New Print, New Doubts, New Projects

Copies of the Records Are Ritual print hanging from the drying line in the print studio.

This week I finished up a new print. It’s called “Records Are Ritual” and pays homage to the collecting vinyl records.

It is a 4-color print on natural color 100# cover stock. It is a numbered edition limited to 33 pieces.

For this illustration I decided to go in the style of a contour pencil drawing with the color blocked in by sharp vector shapes juxtaposed with the loose keyline drawing. [When you get your Artistic License in the mail, they dictate that you trot out the word “juxtapose” 75 times a year; I’m a little under my quota at the moment.]

I always enjoy the loose style of contour drawings when other artists do them, but I have trouble accepting my own finished contour drawings. In landing on this version, I drew 17 other copies with a variety of media and paper.

Records are Ritual print on a vacuum table press.

There were also several technical difficulties I encountered during this process. It made me realize that many of the fixtures and tools in my print shop are going to need repair or replacing if I’m going to keep printing with any regularity. I need new screens, squeegees, light sources, and I’m starting to run low on some ink. Fun fact: It would cost $1824 to buy a gallon each of all 19 Speedball Permanent Acrylic Inks (not that I need gallons).

New Store

I wanted to have at least one more print available for purchase when I open my new online storefront. I’m a little nervous about it. I don’t have a marketing budget, an e-mail list, or any real strategy at this point other than to reach out to my various social media channels and say, “Hey, I opened a store!” So what is going to be different this time?

Maybe it’s my attitude? My evolving UX skills? Past stores have been on Etsy and Storenvy. I don’t know that switching to BigCartel will be the magic bullet that will make this a success.

There are new products and old products, but not many. I might only have five whole things for sale. But I guess I have to start somewhere.

A possible preview of what my storefront might look like. This images shows five products for sale in an online storefront.
Is this what my storefront is going to look like? Maybe.

It was difficult to go through my flat files and decide that many former prints weren’t good enough to make the cut. If you want to grow as an artist, it’s only natural that you’ll create lots of stuff that you just don’t like as time moves forward. However, I feel like many of these “not good enough” prints will make their way into collages and notebook covers.

New Job Search

Next week I start a 6-week UX Job Search Sprint. I’ll be part of a six-person cohort that meets twice a week for 2-hours to work on submission materials, job resources, interview practice, and so on. Hopefully there is not too much redundancy with other workshops and career services I have had access to.

Three weeks ago I started at a local warehouse. It is just something I have to do to bring some money in. Unfortunately, overtime has been mandated lately. That means I am typically there for 48-hours a week. With everyone aware that the place is closing in 18 months, I’ll feel a lot less bad about quitting when the time comes.

With the overtime and the job search sprint, the next 6 weeks are going to be a little crazy. And yet, that’s not all…

New Workshop

If you haven’t known me long, you might not know how super introverted I am. Getting to know people is something I made myself do when I was trainer at my last job. When I heard how important networking was to the UX job search, I felt an ulcer coming on. Eventually I just dove in and now people have come to me for advice on how to navigate LinkedIn and networking. I’ve hosted 14 UX Job Seeker’s Huddle sessions and 3 quarterly UX Happy Hours in the last year.

Now in progress is a workshop/lecture on how to level up on LinkedIn. I’ll be helping people use profile optimization and low effort engagement to help them be seen on the platform and find new opportunities more often. A date has not been set, but I am trying to do it before the end of November. Same goes for a 4th quarter UX Happy Hour. Are we connected on LinkedIn yet?

New Notion?

This site is still pretty new and I second guessed using WordPress, but it’s a CMS (Content Management System) that I’m familiar enough with that I’ve applied for WordPress specific jobs in the last couple of months. I had a thought that maybe Notion would be a better way to manage this site. But I can do that later if I come to that conclusion. These are just tools. A tool shouldn’t make or break my story.

All The Rest

Look for my online storefront to be be opening later this week! I’m aiming tentatively for a soft open on Wednesday. It will probably me nothing more than an announcement on my various social media platforms. I have some ideas for some future video content, too.

Time is by far my most precious commodity these days. I’m always second guessing what my priority should be in a given moment. These doubts and stress have an impact on my health, which reminds me that we all just get one body and we better take care of it. I’ve kind of been telling myself I’ll worry about my body when I get that shiny new job, but maybe I can’t wait that long.


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