The Secret To Making More Art!

The Secret To Making More Art!

by Jennyann Carthern 

This month I've been really diving deep into a project called 5th Avenue. It's a coloring book, I've been working on since taking Lilla Rogers Class way back in March. The assignment was based on 1920s hairstyles.

I instantly became obsessed with the idea, and while doing this project I decided that I'd finish it out as a coloring book. Well 6 months later, it's coming to pass.

Why so long? It was because of my focus.

Those of you who process an Artist mind, A.K.A. a mind overloaded with ideas and wonders, will understand what I'm about to talk about.

If you've ever watched Kitchen Nightmares, you'll know that one of the main reasons some restaurants were failing on that show, is because they had too many options on their menu. This overwhelmed the kitchen, the pantry, and the customers.

Well I too, had too many options on my menu. So many that it overwhelmed my work, my progress, and my time. How did I fix it and make it right and how can you do the same?


Do an idea brain dump. I needed to get all my projects out of my head and onto a single sheet of paper. I needed to see them visually.


Categorize. Take all your ideas, and place them into categories. I did this by thinking about goals first. I thought about what projects I wanted to get done in the next month, three months, and within a year. Then I thought about how realistic the aim was. This helped me to figure out which egg to hatch first.


Create a schedule for your project, with those goals in mind. NOT A TO-DO LIST!

The notion of a to-do list has been tripping me up for years. I thought that by writing down a daily task list, and then slaving to finish those tasks would help me make more art. I was wrong, though. I needed a schedule. A time and a place to make art and work towards those goals and tasks. If you want to be more creative, and make more art. You need a schedule, not a task list. This was my biggest Aha Ha moments of 2016, and it was life-changing.

When I started my coloring book for example. I knew that I also wanted to use the images for a 2017 calendar as well. This meant that I needed to make 12 images. So In the first week. I focused on sketches, to flush out my vision, and once I developed it. It was time to set a goal for finishing the main sketches. So, I set out to complete 3 line drawing a day for 4 days during my studio time. This gave me a daily accomplishment. As I'm still working on the project, I have daily goals to meet based off of my schedule not tasks.

This all sounds simple, but for some reason, when creativity knocks at our door. It takes the form of a door salesman, and presents us with all the possibilities but forgets to tell of about the cost. The cost for me was piles and piles of ideas and unfinished work. Don't let that be the cost for you.

Make room for artmaking, by focusing on finishing one thing at a time. Set deadlines, and work towards them. This is the secret to making more art.

Available Soon! 

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter for updates! @ Jennyannpaints

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4 Low-Budget Labor Day Art Activities!

4 Low-Budget Labor Day Art Activities!

Make your Labor Day a good one with these fun Patriotic Inspired Art Projects from fellow bloggers! 

Turning mountains into molehills!

Turning mountains into molehills!

It dawned on me today that I've been making a mountain out of a molehill. 

Some of you know that I've been eagerly working on a new skillshare class called   The Beginner's Guide to Kool Aid Tie Dye. I've been so excited to share it with you.

At the same time, it's been a thorn in my back. Teaching it in person in one thing, but troubleshooting film clips and technology is another thing. It's been one bump in the road after another. 

I'm not at all mad about it, though, because it's teaching me more about the process of filming, editing, and telling a story through video. I call it process-based learning. If you've ever learned how to Cha-Cha, you have a glimmer into to what I'm talking about, because in a cha cha you take steps forward, but then you take few steps back.

Process-based learning, also known as Problem-Based Learning is about the problem- solving and is used in a lot of S.T.E.A.M. learning frameworks. The goal isn't to just let everything hit the fan and run. It's about looking at the problem, figuring out what you need to know, and then coming up with solutions that will help you move towards your goal. 

That's exactly what I've been doing. I've been filming, editing, and I'm about to go back to filming. Simply because new sparks happened while editing. The challenges I faced created new ideas that I wanted to tap into and the best thing about it is that I wouldn't have discovered this new path without all the thorns in the road. 

So, yes... In the beginning, this skillshare journey felt like I was piecing together Mount Kilimanjaro, but this mountain has turned into a molehill thanks to all the thorns in the road, and I still can't wait to share it with you! 

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

Hey, everyone ! It’s been ages since I’ve had my hands on a new blog post!

Blogging has always been a way for me to diffuse all of my pent up creative knowledge, passion, and love for the Arts. While sharing tools, tips, answering questions, and demonstrating the art making the process that I love so dearly.

You see, I’ve been longing to tell you what I’ve been working on for some time now, but I had this huge green monster of procrastination sitting on my back, along with the weight of my grandmother's passing in May after my open studios. At 91 and she was the matriarch of my family. So, essentially, I never got around to posting updates.

What’s happening now, has to do with change. Not the change that jingles in your pocket, but the one that transforms you. This change for me included:

  • A fully updated website that’s still a work in progress!
  • A new Right Brain Accordion Business Plan soul centered on Arts, Learning, and Transformation, and of course a nod to Illustration.
  • Along with a return to weekly blogging to share more art making tips and tricks that you can use for yourself or in a classroom!

I also have some great classes coming up! 

The first class is a fun way to tap into your childhood by yourself, or with some kids. This class is a memory maker, and it smells good too!

It’s The Complete Beginners Guide to Kool Aid Tie Dye! It’s a fun activity I used to do with my middle school students years ago, and they’ve always loved it! I’m looking forward to publishing this class online on skillshare sometime around the first week of August. Plus the first 25 Enrollees are Free! So be sure to join my list to get your early notification!

My second course was meant for those who are tired of wishing they knew how to draw or paint, but are ready to do something about it.

