Ep.205: Art licensing tips with Bonnie Christine

Iva Mikles
Ep.205: Art licensing tips with Bonnie Christine

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Bonnie Christine, an artist and pattern & textile designer living in North Carolina. She is most known for her rich, flowery designs, making artworks for companies & products around the world. She also run a program called Flourish, where she shares tools, resources and trade secrets for designers to level up their creative business. Enjoy!!

Get in touch with Bonnie

  • Website: bonniechristine.com
  • Instagram: instagram.com/bonniechristine
  • Bonnie’s Flourish program: flourish – Flourish is a resource for designers, unlike any other, overflowing with toolsresources and trade secrets that will help you dig deep, craft a career you love and uplevel your business from every angle.

Special thanks to Bonnie for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Bonnie Christine, used with permission

Click Here For The Episode Transcript

Iva 0:09
Hello guys, before we get to the interview, I wanted to let you know that I created a new skill share class for you how to make money as an artist, and how to start a creative career you will love. And in this class you will learn about 17 proven ways how to make money as an artist, and also possibilities how to grow if you combine them all. And if you’re not a member yet, you can get two months for free on the Skillshare if you go through the link art side of life.com slash Skillshare. So again, art side of life.com slash Skillshare. And I’m looking forward to have you in the class. And now let’s get to the interview. Welcome everyone to the next episode of The Art side of life and I’m super happy to have Bonnie here. Hello.

Bonnie Christine 0:59
Hello Thank you so much for having me.

Iva 1:02
So I’m super happy that you joined us here and I would like you to like tell us a little bit more about yourself and what is your specialty and for maybe people who don’t know you yet

Bonnie Christine 1:16
Wow, I’d love to um I’m Bonnie and I am a surface pattern designer, which means that I get to create artwork for products like wallpaper and fabric and stationery and ribbon and anything that could benefit from illustrations or pattern work. And I also teach other people how to do the same thing. So I teach several online courses on Adobe Illustrator and surface pattern design. I get to work from home from all you know, anywhere. I currently live in the mountains of North Carolina, and just get to do my dream job.

Iva 1:54
Perfect, then that sounds very dreamy and I’m sure everybody’s listening like Okay, so how did you get These and maybe also how did you choose these dream? How did you discover that this is what you want to do? And I guess you like to do art before maybe or have the inclination, but how did you start like, Okay, this is what I’m going to do or like this is I like this.

Bonnie Christine 2:17
Yeah. Yeah because it wasn’t always something that I knew that I wanted to do. But I did grow up in a very creative home. My mom is a sower and owned a quilt shop for most of my childhood. So I was always around fabric, I was always sewing. But I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So I did go to college, I went to business school. And after I graduated and got married, this was in 2008 really decided that I wanted to be a fabric designer. And that realization happened because I went back to work for my mom and my primary job was meeting with reps and looking at fabric collections

and choosing what we wanted for the store. And I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I come from a everyone in my family is an entrepreneur and that’s why I had gone to business school, but didn’t so when I decided that I had this big huge dream, I really had no idea how to make it happen. I did love to draw, I love to sketch I love to work on the computer, but I definitely did not have the skill set that I needed. I did not know Adobe Illustrator, which is the primary program that we work in would not have necessarily called myself an artist at the time. And so I debated on whether to go back to design school and started filling out applications and looked at my husband and just said you know what? I’m just going to try before I approve this and go back to school and All the stuff, I’m just going to try everything I can to learn on my own. And so part of my story is that this dream was so big and so overwhelming that I let about six months go by without, without doing anything, just really having this dream and letting it sit there. I bet I didn’t know how to get started. So I woke up one morning and realized that it had been six months without any progress on my part, and decided to start doing one thing every single day and efforts of moving me towards accomplishing that dream. And as it sounds so simple, and it kind of is it’s that simple. So that first day was like sitting down and googling how how to do it, how to become a fabric designer. And one small effort every day eventually led to all the right questions that I needed to ask and all the right things that I needed to learn. Some days it was a small thing, five minutes and other days it was, you know, an entire day spent on working on it. But that led me through about a year of learning Adobe Illustrator on my own. And at the end of 18 months, I had a complete body of work that I was incredibly proud of a portfolio in hand and I went to international quilt market and met with my dream company and got my first contract as a fabric designer in 2012. So I still work with art gallery fabrics, I do two collections a year for them. And it’s also led me on to license many other pieces of artwork and collections on many products all around the world. But it’s that learning for me that at the time was very hard. There was really no one teaching at the time. It was that piece of My story that really inspired me to teach and give back and help other people who wanted to do the same thing.

