Art Print Packaging Tips | The 2 Most Important Things To Consider In My Book

Art Print Packaging Tips | The 2 Most Important Things To Consider In My Book

Art Prints Packaging | The  Two Most Important Considerations in My Book

Packaging is quite a thing for me, hey.⁠

I spent the longest time grappling with not wanting to do prints of my art because I felt like it would loose all heart and sentimentality. How I finally came around to doing the prints is a story for another time.

Now, when I get stuck into an aspect like packaging I have only 2 concerns:⁠

1. Can I make it beautiful?⁠
2. Can I make it kind?⁠

 

1. What makes your packaging beautiful?

By beautiful, I mean it must be lovely to look at and to unwrap. I’m talking tactile, soft and crisp to the touch. But it must also be a pleasure for me to package.⁠ (a lot of consideration – and dare I say unnecessary bucks – go into the ‘customer experience’ – and I’m all for that stuff for the most part. However since the customer will experience what I experienced while creating or wrapping the item – the makers energy transfers – why not make the work beautiful for ourselves as far as we can first and foremost?)

2. What makes your packaging kind?

For kindness, I consider the cost – the cost for the environment and then the cost for my budget. So all my options for aesthetic choices come down to asking, “how did this item/ string/ ribbon/ paper get here and where will it go?⁠

 

These are some of the environmental kindness questions I ask myself:

  • Were toxic chemicals used in the dying or printing of this?
  • Is there a film, veneer or a wax or a glue on it that makes it non-recyclable?
  • Is it essential? (even if all your bits and bobs are on eco paper and eco ink and eco stickers – it’s still using resources at the place of creation, like water and electricity⁠)

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how beautiful you make your packaging, for the most part it will probably be disposed of.⁠ I have found in the past that when there’s so much really expensive boxing and packaging, I feel guilty throwing it away and force myself to find a purpose for it. But that’s not a burden I want to place on my art buyers.

 

art print packaging

My art print packaging choices

Here’s what I chose in terms of product and process. I hope they help and inspire you to make the best considerations for your product.

1. Hand written thank you stickers

At this point I’ve chosen not to go the bulk-branding-stickers route just yet. Bulk stationary is higher in cost and likely higher in secondary resources and at this point I’m still small enough to get by, by being scrappy and hands-on.

Being tiny has its perks and I’m enjoying giving my stationary a handwritten attention to detail⁠.
⁠The stickers have a water soluble glue on them and they’re necessary to hold the paper wrapping together. I write the ‘thank you’ in a silver pen, and I’m okay with each one looking a little different.

 

2. Better plastic

Art prints need to be sold in such a way that the print itself doesn’t get tarnished or stained. I sell mine in compostable clear Good for The Ground sleeves. How lucky are we to be living in an emerging time were better options other than PET plastics are becoming available? Good for the Ground sleeves are made from PLA (Polylactic Acid), a polymer derived from starch.

 

3. Upcycled backingboard

Prints also need to be supported against something firm so that they don’t bend before being framed. I didn’t want to buy cardboard that would literally be tossed once it arrived at it’s home. I’ve gone the up-cycled route. The framing store The Framery, where I have some of my frames made, keep their off-cut pieces for me (they would ordinarily be discarded and recycled). Luckily my art is miniature so I can go this route.

So, all my prints that go out have varying colours backing board. I go with whatever I get. Some are grey, some rust red, some white, some plain brown. I also get some upcycled backboard from photographers who are tossing out their damaged board. I trim the water-damaged edges and bob’s your uncle.

Sure, in an ideal, aesthetics-only world, they’d all be black, I guess, if I wanted it to match my branding.

But I’ve chosen to release my brand’s identity from over-curation.

I like that my growing brand has room to breathe beyond the confines of colours and font and can define itself by its intention too.


4. Simple wrapping

For presentation and wrapping, I’ve gone with unbleached, white tissue paper (so yes, again the white leans off-white rather than crisp, which visually I would prefer but this falls into the above thinking). No bleaching, no inks, can be recycled or composted.

When all is said and done environmental kindness is the coolest colour.

 

5. Eco twine

I use eco twine to wrap the tissue paper. I almost went with black raffia but I decided that the length of twine, being long enough to be repurposed, would be more useful to the buyer if it was also sturdier. Twine can tie a great many things, curtains, plants, hair, dried herbs and flowers to name but a few and if not, I know it will definitely decompose.

 

6. Handwritten thank you notes on recycled paper


My little thank you note, along with the miniNature header on it, is handwritten on recycled paper. It takes a bit more time than if the headers were already printed, but each one feels like a practice in gratitude. Doing things the slower way is also part of my brand story now.

