a girl who creates
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Surtex 2009 - Day #1

Above is the completed booth. It wasn't all on the floor like I expected so that was good. I had a great first day and got to meet a lot of familiar bloggers like:

Carol Eldridge
Tara Reed
Cindy Ann Ganaden
Liz Goulet Dubois
Laura Fry
Mary Beth Cryan

Plus several others that I can't think of right now (sorry guys - my brains pretty much mush right now), but hopefully I will later.

I made a few good contacts and one really great one about 15 minutes before the show closed. I've heard that tomorrow (Monday) will have the most people and Tuesday's crowd will start to dwindle as the day goes, but it could only take one good contact to make the show successful and so far I have several!

I'll try and blog again tomorrow night!

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Saturday, May 16, 2009
SURTEX: Set-Up Day

I'm here! After months and months of working on things for Surtex, it's finally here and I'm ready for it! Today was the set-up day and it was pretty rough. There was no air conditioning on, my booth was by the huge open dock doors and with all the humidity and heat, my tape wasn't sticking to the walls and my things kept peel and pop off. So, we went and bought scotch tape and that was working but only a little, so I'm heading back bright and early in the morning to see all my work on the floor and tacking everything up with command poster strips (I boughts all they had at the CVS by our hotel). Hopefully with the air on tomorrow everything will stay stuck. I'll try and post an image of the complete booth set up tomorrow.

I finally got to "meet" my fellow Illustration For Kids member Jannie Ho. We didn't get to talk long but am sure we'll make up for it in the next few days. My booth is next to Monica Lee, Barbara Johansen Newman, Caleb Gray (the only exhibiting artist, I think, who is from my neck of the woods), and Nancy Woolf (who's work is super cute!).

After set-up we walked back to the hotel (our hotel is in a perfect location!) and then headed out to eat at the Bread Factory and then to Time Square. Since I've never been to New York, the crowds and sights were pretty insane. I'm already tired of all the honking :)

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Monday, May 11, 2009
Display Tree

Here's my tree display from yesterday's ornaments. All my painting & gluing is done so tonight I get a manicure and I'll be set!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009
Ornament mock-ups

Quick iphone picture of what I'm working on right now. A couple of ornament mock-ups from my designs.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009
Surtex packing

Starting to pack up all my supplies for Surtex and trying to think of what I might need if I ran into issues with anything. We leave bright & early Thursday!

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Friday, May 08, 2009
Booth prep

Organized Chaos. Still a lot to go!!

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Thursday, May 07, 2009
Surtex Sneak Peek Design

Just a sneak peek at what I'll have at Surtex. I love this circus pattern and the little plush lion as a mock-up of what could be done with a character. My licensing manager made the lion and I love how it turned out!!

I'm going to try and post everyday until Surtex and plan on blogging and tweeting from there too! All my tweets will show up on facebook too in case you're not on twitter.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Surtex giveaways

I leave for Surtex next Thursday and I'm getting everything together and hope to be done with it all at the end of this week. Above is my little promo giveaway. It has my bio card, samples cards, business cards and some will contain access to my private gallery. Today I'll be gluing everything on study boards and tomorrow will consist of cutting and mounting. I still have a lot to do, but the stress of it ll is gone. It feels great!

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Friday, April 17, 2009
Surtex Planning: Part 5

Surtex is officially one month away and I still have a ways to go, but I;m feeling really good about my progress so far. I figured out my booth layout and what all I will show (the biggest stressor for me). I used my skills from my environmental design class in college to work up a to scale elevation of the booth:

The green areas are what I already have printed out, the pink areas are what I still need to print out, the blue areas are signage and the orange areas are things I need to mock-up (I'm still working on my last panel though). I spent Tuesday and Thursday this week printing. I am using someone's large format printer by paying them per square foot. I like this better than sending it out somewhere and hoping it looks good when it's all done. This way I can check progress as I go. Luckily I haven't had any issues. I've cut everything out and will later mount it all on boards:

This week I also worked on some postcards for Surtex. I decided not to use the USPS postcards like i normally do because I'll be writing small notes on some of the mailers and I couldn't do that with the others. One is a mailer I plan to get out next week (we went through names yesterday and have about 220 people to send to), a bio postcard to hand out as giveaways and I had extras printed to include in any samples we mail, and thank you postcards (for Surtex and later). For the design I went with a design I originally went with
last year

I still have to print my other giveaway goodies, so hopefully I'll get to all that next week. Other things on the to-do list:

  • Get everything printed and assembled for my press kit (everything is written, just need to print it all out)

  • Mock up several physical products to show

  • Mock up products to put in design book - I think I'll get my designer to work on those next week

