Bonny Snowdon 00:06
Hello, I'm Bonny Snowdon, ex-corporate person, a mother turned successful artist entrepreneur. It wasn't that long ago though that I lacked the confidence, vision and support network to focus on growing my dream business. Fast forward past many life curveballs, waves of self-doubt and so many lessons learned and you'll see Ignite, my thriving online colour pencil artists community, a community that changes members' lives for the better and gives me freedom to live abundantly whilst doing what I love and spending quality time with my beloved family and dogs, all whilst creating my best artwork with coloured pencils, and mentoring others to do the same. But this life wasn't always how it was for me, it used to only exist in my imagination. I've created the It's a Bonny Old Life podcast to help increase people's confidence, share mine and my community's experience and hope through fascinating personal stories, champion the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community, and create another channel through which I can support others to realize their dreams. If you're a passionate coloured pencil artist, or an aspiring one who's looking to create their best work, and a joyful life you love, you're in the right place. Grab a cuppa and a custard cream, let's get cracking.
So welcome to this week's podcast. I'm doing a Q and a this week on questions that people have sent me about their art, about setting up a business and everything. And I just thought it'd be quite a nice, a nice thing to do as a podcast, just to do a little bit of a Q and a give you a bit of information around. Well, anything that anybody's asked me basically. So I'm going to start off with some, some color questions. And this one here is what's the best color recipe recipe for deep chocolate brown. This is quite an interesting color I have to say. And obviously there are thousands and thousands of coloured pencils, loads, and loads of different makes of coloured pencils and lots and lots of different hues and shades. For me, my personal favorite is, or my personal favorite recipe is using a combination of Browns, reds, and blues, particularly for like a deep chocolate brown. I find that chocolate Browns actually do have quite a lot of blue in them. And actually when we look at anything, it has a spectrum of color in there. And a lot of the time colors are missed out and we end up having things that either become too warm or too, or too cool. So if you look at a black dog, for example, many, many people use lots and lots of blues in their black dogs. It's, it's a lovely, lovely color to use and a black to create really, really rich. However, what tends to happen is we go a little bit too far with those blues and the dog becomes a blue dog. And if we're talking realism, we really do want to get the blacks coming out. And many people are a little bit scared of using black and actually with color pencil. It's a very, very useful color to use it, darkens everything. It brings out the richness on its own. It's flat, but used with other colors. It's brilliant. So the best, my best recipe for, for a deep chocolate brown, I would start with something like a Walnut brown, a Polychromos Walnut brown. I put that down as a, as a, as a lair. And then I would incorporate into that caput mortuum violet and dark indigo. You've got some lovely warmth then from the, from the Walnut brown and the caput mortuum violet. And you have the richness that comes from, comes through from the dark indigo, because those two other colors are very ready. They're very warm in Hugh. You're not going to get any sort of sludgy greediness that you would get. If you mixed it with something that was a little bit more yellowy, you've got to be quite careful when you're mixing your coloured pencils, because we mix them on the paper, not to kind of bring blues in with your oranges and yellows if you're not wanting green, basically. So that would be my, my best recipe. I would also then kind of sneak in on the odd occasion, just, you know, if you've got like a very, very rich chocolate brown, but you've maybe got a few highlighted bits in there. I'd sneak in a little bit of burnt Sienna is a really good one to bring in there. Again, it's quite a warm, ready color. And then I bring in some blacks over the top just to deepen areas, but that would be my favorite recipe for a deep chocolate brown.
I've got another question here. So which pencils do I use? I, I like to use all of the pencils, but I have my absolute favorites. So it's very difficult for me to say, which is my, which of my favorites, because I, I tend to have certain, certain particular pencils that I absolutely love and I really wouldn't want to be without, but I think as a post, I'd have to say, if I could only own one set of pencils, I think it would have to be the Faber. Casto, polychromos, it's a really good set of pencils. They're generally highly lightfast. They've got a fantastic range of grades, really, really good range of those animaly like colors. And they work with most other brands of pencils as well. So my polychromos are a definite favorite luminance. Again, I don't think I could do without when I first got, when I got my first luminance, I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about people saying, oh, they're the rolls Royce of pencils. They're absolutely amazing. And I didn't really kind of get what, what it was all about because to me, they were a bit weird and they didn't really work like my polychromos do. And actually that's because all pencils are different, even pencils and within the same brand different. And you just have to find out the best way of being able to work with them. So the luminance are relatively soft, really good for blending, and they have the most fantastic colors. Now color for me, isn't an important factor as such, but when you're looking at bringing in subtle shadows into like an orange, you know, Chestnut horse, or, you know, some kind of an orangy Chestnut, the animal, the colors that the luminance range have, particularly the violent of the violent, the violent tone twins are perfect. And I haven't found anything really that that is as good as them. The, the, the dome lightfast have got some pretty good Hughes in there, but I, I find that the Dermot lightfast pencils don't always work. They don't play particularly well with my other pencils. So I tend to leave those if I'm going to use them that it'll be quite sporadically. Whereas the, the, the polychromos the luminance, and then the pat blows again, a pencil that I use very often. They are, again, a really super, super pencil. They're quite velvety when you lay them down on the paper, they've got good coverage. They've got generally good light fastness. You have to be a little bit careful. They're not, they're more of a, I wouldn't say they're a student grade, but they're not nearly as high quality as the, as the luminance, but they have some really, really special colors in there. The granite rows that I use all of the time, the cocoa, another really great color. And they just, they laid down on the paper very, very nicely. They're a good, they've got a really good rich pigment. All three of those pencils I use on a regular basis. And then I pop in the Karen dash Museum Aquarelle. I love those, but I use them dry. I don't use, I don't use them wet. I like, I love the white and I love some of those more sort of earthy tones in that range. That they're great. And then I also love the Derwin drawings. They're the, they're the really big fat pencil, very, very big fat core, very soft. And they're black. They're ivory. Black is the blackest. Black is a fantastic black, really, really good pencil. So those are the, those are the brands that I use on a, on a regular basis.
