaar: