New Things in the Shop

"Blue Rose" Signed Watercolor Original Now Available

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Blue Rose is part of a collection I created in college called The Rose CollectionI created the collection because I wanted to celebrate women of color representing different colored roses. 

She is available for sale on my Etsy shop, the frame is not included in the purchase. 

Blue Rose was the 3rd piece that was created in the series and represents dance & energy! I was inspired by Hindu culture, Bollywood, jewelry and totally obsessed with natural hair. 

I remember I was transitioning to become natural myself when I was creating this painting! It's funny to me all the memories that are tied into my art. So many stages of my life and emotions were captured in them. 

Blue Rose was created on Canson 11 x 14" watercolor paper, Reeves watercolors and Artist loft inking pens. She was created during college back in 2012 and now I think I'm finally ready to let go. 

Blue Rose looks amazing framed and I know she'll definitely light up your room with her energy!

Thanks you so much for supporting me! Have an awesome day!


Trenita Finney is a Pittsburgh-based creative entrepreneur, artist and the Founder of Trenita Made it! She is most recognized for her vibrant watercolor works of women of color and photo-realistic portraits of inspirational musicians. As the creator of Trenita Made it! she promotes wellness + career development for artists + women of color through her youtube, podcast, Instagram, Pinterest and lifestyle illustrations + products.

Trenita has launched The Syllestial Collection VOL.1, an illustration book showcasing a collection of three years worth of illustrations during college. Trenita and her artwork have been featured in Raw Artist Pittsburgh, Redfish Bowl Art Festival, The Pittsburgh Comicon, Steel City Comicon and Layer Cake Festival. Follow on Instagram for the latest art creations.

 

New Things in the Shop

New Prints: Inktober, Afropunk Greek Mythology & DAMN.

Afropunk Medusa

$15.00 USD

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The idea came long when my boyfriend (Tai) and I were having an early morning deep conversation about finding a collection or series to reinvent. I’ve attempted to do zodiacs but we were trying to think of something we haven’t seen before.

It hit Tai first: Greek Mythology. I’m actually a big fan of Greek mythology and the relationships between all of the characters. Not to mention I consider Clash of the Titans (the old version) to be a childhood classic that my dad and I watched together. 


I wanted my Medusa to have features and piercings that reminded me of Afropunk but still have those classic elements of the original Medusa. I’m a sucker for puns so she even has the Medusa piercing. My favorite part was inking her dreadlocks! I love that the snakes and her natural hair become one in her style. 


I really wanted her skin tone to have underlining hues of gold, olive green, and coppers. Snakes have this shimmery look to their scales and melanin already has this deeper than water appearance. We’re never one shade of color. 


Afropunk Athena

$15.00 USD

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After Afropunk Medusa, I was super excited to do Athena. I’ve always like Athena but didn’t know the full history of her relationship to Medusa. Athena was the cause of Medusa’s transformation after Poseidon couldn’t keep it in his pants. (The shame!).


I wanted my Athena to be Afro-Puerto Rican because I’ve always thought it was important to show black people from different backgrounds, settings, and lifestyles. Myself personally I have roots in Nicaragua, Africa and who knows where else. We’re more than one thing. 


Vibez Girl

$15.00 USD

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At the time, I was doing my Inktober challenge and I remember being super inspired by Zoe Kravitz. I do that sometimes, I’ll get caught up in one person and just spend all day learning about them. I think Tai & I were talking about his Irish roots and it just gave me another reason to play with freckles in my character.

I’d like to imagine that she’s super chill and probably reads Black Girl in Om, a self-love blog. I feel like she would wear chucks and listen to Sade with the incense burning.


Be Humble

$15.00 USD

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So let me tell you, when the album dropped you really couldn’t tell me nothing. I was dissecting every lyric, interlude, beat sample. Kendrick Lamar is one of my favorite artists of today music.

I had an art festival to go to at the end of the week and planned to channel all of my inspiration into my live painting. But I wanted to give myself a test run and did this mini watercolor sketch. 