So this is an interesting question. Are baselines always necessary. And I guess what I would say is, well, whatever lay you put in first is going to be a base. That's probably being a little bit pedantic, but I'd say, no, they're not always necessary when we're creating something. Or when I'm creating something, I will lay down a base of color. And those will be my base layers. Those are layers that don't have any details in them. They're purely down to get my tonal values down in the, the idea of hair direction and color the details. Then come on the top of that, I'll work the details in once I've got those layers in now, depending on what surface you're working on, it may be that you actually need to have quite a lot of base layers down first, before you start putting your details in, or it might be that you just need one layer down before you start putting the details in. So if we look at Pastelmat, which is my favorite surface, I use it for the, the majority of my commission work. And I do have a lot of tutorials with the, on the Pastelmat. If we look at Pastelmat you, well, it depends on the quality of the Pastelmat that you've got and the quality can change. I use the board and it tends to be smoother, which I love, but you still have to get quite a few layers down if you want some really, really nice, fine details. But again, depending on the subject that you're drawing, if I'm drawing a white animal on white paper, then I might not need an awful lot of base layers. I might, I could just go straight in with detail if I needed to, if, if I was using lighter colors and, and my surface was quite smooth. So in that respect, I don't really need a huge amount of layers. However, if I was working on a white dog on a dark piece of Pastelmat, I would need a lot of layers to go down, to cover the tooth, to get all of those values and everything. And then I can go in and bring all of those details on the top. If I'm working on drafting film, I might be able to just go straight in with the details because there's no tooth to speak of on the drafting film. And I could just go straight in with my details. So you might not need baselines in there at all. And the same is for sort of hot price. I find that baselines are quite important on hot price. Again, it might feel smooth, but there's still quite a lot of tooth in there. So getting those base layers in is more about covering that tooth, creating a really good tonal sort of base that you can then bring your details in on the top.
And then we've got, Where's the best location to sign your art front or back. Definitely the front, definitely the front, if you're signing or art on the back, I'm, I'm, I'm going to be questioning your belief in your own work. You know, if you're putting your name on the back, why are you doing that? You need to, you need your signature in there. You need it so that people can see that you've done this fantastic work, and you need to be incredibly proud of it. So always, always on the front, a little tip when you're, if you're not quite certain where to put your signature, if you create your signature on a piece of acetate. So just get a, like a, you know, a clear piece of acetate and, and draw on it with like a Sharpie or something and put your signature on that normal size that you would usually do. Then if you've got a drawing and you think I'm not quite sure where to put my signature, bring the acetate onto the top, watch that you don't have any static, cause you don't want to pull any of your, you know, your pencil off or pastel or anything like that. And you can just slide your piece of acetate over the top of your drawing and you can work out where your at signature fits best.
Okay, this is, this is a funny one. How are you able to manage a lot of pets? I'm, I'm making an assumption that you're talking about my dogs and my cat, but how do I manage them? That they're, they're just part of the family. They're there. They're all at the time, they're all here now, all fast asleep. They know, as soon as I come in and I get my microphone out and everything, they just go to sleep. They're part of my family. I absolutely love, love my dogs. They, and people might not agree with us or anything like that, but they all sleep on. They sleep in, in my bedroom and, and when I wake up in the morning, they're all on the bed and I'm squashed out at the side of the bed. And I never used to have my, my dogs sleeping in the same room as me. And then when we got Vincent, it was just a nightmare and he wouldn't, he wouldn't sleep downstairs and he was screaming and humbling and everything. And I was just like, oh my God, I'm just going to put him on the bed. And I put him on the bed the second night, I think, cause we'd had the most horrific night and he wouldn't go in a crate. I'd never crate trained dogs before. And then when we got slipper, we crate trained her because I had quite a, a reactive rescue, Zach, if anybody remembers him and I needed slipper to be safe, if we went out or anything like that. So we crate train her and she loved her crate. She really loved her crate. And she was very happy in there. Oh gosh. Apart from the times, you know, when they ended up sort of pulling in the night and they don't tell you, and then it goes everywhere and they're just sitting there in the morning, the babies who go into their nappies and smearing everywhere. Slipper was like that. Anyway. So when we got, when we got Vinny, I was like, he tried to put him in a crate. Oh my God. Honestly, he's the stiffest dog in the whole world. It's like, he's just like, got rigor, mortis. So we couldn't get him anywhere near a crate. So I ended up just putting him on my bed and, and he just slept, it didn't, it didn't get up in the night or anything. He just cuddled up and he just slept on the bed. And by that, at that point, he was a little puppy. Now he's a 40 kilogram, enormous dog. I mean really tall. He comes up to just above my waist and it takes up the whole of the bed, but there's no way I could put him anywhere else. Cause he just, he, he just shrieks. So yeah, so they all sleep on my bed. So that's how I managed them. They're always me. And, and I love that. I absolutely love having them with me. I, I, you know, it's brilliant. And Peggy, the cat, she's very easy. She's a house cat. She's always been a house cat. I'm quite happy. She's a house cat. Cause we've got quite a busy farm road in front of us and the neighbors sort of three down at least quite a lot of cats on the road. So Peggy's a house cat. She's got the whole of the house to roam around and basically lives on the kitchen table and, and sleeps most of the day. But yeah, so she's no, she's no trouble apart from when she's sick and what have you. But yeah, so that's that they're very easily, easily managed. The, the, the girl, the girl's slipper and Nellie, they are group. They go to the groomers, every sort of five to six weeks. We keep them quite short. They're a new family and cross standard poodle. So they, they, their hair gets very long. It doesn't shed, but it can matte quite easily. So w they, their, their hair is kept quite short, which they're, they're very happy about. So, yeah. Yeah. They're, they're all, they're all very happy dogs and I love having them around.
