When I started TPK in 2012, I got my fair share of funny looks and negative feedback. I think that it’s difficult for people to conceive of a career that’s based on making things with a pen — especially if you’re working from home! I’m not saying that there weren’t discouraging moments: there certainly were. But with every project I completed, my conviction that I was building up a beautiful thing strengthened! Today, I want to share my favorite past projects with you. All of these fun projects acted as building blocks to get TPK to where it is now!
1. Calligraphy Clothespins
Even *I* wondered what calligraphy clothespins could be used for when I put them up for sale on Etsy in 2012! These were actually my most popular product for several months, and people mostly used them at baby showers. I believe some buyers gave them as gifts to new parents, and others utilized them to display clothing gifts at showers? I’m still not entirely sure!
2. Escort Tags
I offered natural-looking escort tags for whimsical/nature-themed weddings, and they always sold well! I appreciated how little time they took to make because the diagonal calligraphy orientation meant I didn’t need to mess with centering.
3. Artistic Logos
I loved getting to make drawings and collaborate with clients to make logos! This Memory Keeper’s Studio logo, created in 2014, is one of my favorites because of the intricate peacock. This project gave me quality practice with Adobe Illustrator!
4. Sketchbook Art Prints
In 2013, I was inspired by Sabrina Ward Harrison’s published sketchbook Spilling Open to offer art prints from my own sketchbook. I never did end up making much money from selling art prints — but that very well could have been due to poor marketing/photos! I can say that I did have a lot of fun making art prints, however.
5. Custom Artwork
My favorite illustrations that I’ve ever done were for Sweet Meadow Farm! Owner Melanie asked me to create a series of illustrations for her website in 2013, and six years later, she still uses them to punctuate the site with artistry and playfulness.
6. Rubber Stamps
I never was confident enough in my rubber stamps to order them wholesale, so they were too expensive ($30 for a 2″ x 2″ stamp). Now that we’re set to launch a supplies shop next month, though, maybe TPK rubber stamps will make a return — and cheaper — appearance!
7. Printable Planners
Like most college grads, I was pretty lost after my graduation in 2011! I missed the structure, the security, and the challenges that you can only find in a university setting. Developing a printable planner was my way of getting back in touch with my inner student. It was also the first project that I used Adobe InDesign to make — which set me on a path for making the worksheets that you see on TPK today!
8. Wedding Invitations and Save the Dates
I loved working with brides and grooms to design off-the-beaten-path wedding materials! From watercolor wedding maps to invitation packets, I dabbled in making pretty much everything. I don’t have time to do custom work anymore (especially with a 9-month-old on the scene), but making wedding materials is what I miss the most from my custom order days!
I hope that you enjoyed this post! It’s always fun for me to look through old photos and remember where TPK was in its infancy. It’s come a loooong way, and these fun projects served building blocks for where I’m at now, both professionally and in regard to my personal skill level.
Thanks very, very much for visiting this blog! It’s always a pleasure to have you here, and I’m so grateful for the time you take to read my ramblings.
If you liked this article, you’ll also love:
- 10 Items That I Successfully Sold on Etsy: A Throwback Post
- 8 Tips for Starting a Calligraphy Business
- “The Calligrapher’s Business Handbook” Book Review
- 7 Mistakes That I Made as a Freelance Calligrapher and Artist
- 5 Business Mistakes I Made with TPK