Why Ask Why?

Why Ask Why?

I’m excited to introduce this new series on Time Management Strategies for Artists. It’s About Time! The series will take place over the next three months in three parts. 

  • In part one, we're going look at how our mindset affects our effort, and how to make improvements.
  • In part two, we're going to take action with morning routines, agendas, and boundaries! 
  • Then later in Part three, I'll share some tools and systems that I use to stay productive. 

Now let's get going! 

Today we’re going to dive into who’s driving procrastination, and why you’re still sitting in the back seat. After leaving my day job. It became really apparent to me, that if I wanted to make a living doing what I love. I had to start changing some habits that were preventing me from moving forward. Habits like sleeping in, surfing the web, and my Netflix marathons. So I started by getting super serious. You know. No pain, No Gain!

I set my alarm clock to 6 am, set a schedule, and I had a plan. Great! I’m on my way! Until week 3 came around, and I started sinking. I began hitting the snooze button a little more, adding 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and even an hour to my sleep time. It was a comedy! Then my schedule fell apart, between the long breaks I started to take during my work time. T.V. started to slowly slip it’s way back into my life. Next I found myself taking days off, or saying things like. Oh...I’ll do that tomorrow...then tomorrow never came. Tasks piled up, and I got really overwhelmed. So much that I felt like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

Why did this happen. I had a plan dammit !

I can do this!

What’s wrong with me!

People are depending on me to get this right!

That was it. That last response. People are depending on me to get it right. I had made tons of plans, but I forgot my Why.

In all my planning I hadn’t dug deep into why I wanted this? and I’m not just talking about why I wanted to make art and why it means so much to me. It’s deeper than that. I’m talking about, if I do this successfully, how will it change my life? and How will it change my families life?

To start. I could pay my bills, contribute more money to the household. I could travel more. I wouldn’t have to always head to the clearance side of the store when I went shopping for clothes anymore. I could go to my studio every single day without worrying about how much gas prices were or wait for a sale. I could give contributions to an organization I care about that I know is struggling. If one of my tires goes flat. I could replace it with a new one, just like that! Or if my car brakes down. I could take it to the shop that day to get it fixed, even better I could walk right on the car lot and pick a new one out..You get the point.

Buddha said. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I believe that starts with our personal world first. In order to effect change. We have to become it. We start by developing our why. Your why is way beyond you and your dreams. It’s the reason that will shake you in the morning to get up to do the work. Even when you tired, defeated or stressed out. Your why is the the switch that’ll help you keep climbing your mountain or better yet...move it out of your way!

So before we can move on to those routines, goals, and strategies. You’ve got to discover your why. We all have one, and if you’re committed to being more productive and managing your time better. You have to start here. Your why will remind you every single time, why you need to do this. Your why will get you re-focused on your goals when you slip back into your old habits. Your why will put you behind the wheel of your goals, and the change you want to see in the world.

Start today by taking a moment to answer these 4 questions, and feel free to post your comments or responses below. Be back next Tuesday! 

  • Why do I want to make art or make a living from it?
  • What 20 things will change in my life if I become successful at doing what I love?
  • How will my actions effect change in the life’s of others and the people I care about the most!
  • What’s your why?

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Check Out This Month’s Monster Chores Artist Interview with Kim MacPherson!

Check Out This Month’s Monster Chores Artist Interview with Kim MacPherson!

Welcome Kim, from KidLitDish! A popular blog among Children's Book Illustrators and Authors! 



Twitter: @KidLitDish


1. ​What is the inspiration behind your Art? 

Children’s books!! And GREAT children’s illustrators! When I was a little girl,  I was obsessed with the original Golden Book of Fairy Tales, sumptuously illustrated by Adrienne Segur (who I just looked up while doing this interview--anyone can check out a web site dedicated to her work here: http://www.artpassions.net/segur/segur.html).

Anyway, it’s that combination of beautiful artwork and child-friendliness that just makes my heart sing. When I see it, it literally makes me melt and I am desperate to create art like that. It’s the use of color and texture and composition… all of it, really… that can make the difference (for me) between a ho-hum illustration and one that truly inspires.

Current illustrators that come to mind that I adore are Jana Christy (janachristy.com), Patrice Barton (have you seen Sweet Moon Baby? Gorgeous! patricebarton.com), Lee White (leewhiteillustration.com), Carlyn Beccia (carlynbeccia.com), Masako Kubo (http://www.masakokubo.co.uk/illustration/books/)... the list goes on. If I’m feeling squirrely and “un-artsy” (it can happen!), all I have to do is go to my Pinterest page dedicated to my favorite illustrators and I am filled with inspiration.

