The HCWT Blog Store is Now Fully Operational and Open for Business!

by Michelle M. Johnson


Before I begin, I need to address my fellow nerds: yes, the title of this blog post is a Star Wars reference. If you know which character (or characters!) uttered that phrase, please leave your answer in the comments below (and if you call yourself a Star Wars fan and don't know what I'm talking about...for shame!). 

To everyone else: thank you for bearing with me! When I am as nervous as I am right now (the hard opening of my Blog Store is pushing all of my buttons!), I mos def dive deep into my nerd core for the emotional protection to see my way through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Okay, moving on!

Over the course of the past few months, I have slowly been pulling together the necessary together to launch my own store front here on Have Color Will Travel. 

Yep, you read that right, I am launching my own Blog Store

The reasons behind my taking this creative leap with my art are multilayered and multifaceted (and yes, it feels like a leap to me, and a gargantuan one at that - it is one thing to create art, but it is quite another to sell your own art yourself...). But, my thinking is that my hemming, hawing and gnashing of teeth about this new professional development of mine can't be all that interesting to read about, so I am going to share only the few things about my Have Color Will Travel Blog Store that I think will excite and pertain to y'all. 

First of all where is it written that the only place coloring can happen is in a book?! Since publishing my coloring book, Doodled Blooms, I have talked to hundreds of people, near and far, about coloring, and while many share with me how relaxing and enjoyable the hobby of coloring is for them, just as many of them also share with me how much anxiety they experience having coloring books that they "may never finish" or that have a few pages that they absolutely love but on the whole the book is "just too long and overwhelming." Stories such as these lead me to see the value of creating a shorter book, one that feels "finishable" (which is why Doodled Blooms is the "manageable" length that it is), but it has also led me to see the importance of creating brief colorable moments as opposed to full length books. So, here on my Have Color Will Travel Blog Store you will find what I am calling "bite-sized" coloring experiences - notecards, thank-yous, and bookmarks designed to be colored either by yourself or the person to whom you give the gift of coloring. Coloring should be relaxing, enjoyable, and my "bite-sized" coloring experiences have been designed with that specific intention; I am really excited about being able to offer folks these little bits of creativity I've designed.


Currently, I have 5 different card designs available for purchase,
individually or in thematic gift-packs, exclusively at my
 Have Color Will Travel Blog Store.

The 4 National Coloring Book Day 2018 bookmark designs are now
available for purchase. You can bring them home as a set or
individually, and they each come in a protective cellophane bag you
can seal once you've added your creativity to mine!

Creating these drawings is just as much fun as coloring them (if you are wondering if it is easier for me to produce, publish and sell a collection of bookmarks or cards than it is to publish a full-length coloring book, the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'), so I plan to release new designs as they come to me and maybe even have some seasonal and/or thematic designs should I be so inspired. 

What you color on is just as important as what you color with, which leads me to the next thing about my Have Color Will Travel Blog Store that I'm super pumped about: YOU get to choose the type of paper that I print my drawings on! Coloring books are typically printed up on paper stock that is only a few steps up in quality from copy paper. That is the industry standard, and as an artist, I have absolutely zero say in what type of paper is used in the production of my coloring books (and this is true whether or not you publish on demand or have a major publishing house behind your book, unfortunately). But, with my "bite-sized" coloring experiences available from my blog store, I am calling the shots on paper quality, and I am stoked to be able to offer folks the option of choosing between these 4 different types of paper currently:


White Cardstock, 110lb
"Art-Deco Steampunk" work-in-progress. The
white of this cardstock is the very definition of stark!
Colors definitely pop on this cardstock.


Off-white Cardstock, 110lb
"Absorption" work-in-process. This cardstock could also be called
cream-colored or ivory. I have found that the words to describe the color
that isn't stark white are varying and slightly irregular. To me, the color
of this paper is "manila," a shade of white I find very soothing to look at.

Kraft-style Cardstock, 65lb
"It's All Connected" colored with just about every type of coloring tool
I have! This cardstock is the color of old-school grocery bags, but its
texture is much more smooth. It isn't AS smooth as standard cardstock,
however, so it is a slightly more adventurous and,
IMHO, enjoyable coloring experience.

Hot Press Watercolor Paper, 90lb
"My Columbine" colored exclusively with wet, juicy
markers, water soluble colored pencils and a water brush.
Watercolor paper is designed to accept moisture in a way
that other paper styles aren't. I chose a student-grade 90lb watercolor
paper for my "bite-sized" coloring experiences to keep them affordable;

 artist-grade watercolor paper is very expensive.
Both my cards and my bookmarks can be printed up on your choice of the 4 different types of paper. What paper you choose is entirely up to you, but let me present you with some ideas to think about as you are ordering: 