It’s also a great course if you’ve found yourself struggling in your Artmaking process.

Maybe you’ve painted a bird for instance that’s really out of proportion, and you just don’t know how to get it right. So instead of making it right. You toss it! Paint over it or start again!

However, if you had some understanding or a refresher of the basic drawing and painting principles. You could avoid this whole manic fest!

Instead, you’d have the tools you needed to spot the problem, and you'd know exactly how to fix it. That’s the essence of the Joyful Artist Club! It’s here to exercise your drawing and painting muscles and give you an eye for making make those necessary corrections.

I’m excited to open this class for enrollment this coming September. It will be a 6- month online art workshop, limited to 35 people for $28 a month! If you’d like notified for early enrollment just click here and fill out the form.

New Portfolio In The Making!

New Portfolio In The Making!

So last week... I realized that I lost my way as an Artist. I lost that joy I once had for experimentation, play, and using different materials. It was easy for me to teach it, but I was no longer implementing it in my work. Instead I was listening to others, and the opinions of others. You know. Be cohesive, no mixing styles, the usual lingo. 

Yes, some of this is valid, but's that's not what drove me to become an Artist and move towards Illustration. I was driven my joy, fun, and playing with my materials. Illustration allowed me to do all of this. It also allowed me to add humor to the page, by giving each character their own spark of personality. 

So looking at my current body of work, and comparing it with my past work, was like a slap in the face. Wake Up! 

Well... I'm awake now, and I've chosen to start fresh, and build a new portfolio, that expresses joy on the page...

So I hope you'll join me on my blog as I share in these new developments! I plan to share what I'm working on via Periscope, Instagram, and Twitter. To watch my live broadcasts on Periscope, just be sure to follow me on Twitter @JennyannPaints, and  then be sure to subscribe below for the latest updates! 

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Annina Luck Wildermuth

Annina Luck Wildermuth

Meet : Annina Luck Wildermuth

Blog :  “All My Characters”  

Annina loves Twitter and tweets about Kidlit, History, Art, Illustration and Books @AnninaLuck

1. How did you get started in Illustration or art,etc. and how did you take your first steps?

I always loved to draw and color, more so than most of my friends. So I knew I was onto something. But I did my best to avoid art in high school, college and for about 20 years after that. In retrospect, it was fear. Finally, I delved into decorative art. I was waitressing at a Mexican restaurant at the time and started painting murals in the restaurant bathrooms and then in customerʼs kitchens. I took home the terra cotta pots on the restaurant tables and decorated them. I started making floor cloths and participated in craft fairs. I also did some public art projects like the DC Party Animals. Finally I created paintings and had exhibitions in cafés and bars. People told me that my characters and style would be good for childrenʼs books. That was what led me to take the next step: joining SCBWI and taking classes.

2. What do you find most challenging about being a Children'sBook Illustrator?

I am not the best at organizing myself and often spend too much time on the phone or on twitter or cleaning the apartment. I struggle with this on a daily basis. But I know now that I am worth the struggle so I keep going.

3. Why is this work important to you?

It’s who I am. It is every moment that I’ve lived. I get to bring all that I am to the table every time I create a picture or write a story, and that’s what I love. I can create layers of experience, and it is one of the best ways I know to be myself. Just the way someone else might want to heal others or to solve problems, I want to create great characters and interesting worlds for kids.

4. Do you also write children's books?

Yes, I also write childrenʼs books: picture books, chapter books and middle grade. I love writing. In fact, I think writing comes to me more easily than illustration. Now, very little of what I write is any good, but I do write a lot and always have new ideas. With illustration, it is different. I can go for months without doing a drawing and it is very hard for me to come up with ideas. Weird.

5. Can you tell us about your workspace? What tips would you give another artist to make their workspace more efficient?

 I love my workspace--an IKEA desk that fits a corner, so I that I can have everything right there: my computer and light table with printer and scanner underneath plus a long space for painting and sketching and reference books. Also I have the best light in our apartment.

The best way to keep my workspace efficient is to be neat. Always clean up and if you possibly can, leave a project on your table for the next day. I hate coming into a messy studio. I now have two kittens who love to play on my desk, but when I am drawing, I put them out and close the doors. 🙂

6. Can you share some work in progress?

I was working on a picture book story for my monster called “Medusa the Monster Princess” but have put that work aside for a few months. Right now, I am working on drawings for a book about the 11th century Byzantine historian/princess, Anna Komnene and also a chapter book about Miss Partridge, detective for the birds.

7. What one piece of advice do you have for Artists starting over again, because they were raising kids, had setbacks, or have a full time job?

I can relate to this question a lot because I came to illustration in my late 40s after all kinds of entirely necessary detours. Join SCBWI as soon as possible and then find an illustration critique group. Finally, take a class or a workshop. Getting connected and getting perspective on your creations is very important if you have been out of the loop or never were in it. Also, if you enjoy some form of social media, you can get a lot of support and connection from a facebook group, twitter chats or instagram.

8. What is your favorite affirmation or quote and way?

I can be hard on myself and a perfectionist especially when it comes to drawing. So my favorite affirmation, said in a gentle voice is:

“Easy Does It, But Do It”

That way the bar is not set so high, and I have the courage to start something.

Do you have more questions for Annina? 

Tweet her during the month of December using the#MonsterChore2015 hashtag, along with her twitter tag @AnninaLuck. 

Then she's reply back to you as soon as she can! Also download her coloring page Dusting from our Monster Chores Coloring Book!

Click Here Now!

