Melanie Maddison is a self-publisher from Leeds, UK. Her main zine, Colouring Outside The Lines (COTL) has been going since 2004 and interviews contemporary female artists. She also edits the zine, ‘Shape & Situate: Posters of Inspirational European Women’.
She’s our resident chief interview lady, and you can read all the interviews she has conducted for Pikaland here!
Name: Jan DiCintio
Blogs: Scoutie Girl
How would you describe Scoutie Girl’s blog style?
Scoutie Girl’s style is eclectic: simple, sophisticated, contemporary, vintage, chic, (mid-century) modern, bohemian … you name it. I am partial to a lot of different styles in my personal life, and Scoutie Girl is a reflection of my wide-ranging preferences for sure. I also have 7 other incredibly talented women who contribute regular posts & features to Scoutie Girl, and their voices/styles lend both a contrast and continuity to the overall vibe that I couldn’t have achieved on my own! It makes my own blog more interesting to me!
What catches your eye, and what would make you decide to blog about an artist’s work? (Is there a certain style you’re looking for?)
A spectacular photograph catches my eye first & foremost, regardless of the artwork. The lighting, the styling, the detail – it all matters (meanwhile my own product photography stinks – such a hypocrite). Truly though, a well-crafted image speaks volumes about the passion behind the work – and I’m all about the passion!
Once the artist’s photo opens the door, I look for form & function, beauty & duty, economy of materials, stretched convention, positive aura, quality workmanship, excellent execution – any one of these things can move me to the “must feature” stage. And with any luck, I’ll have time to get it done! (My overflowing folder of saved links suggests Father Time is winning this battle however!).
Who are some of your favourite artists (and is there a particular reason why are they are your favorites)?
Oh boy. It’s certainly an evolving and revolving list, which is evidence of the prolific & dynamic nature of the handmade genre at the mo. A good thing for all of us! But, if I had to pin down a few, here are some artists from my birthday wishlist this past December: Swallowfield, Jess Gonacha, print*pattern*paper, Amy Marcella, Printspace, ValeryDesignwrks, Junecraft, Jenean Morrison, Three Sisters Ink,, Good Shape Design, Laura George, Leanne Graeff & Wolfie & the Sneak. I like them b/c their art has a pattern, rhythm and motif that resonates with me. I can look at any of them in passing or as a “museum viewing” and they make me happy every time!
And are there specific genres that you think might not be a good fit with your blog?
I try to be as open as possible to various art forms – looking more at the passion behind the work than anything else. However, as far as styles go, things that aren’t a good fit would be crafty-crafts, traditional styles or children’s (unless it has an application beyond that category). I also don’t go down the negative, dark, sad path. I appreciate pieces like these as they document life, time & space just as happier things do (and they force me out of my comfort zone), but I cannot find the words to write about them in a blog post…would bring me down and I can’t go there.
We know that some bloggers prefer to get submission emails in a certain way — are there any preferences to how they should send in submissions to your blog?
An email is great! Tell me why you think your work would be a good fit with Scoutie Girl and send a couple low-res images. I have a guideline for suggestions here.
A hotlinked web address is super-duper-looper helpful – that’s far and away the easiest thing you can do to get a blogger to click-through to your work. Don’t make them copy + paste your URL. We’re not lazy…but seriously, who wants to do that all day? Mass emails are a no-no for me, too, b/c I won’t compete with my blogging friends to get your work up first – and it’s not fair to put us in that position. However, I understand that you need to have your work seen by as many people as possible – just make sure you let us know about other features so we can add some professional courtesy space.
Are there any other tips you’d like to pass on to Pikaland’s readers about selling/marketing their work?
Please, please, please be confident about what you do and let that come through in all the connections and presentations you make. My B.A. is in marketing, and from my first MKTG101 class, I remember this quote: “Nobody will beat a path to your door for a better mousetrap if they don’t know you exist.” Make sure you devote as much time to getting your work “out there” as you do to creating it. Sites like etsy make it easier to be seen, but you can’t rely on that trickle to build your business. A business plan that includes a marketing plan is a must – even if it’s written on the back of your electric bill! Just write something down and put it in action – “if you continue to do what you do, you’ll continue to have what you have.” Good luck!!
If you’d like to have a look at the other bloggers that we have already profiled, see here!