Happy New Year!

The first day of 2012, I made some resolutions:

  1. To give up all vices (except for sugar. Sugar, you're my only friend, and not for long).
  2. To be an artist.
  3. To be the best friend and girlfriend I could be.
  4. To rock.

Now, looking back on the year on the last day of 2012, I'm pretty confident this was the best year ever. Here's just a few of the things that 2012 brought that I'm grateful for/stoked about:

So, even though my computer of five years just died on Friday and I lost a bunch of files and had to go buy a new laptop, and even though I have eight books to edit this week, you were pretty awesome, 2012, and I am so stoked to start 2013. Apparently resolutions work, so I'm going to have a hundred this year. Some things I hope to look forward to: 
  1. Launching of my Cabin Fajitas comic. A comic a week! (If I tell you here, I have to do it, right?)
  2. Art/research road trip to Canada. I've got a story to tell, and it's in Alberta.
  3. Another illustration residency!
  4. A new, new website!
  5. More collaborations!
  6. And 95 other less interesting resolutions like flossing, being better about backing up my files (weep), getting French doors for my studio so I stop living in it, going to the library regularly, and apparently making you read a lot of lists, dear reader (check!). 
So, make some resolutions! Resolve to get awesome or do whatever. I'll be your sponsor. And may your new year be healthy, inspiring, and super rocking. GET JAZZED MMXIII!

Oh, also, these are selling like hot cakes, but I still have New Year's card sets for sale (featuring the above image). See more pictures of them here and purchase them here. There's also a print of this image in my shop!


Studio closed! December 24-January 2

Happy holidays! The studio will be closed from December 24 through January 2. I am still having a pop-up shop in Santa Rosa December 24, and my Etsy shop will be open for some of that time as well. I might pop in to make a blog post this week, but otherwise I'm closed for business! See you next year!


House Calls! Sun-Mon 12/23-24, Santa Rosa

{Tissu Haus: an upcoming product I'm mocking up! © Mikayla Butchart}
We're finishing up our Christmas shopping this weekend and then packing up the car to spend a few days in the North Bay with our families. If you're in the Santa Rosa/Sonoma County area, and you're interested in purchasing a last-minute Christmas gift, I'll be bringing a little of everything from my Etsy shop: prints, Aphrodite and Thanks a Million totes, New Years cards and blank Good Dog cards, felt trees, stuffed volcanoes, and even some stuffed ships in a bottle. Send me an email (mikayla[dot]butchart[at]gmail) if you're interested in purchasing something in person and I'll let you know when I'll be doing house calls or where to visit my pop-up shop! Sunday (12/23) and Monday (Christmas Eve)!


Professional Illustration class with Lisa Congdon!

Lisa finishes up her talk on the business of being a professional illustrator. @ Makeshift Society
Last night I attended a talk on Professional Illustration given by illustrator extraordinaire Lisa Congdon at Makeshift Society, a superspecial clubhouse for creative professionals in San Francisco. I've been an admirer of Lisa and her work for a while now, in part because her work is fun and sincere and approachable and whimsical and everywhere (pick up a copy of the Guardian, she's illustrated their anniversary issue; fall down an Internet wormhole and land at the Land of Nod children's retailer website even though you know barely any children, and hey, there's some hand-painted Lisa Congdon ornaments; drool over some Hygge & West wallpaper, hey that's Lisa; Lisa on Cloud 9 fabrics; Lisa on temporary tattoos; Lisa on the walls of Conference Room E at Chronicle Books, my old haunt). But the other reason I admire and follow Lisa's work is that she didn't go to art school; she is self-taught and was on a very different career path until she decided to make the switch to being a full-time, self-employed artist. I'm trying to forge a similar path, so her blog (and especially her FAQs) have been a huge inspiration for me. She's incredibly generous with sharing her experiences and tips there, and it was such a treat to hear her talk about them in person (and to meet her afterward!). I took pages of notes, and some of it was familiar already, but here were my biggest notes to self:

  • Get dressed as if you were going to an actual job. (I think that the reason a lot of freelancers don't do this is not because they're lazy/getting away with what they can, but because they're so stoked on what they're doing that they walk straight from bed to their workspace. Art trumps pants!)
  • Eat breakfast. (Same thought here. Also lunch and dinner, probably.)
  • You don't necessarily need a studio outside your home, but it's preferable if it's a space you can close up and leave at the end of the day. (French doors 2013!).
  • Keep regular work hours even when you don't have regular work. (For me, this should also apply when I have too much work.)
  • Know when to say yes and when to say no.
  • Know your dream projects and set goals: it'll help you set a direction and expand and hone your portfolio.
  • You don't have to have only one style, but be authentic. Experiment and develop bodies of work.
  • Only show work you'd like to make again or see licensed on a product. (If things suddenly disappear from my online portfolios, now you'll know why.)
  • Show up for people in your community! Go to art shows and classes and talks! (Yeah!)
  • Be nice, be professional, be assertive, be confident, be patient, be positive, be prompt, be gracious, be easy to work with, and work hard. (nbd.)
Anyway, this has been a big year of learning for me, and of approaching illustration with intention and focus. It is nice that this opportunity to take Lisa's class came at the end of year, as things wind down and hibernate for a few days and I have an opportunity to reflect on 2012 and set some goals for 2013. I'll start with breakfast. 