Afropunk Fest

$15.00 USD

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Another sketch from Inktober 2017, I redesigned a photo from the festival. 

One of these days I really need to go to Afropunk. I feel like it would be such an inspiration. For now, I’ll just admire all of the energy from afar via my sketches and paintings. 


Trenita Finney is a Pittsburgh-based creative entrepreneur, artist and the Founder of Trenita Made it! She is most recognized for her vibrant watercolor works of women of color and photo-realistic portraits of inspirational musicians. As the creator of Trenita Made it! she promotes wellness + career development for artists + women of color through her youtube, podcast, Instagram, Pinterest and lifestyle illustrations + products.

Trenita has launched The Syllestial Collection VOL.1, an illustration book showcasing a collection of three years worth of illustrations during college. Trenita and her artwork have been featured in Raw Artist Pittsburgh, Redfish Bowl Art Festival, The Pittsburgh Comicon, Steel City Comicon and Layer Cake Festival. Follow on Instagram for the latest art creations.

How to Find Clients, Attracting Clients

9 Ways to Make Your Art Stand Out! (Online & IRL)

9 Ways to Make Your Art Stand Out! (Online & IRL)

When I walk downtown in Pittsburgh I usually run into the incense-guy. He sells incense, but I think you get that already.

He’s always in front of our Burlington Coat Factory with a mix of shoppers and bus-riders filling the sidewalk.

His setup has everything laid out along the side of the store so you can see what he has.  

He gives you the nod as you make your way down the street.

This guy makes sales without being super sales-y. He’s not all up in your face with incense trying to convince you that you need more lavender in your life.

And guess what?

You can be like the incense-guy downtown and get your audience’s attention without being desperate online.

Everyone is moving around you on the interwebs and all you’re trying to do is flag somebody down and say:

“Hey, I’m an artist too! I make things pretty”

If you look like you’re trying too hard you’ll end up giving off energy like this guy instead:

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I don’t want you to lookin' like a desperate balloon online.


HOW DO I GET PEOPLE TO NOTICE MY ART?

 

Instead of looking for people to notice your art, let’s learn how to attract the right people to your art.

To attract them, you have to know who they are and what motivates them! Once you figure that out you can narrow it down to one ideal person.

Not everyone will be attracted to your art and they don't have to be. Narrowing down your audience will save you time and energy instead of trying to please everyone.

 

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE AN AUDIENCE AT ALL?

 

You can still try out these tips even if you think you don’t have an audience.

Chances are you have at least one person in your life that knows about your epicness. Use that as your starting point and grow!

And luckily I also have something that will definitely help you visually and define the kind of person you’re trying to target.

 

I’M MORE OF AN INTROVERT SO THIS IS HARD FOR ME…

 

I feel you.

I like to think of myself as a functioning introvert.

I can be a social butterfly when I need to be but I’d much rather stay indoors cocooned with my boyfriend, turtle, and popcorn than attend huge social events.

I promise you, you can still be an introvert and put yourself out there for your art.

 

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

 

You’re just starting to take this whole art thing seriously and really put some work into it. That’s already one step out of the way!

As long as you believe you can stand out with your art, then you will. Don’t stand in your own way to success. Negative thinking isn’t going to do you any favors.


 

01 | SHARE YOUR EPICNESS

 

You know you’re amazing right? And don’t give me that awkward look where you don’t agree and look for reasons why you’re not awesome.

There’s a lovely quote, it’s my favorite actually, and it always reminds me to appreciate what I have done:

 

In spirit of that, start getting super comfortable with sharing what you are hoping to do with your art and that you are looking for interested people.

 

Tell your friends and family what you’re trying to do. Even if they don’t need what your offering, they’ll find someone that who does!

 

Make it easier for your circle to share your epicness with others! Make it easy because let’s be real here. Sometimes our friends and family forget to do simple things.

 

It happens to the best of us.

 

So instead, write out a short paragraph to your circle explaining what your freelance art is and that you’re looking for referrals.