Mary Flynn

Mary Flynn

Mary Flynn


Mary Flynn Art

Wow. It's really been a year. A year of Monster Chores Coloring Book Interviews. During the Month of December, we have a double feature. That starts with Artist. Illustrator & English Teacher Mary Flynn. She carries loads of wisdom, and was very enthusiac to share with you today. 

1. What was the moment/event that inspired you to become an artist or a children's illustrator and what is the inspiration behind your work?

I really cannot pin down an exact moment because I have been drawing since I was very young and have always wanted to be an artist. I have wanted to become a children’s book illustrator for about 30 years, but life just keeps getting in the way. Everything inspires my art; a sunset, my dogs, my grandkids, the Muppets, etc. I try to find inspiration everywhere. I think most artists do.

2. Why is this work important to you and What has surprised you as you put your work into the world?

This work is important to me because it makes my soul happy. It’s the only thing that I’ve found that I can spend hours working at and still feel good at the end, even if the product isn’t quite what I was hoping for.

I think the biggest surprise I got when I finally decided to try and make a living at this is how hard it is. I expected people to rush up and buy up everything I painted. Delusions of grandeur I guess.

3.Can you tell us a little about your creative process, and why you work the way the do, and any mistakes they you have learned from perhaps?

Well my creative process it all over the place. Sometimes I plan and plan. I’ll sketch out thumbnails, and then bigger sketches. I do color studies; I choose a canvas size and decide which medium to work in. Then sometimes I just start painting without ever sketching anything at all.

4. What are your favorite art products that you use and why do you prefer them?

I really do not have a favorite brand; I use Liqutex, and Golden Acrylics, Grumbracher Oils, Prismacolor pencils and pens, and Copic markers. I like Arches and Strathmore papers, and I really do not have a favorite canvas.

5. What are some learning tools they might recommend to get started in the arts?

Learning tools that I suggest to those just getting started in the arts especially children’s books are:

1. Mira Reisberg’s The Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books. This 5 week course is great. It gives lots of information on what to and not to do if you want to illustrate children’s book. Mira also gets publishers, art directors and agents, involved so you can get some exposure.

2. Will Terry and Jake Parker’s SVS Learn, this is a collection of video classes on every possible art topic you can imagine. Will is a successful children’s book illustrator, and Jake is an animator and illustrator. You can either purchase the video class or subscribe and have access to all of the classes.

6. How did you get started in Illustration or art,etc. and how did you take your first steps? What is the process you are taking to make your dream into a reality?

As I said earlier I‘ve been drawing since I was a child, it’s something I’ve always done. I have read many books and taken a few classes to learn the art basics. (before the internet) I have a subscription to SVS Learn so that I can continually learn new techniques. I am currently working on my first book dummy and building my portfolio hoping to get my dream off the ground soon.I also have a few ideas for children’s books and I have a degree in English, so I may try my hand at writing also one day.

7. Do you create digital illustrations? If so, what do you enjoy about it? What tools to you use to make them?

I do create digital illustrations, I prefer to use Photoshop and I have a Wacom Intuos table to draw with. I enjoy working digitally, but I can only do it in short bursts because it gives me migraines.

8.) What was the first children's book you illustrated? Did you have butterflies in your stomach? Did you make any mistakes? What lessons did you learn from it?

Well I haven’t finished illustrating a book yet. As I mentioned earlier I’m working a picture book dummy. I keep changing the characters, trying to make them better and more energetic. The dummy I’m working on is called Can We Have a Pet? It’s about a set of twins who drive mom crazy trying to convince her to let them have a pet. I’m writing it for beginning readers.

9.What do you find most challenging about being a children's book illustrator?

The most challenging part about being an Artist/illustrator is staying focused and not letting life distract me.

10. What is one piece of advice that you want to give to new children's illustrators starting out?

Learn as much about the business as you possibly can. This is not an easy business to get into and if you go in blind it is even harder.

11. What one piece of advice do you have for Artists starting over again, because they were raising kids, had setbacks, or have a full time job?

It is never too late. Take a class, either in person or online to get up to speed so to speak, but go for it I did and I’ve never been happier.

12. Do you feel the industry is changing for illustrators? Are there more or less opportunities now?

All industries change, they have to in order to survive, that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think there is plenty of opportunity for good illustrators. It is important to know the market that you want to get into and be the best at what you do.

13. Can you tell us about your workspace? What tips would you give another Artist to make their workspace more efficient?

Well I took over a bedroom in the house and made it into a studio. It is usually a mess. I like to call it organized chaos. I have one cabinet full of art books, one cabinet full of art supplies. I have a huge u shaped desk with a hutch with more books (I really like books), my computer, printers, scanners and various supplies on and under it. I have and easel and drawing table and a shelving unit full of canvas and paper. The tips I have for setting up your work space is make it work for you. If you can’t work it chaos then my space would drive you nuts. Always keep in mind what you want out of the space.

14. What is your favorite Quote or Affirmation?

My favorite affirmation is “Life is what you make it.” I’m not sure who said it, but I believe it to be true. Yes there are things you can’t control, but you can control how you react to them. A positive attitude goes a long way.

15. What others talents do you share with the world?

Well right now I am teaching English and reading at a school that is about 90% immigrant children. I have also started and art club there and 11 of my students got their art work into a juried art show for middle school kids.

Do you have more questions for Mary? 

Tweet her during the month of August using the#MonsterChore2015 hashtag, along with her twitter tag @flynnsfineart Then she's reply back to you as soon as she can! Also download her coloring page Dusting from our Monster Chores Coloring Book! Click Here Now!

An Intro To Scrumy!

An Intro To Scrumy!

Hi everyone, welcome back to The Time Management Blog Series.

I'm super excited about this last month in the series, because I get to share some of my favorite tools and apps for Time and Project Managment.  Take what you need from these tools, and make it your own. 

