New Changes That Feel Old: “Lines & Verses” Now Up

Writings for various items are now all collected in one place! “Lines & Verses” is a new menu bar item alongside “My Portfolio” and such, and just as “My Portfolio” presents my artwork, “Lines & Verses” presents, well, the little writings I have created for various items over time.

It is a recent change, yet one that feels quite old. Almost as though it is not new at all. Indeed, the various lines and verses I have created have been around all this time. Only they could only ever be seen on products, as they were never gathered and so presented together anywhere.

This is something I have long sought to change. Greeting card verses in particular always seemed to warrant clearer exposure, generally being more substantive and poetic than other stuff.

Lots of Flowers Pink and Green Mother's Day Card, product at The Draw on Zazzle

Lots of Flowers Pink and Green Mother’s Day Card
© 2015 Darren Olsen

Lots of Flowers Pink and Green Mother's Day Card, inside, product at The Draw on Zazzle

Lots of Flowers Pink and Green Mother’s Day Card, inside
© 2015 Darren Olsen

Yet I never knew quite what to do with it all. Collect everything on a page? In a post? Several posts? And how to handle the existing stuff versus the current?

The Way & Why

It finally occurred to me that the lines and verses I have done are not merely throwaway additions to my artwork, but important “ingredients” in their own right. Some items wholly depend on them for their substance and presentation, while in a few rare cases, even the artwork is lacking without them.

In other words, sometimes, it is the art plus the lines that make the complete item, and not just the art alone.

The solution then, it seemed, was to gather everything on pages just as the artwork is. Not one or several blog posts; not one single sidelined page; and separate from the portfolio. Though whereas I had always kept product images out of the portfolio, for the lines and verses–given the writings are mostly out-of-context without being seen on their respective items–I opted to include summary images of items before listing the writings that appear on them. (And for artwork that was so thoroughly conceived to go along with writing that the art alone is actually incomplete, I even opted to add very select product images to the portfolio as well.)

Two Cards in Love Romantic Tile, product at The Draw on Zazzle

Two Cards in Love Romantic Tile
© 2017 Darren Olsen

Other than the time it took in set everything up, it all went fairly smoothly. The hardest part was figuring out how to structure and present it all. Like giving the writings their own section on equal footing with the art; but including product images before each writing (and selecting good example items for summary); and keeping them in order of their associated images.

(That is, I mostly keep the portfolio in order of when I completed the artwork. Writings, in practice, have sometimes been added long after a drawing was done. Aside from the effort it would have taken to ascertain precisely when a writing was added, it seemed more clear to correlate the presentation of the writings with presentation of the images in the portfolio. Though this does mean that should I now retroactively add writing to an old image, its appearance in “Lines & Verses” will not be tacked onto the end as artwork in the portfolio generally is, but rather added somewhere to the middle ….)

Deeper Questions

Lastly, this all brought up even more profound questions of how I structure content on this site. Namely, I have pages that can be featured in the menu bar (or elsewhere, should I add such a place), each in hierarchy with the rest, and posts that keep piling up in time, all sorted into categories and with tags.

Why put some things in posts but others on pages? Why not post new artwork or writings (rather than just add them to “My Portfolio” or “Lines & Verses“), and why not put so-called “supplementals” like the backstory “Remembering Ms. Deal” and the poem “Unicorns” on pages (other than just posting them)?

Ms. Deal Soda Branded Clock, product at The Draw on Zazzle

Ms. Deal Soda Branded Clock
© 2016 Darren Olsen

Self-Made Unicorn Inspirational Poster, product at The Draw on Zazzle

Self-Made Unicorn Inspirational Poster
© 2018 Darren Olsen

Frankly, in terms of audience engagement, posting new artwork or writings would be a wise idea. (Though these days, I create new work so very infrequently that posting it would be far too irregular to mean much in terms of engagement.) And, thanks to categories and the ability to filter posts by category, in posts, my portfolio could be instantaneously summoned with the click of a link.

So … why not? Well, I suppose because certain things–like my artwork and now writings–seem to be just so fundamental to why this site even exists, that they merit being highlighted and set aside on pages. Whereas other stuff–even longer writings that I categorize as “Supplementals“–are free to go into the hodgepodge of posts that I put out.

In Future … or Past

Might the art and writings though work as both? On pages, but also in posts? Maybe. Possibly. Going forward, I could post new artwork and writings. And if I really wanted to include it all and post the entirety of my portfolio and writings (which would be fitting), rather than do so in real time, I could “backpost” everything (post them on long-past dates that match when I originally completed them).

Whether I will do so or not though remains to be seen. Currently, I have no plans for it. Everything is now working alright as it presently is.

Miracle of Hanukkah, colored pencil drawing by Darren Olsen at The Draw

“Miracle of Hanukkah”
© 2016 Darren Olsen

But, this new change of including writings alongside the portfolio? It feels like quite an old change, because it put things the way they ought to have been all along. As opposed to presently altering something, it simply made easy and clear that which should have been so featured from the beginning.

Not all changes are truly new then. Sometimes, they are old even when they are new. Less about a change, and more about what always truly was.

Any thoughts you wish to share? Please do!

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