2. 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, like my studio/office represents, I work a bit haphazardly. Illustration isn’t my only “must-do”... I do work part-time as an editor for an educational company. I edit exams and coursework, which isn’t the most thrilling thing, but there IS something about using the left side of my brain that makes the right side of my brain light on fire.

So when I’m done with THAT work, I usually sketch (actually, sometimes when I’m on conference calls discussing dry material, I sketch and/or doodle! Some of the things I’ve attached here--Miss Octopus, for example--are results of those work meeting doodlings!)

Somewhere in between there, I write. I have written several picture books and am currently working on a middle grade novel. I have an agent who has been marketing one of my picture books to publishers far and wide. We hope to land one soon! In the meantime, I jump around between editing (for money), and writing and illustrating (for love… ‘cuz so far there ain’t no money there!)... and, most recently, painting. Because I paint so loosely (with a palette knife and acrylic, mostly), it tends to loosen me up for illustrating… and there is something about painting that I adore. It just puts me in a dreamlike state.

For this hummingbird one that is a work-in-progress, I started with this loose sketch that I’ve attached and a few thumbnails to get the composition down. However, after putting down several layers, I’m still not happy with the composition now that it’s in color, so I plan to add some more depth/abstract details in order to finish it.

For my illustrations, I work pretty much the same way. Rough sketches to get me going… then thumbnails to create a composition that I like… then get it down on paper. I usually then scan the paper and fine-tune it and color it digitally. However, for this next set of illos that I’m doing, I’d like to try and finish them offline, on paper, using some mixed media combination (watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencils is what I have in mind). I’ll let you know how that goes!

3. Do you also write children's books?

Yes, I do write. In fact, when I first started focusing on doing this, I had been a marketing writer for a number of years, but had always wanted to write novels. I started several grown-up novels over the years, but nothing really made my heart stay with it. (I am a notorious “un-finisher” by nature, anyway!) Then, when I had my son 11 years ago, and began re-exploring picture books because I was reading so many to him, I rediscovered my LOVE and heart-melting ness (I know that’s not a word!) of the words and art in picture books. I set forth to get better and better at both crafts and that’s where my heart has been the last 3+ years.

By the way, drawing was something I did through my childhood and teen years and even early college, but I eschewed “art” because it didn’t feel practical at the time (I know, I know - a big regret now, but it’s the journey I needed to take).

4. What is your favorite medium for illustrating for children?

As far as LOOKING, I love watercolor illustrators. Their work is so luscious--usually loose and light and, well, watery! Love, love, love it. But I have never been good with watercolors myself… I am working towards getting better because I do love the look so much. I am much better with acrylics and colored pencils. So I focus on coloring digitally for now, which leads me to…

5. Do you create digital illustrations? If so, what do you enjoy about it? What tools to you use to make them? (Software/Programs/Devices,etc)

Yes, I have done everything from rough sketches to finished illustrations in Photoshop. I used to have a Wacom bamboo, but I gave it to my 12 year old niece (a very good artist in her own right) when my husband bought me a Cintiq for my birthday this past May. I admit I’m still getting used to that wonderful tool, plus it has been an insane summer, so I haven’t spent much time on it. My goal is to grow my portfolio with some digital illustrations.

Another goal is to get to know Corel Paint! I have dabbled with it before, and I’ve always been so amazed at how it feels so much like “real” painting… but it’s also quite daunting to go through. HUGE learning curve, I think. I need to hire a pro to teach me!

I do love coloring digitally, though, because I can experiment so much and get rid of layers I don’t like… it kind of frees me up. I truly become so frightened when I’m creating something on paper that it completely paralyzes me to work on it sometimes. That’s another reason I paint in acrylic--I can paint over things I don’t like! Watercolor isn’t as forgiving, or so it seems to me. I hate starting over… especially when I’m on a roll. So digital work does take away some of that angst that keeps me from taking the next step forward on things.

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

Yes, and I think mainly for the experience and the actual DEADLINES (I love deadlines) to take a project from start to completion. As a former marketer, I used to be incredibly deadline-driven. As I work more and more with my writing and drawing, I’ve become so much more loosey-goosey, which isn’t really good when it comes to actually coming up with a finished product! So having a project to work with that has a real deadline--where I can work on improving my skills--would be a bonus to me!

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

Ugh. My work-space. It’s always in some form of disarray and discombobulation. Every now and again, I try to make it organized, but it’s just not “me.” It’s not how I work. I actually know where everything is and that seems to work. It’s really the only room in the house that’s OVERTLY disorganized. The rest of our rooms always look pretty neat and tidy… but behind the scenes? Look out!

I would say that artists need to work within environments that suit them best. While I can’t live in a messy house, for some reason, I can work in a messy studio/office. If it works for you, go with it!

Do you have more questions for Kim?

Tweet her during the month of August using the#MonsterChores2015 hashtag, along with her twitter tag @KidLitDish. Then she's reply back to you as soon as she can! Also download her coloring page Take Out The Garbage from our Monster Chores Coloring Book! Click Here To Get It Now!

Leila Nabih

Leila Nabih

Leila Nabih

Website , Portfolio and Blog Address: http://leilanabih. com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook. com/LeilaNabihIllustrations

Twitter: @LN_Illustration

1. What is the inspiration for your art?

Images. Just beautiful imagery. It can be an illustration, it can be a photograph, it can be something I see that I will capture with my mind, it can be something I saw in a dream. It can be a beautifully written story. It can be anything really, as long as it speaks to me and resonates with who I am.

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

As with almost every other artist i know, it's the fact that I'm told regularly that I've got skills that others don't have. When someone actually comments on one of my artworks or asks me to illustrate something for them, I am flattered. I am very self critical when it comes to my illustrations so when someone gives me a compliment, it always surprises me. And of course it helps with my confidence issues.

Trying to get to know one of the characters in a new book project. Sketching away. This was work in progress in January 2015

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?

Creating is somewhat therapeutic for me. Every time I get into an illustration, the external world takes a step back. It’s addictive. I forget the troubles of the world and just focus on creation and birth of a new illustration. Of course I do get the moments when I am not satisfied with my work and I get frustrated and angry and think that I am really not skilled at all and all that (it’s normal to feel this way every once in a while), so I take a break, and after an hour or two, I just forget the previous experience, start fresh on a blank piece of paper and let my pencil wander until I love what I see on my paper. And that’s it. I’m happy and all fluffy inside again.

For the Monster Chores illustration I started with pencil on paper in my usual sketchbook. I had fun with the creatures for a while before I settled on this octopus with horns. Then I created his environment emphasizing his clumsiness. When I was happy with the result, Ii reproduce it digitally. I had to simplify it in the end because I just found it too busy for children from 0-5 yo. But here is the original illustration for your eyes only.

4. What are your favorite art products ? 

I love ProMarkers. I find that they blend well together, a bit like watercolors. But I have a tendency currently to choose to color digitally instead of using traditional media. However for fun, I would go to them. Especially if it is something I'd like to hang in my house.

5. Have you illustrated books for Kindle or iBooks? If so, how is it different than illustrating for traditional books? What was the learning process? What tools or software made it easier?

I haven't illustrated any books for Kindle, but I have one short poetry book on iBooks. I wouldn't know if there are any differences between these two. However I am an avid user of Blurb (www.blurb.com) and have published several books with them for individual authors. They mostly do print books and have recently added the option of making ebooks to sell online on their site and on amazon.com, and I am very pleased with the outcomes. I would recommend them to any self-starting author/illustrator to help them hone their skills and prepare their portfolio. Blurb has their own software which I find very user friendly.

6. What is your favorite medium for illustrating for children?

I love paper and pencil. None of my illustrations start anywhere else. Sometimes I am just happy to finish off an illustration with pencil and move on to something else. I have tried so many different mediums. I have tried watercolor paint and watercolor pencils, acrylics, inks, chalk pastels, oil pastels, coloring pencils, markers, collage but I have never been able to be happy with the results of my illustration unless I finish them digitally. I still try occasionally to develop my skills with markers or pastels, just because I love the handmade feel of the whole process, and if its for personal wall art only. But if I have to publish this art for a book, I go to digital.

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

In all cases, I always start with pen on paper. I doodle and sketch until I am happy with the composition, the emotion purveyed and the overall feel of the work.

The only times when I create digital art are those times when I am commissioned a piece that I will license for a product. I use a vector based software because I like the idea of being able to scale the illustrations as desired without loosing the quality of the drawing. It's the same process I used to make the Monster Chores Illustration that you can find in the free downloadable book. I drew the monsters and the composition in my sketchbook, took a picture of the final drawing and using layers, reproduced it using vector lines.

I am currently developing my skills, and can't really invest in a Cintiq tablet or anything costly so I am using my iPad as my main tool for digital art. Its important for me that I can see what Ii am drawing under the palm of my hand. I use a software called iDraw for vector based illustrations, ArtRage for more painterly illos and sometimes procreate for digital collage. Sometimes, I might go to photoshop or Illustrator to do my work, but I am not a big fan of these two software's.