I hope that when you buy a miniNature print, you enjoy all these little eco aspects as much as I enjoyed putting my heart and thought into them.⁠

And I also hope that you feel inspired to give love and thought to every aspect of what you make, even if that is ‘just the packaging’.

As I said before, for the longest time I felt like selling prints would lack authenticity, but I now see that I can put as much of myself into all these other aspects too.

In the end, Le Corbusier was right, form should always follow function first. The function of packaging is to keep the item safe, add a little beauty and then to slip quietly and kindly out of our lives, not, I believe, to do all the leg work of making your brand look and feel impressive.

Let your actual art do that.

 

Beautiful header image from Helena Hertz on Unsplash

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Creative Challenges

Instagram numbers crushing your creative vibe? Here’s how to change that.

I stumbled upon a mindset that helped me detach my creative motivation from those pesky Instagram numbers – the follower growth on IG that plagues any digital endeavour. Since this is a challenge that many artists who begin sharing their work publicly deal with, I wanted to share this analogy with you in hopes that it may shift you into an ‘appreciation of’ mindset over a ‘validated because’ mindset.

 

 

“While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.”

Top Pic by Anna King on Unsplash

Left pic by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

 

The beginning of that toxic relationship with Instagram number

When I began my journey of painting daily, I watched eagerly as the numbers of people following my work climbed. I remember wanting to check my account first thing in the morning to see if the painting I had posted the day before had gained me new followers. It was a dirty little addiction and I didn’t enjoy the way it felt.

For many artists, myself included, there have been periods where, if the climb wasn’t happening rapidly enough, the motivation to paint just wasn’t there. The ‘who cares anyway’ thought would come to lurk on my shoulder.

I call this a ‘validation because’ mindset.

I would only feel motivated to paint because the external validation was pulling me to do so.

Why a commitment to self helps break the cycle of IG numbers feeding creativity

It was the decision to paint daily no matter what  that eventually helped break my addiction to validation. My commitment to my own challenge was more important than whether many followers latched on or not. Instead of stopping to paint, because of the unsatisfactory follower count, I pushed myself to paint through the feeling, paint in spite of the apparent low validation.

Then things shifted.

With daily work, the momentum of the art snowball takes on a life of its own. Once that happens the numbers stop mattering.

Your mindset shifts too.

I call this stage the ‘appreciation of’ mindset

Here’s the analogy I tap into to explain how daily work will break your attachment to the social media numbers:

With daily painting, that looming number on Instagram, the people following your account (ie your creative work), begin to appear like whether it’s raining outside or not.

While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.

Light rain or no rain (no new followers) = “eh, I can take it easy for a day, I can build slower. There’s no urgency to build the house because no one is coming inside. No one cares.”

Now, if you keep making despite light rain, hard rain or sunshine then suddenly you have a house to keep painting in and you care not for nought about the numbers. They’re just there. Pitter pattering on the window panes of your creative palace.

 

Now, about that shallow self-talk, when we feel like the numbers matter

 I don’t believe that in the heart of an artist, the numbers matter. That’s not initially why you sat down to paint, or to undertake a creative challenge. (and if it is, honestly, I’d suggest asking yourself if you really want to be an artist or if you just want recognition somewhere)

 When creatives look at the numbers, we think they matter, because we think high numbers = you’re a good artist.

 But what you’re really looking for is not approval, it’s signs of growth. 

That’s WHY you started painting. Somewhere deep inside, you, like me, are hungry for growth of self. We’re all just hungry for inner expansion and connection to our purpose. 

Here’s a beautiful Hopi Creation Story about the magic we can only find hidden inside

But it’s in the continuation of painting that we begin to see where the visible growth is happening. It’s in us. And it’s on that canvas or paper.

Stay committed to your creativity.

Before you know it, the numbers won’t matter.

What will matter is your art. And it will matter most to you.

