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I'm scared all the time, which is always good. You have to be scared or you're not working hard enough. So for the time being, I am where I belong.
-- Sue Grafton



Blog Posts for December 2005

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A Good Name

 

This morning, I purchased a few domains: ArtByBrett.com and CardsByBrett.com, and the variations in spelling of my name.

Twenty years from now, my hope is that my artwork is recognized well enough that upon retirement, I can make a decent living as an artist. My Christmas cards got a very positive response (I still have a couple to send out). And what surprised me is that one woman even bought a dozen to send to her family. But the conversations that sprung up around it... I love bringing a smile to people when I can, and I'd love to continue that with custom cards. So I'll be working on other flavors of cards: birthday, thanks, missing you, etc.

Hence the CardsByBrett.com domain. I did some searching yesterday for a cheaper printer than Kinko's, who did a fine job to be sure, but at over $30 for 25, they're prohibitively expensive to resell. I think I've found one online, but I want to check with the printers in town here and see if I can strike a better price. I'd like to produce cards, that when given to someone, can be framed to make the memory of the gift/thought linger and be pleasing to look at as well. That meets my goal of selling my art at an accessible price. If people like it and want a signed print, those will be available from the web site. How's that for a mission statement?

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 12/3/2005 9:53:12 AM
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Some Recent Pictures

 

My Mom and Jacob...

Snow...

Austin in concert...

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/4/2005 10:23:59 AM
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My First Sale

 

I made my first art sale: 12 of my Christmas cards for $25. I received the payment today.

Pretty darn cool.

ArtByBrett.com will be open by February 1, 2006.

 

6 Comments
Read the whole story of "Workin' on the Dream"
by Brett Rogers, 12/8/2005 1:01:19 PM
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Four Adjectives

 

Working on a new painting this morning. Here's the initial sketch:

I'll be getting to my river village painting soon (probably after Christmas), but I have 7 or 8 card designs to paint too. I hate procrastination.

Recently, a friend of mine and I talked of a concept I call "Four Adjectives." In short, boil down to just four adjectives those characteristics that are non-negotiable in a relationship or marriage. It's not hard to pick adjectives to describe that special someone. "Honest, loyal, attractive, hard-working, affectionate, blah blah blah..." the list can go on ad nauseum. The trick is to be succinct and get it down to just four. The four have to be non-negotiable.

The exercise is a good one, I've found. What is it that I truly can't live without in a relationship? The gotta-haves? And to find words that describe as completely as possible those aspects... it's really not easy. Nothing else can go on the list - these are the only four.

Some people might say that love is enough or that attraction is enough. But I don't go into a job search without considering what I need from the job... should love be any different? I think it's unfair to my partner to not have my expectations on the table. If my unvoiced expectations go unmet, I'll be unhappy, which leads to a crappy relationship. And vice versa...

Some people go into a relationship asking to be accepted just as they are. "Don't try to change me." Or they say that they want unconditional love and acceptance. That's a self-focus that masks laziness, in my opinion. In a relationship, I'm not perfectly suited to meet all of her needs/expectations from me - I'll first need to know what she does need by listening and paying attention, then by working to take care of her in those ways. In other words, of course I'll have to change my normal behavior because these things aren't part of my normal behavior. But in the relationship they should be.

The necessary conversation is to learn whether needs line up with abilities. If a woman requires a handyman, for example, well that's just not me. So we have the conversation and she moves on from me - I ain't "it," for her. Which is good for both of us to know or we'll both be unhappy if we force the relationship forward.

So for me... I have a couple identified, and then some inclinations. And by the way, I think this would be a good exercise to do for married couples as well, because of the conversation it spawns and potentially the rocks it turns over. "I didn't know that about you.." is always good to learn.

My first adjective is: maternal. What a powerful and perfect word. My kids are very important to me. They already have a mom, but they need to be loved by my wife as though they were her own. And grandkids will be a reality someday, and I need my home to be a welcome place for everyone in my family. Maternal is soft and warm and joyful and all about the kids. It's unselfish. Our home is inviting to all. If I had to pick just one word, it would be this one. A lot goes into it.

Second adjective: reciprocating. There has to be balance in the relationship. Both of us need to make the effort daily to stay in tune with one another and to take care of each other. In a marriage, one's partner is the only acceptable source of many things. If there is little or no reciprocation, it'll fall apart.

These two are non-negotiable and firm for me. These second pair are still under consideration, but here's where I stand thus far.

