The Art of Motherhood: An Artist’s Story from Paintbrush to Publishing Print
Step into the dynamic universe of Katie M. Berggren, a devoted mother and full-time artist who has masterfully intertwined her dual passions into her artistry. This blog post presents an intimate look at Katie’s artistic journey – from doodling faces and critters as a six-year-old to triumphantly holding her self-published coloring book. As we trace her story, you’ll discover how Katie skillfully marries her roles as a mom and an artist, crafting pieces that profoundly connect with her audience. We also spotlight her partnership with PrintingCenterUSA, an indispensable ally in manifesting her creative dreams. In the interview that follows, Katie openly shares her experiences and pearls of wisdom, offering a wealth of inspiration for aspiring artists. Alongside Katie’s journey, we will also illustrate the exemplary services offered by PrintingCenterUSA that played a pivotal role in actualizing Katie’s coloring books and calendars.
In the Studio with Katie M. Berggren: Her Story & Path to Artistic Achievement
Hello! I’m Katie M. Berggren, a mother and an artist, continually balancing and intertwining both roles. This means I am ceaselessly immersed in both worlds, never completely disconnecting from either. Whether I’m preparing dinner while ideating a new painting or contemplating the unique personalities of my children while putting finishing touches on a piece of art, the overlap between my two favorite roles is profound. My love for one interweaves seamlessly with the other.
Since the tender age of six, I’ve been creatively inclined, filling up sketchbooks with sketches of faces and creatures. Throughout high school and college, I explored various art mediums such as colored pencils, paint, digital art, pen and ink, alcohol-based markers, and pencil. In high school, I started my first business, crafting pencil portraits for families, and have been illustrating ever since. My art often spotlighted birds, nests, eggs, children, butterflies, trees, and an array of whimsical critters before motherhood entered my life. My objective was to accentuate the delightful minutiae in our lives, infusing them with humor and intricate details.
As a child, I used to color in my brother’s pen-on-paper drawings, thus the concept of having my own coloring book thrilled me, although I was uncertain about how to bring it to fruition.
The theme I cherish most in my paintings is motherhood and the beauty of human connection. Since 2006, I’ve been marketing my mother and child paintings and frequently share my sketches, pen and ink drawings on social media, gifting many to my dedicated art collectors. One day, I received suggestions to create a Coloring Book. I was unsure about the publication process and after local price research, I found it beyond my budget, considering what my collectors could afford.
That’s when my husband found PrintingCenterUSA online. We were impressed with the reviews, the samples received, and I began designing my first book. The PrintingCenterUSA team was incredibly supportive, and once all my drawings were flawless, we uploaded the book, received a digital proof, and voila! It went to print.
The book’s interior cover is a rich black with a white reverse drawing. The quality of the solid black print was exceptional, a formidable task for any printer. The first time I held the completed book in my hand, I was nearly moved to tears. The quality was outstanding, exceeding my expectations. I now had my own coloring book to present to my collectors, and it was a resounding success, as per the wonderful reviews.
Driven by the initial success, I plan to create Volume 2 of the book. I’ve almost sold out the second batch of books between my Online Studio Shop (www.KmBerggren.com) and my Etsy shop (KmBerggren). A substantial segment of my collectors includes doulas and birth workers, who gift these books to their clients as a calming activity during labor.
The thought of countless mothers sitting next to their children, coloring soothing scenes of motherhood, brings me immense joy. I’ve received numerous photographs of children with their coloring pages, and even some that mothers have colored and shared with pride.
The coloring book is characterized by its thick pages that prevent bleed-through, even with markers. I made sure to have one piece of art per page to avoid loss if they choose to frame their artwork or their child’s. Once I was convinced of PrintingCenterUSA’s quality, I also began printing my yearly art calendars there. This year, I unveiled my fifth series of art calendars, and the feedback regarding their quality has been overwhelmingly positive. They all look fantastic, the calendar pages themselves are so well-crafted, they become frame-able prints!
Interview with Katie M. Berggren: From Sketches to Coloring Books and Calendars
Behind the Pages, Print Insider asks: How did you come up with the idea of creating a coloring book and calendar?
Katie replies: “I would often post my line drawings on social media, and usually participated in Inktober, creating one ink drawing per day. I’ve always been someone who loves to create line art with black markers, so I loved the challenge! My collectors loved that I often gave the drawings away with orders and many of them asked me if I would make a coloring book with them. The thought hadn’t occurred to me before then. My husband also loved the idea and decided to find me a company to print them for me. I was super happy with PrintingCenterUSA’s quality!”
Marketing and Success:
How did you market your coloring book and calendar?
Katie replies: “Once I was creating the artwork for the coloring book, I couldn’t stop sharing it with my social media followers and email subscribers. It was a big job, with lots of drawings and re-drawing with my lightbox. I shared the process with my community and the big reveal when I had the boxes of them in my studio. I ended up having to do a re-order and now have only about 20 books left from the second order. I plan to make Volume 2 at some point.
