Friday, December 30, 2011

Shipping Portraits today

"Carlos" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /
Jolly Bulldogs ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /
Today Lola will be coming in and we are going to get the wheels turning again on production. We have two projects to ship out and I am eager to get back to work. We blew through all of our 24 inch stretcher bars this last month so the first order of business will be getting out to the art supply store and stocking up on bars again.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My new drugs are so ugly

New drug packaging
 Ok this is totally off the topic of dog art however, can someone tell me what is up with the drug companies and why have they fired the real packaging designers? Last week I had to go get some Benadryl because Ajax got stung by a bug of some sort. I go to the store and find some horrible bright pink package that looks like it must be a fake, right? Surely someone has sold the drug store some pirated imitation drug or something. I buy it anyway and come home to look on-line and sure enough the packaging has changed. If you check out the old package below you will see that although the goofy beveled logo weenie is very 1980's at least they were trying to make an all text product interesting, you have  a lovely soft gradient thing happening in the white area. The navy on the old box is much more pleasing than the cheap bright blue on the new box. I know the weenie text boxes have been over-used for 2 decades now in graphic design, but there must be a better alternative than shocking bright pink & blue. Besides ... when your product is sort of a pill and sorta pill shaped, what is wrong with text boxes that are pill shaped?
So today I go to the store to get a cough suppressant for Dan, he is still battling a very old cold. I notice the same thing has happened with Robitussin, the new package design is very flat. They did give us a bit of  a drop shadow in one text area, but overall ...very ugly. I like the classy stripes on the older box shown below. Again the 1980's weenie text box has been ditched on the newer box. Look at the simplicity of the older box though: Robitussin Cough DM ... those were the only 3 words I needed to find this on the drug aisle. Instead of those 3 simple words I had to read about mucus, peak cold, and the pink droplet on the newer box reminded me that this stuff is going to taste horrible.
I know this is a very off-topic rant, but I have been noticing for the last year or so that graphic design on billboards and all advertising in general is getting less and less attractive. I am a weirdo and I love advertising when it is done well. I know what is happening, the big wigs are ready to ditch the over-used design gimmicks like drop shadows, weenie text boxes, glow, gradients and so on but they really do not have a plan for what should replace those effects. Ok tomorrow I will get back to posting more dog art ... maybe a Doxie ... you thought I was going to say weenie again didn't you?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prada The Pug

Well Christmas is over and I am officially worn out. I slept until 10:00 this morning. Lola was going to come in today and we were going to get back to work, however she came down with a bad cold and I decided that taking a little time off would not hurt either one of us. I am answering e-mails and checking phone messages ... it will be Friday before we start printing and shipping again. We do still have a few folks to ship that ordered late in the game after holiday deadlines. Many clients actually preferred to do proofing only so their loved ones could choose their favorite proof.

I will start posting some of the holiday projects this week. Now that Christmas is over there is no chance of ruining any surprises by adding projects to the blog.

"Prada The Pug" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

Prada is a real cutie pie and the only Pug I worked on this holiday season. I love working on smushed faced pups ... so much texture and detail on their wrinkled faces to play with!

"Lexie" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /
This pretty cow dog was a memorial portrait project. Her Moms turned out to be neighbors that live just a few blocks away from us. I always love it when local clients find me on the web.  Lexie's original photo was pretty good however the eye to our left was lost in a dark patch of black. I was able to lighten that area up enough to see her pretty brown eyes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"Big Tommy"
© rebecca collins /

I still love this holiday card from last year. Big Tommy was just the best boy ever.
This year we did not have time to design and send out holiday cards. We did however finish our orders and today was a very short one. I took Lola to lunch and we talked about the things that worked well for us this season and the things we need to improve upon. She gave me an adorable felted Scottie brooch that I will shoot and post soon.

What a quiet day it is. The phone has stopped ringing and even the e-mail has slowed down.  Soon I too will figure out how to slow down for just a few days. Tomorrow I celebrate 13 years of happy marriage. I wish we could get a little freezing drizzle like we had on our wedding night 13 years ago.... that would be kinda nice. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Almost done!

"Mason" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

Mason is shipping out later today, I enjoyed working on this pretty boy. The above sample is the one my client chose, and I love that colorful wooden background, I created it from an old door I shot in Italy this year.  I proofed Mason back on the 6th I think, sometimes folks need a little extra time to choose.  I really like the one she picked.

