Geodes: Art in Progress


My name is Katie McMahon, and I'm an artist and a teacher, and I'm looking to take my private art lessons online in order to be more accessible to students who live far away from me.

Mind Dump Time

Initially, I had been considering doing this class with both my art business and teaching business in mind, but as my art business is still in the rough stages of development, I decided to focus on the teaching business, which is more immediate at the moment.

Geodes: Art in Progress - image 1 - student project

My Visual Mood-Board for my Target Customer

This was pretty fun! I enjoyed searching for things I thought my ideal student would like. Since I teach primarily about comics, I think it would be fun to work with someone who already has an interest in comics and enjoys talking about their favorites.

Geodes: Art in Progress - image 2 - student project

Geodes: Art in Progress - image 3 - student project

The Brand Questionnaire:

1. What do you sell? I will be giving one-on-one art lessons online through Skype.

2. What is the price range of your services? I charge $40 per hour per student, with a $5 sibling discount.

3. What three words best describe you? Warm, empathetic, comfortable

4. What three words best describe your business? Creative, positive, discovery

5. What three words best describe your style? Differentiating, affirming, encouraging

6. What are your favorite brands and why?

Flight Coffee Co - fair trade, local business

Image comics - well-told, inventive stories

Toms shoes - fair trade and donates shoes to the needy

Hiveworks - great online community for webcomic artists, provides lots of support, both tech, story, art, and sales

7. What do you want your customers' emotional response to your brand to be? Happy, comfortable, empowered

8. Where do you currently sell your services, and where would you like to in the future? I used to teach in person at a local non-profit cafe, but I want to shift to online lessons to make them more accessible to students and to cut out my travel time - it took me an hour to drive to the cafe to teach, and it got to the point where I had so few students it wasn't worth it to drive there every day.

9. Where do you see your business in one year, five years, and ten years?

One year: I'd like to have at least five regular students.

Five years: By then I'd hope to have at least ten regular students, maybe even twenty. I'd like to be making enough that I could potentially cut down hours at my current job and focus more time on teaching and making comics. I'm hoping my webcomic will have launched at the two or three year mark, so at five years it should have a modest following. Enough to warrant a Patreon, at least.

Ten years: At this point, I'd like my teaching business to be half of my income with no less than twenty regular students. I would leave my current job and use the rest of my time to work on my webcomic, which should be fully established at this point and have a solid following that provides a decent chunk of income through Patreon and comic-related sales.

10. Who is your ideal client?

My ideal client is a student who is willing to learn from me, does the exercises that I ask them to do outside of our lessons, asks lots of questions, and doesn't confuse humility with self-deprecation. 

11. What is your brand name?

I think I want my brand name to be Geodes: Art in Progress.

My Brand Name

Initially, I had wanted to call my brand of online education "Silver Key Classroom" because I won a silver key award at the Scholastic Art Awards in high school. My concern is that my classes might become associated with the Scholastic awards, and I don't think Scholastic would like that very much.

Instead, I think I'll choose the name Geodes: Art in ProgressThis name is important to me because of a particular scene in one of my favorite movies, "Whisper of the Heart". Throughout the film, the main character challenges herself to write a novel in a short amount of time to prove to herself that she has the potential to be a writer. She presents the finished manuscript to an elderly friend of hers to read. When he tries to compliment her work, she protests and begins to cry, saying that her work isn't good enough. The gentleman presents her with a geode from his antique shop, telling her that she is like the geode - inside is a beautiful gem waiting to be found, but it will take patience, hard work, and polishing. She takes the geode and promises him she will continue work on her story.

I watch this movie whenever I'm feeling discouraged in my own work, and it never fails to lift my spirits. This is the sort of spirit I want to impart on my students. Everyone is a work-in-progress, and that's okay. No matter your skill level, there's always room for more polishing.

My Brand Mission Statement

Geodes: Art in Progress is for artists who want to dig deeply into their work, to continue polishing their craft, and gain a stronger understanding of self. The Geodes community is one built on respect, positivity, and the pursuit of growth. It is a safe space for artists to share their work, give helpful critiques, and ask lots of questions. We encourage risk-taking and experimenting with art in pursuit of finding one’s own artistic voice.

Twitter Pitch:

Geodes: Art in Progress is for artists of any age and stage who are looking to continue polishing their craft and to see how their potential shines.

Coat-of-Arms Motto (for funsies):

Geodes: Art in Progress - Diligence - Bravery - Growth

The Brief for My Logo Design and Visual Branding

1. My brand name: "Geodes: Art in Progress"

2. What do I do?

3. How do I position myself in the market in terms of pricing?

4. My target market: Middle to high school students interested in making comics

5. Three words that best describe my brand and products: Creativity, discovery, education

6. Existing logos I like and why: 

Starbucks - I like the mythological figure in the center with the name clearly printed around it. The color scheme and use of negative space are immediately recognizable, to the point that when Starbucks knock-offs appear in cartoons, TV shows, and movies, it's still immediately recognizable as Starbucks.

Firefox - I like how the speed of the browser is implied through this simple image - a fox, known to be a swift animal, going around the world so fast that its tail catches fire. It gets the message across very well in my mind. I also really like the contrasting colors.

Studio Ghibli - I love the use of the simple illustration of their most iconic character, with the company name in both Japanese and English right next to the illustration.

I think overall, I like the use of pictures to tell a story or to convey the purpose of something. That's no surprise to me, I've always been fascinated by iconography. It's likely that my logo will have something to do with an illustration of a geode or of a geologist examining or polishing a geode.

7. My competitors are: Admittedly, I'm not really sure; I don't know of any online art teachers offhand that aren't affiliated with something like Skillshare, and I certainly don't know of any online art teachers that give one-on-one lessons through Skype.

8. Color preferences: Earthy tones, blues, greens, browns, some copper, silver, and violet.

9. Budget in mind (for marketing and advertising): I'm not sure...I wasn't planning on spending any money, really, since I can produce any artwork or design work I need. Maybe $50 to $100 for printing business cards, hosting a website, and paying for online advertisements. 

Katie McMahon