Okay. Next question. How do you draw the graphite outlines free handing or with graphite paper? Okay. So there's a, there's a, there's an awful lot of different ways to be able to get your outline down. If you want to work with an outline or a lot of ways of being able to do that, you can buy transfer paper. I used to use something called trace down it quite. I find it quite messy and I find it a bit. I don't like it on my fingers. I don't. That's one of the reasons why I don't really like Pastelmat, I can't use pastel anyway, cause I'm allergic, but kind of gets on my fingers and it goes a bit, it's a bit weird. It feels a bit weird and it can be quite messy, but it's a good way of you literally put a print out your transfer paper, the paper that you're going to be using on the bottom. And you can just trace around if that's what you want to do. You could just print something out, put graphite on the back or pastel on the back, flip it over and trace over that. So that transfers it. You, you could, a lot of people will freehand there. So what I wouldn't recommend is taking an expensive piece of paper free handing your, if you're going to freehand, it outline 300 year outline on the expensive piece of paper. I wouldn't recommend that because what's going to happen is you're going to do a lot of adjustments. It can be a lot of rubbing out. I don't know anybody who can just do a perfect outline of everything. Just, just like that. I mean, if you can, you're amazing. Usually there's a lot of adjustments. There's a lot of measuring to try and get everything in the right places. So what I would recommend if you're free handing an outline is to do it on a separate piece of paper. That's not an expensive piece of paper, do all of your adjustments and your rubbing out and get it perfect or whatever, get it to the way you want it to be. And then you can then transfer that onto your drawing. So then you can put a piece of transfer paper underneath that, or you can put your graphite or your past on the back of, of your actual drawing that way. You're not ruining your lovely expensive piece of paper with lots of rubbings out. Now, when I freehand, I don't freehand an outline. I don't, I don't naturally draw an outline. I start with the eye and I work out. That's how I freehand and I kind of measure as I go, if I'm free hunting, I'll use wing dividers and I'll just use my eye. And that's kind of how I, I tend to work naturally. And that's how I did all of my first, probably my first year of pieces was done like that. And then I found it, obviously when I started teaching, it was much easier to, that's a very difficult way to teach. So I find it much easier now to have an outline created that we then color red. And of course we don't color it in because we have to be able to draw. We have to understand perspective. We have to understand all of the different elements and how an animal works and values and, and you know, everything like that. So anybody who, who sort of thinks that you can take an outline and then just color it in and end up with a masterpiece. Yeah, no, you're not you're wrong. So now what I do is I actually create my outlines on, on an iPad. So I'll create a digital outline that I can then give to my students as a JPEG. And they can then use that if they wish or they can create their own. But, and then, then what I'll do is I will project that outline for me to start my drawing. So I will now start with an outline. It's quite a basic outline. I, I tend to rush it if I'm, if I'm putting that line down on a, on a piece and a piece now it's 11 by 15. It took me about five minutes to put my outline down there's bits missing. It's all sort of pretty vague. And then, you know, obviously I kind of work freehand and with my, I, when I'm, when I'm, when I'm coloring it in, if you like, yeah. So that's, that's what I do there.
And then I've got a question here from, from, from Sally, you're either sickeningly organized or I'm in a month warp. So I send this out in August to say that I was putting this podcast out in September, sickeningly organized. I am such an unorganized person. It's unbelievable, but to run a business, I'm really understanding why it's so important to be organized because actually being organized allows me to have much more free time. And this is something that I've been working on I've I've battled against, but I totally understand why I need to be more organized. So my diary now I have probably about 90 days worth of stuff in my diary, in the future, all planned out as to what I need to do. Now, funnily enough, I had a, a Facebook comment this morning from somebody saying, can you let me know what all of the tutorials are in the future so that I can plan for pencils and papers and everything. And that is something that my brain refuses to do. And I refuse to do, I am not organized when it comes to choosing tutorials, I don't go right for the next 12 months, I'm going to do this. Then this, then this that goes against everything that my head is. So for me, that choosing my tutorials is like, I'm a spontaneous thing. It's like either I see a fantastic photograph or, oh, somebody will say something, I think, oh, that's a great idea. Let's do that. And actually, that's how I want to keep my tutorials very, very around the creative thinking. So I'm never going to be organized around the tutorials. Some of my challenges that I do, the free challenges and everything I do organize those. I've got the next two to three challenges kind of worked out as to what I'm going to be doing there. But when it comes to my tutorials, I let those be stay in that creative space, which is quite good.
