Episode 435 is LIVE on March 8, 2023 at 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET / 7:30pm GMT / 9:30am in Hawaii
We are continuing with the Where are They Now series. There is no doubt my guest this week was top on my list. Amarilys Henderson is probably my favorite Skillshare teacher. She is an author, an illustrator, an artist who sells her items in her shop on her site, but also licenses her work, she has a community, and has teaches classes on her own platform. She has had some big shifts in her teaching and her art licensing that we’ll talk about.
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Amarilys is inspiring to me for many reasons, here are five:
- Her faith is at the center of her work.
- She is always trying something new.
- She has multiple income streams.
- She doesn’t give up. She is exploring and experimenting.
- She shares what she knows, freely and is super easy to talk to and relate to.
Have you wanted to create work that is unique to you and have it put on home goods, stationery, cards, and many other applications? Amarilys has had a lot happen since 2017 when we last spoke. (She also was a speaker at Camp 2021).
I have a lot of questions. You can read those here.
- Amarilys can you tell everybody a little background about you, who you are, where you are, and what you do?
- You were on the show back in 2017. How has life and business changed since last time we talked?
- What has been the biggest hurdle you had to get over in regards to your business?
- What is the biggest creative challenge you have overcome?
- Do you struggle with time management? Marketing yourself?
- How do you get your name out there? Agent? Groups? Conferences?
- How do you go about learning new skills? When is it important to sharpen skills you have already and what have you done to do that?
- Do you have any systems or processes that has helped you develop new skills? What types of business skills and creative skills have you had to learn?
- Looking back, have you found or realized a new superpower you weren’t aware of before?
- Do you ever deal with being overwhelmed? If so how have you dealt with that?
- How do you come up with new ideas?
- Do you have any creative outlets or non creative outlets that you do regularly to keep you balanced?
- Have you avoided burning out?
- Do you collaborate with others? What elements make up a perfect collaborative project for you?
- What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself in the last year, that has been most impactful to your life or freelance business?
- What’s one piece of advice you would tell your past self 6 years ago?
- What is next?
More about Amarilys
Here’s a little more about Amarilys. Watercolor gorgeousness meets laid-back fun through Amarilys Henderson’s art and teaching. Published author, popular online instructor and experienced surface designer, Amarilys knows the power of her favorite medium. Amarilys Henderson guides struggling creatives to find their voice, boldness, and calling in the modern marketplace. She firmly believes that creative impact is not a matter of skill but rather of rooted confidence. Her faith is often intertwined with her work as her own creative renaissance came out of limited time as a new mother.
Amarilys Henderson’s work features a flair for the retro, lush watercolor bleeds on florals, brush lettering and throwback whimsey. Amarilys is an accomplished watercolor artist whose work has graced ceramics, fabric, paper goods, home decor, and book illustrations. Her art hangs in offices of both private and public companies as well as non-profit’s. She is a published author, having written two instructional books with Quarry Books as well as collaborative books with Dayspring (Hallmark) and Workman Publishing among others.You’ll find this boy-mom curled up like a cat in her Minnesota studio. Explore her books, classes, fabric collections and licensed designs on her website: watercolordevo.com • instagram.com/watercolordevo
Connect with Amarilys
[00:00:00] diane: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Creative Zig Ignite. And I am excited cuz last time that I did this with Amarilys’, it was design recharge. So we’ve, we, me and my dog have rebranded and we are now, uh, creatives Ignite all the time. So Amarilys was one of our camp speakers back in 2021. She was awesome.
[00:00:27] She has done so much. She kinda wrapped [00:00:30] up, she wrote me an email with the things that, all the things that she’s done. So you may have remember her, that she’s a Skillshare teacher and one of the top Skillshare teachers. That’s how I found her. I was, um, I watched all her things. She’s an author, which I have her books back here.
[00:00:46] I should have probably pulled them out so that I could prove I am a pre-order when she says it’s coming, I pre-order. So I love that. Um, but she and I had said in the. Uh, promo. There [00:01:00] were like five things. There are way more than five, but the five things that I love, um, is that you, your faith is at the center of your work.
[00:01:08] You watercolor, Devo, Devo is your handle everywhere, and I’ll share that in a little bit. Um, and then that’s, you were just doing your devotionals in your illustrating you were an illustrator, your mom was an illustrator, um, that you are always trying something new. You have multiple income streams, which I think is really important for us not to have everything in one basket, which hopefully all of [00:01:30] us learned in 2020.
[00:01:31] Um, but the other thing is that you don’t give up that you’re always explore or it seems like you’re always exploring and experimenting, but you take us on, um, the journey with you and then you share what you know, you’re easy to talk to and relate to it. And those are some of the things that I love about you.
[00:01:47] So I’m really excited. You’re always teaching me something on Skillshare or on in your community. So, I’m sure I left some things out. Do you wanna
[00:01:57] Amarilys Henderson: pull it in on anything? [00:02:00] Gee whiz.
[00:02:03] Thank you. Thank you. From where you
[00:02:06] diane: were in the past to where you are now. You had, you’ve been on the show and you talked about Surtex and then since then you went to Blueprint and CEC again, right? Mm-hmm. CEC
[00:02:20] Amarilys Henderson: Sirtex for the next, with like textiles, I guess. Yeah. Surface design and textiles. There you go.
[00:02:28] Perfect. Okay,
[00:02:29] diane: so [00:02:30] tell ’em, um, cuz then you’ve had, I think multiple books come out
[00:02:35] Amarilys Henderson: since then, I’ve, I’ve written, uh, authored two books and have illustrated two books at least. Yes. Okay.
[00:02:47] diane: I’ll make sure I grow, grab, I don’t know if my thing’s long enough right this second, but I’ll, I’ll get to it. So you were on the last time, you’d been on before multiple times, but this is, um, in 2017.
[00:02:59] So from [00:03:00] 2017 you kind of wrote up some things and I had, I printed it out cuz I was like, Hmm, okay, so you wanna, um, do you want me to read these or do you wanna,
[00:03:11] Amarilys Henderson: you know, I mean, what’s funny is I don’t remember what I wrote. I just remember we had kind of a practice call and we talked about all the things, maybe not so much about what we would talk about today.
[00:03:23] So I was like, you know what, let me just, there are a bunch of bullet points at you. Bullet points is how I email and [00:03:30] I, I threw out a lot of things that have happened since about that time. Right. Yeah.
[00:03:37] diane: So I’m gonna read ’em and then if there’s something that you want to, um, I’ll ask you about ’em later, I guess.
[00:03:43] So, 30 Skillshare classes total. You were on Skillshare, I think one of the first teachers that I can. It’s
[00:03:51] Amarilys Henderson: uh, 2016.
[00:03:52] diane: 2016. Okay. So then you have two how-to books, expressive little phrases and expressive little animals, which I have both of [00:04:00] them right over there. Um, two Illustrated children’s books. God’s Chip.
[00:04:05] Oh, God’s Christmas Promise Pop-up book, and I’m a little lady. So those you didn’t write, you just illustrated. Okay. Correct. Um, uh, I’m gonna ask you a question about that. So was that through, um, did they find you through, uh, agent or through one of these shows, or do you re
[00:04:26] Amarilys Henderson: so, uh, the, the Illustrated [00:04:30] books?
[00:04:30] Um, is that what you’re asking about? Yeah. Yeah. Yes. So God’s Christmas Promise was a, Pop up lighted book, which I have behind me here. And it was done with Day Spring, which is the, uh, faith division of homework. Mm-hmm. And so, um, I’ve done work with them before for Surface Design, but uh, this was my first illustrated book with them.
[00:04:58] And it’s a gift book, [00:05:00] the, have you ever done a pop-up? No. So technically it was a little challenging because, you know, it’s a good thing I think, in Photoshop layers, because that’s essentially what we have here. Each little panel is a layer and they all need to cut out and carve into each other a little bit.
[00:05:20] So, um, it was kind of challenging to make sure that, you know, one angel’s hand wasn’t slapping another behind him, you know, the, the [00:05:30] donkey wasn’t covering someone up or, you know, whatever. That kinda a thing. But it was. It was, it’s gotta, I mean, it’s one of my favorite projects, but the way I met them was so long ago.
