Ashley Picanco Artist Interview
Online art teacher Ashley Picanco talks about her art business and what works for her.
Ashley Picanco Bio
Ashley is a self-taught artist with a passion for bright colours, mixing abstract expressions with detailed linework, and anything nature related. She shares free art tutorials on her blog in the hope of empowering anyone looking to expand their own artistic abilities.
Please tell us what you do:
I’m an artist and a work at home mom of two little boys. I manage two websites, my art blog ashleypicanco.com where I post works in progress, available art for sale, and free art technique tutorials, along with mintfoxstationery.com where I sell my own planner and stationery products featuring my designs and artwork.
Please tell us about your art?
I create acrylic and watercolour paintings on both canvas and paper with a focus on nature-inspired imagery mixed with abstract expression and detailed linework. Nature has always been my Muse, and since I can remember I’ve always been drawing animals, trees, and flowers. My style has evolved over the past few years to incorporate a mixture of abstract expression painting techniques along with detailed doodle-like linework. I enjoy playing with the balance between wild expressive strokes and concentrated, controlled linework. I feel like my painting style imitates nature in the balance between the wild and unpredictable and the refined and detailed.
You have many tutorials and subscribers on
YouTube, has your YouTube presence helped your
Yes! I’m very grateful for my YouTube channel. It provides a direct line between my art and the people who enjoy it. By sharing videos on YouTube, I’m able to reach potential customers from around the world, and by sharing tutorials and video demonstrations, I create excitement and enjoyment for my brand, which eventually leads to sales of either ebooks/learning resources or prints/artwork.
Why do you provide so many tutorials for free
when you could sell your classes?
I love encouraging anyone who wants to start creating their own art to do so, and many times that means complete beginners who maybe don’t know where to start. My free tutorials will hopefully give people enough information to try things out, and decide if painting with acrylics or watercolours are the right match for them. I plan on creating more detailed courses in the future, so my free tutorials serve as a great primer for the kind of content I will eventually be selling as courses. They also allow viewers to get to know my own art and teaching style, and decide if we’re a good fit. If someone likes my free tutorials, then they know what to expect from paid content when the time comes, and they will be confident knowing the type of teaching style to expect from me. It also helps me practice and grow my own teaching and filming skills, so when I’m ready to create paid courses, I’ll have the skills to make the quality of content I want.
Please tell us about your Society6 store?
I sell my art through Society6 as prints, mugs, pillows, and all kinds of cool products! I chose Society6 because I’ve tested out their products and really like the quality of items they sell. The overall vibe of the site and the types of artists that sell on the site just fits my style as well, so it’s a good match for me.
What is MintFox Stationery?
MintFox Stationery is my side business where I sell inserts and stickers for popular planner systems (Filofax, 3 ring binders, etc.) along with other stationery products. It was born out of my love for both art and stationery (it’s more of an obsession!). I was looking online for planner inserts for my planner to help me plan out and organize my art and blogging business, and to keep track of my goals and social media stats, and just couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. So, I decided to make my own. And from there it kind of took on a life of itself. This February will be MintFox Stationery’s second birthday, and I’m truly surprised and grateful at the level of success I’ve had from it. I love designing planner inserts and stationery, and I use a mix of computer design elements along with my own original artwork. Foxes are my favourite animals, and mint is my favourite colour, so that’s where the name comes from.
What is working for you?
Find Facebook groups of like-minded people. So not just people who like art, but find groups (even local groups) of artists who run their own businesses, or artists who are learning to create their own businesses from scratch.
Finding a group that you can share experiences, frustrations, questions, and tips with has been something I’ve really been learning from over the past year. It’s also nice to be able to talk to people who “get” what you’re doing, as being an artist who makes money online tends to be a mostly solo job, just the social aspect alone can be helpful.
Do you have any advice for artists hoping to make a
career with their art?
Just start! Start creating art and get yourself out there, even while you’re still working your day job. Make an Instagram, or a Youtube channel, or a blog (either self-hosted or a free one). Make all 3 if you want! Just start posting what you’re doing, and start growing an audience, even if you have nothing completed or nothing to sell. As you grow and find your own path, you’ll have a pool of potential customers growing right along with you.
A full course in learning to paint with acrylics, from materials and setting up your palette to layering and color mixing, to giving your painting that professional-looking finish. Follow along a full step-by-step still life painting to demonstrates each step in the painting process.