Interview with Roseanne Kenny of The Printable Studio
The Printable Studio was founded by a wonderful creative and beautiful soul Roseanne. A designer, illustrator and photographer, Roseanne creates stunning original artwork which you can download and print from home. We discovered Roseanne’s work on Instagram and instantly fell in love with her beautiful minimalist pieces. In June, Roseanne very kindly gifted one of her stunning prints to our members, and so we decided to catch up and learn more about the journey which led The Printable Studio to be the inspiring success that it is today.
We’d love to know the story behind The Printable Studio, how did it all begin?
I started The Printable Studio in 2014 while living in Barcelona and heavily pregnant. My husband and I were relocating every other year between our home countries of New Zealand and Spain, so I was looking to create a business where I could work from anywhere. Originally I started a website offering free printable toys with the goal to earn revenue from Google advertising. In the past, I had offered free clipart using this method. In the midst of creating this website, I was also looking at ways to share some of my seascape photographs in local galleries and cafes, however, the cost of professionally printing and framing a collection of gallery-quality prints was holding me back.
It was at that time when I discovered Etsy and saw that many designers and artists were selling their art online as digital downloads. This was a no-risk way to start sharing some of my work so I immediately got on board. As a keen DIYér and interior design enthusiast, I really resonated with this new way of buying and selling art. It was so exciting and encouraging when I made a few sales, that I changed tack and focused on creating printable art rather than printable toys!
How has your business evolved since you launched, what’s the journey been like so far?
Coming from a graphic design background, my earliest designs were very graphic design-focused. Apart from some photography, I mostly created typography and vector-based designs that would lend themselves well to being printed in all sizes in a perfect resolution. I had sketchbooks full of pencil drawings that would not work so well as digital downloads, however, over time, my style has evolved into a digital art – fine art mix. A digital art style where my love of drawing, printmaking, and painting can now be expressed and shared!
My shop started off slowly, as I took my focus off it once my son was born, we relocated back to New Zealand shortly after and later I worked as a part-time gardener. I avoided graphic design work as a source of income as I decided to put all of my creative energy into my own art and business. I created new designs for my shop in any spare time I had, and now, several years later I am so grateful that I can now afford to be completely focused on my art and to continue growing my shop! I love every single minute of it.
I have recently launched into selling my designs as physical prints through online art and home decor companies that manage the promotions, printing, and shipping, and I am currently researching dropship companies so I can supply physical prints to my customers myself.
What does a typical day look like for you, do you have any particular routines or rituals?
It seems lately that my circumstances and routines have changed so often!
In the few months leading up to the COVID pandemic, I would spend each morning with my youngest at his new school while he was adapting there. In the moments where he felt confident enough to play and explore without me, I would find a nice spot near his class (this school is in the middle of a forest) and draw while listening to podcasts. Quite a lovely time. Then there was the lockdown here in Spain, where we were home for 10 weeks without leaving the apartment. This was a very creative time for me (I have always been a home-body and creating grounds me completely). Currently, it’s the summer holidays, so we are enjoying relaxed days, often ending up at the beach.
Practicing self-care is high on my list. I’m very interested in wellness and exploring ways to nurture my mind, body, and soul. When I wake up I set my intentions for the day, and throughout the day I like to practice mindfulness, being a present, conscious parent, meditation, exercise, eating healthily, drawing and reading or listening to related podcasts. I don’t have a routine, I simply fit in what I can when I can.
Drawing is a great meditative exercise and has always been such a calming and peaceful practice for me. Once, a model from a life drawing class came up to me after class and said she was amazed at the peaceful look I had on my face while drawing! I was just happy I wasn’t sticking my tongue out, which is something I used to do when really concentrating:)
At the moment I have two days a week available to work on my art. That’s usually spent in a super intense nonstop creating mode, with most of that time being behind the computer. I find that focusing on relaxed slow living for the rest of the week provides me with a perfect balance. Of course, my mind never turns off creatively. Ideas are always flowing through.
