Celebrating our 6th anniversary = unblocking your creativity!

Pikaland turns 6!

Pikaland turns 6!

Pikaland turns 6 this month, and all I could think of was how amazing you guys are.

Forgive me for the bit of a soppy post, but I thought I should get stuff of my chest instead of holding it all in (I think I’m allowed to do so since I do this here blog!) So here it is: I wanted to thank you for following me on this personal, enlightening journey on Pikaland – and I hope that it has helped you in some ways too. When I first started this blog back in 2008, it was to serve as a personal “scrapbook” of sorts. Not knowing much about illustration, I decided to start a blog where I collected the artists and pieces that I love where I could access it in one place – a place where I could learn and hopefully to reveal what is it about illustrations that makes my heart beat a little faster, and my eyes a lot more sensitive to what’s being said. I learned so much through self-discovery, by putting it into practice, and by teaching others about what I’ve learned: how important it is to see beyond just images.

One of the most fulfilling projects I’ve started is the Good to Know project. It’s a series of zines that shares advice among creatives – artists, designers and illustrators on various subjects on creativity, business and life. It was started in 2009, and our first ever issue on creativity is one of my favorites. I’d like to share this with you as a free downloadable PDF (and viewable online too right below via Scribd!) I’m looking to expand on this project this year, and I’ll be making these older copies available to mailing list subscribers free of charge along the way (p/s: if you haven’t signed up yet, it’s never too late – you can do that by clicking here!!)

I’ve started projects, and said goodbye to some. But the one thing that has stayed the same is that you aren’t alone in figuring all of this out. I’m still doing that too. And I’m glad that we’re going to do that together.

Without further ado, here’s the first zine that launched it all – the very first issue of the Good to Know zine series; one that documents the musings of over 40 artists on how they’ve unblocked their creativity.

I hope you enjoy the read, and I look forward to our journey together along this amazing road ahead. Let’s enjoy the ride, shall we?

Are you reaping what you’ve sowed? (+ launch of an online class)

When I had started teaching at a local college about the creative process of illustration, I found myself talking a lot about the entrepreneurial aspects of it as well. It didn’t matter if your skills were the best on the block – if you didn’t know how to make the best of it, well then you’re not going to get far.

But so many artists and illustrators get it wrong. They think that if their work is good, then it should speak for itself. They think that if they weren’t getting picked up by clients, publishers, buyers, etc., that it just means that they’re not good enough. And so they try, again and again – and somewhere along the way they get lucky – they get picked. Fueled by the acknowledgement, they work harder, only to have their confidence plummet again because they weren’t picked, unlike before. They start to find a part-time job. Money is tight. Their passion dwindles. They eventually settle for a full-time job that they loathe. “It’s only temporary”, they mutter. But is it?

I’ve contemplated on heading back to a full-time job when I first started out as a freelancer. The pressure was too much during those first couple of years – I had a mortgage and bills to pay, and there were essential things that I wanted to save up for. A fridge. A washing machine. There were days when it was great, and there were also times when the thought of not knowing where my next income might come from made it hard. But each time I stared at the classifieds, I felt my heart sink. Each time I put it away.

I never did get a full-time job after all, only one part-time gig to tide me over a few months, and I have never looked back for the past 4 years. It was only from my second year of freelancing did I start to reap the rewards that I’ve so carefully sown from the beginning. A lot of it was about relationships – ones that I never stopped cultivating, even before I left the corporate world. I made new contacts, which lead to even more work, which eventually snowballed to even bigger opportunities. I’ve carved a name for myself in a niche industry. I’ve come to a point where I have to turn down projects, lucrative as it may be so that I can pursue what I love: teaching.

And today marks the day where I launch my first solo online class for aspiring artists and illustrators who want to find their footing in this big bad digital world. So starting in September, for 6 weeks, I’ll be guiding artists and illustrators on how to hone in on their style and story, and how to turn their skills into a viable business while having fun along the way.

I’ll be teaching you the things that I’ve learnt along my journey, along with the results of my careful observations of artists and illustrators over the past 6 years. I’m going to touch on marketing (and no, it’s not a dirty word) and how the spirit of generosity will create not only goodwill, but massive opportunities for yourself.

I’ll teach you how to recognize opportunities and hunt them down (without making people cringe at you!), how to differentiate yourself from the sea of other talents out there, how to build your presence effectively, how to self-promote fearlessly and how to make money from your art. 

Ultimately, I want to provide you with skills that are future-proof. Skills that can stretch far beyond what you believe you’re capable of, so that by the end of the course, you’ll have your very own road map and strategies to create great work, and the ability to find opportunities and income wherever you go and whatever you do.

If this is something that you’ve been looking for, then I invite you to come check out Work / Art / Play. It starts from 16th September 2013 and enrollment is now open for 3 weeks. I’m really excited about this class and I hope you are too!


What strategies did you put into motion that has helped you along your way to becoming a more successful creative business owner? What advice would you have to share with others so that they can avoid the heartache that you went through?

[Illustrations on the Work / Art / Play site is done by Susanne Low!]

Giveaway: Piccolo

Piccolo giveaway

Piccolo giveaway

My good friend Sara (who runs the awesome blog Brown Paper Bag) recently started a new, fun project called Piccolo, along with her friend Lisa. Originally funded on Kickstarter in January 2013, Piccolo’s purpose is to bring creative and well-made illustrated products to people in a way that is accessible, affordable, and fun. While their first collection of prints have already made their debut on a successful Kickstarter campaign, the ladies have just launched their second collection called “To Market” and it’s made up of a series of tote bags inspired by outdoor farmer’s markets, beach trips, and summer time, featuring rad illustrations from some of my favorite artists.

To celebrate the launch, we’re giving away one tote bag + one print of your choice to one lucky commenter. And the best part? It’s open for entry to everyone around the world – how cool is that?

To enter, just comment on this post letting us know which print + tote bag is your favorite combination and you might just win a set! Closing date for entries is 22nd August 2013.

**UPDATE: Thanks so much to everyone who commented – this giveaway has now officially ended, and the lucky winner is Venla Rossi!**

[Images: From top: “To Market” tote bag by Karolin Schnoor, Petite Print by Yelena Bryksenkova]
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