 

Add in the best way to reach you, and a sample of your art so that all your mom has to do is forward the message to her co-worker.

 

02 | GIVE BITE-SIZED SAMPLES

 

Treat people to snack sized pieces of your art by creating a lookbook! It can be a small 10 paged book full of your artwork or it can be meaty and robust 80 paged collection.

 

Lookbooks are great because they can give off the feeling that you are serious about what you’re trying to do and you care about your work.

 

Awesome sites like Blurb and Kablam can print your books for you at an affordable price. And thanks to Instagram there are a few apps that can create your art books from your Instagram feed.

 

03 | PICK YOUR CORNER OF THE INTERWEBS

 

For me, my corner of the interwebs is definitely Instagram. I used to be so against Instagram in the past because it was too new. Maybe I’m getting old.

 

So I finally gave in and I could not be more thankful. This social media changed the game for me and to this day is still where a majority of my clients come from.

 

So what’s your corner of the interwebs? Are there social media accounts that you have more engagement on than others?

 

Put your energy into those top notch accounts and focus on engaging with your followers and getting a feel for what they like and don’t like.

 

What’s the point of putting all of your time into your Facebook Page when you have followers on Twitter that show interest in your artwork?

 

You can still keep the rest of your accounts but those 1-2 social media accounts will be your corner where you really get to connect with your fans.

 

04 | MAKE DISCOUNT ART

 

Remember that snack lookbook you can offer to potential audiences? You can take it a step further and offer snack services.

 

You can offer limited free and discount services for your audience so that they can get a feel for how you work.

 

Now, let me be clear (in my best Obama impression).

 

In no way am I saying that you should work for free if someone asks you in your DM,

Can you draw me plz, i'll give u exposure. 

 

What I’m saying is intentionally offer something for free or discount on your own terms.

 

I tried this a few times in the past and it usually leads to getting new clients. In the very least it let me experiment with a few drawing styles.

 

It’s best to do it for a short period of time so that you don’t waste more energy than you need to. You’ll know if something isn’t working and from there it’s best to move on.

 

05 | FIND A SUPPORT GROUP

 

It’s hard out here for a pimp, er artist.

 

That’s why you need a support group AKA join a community of like-minded people.

 

And it doesn’t have to be specifically an artist group either! The few Facebook groups that I joined are focused on women entrepreneurs and I love the dearly.

 

It helps keep me motivated and you start to make connections with others in the group! And those connections can open the doors to tons of future collaborations!

 

06 | GET TO KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY

 

Do you pay attention to all of the festivals and events your city does? How about your neighborhood?

 

Find resources so that you can stay up to date about the cool things happening in your hood. Once you find a source start making yourself available to be in the event.

 

If that’s too big of a step, you can definitely just go as an attendee to see what you’re getting yourself into.

 

In Pittsburgh, we have a ton of art & music festivals and community events happening literally all of the time. Some event groups host tons of events so once you find that source, stick with them.

 

07 | RECORD YOUR EPICNESS

 

You know how you do art and make things from your head?

 

That blows people’s minds.

 

You’re a mind blower.

 

Sometimes the simplest things to us can be the most amazing to other people. 

 

So imagine if you were to share how you create, and the tools you make it with. Or even share what life is like for you as an artist.

 

People love to see people be honest especially online. If you’re not camera shy, creating Youtube videos will help your audience connect with you not just as an artist, but a person.

 

It also helps people appreciate the work that you do and your time.

 

08 | SET UP SHOP IN ARTIST ALLEY

 

I bet you’ve heard of the San Diego Comicon or at the very least have witnessed someone cosplaying as Spiderman.

 

But did you ever think about booking a spot in artist alley at one their conventions?

 

Artist alley is the section of the convention just for artists to show their work and sell art prints! You’ll have access to the traffic the convention pulls plus you can make one-on-one connections with people that love your epic-ness.

 

Another lovely detail is that the purpose of the convention is to find something to buy. These are people that are ready to take home souvenirs for their trip.