Header image credits:

 

QUICK RECAP

MY METHOD TO STOP INSTAGRAM NUMBERS FROM AFFECTING YOUR CREATIVE MOTIVATION

1. Decide why you want to paint.

2. Commit to painting daily.

3. Painting daily switches your mindset around Instagram number growth from ‘validation because’ to ‘appreciation of’

4. Through painting daily you create a momentum and accountability to self.

5. The growth you’re looking for in the ‘Instagram follower increase’ is really a growth of self.

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x

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Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

MINDFUL MININATURE

Lessons from the dandelion: How to navigate change

I have a feeling that conventionally we view ‘change’ as the BIG unknown and ‘acceptance’ as this little thing we eventually have to give into in order to make the change less uncomfortable.⁠

But what if there’s a different way of looking at it?⁠

What if ‘change’ is this really little unknown and ‘acceptance is the BIG known we can reach to every time a possible change of direction arises?⁠

Change is happening all around us on micro levels. Our hair is growing. The plants are blooming. The leaves are going brown. You meet a new person you didn’t know yesterday. You hear a new song that shifts things for you. ⁠

It’s not that change is the divergence from the consistent ‘normal’ routine. It’s that we tend not to notice the little changes, give them that little nod hello.⁠

I made some sense from it by observing and painting this dandelion.

Here’s how you could view Change
many unknowable little things you can’t control like the seeds of a dandelion⁠

Here’s how you could view Acceptance
one consistently available thing you can tap into to smooth your experience of the ride, like the warm breeze all around you⁠

Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land. ⁠
.⁠
Puts a whole new perspective on having an ‘Easy Breezy’ nature, hey?⁠

 

“Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land.”

Leave me a comment if viewing change this way could help your art process, or other perspectives and thoughts you might have on change.

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Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

MINDFUL MININATURE

Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

Which Earth do you choose to believe in? Which Earth do feed belief into?⁠

I used to believe in only the green, lush and growing Earth, but having painted both, I ‘m coming to understand that we cannot deny the dying Earth amid the living Earth.

I’m still trying to find a way to hold space for this duality in my heart – continue doing and believing and creating towards the beauty and overcoming, but holding with peace that there must always be suffering.⁠ Each new encounter with death reminds me of this.

I wrote an Earth Poem recently to try to speak into these feelings.

Dear person whose name I do not know,⁠
in this community in which we grow,⁠

Dear maker in-spite of all your inflictions,⁠
being creative amidst these restrictions,⁠

Dear giver despite burdened limitations,⁠
feeding, sheltering and providing sanitations,⁠

Dear birds that fly away at dawn and return at dusk,⁠
urging me to discover the things I must,⁠

Dear afraid and hungry, doing the best you can,⁠
along cynics and sceptics, also doing the best they can,⁠

Dear glorious breath I get to draw every day,⁠
Dear ache, dear pain that feels here to stay,⁠

This Earth, will pulse on, no matter what,⁠
She too does the best she can with what she’s got.⁠

There is always sun while there’s moon,⁠
somewhere nourishing rain, yet somewhere monsoon⁠

We’re not in this together in exactly the same way,⁠
But together we are,⁠
There’s no other way.⁠

~ EarthDay 2020⁠
.⁠

To view more paintings inspired by our living planet check out the full 365 gallery.

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Top 8 take-aways from being interviewed by Crush magazine

Top 8 take-aways from being interviewed by Crush magazine

MINDFUL MININATURE

8 creative insights I only uncovered after being interviewed

I recently did an interview with the lovely folks over at Crush magazine (who by the way create drool worthy recipe shoots) about my miniature painting journey, the 365 challenge and what it means to be creative daily.

I was surprised to discover that being interviewed can open up a lot of clarity about your own process. Questions you never ask yourself reveal aspects of the deeper ‘why’ in your journey that were, up until that moment, even hidden from you.

Here are my eight quick take aways from the interview that taught me something I didn’t know I had learnt through the process of painting daily.

 

1. Everything is far richer and more effortless to create and sustain if we cultivate a symbiosis.

2. Your art doesn’t have to please everyone. There are literally different (brush) strokes for different folks.

3. Making it as an artist will be tough but I would rather climb this mountain than sit behind a desk never having even tried. I have to believe that my hiking boots are made of the right stuff to climb my own mountains. If we have innate talents, then we also have the innate strengths to see those into fruition.

Photography by Ashly Newell

4. Nature is it. It’s the beginning and the end of us. She’s our greatest teacher. A silent and all-knowing one at that, who waits for us to find her.

“As they say – no mud no lotus. So even the lows become highs if you’re accepting of what is.

5. Having a sense of momentum and purpose was powerfully focusing. 

6. A self-belief in what you can accomplish if you do it mindfully and  constantly looking for the learning curve – that’s been invaluable.

7. The people in your life who love and care for you, really do want to support you. They get reward out of helping you achieve your thing.

8.  I know the painting is done when it’s looking back at me. It reaches a place when it suddenly has a little life of its own.

Read the full interview and get the context behind all these insights head on over to Crush Magazine.

Big thank you again to Julie Velosa and her team for the feature.

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