Iva 6:07
Yeah, definitely because you’re completely right and I also liked our do and I was like younger or in a school but I also went to business school because I’m okay like what do I do with art? Because no one was sharing how can it be done right? So yeah, definitely doing the the classes for others so they can potentially do this. That’s super helpful. And a lot of the questions I’m also getting I’m sure you too. It’s more like easy too late to start now, because a lot of people are like, I am too young. I’m too old market is too overcrowded. So what is your opinion on that?

Bonnie Christine 6:47
Oh, you can probably guess my opinion is that it’s definitely never too late. The market is really not saturated at all. Surface pattern design has seemingly blown up over the last five or so years. However, if you go on the street and introduce yourself as such, most people have no idea what you’re talking about. So it’s really if you think about all the products in the world, and I had a student recently go to like a super shopping center, and just went in with the one mission with a notepad to write down all of the products that she saw a pattern on, and she had to stop it. She had hundreds of products in the store. And she finally just stopped just to bring in the point that there are so many industries and so many products and so many people who are licensing artists work for products. So there’s really it’s really not saturated. But I also always believe that there’s always room room for everyone room, there’s always room at the top. There’s room for people’s perspectives and their artwork in the world. Now more than ever,

Iva 8:04
yeah, definitely. Because there is art everywhere. And when you think about it, there has to be someone who creates it. So why not the right?

Bonnie Christine 8:14
Yeah, absolutely.

Iva 8:16
So definitely. But if we back up a little bit more when you were just starting out, how did you plan all of these because sometimes people have either full time job or like quitting the job. And because it takes a lot of time, like you have to either save up a lot, or you have to live with someone who can support you. So what would you recommend there? Or maybe what was your story there?

Bonnie Christine 8:39
Yeah. So you’re right. It does take quite a lot of time and it does take quite a lot of sacrifice. I did not have children at the time. I do have two small children now but when I was very at the very beginning, we didn’t have kids yet. So really, what we did was work really hard and Saving a little bit of money. We didn’t have much money. We struggled pretty significantly for a lot of years. My husband we were living in California at the time and my husband was making right above the poverty line for California. And here I am not making any money. I had a blog and an Etsy shop. And so I did trickle. I tripled in money, but I was definitely making under under $10,000 a year. And so we saved through I thought I do talk about this a little bit, we set up an automatic withdrawal, because that’s the only way to actually save money to come out. Twice a month, it was like 100 bucks or something. Maybe 200 bucks. And we saved until we had about a six month reserve of money. And then we sold a car so we only had one car. We lived definitely You know, very, very small. We lived in a very small apartment and we never Yeah, we just didn’t have money that we could dispense. So we we lived very tight. But my husband saw my passion and saw how hard I worked on this dream. It was not for lack of hard work, let’s just say that and and time being spent on learning it and so he just completely supported me. And it took about one. Let’s see it took about in 2013 I started actually making a little bit of money. And since that year, I have been able to double my income every year since that year. So in 2012, I made about $12,000 and have since doubled it every year. So I’ll leave that up to your viewers, but So that that’s my story, I was able to meet his income in about the second or third year and then it just has kept going. And a large part of that is due to licensing and being able to really wrap my head around recurring revenue and residual income, which I will get geeky over right now. But do do talk a lot about the opportunities that all of those present for artists,

Iva 11:29
yeah, because there are lots of opportunities and you can definitely make it happen. But as you say, the planning at the beginning it’s very hard and you just have to persist and continue. Because you might feel like okay, maybe it will not work or like, what if no one would like my art or no one would want to licensee then, but there will be someone who would actually like it. Just Yeah,