[00:05:42] It was when, when I was with an agency. So I differentiate having an agent with being with an agency. Having an agent means you’re part of maybe, I don’t know, 50 or last three dozen artists that they represent an agency. [00:06:00] I say that because I, uh, it was a large, large, um, site that represented artists. Uh, so I was one of hundreds of artists and so I connected with day springing.
[00:06:13] Then they basically just show your portfolio. It’s kind of like iStock photo for art licensing, and I never. I never really developed a relationship with them. They just saw something that they liked and we moved forward and, and then, uh, over time [00:06:30] I actually left the agency and I had to take a year off from, uh, just a cooling off period.
[00:06:36] Uh, if I broke the contract, I had to just kind of keep quiet for a bit, built up the portfolio and then went looking for them again. But really, I reconnected with them at Sirtex in person. And that’s when, um, we had talked about a lot of different things. And a month or two later we started talking about this book.
[00:06:57] So what started out as [00:07:00] a gift line and greeting cards, a calendar and over the years became this book, uh, for their, yeah, for their line of, of gift books for Christmas. I think it’s still available if you look it up.
[00:07:15] diane: Cool. Okay. So then, um, you launched a spoonflower shop, which we’ll tell people about just in case they don’t know what that is.
[00:07:24] But that’s pretty big. Like you have fabric over there, behind you. You have new Yes. Like you have, [00:07:30] I can’t even remember what the bolts they’re called. Bolts, right. Bolts of fabric. Yes. Behind you. Whole bolt. But then you’ve also done a gift wrap. There’s been, um, other things. So, but Spoonflower does more than just fabric.
[00:07:43] Uh, they may have started with Fabric, I believe they’re in North Carolina. Um mm-hmm. But now they do lots of things. And I went on there and I, uh, I think it’s cool. It’s, I’m gonna ask you a couple questions about that. So that’s interesting. And that’s kind of on your own. Um, it’s not so like what [00:08:00] you did with Day Spring.
[00:08:01] Um, you pulled out, you have that year off, you can’t work for them, or it would break the contract that you had with the agency usually is how those work or you have some sort of timeframe. Um, so then Spoonflower, I could buy a bolt of fabric of yours if I wanted to. Right? Today, right? Yeah, because yeah.
[00:08:21] Yeah. So, okay, so
[00:08:22] Amarilys Henderson: what, back then, I know, I know. I, um, I
[00:08:26] diane: couldn’t do that. I could, I should do that. [00:08:30] Um, so then you did spring trade shows, which I think some of them went online for during Covid, and I wasn’t sure if you had any, but I wanted to hear kind of your insights, which I’ll get to. I’m just finishing this list.
[00:08:45] So Ctec in Sirtex, I don’t know why I call it wrong. Anyway, whatever. They’re not watching 2018 and then Blueprint, which is another one in 2019, it’s just a different, it’s like when I [00:09:00] looked. Sirtex was $3,000 and Blueprint was $2,000. So it didn’t look like it was that much of a difference in price really.
[00:09:09] But I don’t know where Blueprint was. Where
[00:09:11] Amarilys Henderson: was that one? Uh, it was different every year, just basically checking out different warehouses and or banquet. So, um, I can’t tell you where it was. I’m not that familiar with New York. I would just kinda call. No, but it was New
[00:09:25] diane: York that, that’s, that’s all, that’s all.
[00:09:27] I, uh, didn’t know if it was like [00:09:30] in Portland or you know, another location. Location. Okay. So it’s in New York. And now, um, you, you did go to the, recently you went to the Atlanta March. Gmark. Gmark. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I knew, cuz I grew up in Atlanta, so I, not that I ever went, but I did hear you hear about those things, I guess.
[00:09:47] Um, and then you’ve spoken at ALT Summit in 2020 and you went back to s scad and you spoke in 2023, which was it, I guess just last month. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and then Watercolor Bowl is the membership [00:10:00] that you started. So in now you have this ongoing, you’re teaching things on a regular basis, and I love that.
[00:10:07] I’ve been in it since it began. Um, the Artist Pro Method is an annual course that you’ve offered in the spring. Was is it always in the
[00:10:15] Amarilys Henderson: spring? Yes. It’ll, it’ll ramp up, uh, April 1st. Next. Okay, cool.
[00:10:22] diane: Okay. You don’t ever worry about doing something on April 1st? No. Cause it’s April Fool. Okay. Hey, we’re launching [00:10:30] for real.
[00:10:30] Okay, so you ran it in 20 21, 20 22 And then April 1st, 2023. And then lots of licensing. And you gave me lots of, uh, PicCollage, I don’t know how to say that. PicCollage Piccola collage pic. Yeah, in the Sal Big collage, I don’t know, Papyrus Design, house Greetings, and Trader Joe’s. So you have some cards and Trader, which those look like they’re sort of poppy uppy
[00:10:56] Amarilys Henderson: also.
[00:10:59] Well, [00:11:00] sometimes yeah, the they are textured or the papyrus does more embellishments and Trader Joe’s does. Now what they’re doing more is the art on the inside of the card, which is so fun to continue in that artwork.
[00:11:14] diane: Yeah, that’s cool. And then you launched a YouTube channel, which I was really excited for, and I actually tagged you in one of the, my posts today on YouTube.
[00:11:22] I was like, oh, cuz now I can tag you from the, anyway, nobody’s seen it, so you guys should go to YouTube and check it [00:11:30] out. But I will share all these. I, you hadn’t sent me the YouTube, but I went ahead and grabbed it so I have it to share. Um, so now I’m gonna dive into some of these questions. What is the biggest change?
[00:11:41] And you gave me two, like teaching and then, um, in art licensing, but when you wrote these, uh, ideas down, but what is the thing that’s changed the most since 2017?
[00:11:53] Amarilys Henderson: I, I mean, in general, I would say that I’ve really gotten [00:12:00] a lot clearer on what I have to deserve. Skillshare has been a great place for me to throw out classes that are just like, Hey, I’m excited about this.
[00:12:10] Let me show you, Hey, I’m excited about this, let me show you. And, and there wasn’t necessarily a lot of continuity or strategy, uh, just a lot of heart. And through that, I learned what it was that people were reacting to the most and what it was that people needed the most. And as in terms of [00:12:30] teaching watercolor.
[00:12:32] Uh, so I would say that that helped me understand then when I created Watercolor Bold, the heart of Bold is, is that like the, the approach to the paper to jump in and to experiment. And, you know, you hear this all the time. Do it for the process, trust the process, do it. Um, yeah, do it for the fun of it.
[00:12:54] Have. People can see the joy in your work, but how do you actually approach the page and do [00:13:00] that consistently and also grow in skill, not just tutorial based, right? How to paint the pig step by step. And now my pig looks exactly like yours and you know, there’s, there’s like a, a loss of a sense of pride in that.
[00:13:14] So I was excited to kind of take those things that I learned and create my own thing with art licensing. I would say it was a very similar process when I started in art licensing. I was so aware of what’s cool, what do people like, [00:13:30] I’d go to the store and pick something up and be like, oh, I could’ve done that and get frustrated.
[00:13:35] But that’s not what it’s all about. It’s, it’s that that person did that cactus repeat and that’s their thing. That’s they, they brought their own style, their own flavor to it. And as I’ve grown as an artist and in knowing myself, Altogether, I have felt so much freedom in creating whatever I [00:14:00] want and making that my portfolio.
[00:14:03] Whatever you put into your portfolio, whatever you show the world that you create, you’re just gonna generate more work like that. And so at first where I was mimicking what I thought people wanted, Hmm, I ended up getting those jobs, but it wasn’t what I wanted. It was more of what I think people want instead of living the lifestyle that I wanted to have of creating artwork and enjoying it and, and then [00:14:30] getting paid for it.
[00:14:30] I mean, that’s the dream, right? Yeah. So I would say that that’s been the biggest difference. You went through a lot of like the concrete steps that I sent you, a lot of the, you know, highlights of, of the last few years. But I think it comes down to honing in on what it is that I call my craft, what I have to serve with, and taking on that.
[00:14:53] That attitude of service instead of boasting and copying [00:15:00] and trying to be cool. And it’s so much more fun and so much more rewarding because, uh, there’s so much she gained by being genuine online because there’s just not a ton of that going around.