8. What is your favorite children's book and why?

I love "Alice in Wonderland" for its magical spin and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" for exactly the same reason. Two classics that will never go old. They start in the real world and gradually merge with the magical until they return to the reality of things again. And of course , you can always count me in the group of biggest fans of Beatrix Potter and her stories. What I love about her is her journey and learning how her characters came alive.

9. What children's book illustrators are you most inspired by?

That's a tough question. I love so many of them. Amongst the famous I can mention Beatrix Potter, Sarah Kay and Quentin Blake despite the fact that their style is very different. But there are so many more out there. I recently discovered Kelly Murphy and Isabelle Kessedjian. Again two very different but equally gifted illustrators.

10. How do people react when you tell them you are a children's book author or when you say you're an Artist?

They are amazed and ask me what I have published so far, then go on asking me if I can make an illustration for them. It's very flattering and I usually agree to it as long as it is a very simple illustration. After all its very good self promotion when your fans feel like they own a little piece of you that is just for them.

11. What one children's book do you WISH you could have illustrated?

Again, tough question to answer. There are so many. But if I had to pick one I would illustrate in the future, it would be one of Charles Perrault stories.

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

Yes I am open to working with self-published children's book authors being a self published author myself. I do understand them in a certain way and can relate to them wanting to publish a story they have written. It's like leaving something concrete of yourself behind, be it a fictional story or a real life one. Once we've agreed on prices and deadlines, and everything is in order then we can proceed. Its the only demand I have to work with such projects.

13. Have you always wanted to be a children's book illustrator, if not, when did you decide this was something you wanted to do?

I’m a Walt Disney child at heart. I grew up with its cartoons and animated movies, so naturally as I got older, my dream was to make cartoons and animated movies. However, society imposed its materialistic beliefs on me and I forgoed my dream for a regular 9-5 career. I’ll spare you the details. 2013 was a very important year for me as I decided to pursue a career in illustration and children’s books and let go of everything else.

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

Draw everyday. Draw anything. Paper and pencil, or iPad, or tablet, or computer and mouse, or anything tool you like is fine as long as you are having fun doing it. I recently learned online via an agent who provides inspiration and courses to artists that "people buy your joy". So if you are drawing whilst being inspired and having fun, it will show in your work and people will encourage you to pursue that dream of yours.

15. 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 wouldn't know what to tell them. I'm a recent mum myself so will be looking for this advice very soon.

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

I feel that with the internet, the industry has opened up for artists like myself. In my younger age, we didn't have the internet, and trying to make a living out of illustrations or making art seemed almost impossible. We have access to more resources and more opportunities. Networking got easier, reaching out to family, friends and potential fans has also become easier via the use of websites, blogs and social media platforms like twitter, Facebook and Instagram for example.

17. How long have you been illustrating children's book and will you ever stop?

I've started working on my new illustrative career in 2013 after i got made redundant from my corporate job. It was at that time that i really wanted to give my interest and passion for illustration a serious go. I enrolled into university for a diploma in Children Illustrations and I haven't stopped learning since. I draw everyday, be it a sketch or finishing up a piece I am working on. I participate to many challenges online and on Facebook to help me source themes via daily or weekly prompts. So far, its been challenging but a rewarding couple of years too and I have absolutely no intentions to stop (except maybe for a couple of months after my baby is born).

18. What inspired you to become an Artist and when did you first realize that you wanted to do children's illustrations?

I have a billion gazillion stories to tell. I have a bursting imagination that I cannot contain. I don't know if it is a blessing or a curse.... For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to tell magical stories and capture the imagination and minds of children. Consequently, I chose, not only to write these down , but also to illustrate them.

19. Do you make art on commission? What? and what is your process? 

Yes I do take commissions. I usually have a brief email exchange with my clients where I inform of time frames, and prices, I send them a standard contract with the terms and conditions before setting up a Skype call and discussing the particularities of a project. Of course, I remain reachable at all times should they need me to.

20. What is your favorite affirmation or quote and why?

"Impossible n'est pas français" from Napoléon 1st. I truly believe nothing is impossible as long as you set your mind to achieving it. And yes, I am French !

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

I change set-up all the time, depending on my mood and my needs. I'm currently relocating however so my studio is all packed up in boxes ready to go. But I used to have it place in the Mezzanine where I stored all my supplies and where I occasionally did some work. I also used the dining table, the sofa or a spare desk at my husband's office. Its where inspiration finds me that counts. At home or in a cafe outside or anywhere else for that matter. I always carry a sketchbook with me and my iPad should I wish to interact with my fans whilst I am on the move. Here are a few pictures I took in 2014.