Bonnie Christine 11:56
there will be someone and so, to specifically answer So your question, the thing for me that I feel like is the key to success really is long term consistency. I see a lot of people start out and get discouraged at the very beginning, and then they kind of waffle off and they don’t, they don’t make it. But it is the people who are consistent over the long term. putting in the work, there’s no other way to get around it. That find success and stay, you know, stay at the top for a really long time. So it’s definitely possible. Just takes consistency and doing I still do that one thing every day, my goals and dreams keep changing. And I still use that trick on myself all the time to actually kind of cut through the overwhelm and just start

being productive towards what I want to what a goal I want to meet. So

Iva 12:55
yeah, because you just need to set the goal for yourself. So was that time that you are going for the convention because you want to present your portfolio right? And I remember you don’t have an agent, right? Or you didn’t have an agent either at the time. So how did you then choose the the art directors to meet with or you know, like the website was going through the shop and looking at stuff like, Okay.

Bonnie Christine 13:24
It was okay. It was actually I was very familiar with the companies from working at a shop and all their names around the selvedge. And I knew where I felt like my work fit. So there were a handful of companies that I knew I wanted to meet with, of course, Art Gallery was at my very top because I felt so this is the advice I give my students is when you’re looking at a company to consider licensing with, go to their website, go to their social media profiles. Do you see that your work fits in nicely with what they currently have. Do would you be proud to send people to their website and tell everyone that you are licensing with them? If the answer’s no, then keep keep looking. But if the answer is yes, then definitely try to find submission guidelines or give them a call and ask for the art director, which sounds really scary, but it’s not. It’s not as scary as you might think. And so when I was gearing up, so quote, market is a little bit different than most trade shows. It is a industry. It’s not open to the public. So you have to have credentials to get in. It’s an industry trade show. And really, the purpose is so that companies can show their products to shops and shops, place wholesale orders, but the kind of unique thing that happens there, so artists are not there showing artwork that’s not this type of show that would be like surtex or print source. And if you wanted to show your work, you should have booth. But at quilt market, because the companies are there, showing to shops, it’s a fairly unique because the art directors are all there as well. So if you can get in the show and email the art directors in advance, many times they will be able to set up an appointment to see you while you’re there. Even though it’s not the main intention of the show, it’s definitely something that happens and a really beautiful way to get face to face with someone, which can oftentimes be so important.

Iva 15:31
Yeah, because that definitely helps also to see the art directors that you would be there as a person or the vice versa, if you like each other and the collaboration can actually work. So yeah. Yeah. And when you mentioned also the other conventions. If someone is just like thinking about like bringing a portfolio Do you have advice there? Like, do you have to have a booth or can you actually bring the portfolio with you and just maybe try to schedule appointments with people

Bonnie Christine 15:59
yeah. So for the surface pattern design or illustration shows like surtex, blueprint and print source, you really, if you want to show your work, you really need to have a booth. Because if you go and now you can go walk the floor, just see the show before you exhibit, but you really should not go with your work in hand. Because that takes away from the artists who did pay and go to the trouble to have a booth and so it’s very very frowned upon at those shows to go with that ulterior motive to kind of steal away the art directors attention from the people who have done the work. So that is something good a very good question and something good to know before you because innocently it might seem you know totally fine, but it is frowned upon at the at the licensing shows.

Iva 16:53
Yeah, interesting. Yeah. Because I was thinking about going to look somewhere as well like these shows. I haven’t Seen I most of the time I went to the animation festivals like yeah and because that’s my background more the concept art when I will have Lego you know and the character design so this one but for the pattern design I wanted to see how it looks and maybe the surtex or yeah so that one I will go look at that.

Bonnie Christine 17:20
Yeah, you can definitely go and just attend the show. Yeah, nominal.

Iva 17:24
Yeah. Yeah. And also for maybe people who want to set up a booth Do you have experience in in dead is dead like year in advance like designer con or these places. You have to wait you know waiting for?