[00:15:12] diane: Yeah. Well, it feels like, uh, you’re equipping the people who are taking your classes with skills that they can use in other things instead of just replicating exactly what this thing is, which I think, you know, sometimes in the beginning when we’re learning, we do need to [00:15:30] replicate.
[00:15:30] I still need to work on my flowers, but, um, but like, there’s, there’s something about serving in that way and it’s really equipping me with, you know, I can give you a fish or I can teach you to fish, and you’re teaching me to fish that way, I think. Okay. So, um, What do you think is, has been, maybe it’s a mindset or a, a big hurdle that you had to get over, um, in this time [00:16:00] period in regards to your
[00:16:01] Amarilys Henderson: business?
[00:16:02] Well, like anyone else who would talk about the last five years, covid was a thing and it affected everything. Um, I, I found myself with less time, right? We’re always feeling time deprived, but I was also needing to, uh, teach my kids through their online learning because yeah, that’s just not enough for kids.
[00:16:26] Uh, it was fun actually looking back, [00:16:30] kind of created our little covid bubble of families where we kind of created a bit of a homeschool co-op where someone would teach some, some subject and I would teach another subject and we’d rotate the kids around within our neighborhood among, among our houses.
[00:16:45] Um, so it was fun, but I would say that, Uh, with Covid, the obstacle there was, I think everyone had a bit of a reckoning of, what am I doing with my life? You know, it was like everything hit pause, [00:17:00] and then you had a minute to think. And so during Covid I focused on, um, a small group, about a dozen women that I would just paint, throw on the camera, talk through my process.
[00:17:15] And that became kind of the crucible before starting the membership of what was helping them and, and what my discoveries were, even as I painted. So that was one, uh, just [00:17:30] the, the isolation, the pause, and then kind of regrouping, uh, financially it also, you know, had that dip. So that was an obstacle where I’m thinking, do you, do I wanna go back to the way I was doing things and.
[00:17:47] Regain whatever loss I felt I had or do I wanna start over? So, um, just really believing or trusting in yourself in the process and in the path that [00:18:00] you’re on was one thing. And I think another obstacle, and maybe that I’m not sure if, yeah, it counts as one. It just, it sounds odd, the whole getting yourself out there.
[00:18:14] I’ve not been camera shy necessarily, especially when I’m actually sitting by myself at my desk and nobody’s around anyway. So it’s not that scary. I’m just talking, you know, what camera, uh, but then when things [00:18:30] started to open up, I started doing in-person classes and, uh, receiving speaking engagements and I just was like, okay, I, I, I took on a.
[00:18:41] All right, let’s try this attitude. And it’s, it’s worlds away from the hermit of a girl that I was growing up. Uh, I moved around a lot, so I had to learn how to make friends, and that helped a lot in my, I don’t know, social, social anxiety. [00:19:00] But I have very, uh, outgoing husband, so a lot of times I’ll just kind of, you know, shrink behind him, let him do the talking, and at these last few events, I’m flying somewhere and by myself and I gotta put, you know, my big girl shoes on and, you know, present, uh, over and over and over again.
[00:19:21] And that’s been, that’s been fun be, but it’s, it’s been a challenge because going from being really dormant during [00:19:30] those covid years to suddenly everybody’s bananas about seeing each other. Then that’s been something that I’ve, I dunno, I’ve enjoyed seeing that. Like, yes, I can do it. And I, I really have learned that the difference is just if I feel tired today, I’m just gonna feel tired today and I’m just gonna be that.
[00:19:53] And I feel, if I feel energetic, that’s what you’re gonna get today. And it’s the pretending that’s really exhausting. Mm-hmm. And [00:20:00] the expectation of whatever vision we think we ought to be, that makes it intimidating. So once I let those two go, it’s been fun to just show up as myself and, and move past a lot of that introversion that I think we’re tempted to a lot as.
[00:20:17] Yes. Yeah.
[00:20:18] diane: Well, I love that. So in these five years, you had some of that already in figuring out, hey, I don’t, I won’t, don’t wanna just paint llamas, or if this isn’t what I wanna paint, or this particular [00:20:30] thing, or this particular style, yes, I can do it. But you started embracing who you were as an artist and what you wanted to create, and as a result of that, you are getting more of the work that you want.
[00:20:41] And you’re, um, you’re out in different places, but you’re, you’re putting your, your spin on it and you kind of like, uh, I do feel like there’s, in the beginning you’re, we’re just trying to get seen and found and we’re ready. Mm-hmm. Um, I always tell my husband, I’m [00:21:00] like, I will never get married again. And when you die, this is it.
[00:21:02] You know, like, um, BEC but I can’t imagine going back out there and being dating because I’m just like, oh. And that’s what I think of when I think about clients. I think, oh, I don’t wanna have a whole bunch of first dates over and over and over. I wanna have some long-term clients. You know, I wanna have long relationships because it is that it can be very, um, it’s full of rejection and you have to be okay with that and mm-hmm.
[00:21:29] [00:21:30] But I don’t want people to just tell me, oh, that’s great, and then never, you know, I wanna get better. So that’s something that, um, I think you’ve found that piece and now you actually, he are helping people figure that out on their own as well, which I love.
[00:21:44] Amarilys Henderson: Um, I think it’s important to remember though, that you’ll, you’ll never stop pitching.
[00:21:48] Like you’ll never stop dating around if I’m gonna like, continue the analogy just because. Um, uh, see, now I, [00:22:00] like, I am so addicted to metaphor. Is it not like, cause one isn’t gonna fulfill you completely. You have to. That’s terrible. It’s terrible. Um,
[00:22:09] diane: but one friend might not be able to fulfill you. So if you’re, you know, like, yes.
[00:22:13] Okay, so we’ll
[00:22:14] Amarilys Henderson: let’s do with friend. That’s good friend dating. Uh, but yeah, I, I, I had this idea that if I reached a certain point, uh, in the hustle, that then the clients are gonna [00:22:30] start coming to me and I don’t have to do this anymore. To some extent you do that less, but you will always be pitching because the people that will come to you will often be not people that you were necessarily pining for.
[00:22:44] And so when we have a dream, it really is like a collection of thousands of dreams that are tiny steps. Right. And then once you. Once you realize what those are, then you go after them and more start [00:23:00] opening up as things that you want. And as you grow, that’s not a bad thing, but I think
[00:23:06] diane: it’s different when you’re pitching and you’re just trying to date anybody.
[00:23:12] You’ll take anybody, anybody, will you go on a date with me? As opposed to where you’ll, you’ll do whatever they wanna do and, and now you’re being, you and you still are having to pitch. But it’s easier if they don’t like it. It’s fine. You really do like it. And there, you know, there are people who do like it as [00:23:30] well.
[00:23:30] I guess there’s something with experience and, um, uh, time and just like being confident in, in what you’re doing. I, I guess I obviously I was a very desperate dater, um, is what it sounds like. Um, but that, I remember when I started dating my husband and I was like, look, you’re getting a real meet. I don’t wanna do this, or I don’t, you know, like, this is what I like to do and I know that he loves me for [00:24:00] the, all the weirdness that I am because I didn’t try to be somebody else.
[00:24:04] And I guess that’s what I’m thinking as an artist, it’s really hard because you’re, you aren’t really sure if somebody’s gonna like that illustration style or that drawing because you don’t see it out there at all. But really, and I’ve heard a lot of people recently, um, maybe it’s just old videos and I’m just finally getting to them, but they’ve said, you know, I was doing this kind of work because that was what was selling.
[00:24:29] But then [00:24:30] somebody looked at my sketchbook and they wanted me to do this work, sketchbook work, and they were like, what? This is what I do for fun. I didn’t think anybody would pay me. But that’s where, I guess it’s developing a style and developing what, what marks you make in a regular. When you’re not trying to do something for any.
[00:24:49] And, uh, I was watching one of your classes again last night and it was called Playground. It’s on Skillshare. Um, and it really is just like [00:25:00] making messes and making marks. And you realize you tend to make certain marks when you’re just being you, when you’re not trying to solve a, a brief for a client or not that it’s bad to, to have the briefs to solve for the client, but, um, sometimes it’s just good to figure out what you like to make and what your style is.
