People are awesome. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. People. Are. Awesome. People (you, me, those other guys) are everywhere, I swear, like, EVERYWHERE, and most of these people are awesome. People, together, can do so many things, actually they already have, they can bring down the bad guys, build up the good things, people have done all that. People can also help you, and they will, you might be surprised, but people can help you to achieve some pretty wonderful things.
I’m a professional illustrator, an independent creative business. I don’t know what you do, maybe you’re creative, maybe you’re an independent business, maybe you’re both, or maybe you’re something else, and you’ve got a little idea you’d like to make happen. Being your own business, especially a creative business, means you can (and should) take solid control of your own path in life and work. I’ve always been independent, stubbornly so; stubbornly independent, independently stubborn. I’ve not actually been ‘employed’ by a ‘boss’ since I was 18, I’m now 36, I appear to have survived so far (with a major credit going to my very supportive wife Fi). But this year I did one thing differently. This year I opened myself up a bit and I put my faith into ‘people’. And goddamnit. It worked out. Because people are awesome.
Way back when (around May this year) I started a series of animal illustrations, purely for my own enjoyment, I adopted a fairly simple but effective illustration style and I started to produce one after another; birds, fish, mammals, insects, sea creatures, a cute squirrel, a striking Orca, the list went on and on, I shared them online and ‘people’ liked them. They became known as my ‘Fluid Animals’. But when you’re a professional that’s not always enough, I’m not in this industry for online popularity, I have a family and a mortgage and everything else that being a bit old brings to life, so I needed to take this series of illustrations further, I needed to make something with them. So, I conceived a calendar, bringing together 12 of the best animal illustrations, presenting them well, putting good art in a functional product that ‘people’ might like, done. But what next? You design it, you design the cover, you get a quote from a printer, and then… oh my god… what if I can’t sell them? What if I don’t sell enough? What if I’m left with boxes of 2013 calendars right through until 2014?!? Sometimes being in that position alone can be a little scary; independently scary, scarily independent. So what could I do? I went to the people.
In late Summer, without even a sample to show, I put my calendar on sale for pre-order. I had no idea if this would work, but the people came through. Before Summer was even over, people started pre-ordering their calendar for next year, some people pre-ordered two, they saw the artwork and they put their faith and money into my hands, and they made it happen, they made my product happen. People are awesome. Thankfully I had enough pre-orders to fund the first print-run of calendars and in October my artwork went through all the relevant machines and that series of illustrations finally came to life, a new product was born, the 2013 Fluid Animals Calendar. By the end of November the calendar sales had also given birth to 3 sets of postcards and a set of Christmas cards, all featuring my Fluid Animals, and all made possible by those people who were good enough to invest in my new range of products at the launch of each new item. I have nothing but love and thanks for all those awesome people.
I have long been an admirer of crowd-sourcing, taking new businesses and ventures out of the hands of the loaners at the bank, and making them happen by people-power. I’ve only just stepped into this area myself, and of course my calendar is small-beans compared to some of the huge projects happening on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but it’s proof that it works, and shows that even the smallest little dreams can come true pretty swiftly if you open up and let people help you. Let’s say it again… people are awesome. People, together, have the ability to make independent ventures successful, without having to pander to the banks, or a union, or a major corporation. Independently successful, successfully independent.
Got something you want to make happen? Tell people, make it happen.
You can buy the 2013 Calendar, Christmas cards and postcards now from www.FluidAnimals.com! Shipping worldwide.