Bonnie Christine 17:40
It is. So I have not shown at any of the licensing shows. I have had a booth at quote market as a fabric designer later on. Again, it’s a bit of a different industry show. So I have not personally shown any of the licensing shows but it is it does work about a year and a Dance. So you have to apply and then there’s about of you about a year of prep work that goes into it as well. But if you’re considering showing, attending first to look and walk the show is a great idea.

Iva 18:17
That’s true. And also when we talked about like when you were calling the art directors and having maybe some rejections, what was the your experience in the kind of going through and keeping motivation like alive? What is your advice about the mental health of

Bonnie Christine 18:37
goodness? What a great question because for sure, forever, yes, there are 100 nose. And so a lot of times we are so close to our artwork, I mean, it feels like a direct reflection of who we are as as a human and so it feels very vulnerable to show it and it also feels very vulnerable. Think that you could, you know, you’re exposing yourself to critique. So kind of separating yourself from your artwork like, yes, you made it, but it also lives on its own. And so the critique that you get on your artwork does not necessarily reflect on you. And also just knowing that our directors are really nice, I’ve never met mean one. It is their job to see what artwork is available in the world. And it has to be their passion, because that’s what they’re doing. And that’s what they love. So they want to see your work. They are oftentimes busy, so it may take a little bit of legwork to hear back or get in touch with them in the first place, but they want to see your work. They want to know what’s available. And if it’s a no it may be a Not right now. So oftentimes if it’s a know I always ask if they would be willing to see like maybe quarterly updates for me if they would like me to show them New York When I have it or send them quarterly updates of my latest work or something like that, so just trying to keep the connection with them over the long term because it could be a Not right now, but maybe in the future, you never know what company’s timelines are who they’re currently working with that may shift over the years. So there’s always a possibility that you will be a yes, eventually.

Iva 20:24
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Because that’s kind of important, as you mentioned, just to continue. And if you think about like, the maybe the hard times is you also mentioned that at the beginning, it wasn’t easy. So what help you along the way to kind of keep going or like kind of keeping towards the goal you set for yourself?

Bonnie Christine 20:45
Yeah, I think just the seeing the progress, I mean, really being able to learn and then see my own progress. And that really left me feeling like I could do this and really built a confidence Over the before I was licensed, I really built a confidence and just in my skill set. And so I feel like I knew it was just a matter of time and was so encouraged even, even if I heard knows, I always heard something really valuable that I could take with me. And so it was always encouraging and I just felt like it was a dream. too big to let go. So just just absolutely kept going.

Iva 21:33
Yeah, and also when you were like developing your art style, because that’s part of the, like the branding or that you can be recognized for it. Yeah. Do you have maybe peeps about their like yours? It comes with the practice, but you kind of like think at the beginning maybe like what do you like or you don’t like? Yeah.

Bonnie Christine 21:55
Okay, so yeah, we typically refer to it as a signature style or an art style. And it’s all the language that you know, you get familiar with as you’re in an industry. And I think that some people are born with a signature style, like they just have drawn in a particular way their whole life. For me, I it terrified me. I had no idea what a signature style was, let alone what mine was, but I did know that I needed one. And so I see, I feel that I see a lot of my students get discouraged at the very beginning, because when they put pen to paper, they don’t see a signature style. And so it is a process and so for me, rather than let that fear just overwhelm me and stop me, I just kind of put my head down and did the work and I made hundreds of patterns I made, I think about 200 patterns before I really looked back on my way and I could see a consistency in some of my favorite pieces and what are have realized without even what I had done without even really realizing it was develop a style, I had experimented with every type of approach to artwork. So especially in surface pattern design, you can use pencils, or pens or paint brushes, you can draw on the iPad or you can scan them in and work with live trace, or you can draw innately and illustrator, there’s so many different types of ways to approach the same piece of art. And so really exploring all of those different approaches, and then figuring out which ones you like will slowly lead you to your signature style. And so it’s a process and one that really can’t be rushed and should be completely enjoyed the whole the whole way.

Iva 23:48
Yeah, because then later when you’re working either with clients or our directors, you might be influenced in a different way. So it’s a different part of the journey for sure.