[00:25:23] Not that you aren’t gonna continue to grow and evolve anyway. It’s just trying to explain about the dating thing. [00:25:30] Um, okay, so in, in this, in this playground one I think is a great example of this next question. Um, a creative challenge. What has been, um, that class is great for. Not having, uh, expectations and kind of figuring out what your style is, having that playground, I love that class, but, um, what’s the biggest creative challenge in these five years?
[00:25:52] It doesn’t have to just be in Covid, but what’s been a challenge for you since 2017?
[00:25:58] Amarilys Henderson: Creatively, [00:26:00] I think it has artists or creatives, whichever you identify with, uh, designers. We are always into the next thing. You know, you’re wanting to shift gears and change things up and well, what if I try this and what about that and what I’ve done?
[00:26:21] I made a little deal with myself since the beginning. Is I was going to just do any subject matter I felt like, but like the [00:26:30] one thread that I have is watercolor. And so I actually enjoy a lot of other mediums, but I will only, you know, walk that out so far. I’ll come by it with watercolor. Uh, I, I tried iPad art.
[00:26:47] I was just like, this just is not textural enough for me and all I, I mean, to add textures, I’m like just doing this over and over again with different layers and different brushes and it’s, I feel like with watercolor, you just kind of go [00:27:00] whoop and then wait to see what turns out in terms of texture.
[00:27:04] But at times it, it is creatively difficult to stick to the same thing. Mm-hmm. Um, and I think, you know, when I get bored, so to speak with. Be it the medium or, or the things that are popular right now, I just have to shift it just a little bit and it’ll be interesting enough for me to just work that out.
[00:27:29] So it [00:27:30] could be changing the brand of paint that I use could be a new set of brushes. Uh, it could be, uh, just really, like you were saying at the beginning of learning anything, like mimicry is part of the process. I’ll look at someone’s art and say, okay, their art is different from mine. That’s cool. Why do I like it?
[00:27:53] Mm-hmm. And to get really nitty gritty about it in order to, to translate it into how I work. [00:28:00] Uh, and if nothing else, then mimicking it and then not showing anybody, and definitely not putting it in my portfolio and just calling it a practice so that I could try on a different style for a minute. I’d say that that creatively is.
[00:28:17] Just a challenge I think we have throughout of not feeling bored and yet, I mean we know that there’s more on the other side of that is hitting that [00:28:30] ceiling of like doing the same thing. And so you’re not bored in terms of like, I don’t know what, what you feel like some constraints you’re bored with yourself.
[00:28:43] That’s probably like the worst. Um, and that’s actually when I started doing watercolor playgrounds. So for those who haven’t seen it, it’s essentially, um, the work that I would have right next to the commission work that I’d be working on. And while I’m waiting for things to [00:29:00] dry, cuz you know, with watercolor it’s so easy to keep meowing and working.
[00:29:04] You gotta let that layer dry, just let it be. And so I work on several pieces at a time. And so I started working on what I called growth boards because I would just write the word groves. I was like, I don’t know where this is going. And and they were pretty big. Yes, they were, they were those, um, canvas panels, which aren’t awesome for watercolor.
[00:29:27] I, no matter how many layers of [00:29:30] watercolor, just so they put on that, it just doesn’t soak the way a paper does. But they were, they were really layer, so it was just something nice to have on the side and to be able to mess with. Whereas with a sheet of paper, then I feel like we need to finish this nine by 12, eight by 10 space.
[00:29:49] And so I was, I was bored with how I was creating, uh, I was still getting paid for it, so I was still doing the work and side by side. I was [00:30:00] also doing whatever I could think of, even if I thought it was going to be ugly and. That’s when I started to discover what it is to play intuitively. I never did, um, non objective or abstract things before, uh, doing these playgrounds.
[00:30:20] And that’s why I called him that because I would just, I was like my 11 by 16 space to play in with watercolor. [00:30:30] And it was essentially, it’s always the same process, right? You start off with like a mess and then you, you try to reel it in a little bit, create some shapes and make some bodies of things, and you start noticing, this is kind of a patch that I could do this little pattern in, or let’s bring out some more details here.
[00:30:49] Let’s take out the markers and work on top of that. And, and as I realized what I was doing, it kind of became this pretty [00:31:00] straightforward path of oh, okay, those are the steps. Now I know how to do this when I need to just break that ceiling. The next spring I was doing a, a blueprint, I believe. Yeah, blueprint, uh, trade show.
[00:31:17] And you come with these huge 11 by 17 printouts of your artwork and it sounds like a bit like an ocean, where people are, our directors are coming by. It’s like if you imagine a craft show, [00:31:30] except your merchandise is your art. So they are swooping from one page to another, flipping, and then they’ll say, we like this one.
[00:31:39] Pull this one out. And you create a little stack for that client, get their email address and them a PDF for them to further review with their team. And I needed more merchandise, so I started scanning those. Those paintings, I didn’t really think that they would work maybe as like, you know, if they were [00:32:00] blown out, like on a background of a notebook, you know, something really fun and splashy.
[00:32:05] And I was really surprised that they were hit. And the companies that were interested in ’em were like grading cards that were fairly literal and fabric, which I would not think to repeat. You know, you think of little floral motifs or, you know, just deer, reindeer, I don’t know, like you think of like icons.
[00:32:27] Mm-hmm. Uh, when it comes to gift wrap and, [00:32:30] and fabric. But they’d look at these pieces that, you know, sometimes a face would pop up in one and, and a lot of times the surface design that just kind of rules it out right there. But, uh, they, they had a different essence to them, like you were saying, and, and they were noticed.
[00:32:49] And so, That’s how I felt that I realized not only like did banging up against the wall and feeling like I wasn’t growing turn into growth, [00:33:00] but it actually turned the corner on the kind of artwork that I was creating, an artwork that I would enjoy. So whenever I feel myself hit the ceiling again with here I go again with this same thing, uh, I, I remind myself because I’ve had this experience that there’s something on the other side of this and I absolutely have to push through it.
[00:33:23] If I, if I get bored with myself and with my own work, um, I’m really gonna be into [00:33:30] trouble. So I have to push through it because you have to be your greatest advocate. So how am I gonna get excited for my work again? I’m gonna have to figure out a way to enjoy it again, and then the quality of the work will follow.
[00:33:44] That’s cool.
[00:33:44] diane: That’s a really, uh, insightful and I love that you maybe didn’t have the expectations of it because it didn’t fit what you thought. Um, this would be for a textile pattern or for a [00:34:00] repeat. It wasn’t. And this is where I think when we go somewhere and we show our work, um, to somebody who is in the business and knows it backwards and forwards, isn’t making art, they are seeing what things and they see something that’s gonna be different.
[00:34:16] And they see something in this that they are not seeing because everybody is trying to do these clear repeats or Right. Anyway, I just, I love that and that’s a super, [00:34:30] gives me hope. That’s a really hopeful, um, thing. Okay. So this might be a super stupid question. Um, but I like it as it goes with what you have to be your I love stupid question advocate.
[00:34:41] Ok. Well, ok, well here’s the, I think I know the answer. You’re a mom and you have a business and you have a husband. And anyway, do you struggle with time management? Yeah. But just like normal people. Exactly. Okay. So then, um, you just talked about this, about being your biggest advocate. This is one, uh, [00:35:00] area that I struggle with.
[00:35:01] Um, so marketing yourself. Um, have you ever struggled with that? Like just putting. And having to sell your thing over and over, you’re like, oh my gosh, these people are gonna unsubscribe cuz I’m telling ’em about my community again this week. Right? Yeah. Or whatever.
[00:35:18] Amarilys Henderson: Yeah. How, how do you get over that? I, I think we feel awkward because we are putting, like, it’s, it’s like we [00:35:30] think we’re elevating ourselves and going, here I am, here I am, everybody look at me.
[00:35:34] Check this out. Please, please, please. But, and, and that is, it doesn’t, it smells foul. Like nobody wants to look at that guy.
[00:35:44] diane: Um, but that is what it feels like.
[00:35:49] Amarilys Henderson: Uh, what, what I have found to be the difference is I, I listen to the, this sounds so dumb. I listen to the people that like me a [00:36:00] lot. Because I need their, their voice in my head.
