Starting From Scratch to Going Viral and Growing to 20k Followers with Diana Garrison

[00:00:00] Made Remarkable Intro: Welcome back. And thanks for tuning into the made remarkable podcast, hosted by Kelly Winn. In today's episode, Kelly is talking with Diana Garrison. To discuss her journey in the colorful world of art. Diana shares her techniques from mindful color selection to the impact that engaging Instagram videos has had on her art journey. Diana shares how Kelly's build it. Remarkable program. Has helped transition her from a full-time teacher into a flourishing art career and her new found passion for gel printing. Check out the show notes and transcripts for more information about Diana. Exclusive promotional offers and any special links mentioned during the episode. Kelly loves connecting with listeners. So don't be shy. Reach out on social media and together let's build a community that celebrates the remarkable. If you want to be notified every time a new episode hits the airwaves, just hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform. If you're interested in learning more about the build it remarkable program, you can join the wait list to be notified the next time doors open by going to made Forward slash wait. Or connect with Kelly directly. Thank you for joining us today. 

And always remember you are made remarkable. Destined to achieve the unimaginable. Now let's get to the good part. Introducing Kelly Winn and Diana Garrison.

[00:01:20] Kellee Wynne: Well, hello. Hello. I'm Kellee Wynn, artist, author, mentor, fiercely independent mother and wife, and the founder of a multiple six figure creative business. And I love my life, but I've been where you're at. I was slogging away at this art business thing for more than a decade. Once I finally connected with my true calling, unlock the magic of marketing and built a system that could scale, while I realize I can make an impact and make a substantial income, I'm finally running a business that I love and it makes all the.

Difference in the world. My biggest dream is to help you do the same. Let this podcast be the catalyst to your biggest success. You already have it in you because you are made remarkable.

Hello, Diana. How are you doing? 

[00:02:12] Diana Garrison: I'm doing well, Kellee. It's good to see you again. It's been a while. 

[00:02:16] Kellee Wynne: Oh, it was the fall when we were together for Build It Remarkable's first run, and since then, boy, have you been hitting the road and running. 

[00:02:27] Diana Garrison: I'm, I'm doing my best 

[00:02:29] Kellee Wynne: doing amazingly. Well, you came to me with like, these sparks of ideas.

The next thing I know is just taking off on Instagram and I love that. 

[00:02:38] Diana Garrison: I'm loving it too. It's, it's been great. My followers are growing and, I'm so glad I signed up for your program because it's, it's really helped. I'm not all the way through it. I don't have everything figured out yet, but it's there and available for me.

And I love that. 

[00:02:53] Kellee Wynne: Thank you. And that's what we were talking about before I hit record is it's a work in progress. The program is the foundation, but it just takes some time to get things all in place and get and get it off the ground and, and, making the kind of income you want, but you're also full time. Teacher, 

[00:03:10] Diana Garrison: was, I just retired

[00:03:15] Kellee Wynne: celebration. It has been a celebration. 

[00:03:19] Diana Garrison: Yeah, I was thinking that I might when I started the program and by the time I got to the end of it, I decided to go ahead. It was just, I mean, I'm not in a situation where I don't have to work if I don't want to, I still have to work. But now I'm my own boss. I can do what I love to do.

 I'm really, really excited about that. 

[00:03:40] Kellee Wynne: I love that. I love that you have the confidence to take the retirement and go all in on the thing that you love. And going all in, you have. We'll get into the details of how you've had multiple viral videos, but first, let's go back a little bit in time.

And I just want to know more about who you are. How did you end up as an artist and develop your very cool, fun ideas, playful ideas and jelly plate printing and all the gorgeous work that's for, you know, I mean, listeners can't see it, but if you're on YouTube, you'll see all the works right behind her.

[00:04:20] Diana Garrison: Yeah, it's back there. Well, my, my degree is in graphic design. So I was a graphic artist for a number of years, ended up getting my alternative certification to teach. So I was an art teacher for the past 21 years. 


And for a while I was working with, watercolor pencils and ink doing illustrations and different things like that kind of whimsical types of things and, started getting into printmaking, doing some relief printing and in 2020, I took an art teacher's professional development course in the summer. It's probably probably to the day 4 years ago.

Yeah, it would have been the first week of June and, I. Fell in love with gel printing. It was so immediate. With my other work, the watercolor was really slow. I wasn't fast, my art making. And when I learned the gel printing, the results were really immediate. And I liked that. And I just ran with it.