Okay. So this is an interesting one. The first day you started to draw, were you nervous or apprehensive how to draw? So I think I put, yes. So w the, the first piece I did was for a friend for their dad, and I had been using coloured pencils in my coloring books. So I started off with adult coloring books, and I really loved them. And when she asked me to do a portrait, I did it in graphite because I was too scared of doing something in color. So yes, I was a bit scared, but then actually once I did that and it turned out okay, I was like, oh, hang on a second. I love my coloured pencils. Let's see what I can do with my coloured pencils. And that's kind of where it all sort of started from. There were very basic drawings that I did. There was not a lot of value or detail or anything like that. And yet I was incredibly proud of what I was doing. So yeah, I was apprehensive and I was a little bit sort of intimidated and scared, but I think, you know, once I'd sort of got that first one down, I was, I, I became a little bit more confident and then sort of, you know, jumped straight in. Okay. So let's have a look at another one. So this one's from Antonio Connor. How do you deal with exhaustion? When can one actually stop? Is this it until we die? So that's a really great question. And that kind of goes back to the organization side of stuff. If you're very, if you're a little bit like me and you're sort of more spontaneous and you're a little bit less organized, it's, it's quite a battle to become organized. And it almost feels like you're squashing your creativity to be organized. Actually, it's the exact opposite me being. And when I talk about me being organized, I talk about my, my social media. I tend to just do sporadically. So, you know, I don't really follow any timings or anything like that. If I've done a piece and I want to post something, I'll post it. If I have an idea, I'll write the idea down and I'll post it. There are certain things that are scheduled. So there are certain things that are scheduled, like the podcast posts, they're all scheduled things around the academy, they're all scheduled. And I quite liked to have that mix of scheduled and just, you know, spontaneous when it comes to creating my, any courses or having, you know, so say if I'm going to, I'm going to be creating a new mini course very soon, which is in my, this super simple sort of area. So I've got my super simple coloured pencils, which is that very, very basic coloured pencils for beginners. My next one I'm hoping is going to be super simple marketing for artists, just beginning to, you know, wanting to, to make a living or start making a living or, you know, so something like that, I would need to carve out quite a lot of time to be able to create that. It's not just me going, right. I'm just going to sit down this weekend and create, create a course. I actually have to block it all into my diary. I have to do the, the, the mind mapping beforehand I have to look at, right. So what am I, module's going to be like, I've got to do this, I've got to do that. I've got to do the other, get those all in the diary. And then they're all scheduled in. I can then do those. And I'm not, I'm a very last minute sort of person. And if they're all scheduled in properly, I can, I can go to my director, right. This is what I'm doing today off I go, and I do it, which then means that that's done. And then I've got time to go and do what I want to do. And I'm not always sort of scrabbling around. Gosh, I've got to do this. I've got to do that. And I think dealing with that, with that, the exhaustion and sort of merely working away everyday, it can be really, really exhausting. But actually if you look at properly, scheduling, scheduling time off, you know, I have, my Fridays are always free. I'm putting my swimming in, I put it in my diary so that nobody can then put something else in there. And I think that's really, really important to make sure that you've got things properly planned. I will delegate wherever I possibly can. And I think that for me is, is a bit of a game changer because it means that can do stuff that I want to do outside of my side of the business. But it also means that I can draw and I can work on pieces that I want to work on whilst not having to always be dealing with emails and all of that kind of stuff. For a, an example around emails. You know, people say I'm bombarded with emails. I actually have somebody who works for me three hours a day who picks up all of my customer service, emails, all of that kind of stuff. They are flat out. And then I still have to pick up emails when they're not working. So sort of in the evening, early morning, that kind of thing, we get hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of emails through from people asking me about colors. People asking me about, you know, what do you think of this drawing too? I can't log into the academy to all of the, you know, if somebody's payment has failed or if somebody wants to upgrade from monthly to annual, those are all of the things as well that we have to do. I could not do anything. I couldn't do any drawing. If I had to do all of that side of stuff, as well as my drawing, I would literally be just be doing customer service each and every day. So it was important for me to be able to delegate that side of things so I can actually do what I'm really good at and that's the drawing and the teaching. So I think delegation is really, really, really key here and being super organized.
How do you get over the hump and stop procrastinating? Okay. So I'm, I'm quite a big procrastinator. I have to say. However, what I find really works for me again, I really like ticking things off. I really like to see things ticked off, done that, done that, done that. So I make sure that I have little tasks put into my diary every day, even if it's like, you know, pay this bill or, you know, create a podcast, create this podcast, for example, or make sure that you post this on social media tick. If I can tick things off, I find that much, much easier. And if they're in very small, incremental times within my diary, then that's much better as well. You know, if I've just got something, that's just a line of text saying, you need to do this. And then I just click on to, you know, complete rather than having like a big block that takes up a whole hour because psychologically I look at that and I'll go, oh my gosh, I've got to pay that bill, but it's in there for a whole hour. I mean, how long does it take to pay a bill about five seconds? You know? So that's why I use my reminders and my tasks an awful lot, because they're much smaller and I can actually take them off. I can see that I've done them. That really, really helps for me, for the, with the procrastination getting over the hump. I would say, if anybody is sitting there thinking, oh, I've got, I've got artist's block. I can't think of what to draw or I can't, I can't bring myself to do any drawing anymore. I just want to say to you, it's not about the drawing. It is not about the drawing. There is something going on in your head that is stopping you from being creative and actually being creative will help, whatever it is in your head, that's stopping you. So if you're sitting there thinking, I can't draw, just get a coloring book, do some sketching, anything that's just going to free your mind a little bit, because that will then enable you to, to actually work out what it is that stopping it. And I will almost guarantee artist's book is not about your drawing. It will be something going on in your life, in your head. That's stopping you. A lot of it is perfectionism. And you know what I feel about perfectionism perfect doesn't exist. And if you're sitting there trying to get something perfect, you're never going to get that. Just it's really hard, but you just got to stop being perfect and start enjoying being creative, you know, and, and that will, that comes from having a really good mindset. So, you know, practicing these more positive ways of thinking, the more you practice something, the more it's going to become normal. And I find listening to a really great inspiring podcast really helps cause we can't be positive all of the time. We can't sit there and just be like, you know, of course, there's going to be things that happen that kind of bring you down a little bit, but the more, the more you live a joyous life and your, you, you love what you're doing and you're you, you can, you're just happy in time and space at the, at the, this moment in time, the more you're going to be able to cope with all of those things. When it, when they go a little bit, you know, pear shaped.