Today. I'm gonna introduce you to It's a great visual tool to see and manage all your projects at a glance. I've tried Asana, and a bunch of other tools. This was the only one, that seemed to click for me. Enjoy! 

The Artist Is Nothing Without The Gift, But The Gift Is Nothing Without Work.

- Emile Zola

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Check out past posts from this series! 

9.22.2015: Why Ask Why

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up

10.20.2015: Get Serious

10.27.2015: A Beginners Guide To                    Reckless Driving for Artists.

11.13.2015: Add More Energy

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Time Out!

Time Out!

You're doing an amazing job, with your morning routines, daily workouts, and motivational exercises. Now things are starting to slow down, and you’re adding minutes to your alarm clock, and taking more time to relax and chill. There’s nothing wrong with that. However you still have loads of work, and now tasks are piling up on a monumental level. You feel guilty, overwhelmed and just don’t know why you couldn’t stick to your schedule.

Well guess what. This is O.K. It’s also a part of Time Management. You are no robot, you are an organic, changing being. When your current suddenly changes. This is a great time to reflect, refocus your goals and to think about how far you’ve come. The point is to edit, and make changes in what was. If you want to sleep later, put it in the schedule, and make it work . This is the  time to create some new patterns that will kick you back into gear.

"Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out into the ocean." 

-Christopher Reeve​

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So please be kind to yourself. This is a part of the process. It doesn’t matter how many times you pause, as long as you continue to hit play.

It’s also a great time to see whether or not you’ve been overworking yourself. So it’s important to start scheduling more time for play in your schedule to balance out the work. Schedule it just like any other appointment, and make it a playdate.

This time is a blessing, because it allows you to stop, pause, and listen to what your heart is calling you to do.

If this is the place your at today. Take a moment to Reflect, Edit, and Schedule in some play time. Don't wait, do it now! 

​Check out past posts from this series!

9.22.2015: Why Ask Why?

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up

10.20.2015: Get Serious

10.27.2015: A Beginners Guide To Reckless Driving for Artists

11.3. 2015: Add More Energy To Your Day

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Add more energy to your day!

Add more energy to your day!

Where focus goes, energy flows.

To a certain extent I believe that, because like most Artists. I’ve lost myself in my paintings. Disappearing for hours during the process of painting, until I realized it was done. When you focus all your energies into what you want, energy flows to it.

That’s not what I’m going to talk about today though. Today we’re going to look at how to get more energy to do the work you want to do. You know what I mean. You just got off work, and you’re exhausted. It’s the only time you have to work on your art though. It’s times like these where it seems that energy is lacking.

You might me doing everything you need to self motivate yourself to get up and work, but it’s still not helping. Here’s why.

Energy doesn’t just come from the mind, it comes from the body. You see you have to develop a health plan for your life. It’s time. One specially designed for you from you. You have to raise the standards on what goes in your body, so you can reap the rewards of all that comes out of it. Being healthy, More Alert, More Fit, and More Energized.

That’s where energy comes from, that’s the final icing on the cake.

I by no means am an expert in this area, but I do know that when I started adding exercise to my day. My willpower was higher and I had enough fuel to carry me through the entire day.

It also had to do with what I was putting into my body, and paying attention to how certain foods made me fill. See pancakes in the morning may be a norm in homes across america, but pancakes zap your energy after eating them. This is where you have to pay attention and really figure out how to make a better choices, not only for your health, but for your goals.

You see I’m not telling you to go on a diet, lose weight , or to stop eating foods you like. I’m telling you to start realizing how food affects your productivity, and your goals, and how you can start changing that. If you like pancakes, plan the best time to eat them, it shouldn’t be when you have a pile of work to do. Ihop serves them at night..

We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are. ~ Adelle Davis
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Today I’d like you to create a health plan, one that designed by you, customized for your life. It’s goal is to fuel your body with more energy, alertness, and health, so you can get the best slice out of life.

Here’s how:

  • Spend a week writing down what you eat, and jot down it you feel tired afterward. This will help you record the foods that steal energy from your body. Also jot down what foods kept you alert, and energized. These are foods that fuel your day.
  • Add more fruits and veggies! Go google which one’s have the most energy, and then start adding more of those to your meals. Start by researching 3 Vegetables and 3 Fruits. Then play around with some recipes, while still being mindful what in the recipe can cause your energy to dip.
  • Find a workout that you LOVE. It doesn't have to be formal, or at a gym, it just has to get you moving. Like walking your dog. Something you can do daily to add fuel to your body. It can even be dancing in the mirror for 5 min. Have Fun!

​Check out past posts from this series! 

9.22.2015 : Why Ask Why!

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups!

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith!

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up! 

10.20.2015: Get Serious

10.27.2015: A Beginners Guide to Reckless Driving For Artists

Never miss a post! Subscribe today to get them delivered straight to your inbox!

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A Beginners Guide to Reckless Driving For Artists!

A Beginners Guide to Reckless Driving For Artists!

Do you have a Morning Routine?

Coffee usually starts the day for most of us. Me. I’m not a fan of coffee. It’s usually water, juice or tea. Anyway after that, what comes next? Depending on your career, or lifestyle. It could be a hop in the shower, then a commute to work, or some early morning emails, and online browsing. Maybe dropping off your kids to school. Oh and don’t forget breakfast.

This is your morning routine. Weather it was purposeful or not. It’s sets the tone for your day, and gets you going. What happens though, if you slow down and start recognizing patterns in your morning routine. Perhaps your being clumsy with your time, by spending so much of it surfing the web,  and fiddling your emails.