Third: devoted. I don't know that this is the right word, but for me it represents deep commitment to "us." It's one life, four hands. But I'm not sure if this smacks of "reciprocating," which doesn't really convey the one-ness I want. So it's a separate adjective for now. Or maybe I'll replace it with "imtimate." I very much need a woman who wouldn't utter the phrase, "Don't go there..." She's got to be unafraid of baring her soul wide open, and she has to trust me with that. "Intimate" also suggests good communication and a sensuality, so maybe it is better... okay, I've talked myself into it: intimate.

Fourth is tough... I have friends, and my daughter included, who tell me that I need an artsy type. "Creative" is the word my friend suggested. That would be cool, but couldn't I live without that? I would have gone for "smart" or "intelligent," but as I get older I learn that intelligence comes in many flavors. I'm a smart guy in my own way, and I would appreciate someone who was smart in a different way - who could help me see the world through a lens unlike my own. I considered playful for this one, which implies a sense of humor and eternal youth and optimism - all traits I would prize and actually need, I think.

So I'll go with those four: maternal, reciprocating, intimate, and playful.

But now having written that, reciprocating seems redundant and can be replaced with something I hadn't considered initially, but probably is necessary for me: healthy, though I don't think that's the right word. Maybe "health-conscious" is better. The gist is that she would work to be emotionally and physically healthy. No self-destruction allowed - that's non-negotiable.

What would your Four Adjectives be? You don't have to leave it in coments, but consider it.

 

3 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/11/2005 12:00:58 PM
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Hug

 

I'm working on this tonight...

Still have some work on it to do, like the dad's hand, and maybe some work in dad's right cheek - shadowing and such. I'll probably post the finished work later.

ETC: I think I'm done... I'll consider it again tomorrow.

It's interesting to me that while painting, I don't really think much about color. It's very much a gut instinct. The dad's face brings out a lot of that crazy color thing...

Nutty. Somehow, it works though.

I'm not sure I like his hand yet... I might fix it tomorrow.

MORE ETC: Now I'm done... I should know better - I never wait until tomorrow when a painting is almost finished. It's like trying to wait until Christmas morning.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/12/2005 9:00:53 PM
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Slime Athlete

 

Nick and I were up late playing a new game on the Internet... Slime Athlete.

Probably up too late... but we had a great time :)

 

10 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/14/2005 8:11:43 AM
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There Goes the Neighborhood

 

With Iran's leader making increasingly louder and obscene gestures toward Israel, something's gotta give here. A world leader of a soon-to-be nuclear power cannot dismiss the existence of another nation ("wiped off the map") nor suggest that it should be relocated ("Our proposal is this: Give a piece of your land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska so they (Jews) can create their own state").

If no one else acts, the Israelis will because they hope to remain intact where they are. And if it's the Israelis, then that's a failure of international accountability and will be the greatest failure of the Bush administration. Therefore, I trust that there is a lot of preparation going on behind the scenes amidst the threatening adolescence of Iran's leader.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/14/2005 9:37:26 AM
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Purple Finger Day

 

To believe that Iraq is a failure is to believe the White Flag Democrats and the American media who propel such myths... and yet, Iraqis vote once again, this time in the election of parliament members. Democracy is blooming, regardless of how dour the left makes it seem.

As an American, I am enormously proud of my president, our military, and those Americans who've had the backbone to stand up in the face of hard pressure to give up this fight long ago. We didn't back down, and that resolve serves the Iraqi people well today.

So in honor of this, I'm dyeing my finger purple tomorrow in solidarity with the voters of a free Iraq. What a great day!

 

14 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/14/2005 9:40:00 PM
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Monkey Boy

 

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/17/2005 11:18:45 AM
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Bootstrapping

 

Today, I did some work on the model for ArtByBrett.com (domain purchased, but no web site yet...) and in the course of my work on it, I checked out the process for obtaining bar codes. Why? Because if I am to sell greeting cards through retail stores, then having a real UPC on the back of the cards will help the retailer and enhance my legitimiacy. So...

I visited this page and went through the process far enough to see what the price might be. For 100 bar codes (100 products - have to think ahead...) the price was $750, with a $150 annual renewal fee. That's not bad at all, really. That means that my cards would have a unique code in the retail environment all their own. So for the printer fees and the bar code purchase, I'm well over $1,000 to get started at this. There's the risk for me, financially. If nothing sells, that's what I lose. That's okay - it's worth the dream.