How do you ship safely as a new business and then in brackets on a low budget. Oh my goodness. So shipping, shipping overseas from the UK now is a total, well, it's a bit of a minefield, but it's really expensive. I tend to use a company called trans global express. You can pick your carrier then. And they've got really good customer service shipping safely is all around your packaging. So try and make I ship all of my work mounted so, or mattered. So it's got that big thick window around it. And it's sturdy. Make sure that you've, you've got, if, if you're sending it like a sheet of paper, say you've done something on hot press paper and you're, you're not having it mountain. You have sending that, make sure that that goes in some kind of a protective envelope, something that's got hard, either side, you then need to kind of bubble wrap that you then need to make sure that it's in a, a box or cardboard that is not going to be able to be bent. You know, you need the really good thick people use the, what do you call it that soft? I can't remember what they call it now, the soft board stuff. And actually that can break foam board. That's it? That can actually be if you snap it and that can break. So I wouldn't do that. Never, ever, ever, ever have any kind of ribbon or anything that if something presses on your package, the ribbon then squashes down onto your portraits and creates a mark across it. Never have anything like that anywhere near your portraits. If you're going to put a ribbon on something, make sure your portrait goes in a solid box and put the ribbon on the outside. So you can't get anywhere near the portrait. People like to use really fancy packaging. I don't use fancy packaging at all. For me, the portrait is what somebody's getting. Yes. You know, some people like to have all of this lovely tissue and all of that kind of stuff. For me, it's just an extra expense. It's extra waste and I hate packaging. So it's not something that I'm particularly interested in. You can go down that route if you want. It looks really lovely, but just make sure that your portrait is the most important thing. Don't have anything near it that is going to damage it in any way at all.
In, in which order should you do everything? What's a big, yes, you have, you have to have this in the, in the place, in the first place. So I think this is around business. So in which order should you do everything? Okay. So if you were going to start a business, you, you, you're starting your drawer and you're thinking, do you know what I'd really like to make a living out of doing commissions for people? What's the first thing that you should do? The first thing you should do, actually, if you're going to be starting a brand new Facebook page is really think carefully about what your name is going to be, because it's quite difficult to change it. After that, once people know who you are, then it's quite difficult to change it. So I would do a lot of thinking about what name you want to call yourself. You don't need a logo or anything like that to begin with, you know, not really necessary, but make sure that your Facebook page bio is properly set up. Make sure that you have got links to a website. If you've got the, we've got one or contact detail, if you're not using a website, make sure your everything, your, all of your personal details are all set up properly. And also if you've been using your personal Facebook page, and you're now going onto a Facebook, you know, a business page, make sure that you've got a link through from your personal Facebook page to your business one. So that again, if you're posting somewhere, as you personally, if somebody wants to contact you, they're going to go onto your Facebook. They're going to click on you, go on to your personal Facebook page. If they can't see any of your drawings or where to go, you've lost them. So make sure that everything's really, really easy to find. And the same with Instagram, if you're setting up an Instagram and then what I would do is I would make sure that you're posting on a regular basis and ensure that your content is really good. Don't ever use links out of social media. You can on the odd occasion, but use the Pareto rule that 80 20 rule really, really concentrate on creating good content, really good content. That's really important. Make sure that you understand your social media platforms. So Instagram, you know, use your hashtags. They say, I think you can have up to 30, but actually, I was watching something this morning. He said, you know, you don't need 30. Just use sort of one or two, that'd be fine. Facebook. You don't really use hashtags in Facebook. Make sure that you've got your proper hook. So you're hooking people in with those first couple of lines and make sure that you're taking good photos. You don't need a brilliant camera. Just make sure you're taking photos in good light and at the right angle, you know, don't spend ages and ages creating a beautiful piece and then take a rubbish photo. Really look at how you're taking your photo and take it on the right angles so that if you've drawn a horse, the muzzle isn't massive and the ears aren't tiny and vice versa, really make sure that you're taking your photo properly and, and look at setting up a website. It doesn't cost a huge amount. The thing that will cost you probably the most and even that's not very, very expensive is your domain name. So look at secure in your domain name. Once you've got your, your name. In fact, that's what I would do. I would look at it when you're, when you're planning on working out what your name is, just make sure you can get that domain name as well. You can buy that for your website because you don't want to have your name. And then down the line, you're like, oh, somebody else has got that as a, as a domain. And then you might have to change things. So that's quite a good idea actually, to do right from the beginning. And so your sort your head out, not yours, not yours personally, but so you had out sort your mindset out, make sure that you are, you know, you're working on your confidence, you're working on your mindset. You're working on your self-belief, you're working on the fact that this is what you're going to do. And this is what you can do. And it's going to work. You will see so many people on social media telling you that you can't do this, that you can't make a living as an artist. So many people. And it annoys me. I nearly swore then it really annoys me because you can make a living as an artist. You can, you can do whatever you want to do. If you have the passion and you put the work in, you can do whatever you want to do. And people saying, oh, you know, you can't make a living as an artist, starving artists, all of this kind of stuff, total and utter rubbish. The reason they're not making a living as an artist is because they're doing the same things over and over again. And they're not changing things to make, to make more, to make it more successful. If you like, there are lots and lots of things that you can do. There are lots of things that you can research and you can, you can make a living. Absolutely. There are, yes, there's, you know, things going on and people don't have any money, but there are also people who do have money and It's it's out there and you can do it. So, you know, don't, don't, don't take any notice of those people who say you can't do it. That self-belief is really, really important.