[00:36:05] For one, it made me feel more comfortable that, okay, I’m, I’m talking to you. I’m talking to you, Shelly, you’re a fan. I’m gonna talk to you, I’m gonna talk to you Diane, like, I’m gonna pretend that I’m talking to you and only you. So that’s one part of it. But another aspect was, uh, when people comment on your work and the things that they notice and they like, like how often are you just [00:36:30] genuinely surprised at what they pick up on?
[00:36:32] Because you, your mind was somewhere else, or you were maybe going straight to the negative of you have, have you seen this train wreck of a spot over here? But they are not, they are looking at overall or they resonated with something. And so the more that I put on this attitude of. I’m gonna talk to that person and I’m gonna try to help them in some way.
[00:36:58] I, I send out [00:37:00] weekly emails called Tip Tuesdays. Mm-hmm. The reason why I send out weekly emails is because I started monthly and then I just forget. And, uh, I just felt guilty for not doing the thing, and then I felt just awkward. Do I just say, Hey, it’s me again. So I, I literally just had to make myself do it weekly.
[00:37:21] I wanted it to be like a memorable, you know, thing for me and, and whoever would be receiving it. So in those Tip [00:37:30] Tuesdays, uh, unlike. So part of the tension is I didn’t wanna be a tutorial girl, where it’s like, learn how to do this, three steps to do that. Now we’re gonna do this because it’s really exhausting.
[00:37:43] And it’s that connection. Like, yes, you, you do get to show somebody how to do something and there’s a connection in that they get a win and you are part of that win. Like that is great, but on a regular basis, I just don’t want what I do to be [00:38:00] only like, well, what are we gonna do next? And what are you gonna teach me?
[00:38:02] How, how do I do this? You know, like
[00:38:04] diane: I very passive from the, from the participant.
[00:38:08] Amarilys Henderson: Yeah. Yeah. I wanted to actually connect. And so, um, I, I call ’em Tip Tuesdays, but we don’t always, sometimes the tip isn’t, you know, sometimes it is a tutorial, sometimes. I figured out how to use this brush in a different way.
[00:38:25] Check it out. Uh, making palm trees with a flat brush is [00:38:30] so fun. You should try it sometime. Or maybe it’s, uh, kind of tackling those limiting beliefs that we all have and trying to flip them on their heads. Uh, those are the ones I actually get the most responses from because, you know, it’s, it’s hitting a cord somewhere and yet I feel a little awkward cause I’m like, I’m no coach or counselor or whatever title I’m supposed to have, but it’s just what I’m sharing today.
[00:38:58] It’s just my tip. Like take it or [00:39:00] leave. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Um, but the, uh, the time management, is that
[00:39:08] diane: the original question? Is that what we were talking about? It was built. It was, uh, do you struggle with time management? And then the next part of that question was, do you struggle with marketing yourself?
[00:39:16] Oh, marketing.
[00:39:16] Amarilys Henderson: Thank you.
[00:39:17] diane: Okay. Mm-hmm. Yes. Marketing. You’re like, I got time management. Yes, I have a problem with that. The end. Go to the next question. That’s
[00:39:23] Amarilys Henderson: okay. Yeah. So, um, basically shifting the focus off yourself, [00:39:30] even though in the end you’re directing them to something that you’ve done. It’s, it’s, it’s just like, I mean, we do that in conversation all the time, right.
[00:39:39] Maybe I wanna tell you about my vacation. So I ask you, so how was, how was your weekend? It really, I’m like, eager to tell you about my weekend, and when I tell you about my weekend, it reminds you of your weekend and back in October when you went to that same place, and that’s how you get the conversation going.
[00:39:57] So, with the marketing [00:40:00] Yes. I, I’m constantly not thinking about what it is that I have that, oh, I, I think you should check this out, will you please? But not thinking about the thing, but thinking about the person that I’m talking to. I can say that with time management, um, having the Tip Tuesdays puts me in a mindset of like talking to my audience, so to speak.
[00:40:27] And so that [00:40:30] helps me clump together other tasks that are similar. So I’ll start cleaning out the email list. I’ll look at the website, I’ll do social media. And so what I’ve found is that I kind of have this rhythm throughout the week where, uh, if Tuesday and Wednesday tend to be more marketing email focused, Monday, um, tends to be my core work like that, that big project, that thing, because on the weekend I don’t work.
[00:40:59] And so [00:41:00] when it comes to Monday, I’m like ready for that thing I wanna tackle. And then I shift into kind of that. Conversing with customers and clients. And Thursday, I’m like, forget the computer. I’m going to my art desk. I just wanna create today, Friday’s kind of a catch all day. We, we just see how it goes.
[00:41:21] Uh, it’s usually all the things that didn’t get done during the week and I could be in anything, but, um, like [00:41:30] it could still be taxes, it could still be taxes.
[00:41:34] diane: Don’t even get me started. That, that’s what I was working on before we got on today. But I’m working on it. It’s spring break, you know, gotta do the fun stuff anyway.
[00:41:44] Amarilys Henderson: It’s good. So when you’re,
[00:41:50] diane: um, struggling with being sick of whatever watercolor that you have, how do you go about, um, binding or searching new, [00:42:00] um, brushes or new brands of watercolor or like, How do you go about learning new ways or new skills or new ways to, even if it’s like your email, right? Like think me and you both use the same email thingy mm-hmm.
[00:42:15] Still mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And or whatever they’re, they’re called anyway. Sounds not very professional. I can’t even remember. I mean, I know email, whatever. Yes. Um, but it’s like, how do you go about finding [00:42:30] something, uh, like when you decided, like when did you decide to go do YouTube? Like, I mean, YouTube’s been around, but when did you like start a YouTube?
[00:42:40] What was it? Because that’s a new skill to some extent, right?
[00:42:43] Amarilys Henderson: Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, sadly, I, I think of doing things for months and years and then one day I’m just like, I gotta do that thing as if I had not ever thought about it. I [00:43:00] don’t think I really have a very professional process in that sense, but, Uh, it just was one of those moments where I’m like, what am I doing?
[00:43:09] Like, I do video. Why am I not on YouTube? Well, I think of my kids watching YouTube and I, I talk bad about a lot actually.
[00:43:23] I don’t, I don’t wanna be one of them, but, you know, obviously, like that’s the medium. That’s what I [00:43:30] do. Why am I not on there? And, uh, then I started, I think it’s the community, uh, meeting other artists and hearing about, Hey, I’m trying this out. And so I’ve, I have a network of people around me that are all doing something different.
[00:43:48] And so really the, the limitation or the limitation I have to put on myself is to not do all the things because, Ooh, that sounds like fun and ooh, that sounds like a good idea. But, um, I, [00:44:00] I’m around a lot of. I just chat, I chat with a lot of, uh, other artists and women that, it’s mostly women, all women who really work at growing and we feed off each other.
[00:44:16] Um, I don’t think it was necessarily like an intentional move, but it’s been a huge shift. And again, like going online so much, uh, that’s in terms of our relationships, um, has made that be [00:44:30] more prominent for me, where I’m on telegram half the time, just chatting cause it feels like I’m in like a co-working space.
[00:44:37] It’s, it’s pretty fun. So when I have a, have trouble with Floes, uh, or whatever, then I have someone I can ask like, Hey, how do you do this or that? And then we start talking about other things that we’re doing. Oh, I’m starting an Instagram challenge. I wanna do an Instagram challenge. Let’s do it. You know, just that, that, that’s really just the process.
[00:44:58] Now what’s scary is. [00:45:00] I always have in the back of my head, like, how long is this gonna last? Am I gonna be able to hold this up? So that’s actually what keeps me from jumping into a lot of things cuz I don’t wanna add more and more and more. Uh, I wanna try things out and I wanna be playful about it. But, um, yeah, I, I am very much in a season of let’s shed all the little things that just keep getting on the list that aren’t really moving the needle [00:45:30] forward or making me feel excited anymore.
[00:45:32] So that’s what being in your forties does. I suppose. I’m
[00:45:37] diane: almost outta my forties, so I’m, I’m with, I thought they, it’s a good decade, so I’m, I’m glad I, anyway, I turned 50 in April. Um, woo. I know. I’m excited. It keeps skin bearing. You’re in April Fool,
[00:45:50] Amarilys Henderson: aren’t you? No,
[00:45:52] diane: I’m not April Fools, but my friend Demi is.