 

Plus you can totally take pictures with Deadpool and find Dragon Ball replicas. I mean. What more could you ask for?

 

09 | BECOME THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS

 

Hey. Maybe you don’t want to leave the house at all and just want to relax with people that always give you great vibes.

 

That’s cool!

 

So how about throwing a gallery at your place? You can decorate your space and hang your wall art and create an experience that’s uniquely you.

 

Especially if you’re on a budget but still want to introduce your art, this is definitely one way to go about it.

 

And if you think that sounds right up your alley you can check out 5 DIY art galleries you can throw without going broke.

 

Go at your own pace and in your own order to find what works best for you. Standing out from the crowd doesn’t mean that you should change.

 

In fact, I think it’s the opposite!

 

Keep true to yourself and you find that while everyone is moving left you’re moving right into your audience’s attention.

 

Peace & Love!


Trenita Finney is a Pittsburgh-based creative entrepreneur, artist and the Founder of Trenita Made it! She is most recognized for her vibrant watercolor works of women of color and photo-realistic portraits of inspirational musicians. As the creator of Trenita Made it! she promotes wellness + career development for artists + women of color through her youtube, podcast, Instagram, Pinterest and lifestyle illustrations + products.

Trenita has launched The Syllestial Collection VOL.1, an illustration book showcasing a collection of three years worth of illustrations during college. Trenita and her artwork have been featured in Raw Artist Pittsburgh, Redfish Bowl Art Festival, The Pittsburgh Comicon, Steel City Comicon and Layer Cake Festival. Follow on Instagram for the latest art creations.

Inspiration

What to do When you Don’t know a Lick about doing art commissions online.

What to do When you Don’t know a Lick about doing art commissions online. 

I started doing my art freelance before I even knew what freelance meant. All I knew was that there were people that were willing to pay me for the art that I created and that was alright for me.

 

But what they don’t tell you are all the other things you become once you go down this path. Little did I know is that I was also becoming an accountant, customer service, marketing consultant and social media planner. Today I’m going to focus on how I got started with doing my art commissions on the interwebs.  

 

WHAT DID YOU DO TO START TAKING ART COMMISSIONS ONLINE?

 

Technically. I started freelancing during high school. Back when I had huge dreams of going to the Art Institute of PGH and wanted to become an animator. I ended up not doing either of those things and got my first real taste of freelance art-ing. Fast forward to college, I started focusing on doing art commissions online.

 

1| I showed my best work

I needed a way to show the people on the interwebs, like you, that I made art and that I was available for art commissions. But the thing is that people need to see what you’re selling before they buy from you. People want to feel secure that your style is what they are looking for.

 

At the time, I made a WordPress blog/portfolio and picked out my top 10 - 15 artworks. I wanted so badly to show everything I ever created but the problem is that it’s (1) overwhelming to the person looking, making their choice harder (2) if most of the art you show has portraits you shouldn’t then add digital artwork of a turtle. While it may be good, it doesn’t fit with the theme of your collection.

 

Here are some other options for portfolios:

  • A Tumblr page

  • Squarespace (That’s what I use)

  • DeviantArt

  • Behance

  • Instagram and/or Pinterest


 

2| I used social media for my behind-the-scenes & recent work


So I had my Wordpress blog up and running and finally got my art situated. And now I needed to let people know that I exist. I started taking work in progress photos and posting them on DeviantArt and Facebook. Doing those behind the scenes shots helped people see how I tackle projects and the time needed. People were excited to see what the finished art would look like.

Try it!  The next art piece you start working on, take photos of your progress and post them on your social media or platform of choice. Now I use Instagram as my main go to media for sharing recent art or work in progress.

Don’t forget to add your name somewhere in the photo to be your watermark.

 

3| I offered free or low-cost sketches from time-to-time

When I started doing digital artwork for the first time I thought I was terrible. I wanted to find a way to practice and keep myself motivated. So a friend and I went on Gaia and started trading virtual money to practice drawing other people’s characters. We did this for a year. Now I can digital paint and I get paid for it with real money this time around.

