Feb 25, 2015

There is no Shame in Quitting

I am currently consulting a colleague and friend about her business. I have become a partner and have grown to love the organization. But when it sucks the life out of you and the work is no longer fun, it`s time to say goodbye.

It seems society is keen on shaming people when their dreams aren`t big enough, or quit a bad idea. The norm is to hustle, put in the time daily and keep pushing on until you succeed, regardless of whether of not the venture is successful or not. That to me is as cruel as telling a terminally ill patient that they should keep fighting even when the likeliness of remission in very low.

My friend is emotional and so am I. I have let go of many ventures, some I sold. Some I erased. Some I turned into something new. Whatever the changes, it`s never easy and it always hurts.
This is the best advice I have ever received. Continuing on an endevour that makes you miserable or has no growth is not healthy. To hustle over work usually brings success. But when the hustle spins your wheels and the passion you started out wanes, then its time to move on.

In this day and age of social media spin doctors, it`s very easy to look good even the reality says otherwise. The look of success, Photoshop diets and wrinkle jobs never will translate to who you are in real life. However, vulnerability is a very attractive quality. If you don`t believe me, consider Oprah.
Consider her public struggle with weight gain, her much publicized legal battles, her attempts to be charitable have been hampered by the scandal of abuse in her charities. Does these failures make her a bad person? No. The transparency of her life makes her real, relate-able and beautifully imperfect.

Even when she admittedly wanted to lose it, she kept on and did what she had to do, right under the public eye.
When I see people taking on a venture that hasn`t been successful before or that for years it has been a losing battle, it looks insane. To work it everyday with the hopes that it will be successful with no measure of growth or gain is futile. It takes REAL WISDOM to discern when putting in the time becomes a waste of time.

I love the old adage that says:"The best revenge is to live a successful life." What people don`t realize that the thought itself creates an unhealthy spirit of competition and comparison, since you must be more successful than those who have done you wrong.

What about just being successful because your job brings you the income you deserve and the happiness to make you feel fulfilled? Regardless of whether or not it measures up to your nemesis life? What that old saying is trying to communicate is that you should be happy and successful regardless of who has done you wrong and how well they are doing. Don`t even look their way. Just be successful!

To be resourceful in the face of turmoil is a talent. When all you have constructed around you falls apart and those you could count on are no longer there, your ability to quickly switch gears and gather the help you need will mean your survival.

No one will be better qualified to say "keep on keeping on" or "let it go" than you. So when you have made the decision, stick to your guns and look for the next successful venture.

XoX, Elaine Biss

Feb 23, 2015

How to Price Yourself as an Artist

As of late, I have received a plethora of questions on being an artist, doing events, how to price yourself as an artist and setting yourself in business. 

I plan on answering these questions here and on my YouTube channel, so keep the questions coming!
Wincy Glass has a great question. Pricing yourself as an artist can be tricky. Moreover, artists find it hard asking for money for something they love doing. 

Thought there are very little to no cost associated to running your Society6 store, once an item is sold, a fee is charged against the royalties you set.

The Cost of Creating

The creation of your art will have the normal inherit costs of art supplies, software (Adobe) and hardware (scanners, computers etc.). These costs should be taken into account when selecting your royalty. The industry standard is 10% of the total cost of the piece when selling at a high volume production. Lower sale volumes will have higher royalty percentages. Society6 is a medium volume production company, assuming you have a healthy amount of monthly sales.

Pricing Yourself as an Artist

Another point to consider is your "perceived" market value as an artist. The more unique you are, the better! If you are starting out, this may be harder to determine. Here are some questions that can help you determine what your value is;
•How long have you been working as an artist? If I am new or have hit a plateau in your career, what is your desired line of work and income?
•Are you affiliated to any brand names? Specific industries? (Per example greeting cards? Beauty? Fashion? Accessories? Book illustrations? Music?)
•What kind education have you received? Self taught counts as education.
•What is your perceived desireability? This relates to more than just popularity, social status or demand for the artist. (Demand for the artist being the highest mark of value). Yet these in tandem can determine worth of your time, the value of your work NOW and the value of your artwork after you pass. Morbid, but true.

Retail Price, Cost and Profit vs Royalties

I feel I need to make sure everyone understands this. If you are making your own product, you need to know the retail pricing - cost =profit formula.