Bonnie Christine 23:59
Yeah. Absolutely, and it’s important to most of the people that I work with, they want to, they want to have a signature style, they want to be recognizable, they want to have a brand. And there is definitely a market for surface pattern designers who just have the skill set to do any style think working at, like a Hallmark card company or something like that. But for the most part, the people I work with really want to develop a style. And it’s important to show consistency, especially in a portfolio so that companies can trust you. And they if they license you, they’ll know what to expect from you next time. So it’s definitely an art form all of its own to develop a style and then be able to, of course, make new artwork that still is true to your style that builds trust with your community. Yeah,

Iva 24:56
yeah, definitely. And so now you are creating mostly licensing artworks, right and then you also create classes or these the the split in your, the the table like the table of income streams.

Bonnie Christine 25:10
Sure. So I do a lot of things, but the three biggest income makers for me is licensing. So exactly what we’re talking about. And then I teach one large course every year called surface design immersion. It’s opens in February of every year and it is like an intensive, immersive eight week course where we learn everything from the ground up, we learn Adobe Illustrator from the ground up and move into pattern building, collection building, portfolio building, and the business of being a licensing artist. So I offer that once a year and then I also have a membership called flourish. For surface pattern designers and it’s an it’s a monthly membership where men members get weekly content. It is a beautiful way to just explore surface pattern design as a professional also have a lot of aspiring artists there so we get to go down all different sorts of business topics in that community like how to grow your email list or right art directors, how to work in collections and all that kind of stuff as well. So those are the big three I also do. I have I do teach on some other platforms like Skillshare and creative live. I do at least one product every year so i’ll be doing will probably talk about it in a minute but I am coming out with a 2020 planner for this year. But that stuff is it does contribute but it’s really fun. It’s really fun for me so

Iva 26:50
oh very nice. Yeah like before we move on to also the products and splitting the time then is you watching you started the the Skillshare classes or you started actually with the with the memory Cheapside.

Bonnie Christine 27:01
So I actually started my membership site first in 2012. It was called the roots tribe back in the day. It’s my blog was called going home to roost. And it’s changed a lot over the years but it’s still the same membership. So meaning at the very beginning I was sending out like recipes and all this. I don’t know stuff that was a jumble of my inspirations. Now it’s a cute Yeah, my life though. It’s now acutely focused on artists and surface designers and really where business and art collide is where is is that that’s what happens there. So I started that in 2012. I started teaching on Skillshare in 2013 and creative live the same year. And then the immersion course, started in 2018. So I’ve had about 1000 students come through the immersion course and I have about 1700 hundred members in Florida currently, and

yeah, so that’s been the timeline.

Iva 28:07
That’s perfect there, you do so many things. It’s very hard to actually split the time and prioritize because we as creators, we want to do everything right at the same time. And he’s like, Yeah, let’s do this. And yeah, I also just started on Skillshare. So that’s super great. Oh, yeah, sorry. Good. So guys can check it out as well. I will put also your links in the description. So yeah, and then we can also talk about the time and how does your day look like or how do you set your goals and basically many?