Okay. So, hold on... I just started drawing and like to know which white pencil marker you can use for portraits. Okay. So this, this is a really good one because white pencil, when we're talking coloured pencils, white over dark is really hard, nigh on impossible. So when you're working on hot pressed, smooth paper, what tends to happen if you, if you want to keep something white, we wouldn't put it in at the end, we would isolate that, that highlight. And we keep that isolated and clear of pencil. Basically, there's ways that you can get around it. You can use sort of like a slice tool. You can use an eraser, that sort of stuff, but usually, you would kind of isolate it when you're using something like drafting film. Of course, you can use your eraser or your slice tool to kind of bring, bring those highlights out again. And when we use something like Pastelmat, which is an abrasive paper, you can, you can, you can get light over dark, which is really, really brilliant. It's one of the most fantastic qualities about Pastelmat the white pencils that I love the most are Karen dash Museum Aquarelle used dry, brilliant pencil, highly pigmented, highly, highly. Lightfast very, very good quality pencil. And it worked really well. And I really love the Pablo white. It's a harder pencil it's velvety, you know, to feel. And actually it feels a little bit more like a, a pastoral would feel a pastel pencil would feel. That's how that's kind of my thoughts on that. They both have very good white pencils. And then you have the Darwin drawing, Chinese white, again, very, very good pencil. That was a much softer pencil. It's got a big fat core, quite good for the larger areas. That one's a really great pencil to put down as a base to then use your other pencils over the top so that then you can use the slice tool on the top. And then the, the pigment comes out easier when you've got that much softer base underneath. So those are the pencils that I would use. I see people using markers. I see people using the Pasco markers personally. I wouldn't use the Pablo white markers. They peel off. They, they, they don't, I've never found them to work particularly well. And I've also found that they've gone a bit yellow as well, so, okay.
So we've got somebody else here. Would you recommend business courses? So I would say that if you are, if you're an artist and you're wanting to make a living or business out of what you're doing, one of the biggest areas that is going to be a little bit frustrating. If you're, if you don't really know how it works is the marketing side of stuff. I think that's really, really important to get your head round. I thought I was pretty good at marketing. I've done a diploma in marketing. I've worked in marketing before. When I opened the academy, I was pretty certain, I knew what marketing was marketing has, has been turned on its head for me with the academy, because running a membership is quite a different beast to, to anything else really. And the marketing side of stuff, I'm just like, oh my goodness, what, what is this? This is just crazy. We're talking funnels, we're talking pipelines, we're talking, you know, automations and all of that kind of stuff. And it really, really fried my brain, but actually just by doing it and working alongside people who knew what they were doing, I now totally understand it. What I did was I actually did. I did do a course. I did the, the tribe course, the Stu McLaren tried course TRIBE course, which was awesome. Absolutely brilliant. Anybody who's thinking about doing a membership that is definitely the, the course to do. I then listened to podcasts. So Amy Porterfield, brilliant, brilliant podcast. She's fantastic. And then I also listened to, and I bought into James Wedmore's business by design the business by design. It's showing you how to set up a business, an online business. And actually, I knew all of that already because I had launched the academy is doing well, but, but there were certain elements in that course that have been really useful for me to understand them, to go back and revisit and listen to how somebody else does it. So I've invested a lot of time and money into understanding how to run my business. So, yes, I think, I think, you know, if you don't know something, you don't know something and you can get an awful lot of stuff for free, you know, you can get all of the information on YouTube or on the internet or whatever for free brilliant, but it's not curated. It's not altogether. It's not all laid out in a really easy-to-digest way. And that's why I decided to, to invest in these courses to help me understand how I wanted to run my business. And those resources are out there. And they're really, really good, really, really good resources. And I've got something coming up at the beginning of next year, actually, which is going to just be for, well, it's going to be a course that anybody combined, there's going to be a mastermind alongside it, where I'm actually going to be hopefully working with a group of artists who want to really accelerate their business and their success. And that is going to include coaching, you know, having your own coach business coach, it's going to include going through my, my curated course. And it's going to be about kind of really understanding you as a person, how you take, what, what is it, if something's going to go wrong? What is it that's going to make you kind of down tools and, and, and head to your bed, you know? And that's, that's what my course is going to all be about. Basically everything that I've been through in the last six years is going into a course, really excited about it, really excited about it. And I'm also, there's going to be a book alongside it as well. So that is something that I'm just oo itching to, to really start digging into. So I would say there are courses out there. I would highly recommend it. Stu McLaren's course. I don't think you'd be able to get on until next year, but he's got a podcast which is very good. Amy, Amy Porterfield is awesome. And James Wedmore as well.
Right. Let's have a look at some more. Oh, any tips for advertising my work online, I'm struggling to get my portraits out to an audience. Okay. So I I'd probably have to look at your, your social media is to see kind of what it is that's going on. I suspect I haven't looked at you or I haven't looked at your social media pages. I suspect usually what happens is if you're not getting enough reach, I suspect you're using external links. I suspect in Facebook, you're using lots of hashtags. And I also suspect that your content probably isn't personal enough. I like to bring a little bit of personality into my content contact content. I like to really think about who my audience is and how I can connect with them. That connection is really important. So looking at your values, looking at how you tick as a person, bringing that into your content will then connect with somebody who shares the same values as you making sure you've got really, really good photographs is, is key. Making sure that, you know, if your work's good, brilliant, how are you going to improve it? What, what, what development steps that you're putting in place to be able to improve your work? Are you just, you know, improving as you draw each one, are you having, you know, lessons from somebody you join him in the academy? Are you having critiques regularly? What are you doing to boost your development? Because that's really, really important. And then when it comes to advertising, Facebook advertising works. It works, whatever people say about, you know, not using Facebook advertising, if you boost something and you don't put all of the right information in, it's not going to work like anything, if you don't, it's like Esther Hicks says, you know, you can, you can put your toast in the toaster and you can put the things down. But if you haven't got the thing plugged in, you're not going to get toast. So you've got to do it properly. And if you don't know how to create ads, then there are places who will be able to create ads for you. I use a Fiverr F I V E R R, and they have all sorts of different people on there. I use them to help with my podcast editing and creating transcripts and that kind of thing. But you have people on there who create Facebook ads. There might be somebody out there who you can work with, who create something for you, or show you how to do it. Or you can go onto YouTube and work out how to create, you know, to do a Facebook ad. The best thing to do is a mixture. I find is a mixture of both organic and some advertising as well. Organic. I don't think you can beat organic post regularly post really good content and just don't stop because sometimes it feels like it's just like a grind I'm just posting every day and nobody's seeing anything and blah, blah, blah. But you've just got to keep going. You know, those little things will build up and build up and build up. That's exactly what I did. I posted in groups. I tried to get my stuff out there, you know, wherever anybody could see it. I thought I was doing loads and actually, you know, a minimal amount of people were seeing it. So I think it's just about getting into that mindset of marketing. I need to put my work in front of people and keep going.