If you are creating an item that will retail at $10.00, and the cost of the materials is $2.00. You are conservatively paying yourself $3.00 for your time. Your total costs is $5.00. You take retail price 10.00 minus your costs 5.00. Your total profit is $5.00. If you are producing your own product, this is a good profit margin.

Because Society6 is a print on demand site, they will pay "royalties" to you for allowing them to use your images on their products. These royalties are set, by you, as percentages in some of their products.

10 to 15% of the retail price is considered the sweet spot pricing for high volume sales. Higher markups yield little sales, but this is something you need to consider when you are defining your ideal client. 

Pricing for Your Market

Pricing your goods so "they are affordable for everyone", can be tricky and works against you in the long run. You cannot be all things to everyone. But knowing who your buyers are will create a spot for you and grow your sales.

Knowing your market, your value as an artist and the kind of client you want to attract will make a world of difference as you enter the artist market.

Feb 22, 2015

#Oscars Red Carpet Runway

I had a blast sketching and painting The Oscars 2015 fashion picks. So many wonderful fashions!!! Here are mine!

Feb 19, 2015

Charcoal and Watercolor Dress Fashion Illustration

I love the combination of charcoal and watercolor. It makes a bold mark on the paper.

A video posted by Elaine Biss (@elaine.biss) on
The wetter the paper, the bolder the mark.

Feb 18, 2015

Oscar De La Renta Fashion Illustration

I am loving the simplicity and femininity of Oscar De La Renta's fashion show. This one is gouache and metallic acrylics.

Feb 17, 2015

HyperBiotics Pro-Dental for Oral Health

Oral health is very important. Between dentist visits, whitening treatments, brushing, flossing and rinsing, the natural bacterial can die off. Since digestion starts in your mouth, it makes sense to replenish the good bacteria, not only for digestion but to maintain dental health.

HyperBiotics Pro-Dental chewable helps reduce tooth decay, staining, gum disease, canker sores, tonsil stones and bad breath. I got to try it and integrate it into my dental health routine and I love the effects! My mouth was extra fresh. 
The chewable pills have a minty fresh flavor and my teeth feel clean longer after brushing. The PRO-Dental pills are *formulated with the most effective and clinically proven oral probiotic strains ((including S. salvirus K12, S. salvirus M18, L. reuteri, L. paracasei) to repopulate your oral cavity, helping to break-up plaque and odor causing bacteria, reduce oral health challenges such as cavities, teeth-staining, tongue-coating, gingivitis, tonsil stones, canker sores and protect against ear, nose and throat infections.

This is a sponsored post.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product and article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Feb 16, 2015

Carmen Marc Salvo Fashion Illustration

Carmen Marc Salvo beautiful play of metallic fabrics and long skirts made its debut yesterday. I couldn't help myself and had to illustrate this beautiful piece.

The pieces on this line are so inspirational, they should all be turned into fashion illustrations!

I love metallic fabrics!

Feb 14, 2015

Vera Wang's Bridal Gouache and Charcoal Fashion Illustration

Vera Wang's Bride had a lovely rack of dresses. Painted in gouache and charcoal, this piece is one of my favorite fashion illustrations.

Feb 12, 2015

Learn How to Draw a Fashion Illustration with Brush and Ink

Grab your brush and ink as I walk you through how to draw a fashion illustration with brush and ink!
 This is what you will need:

Mixed media Paper
No. 3 round Kolinsky brush
Yasutomo Ultra Black Chinese Ink
No. 2H Pencil (optional)

Kneaded Eraser (optional)

•First, find an image as a point of reference. Prior to sketching, study it well. Let your eyes follow the perimeter of the figure and dress.

•Determine the point where the piece is lighted and where the shadows fall. Also determine which detail is made more prominent by the light or disappears by being directly lit.

•I don`t do pre-form drawings, but this is also that comes with years of practice. Use your 2H pencil and draw light lines. This will help you determine how to translate the image in its simplest terms-lines! Mark with your pencil where the shadows will go.

•Keep your brush strokes loose but precise. Know where the details are so you can draw the with some degree of precision. Perfection is not the goal, but a flowing drawing that is visually interesting.

Thank you so much for watching this video!

Be sure to give that "like" button a click (and thank you for doing that!!), comment and subscribe!

Elaine Biss

Feb 10, 2015

Thierry Mugler Angel

A very soft and romantic fragrance with light notes, Angel gives you a sweet touch for any occasion.
Better yet, hanging from the stars!
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