Bonnie Christine 28:44
Yeah, so I knew we were going to talk about this and it was so it’s really perfect because this is why I am coming out with a planner. So one thing that I get Hear most frequently from my students and my members is I don’t have the time, or I’m overwhelmed. And it slowly over the past year has occurred to me that potentially, this is the main thing that I have been able to really overcome that has led to my success is time management and workflow strategies. So I am a bit of a geek, I will post strategies and really didn’t and I really wasn’t until I had my first child. And so I used to have all the days, I mean, all the hours and all the days to work, and so I worked a lot very inefficiently. So I would do work and then I would do some actual work and then I would work and do some actual work and so when I had my first so I now I have a six and four year old but when I had my son I really had to tighten up my, my workflow. And so my husband was working out of the house at the time when I had the babies and really started studying time management and workflow and implemented so many things over the years and so that is what I’m sharing with this planner. So one of the things that I do is that I have an ideal work week and so this there, I wish I had had it show you but there’s a grid of an entire week with all the hours on it. And so I create what my perfect week would look like. And so I put when I wake up when I when I work out when I actually work when I check emails and that kind of thing. And so I know that my week will never be perfect, but I have this as a baseline to reference when I’m scrambling or when I’m struggling to know what my schedule should be. Because I think most of us work from home. And it can be really hard to be distracted and not stick to a productive schedule. So I love using that as a baseline. I also work in time blocks, so at least 90 minutes of a time block where I remove all distraction, put my phone in another room, I turn off my notifications, and I really do the most important work that I have for the day. And I always try to start with the things that I want to put off. So the things that are most important I tried to accomplish first, knowing that I could work all day on the things that I need to do like update Instagram and reply to email and check in with everyone. But that if that leaves me at the end of the day, not accomplishing the two or three really big things that I needed to do that I won’t feel like I was productive at all. So that’s a little bit into into my, into my work of course also doing the one thing every day and really mapping out your long term goals and the short term goals that are going to help you accomplish your long term goal is part of part is biggest part of it all and definitely built into the planner as well. So yeah,

Iva 32:27
yeah. Did you do also like a visualization of your long term goal like you drew it maybe or wrote it down as a as an essay?

Bonnie Christine 32:37
Yeah, not as an essay, but I love that. And I do write it down as basically like a big goal, big dream. And there is something to be said about writing it down. There’s also something to be said about saying it out loud and really being able to speak about it when things really start happening. So, I walk you through writing down your biggest dreams, the ones that might be accomplishable, but really scare you a little bit. And then we break them down into three sets of long term midterm and short term goals that will directly relate to accomplishing your dream. And then of course, the daily tasks that get all those short term goals actually accomplished.

Iva 33:26
Yeah, definitely. Because it’s totally helps when you like either have it written and you’ve write down in details, almost like what you are wearing. Are you working from home? Are you working with someone on a low and then all of these because then you have the vision and then you will know which doors to open or what to prepare for. Right?

Bonnie Christine 33:46
Exactly, exactly. I should say this planet is called the flourish planner it’s going to be I’m also teaching a course that goes along with the planner that teaches all of the strategies and workflows That I’m talking about the course is free you get it if you get the planner and this they will be out in mid November and you can sign up to be notified at surface design tribe calm forward slash planner.

Iva 34:15
Perfect yeah I will put it also in the description so people can check it out because planners are always useful and you know everyone needs to find their own way what they like so yeah, the more things you check out, then you will find the right thing for you. Right yeah,

Bonnie Christine 34:31
absolutely. Yep, it definitely is a personal a personal journey to finding your

your favorite way to work.

Iva 34:39
Because also when you mentioned like the focus, like daily focus, I actually had the opposite problem that I when I was like working then suddenly I was working for more hours than I didn’t take breaks. So then I found the focus at will I don’t know if you tried that one the air with the music because then you can set the timer. It’s like a promo technique, you can set like either 60 minutes or 90 minutes or whatever. And then they have the brain wave music, you know. So you can have a classic music or, you know, like a beat or whatever even sounds like a cafe and then you’re just like waiting and then it stops and you’re like, Okay, I should take a break,

Bonnie Christine 35:16
you should take a break. I love that because it is so important to reward yourself after you’ve accomplished. That would be like a time block, a block of time where you are removing. So for me, one of the biggest things is removing distraction. Because when I get to a certain point of hard thinking, I’ll grab my phone and I’ll open Instagram, and I won’t even have realized that I’ve done it. It’s just it just happened. And so for me, I really have to clear my desk in order to be able to drill down into into my highest work for the day.

Iva 35:48
Yeah, definitely. Because then if you don’t have the distractions around you, then it’s good. Yeah. Yes, yes. And as you mentioned, you work from home because then you have the studio. Have you ever had the studio You outside of the house? Or do you always prefer to work from home?