[00:45:54] Um, okay, so, um, I’m looking at the time, so. [00:46:00] Um, I’m trying to see which ones I wanna skip. Um,
[00:46:04] Amarilys Henderson: there were a lot of questions. There were, there were a lot. Okay. You can take a minute. Take a minute. Well, I
[00:46:11] diane: think that some of them are like, repeat, so, okay. So looking back, have you found, I hope you have an answer for this one.
[00:46:19] Um, have you realized, or found, uh, like a superpower because you’ve had time that you’ve been doing things you can like, oh, I’m good at blank, or I’m, [00:46:30] um, has there been something that you’ve realized?
[00:46:35] Amarilys Henderson: So I feel like I can answer that question in different ways. Are we talking about like, art, however, both personal.
[00:46:45] diane: Any of them? Okay. Answer it for art and then I’ll ask you about another one.
[00:46:52] Amarilys Henderson: Oh, okay. Okay. We’ll do more than one. Cool. Um, with art, You know, people say I’m [00:47:00] really good at color, but it’s, I kind of feel like I just stick to the same ones and then just wiggle a little bit from, well, you know, left to right.
[00:47:10] But, uh, I would say that I am good at one of my superpowers is in letting it be what it is. I think a, a big reason why people join Watercolor Bold is cuz they want to have a voice in their head similar to mine that says, oh, well [00:47:30] that didn’t turn out the way I wanted to. All right. And we move on and we keep going.
[00:47:35] I think that, that’s odd of me and likely refreshing to someone who’s feeling like, Ugh, I’m so, I’m struggling. But I really, really believe that whatever comes out was meant to be my initial idea of what this piece was supposed to look like. Is not the end all the all so many [00:48:00] times we live our life thinking we know exactly what the right move is and we don’t get to do that move.
[00:48:06] And we had five other ones that ended up being better. So I don’t, as much as I trust my, my intuition or my good, I also really trust that it is what it’s meant to be in the end. So. Okay. I
[00:48:22] diane: like that. So does that apply to business or life as well, superpower wise? Uh, [00:48:30] yeah. Or is there another one you wanna share?
[00:48:32] Amarilys Henderson: I actually think I’m more intentional with business probably because I, probably in a negative way because I feel like I need to figure it out and control or else the thing’s gonna fall apart, you know? So I haven’t grown to that level of trust as I have with painting with business. I, I would say that again, for, for being a quiet girl, I, [00:49:00] I, uh, my superpower surprisingly to me is networking.
[00:49:04] So I’ll, I love to hear or be in one conversation and think of someone and bring them into it and, you know, work in all the ways. Uh, I remember that first sirtex I did where we were in these small areas that I called the lemonade stands. Um, I would have somebody looking through my stuff that was looking for something [00:49:30] that I knew wasn’t there, and I was, I would tell them, you know, oh, you, you need to go see that guy over there across the way.
[00:49:39] And it was so much more rewarding to watch that connection happen than to have that person’s business card and try to mold myself into whatever it was that they wanted me to be. So, Just kind of networking in a way. I don’t know. Cause I’ll never go to a networking event where I’m just standing [00:50:00] around with a cocktail in my hand.
[00:50:01] But, uh, unless I already have a network with me, that’s how I’ll do it.
[00:50:08] diane: Okay. I love that. I love that. Um, so when you’re, um, I know you have those boards and I think the other thing that you talked about in the class I think was that you normally work a certain size, like a nine by 12, but those boards were significantly larger, so mm-hmm.
[00:50:27] Working in, so [00:50:30] I am very uncomfortable working larger, very uncomfortable. And, but maybe that is being uncomfortable, something that helps you to, um, break out of, or Yeah. Is, is there any other thing that you’ve kind of found that you’re like, oh, so working larger than you normally do, or working in a different method?
[00:50:58] Or like, you [00:51:00] tried the iPad and you were like, this does not work. I mean, I think it’s good that you tried, you know,
[00:51:06] Amarilys Henderson: this morning I was working on the iPad actually, but it’s just more of like, oh, this client wants these little changes, or like little outlines on the flowers in another color. It’s, it’s done.
[00:51:19] I’ll just add it in digitally, so I’ll do that. But, um, when I, when I feel uncomfortable, for sure, there’s, [00:51:30] there’s work that can happen there. I think it’s just for one, I mean, just real quick for you, Diane, working larger just means you need to stand up. So you’re not going to be using your wrist, you’re gonna be using your elbow.
[00:51:45] Uh, But you know, let’s say you do that first semi-circle arch, like that paper is either ruined or like on its way to greatness, right? So it’s your choice to leave it like [00:52:00] that or to keep going and you’re gonna keep going, right? So it’s always that first splatter, like sometimes you just have to ruin something, like in your mind, feel like you are ruining it to, to really make yourself break through that.
[00:52:15] Um, with, with, uh, let’s say something more literal, right? So it’s not fair that we’re talking so much about non objective stuff, but if I were trying to make, um, a horse, you know, standing up [00:52:30] on its high legs like a unicorn or whatever, uh, I would just do a quick stroke of the arch of its back and then you’re just committed.
[00:52:40] You’re like, okay, now I gotta see this thing through. So it’s really just the starting, right? And then the other thing is that three quarters of the way in you completely expect, or halfway through, you expect it to suck to look horrible. And you either push through that or you let it go depending on how emotionally stable you [00:53:00] feel at that point.
[00:53:01] And then you come back to it, right? Because nine times outta 10 what you think looks horrible when you’re just about done looks great the next morning or not that bad. Um, and then you know exactly what to do for it. Yeah, I love
[00:53:18] diane: that. Okay. Um, I, I always stand up almost, oh, I mean I guess I, so my table is I can’t sit down cuz there’s too much stuff in my chair, so I always [00:53:30] standing up.
[00:53:30] I don’t think I’ve sat in that chair in like three years. Um, But I think when I’m sitting at my desk at work or something and I’m drawing it is tighter. So I also think using chunky tools helps me to be a little looser. I’m definitely, um, it, it’s something I’m having to, it’s with watercolor or with something that’s water soluble or something that you just can’t control sometimes you just have to make a whole lot [00:54:00] of yuck and then just see.
[00:54:02] And there’s always my, my thing is there’s always another side of that piece of paper. You can always turn it over. I’ve cut up many mini sheets of paper. Um, so do you have any other creative outlets or maybe non-creative outlets, um, that you do to keep you
[00:54:19] Amarilys Henderson: balanced? Yeah, it seems a little unfair cuz it’s not necessarily what.
[00:54:27] I don’t know. I, okay. I, I don’t quite know how to express, [00:54:30] like, I think just being a mom takes up a lot of my time. But, um, I like roller skating, but we don’t have a rink where we live, so it’s a very special thing to drive to a roller skating rink. And I love the ocean, but we live in Minnesota and I don’t care how many lakes we have, it’s just not the ocean.
[00:54:57] So I, uh, [00:55:00] I think I, I just, I hold up these, these like bottle up, these like ambitions for these little trips. Um, I like to travel or just try something different. Just realize like, you could live anywhere. What do, what would it be like here? So that’s one thing. But something that I’ve noticed as a thread is that a lot of the things that I enjoy as outlets, Including artistic ones are ones that make me feel like a kid again.
[00:55:29] [00:55:30] Hmm. That remind me of, you know, young Amarilys’ and so roller skating with, you know, disco balls, which I have a few of in here and, and Rainbows and Rainbow Bright and all those things. Like, all those things really do feed me. Uh, the ocean does because it’s, it’s a memory for me. I’m Puerto Rican and, and the ocean’s just a big deal.
[00:55:56] It’s just been part of that. So [00:56:00] if, if I ever wonder what to do to kind of ignite that creativity again, I have to think about what I did as a kid, and I’ll probably get somewhere close in the ballpark.
[00:56:12] diane: Okay. I love that. Um, and that’s good to know about Relish getting, I always thought my parents didn’t love me cuz we didn’t have a trampoline.
[00:56:18] So when I was 30, I taught an extra class and I made a hundred dol $120 and that’s what a trampoline cost at that point. And I got a trampoline and I was 30 and it was the best. I still [00:56:30] love, it’s dead, you know, they don’t live forever. Um, okay, so I wanna ask you about Spoonflower. So what was, what was the holdup for you getting on Spoonflower Spoonflower before and or was it just not made that way?
