Saturday, October 29, 2011


This is a birthday card I got commissioned to make for a friend! Commissioned, yes :) Which is awesome :) I'm actually selling my art!

It's the second card I made for her. And it's hard! Not the actual work; I love coming up with an idea, based on what she says - that's the part that energises me to bits! There is something about making someone else's idea come to life in your own style :) And at times, it's good, not to have to come up with - something meaningful from the heart ;) To just draw and paint for the sake of practising & doing.

But then comes the moment it's finished and you have to show your work to a critical eye... This friend, she doesn't hold back. I don't mean she's unkind about it, but she has an opinion, and she's not afraid to share it. She liked the first card I made better, and she thinks the 3 is too big. Ouch. That hurts. It's definitely the reason why I'm so scared to really take my work 'out there', you know? Of course she's entitled to her opinion; she has to send the card, so she has to be happy with the design. That's how it works. But it's still hard to take criticism - of any kind... I made a print version in which I stretched the design up & down a little, and she could live with that. She'll buy and send my card.

I have a little boy who'll be three in a week's time. I'll frame the original for him :) I made the 3 that big because I know turning three is the first birthday that actually means something to him. 3 is BIG! Looking at Squirt I know that at this moment in his little life, 3 is as big as cars. That's how that card happened the way it did. But that's personal, and the card was for someone else.

There is a lesson in here. About swallowing & breathing. And about not taking it all to heart. And about taste. About stepping up and stepping down. It's big, the stuff involved here - much bigger than that little card!

What do you do when someone isn't happy with what you made for them?


  1. Every one is a critic. View the criticism in context and learn from it. But never take one lone critic on face value ... your inner self and the way it is expressed through your art cannot be criticized, only your product.

  2. I love the card.. I love the colors , the design AND the big three... the whole point of the card to me is making the three stand out ,, it is what the card is about. Your wee forklift is really well done!
    hmm.. perhaps your friend is not an artist? .. you are , this is what you see as best.. this is your expression.... I'm curious as to if she told you in detail what she wanted or just a brief concept?
    If she ordered again in future perhaps you could show her a pencil outline first so she could discuss scale.. or .. not :)
    I love it , Cheers , Helen

  3. Hi Yvonne, Thanks for visiting me and for your lovely message!! I really like this birthday card with the large 3 and I wouldnt change a thing! I agree with you that it can be hard to accept criticism, but when you create something for a client, they will have an opinion. I think you have dealt with it well. Agree with Helen about showing an outline first. Wini xo

  4. This is EXACTLY why I don’t like to take commissioned work! I make what I make and people either like it and buy it or they don’t. I guess that limits my sales but it also saves my sanity. LOL I think the card was just perfect! You’re right; three is BIG and should be represented that way. Glad you had a commission but your art is YOURS, believe in yourself and your vision!

  5. Ik vind het een geweldige kaart, zou er een hele serie van maken; nee 2, een jongens- en meisjesversie, en daar kom je ver mee (duim omhoog!!). Als iemand iets van mij niet mooi vindt? "Maak t dan zelf" ;-) Cool, wel, n kaart verkocht!! Liefs :-)

  6. I think commissioned work is really challenging. The card turned out great and I personally think the 3 looks good that size! I think you handled situation well.

  7. Commission work is, pretty much, awful. I try to avoid if i can :) i really don't like the pressure of having someone elses preconceptions to deal with. I think your card is darling! I really think your work is delightful :) xokp

  8. The card is perfect! And the three is NOT too big. The reason for a big three is not just because it came out this way, but you thought it through. I hope the friend who asked you to make the card understands the creative process. And one very important thing: SHE can't create such a wonderful card and YOU can. So as as long as she can't do it herself, she'll have to deal with the style, interpretation and result of the artist she chooses to create the card.
    I think you did really well!

  9. This is super fabulous. I just watched Oprah's Lifeclass video with Eckhart Tolle. They were talking about this very topic. Whoa - thanks for bringing it to our attention. xo

  10. I love your card, I love the 3, it's the MAIN thing, so it should be BIG! That's how I see it.
    I prefer to draw/paint/whatever, just so, for me or for a gift, but I also like comissioned works. Of course, it allows you less freedom, but I think it's also a challenge, to try to understand what the person wants and to try to create it. What I do in such cases, I speak a lot ask for details what he/she would like, ask for things that he/she loves in other areas, to give me some inspiration. Then I make several sketches with different ideas, show them and then according to his/her preferences, draw the final and color if needed. Hope it helps! But your card is JUST FANTASTIC!!!


Thanks for letting me in on your thoughts!