Interview with Artist Effy Wild
Artist Effy Wild shares her experiences teaching online classes and selling art-related merchandise.
Effy Wild Bio
My name is Effy, and I’m a journal artist and online teacher. My passion is using art as a portal to a deeper relationship with ourselves, the world around us, and the divine as we understand it.
I believe that you can’t deeply love what you don’t deeply know, so we dive deep in my programs so that we might learn to deeply love ourselves. While I feature a lot of technique-driven lessons in my classes, the main focus is on meeting ourselves on the page and being with what is true for us in any given moment.
Please tell us about your art business?
I teach mixed media art journaling on line in a number of different programs throughout each year, including a secular offering called “Book Of Days” in which the emphasis is on building an art journaling practice, a spiritual offering called “Moonshine” in which the emphasis is on working with the phases of the moon in our art journals, and “A Year Of Rumi” which is a program in which we use quotes from Rumi in our art journals. I also teach in collaborative e-courses run by other mixed media art teachers, such as Life Book 2019 with Tamara Laporte.
Please tell us about your art?
I started art journaling in 2009 after a year-long creative block. I was formerly a writer, and having no form of creative expression was really stifling for me. I sought out things to do that might help me break out of my terrible case of writer’s block, and discovered art journaling. I have no formal art education, but I have been lovingly taught by Tamara Laporte, Connie Solera, Jane Davenport, Flora Bowley, and many others whose work has informed my own. My art is deeply personal, and the emphasis is always on the process over the end product. I work primarily in hand bound journals (which I call a “Book Of Days” after my signature program).
How did you get started online?
I have been writing online (poetry, and creative non-fiction) since 1997, but transitioned into teaching in 2010, after my following began asking me to teach them what I was doing. I had no intention of becoming an ‘art teacher’, given that I had zero experience with visual arts before I began playing in an art journal in 2009, but people were very interested in how I used journaling both as a spiritual practice and as a healing modality. I developed my first program in June of 2010, and the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been teaching full time ever since, and this is now how I make my living.
Your courses seem to focus on year-long classes,
what are the advantages of having longer courses
I teach primarily in a year-long format because I love how the longer format fosters a practice in my students. While there is enormous value in shorter classes that focus on particular techniques, the year long experiences create a sense of community that encourages the student to come back to the page on a regular basis. Since I use art
journaling to deepen intimacy with myself and the world around me, demonstrating how this can grow over a period of time is important to me. I was also powerfully influenced by The Artist’s Way, so I teach creativity as something that we *just do* as a part of our every day lives, rather than something we must be inspired to do. The year long
programs I teach begin with ‘boot camp’ which includes everything a student needs to begin their mixed media art journaling journey (including book binding, colour theory, face-making, and layering), and then builds upon that boot camp with specific techniques designed to build intimacy and trust with ones own impulses, urges, desires, and tastes. The shorter classes I teach tend to focus on one aspect of journaling, like using music in the journal, or making faces.
Is selling merchandise on sites like Society6 a good
business opportunity for artists?
I believe it can be if you are willing to spend the time promoting the products you list on Society6. I focus most of my time and attention on promoting my classes, so I have not seen a big upsurge in income via Society6, but it is fun to be able to point my students to a print or mug or tote bag that has my art on it. If you are more interested in selling
your work versuse selling classes, Society6 and Redbubble are both good routes to take. It takes perseverance, and a lot of social media marketing to get a following, though, so patience and determinationwill be required.
I see you have many patrons on Patreon, is that a
good way for artists to earn an income?
I love Patreon as a way to offer content on a monthly basis versus the usual year long programs I offer. I have over a hundred patrons who gather in my Patreon community to enjoy mixed media art tutorials, my musings, and a weekly journal prompt called Journal52. In order to succeed with Patreon, it is important to be consistent, to delivery what you have promised on time, and to have a regular content publishing schedule. I make about $1000 CAD on Patreon, and I’ve come to rely on it as a steady, predictable source of income. It took me two years to build it to this point, and I see it growing every month.
What advice do you have for artists who want to
create a business around their passions?
Teaching what you love is a very lucrative choice to make, especially if you have some kind of speciality (example: art as a healing modality or spiritual practice, or portraiture, or layering). There are many websites out there now that allow you to host and sell classes on your own, such as Teachable, Ruzuku, and Zippy Courses. If you are passionate, and you can navigate your way around the necessary technology (Google is your friend!), you can supplement your income or even make a living teaching what you love. There are also artists out there that I know of who make their living selling their art on Ebay, through Society6, Redbubble or Fine Art America. Etsy is also a really good option for original paintings and prints.
Book Of Days is a year-long e-course produced by Effy Wild, which features 13 many journal art teachers every year. This course is designed to immerse you in art journaling with new content going live at the beginning of each and every month throughout the year, including full-length video tutorials by Effy and her all-stars, bonus content by Effy’s rising stars, interviews, journal prompts, live virtual gatherings and monthly vlogs. Along with more content than you’ll ever need to sustain your own creative practice, you will be enfolded in a community of gorgeous, wildly creative, supportive journal artists who make building and maintaining a creative practice one of their priorities.