Between now and mid-February, when I plan to start selling my cards, I have to paint 8 sellable card designs, and then write a customized shopping cart that integrates with PayPal. I've decided to go with PayPal because the fees are reasonable and I can create the order number and order details in my own database, and then hand off the order number and total sale amount to PayPal for payment processing. Or, I can allow the buyer to print the invoice and send me a check referencing the order number, if they don't like PayPal.

I've been down this road before when I sold my own software. The only difference is that now I'll have inventory - lots of cards on-hand. Software is virtual, unless people wanted the software on CD.

I've worked through the business model, thinking of every possible expense that I can and building a spreadsheet to represent cash flow and margins.

I came up with the text for the "About" page. Here it is:

When I first began to paint, I painted cards for people on special occasions. It surprised me to see how touched they were to receive them, and how long some kept the cards displayed - even to go so far as to frame them!

I realized then that if a card has the quality of an art print at the cost of a greeting card, the remembrance that went into sharing such an affordable card lasts a very long time. And so, Art By Brett was born.

It's my hope that what you find here helps to bring smiles and feelings of warmth to the people who receive the cards you give them.

And then the goal is to come up with 3 to 4 new cards a month and add to the product mix. By next Christmas, I should have several Christmas cards from which to choose.

So I'll have two store fronts: retail stores and my web site. Bulk and package pricing will be available from the web site, where in the store, it will be only individual cards.

I groove on this sort of thing. In the next week or so, I'll receive my latest book purchase from Amazon: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. From the marketing blurb on the Amazon for the book:

Execution is "the missing link between aspirations and results," and as such, making it happen is the business leader's most important job. While failure in today's business environment is often attributed to other causes, Bossidy and Charan argue that the biggest obstacle to success is the absence of execution.
It's not smarts or talent or even luck... it's just getting it to market and putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up along the way. It's putting your money where yours dreams are. A lot of people fantasize about winning the lottery, but the odds are so unbelievably stacked against them that it's truly money lost in sum of the chances taken. But pursuing a business has much, much better odds. Plus you learn a great deal along the way.

I often try to get people to pursue their dreams. But I'm constantly shocked at the number of people who can't budge from that steady paycheck, despite the greatness of their idea and their own potential. I've learned to stop encouraging after a certain point. If they doubt it themselves, it's better that they don't risk it.

For me, I've started quite a few businesses. None have brought me wads of cash. Thankfully, the majority of those paid the bills. Through the years, it's been a wash though. So why do I keep trying? For me, it's the freedom of getting to choose how I want to spend each day if I do get ahead of the game and find the model that truly works.

So, scheming here at my drafting table is fine, but it's all about execution and then not taking "no" for an answer. Persistence. Drive. Heart. And utter belief that I can do this.

I never finished college and have never had a computer class or an education in art, nor have I had any business training. But I am surrounded by a great library of business books that I've purchased and read. And the knowledge of what failed and what worked in my previous endeavors. I think that anyone can jump in and make their own business. Americans began as a largely self-employed lot. In Lincoln's day, it was looked down upon to work for someone else. Self-reliance was the mode. Industrialization brought an end to that. The move toward factories had people moving from farm to city and 100 years later, you needed big bucks to start your own company. But that's not true today. Computers and the web offer cheap store fronts for about $12 a month. People spend more than that for cell phones and cable TV. Or lottery tickets.

I love success stories, like this one.

They arrived in this country with little money, relying on the American dream that hard work and determination would lead to success.

Bilich and her husband, Bos, brought their two small children to Rockford from war-torn Bosnia in 1994. They have since opened a masonry business, Bos & Son, which saw $800,000 in sales this year.
A lot of people have talent in something - they just need to make the leap, but they're afraid of risk.

I read an article online a few years ago that talked of that problem in Scotland.

[Nicol Stephen, a government leader] was launching a report calling for radical changes to the way in which enterprise is taught in schools. He urged the business community to see risk and failure as part of the normal path to success and said it should stop "sitting back" and criticising teachers for the state of enterprise education.

Highlighting attitudes in the US, he said that American entrepreneurs may fail not just once or twice but several times before they make their first million. "We must be prepared to try and try again."
Similarly there were a couple of other articles that I saw at that time... the links are now dead, but a Harvard business guy said this:
There are many countries -- Japan, Norway, Russia, even England -- where if somebody succeeds, people are sort of mad at them. They used to say there's no sense in being an entrepreneur in France because if you fail people think you're stupid, if you succeed people think you're a crook, so you can't win either way.
And this from an article about entrepreneurship in Africa (again, the link for it is dead.)
Once upon a not too long past, the word "entrepreneur" in Nigeria was a dirty word, and to a large - too large - extent, it still is. Nigerian kids went to school and learnt to become good employees. The investment and industry was left to foreign investors, and, for some time, it worked. The shame is that now, it"s not working, but little else has changed.
My concern is that that sounds more like America every day... we lampoon "the rich" and wonder how they're rigging the system to make it, as though that were the secret... or we wonder how they inherited their money to keep making money as they do. But that's not it at all.

