You guysssss, I finally made good on a goal I’ve had for at least two years now. Yesterday, on the official day that women start working for free, I launched Melanie Jane Studio on Etsy. Every year around my birthday, I get this burst of energy and motivation to finally make progress on my goals, and this year has been the best yet. I’m starting to realize why everyone says your 30s are the best.
I haven’t made a sale (yet!), but pressing publish on my first eight listings has been nothing short of invigorating. These last few months of cranking out lettering and designs is starting to come to fruition, and that old adage about creativity begetting more creativity is proving true. I’d really appreciate if you could go by and take a look. I’m open to any tips or feedback!
I recently celebrated my 31st birthday, and I wanted to get in writing some of my goals for the year.
- Create a portfolio I’m happy with. This site is my first and foremost goal. For the past few years, the main thing that has held me back from pursuing opportunities in design has been not having a portfolio. It’s a tough one: do you spend your post–day job time creating new work that can showcase your talents and interests, or do you spend that precious time working on creating a portfolio? It’s the same struggle any time I want to buy a new wallet—by spending the money, I’m reducing part of the reason I need and want the thing. I finally feel like I’m in a place where I have a body of work I can be proud of showing off. This portfolio will always be a work in progress, but I’ve been humbled and reminded that sometimes “done” is better than “perfect.”
- Be happy with where you are and excited about where you’re going. Every time I create a new design—whether it’s a wedding invitation, an illustration, or a lettering piece—I am torn between being happy with the finished product and looking forward to a year from now when I will be even better than I am today. It can get exhausting to strive for better every day, so I’d like to find a balance between progress and pride in what I’ve already accomplished.
- Open that Etsy shop! I’ve been brainstorming and creating for months now, and I think it’s time to finally take the plunge. Much like this portfolio site, I am encouraged knowing that it is all a work in progress.
- Learn & grow. OK, so this is a bit vague, and I intend to break it down into actionable steps (i.e., take a class in video editing, research small business taxes), but in general, I want to keep the momentum I’ve found in the last couple years. I am grateful to have a day job that supports me, provides great health insurance and benefits, but I’d love to start pursuing freelance opportunities to expand my skills.
What are your goals this year—design or otherwise?
My latest Skillshare class is live! A few months ago, I got a Silhouette Cameo machine and began screenprinting my own designs using vinyl on silkscreen. The process is much simpler and faster than the traditional method of burning designs onto silkscreens, and if you have a vinyl cutting machine like a Silhouette or Cricut, this is a fairly inexpensive way to get started.
The class includes a handlettered design to screenprint onto your own tee or sweatshirt. Let me know if you decide to take it! Continue reading
My second Skillshare class delves right into my newest love: designing wedding invitations and drawing florals in Illustrator. If you’re interested in making your own wedding invitation (or a friend’s!), or you just want to brush up on your illustration skills, this is the class for you. I’d love to hear what you think!
PS—You can definitely make this one more of a fall/winter/summer wedding by just changing up the color palette. Continue reading