Your routine may be comfortable for you now, but I’d like to know how much time are you spending working on your creative work? Do you wish you had more time for it? Are you waiting until you retire, because then you’ll have lots of time?

Well I know a shortcut. It starts with your morning routine, and until you realize how it impacts your creativity.You’re never going to have enough time for your creative work.

So let’s start by realizing the purpose for a morning routine.

The main goal of a morning routine, is to tap into your brain fuel first thing in the morning. After all, science says that this is the time when your brain is most alert, and it’s willpower it’s highest. So why not use this brain fuel to power your day. That’s why it’s a good idea to add exercise to your day, first thing in the morning. Your willpower is at it’s highest. After that it starts to fade.

The best way to start by asking yourself a few questions every day, and jotting down your answers. I jot my down on notepaper that has a line down the middle. On one side I write today's priorities, and goals, and then below that I’ll write down what I wish I could also do today. On the other side I write people I’m waiting for, and people I need to contact. I also write appointments and meeting below that.

 Here’s how it works.

1. What do I want to accomplish today? Another way of phrasing this is What do I want to succeed at today. Steve Jobs went about it like this.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. -S.J.

2. Do I have to contact anyone today?

This starts by listing who you need to contact today, but also who you need to contact to move your goals forwards. Here’s an example.

You’ve made the time to create a new body of artwork, and you’re super thrilled about it. 20 new pieces! These deserve to be seen in a gallery. Where do I start?

Start is by listing the steps that you need to take that'll get your work in a gallery. Weather by researching galleries that mingle with your style of art, and then jotting down who (contact) you need to send samples to.

3. Who I am waiting for. ie. Who am I waiting to hear back from. 

So you’ve reached out to your contacts, and now you’re waiting to hear back from this. Artist often misunderstand this step. They contact someone, and then just wait. Here you wait for a while, then if no one replies after a few weeks or months, “Not Days” deepening on what it's for. You go back to your list, and you reach out again. Not in an aggressive way, but by way of a reminder, like how have you been doing if it’s a friend. Or by sending in a sample of your lastest work.

4. What are my Top 5 have-tos, also know as Priorities?

This is the time to really plan your day, by figuring out what you need to get done, and what you have to get done. . Then after you figure this out. It’s where the magic happens. Below this is where I usually write down what I wish I could do today. If this means being creative for you, or making some Art. Put it here, and be specific about. Like 10 minutes of drawing. Then if you’ve finished all your priorities, do it!

If you find that time still isn’t being nice to you. Then it’s time to add Art and Creativity as one of your top 5 priorities. Minus the excuses. It's not a maybe at this point. It's a have to.

5. What am I grateful for? 

You can start with Three good things that went well for you recently, and how they made you feel.  This allows you to become more positive, sleep better and Yes, even improve your immune system. So express your gratitude daily, and then watch your outlook on life change.

P.S. As fabulous as I like to think I am. Questions 2 and 3 were  recently added to my morning routine. I discovered that the Author and Business Coach Brendon Burchard and I shared a similar mindset when it came to jotting down my goals to plan the day. I however was missing numbers 2, and 3. It was significent because it was the final piece in making my day as an Artist more productive.

Here's the link to his productivity worksheet he talks about in the video. I also still like jotting things down my own way on my pad of paper, so just take what you want from it, and incorporate into what works for you.      P.S. I am in no way an affiliate of Brendons products or business. I just love his thoughts here, wanted to share them with you. 

So what does driving recklessly have to do with making art?

Well being in the drivers seat puts in control of what direction you'd like your creative life to take. You can drive reckless, and never have enough time to spend working on your passion. Don't be reckless with your passion. Start steering it in the right direction. 

I saw a qoute by an unknown author that said. Routine doesn't allow us to progress. 

I believed this a long long time ago. I know better now. Morning routines allow you to be spontaneous, by realizing your goals first thing in the morning to break in your day! 

Here's a peak at my morning routine and the routines of some other famous creatives. 

6:30 a.m:  Wake Up! Tall glass of water, sometimes tea.

It used to be 4:00 a.m., but I discovered that I like to paint at night.

6:45 a.m:  Exercise....Oh yes. I try!

I choose either a cardio, or a strength, if I can’t decide I’ll flip a coin. I also think about benefits of health do I want to work on.

7:00ish: My list.

I  jot down my goals, and priorities for the day, along with everything we talked about in this post.

7:30 a.m: I open my laptop.

I head to my email to reach out to my contacts, and then see if I received any messages back from the people I jotted down on my list.

8:00-9:00 am: I let my rebellous side free! 

I’ll have some me time, and do whatever the heck I want to. It’s how I get procrastination out of my system. I’ll watch a show on netflix or comcast online.. “One” or I’ll go look through my instagram, facebook, or twitter, and maybe post some things. I’ll also eat breakfast. It’s usually a tofu scramble, with broccoli, potatoes, and a vegan or vegetarian sausage. Sometimes even a bagel and tofutti cream cheese. Or a waffle, or vegan french toast. This largely depends if I went grocery shopping. When I haven’t that’s when I grab the flour for waffles or vegan french toast.

9:00 am: I'll start working on my projects and goals for the day! 

Discover how some of the world's greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

Check out past posts from this series! 

9.22.2015: Why Ask Why? 

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups​

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up!​

10.20.2015: ​Get Serious

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Get Serious!

Get Serious!

Welcome to Part 2 of It’s About Time. The Time Management Blog Series for Artists.

This part of the series is all about navigating our day to day. In order to make time for our creative habits. We have to gain some control over our day. That starts by implementing systems, structures, and routines.

