Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina Tew.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always been a creative person. I was very interested in drawing and the arts when I was younger. I submitted a few drawings into my school’s art club but I was never accepted. This and a few other bad memories turned me off from drawing or painting or even practicing. I became a lot more focused on writing. I was really involved in my school’s newspaper and this was how I was introduced to graphic design and publication design. I studied graphic design in school at Auburn University. I mainly focused on the typography and publication related classes. I took a few image and illustration classes that were required but I was still convinced illustration wasn’t my thing. Fast forward to graduation and a few years later and I was working as a marketing designer. I went to a design conference and took a workshop titled “The Magical World of Publishing”. It wasn’t completely what I had expected but I’m glad it wasn’t. The workshop was taught by two children’s book illustrators. The class was a quick lesson on improving your illustration skills and the best ways to get your drawings or book published. The entire conference was really targeted toward illustrators and brand designers more than anything. And after many speakers, it finally gave me the courage to focus on my illustrations again. Fast forward another year and I was still pretty quiet about work. But after long talks with good friends and family, I realized there was an audience for my work and it was time I just put it out there. I opened my Etsy store in November of 2018 and participated in my first show the following April in 2019.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would have to say no. It hasn’t been terrible, but definitely not smooth or quick. My biggest struggle, however, was myself. I held on to a few bad memories and criticism that kept me from sharing my work with people. I had people complimenting me at the same time, but I focused more on the negative than the positive. I think a lot of artist and entrepreneurs do that. We multiply the criticisms in our head and use that as an excuse to not go for it. I’ve really had to work at ignoring that part of my brain.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Gina Tew Design – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My main focus right now is my illustrations and prints. Most of my works begin with a sketch and I draw them digitally with my computer using photoshop or illustrator. A lot of my illustrations are focused on self-growth. Sometimes it can be a thought from my own head or include a popular quote or lyric. My self-growth is a big, big part of my life. And I think we are finally living in a time where people are 100% open to talking and sharing their personal stories that may be centered around struggles and hardships. That’s probably my favorite part of selling at craft fairs. Several people share with me their stories and why a piece resonates with them, that it reminds them to keep growing. I feel so honored to hear those stories and to know that something I’ve created may help in that process.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Honestly, I’m just seeing where all this takes me. My main way of selling right now is through Etsy, but I also attend festivals and craft fairs when I can. I know I would like to grow my following online and that’s been my focus for the past few months. I also want to learn more about getting my work in local stores or even stores in other markets. My mind also wonders over back to publishing and what it would be like to be involved in the children’s illustration world. I think it would be a good way to go full circle with my love for publication and illustration. But, I’m just letting this journey form it’s own path right now. I work full-time, have a daughter and husband so it’s important to me that this small business still serves me in a joyful and therapeutic way. I think if I ever lost that, my work would lose that sense too.
- Website: GinaTew.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GinaTewDesign
- Other: https://society6.com/ginatewdesign
Amanda Rae, Carrie Beth Wallace, The Columbusite