  • Start packing my suitcase of of things I'll need for the booth (scissors, stapler, tape, etc.) - just filling it up as I go so I won't have to get it all together at once

  • Chart out our road trip via Garmin

  • Download audiobooks for the trip

  • Shop for clothes and comfortable shoes

Now I'm off to spend the day preparing for the Woog's 5th birthday party tomorrow!!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Surtex Planning: Part 4

I've been able to flush out my booth design in the last few days and I'm feeling pretty good about how I'll have it organized. I do have to keep telling myself that it's not a one-shot deal for me, they have Surtex every year and it's not my last trip to New York, so don't try and cram everything in while I'm there. So the first thing I wrote in my sketchbook when planning my booth was:

I need to ingrain this into my brain. I don't have to show everything I have on the wall. I'll have a book with all my designs in it, and I only need to show my best and most relevant work on the walls. I also realized that I may need to take things down after each show and keep them in the secure area of Surtex or take them back to my hotel room. Yesterday the need for that came to the forefront of my mind again when I read Ellen's post on someone stealing her design book. I need to really plan out how many 3-D/removable objects I'll have since I'm going to have to lug them in and out everyday! So keeping this in mind I started sketching and making notes:

Like I've said before I'll have a corner booth and as of last week the local has been changed. I'm now at booth #349:

Seeing how my booth configuration is opposite than what I originally had, I sketched out the booth layout:

There are eight "categories" I want to show things in and this will work perfect the way the walls are physically set up.

I am also working out how to use the space on the vertical corner post I have. I want at least one dimensional element on each panel just some my booth is more dynamic and not too flat. I'm working on some easy shelving issues that will hopefully work.

Now onto tourism. This will be my first visit to New York and I would like to see a few things while I'm there but need to keep in mind that I will be back and I don't have to see everything in a day. One thing I need to decide is do I go to the Met or MOMA? At the moment I'm torn. I could do both, but that cuts into other site seeing time. Any suggestions? Any must sees while I'm there?

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Surtex Planning: Part 3

I meant to get this up yesterday, but ran out of time. I don't have anything too exciting to share. I just keep plugging along. I'm slowly getting a game plan together. Thanks to google maps, I can now see exactly where I'll be staying in relation to the Jarvis Center and scoping out the best way to get there. I plan on doing a lot of walking to avoid cab fees so hopefully the weather will be good while we're there.

For promoting, we're still researching more companies trying to get a list together for a postcard mailing. I want to send out 2 or 3 mentioning Surtex, just not sure who on my list I should send them too. I'm slowly working on what samples to show and how to display them within the booth. I'm starting to get some visual ideas, but nothing specific yet. Since the National Stationery Show is at the same time and location as Surtex, I'll be getting together special samples for those companies coming over to our show. I'm also trying to think of some kind of shelving system and 3-D elements so everything isn't just flat against the wall. It's been a challenge since it needs to be lightweight, compact and not much assembly needed when we get there.

I have to admit that my mind has been all over the place with licensing. There's just so much that can be done! I'm working on rubber stamps, greeting cards, partyware and even product development ideas to show. There just seems like there's so much to do and even more that can bee done. One big thing I'm working on is physical mock-ups of projects to show. Last week I purchased a few things to use and am constantly on the look out for other things I can use. If I didn't learn about spray mount or have a packaging design class in school, I would be totally lost on how to mock anything up. I'm also trying to get as much work out there and submitted before Surtex so I can go ahead and be "seen" plus "introduce" myself to those going to Surtex. I'm still panning on unveiling some new designs specifically at Surtex so I can use that teaser as a promo too.

I've also been looking at who will be my booth neighbors. So far it seems a little empty around me but hopefully those will fill up with last minute exhibitors. That reminds me, I need to look this week and see if anyone new has been added.

The most important thing is that I'm doing something everyday to grow my licensing business!

EDIT: Just got an email from Surtex that they are changing the layout of the show and my booth number has changed to #359. There was also a mention of maybe staying open for half a day on Wednesday. That cuts out my site seeing time, but you can't turn down the extra exposure!

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Sunday, February 15, 2009
Surtex Planning: Part 2

From my last Surtex update I really only got #1 done: My business cards. I did get a lot of other "thinking" things done though. I really had to decide on why I felt like I was feeling so nervous and overwhelmed. After having a planning meeting with my licensing manager and lunch with my husband, I decided that I needed to focus more on the art itself rather than planning for the show and getting bogged down with how it will all look, my own self consciousness of selling myself face-to-face, so in order for me to stay on track and to accomplish what I want to accomplish art-wise, I've decided to hire a part time designer to pass some work off to. She starts tomorrow and I really hope we fit together well. I'm excited to see how much more work I'll have ready to show come May.

