Art, Career, Education, Family, Kids, Marketing

My Niece’s Frog Drawing Becomes a Coffee Cup

My niece is a talented young artist who has been featured at school for her art a few times already. Of course when I see anyone who has a passion for art I do my very best to help them develop their style, strengthen their skills, and find more ways to enjoy their wonderful hobby.

This post is about my niece and I’s journey to turn her frog illustration from a sketch to a graphic we could put on products. View our frogtastic store here.

Her drawing also gave me inspiration to learn another computer graphics program. I had been putting off learning Inkscape for a while because GIMP was working pretty well and I had a better handle on the drawing tools of that program. When it comes to coloring vector images (images that can expand to the size of a billboard without getting pixelated) I really wanted to use Inkscape.

I wished to edit the original drawings and change colors to have more versatile characters. For example this frog could easily become 2 characters with minimal effort by moving some limbs, changing the color, and a key feature or 2. My dad always said to work smarter, not harder. Since I am a busy mom of 3, and I have a job, and a ton of hobbies any way I can find to save myself time is helpful.

Not to mention I’ve got a brother who is waiting for me to illustrate books, and I’ve got several other artistically talented artists in the family who have asked to make custom products. As you can see speed is of the essence. The learning process is not speedy but things are starting to happen faster.

I knew my niece would love to see her artwork on products. She had been really excited when I showed her what I did with my daughter’s painting.

When I saw her cute froggy drawing I knew it was the perfect piece to work with to create some fun products. We tried different techniques, and programs, to find our favorite way to bring Mr. Zen Frog to life. My favorite process ended up being Inkscape, even though I still have a love hate relationship with the eraser in that program.

Last night I put in a background and sunshine because this drawing was a little heavy on the right without it. Designs that look balanced seem to work better on products, at least that is my preference. Not saying there isn’t room for experimentation but I had wanted to try an easy background anyway because I’ll need it for book illustrations.

I looked on Zazzle and hand-picked the products I thought the design would work best on but I made the design a template so that people can take the design and put in on other products too. I was so sad that the lunchboxes were sold out because I’d have liked to make the lunchbox and buy that for my niece as an art supply case. I’ll be watching to see when they come back in stock.

A bag will work for her art or school supplies though. If the lunchbox doesn’t come back soon this is what I have in mind as a memento of our project together. I wrote, what I think, is a cute little poem on the back of the bag. I’m no Shakespeare but fortunately the products can be set up to be personalized. On most of the designs I post on Zazzle you can change both the text, and font, and add anything from your favorite quote to your family members names.

I really wanted to get her a customized sketch book originally but although this book would be a super cute writing book it wasn’t what I had in mind for an art book. Honestly though a place to keep her art supplies organized is probably more important these days though as kids aren’t the tidiest of creatures!

As you can see I love the personalizing feature on Zazzle so you can make the items what you want and give them a little extra magic. Plus it’s fun to see what other’s do to make the products uniquely them, and everyone has a little designer in them. Yes, even you!

My sister-in-law said you know now that you’ve taught her how to do this once she is going to want to do it all the time. My response? “That was the whole point!” I want her to be able to find a space for her art where she is rewarded for it. Maybe she can even build a thriving design business before she graduates high school (with help from her parents of course).

I for one know that art school is not cheap and business, marketing, and computer science degrees are also good choices for artists and designers. None of that is free unless you have an amazing portfolio and can win a scholarship. Designing products could provide an income and will hopefully encourage her to keep working and building her portfolio!

When she is ready to step out on her own I will be sure to update this post, and probably write another, with her store information. As with everything it’s one step at a time. I can teach her mom and her how to create a profile and create products but I still don’t even know how to organize my own store! I’m going to have her create a few products on my store and see if she enjoys that process.

I have no doubt that she will enjoy creating products but I do wonder if she will like the writing part that goes along with it. I am hopeful that she will love all parts of making merchandise as the more you love the process the easier it is to stay motivated. If she isn’t into that’s awesome too. Will will have created fun memories while she tried something new. If she loves it though it will be time to start coming up with business names!

Thank you for diving into the world of illustration and print on demand products with me today, I appreciate your readership. If you choose to purchase a product with my niece’s froggy project thank you so much for supporting a young artist!

Also if you have a project you want created for your organization, club, band, etc. feel free to reach out by email or social media and we can chat about what you are looking for and what I can do to help.

If you are interested in seeing a little more about how we created this latest version of the frog there is a time-lapse video below. I’m considering working on a Youtube series with tutorials on my process. Let me know if that would be something you’d be interested in seeing. I’m still a beginner so it would be pretty basic, which I think is a good thing when starting out.

Thanks again and I hope you have an awesome week!


Helping my niece turn a drawing into digital art & since it’s been awhile relearning some skills😎 #drawing #cartoons #illustrations #digitalart

♬ Meditation with natural sounds and music that closes your eyes – Red Blue Studio
This is the original drawing by my niece.
This is our finished graphic that I used to create our Zazzle merch.

P.S. Her mom loves frogs and collects them so her choosing to draw this was so sweet and it still warms my heart<3

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