We need people to take risks and not be tied to the paycheck and the security of that. And entrepreneurs need to be rewarded for their risk. The classic entrepreneur tries a new business more than once before succeeding. This is so important because most people learn by doing and most people who've never run a business don't know how. But if it's okay to fail, then you learn and try again and you get smarter and eventually succeed, whether you started with money or not.

(Soapbox: if they figure it out and get rich, it's important that we not tax the bejeezus out of them - because they'll most likely try again and create more jobs in the process. I've never met a successful entrepreneur who got wealthy off a well-executed idea and then stopped there. But I have met those who stopped because of the regulatory climate.)

So, with the new year coming, I hope that among those talented folk I know - which includes everyone who reads this blog regularly - I hope they work to make real their own dreams and try to execute and become successful with them. I know one who has begun to make the leap and I know that she'll succeed. I hope others follow suit.

I triple dog dare you ;)

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 12/17/2005 11:19:32 PM
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Shopping Cart

 

Marketing has to penetrate all that a business does. And it doesn't have to seem obvious to the shopper... marketing can be seamless in just doing business.

Last night, I built the database for the shopping cart on the ArtByBrett.com web site. In the next two weeks, I'll create the pages for the cart. PayPal will inherit the transaction details and process the payment, and then will send the payment approval information back to my site so that I will know to process the order.

One of the reasons I want to develop my own cart is to allow for some of the marketing options, such as coupons and affiliate sales. Why not allow bloggers and other web masters get some credit for redirecting someone to a completed sale on my site and make some money for themselves, or allow them to build credit and get cards for free in exchange for the link?

I spent time with my mom yesterday teaching her to paint. Prior to yesterday, she would tell you that she couldn't draw a stick figure. Not so now. She knows that she can, and she understands what I say when I tell her that drawing and painting are all about how you see things. She successfully painted a picture of a complicated porcelain dish. Lesson Two in the week after Christmas...

She and I talked about different strategies for selling the cards. I have a few counterintuitive angles that I want to try and I bounced those off her. Mom's a smart woman, and her feedback is always valuable.

I'll need some people to try the shopping cart features after I get them built. If you'd like to give it a trial run when I'm ready, send me an email and let me know.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/19/2005 8:37:27 AM
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Surrounded by Wisdom

 

Books rock. Yesterday, I received Sandra Miller Louden's book, Write Well & Sell. It's the only greeting card book that I could find and while it's not about the retail side of greeting cards, it gives a peek into the greeting card world. Surrounded by books like hers, it's like having seasoned, best-of-breed experts here to teach me what they know. I have about 30 business books that span marketing to accounting to project management. I don't understand how a person can't like reading books...

In Ms. Louden's self-published book, I learned that 95% of the buyers of greeting cards are women. The industry sells over 8 billion cards a year. Birthday cards are the number one market. Louden specializes in writing verse/text for greeting cards and the book is mostly about that. Good stuff. She says:

My own theory on new card companies is that they are often started by people who have the idea it would be fun to make cards; these people often being frustrated writers, artists, or photographers. Once they start the company, they quickly find out the challenge isn't creating a line of cards, it's marketing them in an already crowded arena and selling them to the consumer who has thousands of other cards from which to choose. There are still many "niches" out there waiting for an innovative card company to fill; unfortunately, many new companies run out of money, time, and patience before they find that niche.
She gives categories and sub-categories of cards. Here are the categories: birthday, friendship, anniversary, life transitions, seasonal, get well, and then miscellaneous, such invitations, thank you, and supportive, and so on. It's a big market.

I've been doing some research on my own by going into stores. I'll need to come up with a display stand of my own to make it easier for retailers, as Hallmark (of whatever company is featured) owns the card stands that you see in stores. Enter the engineering aspect of this. Will mine be end cap? Point of sale? Should the display be engineered to allow for both? Probably.

Cards are an impulse buy, so the location of the cards in the store don't really matter so long as it is a trafficked area.

Should the cards be blank? Have some generic text in them? The outside of my cards won't have writing, so I can't go for the hook on the outside and then the punch line on the inside.