22. What other talents do you share with the world?

I sew, I cook, I take pictures. I am a problem solver by definition and i strive to be a source of inspiration for my family, friends and fans.

Do you have more questions for Leila?

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

Jennifer “Scraps” Vanderbeek

Jennifer “Scraps” Vanderbeek


June Spotlight!

Meet  Jennifer "Scraps" Vanderbeek

Blog: http://www.scrapsoflife.com

Portfolio website: http://www.jennifervanderbeek.com

I'm so happy this month to introduce you to Jennifer “Scraps” Vanderbeek (nee Walker) from Scraps of Life. Jennifer says that she is a bookkeeper by day and a Writer and Artist by life. In this interview you'll surely be inspired by her path as an Artist, and the many other hats she's worn in life. Enjoy!



1. Have you always wanted to be a children's book illustrator?

Back in high school I actually dreamed of being a designer for Boyd's Bears. I still have some very old and dusty mock-ups of themed bears in that vein somewhere in my cluttered office. But from the years I spent producing a multiple-update-a-week webcomic, my style has developed as a somewhat cartoonish figure work that lends itself best, I think, to works for kids.

2. What was the moment or event that inspired you to become an artist or a children's illustrator?

Like a lot of artists, I've always been interested in art and exercising my creativity but, growing up, art wasn't really considered a responsible career choice, so I was looking at business or law or something more reliable. I sort of stumbled into bookkeeping and I was good at it, so that's what I've been doing for pretty much my entire adult life, dabbling in this or that as time allowed.

In the early 00s, though, I found out about webcomics--comic strips on the web instead of in books or in newspapers--and I was impressed with the wide variety of stories, styles, and creators represented. So, in 2007 I launched my own webcomic--pretty much learning and improving as I went along, the first updates were pretty rough--which led to a second, inventing Character Cocktails (personality-based cocktails presented as pop art) and then to writing and illustrating What to Feed Your Raiding Party, the comic book cookbook for gamers (bringing my Culinary degree into play). More books are in the works, but I still do commission work and I love to work with new authors and small brands, giving visuals to their visions.

3. Can you tell us a little about your creative process?

I tend to do a lot of pre-planning in my head, letting ideas tumble around in the back of my mind while I do other things, so that I when I sit down to work I'm not spinning my wheels with a lot of rough drafts. It's kinda like those Minority Report holographic boards in my head, only it's an art desk instead of police files! When I'm working on my own projects, I start with a theme or title or inspiration word and let things spin out from there. When I work with clients, though, I like to find out not just what they think they want, but how they're planning to use the illustrator and what their goals for their project are--often that gives my intuition a chance to put in its two cents and come up with a visual solution that improves upon the original request.

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

Ever since my first apartment on my own, my home office/studio/craft room has been called The Abyss. Currently the Abyss is located in what would have been the back parlor of a Folk Victorian home my husband and I bought last year. It's crammed full with all sorts of art supplies, my doll collection, my desks and my sewing table. Thank goodness for high ceilings, otherwise it might be a bit oppressive!

While I will clean and organize when I'm faced with a particularly pesky problem, chaos often reigns in the Abyss (and right now, as I type this, is no exception). But it's okay, I thrive in a little bit of creative chaos, different projects spread out on different surfaces, and being surrounded by so many materials with so much possibility makes me happy. Since everyone works differently, I can only tell you what works for me:

*A little bit of chaos

*Streaming movies or tv shows to keep the quiet at bay (quiet distracts me)

*A second monitor so I can work on one and look up things on the other when I hit a technological snag

5. Do you create digital illustrations? If so, what do you enjoy about it? What tools to you use to make them? (Software/Programs/Devices,etc)

These days there's a digital element to almost all of my illustrations. I usually start out with a pencil sketch and then bring it into Photoshop or Illustrator (depends on the end use of the illustration as to which is better). Sometimes I'll clean things up in the program then print out a blueline version to ink it by hand before scanning again, other times I'll recreate the linework directly in Illustrator.

My favorite thing about working digitally is how much faster it makes things! For instance, I've got a commission right now that involves caricatures of 5 people and I was presenting 3 different sketches. While I certainly could draw the 5 faces three times each, I saved time by sketching the basic layouts then doing one group of the heads, and spliced them all together in Photoshop to present to my client. The more efficiency I can bring into my illustration work, the more I can accomplish for my clients and for myself. I think I like that even better than the Undo tool!

