On a study abroad trip to Spain, Sarah Baumann ’16 found her passion. During her free time, she would sit and draw the sights around her. Drawing was her form of journaling; it also helped her heal after the death of her father.
Fast-forward three years and Baumann’s illustrations are a hot commodity, sold through her Etsy shop. It seems the only one surprised by such success is Baumann herself.
“My junior year, I went abroad to Chile, where I continued to draw the local sights, and people there encouraged me to share my art with other people,” she says. “And I thought, ‘Well, I’m in college. What do I have to lose? It’s not like I have to quit my job!’ ” That’s when she created her shop and began taking custom orders at etsy.com/shop/SignetSealed.
Social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest have been a major component in promoting her work. For instance, Baumann, an urban studies major, is naturally attracted to cityscapes. She illustrated several quintessential San Antonio attractions and posted the drawings on Instagram. “When I checked my site, I thought my phone was broken or something because I had so many ‘Likes.’ ”
She then illustrated Memphis attractions and created 30 prints on heavy card stock. They sold out in one-and-a-half hours. Other cities have followed—as have the sales. She has expanded her product offering to mugs and does custom work such as wedding maps. She recently completed a huge custom project for Mars, Inc., the candy company. And she is illustrating a custom book, which has piqued her interest in illustrating children’s books in the future.
Baumann attends classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and devotes much of the remainder of her time to her thriving business. “I wondered whether, if it was my job and I had to get up and do it every morning, would I like it,” she says. But when she found herself working from 8 a.m. until midnight and having a blast, she knew she was on the right track.
— Lynn Conlee