This is far beyond what my past self would had said.Who was a rebel against the notion of structure and creativity being in the same sentence. However back then I was spinning in circles. Yes I reached a few of my goals, but it also took me twice as long, and I never really finished or jumped on projects. It even cost me an opportunity to publish a children’s book with a major publisher. Why, because I didn’t have all my systems, structures, and routines in place. The publisher had loved my picture book dummy, and wanted me to make a few edits in the story, then send it back to them. I never got around to it, and eventually lost the contact information. So I hope you understand, no I need you to understand that this is important.

"The grass is greener where you water it.  "

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We as Artist have to start expecting more for and from ourselves. We have to lay down the myths that exist. That says we’re messy, we’re not financially literate, or that we’re starving. Maybe this is true for some of you. If so, that shouldn’t stop you from making improvements in yourself. It shouldn’t stop you from learning, growing, and advancing your skills. Those myths are excuses we Artist use to justify our shortfalls and bad habits, to say it’s O.K.

Is it O.K. that none of your work ever gets to be seen or  sold. Is it O.K. that you never have time, energy or money to make the art that lays deep within you. Is it O.K. that no one takes your art seriously! It’s not O.K. and until you start taking your Art seriously, no one else will.

"Learn the rules like a Pro, so you can break them like an Artist." -Pablo Picasso

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So this week I’d like you to make a list of excuses you’ve been using to justify your shortfalls bad habits. Then I want you to write an apology letter to your creative self, stating three things you’re going to do to make improvements so you too can move forward more successfully with your art.

Then next week we’re going to dive into a Morning Routine or Ritual that works for you.

Check out past posts from this series! 

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Meet Dani Duck!

Meet Dani Duck!

Website and/or blog: Blog:



Hi Everyone, Welcome back to this month's monster chores Artists Spotlight Interview. This month's Artist is Dani Duck. Dani is a thriving blogger in the Children's Book Industry, and has created various articles on the business of illustration for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Dani is a talented Kid Lit Illustrator. There's a lot to learn from this interview, and you won't want to miss it. Enjoy!

What do people say or how do they react when you tell them you are a children's book author or when you say you're an Artist?

Oh it's always fun when I say this. Most people will say that their (insert family member or friend here) does art. One person told me that a family member could draw Micky Mouse perfectly. That's not really hard, but it made me laugh.

People will ask me about my art and their eyes will glaze over when I go into detail. People love to hear when you're published or have gotten an award. Struggling artist is not a strong topic of conversation. I dunno why. My job is awesome and I am not a boring person.

There is also that person who wants me to do art for free. It's not free for me. I love what Alison Hertz said about this on Facebook: "I call this a doodle and it took me ten minutes to create but remember that it really took me ten minutes plus 35 years of training and classes, $60,000 in tuition, and a 100,000 hours of practice so, no, it's not free." It's not said to be mean, but all the time and money that's invested to become an Artist deserves to be paid.

What has surprised you as you put your work into the world?

I put my work into the world and nothing happened. It's very rare that something happens right away. It takes time to get seen on the internet. I don't know if it's possible to make it in this industry without being proactive. Don't wait until someone comes to you. Put your work in front of the people who you want to buy your work. Send your work out to an Editor, Share your work on Social Media, Do local art shows if it makes sense for you.

Do whatever it takes to get your artwork out into the world, but also be cautious. There will be people who want you to do things for free. Exposure isn't a reason for doing work for free. I like to say, “People die from exposure”. If you are doing something for free, then have a good reason for not being paid.

What is your FAVORITE children's book and why?

I don't think I could ever have a favorite book. It's too hard to decide. One of my favorites is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Actually I love all of his work. Shel proves that children's stories can be just as intelligent as stories for an older audience.

Are you open to working with self-published children's book authors? If not. Why?

I'm open to working with anyone really. Let me know what your budget is and I'll let you know what I can do within that budget. I can not work for free at this time.

Care to share some of your works in progress? 

I really wish I could show more! The work I do for Picture Book dummies I have to keep off the internet, because once something goes on the internet it is considered published. I also work quickly so I have a small window to share my work before it's finished.

What is one piece of advice that you want to give to new children's illustrators starting out?

Give yourself time and be prepared to fail. If you can't wait 5-10 years to get published or start making money in your craft then you are in the wrong business. That's not to say you can't start making money right away, but that's not the usual.

You have to have a portfolio of at least 12-15 illustrations and you have to have a website. It takes time to develop a style and have an entire portfolio in that style. It takes time to find an Agent, Art Rep, Editor, Small Businesses and Individuals who like your artwork enough to pay for it. It also takes a lot of luck.

You will fail at making art one time or another in your career. You will face rejection. You may want to quit making art. In order to make it in this industry you have to develop a thick skin. There will be someone out there who hates your best work. Learn to take good advice and not be crushed by rejection. Never give up. Change your approach if you have to, but don't give up.

What is your favorite affirmation or quote and why?

I don't think that I could pick one. It really depends on the day. I follow hundreds of Writer's and Illustrators on Twitter and Facebook. Often I see something that just fits the problem I'm having. Other times I'll remember words that keep me going.

After saying this I will give you something that always makes me smile. It's not a quote, but a song. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Can you tell us about your work-space? What tips would you give another artist to make their workspace more efficient?

My work-space has been very chaotic lately. It's a good thing, though. When it's messy it means I'm working and that's a good thing. The downside is that it can make it hard for me to find what I want, which slows me down!

Make sure you have a place for everything in your art room and make it a habit to put things away every time. Otherwise you'll have a chaotic place like mine. I use folders for the different projects I'm working on. Makes it so much easier to find what I need right away.

Do you have more questions for Dani?