6. Earlier you mentioned that you’ve worked on commission. Can you tell us about that process?

Yes, definitely. I meet with the client usually through email but we can also Skype or chat on the phone, whichever they best prefer. Either way, I like to find out what they're looking for and what the overall goal for their project is and how I can help them achieve it. Often I'll ask them to send me links to things they like or want to have a similar feel to their project--not only does this give me a good idea of how to help, it also lets me know if I can do what they need early on.

Once we've decided to work together and have a signed contract, I work up some rough sketches--up to 3 options, though sometimes requests are specific enough to get the point across in one--and get feedback and make any changes before starting on the final art. There's a lot of emailing back and forth as sketches are being developed and questions arise, and then I deliver the files using Hightail (formerly YouSendIt) to prevent attachments getting hung up in email servers.

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

Oh, absolutely! I love emerging authors, no matter what age group they write for, and really love collaborating on images that bring their stories to life. Since I got started in comics and self-publishing is pretty common in that sphere, I'm so glad that self-publishing among other genres and markets is losing a lot of the stigma from the vanity press days. I also have a somewhat unique perspective when it comes to illustrating for print, as I've spent the last 21 years working at a commercial print shop and have watched the industry change from piecing together film on light tables to digital prepress methods, absorbing it all and storing it away for future use.

8. What children's book illustrators are you most inspired by?

Again, Maurice Sendak is amazing, and I also love Mary Blair--she did a lot of scene painting and illustrated books for Disney and her work is just amazing.

9. What is your FAVORITE children's book and why?

I grew up on Little Golden Books and Dr. Seuss, they will always have a special place in my heart for nostalgia if nothing else. But Maurice Sendak's art in the classic Little Bear books is probably my favorite because of the sketchy quality of the linework and the more muted color palette. (I never was a big fan bright primary colors.) I was also fond of the interactive books. We had one, in particular, that I found fascinating--Bruce's Loose Tooth--because it had a cord running all the way through the book. I still love books with an interactive element (like the Griffin and Sabine books).

10. Care to share some of your works in progress?

I have a strict rule never to show a client's work before they have a chance to, so I've included some finished projects instead, both traditionally drawn, digitally drawn, and even one of my mixed media canvases.

11. Which of your illustrations are you the most proud of, and why?

A couple years ago a long-time client asked me to design a board game for her and her business partner. It was a big project, required me to take a self-taught crash course in Illustrator to give her the results she wanted, and had a super-tight turnaround. I had a convention appearance (selling my book) in the midst of the project, so set up a mobile work station in the passenger seat of my car (my husband was driving) with a lap desk, my laptop, and my graphics tablet and made file changes between Tallahassee and Jacksonville. Not only do I love the way the game actually looks, I'm super-proud of myself for getting it done on time with minimal fuss.

12. What children's book illustrators are you most inspired by?

Again, Maurice Sendak is amazing, and I also love Mary Blair--she did a lot of scene painting and illustrated books for Disney and her work is just amazing.

13. 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?

Get the best tools you can, practice every moment you can, and just keep trying. In comics they say that it takes 10,000 panels to really master your art. That's a lot, but it's not impossible. Observe, take a class if you can, but draw what you see and go from there.

14. What is your favorite affirmation or quote and why?

"Keep moving forward" from Meet the Robinsons. Through tough times in my life I've always had the mantra of "I will survive, failure is not an option" and this is just a nicer way to say it. It's important that, no matter what life throws at us, no matter what mistakes we make along the way, we keep trudging along and putting one foot in front of the other.

Wow! What an awesome interview. I'm inspired. I hope you were to! If you have anymore questions for Jennifer. Just Tweet her during the month of June using the #MonsterChore2015 hashtag, along with her twitter tag @scrapsoflife Then she'll reply back to you as soon as she can!

Lezette Markham

Lezette Markham

May Spotlight!

Meet Lezette Markham!

Website: http://simplyartworld.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Lezettedesigns

Instagram: https://instagram.com/simplyartoc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimplyArt_Us

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+LezetteMSimplyArt

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/simply_art

This month I've got a great interview for you, along with a big surprise giveaway from this Month's Monster Chores Artist Lezette Markham. Lezette is an Artist and creative entrepreneur.

Lezette's business SimplyArt is a creative tool she uses to help people  Live Life Artfully! With this tool, she shares her art and creative process through workshops, consultations, and tutorials. All in the hopes to help others enjoy a creative life. So... what are you waiting for. This interview is full of goodies! Enjoy!

1. What inspires your works of art?

I find Latin Art and culture to be one of the largest inspirations behind my art. The vibrant earth and gem colors light my soul up and bold patterns and layouts speak to my sensibilities. I enjoy the child-like nature of Mexican folk art because it's important to me to express yourself with a child-like heart.