 

I tried this experiment again with watercolor sketches. I let people from my Facebook page volunteer their profile pictures so that I could practice sketch in watercolors for a month. After the free sketches were over, I attracted people that wanted their own full artwork and wanted to book my time.

 

Trading practice for free art can work but keep it on your terms. It gets people excited to participate on something with you. It also establishes the effort you put into your work.

 

Try it! Is there something you want to practice or experiment with? Create a way to practice that idea and involve your followers or friends.

 

4| I found a pricing model that worked for me & my art

Pricing is always weird to me. I’ve already established that I would happily create art for free. Unfortunately there are these things called, “Cost of Living” and “Taxes” that prevent me from doing so on a regular bases. You understand.

I compared pricing sheets of other artists to get a sense of how much something would be worth. When I started I primarily compared pricing on DeviantArt artists.

What I didn’t know is that sometimes their art commissions are extremely underpriced. The artists are trying to out sell one another. But that’s none of my business. Sips Tea.

 

After jotting down some rates, I decided to go with minimum wage per hour x however long it takes me to complete an artwork roughly. Then whatever time you THINK it takes you to make something, add two hours to that. That is your buffer in case you have revisions, a mistake, or some other art crisis that prevents you from getting done within your time frame.

 

Hint: You can also use your best sketches to build up your portfolio!

 

Try It! Do some research on the platform you have chosen to sell your art commissions primarily. What are the prices that are showing for artists similar to what you do? Then figure out how much you want to be paid per hour (based on your experience). Don’t forget to consider the cost of your art supplies and materials.

 

5| I gave myself realistic time to get projects done.

Speaking of time, I have this habit of using the best possible scenario for time instead of the worst case scenario. Yeah...for me that isn’t a habit that I’d like to keep and I’m working on that.

 

When you start to pick up clients, always check and make sure you have time to actually do the project. Think about these before you say yes:

  • Am I actually interested in this project?

  • Do I have time to do this project?

  • Do I like the person that I will be working with?

I didn’t do this when I first started. I was accepting art requests left and right out of excitement. Then when it came to actually working on the artwork I had problems with staying motivated to continue.

 

Agreeing to something half-heartedly hurts both sides. Be honest with yourself before you say yes. If you need more time to think over the request, say that.

 

Try It! Decide how many project you would be okay working on in a week or a month. Do you like to work with one person at a time or several? Each time you get a new project, add it to a calendar or a list as long as it’s something you look at regularly. This will help you find your workflow and get settled into your freelancing.

 

REWIND

So those are my essentials for beginning art commissions online. I hope that my mistakes and successes have given you a better understanding of what you need to do. But just in case you need a refresher, here’s the list:

 

  1. Show Your Best Work

  2. Share your Behind-the-Scenes

  3. Offer free (or low-cost) artwork in exchange for practice

  4. Price your Commissions

  5. Learn Project Management

 

Q: what’s the number one thing that is stopping you from doing online commissions?

Let me know in the comments below!


Trenita Finney is a Pittsburgh-based creative entrepreneur, artist and the Founder of Trenita Made it! She is most recognized for her vibrant watercolor works of women of color and photo-realistic portraits of inspirational musicians. As the creator of Trenita Made it! she promotes wellness + career development for artists + women of color through her youtube, podcast, Instagram, Pinterest and lifestyle illustrations + products.

Trenita has launched The Syllestial Collection VOL.1, an illustration book showcasing a collection of three years worth of illustrations during college. Trenita and her artwork have been featured in Raw Artist Pittsburgh, Redfish Bowl Art Festival, The Pittsburgh Comicon, Steel City Comicon and Layer Cake Festival. Follow on Instagram for the latest art creations.

Inspiration

3 ways to start enjoying your process of finding your art style

3 ways to start enjoying your process of finding your art style

You just ripped a page out of your sketchbook that you aren't supposed to rip pages from. 

You remind yourself how much you suck at finding a good art style.  Next thing you know, you’re looking through your favorite artists’ Instagram feed, praising and envying them at the same time. 

