We are so excited about our recent collaboration with Bryan Schiavone (aka @bryanthegirl) who created these workbooks on crosshatching. The response was so positive that she sold through the initial run in about a day, and is currently running preorders for the next batch! We love seeing creators launching successful products with Scout Books! We sat down with Bryan to talk about putting these books together.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your background and what has the journey been like with your artwork?
I’m a pen and ink artist and I do a bunch of different things within that to earn a living. I write, teach online and in person, design tattoos, draw portraits, and illustrate for brands and publications. This is all pretty new for me-I only decided to go into art after college so I had a lot of catching up to do. It took two years just to build a small following, and another year to start making real money. It’s all come together quite recently, between the workbook and some big commissions plus an upcoming solo show (my first!). I’m hoping that there will be more opportunities like this and that I haven’t just gotten lucky so far…
How did the idea to make a crosshatching workbook come about?
Crosshatching is largely a forgotten technique. It’s not taught in standard art classes and even if you do decide to learn it on your own, it’s difficult to find any resources. When I started out, I was frustrated by how difficult it was to find clear explanations despite the fact that you can find examples of crosshatching in museum collections around the world. Now that I’ve grown comfortable with the technique, I get lots of questions about how to start out. It’s not very helpful to tell beginners that they’ll have to figure it out through trial and error. So now I can just point to the workbook-this is the tool I wish I’d had back then. It would have saved me so much stress!
What was your process for creating the Scout Book?
I wrote out the text for the book long before I added the illustrations. Crosshatching is as much an intellectual exercise as a creative one. You’ll need to understand the rules of shape and shadow before putting pen to paper. So I knew my book would emphasize cultivating a mindset and a way of seeing. Only once I was satisfied with the text did I allow myself to do the fun part: drawing the exercises and the cover illustrations then putting it all together.
You sold out of the first run of books within about a day! Were you expecting this great of a reception from your audience?
I had absolutely no idea that there was this much interest in ink drawing! I had honestly resigned myself to the idea that I’d done a month of unpaid writing and editing. When you work in social media, you’re used to seeing comments from people who would “definitely” buy what you’re selling. And then you get no orders. So my expectations were pretty low. Incredibly, I sold out of the first round in just a few hours. At this point, I’ve sold almost 1,000 copies which blows my mind!
Do you have any advice for someone creating their own Scout Book project?
I recommend taking photos of a blank Scout Book and editing your art and text onto it before sending it to the printer. That’s what helped me understand how it would really look in my hands. I got a sense of scale and composition, neither of which came through on my computer screen. When I got my books in the mail, they looked exactly as I’d expected. Oh and another thing to note is that the Scout Books team is super helpful, so don’t freak out if you get confused or overwhelmed by the design process. They guided me through the whole thing. I might not have finished it if they hadn’t been there to ease my fears and answer my every question. Thank you all so much for transforming my idea into a real physical object!