Lots to consider, but I'm surrounded by the wisdom of others who can give me great advice in the form of their books. Between the inventions of the press and the Internet, there's a lot of smarts for me to tap, right at my fingertips. Entrepreneurs never had it so good.

And if you like, you can see the "look" of the Art by Brett web site, which is done, though none of the links work. Just go to the site and take a peek.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/21/2005 8:38:31 AM
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Logo

 

ETC: And just because I think it's cool, here's the palette I used:

Blobs of color take shape and form and become something you create with hundreds of brushstrokes. How crazy!

 

8 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/21/2005 10:51:44 PM
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Beach

 

During a break in work today, I started this and have now finished it.

Looks like fun to be where they are, eh?

I still have yet to find a decent digitizing process. I'm not happy with my scanner, and my camera puts a gray-ish filter on the pictures that it takes. Plus resizing the picture pixelates it. Oy...

The best process that I've found is the color copier at Kinko's. Oh, that I could find a scanner that could duplicate that imaging...

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/23/2005 5:13:52 PM
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Spamming Little Ol' Me

 

Here's a strange twist: some moron has programmed a bot to advertise through comments on my web site. That's not unusual if you're on Blogger or something; that's millions of web sites accessible through the same code written to leave a comment. But this site was written by me, and I know that my method was unique to this site. How desperate do these guys have to be to spend time coding their advertisements for my little web site? Good lord...

Fortunately for me, I get an email right after they post a comment and so I can usually delete it within 30 minutes of the comment being posted. But still. How dumb. And what a waste of time for them... I've changed the commenting process so that those posting a comment need to check a box. Will it stop them? Probably not. But I'll change it again later if they figure it out again.

Jeez...

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/23/2005 8:53:19 PM
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Quote of the Day

 

"“Value innovation is about making the competition irrelevant by creating uncontested market space. We argue that beating the competition within the confines of the existing industry is not the way to create profitable growth."

--Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne, from Blue Ocean Strategy

To create uncontested market space may seem like its an outrageous proposition, but I think it's much easier than we might expect. The key hallmarks of great market space:

  • People are standing or sitting around waiting to do what they need to do. (Browsing your product breaks the boredom.)
  • Competitors aren't there in that space because it's not large enough, perhaps.
  • Your product and marketing appeals very much to the demographic in that market space.
In marketing my forthcoming greeting cards, people might expect that I would like to get my cards in grocery stores and into Wal-mart and big chain stores like that.

Nope. Not where I want to be. I want to go where they aren't, which makes my competition irrelevant.

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 12/24/2005 9:53:26 AM
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Which Paint Brand?

 

Today, I had to take Nick to the local craft store to get some things for his girlfriend, and while there, I picked up four brands of acrylics paint, all raw umber.

  • Grumbacher Academy
  • Golden
  • Winsor & Newton Finity
  • Liquitex Heavy Body
I had no expectations going into this. I currently own Dick Blick, and the paint has been adequate, but the tube of Dick Blick's raw umber that I have looks like curdled milk when it comes out of the tube. Needing a replacement, I saw this as a great opportunity to find a brand for my future purchases.

My criteria for determining a good paint is that it should be consistent, smooth, but heavy enough that it doesn't lose its color when a brush cuts into it, once applied. In other words, if I paint a stroke, I expect the paint to stay where I put it. And how well can I paint a thin line with it? Let's find out!

Here are my results, from worst to best:

Worst: The Liquitex had very creamy quality to it, but when painting, as you can see, subsequent brush strokes would cut into my previous brush strokes. Once I paint something, I expect it to stay put. Not true with Liquitex. The lines also show the weakness of the paint.

Next worst, surprisingly (given all their hype in the art community), was Winsor & Newton.

I found that I constantly had to paint over an area to make it keep its color. The brush slices right through the applied paint. You can see this in the example swatches above, especially in the lines... that's just awful.

Both of these paints, the Liquitex and the Winsor & Newton Finity, had a lighter brown appearance than the other two paints, and they fared poorly by comparison. This suggests that maybe they put too much water in the paint that it won't hold up to actual, you know, painting.

Next, Grumbacher Academy, which was the least expensive of the tubes that I bought and is supposedly a student quality of paint, and yet, it was nearly as good as the best of the brands that I've now tried. Here's the Grumbacher swatch:

Smooth, even color. When painting on the edges, it wouldn't sink into the texture of the paper, but when painting over a previous painted area, the acrylic didn't budge. A fine paint, to be sure. Grumbacher is a brand that I've used for watercolors and have always enjoyed their paints, so I was pleased by the results of this test. And the lines are strong.