And thanks, Lisa. That was awesome. 


Shop Party! Thank You!

Photo by Cleo Malone

A big thank-you to everyone who came and visited me at Shop Party yesterday (or even supported from a distance by "liking" or "hearting" my photos on Facebook or Instagram). I'd had about 40 minutes of sleep the night before and I would have bargained my way out of making the drive to Santa Rosa that morning if I could, but you know what? Shop Party was awesome. I was so heartened by all the visitors who lingered over all the offerings at my table and by all the sales I made. This has been the first year I've really tried to make a go of being an illustrator, and this was my first craft show of any kind. I got into illustration and artmaking because I like drawing or whatever but specifically because my favorite genre is the gift: I love making things to make people happy (pathologists would probably call this a constant need for approval). So as a fledgling illustrator who hasn't shown much in the past, sitting at my first craft fair, talking to craft-shoppers face-to-face, and selling a bunch of probable gifts I'd made was nothing short of amazing. And important. Because sometimes you're not sleeping very much and you're making a huge mess of the entire apartment for weeks and Wells Fargo is sending you pie charts of your spending habits and you're like, Dear god, 47% of my income on felt?! and the threat looms that you'll hang it up or scale back the art phase, oh well, it was worth a shot. But then you sell out of all your Good Dog totes and you suddenly want to write a big gushy paragraph about the experience. So thanks, Shop Partiers. Truly.

Oh, and a HUGE thank-you to those who helped me prepare and those who helped me get through the day. You know who you are. You're the best.

My lovely assistant and me.

The Sea Poppy (a stuffed ship in a bottle), tiny stuffed volcanoes, and totes!

Archival art prints, felt forest trees, New Years and Good Dog notecard
sets, and Hella Hello postcards!

* * *
My Etsy shop is a little depleted, but if you're interested in making a purchase, there's still plenty of stuff left! I recommend you order by December 19, at the latest, to get things before Christmas. Otherwise, you know what is a good time for belated gifts? All the time. 


Holiday shopping sneak peek: Felt forest trees

I will have my felt forest trees for sale at the Shop Party holiday craft fair in Santa Rosa this Sunday, December 9! These are an improved version of the trees I mocked up in May as an ode to Hendy Woods. They are very meticulously made, but they're worth it, and I will miss them. I seriously considered making one twelve times larger and using it as our Christmas tree, but I'm trying to get started early on my New Year's resolution not to be a maniac about everything. Unless you think that's something a normal, logical person would do?


Several of these sold at Shop Party, but there's still some left and I'm always making more. Find them in my Etsy shop!


Holiday shopping sneak peek: Good Dog totes

Another of my screen-printed canvas totes that will be available at the Shop Party holiday craft fair in Santa Rosa December 9! BFF James from A Second Story helped me by hand-screen-printing one of my Good Dog illustrations on these roomy cotton twill totes. I have a very small quantity of these, so come early!


These completely sold out at Shop Party, so they won't be available in my Etsy shop just yet. We are discussing printing a new edition, maybe in a different color. What color would you like to see? In the meantime, this illustration (in pink, not orange) is available as a print and in a set of notecards.

Aw yeah. James's superexclusive Milo cuddle sweatshirt.


Holiday shopping sneak peek: Aphrodite totes!

Aphrodite, you hot number! My friend James at A Second Story helped me hand-screen-print my illustration of three Aphrodite busts on these natural cotton totes. A limited quantity will be available at the Shop Party holiday craft fair in Santa Rosa on December 9, and they're also now available in my shop! I'll post my last tote tomorrow, so stay tuned!

{Hey James}


Holiday shopping sneak peek: Thanks a Million totes

They are slowly banning plastic bags in San Francisco (at the moment you can buy them for ten cents each at smaller stores) and I had really grown to like the flowered "Thank You/Have a Nice Day" plastic bags that you could get at corner veggie stores and Chinatown markets here. You used to come home with quite a variety!

So I designed my own reusable version, and it will be available at the Shop Party holiday craft fair in Santa Rosa on Sunday December 9, and a batch is currently online in my Etsy shop! Each cotton twill tote is individually hand-screen-printed with the help of my friend James from A Second Story. I will be sharing the other totes we made over the next couple of days, so stay tuned!