[00:56:45] Like is that something new that they
[00:56:47] Amarilys Henderson: offered? Yeah, I, I started creating patterns and I wasn’t very good at it for a while, so that’s part of it. But [00:57:00] I, I did ha or I have a company. Okay. I, I had a company that I licensed my designs to. Um, I’ve since gone with a, a different company, which I’m excited about, but at any rate, when I started noticing all the designs they weren’t selecting, I was kinda like, I want these to live somewhere.
[00:57:22] You know? So I just made a home for them on Spoonflower and I, I better understood through that licensing partner [00:57:30] what a collection is and how, how things sell together, how they need to match together, particularly for quilting or coordinating for, oh, just about anything that you sew, you’re gonna need more than one piece of fabric, one design.
[00:57:44] And, and so it became my little place to mess around with those ideas. I was, I met, um, who was the community director at that time. From [00:58:00] Spoonflower at a trade show. And she said, you know, they were just going to every single table to be honest and saying, you should put your stuff on Spoonflower. You should put your stuff on Spoonflower because they wanna have better, uh, talent pool in there.
[00:58:12] And I didn’t feel ready, but when I did, I did finally email her and ask if there was like, basically any benefit to knowing, having her email address, like, is there anything you can help me with, like any tips or ideas? And she directed me to a couple of [00:58:30] places. But she also said that she would, um, bump me into artist or designer status, which means that you can start selling on Spoonflower.
[00:58:40] So if you are able to approach and then validate that, hey, you know, I’m not just puting around and throwing things out there to see how it works. Like I, I have some designs, uh, There is, there’s no harm Indirectly contacting someone. I often, and, and I can think of at [00:59:00] least a handful of times where I started a project and I had a client in mine, but I didn’t have a relationship with them, and then I just went on their website and hit the contact form.
[00:59:15] It’s someone’s job to direct contact form emails to the right person, so it’s not going nowhere. There’s no guarantee you’ll hear back, but I’ve been surprised that I have heard back a lot of the times when I throw out an artist submission or even a, [00:59:30] Hey, do you collaborate with artists? I’m having this workshop and I’d love to know if you would be interested in being a sponsor.
[00:59:36] I mean, just making that ask, uh, has been so huge. Uh, and it doesn’t get old. Like it, it’s a useful tip no matter where you’re at or what you’re trying to do. And that’s a bit how it happened with Spoonflower as well. I would also suggest that if starting a spoonflower shop to start with a splash, to not just do, uh, a few [01:00:00] designs, um, with Etsy, I would say it’s actually the opposite.
[01:00:04] I think with Etsy doing one listing and perfecting all those tags and links and making sure that it’s, um, performing well and then using that listing over and over again and changing it up as needed is a better strategy there. But with Spoonflower, it’s spin flour. It’s all about like seeing the collection, the assortment that goes.
[01:00:28] diane: So then the more [01:00:30] you put up after you’ve gotten to that status, then you’re able to use that as a, um, you give first dibs to whoever you’re licensing with, and then if they don’t pick something, then you can make additional, um, patterns for, to flush out the rest of that collection that you’re gonna put on Spoonflower.
[01:00:49] I love that. Okay, so in this last year, so this has taken it instead of since 2017, what’s the one thing that you’ve learned about yourself that’s been the [01:01:00] most impactful to your business or life?
[01:01:04] Amarilys Henderson: I got a lot more black and white about finances and what’s going to keep moving my business forward. And so one thing that has helped me is, um, considering how much is coming in, if I get paid to give out the round number, a thousand dollars.
[01:01:26] I know I am paying myself $400, so I [01:01:30] only think about 40% of what comes in. The other goes to tax, overhead, profit, whatever, uh, or next month, honestly. So that’s one thing that I had to get really strict on myself about. Another thing that, uh, has, I’ve grown in this year, or the last couple of years really has been annual planning, but I feel like this year I’ve really, I’m, I’m getting it a lot more.
[01:01:57] I, I like Trello, if you are [01:02:00] any other Trello fans, uh, because I can see in a line January, February, March every month stacked up together and I will even, uh, color code different things and put ’em on the calendar that way. So I put in, you know, our family events and vacations. So I, I see them spaced out and then I put in my moneymakers.
[01:02:24] You know, like, if this is gonna happen this month, you know, and, and I have them [01:02:30] grouped together or whatever, then that’s gonna be a problem. Like, I need to continue and I also need to not get exhausted. And I also not need to exhaust the people who, uh, are patrons. So what, what can I do in this time of the year that will help get me through the next three months or so and spacing those out?
[01:02:50] And it’s been really beneficial for like, even accepting engagements like this. And I, I know like this month I have this variety of [01:03:00] things, and next month I’ll have more time, um, et cetera. And like I said, I really enjoy color coding things because being that I have different streams of income and it’s.
[01:03:12] I don’t wanna be just in one lane for too long. I actually like jumping around lanes so I can see, okay, if licensing is pink on my Trello board, then I can see it peppered through and I can see the deadlines for the fabric collections that I need to create. [01:03:30] And so I not only see that, you know, the business is staying afloat, but that my creativity is also staying afloat and I’m not exhausted by, um, setting up the shop for Christmas or whatever.
[01:03:44] You know? Right. There’s things that really burn us out, like I am so against burnout that I will, I’ll plan to death. Just trying to avoid that, um, because I’ve been there and, and it’s really hard to dig yourself out of it.
[01:03:59] diane: Oh, for sure. [01:04:00] Well, one last thing I wanted to, well, maybe two, but one was you have, you have these.
[01:04:05] Awesome. Ceramic your patterns on these ceramics. So one is like, um, uh, kind of looks like a eucalyptus maybe, or it’s these green leaves. And then one is this, um, just blue and white. I love that. That stuff is so awesome. Was that, uh, some of, you’d always wanted to go on to ceramics? Oh, look. And she has it
[01:04:26] Amarilys Henderson: here for us if you’re [01:04:30] watching.
[01:04:30] I love this. Yeah, these are, these are for mic casaa. Um, and it was really fun, honestly. I, I guess it’s cactus. Yes, it’s a cactus. I painted these, uh, while traveling. So, uh, the kids were little. And the grandparents took us on a Disney cruise. I remember scanning with my handheld scanner, which really [01:05:00] looks like a flat hair, iron, iron, trying to scan as slowly as they could across, not that the boat wasn’t slow enough, but it’s really hard to get a good scan with those things.
[01:05:11] Yeah. Um, and this is, that, that line was actually, it sold so well that they continued it and then just added a few extra pieces. Um, what I’d love about surface design and just really in design in general, since I’m coming [01:05:30] from constantly painting, and a lot of times people think that you need to have this standup, beautiful painting to do.
[01:05:39] But not with design. With design, you just need some elements that are well coordinated and well placed. And so this design has just a bunch of spots that were brush markered. Um, but since they’re irregular, you know, they’re not the kind of thing, you easily draw an illustrator, then it’s got [01:06:00] just enough feel to it.
[01:06:01] There’s a, a cheetah on here and it has three colors. It’s just yellow, black, and some blue as a mid tone. So, um, I’m just always blown away by the simplicity of design. It’s probably my tendency of building up and tearing down and building up and tearing down and just watching how both can be beautiful.
[01:06:25] But those, those were, uh, with a company actually in the uk so [01:06:30] they weren’t available in the US except through Amazon because somebody bought a bunch and then decided to, you know, resell. And I’d love to do some more. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll let you know, uh, because it’s so fun as hold something in 3D like that.
[01:06:45] And it’s different
[01:06:45] diane: than fabric or different than not. That fabric’s not great or wallpaper or um, uh, whatever The other thing is wrapping paper, but a lot of stationary. [01:07:00] Yeah, a lot of stationary. But there’s some, when I saw, I was like, oh my gosh, that feels like your mom would see that in the, when she’s shopping, you know, like, oh my gosh, my daughter made that.
[01:07:11] Right? Like, that’s the, I don’t know that
[01:07:14] Amarilys Henderson: it just, we have these at home and we, we can’t use them cause I made them. It’s like, that’s the Sacred Bowl. You can’t use that bowl. It’s my favorite
[01:07:26] diane: bowl. I know. They’re well, they’re beautiful. I, I, I [01:07:30] really, I thought that was really neat. Um, what is, this is the last question.