Okay. So we've got a couple here about pricing, so struggle with how much to charge starting out. And then how do I raise my prices without losing all my current client clients and some of them who plan to reorder. So struggling with charging straight out. I think he's a really important question. And so you'll have some people who say, and, and I am, I'm, I'm kind of in both camps. So when you start out, you don't have a name for yourself. You're not as developed. You might be the most amazing artist, but if nobody knows who you are, then it's going to be a little bit of a struggle. So I would say, start out with a price that you feel comfortable with. Okay. I started out at 40 pounds and people were happy to pay that. And I thought, gosh, 40 pounds, that's an awful lot. And you know, you might think, well, 40 pounds isn't enough for what? For my work. That's absolutely fine. So double it, triple it, you know, whatever you feel comfortable with. If you pluck a figure out of the ether and just go, actually, I feel okay with that, then brilliance, you know, start there. It could be zero. It could be a hundred, it could be 500, whatever. You have to feel comfortable about that price, because you've got to have the belief that people are going to pay for it. If I was to say to you, right, I want you to S to you've just started out your work. Really great. Your starting point needs to be 700 pounds. You're likely to go, oh, okay. And then next time somebody says, how much is a portrait? You're going to go. And in your, in your body, you're going to feel so uncomfortable saying, well, it it's well, it's 700 pounds. And that is going to come through with everything that you do. I don't ask me why, but it comes through that, that whole non-self-belief side of things. So it's pointless. You starting, even if it's really, really worth that in somebody's eyes, if you don't have the confidence people aren't going to buy from you. So you're much better starting off at a lower rate, feeling confident, building it up. And then we're going to this next question. How do you raise your prices? Are you losing your current appliance clients? What you do is you, you raise them on a regular basis. You know, every time you've got a couple of months with your books that are full, you raise your prices by 20% or, you know, whatever, and you keep raising them. So after a year, you don't wait for a year to raise your prices. If you've got full books for a year, you know, you've then got people paying next year, the same amount as people were paying this year, you keep raising those prices, clients who plan to reorder. Now it's a good idea to have some kind of wording in your terms and conditions. And it's a good idea to kind of speak to these clients who want to reorder. Usually what I do is I discount my clients. So I have a client who she's just ordered her sixth piece, sixth or seventh piece. She pays the same amount. Every single time I do a piece for her. You know, she doesn't pay the, the, the higher rate. She basically pays 50% of what my portraits are now. And I'm, I'm really happy with that because she's, she's a good client. She's had six or seven portraits already. I go and take my own photographs and it's, and it's really nice. So that's what I do for that particular client. You don't have to have the same for every single client, you know, but it is good to sort of decide what you want to do. And then that's what I'm going to do. It could be that with a returning client, you give them a 20% discount is entirely up to you. It's not wrong to say to a client who, you know, booked something two years ago, and now he's coming back and saying, oh, I want a portrait. There's nothing wrong with saying brilliant. My prices have risen now, but I'll give you a 20% discount off my latest price. That's okay to do that. Because as we develop as artists, our work gets better and better, and they're going to get a better portrait anyway, aren't they? So don't get too hung up on that.
How do we increase visibility outside of Instagram? Okay. So I'm guessing that this is about you getting a bit miffed with social media. So this is a whole different strategy. Is that, that sort of, it's almost like the old-fashioned way of marketing, isn't it? Well, we didn't have social media and we went into pet shops and that's an all of that kind of thing. And all I would say is, get your work out there everywhere, you know, put it in the vets, put it in the, in your local pet store. There's a, there's, you know, get it in a local cafe, try and get it into an art gallery, all of those sorts of things, but go, go out and meet people, go and be, you know, we've got a big pet store here where I live and I don't tend to sort of advertise outside of social media. I tend to find social media works really well for me, but there was one point where I was going to go and I was going to set up a little table within the pet store. And I was going to be drawing and talking to people who, you know, maybe were interested in doing a portrait or meeting and greeting their dogs, or, you know, something like that, that kind of thing that you put yourself out there, put yourself into a situation where you're going to be surrounded by people who are interested in what you're doing. Local dog show, you know, you'd need to maybe go and do art, art, and craft fairs, that kind of thing. Just make sure that you're going out. And you're going to be surrounded by customers who are wanting what you're selling. And so that is around really looking at the customer base. You know, it's pointless going and taking your pet portraits too. It's not pointless, but you know, like somewhere that's predominantly needlework because the people who were there are going to be interested in needlework, not impact, but they might be interested in PowerPoint, but, you know, do your research, make sure that you're, you're in front of an audience who actually wants to buy from you, you know, the audience they're there. They will buy from you when it's right for them, you know? So you just need to have, you need to have cards and leaflets and all of that kind of stuff. But then I would, I would ask the question what's going on in Instagram? What's the, what's the issue with Instagram? Is it that you're not getting enough visibility in there and it could be that you just need to really change your strategy within Instagram and you need to look at changing how you're using it.
What's my favourite animal? I'd probably have to say a horse. I think, I think to draw definitely horses on my favourites have always loved horses at my first pony. At three. I used to think I was a horse up until I was 10. So yeah, I definitely say horses followed very, very closely behind by dogs, but I love, I do love all animals, but for me as a portrait artist, I really liked domesticated animals. I get an awful lot more joy from drawing domesticated animals than wild animals. Bizarrely, I don't know whether that's bizarre or not, but yeah, I think horses definitely my, my favourites.