We’d love to know more about your creative process! How do you go about deciding what’s next in your print shop and how do you evolve from the initial idea to the final print design?
What’s next in my shop really comes down to whatever I feel drawn to on any given workday, usually based on a collection of sketches. My home is littered with papers and sketches from ideas that I’ve had during the week, and ideas can come to me at any time, including in my dreams. Sometimes I wake up from a dream and have to rush for a piece of paper to get the idea down before I forget it!
I adore art and design and I am constantly inspired by all forms; architecture, textiles, sculptures, people, and nature, to name a few. I am drawn to geometric and abstract forms, lines, patterns, block colour, still-lifes and figurative art.
A usual workday begins with me going through my sketches and developing a design or illustration I feel compelled to follow through with. If necessary I develop the sketch further on paper, and when I’m happy with it, I photograph it and bring it into Illustrator as a reference and recreate it in digital form. From here things can either stay on track with the original vision or can quite easily take an unexpected turn and I end up creating something unimagined through the process. I can often be found jumping between multiple ideas on the same day too. It’s never a linear process.
I usually leave a new design alone for a week or two before I come back to it with a fresh perspective. I read a quote recently that I really resonated with. It said something along the lines of when you are working in the middle of the night you feel like you have created a masterpiece, and when you see it again in the morning you don’t like it one bit! This is so often true in my case. But if I still like it a week later and happy with the end result, I prepare the files for print testing and create the sizes for my shop.
What have been the highlights and challenges of your creative business journey so far?
So many highlights! I was floating on cloud nine for at least 24 hours after I saw my design on The Property Brothers show with Jonathon sitting right next to it. I am obsessed with their show. I only saw this thanks to an amazing Instagram friend who filmed that part and sent me the video! I will be forever grateful to them.
That leads me into my main highlight, which is online community and support. Seeing my designs in the homes of my customers through Instagram and Etsy reviews is incredible. I am deeply humbled every time a customer purchases my work as I know it takes commitment to purchase a digital artwork and then carry through with the printing process and framing. Then when they post pictures and tag me it’s truly such an added gift.
The growth I’ve felt as a designer and artist has also been a great highlight. Having the opportunity to create continually and evolve my style while receiving encouragement and support along the way has really built up my confidence. My deepest gratitude goes out to all of my customers for helping me to grow this business that I am truly passionate about. A dream come true.
My biggest challenges are the business and social media side of things. Expressing myself in writing is something I would like to work on. I find communicating in any other way than visually a difficult task. I know that working on that aspect would help me to connect more with fellow artists, and art lovers online. Business planning often takes a back seat too. When I get in front of the computer with ‘business’ things to do, I usually find myself back in Illustrator designing instead… my happy place 🙂
Finding my designs being resold illegally is also frustrating to see.
You’ve been an incredibly successful seller on Etsy, what advice can you share with other creatives who hope to create their own digital products?
Customer service is key!
I want the process of buying my art to be as easy and enjoyable as possible for all of my customers, especially those who have entered new territory and have never purchased downloads or used printers before. I always like to respond as soon as I am available. I love solving any technical problems they may come across, providing custom sizing if they need it, and helping to search for suitable printers for them.
My advice is to fellow creatives is to expect a lot of questions and to be prepared and happy to help if you want your customers to enjoy your product.
On your days off, tell us what a perfect day or weekend for Roseanne would look like.
Day 1: A day at a surf beach followed by a barbecue with family.
Day 2: A studio day, drawing, painting, printmaking all day long.
What’s next and what do you envision for the future for your business?
I can’t wait to get back into painting and printmaking (when both kids are in school next year). I am very excited to see how my style might evolve with this change of medium. I would love to offer hand-printed and original artworks. Textile art has also caught my interest. I would like to design for woven throws. So many possibilities. As long as I am creating I am happy.
Mockup images part of the Frama Artwork Mockup Collection.