[01:07:34] Um, besides the, what is next? What, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself six years ago? The Amarillo from 2017?
[01:07:43] Amarilys Henderson: This sounds really mean towards myself, but I wish I would’ve just gotten smarter faster because I was putzing around. Like, I think this’ll work and I don’t know. And it’s, we live at such a crazy time where we can find out anything we wanna find out.[01:08:00]
[01:08:00] And so if you’re wondering like, would this work? Like, go find out, would it work? Like, and if it doesn’t, if you can’t figure it, if you can’t find your answer because what you’re thinking I’m doing is just so rare in keeping you up and Ivan do it. I think I, I just spent so much time like watching other people.
[01:08:21] And trying to piece together the crumbs after their trails and, and thinking, okay, if I just, [01:08:30] if I just gather the right, the right bits of knowledge from looking at what they’re doing, then I’ll be in a good spot. But it’s just like, life is just too fun. And, and the possibilities are so endless to just put up with that nonsense.
[01:08:46] So if it’s skill you need, like go after that skill, like if it’s, I need to learn how to make repeat patterns that aren’t just a grid, then go after that and, and then that will lead you to the next thing. Or if it’s, [01:09:00] you know, inspiration you need, if you need to really understand who you are and what, what you have to offer for the world, like, you’re not gonna get that by scrolling Instagram.
[01:09:09] So we just, we have these things that we need to fix, patch up, move forward in, and we tend to, Not really address them. And just waiting like Hope Marketing. Right. Hoping that someone will discover me and, and lead the way. Yeah. I [01:09:30] actually watched, uh, I didn’t get to finish it, uh, LA La Land last night again cuz I, I was on a plane and, um, that’s a really long movie.
[01:09:39] But anyway, the, the opening song is about like, someone discovering me, kind of, they’re like in a, in a traffic jam and they’re like, maybe this time somebody will, will find me, find my talent. And I remember thinking like, oh, I’m so glad I don’t live like that anymore. Hmm. Um, I feel like we have so [01:10:00] much more control.
[01:10:00] Well, I know we have so much more control over the steps we take. Our destiny, so to speak, or who we meet or what direction we’re going in. Then we want to admit, I think we wanna give somebody else the responsibility of like, I was never discovered, I was never found, or I never found the right spot. It’s like you, you could, um, and it’s not gonna be easy.
[01:10:24] I, I’m not meaning to make it super simplistic, but I was [01:10:30] talking about the fabric companies. I enjoyed being with one fabric company for three years, and now I am with Moda and it’s one of the biggest names in quilting and it’s a huge difference. But I, I was trained for that opportunity, right? And you see that, you see that all the time looking back.
[01:10:49] So, um, I guess, yeah, I’d get outta my head. I’d want to tell myself to just stop, you know, mulling [01:11:00] around. And just, you know, decide on one thing that you want to move forward and what do I need to do to, to get to that point. So de ask a
[01:11:10] diane: great, a great question, why did I say it like that? I have no idea.
[01:11:17] Amarilys Henderson: the link, that was cute. The
[01:11:19] diane: link to your fabric. So I put the link to your website, which is watercolor, d e v o.com. Her Instagram, Instagram is the same and [01:11:30] her YouTube is also at watercolor Divo. So you can actually, well and on spoon. Okay, great. I’ll plop that one in. So, but, but you can actually get to Spoonflower from your watercolor, Divo do.
[01:11:46] I bet you could. Yeah. I think that’s how I got there. Um, so, but, but you have products that you excel, you have, um, links to Spoonflower. You have, um, courses. There’s, you have this one hub, [01:12:00] which is your website, and then you also have a way for people to sign up for the Tip Tuesday. And then there’s also something for, uh, for a private showing, which sounds a little weird, but it doesn’t for what we’re talking about.
[01:12:14] Um, because that’s how you’re keeping some things. You’re not sharing everything so that somebody either mm-hmm. So that you’re getting, people who are in licensing are able to look at it and see it first. Right. Which I think is really, uh, it’s a, that’s a, [01:12:30] I thought, I thought that was a really nice call to action and it was very
[01:12:32] Amarilys Henderson: clear.
[01:12:34] Yeah. Thanks. That’s, yeah, that’s a, a private gallery for people who are our buyers and our directors that are licensing artwork. Uh, so you, you have to kind of validate your credentials a little bit with me. You know, tell me who you are, what company you’re with, and I’ll spit you the, the password to see more artwork.
[01:12:56] Yeah. But
[01:12:57] diane: I love that. I love that there’s, you have that [01:13:00] and then it does kind of give you that extra layer of, but it also helps the, those people to know that you know what you’re doing. So I hope you guys will sign up. Um, one, one last thing. You have the artist pro method and I’m like the, I never signed up for that cause I was
[01:13:17] Amarilys Henderson: like pro, I’m definitely not a pro.
[01:13:19] I know, right?
[01:13:20] diane: So, but PRO stands for something else. So tell them about that, cuz that’s maybe one of the thing next things that’s coming up. Tell what PRO stands for.
[01:13:29] Amarilys Henderson: That’s my [01:13:30] annual course where, you know, around the year I am talking about art and painting and only once a year I talk about how I do my business work, um, particularly how I do licensing and, um, it could be really, or Etsy shop.
[01:13:48] It’s, it’s really the process of taking your artwork and making it a polished something to market. And we go through that over six plus weeks, [01:14:00] but PRO is an acronym that stands for Polish Repeat Output. So we polish the artwork so that it, I know so many times you photograph or you scan your art and you’re just kinda like, uh, I.
[01:14:13] A few tricks for making it look great, because my biggest thing is I don’t wanna spend all my time at the computer. I wanna get back to painting, or I wanna get back to some other area of my business. And so I show how I do that [01:14:30] quickly, especially the repeat patterns. I don’t use, um, the Photoshop plugin for creating patterns, pattern preview.
[01:14:39] Sometimes I will, it’s not, I don’t know, I, I like my method way better. It’s actually, I find it’s faster and I can also create half drop repeats just as easily, which are so much more dynamic. Um, and so I teach that in the spring. Like I said, it’ll start in April and uh, it’s a live class. We have. [01:15:00] Guest speakers and art directors come in and talk to us.
[01:15:04] Um, and each week we do something different where we’re cleaning up the artwork. We’re creating re uh, basic repeat. Now we’re gonna create a, a conglomeration of repeats. And now we’re gonna explore all the different ways that we can market our art. Um, be it through licensing business to business kind of deals, or straight to consumer.
[01:15:22] I love that.
[01:15:23] diane: Well, I’m not afraid anymore, so you’ll see me there this year. Um, Amber, let’s just thank you so much [01:15:30] and you guys make sure you go, oh, if you’re watching on YouTube, all the links are right at the top. Um, if you’re listening on whatever you get your podcasts, all the links are right at the top in the description.
[01:15:39] Amarilys Henderson: I picked up some playgrounds cause I feel like we’ve talked about so much, but I need to head out myself. They’re upside down, but, um, my mode fabrics aren’t out yet. They’ll be in December. And guess what they wanted to do? Playground. So it’s gonna be a collection of playgrounds that in a way is just like my Lisa Frank Dreams all come [01:16:00] true.
[01:16:00] So that’s
[01:16:02] diane: awesome. That is so awesome. I’m so excited for you. I can’t wait to see what comes out in December. I will see you guys next week with Bethany Heck, and if you are interested in. Um, uh, volunteering at Creative South. I still have some volunteer tickets, which it’s in, uh, the end of March, March 29th, 30th, or something.
[01:16:21] It’s in Columbus, Georgia. And if you want to get, the Blobs book is now available. Amarillo is, I’m gonna send you one. So [01:16:30] just um, send me your
[01:16:31] Amarilys Henderson: text, your address. No, I’m gonna buy it. I’m gonna buy it. I’m gonna find where Diane sells these things. I love it so much.
[01:16:39] diane: I would love to send you one. So anyway, I will see you guys next week.
[01:16:42] Bethany Heck, Amarilys. Thank you so much. And you guys have a great, thank you.[01:17:00]