Happy Maker Monday!
This week we’re featuring illustrator, Beth Briggs, as part of a new expansion of our Feature Fridays! We love her fun and expressive illustrations. Her pieces portray a lifestyle, capture a client’s style or even show off the personality of your beloved pet! Beth’s story to becoming a full-time illustrator is so inspiring and is a testament to not giving up on your dreams and taking the leap to pursue them wherever life has landed you. It’s never too late or too early to dream chase. Beth has always identified as an artist and we think that’s a big part of recognizing your passion. Find something that makes you feel more like yourself, as Beth did, the world will take notice! Keep reading to learn more about Beth’s creative journey!
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: My story is best summed up as reinventing myself at 50, I guess! I began my custom illustration business in 2014 when I found myself stuck in a non-creative day job and longing to illustrate again. My kids were just about grown up and I realized it was now or never to see if I could turn my dream into a reality. On my 50th bday I began to post daily fashion stories (illustrated collages featuring a fashionable character) on IG. I am very excited to finally be quitting my day job to pursue my illustration career full time thanks to the renewed popularity of fashion illustration and the wonders of self promotion through social media! I didn’t even have a Facebook account prior to 2014 lol. I will be moving to sunny Sarasota in May 2017 where I will continue to grow my online business which includes custom pet, bridal and fashion portraits along with live fashion and party sketching. I hope to pursue my love for teaching watercolor technique as well. I’m adding digital products as well such as Clip Art Collections to encourage the artist in everyone!
: You have been drawing fashionable people, places and items since you were little. Can you remember a specific piece or moment in general when you knew you wanted to create art as a career?
: There was never a moment I didn’t want to pursue art as a career! The challenge for most artists, however, is how to make a sufficient living as an artist. But at the end of the day, being an artist is who I am, not what I do.
: How did Beth Briggs Illustrations get started? How did you decide to launch an Etsy shop?
: In early 2014 I started posting “Fashion Stories” on Instagram (illustrated collages featuring a fashionable character, usually accompanied by a dog!). I began to get requests for fashion portraits which led to my custom illustration service. One of my biggest sellers is custom Bride and Groom Portraits….I love to illustrate brides and grooms with a folk art kind of vibe. Pet portraits are also very popular and my personal favorites! Etsy is the ideal platform for anyone starting out with a handmade or creative business. It’s really easy to navigate and simple to use. But the key to having a successful Etsy Shop is the same as for anything else – you have to nurture it! I’m constantly rotating items and promoting my listings just as I would a brick and mortar shop. I make sure my landing page is cohesive and appealing and keep my Items index organized so customers can easily find what they are looking for.
: You do a lot of custom illustrations. What is your favorite aspect of working on a commissioned piece?
: My favorite aspect is definitely the satisfaction I get when a customer loves the finished illustration. I try to get as much input as possible from my clients before starting an illustration but what happens when paint meets paper is not an exact science! My most successful pieces come from my heart.
: You have studied at some of the top design schools in the nation and have a BA in both Studio Art, and Art History. How have your studies impacted your current work?
: I don’t believe one needs a lot of degrees or a fancy education to be a great artist. Having said that, if you are able to participate in programs that interest you then by all means do so! The biggest influence my education has had on my current work is that of accountability, discipline in my craft and a desire to produce the best work I am capable of. The rest is really subjective!
: What was it like working with some of your big name clients like, Apple, or getting your work featured in publications?!
: Really gratifying! The Upper East Side Apple store contacted me after seeing my Instagram account which they liked because my photos were well done. They asked me to come in and do an “Artist Profile” event showing my tips and tricks for creating “Fashion Stories” on Instagram with basic iPhone technology. It’s super important to learn how to photograph your artwork, especially formatted as a square which many social media platforms use. I have developed a technique using IG filters that showcases my artwork at its best and it was wonderful to share this technique with participants who were able to apply these tips right away! It was a fun evening including an interactive exercise where participants created their own artistic vignettes which they then photographed and posted on their IG accounts.
: We love your “Be Your Own Fashion Artist Coloring Book!” What do you hope customers take away from your coloring book?
: That fashion is fun and everyone is an artist!
: What/who are some of the fashionable items, places and people you can’t live without?
: The designers I can’t live without are definitely Dolce & Gabbana…..I am left breathless by their theatrical creations! I can’t live without museums, dog parks, beautiful brides and my sketchbook 🙂
: Any advice?
: If you think you want to start a creative business, don’t wait until the circumstances are perfect….just dive in! Instagram is a great place to develop your brand and Etsy is a wonderful platform for selling!
Find more of Beth’s work at these links: