Meet our latest featured designer, the very talented Debbie Beukema from DBArtworks.
Tell us about yourself! Where is your hometown? Where do you live now? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of design? Any fun facts about yourself?
Hi! My name is Debbie and I grew up a child of the 70’s in Los Angeles, California. From where I lived, I could see the famous Hollywood sign as I walked to elementary school and later went to high school right next to Griffith Park and the Sunset Strip. Art: drawing and painting, were always my siren call. In my teens, I spent nearly every weekend in painting classes at Pasadena Art Center College of Design and won a full four year scholarship to study art at UC California at Santa Barbara. But it wasn’t a straight line from college graduation to where I am now. In fact, it’s a curvy line, meandering with lots of starts and stops. After some very painful self-doubt, I turned 180 degrees… into sales, becoming The Director of Training and Marketing at Transamerica in San Francisco. The story continues: I met a beautiful Dutch computer genius, we married, moved around and ended up in Zwolle, the Netherlands with our daughter Alice. During this time, I had not picked up a pencil or brush in years. But in Holland, something shifted in my heart and while I learned Dutch, I relearned my art. A few years back, we returned to the states and settled in Park City, Utah (home of the Sundance Film Festival) and home to my parents. I registered my business with the state of Utah and create my paintings and drawings in my basement studio. A couple of fun facts about myself: I am near fluent in Dutch. My Grand Uncle was the projectionist for the Academy Awards from the 30’s through the 60’s. I am the youngest of six children. And I am a crazy cat lover. They ARE allowed in the studio. : )
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio or have your carved out a nook in your home?
Currently, I work in an amazing home studio space. We were lucky enough to find a house with a completely unfinished section of basement. And because of this, I could rebuild it exactly as I pleased. The first thing we did is pour a beautiful layer of concrete, which we then dyed a light tan. It is super easy to move my easels and clean up. Next we built in a sink and sink storage. On the opposite side of the room, I made a storage closet. There, I keep all my knick-knacks, extra brushes and paint, unused and used canvases, packing material, paper, rulers, tape, fixatives, etc. For lighting, we installed a range of daylight bulbs, which helps me keep an even light all day and into the evening. Last but not least, I have my reading/sleeping/cat nook. In the media section of my Zazzle store, you can see a picture I took from this area, over my outstretched feet, looking towards a painting on my easel. Sometimes I just sit back and look, to see if I can see more. Other times I fall asleep with my furry minions.
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
My schooling in art includes Pasadena Art Center College of Design and UCSB. Currently, I have been studying with an online teacher, that I found browsing the Internet back in Holland. His site is called Drawing Tutorials Online, and I’ve been a loyal fan and student for over 5 years. I started creating on Zazzle in 2012 but only really designed in bits and spurts through 2014. I actually started doing more in person shows and consignment selling, and realized the hassle was not worth the effort/profit. It is soooo much more fun, effortless, and profitable to design on Zazzle and send my customers to the site. Zazzle’s range of products, the prices, the amazing printing quality and customer service, take a load off my shoulders. My clients get just what they want and my life is hassle free.
When do you feel your most creative? Your least?
Currently, I am most creative when I do “request” threads on social media. And I have had some awesome requests, ranging from a gorilla in a cave to zombie unicorns. I am least creative when I am under pressure.
What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?
Without hyperbole, I have loved creating on all the products that I have tried. I think I especially love the trays. It’s like putting my art into frames. I am really looking forward to trying out items that I haven’t designed on yet.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
My request, if I could have one, would not be a new item but a revision to a current one. I would love to have all over printing on shirts and similar clothing.
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
I believe it was a mug, from my first store DebbieBeukemaArtworks.
What are your favorite product types to design on Zazzle?
It would range from mugs (which I do in a wraparound style), luggage tags and trays.
What Are Your 5 Favorite Products in Your Store?
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
READ THE HANDBOOK! I confess, once I started getting back into designing, I just went full steam ahead. Now I have to backtrack a little and rethink my tags and titles. My brain does turn to mush on some of the technical elements, but I am getting a friend to help me with that. I want to make full use of the referral opportunities and start on templates.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
Mostly that it is never too late to come back to your dreams. I had always dreamed of being an artist and lost faith in myself. For twelve years I ignored the nagging feeling in my heart. Then, once I returned, I didn’t know where to start. Step by step, sometimes inch by inch, I found my courage and self-confidence. Now I would call myself successful and fulfilled. Onwards and upwards!