You can’t stop looking at how freakin’ cool their style is. 

 

You start wondering if you should blame your art supplies. And you wonder why nobody told you how painfully slow it would be to get comfy in your art style.

Why is finding your art style so hard?!
This journey to finding your art style is just...ugh.

 

SO, How do you get to that comfy spot in your style?

Welp, first you have to figure out what makes you uncomfortable with your style. The thing about finding your art style is that you have to know what’s working for you and what’s not.

Hate the way you draw hands? That’s your queue to start focusing your attention on different hand styles and practicing a few for yourself.

 

Here’s why you feel like you’re not there yet.

Comparing. 
Ugh. 

Comparing your art style to another artist is like comparing your life story versus there’s. You're experiencing life differently than said artist so of course, you’re going to draw differently.

But that’s not all that comparing does to you. It puts you in this lack mindset and you start thinking if I can just start drawing hands better then I’ll be happy.
 
But here’s what it also sounds like you're saying:
You WON’T be happy UNTIL you draw hands better. All of a sudden, you're thinking more how to about draw hands than actually drawing hands. 

I mean. Who-in-the-hell wants to draw hands when you’re unhappy about, well, drawing hands. You’ll just end up with angrily drawn hands. 


Okay, but how do I get there?

Basically, it’s not about getting there. It’s about focusing on where you are right now. 

MIND BLOWN.


SERIOUSLY! Developing your art style is something that evolves with you as you grow. And like any budding plant out there, you have to nurture and take care of it so that it becomes a beautiful orchid. That can draw.
Sidenote-it doesn’t have to be an orchid, you can be any plant you want to be, ahem.

Enjoy the process that you’re going through and be aware of the areas that you want to improve on. Instead of saying “I want to draw better” get more specific and focus on what you want to improve on.

When we set unclear goals we end up being disappointed with ourselves because we can't measure our progress. SO, here are 3 ways to start enjoying your process of finding your art style.


 

01 | make SPACE for yourself to grow


So you’re probably no stranger to feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for everything that you want to get done. But remember my friend, you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce. 


With that said, set the intention of your day to sketch, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Write it down your intentions to feel committed.

When you make space in your mind for something, you make space in your day for it as well. 


Oh yeah, and let yourself experiment too! Explore different styles and materials and see what you end up. And remember, no pressure.

 

02 | leave your house & explore


You know that feeling when you watch a new movie and something about that one scene hits you. You get this burst of inspiration and new ideas and you just want to make something from that scene right now. 

That energy is often the push you need to get back into the flow of things. Attend an event, go to a concert or see a movie. And if you have the time, travel! Find something new to spark up that mind of yours. 

 

03 | Get to Your Happy Place

Set the mood for your drawing time and surround yourself with every-and-anything, that makes you feel good! My go to mood for drawing is running my diffuser with my favorite essential oils, playing music, and a good dose of natural light.

Maybe it's the introvert in me but these items really help me create without feeling like I'm forcing myself to. 

There will be days when you need to trigger your creative light switch, so find out what your items are that get you to your happy place.

So there are my 3 ways to start enjoying your art style journey. 
And yes, it will still be painfully slow but now you can start becoming aware of your style and actually feel good about it!


Trenita Finney is a Pittsburgh-based creative entrepreneur, artist and the Founder of Trenita Made it! She is most recognized for her vibrant watercolor works of women of color and photo-realistic portraits of inspirational musicians. As the creator of Trenita Made it! she promotes wellness + career development for artists + women of color through her youtube, podcast, Instagram, Pinterest and lifestyle illustrations + products.

Trenita has launched The Syllestial Collection VOL.1, an illustration book showcasing a collection of three years worth of illustrations during college. Trenita and her artwork have been featured in Raw Artist Pittsburgh, Redfish Bowl Art Festival, The Pittsburgh Comicon, Steel City Comicon and Layer Cake Festival. Follow on Instagram for the latest art creations.