I was in here in my studio. That whole summer, just knocking them out. And it was, I looked back at some, not that long ago, and they're pretty much like everybody's first gel prints. They weren't that spectacular, but I loved it. And, the color gods came about when, well, actually, I have to back up just a little bit.

The course that I took was supposed to be in person, but because of COVID, it was online. So the instructor sent everyone five by seven gel plate and a little bottle of craft paint. And it's like, if you need more paint, you're just going to have to get it because we, they weren't prepared for that.

Well, my husband, who is also an artist, Was working on a series of acrylics. So I went and borrowed his, the tube acrylics that I'm using now. They're mine now, by the way.

And, he had probably 35 or 40 different colors. Well, I knew how color theory worked with my watercolor pencils. You know, you just put a little bit of this color over here and then put a little over here and, and all that, but having paints. Where some were opaque and some were transparent and all that, I was having to kind of learn all that again.

And I was looking at all these colors and I was kind of gravitating toward the same colors over and over again. So I, looked at these and I thought, I need to learn how some of these other colors work with the colors that I like. And so I just started choosing them randomly. I would just grab a couple at first and then I eventually got these little wooden tiles and wrote all the paint colors down and put them in a coffee cup and I would draw out random colors and just experiment with them and play with them.

And, the original ones, the first ones that I did were like, yeah, okay. I wasn't understanding fully how to make the color theory work for me. But, when I started posting these, I was also new to Instagram about that time. 

[00:07:33] Kellee Wynne: Okay. 

[00:07:34] Diana Garrison: So I thought, okay, what's a sexier way to say this other than I've selected random colors and it just popped into my head.

 The color gods gifted me these colors. It just happened. So I'm a big proponent of when things pop into your head that just like out of nowhere, trust it. I'm the same way. Yeah, so the color gods showed up. And I actually now prefer working with random colors. If I'm wanting to work on a piece and I want the colors to be a certain way, I've got some ideas.

I go back to the. The color God spreadsheet that I've been creating from the beginning. And find color combinations that I like, I might tweak it a little bit, but I refer back to that. But I really love working with random colors, making them work. 

[00:08:24] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, it really suits you. It was a kind of the same way when I dove into color theory and teaching it and color mixing.

And I got to this point where I'm like, I'm just going to recommend everyone just picks 3 colors, the primaries. And ever since then, I was like, you can make the most beautiful, cohesive color mix. Paintings if you just stick to three doesn't even matter which three. And so I kind of turned in, it turned into for me, my preferred way of painting.

Right. And so when you get into a system that you really find works, what's cool about it, which I'm sure you've discovered is the more you do it for yourself and you kind of figure out The whole magic of it, the easier it is to teach other people. 

Right, right. So now you have this extensive list of all of the different combinations you've pulled over the years, which by the way, everyone's listening.

You can go and download this. We'll put the link in, but this like master sheet of all the different combinations, but really comes down to realizing that. You have to know, like, it may be so random, but you have to know which way they're going to layer the best on the jelly plate. And I notice that when I'm watching you on Instagram, that I'm like, how is she going to deal with these really wacky colors?

Like, are there times where you're like, oh crap, the gods weren't so nice to me today. But I think it's the time in the experience and the repeat process that I can see you're very masterful with understanding which colors need to go before the next set of colors and no matter what it is, it still turns out beautiful and not mud.

So, where's the secret in that? How do you avoid mud 

[00:10:15] Diana Garrison: How do I avoid mud?? You've got to be mindful of transparent versus opaque. I allow myself to use white. I've got two different whites that I use, titanium white, which is opaque and milky white, which is a Hobby Lobby brand, that is semi opaque, which, and it's warmer too.

And if I need to, I'll add black or Payne's gray. So I'm getting a range of values. But you've got to start, like, kind of have a main color. So I've got a red and a blue and whatever else, you know, and I want the main color to be, say, pink. So I'll start with the white, add the red to it to get the pink, and then just add little touches of blue.

But when you start mixing a lot, equal amounts. can tend to get you some muddy colors, especially if you've got some that are compliments or near compliments. So I kind of, 

[00:11:06] Kellee Wynne: I mean, what do you do with orange and green? Like, 

[00:11:11] Diana Garrison: oh yeah. And color guides like to give me that combination. Oh, I'm not sure why. So, you know, I just, I feed them a little bit of chocolate and then they're a little friendlier for a while.

[00:11:23] Kellee Wynne: So speaking of getting started on Instagram and then continuously doing it, you did the 100 day project, correct?