I’ve been creating calendars of my art each year since 2012. I worked with a different printing company for the first few years, and longed for the larger glossier, high-quality calendars that I truly didn’t think would be cost-possible for my small business. But PrintingCenterUSA made it possible. Once again, I was blown away by the quality. Just sharing photos of the calendar each year, and videos of me going through it so that people can see the large colorful images and the way the pages shine, is all the promotion I’ve needed. Many of my collectors eagerly await each year’s new design and I also ask them to help me choose the cover art when I am in the design phase.”
Advice for Artists:
What advice would you give to other artists who want to turn their art into a coloring book or a calendar?
Katie replies: “Be sure to have high-resolution files of your images for your calendar. Scan or photograph everything professionally and clean up the files in Photoshop, or a similar program. Think about how the color flows through your full calendar design, so that each page/month brings a beautiful new color scheme to your collector’s wall. I like to provide a ‘notes’ section on each month’s page, as well as add additional design elements that my collectors love. Because the calendar design (12×12) allows for a couple extra pages, I design ‘keepsake’ pages – artwork with lines and messages where people can write their memories and/or their plans for the year. This allows me to put even more artwork into my calendars! Over the last couple years, I’ve also included the message for each painting, and that has been a hit, since I have a little (and sometimes big) story behind each of my pieces.”
Establishing Relationships and Meeting Collector’s Needs:
You mentioned that some of your collectors are doulas and birth workers who give the coloring books to their clients. How did you establish relationships with these professionals and how did you convince them to recommend your products to their clients?
Katie replies: “I’m a gentle marketer, so all of the clinics, hospitals, doulas, childcare and birth professionals that hang my work have come to me through social media, my email list, or through purchasing something in my shop for themselves first. Many are also given gifts of my calendar or prints. Keeping in touch with my buyers through email is important to me, and including handwritten notes and gifts in every package is also part of my system. From collectors come larger accounts that hang my work in birth centers and maternity wards. I haven’t tried to convince them, sometimes just having their own copy of the calendar or coloring book makes them feel on their own that the artwork should be shared, or would create a loving and comfortable atmosphere in their offices.”
Artistic Evolution and Balance:
You’ve been creating art featuring motherhood and human connection for a long time. How have you seen the demand for this type of art change over the years, and how have you adapted your offerings to meet your collectors’ needs?
Katie replies: “I’ve been painting mother and child since I first became a mother, 19 years ago. As my children have grown, I feel myself revisiting some subjects that I worked on in early years, such as themes celebrating the human connection in general. I am also re-exploring paintings of emotion, solitude, self-connection, and even melancholy. I am currently working on pieces that honor the sea, contemplation, and time alone. My long-time collectors, who started collecting my artwork when their children were young like mine, are connecting with the new pieces. We are all in a new stage of life, together.”
Strategies for Balance and Future Plans:
How have you managed to balance your roles as a full-time mother and full-time artist? What are some strategies you use to stay focused and productive, while also being present for your family?
Katie replies: “Balance is a tricky thing, and I don’t know that I’ve found it. I usually feel like I work ‘too much’ and then there are times where I can’t seem to lock into my art. One strategy that helps me to stay more productive is to turn off the computer and lock into music or a podcast. On rougher more distracted days, standing at my easel and committing to 2-4 hours of work feels amazing and helps to realign me with my purpose, when I feel myself otherwise wandering around doing chores instead of making art.
Other times, I surrender to the fact that I can’t get any work done until I’ve spent a couple of hours cleaning, sorting, and organizing in my home. So, I do that. Each day is broken up into many sessions of work and painting, with breaks to talk with kids, make meals, help with homework, take walks, and do chores. My days are long and I’m on my feet a lot, and I do not know if I have or ever will find balance. I scatter my energies throughout the day, and that seems to work for me, even though it can be inefficient. As long as I can have a couple of longer sessions of painting per day, it seems to work. I pay close attention to how my family seems to be feeling in the moments – does it seem they need me? Is someone wanting homemade cookies or to take a walk? Then, that is where I go. Family comes first.”
Artistic Exploration and Future:
What are your plans for the future? Are there any new products or projects that you’re working on, or any new markets or audiences you’re trying to reach?
Katie replies: “Right now, I’m exploring where my art wants to take me. I’m learning about my craft, reading books about color and paint mixing, and taking courses on composition and the elements of art. I’ve always been a self-taught painter; I got going even before I considered that I could watch YouTube video lessons. I have always focused on building my OWN style and not wanting to contaminate it by studying any other artist’s style. Now that I have 20 years of painting experience in my bones, I am pushing my art to the next level by exploring the basic elements that make up a successful painting 😊”
Katie M. Berggren’s incredible journey as an artist and mother is a testament to her unwavering passion and dedication. From the inception of her coloring book and calendar ideas to the successful marketing of her creations, she has embraced the power of social media and personal connections to share her art with the world. Through the guidance and expertise of PrintingCenterUSA, her visions became beautifully printed realities that have brought joy to countless mothers, children, and birth professionals. Katie’s advice for fellow artists, her pursuit of balance, and her exciting future plans all contribute to her remarkable story of artistic growth and maternal love.
If you’re an artist like Katie, who’s looking to bring your creations to life, look no further than PrintingCenterUSA. Their team of experts will help you every step of the way to ensure your art is printed with the highest quality possible. Contact them today to embark on your own artistic journey.