2. Why is making art important to you?

I've known for as long as I could remember that I was meant to make beautiful things and inspire others to be happy and share their gifts. My work is the medium to accomplish this life passion.

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

It surprises me how vulnerable I feel every time I share my content with the world. No matter how many times I put myself and my work out there, I still get butterflies in my tummy. It's always worth it when I start to see the feedback come in saying I inspire creativity, joy and confidence in artists and non artists alike.

4. Can you tell us a little about your creative process?

I take great care in my environment, lighting candles, being aware of my air quality and lighting. I surround myself with beautiful and inspiring objects and I always keep water near by. Once I feel at ease with my surroundings, I allow my mind and hand to work together to create without judgement. I avoid using erasers while in my idea phase as it has the tendency to stifle my creativity. Color comes to me intuitively and I embrace making mistakes both with color and layout because sometimes the strangest combos can work perfectly.

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

I've worked in very small spaces throughout my creative career and because of this space limitation I've learned to use vertical space and only keep useful and beautiful items around me. I would encourage any artist to pare down and only keep items they use or that inspire them. You can see a video of my art space here or click below: bit.ly/1EdKd21

6. What are you currently working on?

The BeforeSketchFairy was a work in progress pic from my online workshop: http://simplyartworld.com products/a-fall-dream-pumpkin- wishes-mixed-media-workshop/ It's included in the World Membership one of your lucky community members will win.

7. Do you have a favorite affirmation or quote that can inspire us?

Live Life Artfully is my manifesto. It reminds me to slow down and mindfully live my life with joy, beauty and laughter.

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

I help heart centered entrepreneurs share their products and services with the world online. I use my Graphic Design, Web Design and marketing knowledge to create digital environments that artists can thrive in.

I've got a big surprise for you! This month's monster chore giveaway is a Free 3 Month Membership to Lezette's World Membership! It is a massive content whirl of free consults, tutorials, and workshops created by Lezette, to live your life artfully!

This membership is for you if you:

♥ You crave a child like energy in your life.
♥ You need a heart centered and creative business women in your circle.
♥ You yearn for a creative outlet to bring balance to your life.

To Enter >>>>> Just Click Here To Download our Free Monster Chore Coloring Book! By doing this you'll get to grab a free copy of Lezette's coloring page titled "Walk The Dog," and we'll automatically add your name in our monthly drawing!

Do you have more questions for Lezette! Tweet her during the month of May using the #MonsterChore2015 hashtag, along with her twitter tag @SimplyArt_Us. Then she'll reply back to you as soon as she can!

Telaina Muir

Telaina Muir

April Spotlight!

Meet Telaina Muir!

twitter: @TelainaMuir

website: http://www. impandthestoryteller.com

Hi everyone, this month, I've got a really great interview for you from Telaina Muir, an Alaskan who's is an Artist, Illustrator, and a contributor to our Monster Chores Coloring Book. She's got a lot to share about being an illustrator, along with her favorite tools and tips in the studio.

1. What inspired you to become children’s book illustrator?

When I knew I wanted to be a children’s book writer and illustrator,  it was something that had been coming on slowly for a long time. I was an artist, I loved to write, I read children’s books constantly, and I have a family of voracious readers who don’t hesitate to steal books from other family members. I have always jotting down story ideas. Actually believing I could write and illustrate, and taking steps to improve my craft to get published has just been the next step.

2. How do people react when you tell them you are a children’s book writer or when you say you are an artist?

It took me a long time to tell people that I was a writer and artist. Because I am pre-published I felt like I had no right to claim that as an occupation. But I still worked hard to improve my craft, and some of that is because I started telling people that is what I do. Their reaction is usually positive. Most of the time I get “I wish I could draw,” and I tell people that they can too. That’s why I have dedicated my website to making easy free art lessons where people can get inspired to draw. Learning how to draw is just about putting pencil to paper on a regular basis. Most people, even if they don’t plan on making it a career, find it very rewarding to draw.

3. What inspires your art?

I get inspired by little things. By Italian kale at the grocery store, or lichen growing on a birch tree, or something funny that my children have said. I live in Alaska where I am surrounded by amazing wildlife and landscapes, and amazing people. It’s hard to decide what to work on compared to the amount of inspiration around me.

I also love quirky fun, uplifting, intriguing stories. Ones that make you laugh, but also make you think (a little bit). I also have a disabled sister, and compassion is a bit part of my life. I love to see supportive encouraging environments, and even if I cannot create perfect worlds for my characters, I love to show that there is someone or something there cheering them on.