[00:11:30] Diana Garrison: I did. 

[00:11:31] Kellee Wynne: And I love your method because you use tape with your paper, which I'm like, why didn't I ever think that's traditional printmaking is to make sure that if it's taped, You know how you guys are just gonna have to go to Crooked Little Studio and watch these videos Because it makes sense because then the way it's layering and then the next time you do it It's in the exact same place again, right?

Turn out really crisp and clean but you pull your colors From your jar of all the different color possibilities and you create with them over and over again And what I love watching something spark because this happened actually before the 100 day project probably like Because it was in the fall, even as we were going through Build It Remarkable that you're like, I don't know what just happened, but there's starting to be like some viral hits on my, on my Instagram.

And I think it's the consistency of showing up with a very clear point of view that makes a huge difference. 

[00:12:29] Diana Garrison: Well, a lot of it that that video that went viral, it went viral just as I was going on my two week Christmas break, but that video was one of maybe a handful. That I had just created based on suggestions you had given us for Instagram reels.

Okay, great. And I, I followed that like, okay, I need to do more editing. I needed to edit out the boring part where you're running the paper, you know, that, that kind of stuff. Yes. So that's. I think that was key. That was one of the key things. 

[00:13:02] Kellee Wynne: You, that first three seconds has to hook them. Keeping them interested the whole way through is cutting out the boring parts and showing the more interesting parts.

And you definitely masterfully did that. And so that was probably like, I don't think my, my biggest viral hit might be in the hundred thousand range, but you're getting them. Quite frequently now to get 

[00:13:28] Diana Garrison: well, instagram is changing. They're not. I'm not getting as many. I, I've got the setting on account engagement, so I'm getting more views than I'm getting accounts engaged, but, it's lower than it was that that 1st 1 last time I looked.

It hits, about 260, 000 engaged accounts. And so there were a lot more views in that. I haven't looked in quite a while since that was over 6 months ago. But I just, I just kept continuing with that. I was about to go on Christmas break and my plan for Christmas break before that video went viral.

Was to work on my lots of layers course, I already had it and I had closed it and I wanted to polish it up to get it. relaunched, hopefully by the end of the school year. But when that video hit and exploded like it did, and I was about to go on Christmas break, I'm going to take advantage of this momentum the best way I can.

So I was creating other reels in a very similar fashion, doing basically the same thing and stumbled across a challenge, a Printer's Solstice Challenge. It was winter solstice. And so there were color schemes throughout that. So I like, okay, this is content that I'll have a little, that audience there.

And then one of the other ladies in the program had started a, another gel printers challenge that I wasn't even aware of until she was about three days. Yes. Tanya's. So, I was taking prompts from Printer Solstice and, Tanya's Challenge, and I found another one and I'm sorry, but I can't remember the name of it right now.

So I would do one reel with two or three different prompts from different challenges. Wow. So that I could hit more people. And, that worked for me. So, I mean, that had me through January and then a little bit into February. You had suggested doing the 108 project. 

[00:15:34] Kellee Wynne: I do. I like to suggest that because it's the consistency again.

[00:15:40] Diana Garrison: Well, I wasn't sure about it. And I wasn't even sure at that point, like who started it, like which artist was, was promoting that and, challenging people to do that. So I, it was just kind of on my back burner and out of the blue, a friend of mine forwards one of the emails for the 100 day project.

I'm like, okay, well, let me look at this. But I was still thinking I need to have this course launched and I wasn't sure if I would have the time and the energy working full time to do, to commit to this. And I'm, I kind of hemmed and hawed a little bit. And then I was like, well, let me just see what the last day of the 100 day project is and see where it falls.

Which we may 27. And my last day of work was May 24th. It just seemed like a no brainer. It was just another one of those things that lined up. I'm like, I'm going to be stupid not to do the 100 day project. So I did. So the, the building up to 100 days was also a counting down to retirement. And so it just.

It just fit. It was it was a perfect fit.

[00:16:50] Kellee Wynne: I love it. 

All right, but let's talk real numbers here. You were getting a lot of viral hits, which I get it. It was great then. And then suddenly this month, it sucks. The algorithm is just the algorithm. We don't have control over that. The only thing we can do Is change our approach and do something different again.

But in that time, though, your Instagram took off and your following count. And now you have all these engaged people, which means when you do go to launch this summer, you've got a whole brand new, fresh set of eyes. 