I also got some relief when the Surtex guys finally posted their set-up manual. Exhibiting at Surtex became more real and manageable after reading everything from how to get all my materials into my booth, to working on press kits. It's not so overwhelming now and I'm really getting excited about it. I'm sure everyone else in the world knew this but me, but I found out that I had to go through an underwater tunnel to get to Manhattan. I could have done without knowing that until I actually went through it and it was too late to turn back (yes, I am a bit of a weenie). I know it's no big deal and I'll close my eyes when we go through it, but I will literally freak out if I see water pouring out inside the tunnel. My husband told me not to go back and watch Daylight before I go. If anyone if familiar with these tunnels, please do not tell me anymore about them!! I don't want to dwell on it until May :)

Last Monday I did do a little booth research by going to a trade show here in Nashville. The subject matter wasn't very interesting to me but I wanted to see how people had their booths set-up, their graphics, and how they were able to get the most out of their spaces. There were only a few booths that really stood out. This one was actually stretched fabric squares on a grid (done by one of those exhibit making places). I liked the dimension it had but it didn't take up a lot of footprint space:

And I saw another that I really liked. Simple but a way to show off several images and it worked great for istockphoto.com:

I also signed up for twitter this week since one of the things I wanted to do was give updates from my Surtex booth. You can follow me here. If you're not on it, it's addictive. Kathy just wrote a great post on it.

To get me back on track with working on all the ideas in my sketchbook, I'm going to get back on track with my daily creative warmups. Hopefully each day I'll come up with a new line to license.

So...on my immediate to-do list this week:

1) Use my Creative Warmup time everyday to flush out sketchbook ideas

2) picked up from last week -- Start printing out my pages for my portfolio (which I will have set up for buyers to flip through at my booth) print out 5-10 pages a week. I kind of have everything in layers on one photoshop file so I need to get them all separated first - UGH!

4) picked up from last week -- Start designing a mailer to send out, inviting people to my booth. We have about 325 companies on our list and we are in the process of getting contact info from their buyers.

5) this will be on the list weekly - Keep researching artists that have been at past shows to see what did well for them or how they designed their booth

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
baby heads

One thing I really love about licensing is you can draw one thing way back when, and use it for something, use it for something else, and then take it use it for something else. The first image is a tag I put on the back of the baby gifts I make, I then later took it and put it in my doodle+daddies™ collection and then reworked it for a shower invite.

I've been doing more Surtex planning and feel a little more confident and in control of it now. I'm deciding if I want to spend any extra money on on-site marketing now. I'll be blogging and update on the planning process in a few days. Oh, and I'm on twitter now. One of the things I'm going to do during Surtex it twitter during it to give everyone first hand accounts on the show. If you're on twitter, follow me!

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Surtex Planning: Part 1

I've spent the last month doing some Surtex planning and getting a to-do list together. I've been scouring the web seeing what other artists have done with their trade show booth. I've found some great references here (includes great tips too!), here, here, here, here,here, here and here. I have a 10x10 corner booth that will be on the top floor. I tried to search for the person who had my booth last year but the layout seems to be different so I couldn't find them. I did find that Carol Eldridge had a corner booth once and this is what she did.

My main focus for Surtex is presentation. What am I going to show and how am I going to display it all. I'm still thinking about all this. I know I don't want to spend a lot of money because I don't think I would use any or much of it again. I know I want some kind of dimension to it rather than just flat panels and am considering mocking up some products to display. We will be driving rather than flying to ensure that my display get's there in one piece. It will be a long drive from Nashville to Manhattan but being my first show, I don't want the added stress of worrying about having my display getting lost in the mail or the airport, plus I'd like the opportunity to bring some back up things like a printer, etc. in case I need to print something I forgot.

So...on my immediate to-do list:

1) Get business cars designed - My info on one side, my licensing manager on the flip side. I received some print samples from overnight prints and I really like the satin finish on them. Now, to decide if I should get the straight cut or rounded corners....

2) Start printing out my pages for my portfolio (which I will have set up for buyers to flip through at my booth) print out 5-10 pages a week. I kind of have everything in layers on one photoshop file so I need to get them all separated first - UGH!

3) Get my listing set up on the Surtex site which I have done. See it here

4) Start designing a mailer to send out, inviting people to my booth. We have about 325 companies on our list and we are in the process of getting contact info from their buyers.

5) Create 5 new designs a week

6) Keep researching artists that have been at past shows to see what did well for them or how they designed their booth

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