Does anyone ever get bored with their own style?? I've been wanting to make a more whimsical/comical style bear for ages but I keep coming up with the same look. In fact, I want to totally reinvent my style. What do you all think about changing styles? Do you think this would be risky for a fairly new business - making my bears unrecognisable?
Hi Michelle,I would have to say...go for it! Have fun trying new designs from your existing patterns.Maybe try a larger style head with a smaller body, and tiny arms and legs or a long torso with shorter arms and legs,and so on.Once you find a new design you like,you could add it to your current line of bears to see how they do.To me,this is what keeps bearmaking fresh and fun.(I have made over 35 patterns so far and can't seem to stop myself )Happy bearmaking!....Sharie
Hi Michelle, I think it does no harm at all to play around. I am changing my patterns all the time, and am currently working on some "little" oldies. I think it really keeps the creative side of you going. I always tend to make vintage style bears, but I love playing around with their propotions all the time, and I am forever changing head darts etc. Only problem is I finish a bear I like with changes, and then I forget what I did!!! I tend to chop and change as I go. Naughty, as I forget to record things.
It's not "changing".... it's "evolving"... or that's how I look at it anyway!
My guess is that there might still be SOMETHING about the new look you come up with that still shouts "I'm a Whimzee bear"! Eye placement perhaps, nose shape, the ears. And if not, that's OK too!
I've been doing this for about 8 years and my style seems to do an about face ever couple of years. I get bored and ya know what.... it starts to show in my work. Or I think it does anyway. The artist inside is locked up and becomes miserable. You have to let her out once in a while, let her be free to work her magic or else you'll soon resent bear making altogether which would be absolutely AWFUL!
Collectors get bored of the same old thing too..... one can only have just so many bears by one artist if that artist never changes his/her look at all.
Go, have fun.... no restrictions... experiment.... even if you aren't sure what it is you want to do just allow yourself the time to play. I've done this on a small scale in the past but last month I needed to do it BIG TIME because I was just about ready to quit making bears entirely as I was so bored with my look. By the end of 3 weeks I'd had so much fun, created some real characters (which the world will never see!) and ended up with a couple of new designs....... this also made the old designs just as special and I don't mind making them now because I can throw in a new one here and there. :dance:
Go for it!!!
I spoke to Joan Greeno from the UK about this subject, she said that she would love to "experiment" yet her customers dictated the same style. She is now making a mini version of her bear.
I am always trying something new, mostly coming about by accident. I have found that my normal bear made very little impact on Ebay yet when I made a bear that had a complete different look sold. So these are now called my Uggs range of bears.
To me trying out new ways teaches you new skills and it is fun learning. Through TT I got involved with needle felting, did a course with Judi Paul via EZBear University and a whole new world was waiting for me.
Way to go, Lynette!! :dance:
As a show promoter I get to talk with lots of artists about business. I've talked with a few veteran artists in the last couple of years who say their sales are really slow... these are well known artist who used to do very well. Their bears, very endearing and definately the artist's distinct look, look the same now as they did 10 years ago.
At the same time other bear artist I've talked to who have been around just as long are very pleased with sales. Their style has evolved/changed over the years and they felt that made a difference.
The latter artist may not be selling to the same collectors she had 10 or 15 years ago.... perhaps they didn't like her new look.... but new collectors found her bears irresistable. And she's still enjoying bear making and having fun... and it shows in her work!!
I think that why you make bears and what your goals and priorities are, are determining factors in what direction you take with your bear making business/look/etc.
If you are in this to put food on the table, support yourself or family solely on bear income then I'd say that YES, you must be very careful about changing your look and loosing collectors entirely.
You may have a collector base you don't want to loose - another option may be to slowly change your look... start with one thing on your existing patterns.... smaller ears perhaps, or a pot belly, or bigger feet.... make some of those for a while then change another thing.... ease your collectors into your new style, keep them with you as you grow and change.
Just tossing out experiences, opinions and ideas here... doesn't mean any of them are right or wrong!
Go for it Michelle, try all kinds of bears. I make all sorts, which I have wondered many times is it the right thing to do. They sell though so I can't be going too wrong. On my table at the last show I did I had anime bears, gollies, traditional bears needlefelted bears and some crazy looking characters as well as the primates that I make. Quite a few people commented on how many different styles I offer and the comments were all positive.
Interesting question. This happenned to me a couple of years back. I hit on a miniature style, as usual by accident, that was quite popular. I went with it but kind of just let it run. It begins to show as you get tired. Looking back I can see the bears getting boring.
I'm at the same place as you now wanting to do different things. I've even got a little ebay experiment on now. (click ebay to see, under my avatar). I made two different type bears and I put them on at the same time to see what the reaction, watchers and sales would be like. At the moment it is'nt working! Ones got 25 watchers, but less hits, the other 23 but more hits. It does tell me whatever you do as long as you are happy with it, things will be fine. Try something similar, its very interesting. As I don't collect bears its sometimes hard to relate to what collectors want as I come from a 'like making things' background.
A great topic. Can't wait to see what you come up with.
Oh go for it Michelle....life is much shorter than you want, and is full of infinite possibilities.....
I can quite honestly say I have never been at the death bed of any bear artist and heard them say, "Good golly I wish I had changed my style and branched out a bit more....."
And if you are so new whose to say what your style really is
And if you are firmly entrenched.....well then everyone will say, "isn't she clever, now I simply must have this new style of hers."
no matter if they do not recognize your style right away
someone will come along and love whatever style you produce
and perhaps you haven't really found yourself....I think not if you are new....if you don't experiment you might miss out on something truly revolutionary.
case in point: there is a Talker here who was one of the very first to needlefelt structure into her bear faces. She has gone on to win countless awards, and even though many needlefelt now, and several have tried, no one can quite copy her, because she has her own style....and the awards to proove it.
:dance: So let the genie out of the bottle and let your wild imagination loose on the bear world.....you wont know if you don't try. :clap:
Go for it!!! Everyone needs to expand their techniques, ideas and skills in order to grow as an artist! And changing things up a bit is a great motivator as well! You may not stick with a new style but you will find new things that you would be able to incorporate into your current style.
I have vowed to challenge myself this year into new styles and techniques. I found that miniature bears were fun but very limiting and so have expanded into some larger bears and am completely thrilled with the results. I have changed my patterns several times and really enjoy the results. So I say Go For IT~