[00:17:26] Diana Garrison: I do. I do. Yeah, I had, about 1600 followers on Instagram in mid December. And today I have, I'm getting close to 23, 000 everyone's dream never in a million years would have thought that it would grow that fast.

 I'm over the moon about it

[00:17:47] Kellee Wynne: then I'm leaning in listeners. This is about consistency about learning how to make better content over and over on repeat until it just people can't refuse you. So I just had to do that. You know, I see so many, artists and creators and business owners who are like, I dabbled a little bit this month, but this month I don't feel like posting.

And next thing you know, like there's no consistency and they don't spend time looking at what really makes good content. Quality content. What makes a great reel? What makes a good image? What can I say that will draw people in? And you worked on that and that's why it grew. Quality content, interesting content, great artwork, and then things people actually want to learn and know.

So there's a magic formula there that you put all the pieces of you together, Diana, and that's why it worked. 

[00:18:38] Diana Garrison: Yeah. It's been great. It's been awesome. 

[00:18:42] Kellee Wynne: It's awesome. So now you're retired, which is great that you made the decision to go all in on yourself, which means you have a course that you're refreshing and you're going to be putting that out into this world.

We dug deep into the process of creating a business. A lot of that has to do with. Our social media systems and having what I call a juicy lead magnet working on still, but what you do have is your color. God's entire cheat sheet. Basically, 

[00:19:16] Diana Garrison: yeah, yeah, it's got even like thumbnail examples of all of the artwork and links back. So if you wanted to go back and watch the real, if there was a real link and go back to the real. 

[00:19:28] Kellee Wynne: So cool. That's a very juicy idea. I like that. And then the goal with that is that we're giving our audience exactly what they need to be able to connect with us so that they can be on our newsletter.

Is your newsletter growing through all of this?

[00:19:45] Diana Garrison: It is growing. I'm going to be working on getting more consistent, but, that was another thing. I learned that I started doing more regularly. Once I started the program, I'm doing about every 2 weeks right now. 

[00:19:58] Kellee Wynne: Of sending your newsletter, which is great every 2 weeks is a good amount of rhythm and communicating is getting the people on the list. Because at any point, it's like you said algorithm changes and you're not getting the reach that you want. So that's why we work to nurture people within our own. Basically controlled container of an email list. Right? 

[00:20:23] Diana Garrison: Right. So that's that's grown my email list. It was, when I started the program, it was probably 200 ish, and I've got 10 times that I've got 212100.


[00:20:37] Kellee Wynne: that's great. That's a really great growth for an email list. Yeah, 

and it just comes down to having the systems in place so that you have a place off of social media to nurture your audience. Because. Again, I can't tell you how many times I hear people's their, their. Instagram fails, they get hacked, whatever else.

But that's where the real power is, is being able to translate what you're doing publicly into like a more intimate, nurturing environment. Cause that's what email is. Someone just gave you permission to pop into their inbox and bother them. Here I am. Yeah, we want it to be good. We want to be able to give value and we want it to be like, you know, high touch for sure.

So, now, where are you going? Where's the sailing off into the sunset, Diana, now that she's no longer beholden to the school system and the rhythms of the year of school year, you have a summer, you're going to finish up. Tell me where you're going. You're finishing up your signature course, 

[00:21:42] Diana Garrison: right? I'm finishing up the, the lots of layers course. And, I've got some other things in the works, some other courses, some other classes and, I've got ideas like crazy. I'm just trying to get a grip on, all of the things that I need to have a grip on the accounting system and the platform that I'm using for my website.

I still don't have a website. I mean, there's a website, but there's just a page. 

Yes. So I'm still trying to get all of that figured out too. 

[00:22:12] Kellee Wynne: You can get it going even with just a page. 

[00:22:16] Diana Garrison: Right, right. So more courses. I love doing in person workshops. So I do, as much as I can here in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I live and I'm going to be reaching out to other arts organizations around Arkansas.

Once I get things under my belt, I'll be doing that. And I've done some. And other spots in Arkansas, too. So that's that's a lot of fun. I invite people into my studio. 

[00:22:45] Kellee Wynne: Do you have any desire for traveling workshops? 

[00:22:48] Diana Garrison: I've thought about that. I have thought about that.

That's maybe a possibility. We live in an area, Hot Springs is a quirky little town in Arkansas. That's a really great small town travel destination. And we live across the street from Lake Hamilton. I'm looking out my window. I can see a cove off of Lake Hamilton and we're on an acre of land and there's Big chunk of yard.