And the winner, even by those in my house who didn't know my criteria:

Golden

Not only did what I paint stay just as it was when I first laid it down, but the edges sunk into the paper's texture for an even look. Further, it even had the best lines.

I could go thin with the line and the paint still held up well.

So, I've tried five brands of acrylics, and the clear winner was Golden, which I highly recommend. And if you're on a budget, Grumbacher Academy is a great paint for the price.

 

0 Comments
Read the whole story of "Drawing and Painting"
by Brett Rogers, 12/24/2005 4:45:45 PM
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A-ha!

 

Not only did we have a fabulous Christmas day at my daughter's home, but upon returning today, I tried a new technique with my scanner and discovered that when combined with CorelDraw, I get brilliant and accurate images of my artwork!

Take a look at this, taken with my digital camera:

Then look at this, scanned at 600 dpi and then managed by CorelDraw:

Yayy!

My gallery online shows the new images of my latest work.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/25/2005 9:37:11 PM
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Can I Have My Cake and Eat It Too?

 

I'm torn. Originally, I had gone with CardsByBrett.com and then later realized that ArtByBrett.com was more generic and better. I don't think that matters, really, but hang with me...

I had decided to use the catchphrase "Remembrance that lasts," the idea being that a fine art greeting card might be kept longer (or even framed) by someone, as opposed to a jokey card, therefore preserving the thoughtfulness that went into the purchase. This prompted the logo I had chosen and painted, of someone hanging/framing the card.

But I was re-reading Rolf Jensen's The Dream Society, and it struck me: I'm going into the business of connections and togetherness , and so I need to emphasize that and not the art. So I changed it to "Connections that last," which is better, but like a participle, it loses its strength by not pushing the active verb.

Picture this - you walk into a hair salon and you sit to wait for your appointment and you notice across the floor a display rack of cards and atop it, this sign:

Connect With Someone

You've got time to kill, and you think of people with whom you haven't spoken in a while, and so you browse the cards, find a couple that work for you, and buy those while waiting.

Does that make sense? I think it does, but let's think it through a little further...

If "Connect With Someone" helps the marketing, then should the logo be of two people hugging?

And if I go that direction, don't I lose the generic art nature of ArtByBrett.com and move back toward CardsByBrett.com?

Or, is the phrase "Connect With Someone" enough?

As a safeguard, I've purchased ConnectWithSomeone.com and ConnectWithSomebody.com so that if entered, either would take you to ArtByBrett.com, where that phrase will be prominently displayed.

Lots to consider... I've got two or three months before I go live, so I have the time. Eventually these decisions will be burned into a direction with my hard-earned cash and that makes these details no small matter. The choice of cards, the choice of text or no text in each card, the selection of display stands, the signs that sit atop the display stands, the shape and color of those signs... I'm now around $2,000 to get started and have 10 locations selling my wares. I need to do all that I can get a return on my investment.

Again, I can't emphasize enough the importance of reading books to help the entrepreneur in his/her thinking. And along the same lines, friends who speak their mind honestly to provide pushback where they see a lapse in design for business and cards are of the utmost value.

Starting a business requires every talent I have. It's an all-cylinder effort and in many ways, it's grueling. But as I walk through my days noodling it through, I also have visions of sugar plums dance in my head and between the two, it's consuming. But hopefully worth it.

 

7 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 12/27/2005 2:22:54 PM
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Oddest Thing...

 

In my cube at work, a strange thing has happened. People talk to me. Now that's not odd in and of itself - I'm a personable guy. But it all started since I began to hang my own art on my cube walls. People I don't really know come in and talk to me.

"Did you do these?"

Or, "Did you use a computer program to create these?"

Or, "Where do you get the art you hang up? Is it someone you know?"

I've learned that my art is breaking down social walls and barriers and bring people together into more personal conversations. It's amazing. It's unexpected. But it's oh so cool.

This morning, a guy named James stopped into my cube and started asking questions. Pretty soon, I'm learning about James and his former writing habits and his artsy wife and his mother's old kiln in his father's basement deep with dust from lack of use since his mom's death 15 years ago. The art is a comfy living room, where people want to pull up a chair and just connect.

It's the oddest and most wonderful thing.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 12/29/2005 11:51:33 AM
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To Do List

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 12/31/2005 11:55:33 AM
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Squirrels

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 12/31/2005 4:24:29 PM
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