Monthly Archives: December 2014

My 2014 art goals

2014 has been a very different year for me, full of challenges and changes which have brought about lots of exciting opportunities.

Note – this is a bit of a long post…….lots of words, not so many pictures…..

 In December 2013  my position at work was made redundant. It became clear in the current market, that I may have time on my hands for a while. I took this as an opportunity to focus and invest time into my art !

I have had in mind for a while that I wanted to “do something” with my art. I draw everyday in my Moleskine Watercolour sketchbooks with my watercolour pencils  and/or my Safari Ink pen. I usually fill a sketchbook in 8 – 12 weeks. I felt like I wanted to see it go further and had some vague ideas.

To guide me along I started working with an arts business coach, Vihn Van Lam from ArtShine. I began in March 2014 and we began to look at what do I really want to do and what is important to me and to prioritise my goals.

The concept of Art Licensing appeared to suit my style art of drawing and one of my goals, which is to have my art produced on products. In broad terms Art Licensing is a process where an artist “rents” their artwork to a client to use on certain products. The goal of the art is to enhance the look of a product that they manufacture and sell it to retailers. Products may include everyday items such as dishtowels, stationery, textiles, apparel, dinnerware and more. The intent is that the art will make the product irresistible to consumers, who then buy the product, earning the retailer, manufacturer and me, the artist, an income. 

Here is my art “mocked up” (using Photoshop)  on  trays, coasters 

and a mug

I then used the ArtShine planner to set daily, weekly, monthly goals and met with Vihn regularly to remain focused along the way and get things done!

My Original 90 day art goals were set and completed .
Goal 1.Entered Pyrmont art prize – my two entries – see below

Goal 2.  Completed Jane Davenport’s Print and Scan Your Art Online workshop to learn about Photoshop. I now know a little bit about Photoshop and can do some very basic things with my art.I will probably do the course again to understand more and build my skills. 

After the 90 day goals were completed a new goal was set  

A portfolio of my artwork to be completed by 31st July. 

This goal is nearing completion. This seemingly simple statement has involved many steps and has been a big learning curve. I have been working with a graphic artist to produce a Portfolio that is representative of myself and my art. I have been challenged technically and mentally as I moved outside my comfort zone to work towards my goal. My portfolio is tied into my goal of seeing my art on a product .  

As part of the process I :

  •  Identified which of my drawings would be suitable on merchandising objects, which involved lots of research into products, companies, other artists.
  • Chose images for the Portfolio from the thousands of drawings I have produced 
  • Identified what sort of products my art would suit
  • Wrote artists statement 
  • Had professional photographs taken (thank you so much Maria ! – and Jodi for recommending her) 
  • Identified Art Licensing agents to send my Portfolio to.

And as part of achieving this year goals I have also 
  • Experimented with Photoshop to learn created mock art (see examples above) 
  • Created Facebook Page for Alissa Duke Art 
  • Commissioned high quality scan of three of my art images, ready for professional use.

Along the way life included a move from Sydney to Melbourne in September to start a new job. 

And during the year I have had unexpectedly achieved one of my goals – to see my art on products 

1. pillow & tea towels
The first set of products was created by me, ordering an online product through Zazzle with  my drawings uploaded onto it. It was a learning experience as to the quality of scan to upload (I had enlarged my drawing and it lost clarity when printed on the cloth) .I did not like the quality of the material it was printed on. 

2. Sketch used on Globetrotter Postcards website and business cards . 

I received an email from  from Sam, an Australian  blogger and traveller, living in London and asking to use one of my sketches on her website and business cards.  Wow ! 

3. Drawing used on Christmas cards for the Law Library of Victoria. The Director of my new workplace had seen my lunchtime drawings of the Supreme Court Library and asked to use them for the Christmas cards to go out to other courts, libraries and some judges. It was very exciting to see them arrive from the printers! 

Looking back, I have achieved a lot and am very proud of my year, my accomplishments and the challenges met along the way.

2015  ??? 
I will be sending my Portfolio to Art Licensing Agents and I have some ideas ….. a website, exhibition, markets, Etsy ….

Drawing in books

Last Christmas a good friend gave me a book to draw in.
But it is not a book of blank pages, but a printed book.
In fact it is not a book, it is The Acts of the Parliament of Victoria”  1894, Index 1890-1894. It is A4 size, only 24 pages but bound in hard cover and leather. It was bought at a second hand book store.


This gift was both apt and prophetic. Apt, because I have been a law librarian for many years, using the laws in research. But little did any of us know last December that I would move from Sydney (New South Wales) to Melbourne (Victoria) to work in the Supreme Court Library, where Victorian (and Commonwealth Laws) are enforced.

Last December when I received this I immediately knew that I wanted to draw grand and beautiful Parliament of Victoria building in the “Acts of Parliament” legislation.

I sketched some then and have continued this last few weeks. I have sketched on seven pages so far (see below)


Inside the front doors -The Vestibule

Floor tiles have beautiful colours and patterns

As a librarian it has taken many years to be able to draw in books. I was ok drawing on scrap paper, flyers, tickets. Then I drew on maps. I have recently bought old published cheap books especially for drawing in.. still working on those projects.

I am still not sure if the of concept drawing in this legislation is good or not. Is it legal ? disrespectful and irreverent ? It probably would have been thrown away otherwise. This is all online now and shelf space in libraries is at a premium. Sometimes it is impossible to giveaway old law reports and legislation. So it is a good thing that I am giving it a new and continuing life…

This pondering deserves another blogpost oneday.