Bonnie Christine 36:04
Yeah, so I have worked from home for 10 years. And just this, you you’re asking right in the middle of about three weeks ago. And my sister and I, my sister is a realtor, but we live in the same town. And we are we found an office space in the day, uptown area of our little town. And we’re renovating it, to give me a place to give us both a place to work outside of home. So for me, it’s doing okay today, but I live in the mountains and our Wi Fi at my house is not incredible. So for me, this is like going to give a place where Wi Fi is great. And it’ll almost be like a sound booth so I can do calls and recordings there with without worrying about, you know, making the whole house Be quiet and that kind of thing. So, yeah, so I’m really excited about it though. We’re renovating it pretty extensively so it’s gonna be fun

Iva 36:59
for you to look cool. read some articles on the world probably and all of that.

Bonnie Christine 37:03
Yep. Yes, we’re doing a bunch.

Iva 37:06
Oh, very nice and you will be sharing it on social media probably like the process of lately. I’ve

Bonnie Christine 37:10
already started it is hideous. Currently it is really, really rough looking. And so the transformation is going to be really fun to follow. Yeah, we ripped out carpet, we’re taking drop ceiling down. We’re painting. We’re doing the refinishing the original hardwood floors, like so many things that are really fun to follow. So yes.

Iva 37:32
I’m looking forward to see the when it’s finished. And now when you also mentioned actually the location A lot of people are wondering like, you know, when you’re starting with artistic career, of course there are a lot of stuff is online. But why did you, for example, decided to move or does it depend on the location and how is the collaboration with other people through Yeah, internet.

Bonnie Christine 37:56
Yeah, so I feel like

I feel like when I first started that there were, I was fighting for freedom. So I wanted freedom, I wanted to be able to work from anywhere in the world. I wanted financial freedom, so that I mean, who doesn’t want financial freedom so that we can do what we need to do in our life. But beyond that, be more generous in our communities and in our passions. And I wanted the freedom to be able to work from home when I did have children. So that’s what I was fighting for. That’s also what many of my students and members are fighting for as well. And so we do live in a really small town in North Carolina. Both of our families live here. So it was really important to us to be close to them with our children, but also I believe it is the most beautiful place on Earth. We are right in the middle of the Smoky Mountains and we love the outdoors. So it’s gorgeous and Because of the work that I do, I can do it from anywhere. So if I have a lot of people who do it full time because they love to travel, and they can do it from anywhere in the world, or they do live in a place where it’s not necessarily, you know, a big city or something like that. So that’s why that’s why we live here. We lived in California for a little bit for my husband’s job. He’s a cycling coach, which took us out there for a couple of years. But we moved back. Yeah, when we were ready to start a family. Yeah,

Iva 39:31
very nice here because then he’s always great to be around family if you want to leave close to them. And location independence for sure. If you either want to have your idea, or you want to travel and just mix it up and see where you want to leave. And yeah, definitely, because yeah, I get also a lot of questions about these, like, how is it in different countries, either in Europe or in us and like, do you need to move somewhere to be closer to some of the jobs and yeah, Definitely busy selling to answer what is the important for you? Right? So

Bonnie Christine 40:05
Right, exactly. Yeah, so all of mine. I do travel for some events at this point. But really all of my licensing work is completely done online. So it’s really an incredible opportunity for sure.

Iva 40:20
Yeah. And now when you are spending some time also with the art directors and the companies you work with, do you have like weekly calls or monthly calls when you are not working on your membership in your own product? So balancing the type of art work?

Bonnie Christine 40:38
Yeah, yeah. So mine very much kind of goes and seasons. So every industry and every company has like their own timeline for releases. So I know those in advance. They’re on my calendar and that’s where my focus goes when it’s time to work on fabric collection or debut of fabric collection. So contact with the art director and Season like that is much more consistent. And then there’s time where I’m focusing on teaching. But it all goes on to a yearly like annual calendar first so that I really don’t overbook myself. So I’m not trying to do fabric collection and for instance, the immersion course at the same time, they’re all staggered to where they they flow beautifully. So yeah, never really doing the same thing. You know, every day, it’s always something different, which is also what I love. So

Iva 41:34
yeah, because some people like to take maybe four projects at the same time. Other people like to work on one project this month and like really focus and like finishing it. So do you like also the overlap sometimes or is it more like okay, focus and finish this and then move on to the next thing.

