Artist: Paula Tabor; Plantersville, Texas, USA
QUESTION: What were your biggest challenges?
Paula Tabor: Lack of focus and not knowing where to start.
QUESTION: What did you do about it?
Paula Tabor: I had been doing research on breaking into illustration. I’m not even a fine artist, I’m just an illustrator. Even with a slightly more practical career, even then, I still couldn’t quite seem to get anywhere. It was really frustrating.
QUESTION: What else did you do?
Paula Tabor: I have always felt my art was very marketable. I just didn’t know how on earth to go about marketing it. I mean, having a website and putting things up on print sites, like cafe press, even though I’d done tons of research on keywords and SEO and this and that, it seems like nobody ever finds my stuff.
QUESTION: What came of your research?
Paula Tabor: There was so much information out there that it was overwhelming
QUESTION: What did you learn?
Paula Tabor: Early on I made the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. I mean, it’s one thing to be versatile, but you know, publishers really like when they can pigeon hole your style, and I hadn’t even found my style yet. Then I realized I’d always had it but, I was trying to be all things to all people.
QUESTION: Why did you change your approach?
Paula Tabor: I Had kind of made art into this impossible dream. Just because I had been failing for so long, it felt like it was impossible. So I kind of had a mid-life crisis and I’m like, this is kind of a ‘now or never’ thing.
QUESTION: What was not working?
Paula Tabor: “What have you wanted to do that you’ve always wanted to do and haven’t done?” And It was so not for lack of trying and you know, everybody has regrets. I think I was being a bit of a work addict and probably even more isolated than most artists are. I remember on your videos you talked about isolation being a common problem of artists. So I was probably, between being a workaholic and living way out in the country (which I love) and it’s not a barrier, but I think I was a little bit more isolated than most artists.
QUESTION: What has changed?
Paula Tabor: When I finally gave myself the permission to just do the kind of art that I like to do, which is sort of a modern digital graphic / pre-raphaelite / art nouveau / eighties mix up, which I just love. I realized that it was more like the things that an illustrator or art director would be wanting to find.
QUESTION: What else has changed?
Paula Tabor: I have as we speak, my fourth children’s book, that I’ve illustrated from an independent author now on Amazon.
QUESTION: Who have you met in this program?
Paula Tabor: I just found a new study partner who is getting a book published. And even though I don’t think we do similar types of art, I liked her attitude of how she works with words, like I do with my art. She got a book accepted by a publisher, which I know is not necessary, but to do it on the second try is amazing.
QUESTION: What have you realized?
Paula Tabor: It was the most huge thing about discovering this course was that I am not an inherently bad business person because I’m an artist. I had been carrying that albatross around forever because I have a performance background. I’m good at talking people, I have been a secretary, so I have all these business skills and the fact that I couldn’t make this work was so incredibly frustrating. Then when I found the course online and I realized what you said about art; you can’t market it like goods and services. It’s like apples and not just oranges… It’s like apples and dragon fruit. You know? It’s just such a different thing. I felt I could be proud of myself as a businessperson again.
QUESTION: Why must you have clear boundaries?
Paula Tabor: Many artists have been very worried about being exploited in some ways. People having that attitude it’s like: well, they’re just going to starve anyway, so I don’t have to have a conscience about treating them like a professional human being.
QUESTION: What are you learning?
Paula Tabor: I’m getting a feeling for my time versus cost ratio and that has been huge, and sometimes there’s no other way to go about it than to just practice.
QUESTION: What’s different now?
Paula Tabor: I did it my way first and I got nowhere. But by making that mistake and then going back to the drawing board, doing it exactly by following your instructions exactly. Now when I’m doing the course and I come across things like, “The Tibetan Death Meditation”, and think that must be a laugh a minute, I know that it’s worthwhile to just trust the process.
QUESTION: How did you feel when you found this program?
Paula Tabor: The student is so ready! The teacher has arrived. It was like ‘God rays’ coming down, you know, cue the heavenly chorus (laughs).
QUESTION: What else have you learned?
Paula Tabor: That’s one of the things that is so nice about this program because, not only as a small business person, but you don’t know what you don’t know. Have you heard that expression?
Ann Rea: Yes, I say that all the time!
Paula Tabor: Those things don’t even occur to me, you know? That’s why working in isolation and trying to reinvent the wheel every day, I don’t know what I was thinking doing that. I guess I felt like if I’m running my own business, I have to know everything and I’m so glad I’m not thinking like that anymore.
QUESTION: What’s surprised you?
Paula Tabor: Some of my ‘Why’ and my ‘What’, I did not see that coming. Working on ‘Code to Joy’; that book is worth the entire tuition right there. I mean, it was like a ‘get out of your mental jail free’ card without having to do hard labor. Even my most self limiting belief, I didn’t see that coming.
QUESTION: Do you feel different?
Paula Tabor: It’s been hugely helpful. Just knowing that there’s something there that works, I can’t even tell you how much hope that’s given me.
QUESTION: How would you describe this program?
Paula Tabor: It is kind of like getting out of jail free, or at least knowing that maybe the key is there. Even if you’re just on parole for awhile, you’re going to get out eventually and that’s huge!
MAKING Art Making MONEY
Someday is Today