1. If you color exclusively with colored pencils, the White and Off-White cardstock is probably your best choice, unless you also enjoy using pale colors, in which case the Kraft-Colored cardstock is fun also (lighter colors really popped when I colored on the Kraft-Colored cardstock, especially white and light shades of blue, green, pink, orange and grey). 
2. If you love using felt tip or brush tip markers, the Hot Press Watercolor paper is awesome and so much fun than regular paper! Also, if you enjoy using watercolor or water-soluble colored pencils and then adding water to your work, the Hot Press Watercolor paper is the your best choice (but, really, if you have experience using water based coloring tools then you know any of the four papers works just fine - you only have to be careful not to over saturate your paper:). 
3. Of the four styles of paper, the Kraft-Colored cardstock has a more "textured tooth" to it. What that means is if you enjoy using sharp roller-ball pens and gel-pens, or if you prefer coloring hard with finely sharpened colored pencils you may find yourself flaking off the ink of my line drawing as the tip of your coloring tool digs into the tooth of the paper. That being said, I used every coloring tool imaginable on my "It's All Connected" coloring bookmark printed on Kraft-Colored cardstock, including roller-ball gel pens, tough colored pencils and sharp markers, and I had no problem. I do, however, have a "light touch" when coloring that I picked up from years of drawing with fragile, prone-to-lead-breakage colored pencils, so please bear that in mind when ordering.
4. If you are ordering brief colorable moments for children who love to color with crayons and inexpensive markers, the White and Off-White cardstock will provide them with a positive coloring experience.
5. There is an up-charge when ordering cards or bookmarks on Kraft-style cardstock or Hot Press Watercolor paper. These papers cost more, come with "natural flaws" on occasion (which means I can only use about every 5th sheet for printing unblemished coloring images), and need to be sized down for printing (watercolor paper's "standard size" is 9 x 12, so there is "waste" when printing with it...I am looking into ways for this excess paper to be of use as I simply cannot just recycle it - it's watercolor paper, for heaven's sake, albeit very long and narrow strips of watercolor paper...*sigh*). I like knowing why certain things cost a bit more, so I thought I would pass that information along to y'all so that you, too, understand the prices you are interacting with:)

And lastly, I am also quite pleased to now have autographed copies of my coloring book, Doodled Blooms, available for purchase at the Have Color Will Travel Blog Store.

I have already had an order for an autographed copy
of Doodled Blooms on my Blog Store, even before
announcing the store as open (the store's page has been live
for over a month, though)! It was really fun preparing
 to ship this copy off as it was a birthday gift from
one sister to another:)
I have had a number of folks outside of Texas who've wished for an signed/inscribed copy of Doodled Blooms over the years since its publication, but I just couldn't figure out how to make that possible. I've hated having to simply direct these lovely people to Amazon with my apologies, so opening my Blog Store has provided me a solution to that dilemma, and I couldn't be happier about it. I am going to make signed/inscribed copies of my upcoming books available this way as well (Notice how I keep talking about "upcoming books?" Throwing in references to my work-in-progress projects here and there is my way of keeping myself accountable - I've said these books are coming, so I gotta make good on that promise!) 

Setting up my Have Color Will Travel Blog Store has been a helluva ride (I had to learn four different kinds of software to build the store, I had to shape and take more promo product pictures than you can shake a stick at, I had to take a deep dive into shipping/handling products and costs, and I had to source my paper, ink, and display bags - all of which are decidedly less fun activities than actually drawing...), but in doing so I am able to sell my art my way: every order will be packaged with care in a waterproof Duck mailer, reinforced so that regardless of how eventful the package's journey is the gift of coloring will not be bent or torn, and I can personalize the experience for the receiver (be sure to click that option in the menu should your order be a gift - my goal is to make your present a super special experience for the receiver!) in hopes that when they pick up their mail and see a package from Have Color Will Travel in their mailbox, a smile will come to their face.
I've chosen mailers for protection (water and tear proof)
and decoration - I fully intend to sit down and doodle up
every Have Color Will Travel package so that getting
one of these lovelies in the mail is an experience the
receiver will remember fondly. It will also be obvious 

right away that this is NOT a bill or junk mail:)
 (packaged & doodled up Doodled Blooms pictured)

And, before I sign off here to get back to the business of creating, IF YOU ARE LOCAL TO MY AREA (Seguin, Texas) please notice the option of In-Store Pickup as you are checking out/paying at the Blog Store!! If you are willing to meet me somewhere in Seguin (say at Texas Lutheran University, Court Street Coffee Shop or the Seguin Public Library - we can decide on a mutually convenient location for our schedules), I am more than happy to hand deliver your order! Shipping is a necessary cost ONLY if you cannot arrange to pick up your order here in Seguin, so be sure to mark the appropriate box for local delivery when checking out if local pickup is possible for you.


It is so weird (and sorta creepy-cool) to be able to officially say 'yes, you can find my coloring books, bookmarks, cards, etc online!' 

The "etc" is for future fun-things-to-color that I am still sourcing materials on: postcards of a variety of sizes AND colorable hugs:)

What? You've never heard of a colorable hug? Well, it's a thing, and it will be found only right here on the Have Color Will Travel Blog Store:) 


Comments

  1. Michelle -
    This makes me so excited! I know what I want to buy, but now I have to decide what type of paper I want. Also - would you be open to creating postcards of your flower designs?

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  2. :) Your enthusiasm make me so happy! And, you are spot on with where I am pointing my bite-sized coloring experiences - I'm already planning postcard designs! I am still in the process of finding the right paper (cover stock is much more challenging to weed through for quality, it seems), but once I have found some good, reliable options, postcards will be added to the shop! Let me know if you have any paper questions! I'm so excited YOU'RE excited:)

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