Today's Friday Finds features WALKYLAND - the illustrative world of Monika Fosberg who has an incredibly distinctive, decorative style. I met Monika on line and in person through the Make Art That Sells course we both took part in and it became clear early on that she has a highly recognisable style that is truly unique to her. And she is also prolific!!
© Monika FosbergWhen did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental? Tell us your story of how WALKYLAND came to be!
I had left the art world for a few years (trained as an animator, made films, freelanced and lectured) and then returned via craft making (went through the phases of jewellery making-knitting- crocheting-embroidery-basket weaving) before coming back to drawing at around the time my youngest son was born.
I decided to learn everything from scratch and so for a year I just drew what I saw, observational pen and ink sketches of houses trees, and people I saw when out and about with my littlest son (him asleep in the sling on my hip). I kept posting my stuff on fb it became sort of a journal/diary and most of it wasn't very good but I had fun and i think that was appreciated. Then I moved onto drawing doodles in really bright colours ,monsters and patterns, drawing things that didn't mean anything or had any point to them, they were pure doodles.
Two Blue Pigs ©Monika Fosberg
At the same time I was commissioned to make an animation for Channel 4 ('Mummy needs gin') and it was nice to return to animation, to tell a story and to make something from idea to finished 3 minute film with sound and pictures. Animation is crazy and extremely time consuming and quite a long process and with kids it's hard to dedicate the time needed to be a full-time animator. When the film was finished an illustrator friend and I decided to become commercial, to take our art seriously and we set about sharpening up and get a grip and sort our websites out and at around the same time I came across Lilla Rogers 'Make art that sells' e-course. I couldn't afford it but kept going back and looking at the blurb about the course and it sounded really good and I ended up signing up. And this was a turning point in my life.
I learnt more in five weeks than I was taught 5 years at university and maybe being as old as I am now I'm no longer stubborn and reluctant to change but gave myself wholeheartedly into the assignments, looked at what I was doing and noticing what worked and what didn't. And I found an amazing artist community, beautiful supportive and talented.
Trio © Monika Fosberg
I always had it as a goal that I would having a flourishing career by the time my son started nursery. I reckoned that 3 years would be about the right time it'd take to build up skills, confidence and client base and I'm not far off the mark. My son started nursery in January and my drawing career (rather than animation career) is starting to take off. i'm not a millionaire and not yet making lots of money but I am successful. Do you do your business part time or full time?
I work the 3 hours my son is at nursery every day (actually sitting down drawing/making) and i draw at night and in truth probably spend all waking hours thinking about stuff and observing the world, looking,thinking wondering, collecting.
Amended Butterfly © Monika Fosberg
For the money earnt making the C4 film I invested it all in a new computer and other equipment and the guy (Curtis) at the mac store asked me what I was gonna use my computer for (so he could find the right one, a computer that was suited to my needs) and I said I was building an empire. So yes. Definitely growing.
If this is your full time job do you mind saying what your approximate turnover is annually (before costs and expenses)?
Less than 15k and every spare penny goes into the "business" so I'm still a LONG LONG LONG way away from being finically successful.
© Monika Fosberg
I started doing some licensing of my work recently and commissions and is yet to set up an Etsy shop (I've simply been too busy) but soon it should be up and running. Which of the selling methods that you use works best for you? Why do you think this is?
Selilng is one of my weaker points, I am looking into doing a business course and learn how to in the simplest way possible make a good business. Have you had publicity in national magazines? If so how did you approach them?
I've been on telly a few times. Does that count? Haha. I'm working on a project for a magazine right now, but cannot speak of it yet.Keep your eyes open...
© Monika Fosberg
Who do you think your typical customer is?
Someone like myself...? Women rather than men and maybe grown ups rather than kids.. Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most?
The making, the journey the not knowing what the outcome will be. Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?
Probably not. Maybe started earlier. Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?
I do find setting goals really important, because once you set a goal they tend to happen sooner or later. When making the C4 film "HIs passionate bride" my goal was to be nominated for a BAFTA and ...Ta-dah- I was. I decided to become commercial about a year ago and - Yeah, I think I am! Not sure what other people think. I think it good to set goals but to then leave them behind subconsciously unconscious in the mind and if they don't happen its not the end of the world (and something else, more exciting/better/more fun is sure to be happening instead).
Love © Monika Fosberg
As an animator I hired and fired people. Making low budget films = being a producer/director/animator all in one, making budgets, finding the right sound people (for the right money) and getting help with script editing, animation assistants etc etc. In my so far very short illustration career I'm doing it all myself. For now. Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see that changing?
I work sitting on my bed like a teenager. I get a bad back if I sit working at a table and I can't think if my back hurts and if curled up on a sofa or sitting in bed its like being a kid again. So wherever Ive worked in the past 10 years Ive always had a slouchy place to sit. I work alone. Spending so much time with ones family I relish in disappearing into the introverted place of drawing and being totally anti social.If i had the money id build a shed in the garden.
© Monika Fosberg
Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?
I think I may need a professional mentor but for now I have a bunch of friends (in similar position to myself) and we talk/discuss/support/help each other. Its invaluable. What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you – business or otherwise?
My day is going for a run in the morning then the kids are at nursery/school then pick up from nursery and park/forest/playground until my eldest son gets back from school and then thats house work/cooking time and when the little gone to sleep i might work some more whilst were on the sofa watching telly. Finally please tell us where we can buy your work! Links please . . .
You're a star Monika. Thank you :)