Sketch of the wormwood mug designOn Monday I sketched the wormwood design for the next mug, and yesterday I painted it. It was very difficult to get a color that looked right to me. That kind of Moon waxiness of “glaucous” leaves like wormwood’s is for me difficult to capture in watercolor. I had to add some white to the blue/green I’d mixed up and then go over it with very small amounts of white acrylic ink. Cleanup of the image in digital form took me hours because of how cut wormwood leaves are. That’s a lot of edges to straighten out. But it came out okay.

I’m trying to create some kind of visual unity between the different mug images. I think that’s better in terms of general design. But I haven’t done this sort of thing before (except on a small scale, like with designing labels for Alchemy Works products). So it’s interesting, and I’m learning. Here’s what the mug looks like. I like the sort of freshness that I am getting by using the white background, so I am going to keep working with that. I am trying to emphasize the graphicality of the leaves and other plant parts of the witching herbs.

At customer request, I looked into getting these designs put on dishes and bowls. I think it can be done, but I would have to re-do the designs to different proportions–the mug designs are a long strip that is 9 x 3.8″. So I’m going to wait on that. I’d like to build up a good-sized body of mug designs, say, 50, and then open up a separate non-Etsy site and perhaps try selling them on Amazon as well.

Even though I have not sold jillions of mugs in the one month I’ve been doing them, I have already grossed more from these mugs than from an entire year of selling my art prints on Etsy (my stand-alone art site has made more than ten times as much as my art print site on Etsy, but that’s mostly from original paintings, not prints).

Alchemy Works has needed a major reworking for years, and to that end I finally got a decent web editor, Dreamweaver. Adobe woke up and realized that they could get a lot more users by offering it as a subscription for twenty bucks a month then selling it for $400 or whatever ridiculous sum it was. I’ll work on the Alchemy Works site over the summer. There’s a lot of information on it that I would like to organize, and a lot needs to be fixed. Other things need to be weeded out and features need to be added. So a ton of work needs to be done, and the creaky old web editor I’ve been using for 15 years could in no way handle it. I thought Dreamweaver would be difficult to work, but it has not been so at all. I am surprised. I tried it years ago and it baffled me then.

Today I’m going to start putting plants out in my raised beds out back. Should have pics tomorrow.

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