Okay. So I think that's probably, I think that's probably it I've been going on for ages anyway. So those are, those are some, we've got quite a lot of questions in there that we're old, but very much the same. I think if you are if you're wanting to develop your drawing, I think it is. Well, I think it's a great idea just to draw basically, you know, just to pick a picture, preferably not off Google, but some sort of site where you don't have copyright infringements and, and just draw it and just love the process of creating. I think that's really, really important. I think the process of creating rather than trying to get to that endpoint and the finished bit, so you can get onto the next to me that just loses the, the absolute joy of, of drawing and creating. So just enjoy what you're doing. You know, if you can't afford really expensive pencils, don't, don't worry. Get, get yourself some cheaper ones. I've I really liked the Lyra Rembrandt, and I've also looked at the castle arts, the soft touch. I think they're called they're pretty good. You'll always find a range of pencils within a manufacturer that I'm more, more budget pencils and they're still really good. They're still really good. So if you're thinking, well, you know, I can't afford this and not the other, just get some cheap ones. I wouldn't go for something really cheap, like a wh Smith. I started out with those and the, the pigments just not strong enough and they will be very frustrating. So go with something that is sort of like that student grade go for a paper that is, I like when I first started, I started with the Stonehenge hot press Acura. I think it was. And that was a really nice paper and it's not expensive. You can get it in pad form, and it's just a good general paper. So something like that is going to work really, really nicely. Don't get hung up on getting everything, obviously. Perfect. If you're just starting to draw, chances are, it's going to take you a little while to get to the stage where your, your, you know, your you're sort of developed enough where you're really, really happy with your pieces. That sounds a bit contradictory actually, because you should be happy with absolutely everything that you're doing. But the other thing is don't compare yourself to anybody when you're looking at other people's art. Look at it through the eyes of somebody who is inspired. Look at it with the thought that, oh my goodness, I could do this one day. If I keep working and I keep drawing on a regular basis, this is the, this is the place where I can be. This is the place where I will be. And that way you won't then run into the, the jealousy and the getting hung up on, well, mine's not as good as theirs, or why can't I do this? Or, you know, anything like that. You don't want to have those feelings inside you. You want that inspiration. You want to and surround yourself with fantastic artists, surround yourself with people who are positive and brilliant. And they put out really great content and really great messaging, because what happens is that brilliance rubs off on you. And then you start to create, obviously, we're not copying or anything like that, but you can be inspired from people, you know, you'll have, you'll have a favourite artist. Do they teach, you know, do they have, you know, tutorials that you can, you can work from that sort of thing. Do they offer a service where you can ask them questions or where, and whether you can have your work critiqued by them, it's always worth asking. You know, I have, I have my free challenges, which are really great. I'll always answer questions. Sometimes it's a bit difficult on Facebook. I get so many notifications that I don't always see them, but I do tend, you know, if people email me or message or anything I do, I do answer people's questions and, and join me in the academy because honestly is the most fantastic. But I can't tell you the amount of people who joined over the last year, who were complete beginners and now are winning competitions and getting their work in galleries and getting regular commission work. And, and I'm not saying that that's my teaching. What I'm saying is it's a community that basically has this, this wonderful sort of aspect to it that allows people to grow and allows people to ask questions and allows people just to get on with it and teaches people, you know, certain techniques and everything to make that work even better. But it's just that whole wonderful sort of community spirit. I think that that is that, that brings about all of these fantastic development stories. Anyway, I've got to stop waffling on now because I'm going to take Nellie swimming. It's her it's Wednesday, it's Nellie swimming. Day-to-day she has, she's a very spoiled dog. She has hip dysplasia. So she has weekly swimming sessions to build up her, her hips and everything so that she's, you know, nice and strong so that when she gets older, hopefully, we reduce the risk of arthritis. So, and it's her favourite? Favourite time? Nelly, are we going to swimming? Swimming? She says, you're still talking his computer's still on some can't possibly be going swimming, but we're going to go swim in Nelly. Oh, can it? It's funny. She's excited. She's very excited. She loves her swimming. So yeah. So, and go swimming with Nellie this afternoon and just started a new piece using my new glasses. Oh my goodness. My new glasses I'm getting used to them. The only problem is there. The arms on the on the glasses are just hurting my ear. So I need to go and get those sorted, but they've got the vary focals in them so I can, I can look at the computer and then I can also look at my drawing. I can get really, really up close to my joy. Now I can almost put my nose on the, on the paper and actually still see the details. So my I'm getting used to them. And I think I really liked them, but I just need them to be a little bit more comfortable. Yeah. So that's it from me. Thank you for listening to my waffling. Hope you hope you are enjoying my podcasts. If you are enjoying my podcasts, do do leave me a review or, you know, I'd love to, I'd love to get some more reviews. Let me know. You know, that you're, you're listening to them and I think we're back to normal next week. I've got some really great interviews coming up. Brilliant. One with, with a friend of mine. And I think we've left in the bit where I talked about choking on him at Donald's. So that's, that's probably one to, to listen to. Anyway, thank you all for listening and I'll see you all very soon.
I really hope you enjoyed listening to this episode of my It's a Bonny Old Life podcast. If you did, I'd be so grateful to you for emailing me or texting a link to the show, or sharing it on social media with those you know who might like it too. My mission with this podcast is all about sharing mine and my communities experience and hope by telling your fascinating personal stories, championing the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community, and to create another channel through which I can support you to realize your coloured pencil and life dreams. If you haven't done so yet. Please help me on my mission to spread positivity and joy throughout the coloured pencil world by following me on my socials at Bonny Snowdon Academy, or by getting on my list at bonnysnowdonacademy.com, and remember, I truly believe if I can live the life of my dreams doing what I love, then you can too. We just need to keep championing and supporting each other along the way in order to make it happen. Till next time.