Tweet her during the month of August using the#MonsterChore2015 hashtag, along with her twitter tag @DaniDuck. Then she's reply back to you as soon as she can! Also download her coloring page Dusting from our Monster Chores Coloring Book! Click Here Now!

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up! The KonMari Method!

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up! The KonMari Method!

I know I know, this post is a day late. I had an feline emergency with my cat. All’s well though.

Anyhow, last week we talked about Self Belief, and Accountability in this Time Management Series. We discussed how Keeping The Faith is important in terms of being accountable. Then we asked ourselves,” When are we going to stop looking for others to make us get up and start creating?” If you missed last week’s post. It’s a great read, and if you need to read it again do it! Self Accountability is one of those things that stop creatives from making art, and allows us to make excuses.

Today’s post is all about tidying, and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up! It’s a book by Marie Kondo, about the Japanese art of de-cluttering and organizing, which is also called the KonMari Method.

So….What is the KonMari Method?

The KonMari method is a system for cleaning, and letting go. Before discovering this book, and experiencing the KonMari Method for myself. I hadn’t realized how holding onto items not only affected my physical environment, but also my inner and emotional one in terms of my future and how I managed my time. In her book, she asks readers to come face to face with the items they own, by running your hands across them. Clothes, Books, Papers, Office Items,etc. You have to lay the items out all at once, and as you go through them, you have to ask this very intimate question. Does it Spark Joy.

If it doesn’t spark Joy. It’s time to let go.

If you don't love it, Let it free! -Marie Kondo

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If the item brings you bad memories, discomfort in any way, or the reflection of I’ll use this someday. It’s time to let it go. You see, before doing this, I hadn’t realized that holding onto my old junk, was keeping me stuck in a past life that no longer served me. Like an old T-Shirt from High School for instance. You enjoyed and loved it then. But how does it make you feel now? Can you still where it? Would you? Does it even fit! If looking at this t-shirt only brings up thoughts like, what was I thinking, or look at the size I was then. It’s time to let it go. It’s subconsciously holding you back from your tomorrow. That shirt was a part of a past life that no longer serves you. You can thank it, for the joy it brought you, and send it off into a better future. Saying thank you is an important part of the process. Wishing it a new future with someone else, or a rebirth of it through recycling.

You see! In order to move towards our future goals, we’ve got to let go of the past. If you’re surrounding yourself with things that only bring up discomforts, hurts, or insecurities. There won’t be any room for the life you want. The core of the KonMari method is to  live in a space with only the things you love. Surrounding yourself with joy! Opening more space in your physical environment, and more space in you inner environment. Leaving you inner space with more room and time for creativity.

Clutter is a physical manifestation of FEAR that cripples our ability to Grow. H.G. Chissell

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So I ask you today, are you living in a past life? If so, it's time to let go and cleanse yourself of that past. As you let go, thank it, then move on. It's time you start living for today and not yesterday. Weather you believe it or not, clutter really tells the tale of what's going on within us. It might be indecision, procrastination, or needing too much stuff to fill a void inside us.  It's all connected! 

Below I’ve provided some resources to get started with the KonMari Method, and feel free to ask me any questions. There is also a great facebook group that I posted below, that can provide help and support. Just be sure to go through the group’s files, for additional resources.

Also before I go, I wanted to mention that you don’t have to do the KonMari all at once. Marie Kondo has created an order in which to clean . You can follow hers, or mix it up. Some people work on a different sections of it each day. While others like myself, do it once a week, until I get through the order. Bonus, most people who do this just do it once. So cleaning house everyday is a thing of the past. Everything will have a home, and as long as you put things back home. It should be a cinch. 

P.S. Don't worry if you can do it. Just start by reading her book, then do it. As you do this, something really magical does happen in your mind. It changes how you view and experience cleaning for the first time ever, and really makes the process of cleaning joyful.

Clutter represents indecisions. Make a decision and clear the clutter! 

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So. Don’t dismiss this, give it a try. 


Purge by Category: The Konmari Order.

  1. Clothing

  2. Books

  3. Papers

  4. Komono: Office/Craft/Studio

  5. Kitchen

  6. Pantry

  7. Utility Room

  8. Kids Room

  9. Bathroom/Laundry Room

  10. Furniture

  11. Animals

  12. Sentimental


The Magic of Tidying Up (Book)

The Magic of Tidying Up (Kindle Edition)

Spark Joy ( Companion Book)

Spark Joy (Companion Kindle Edition)

Facebook Groups

Konmari Adventures

Konmari Checklist

Konmari Adventures Files

Konmari for Slackers

Tips & Other Articles

Folding by, and The Illustrated Guide To The Marie Kondo Folding Method

Don’t Let Your Family See by

Purging the House Can Clear Your Mind by Psychology Today

Lessons Learned by One Kings Lane

Marie Kondo Pinterest Pin Board


Check out past posts from this series! 

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Keep The Faith

Keep The Faith

What does “Keep The Faith mean to you? It’s a phrase that doesn’t suit everyone, but it’s important, no matter how you slice it.

Keep The Faith for me means being connected to source ie God, and taking the necessary steps, risks and all, to be a full time working Artist, and it also means believing, and trusting the decisions I make towards developing my art, and business. Weather or not I fall flat on my face. If I decided to burn my boats. It was my decision, and mine alone.

Beyond that this isn't about me or my beliefs, it’s all about our self belief. Procrastination starts in the mind. You heard it said before, What you think about you become & For whatever a man/women thinketh in his hearth, so is he/she.

So last week we learned how important it is to motivate the mind. This week I’m going to talk about how important it is to have faith in ourselves.

Without it, we live in worry, doubt, disbelief, and we keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again!