That would be awesome to have a nice workshop space there. Ooh, 

there. I like that. That's a dream. That's, down the road. 

[00:23:21] Kellee Wynne: Well, we're supposed to have big, audacious dreams. Yes. The whole point of it. Right. 

[00:23:25] Diana Garrison: Definitely. 

[00:23:26] Kellee Wynne: Yeah, I love that. So, what would you say were some of the biggest aha moments you had working with me in Build It? Remarkable, 

[00:23:35] Diana Garrison: you've got some really great big concepts. Which I'm still trying to get into and implement. I've implemented some of them. Some of the things, Kellee, were things that you just said offhand, just little nuggets of information. Honestly, those were amazing. The video, the suggestions for the videos, and unfortunately I can't put my finger on anything specifically other than that, but you would just.

Say, oh yeah, you need this. It was just one of the things that came naturally to you that I wasn't aware of yet. I, I actually attended one of your free webinars when you were doing your first, remarkable league. I knew I wasn't going to be able to afford it then, but I had a burning question and I, and you were offering to answer questions.

So I attended and I had just put out lots of layers for the 1st time. And I said, okay, I'm going to ask this question. What's next? I've got 50 people signed up and and now it's dead. But, I mean, I didn't know where to go from there. I didn't know any of the marketing or whatever.

And you asked me, well, how many people do you have on your email list? And I couldn't answer the question. I had probably a hundred and almost half of them were the people who had signed up for the course. So, I mean, just that little nugget and you said, close your registration, grow your email list. So it took me a little while because I was milking it as much as I could having that course open, but I did eventually close it.

And saw what other people were doing to grow their email list and started focusing on that. So by the time I actually started the program, I had twice as many of my email list, but 

[00:25:20] Kellee Wynne: 200 to 2000, which is great. 

[00:25:23] Diana Garrison: Yes. Yes. So just your little nuggets of wisdom. You've got awesome Big ideas, and I know they're going to work, the nurturing newsletter is already helping, but just all of your little nuggets too.

 It was really great being in that program. I couldn't always. Be at the meetings because of my job and because of the time that they were scheduled, but I was watching the recordings and I'd go, that makes sense. Why didn't I think of that? And it's because I needed you. I needed your experience. Just to follow along with that. 

[00:25:58] Kellee Wynne: I love seeing those aha moments. I love seeing someone go from, I have this idea, but now what do I do with it? Cause it's, I mean, and I've said this before, it's not like if you build it, they will come. If you build it and you market it, then they will come. Right. Many people don't really understand that marketing part or how to put all the pieces in place to actually grow it once they've started it.

So I'm so glad that you came for those first. Workshops that I was doing and then chose to join me for our first run of Build It Remarkable in the fall. But there was also something you said that's important. You're still working on it. You, you still dive back into some of the bigger concepts, some of the juicier things, things like that will take up to a year or longer, depending on where you were on this path of a proper launch of a making a proper offer of really understanding how to build out that sales page of really understanding, like, All these little components, like we start with the basics of who do you serve?

Why do you serve? What is it that you're doing? How are you going to build it? And then the most important part in order to actually make the sales is building out your email list. And, I do work on it from a different point of view than maybe some of the other list builders out there do. And that's because I come from it as an artist and as an art student and as a supporter of all the creatives, we need something different.

We need something that tugs at our heart's desires a lot more than like someone who's just looking for a quick fix for their business, you know, 

like those other. Programs are great, they're valuable, but I'm coming at it from a point of view of I've been in your shoes, and I've helped people like you and other artists get to where they want to go, and I have no doubt that this is going to turn into something super successful for you, especially now that you have more time to dedicate to it.

Yep. Yep. Yep. But work in progress just takes a little time, but I am so glad that I got to get to know you and watch you completely blossom on Instagram. So if anyone wants. Peek into the color gods system go find crooked little studio and we will also be linking her Free worksheet this pdf is a master pdf with links to all the videos that go with it I mean like that in and of itself is pretty juicy.

[00:28:31] Diana Garrison: Yeah, it's it's actually a a google spreadsheet So it's kind of a live spreadsheet it's best accessed on On a, like a laptop or something, phones, smartphones have a little bit of a problem with it. But, yeah, it's good. 

[00:28:45] Kellee Wynne: That's really cool. Living document. I love that.

Fabulous Thank you so much, Diana and we'll see you around the block. Thanks so much for having me. Kellee. 

I'm very honored. You asked. 

[00:28:58] Diana Garrison: Yes. 


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