As of today I think I can officially state that everyone that ordered by posted deadlines and approved one of their provided samples will have shipped. Yay! I have 2 clients to provide updates on and that will happen this weekend.  I have not really had a day off yet this month, but I will be taking one day off next week to get my own holiday shopping done. I am looking forward to that.

4 more late orders to proof and I will be officially done with creating digital portraits for the month.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tips For Shopping Art on-line and off

This year I started my Christmas shopping very early for Dan and started buying on Etsy and also from one of our favorite print makers and painters. So many people are trying harder and harder to avoid Kmart and Target and instead support small business owners and independent artists.  With that said, many still wait till the very last minute to get on-line and shop and they also tend to expect factory style big-box service from smaller providers. This year I bought a small assortment of inexpensive stocking stuffers for Dan from Etsy, and if one item is late, I am not really going to loose sleep over it. Actually one gift item is taking forever, and it is totally my dumb... it is shipping from Malaysia after all. It is just a tiny little $4 item so no, I am not going to message the seller in a frenzy and ask for tracking ... it will arrive when it arrives.

Here is my top 7 List For Shopping with Independent Artists:

#1 Try to find local sales events where you can have the fun of meeting and talking with the artist in person.

#2 When shopping on-line try to start early.

• #3 Etsy Tip:  Check out their left hand menu at the bottom and under ways to shop choose "Shop Local", enter your zip code and buy from folks in your area ... your items will arrive quickly.

#4 If you are buying just one important gift for your spouse or relative, be sure and buy with enough shipping time factored in ... when in doubt ask if you can purchase overnight or 2-day delivery. Once an item leaves the artist's studio they are not in control as to how fast it gets delivered.

#5 If you are buying a lot of stuff on-line for people do yourself a favor and in order to stay organized print out an image of each item you buy. Just print the browser window and place it in a file folder.  Then if a package does go missing at the very least you can wrap that photo-image up in a comically over-sized box and tell your recipient that their gift is on its way.

#6 There are tons of talented and organized artists out there that are hustling very hard right now to fill holiday orders for people. Remember that they are usually just one person handling shipping, e-mail, creating the product and so on ... cut them some slack and if they do not reply to an e-mail right away know that it is probably because they are either creating art, shipping art, or trying to collect payment for their art.

#7 Pat yourself on the back and know that in addition to purchasing an original handmade item you are supporting the arts!

Ok, last blog post from me until Friday when I hope to report that Art Paw's holiday shipping is done. I will not be answering the phone for 48 hours so leave a message. My blinders are on and I am in the home stretch .... going to get November clients shipped and all the late after posted deadline people proofed this week.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I adore Post It notes!

Later today I plan to get out and catch some art sales. Right now I am working on project updates .... and it just dawned on me how much I love post it notes.  When an order comes in I place it on the calendar and place a post it note with a date on it and then with a magnet I  place it on the metal project board. If it ends up needing changes ... it gets another post it note... if it is pending payment ... another post it note.

 For awhile Whitman had a bad habit of pilfering them off my desk and chewing them up.... so I went to the kitchen and grabbed a little coffee mug to store them in.  I really like the hot pinks ones best.

Below is a fun video on other less productive, yet more creative uses for post its.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Deck the Halls with Pet Portraits!!

Wow, it is only the 8th and so far this month I have proofed many many clients.  Tomorrow I have 2 more clients to proof and I will end this week having proofed every client that placed their holiday portrait order by my posted deadline of 11/30.  In reading back through last year's December posts it looks like I am at about the same exact same place in terms of production and proofing.

Once I get everyone handled that ordered early I will be able to look at the newer projects that are slipping in through the shopping cart. All orders that are placed after this weekend will be proofing only holiday projects with actual prints shipping after Christmas time. It is actually a lot of fun to let your recipient pick their favorite proof. Many people are not aware when they order just how many proofs I will provide them with, I promise 10 samples and often I go beyond that. 

• Below is sample proofing page and what you will be able to show your loved one if you let them pick their favorite proof for a delivery in January. One client told me that since he can't choose he will be printing out his proofing page from his browser window and he will place it in a greeting card.

Local Dallas Clients, that do not require shipping have until next Monday to nail down there late orders with me. Art Paw Gift Certificates are also a great option, and then you don't have to hustle to find that perfect snapshot to submit!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Oscar on the wall

If you think you don't possibly have room for an Art Paw custom pet portrait, think again .... I just love this in-home shot an old client sent me today of her German Shepherd Oscar. This is a gal after my own heart. We tend to stack our art from floor to ceiling at home and Lisa is just as creative here with an above the door placement.  Who says art has to go over the mantle anyway?