Bonnie Christine 41:53
There is always a little bit of overlap due to just being an a working artist, but I do very much Much like having, okay, so for instance, the membership gets my attention all year. The immersion course is really heavy in the first quarter of the year, or really, it’s March, April and May. And so it’s just kind of ebbs and flows. And then my licensing is all kind of mapped out as well, depending on the industry. And so I do like having big so he can probably see the calendar behind me is a big annual calendar where I have everything mapped out and there is definitely this forums every month. One of the summer months is just focused on family and traveling. So there is an overriding focal point of every month but of course there’s overlap for sure.

Iva 42:47
Yeah, because they definitely like we’re Explorer, some people some people like to take more things at the same time. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, because I also want it like that. I like to have one project and then finish on the When there is always an overlap, but like, for example, one working on the course, then you work on the illustration for the client, then you work on different things. So you can always plan ahead. Like, when can you take a few days off? Maybe or?

Bonnie Christine 43:15
Yes, Yes, for sure. I totally agree with that.

Iva 43:18
Yeah. And if you think about, like, future goals, and what would be the thing you want to accomplish maybe in five or 10 years, what is your dream scenario later on?

Bonnie Christine 43:31
Oh, my goodness. Um, you know, I definitely look a year ahead. Looking five or 10 years ahead is hard because what I was doing five years ago is much different than what it is doing today. So I’ve kind of learned to trust my business and where it’s going and I just don’t know where it’s going. And that’s almost the exciting part. I definitely didn’t set out to be an educator and kind of got swept away. By in the best way, it’s been one of the biggest kind of rewards in my life is just being able to see people accomplish their dreams and do something that they love for a living. And so I definitely feel like that is where a lot of my attention is, and the thing that I love the most. So I definitely want to expand just in education. And you know, the planner is a big one. It’s been on my heart for a long time. So I’m really excited. That’s going to be the focus of next year as well. And a lot I mean, there’s so many things, so many things in the pipeline, but just more more goodness, more of the same over the next five to 10 years for sure.

Iva 44:47
Yeah. And if you would advise yourself maybe if you like, look at young self, right? What would you say?

Bonnie Christine 44:56
You know, I would say that This is a quote that I’ve heard before, but it really rings true is that it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it. And I still feel that today, even when I’m doing hard things that it’s going to be worth it. And it’s that long term consistency that really rewards you in the long in the long haul.

Iva 45:18
Yeah, definitely. I totally agree. Because when you do what you love, and then you can help others as well. That’s just super nice.

Bonnie Christine 45:27
It’s incredible.

Iva 45:28
Yeah, and this I also started this podcast so we can share our experiences with others so they can get inspired and keep going and just create what they want to create. And hope everyone can like check out your membership and the planet in the future. They can also check out our Skillshare classes. So you have a lot of classes about pattern making and also the illustrator. So if someone wants to check that out, it will be also in the description and I just launched the class About how to make money with art so different ways so so guys you have so much inspiration you can just check out so much yeah that’s amazing. Thank you so much again Bonnie for being here. It was super inspiring.

Bonnie Christine 46:15
You are so welcome and you know why didn’t I forgot to tell everyone as well that flourish the membership opens just twice a year and it is opening on October 24 for five days so if you would like to join us that’s your time to jump in.

October 24

Iva 46:34
perfect Yeah, so we will keep that also in mind and in the description So guys, don’t forget to check all of these out there is so much value. And yeah, and thanks everyone who was watching or listening and see you guys in the next episode. Bye guys. Bye. So hope you guys enjoy the interview. And don’t forget to check out the Skillshare class which I mentioned before. To help you grow your creative career, and if you’re not a member yet, you can get two months for free if you go through the link art side of life.com slash Skillshare. Until next time, thank you and bye


Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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Hey there!

I am Iva (rhymes with viva), and I'm the artist behind Art Side of Life. I'm all about helping you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art! So on my website, I share Procreate classes, tutorials, brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies, and resources such as these interviews. Ready to create and make amazing art? Then explore, join and have fun ♡

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