In a lot of business channels, we look forward to accountability, and finding others to keep us accountable to our goals. You also may have experienced this in weight loss programs.

I’ve spent many years depending on others to keep me on track, to get me to do the work, for MY goals. Can you belief that! Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in accountability systems. But when is it your time to make yourself accountable for creating and following that schedule you put in place? When are you going to make yourself get up in the morning and take that morning walk? Plus when are you going to tell yourself to get your butt in front of that art, you’ve haven’t been working on in ages? Most importantly when are you going to have faith in yourself? 

Instead, we often make excuses, and use phrases like if only. If only I could make it home before 5. If only I didn’t have to drop so and so off at so and so’s house. The truth is that if we really want something to happen in our lives, we’d do anything in our power to make it happen.. ie.Disclaimer….Legally. just saying...

You see the accountability systems, never seemed to work for me, because there wasn’t a driving force of self belief behind them. I doubted my strengths as an Artist. I compared myself to others, and I felt that I couldn’t do it on my own. You may or may not be experiencing this right now. I’m here to tell you, that you have to believe in yourself, in the circumstance of where you are right now.

I will tell you that the table has turned. When I place an accountability post in one of my business groups. I actually do the task now. I don’t avoid it, or procrastinate, because I now believe and know I can do it. I also back it up with my faith in God. I know, it may not be for everyone, but find some type of faith, to keep you moving, when you are down and out. Something that can lift you up, when you don’t feel like sharing your thoughts with others.

The lesson here today, is that accountability comes from within. Accountability partners, and groups are great to get you on board the wagon. At some point though, you’re going to have to change gears, and head towards new pastures. So it’s going to be up to you, to believe that you can mosey on down that pasture with just you and you alone.

So my question for you today is what’s keeping you from not accomplishing your goals?

Make a list, and then take a double take. 

  • Do any of your reasons place blame? 
  • Do you place some blame on others? 
  • How are you going to move past it? 

If you’re looking to manage your time better. You have to find out what’s in the way. Doing this will allow you to find solutions to move past it.

Check out past posts in this series. 

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Tree Huggers Unite!

Tree Huggers Unite!

I love what manifested on my sketchbook today. So much that I’m going to do a Tree Hunger Collection for my upcoming bookplates.

Bookplates are like mini art prints. That you glue to the front inside pages of your favorite books. They make your books look classy.

Anyhow. I love this drawing. I’m gonna make this one available to my Patron only in my upcoming relaunch of my Patreon.

I’m excited to get to the final step. PAINT! Here I come!

Daily Pick Me Ups!

Daily Pick Me Ups!

Welcome back to It's About Time. The new time management blog series for Artists. Last week in Why Ask Why? We learned the importance of working for something that’s way beyond you. We learned that the best way to beat procrastination is to start by asking ourselves why we wanted to be an Artist in the first place? Then we had to take that further by asking what will it change? How will our lives and our families lives be different if we succeeded on our creative path? The result of that last question is your why? You have everything you need to make it happen, but it starts by recognizes our why. So we can use it to shake us, when we go off the beaten path of our dreams.

So today, I want to focus on developing ways to chisel through the tough days. Our why may have gotten us up in the morning, but now we’re taking our own good time to get started. This just means that we’ve got start carving out the right mindset to get us going.

To do this you’ve got to flood your mind and your heart with Opportunity. A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. When I’m in a funk, I’ll start by listening to one of my favorite podcasts, or turning to YouTube for some motivational vibes. Exercise also livens your us with positive vibes. While Meditation and Prayer clears us of negative energy.

I love what the motivational speaker Les Brown says “Control the Spirit of your day.” This starts by looking at what you're reading, what you're listening to, and how you’re responding to life. If you’re in the belief your thoughts become things. Whatever you put in, is what will get put out. Which is why we must be thoughtful and mindful of the experiences around us. If you read books that inspire you, you will be inspired. If you listen to music that gives you a certain uplift, you will be uplifted.

Then on the other note. How are you responding to criticism, gossipers, or haters? I you getting angry at them, or are you shifting that angry and transforming it into motivation! It’s like the saying misery loves company. Is all your energy going into being the perfect house-guest to your haters. Instead, use that anger, to show them what you’re made of.

Last I want you to find 3 motivational mentors that speak to your heart.

  • Go online or head to the library, and start searching for inspiration quotes, texts, audio, motivational speakers. See who or what contexts with your heart.
  • Then use the first 20 minutes of your day to .Control The Spirit Of Your Day. I’m telling you. Try it for 10-15 days, and see how your mood, attitude and actions change. Also while you’re doing that each day, and don’t forget to express gratitude. Also please notes, that these examples may not be for everyone. It's up to you to find what floats your boat...

To help you get started. I’ve provided some links to my daily pick me ups that I’ve used in the past and the present.


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The Blank Canvas by Anna Held Audette

Daily Painting by Carol Marine

I Just Like to Make Things by Lilla Rogers

I also keep an Art Library for inspiration. So books from special exhibitions I’ve seen at museums, children’s picture books, and books of images from my favorite artists. Start making your own library. So when you feel uninspired, you can look at images in these books to kickstart something inside for you


Being Boss

The Paper Wings Podcast

My Thought Coach

Meditation Station

YouTube Channels:

Elliot Hulse

Eric Thomas

Infinite Waters Diving Deep

Kirk Nugent

Ping Pong Studios

Ted/Mel Robbins

Les Brown

Dear Hard Work

Your mind is a battleground

How bad do you want it!

The Moment of truth

How to be a lion amongst sheep

Counting Stars

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Check out past posts from this series! :

9.22.2015 : Why Ask Why