4. What are you currently working on?

I am working on a picture book dummy at the moment where the main character is visually impaired. The story focus on how she interacts to a brewing storm, and she becomes the heroine in the story when the storm hits its peak. But I do not mention in any way the fact that she is blind, except in the last line. Instead I let the readers sense what she senses, and feel what she is feeling. (sorry not pics., still a work in progress)

I am also working on a middle grade novel (which I plan to illustrate as well) where a quiet, but feisty 12 year old stumbles into a scavenger hunt that she thinks was planned by her family. Clues self destruct, and she has to deliver a package that smells like dirty gym socks, while her former friend tags along to add to the confusion. Then she realizes her family didn’t plan the scavenger hunt, but it might be too late to stop!

I am also working on beefing up my portfolio and also experimenting with digital coloring in GIMP, a great program that is free!

I love experimenting with line, and creating a story in all my illustrations.

And I admit, I love trees. I also love creating illustrations that keep you looking. I love all the detail in the birch trees behind, but it took a long time to add every line and dot. It was worth it.

Now I am slowing coloring it digitally, but I still plan to go back and paint it with watercolor.

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

Most of the time my workspace is wherever I am most comfortable at the time. I blast music and sit on the floor if I am working on a particular illustration, or at my desk. Because we have three kids and a large dog in the house I am grateful to have a space where my art is safe (the corner of my bedroom). I am a typical messy creative type, but when it comes to my art I need things clean and left alone. Even my dog has learned that when I am “working,” not to nudge me. I guess he got used to me asking him to settle, and now that’s what he automatically does. I also work in a lot of different mediums. I paint in watercolor, pastel, marker, and acrylic, and love building things with wood and that determines where I work. Sometimes the best place is on the floor or in the garage, and sometimes I love to sit at my desk and get some drawing or painting done.

My advice for other artist in making their workspace more efficient is to make sure they are comfortable and that things are easy to access, and put away. If it isn’t easy, I’m not doing it. If it isn’t working, change things up!

6. What are some of your favorite art supplies & products?

Gator boards- they are light and sturdy, come in lots of sizes, and are easy to use.

Schmincke Horadam Water Color Paints- the colors are rich and smooth, and one tube will last you forever!

Prismacolor Col-Erase Pencils- any color- they are great to sketch and play in, and go on the paper smoothly.

Prismacolor Col-Erase Non-Photo Blue Pencils- I can sketch, and mess up as much as I want, ink in the drawing, and scan without the pencil marks scanning into the computer, and it is also easy to paint over.

Ticonderonda Pencils- sturdy, and cheap.

Bristol Board Paper- It can hold up to some watercolor painting, and handles markers, and inking well.

Micron Pens- They come in a lot of different styles and sizes. love them for their quality and water resistant, although I am conservative when it comes to painting over ink.

GIMP-Free image manipulation software

INKSCAPE- ditto, though I don’t know enough to tell the difference. They do different things.

7.  What children’s book illustrators are you most inspired by?

I am inspired by Mark Crilley, Chris Ridell, Toni DiTerlizzi, and so many more that I can’t list them all.

8. What is your favorite quotes or affirmations ?

Honestly, I don’t have one specific quote. I do believe in being positive and having fun, so I guess I’ll have to quote my daughter.

“When we fart, the gas goes up into the atmosphere. When we die, our spirits floats up and passes through it.”

It’s not a saying to live by, but it makes you think.

Download Telaina's Monster Chore Coloring Page!

After you download Telaina's Monster Chore Page you will also be entered into a drawing to win a Free $25 Gift Card from Michaels Arts & Crafts! Plus you will be added to my paint is thicker than water newsletter. Winners will be announced in our monster chore email at the end of the month.  


Do you have more questions for Telaina! Tweet her during the month of April using the #MonsterChore2015 hashtag, along with her twitter tag  @TelainaMuir. Then she's reply back to you as soon as she can!

Teresa MI Schaefer

Teresa MI Schaefer

March Spotlight!

Meet Teresa MI Schaefer!

Teresa is a Chestertown, Maryland Artist, Licensed Psychologist, Gardner, Reader, Writer, and Lover of Life. Who calls herself a becomer,  which she defines as a new writer working to become a great writer. I know you'll love what she has to share in this awesome interview!

1. How did you get started in Art & Illustration?

I got started in Illustration/Art when I was very young. I had a very craft-oriented grandmother who provided me with all kinds of opportunities to create. In elementary school, I was often asked by teachers to design their bulletin board, create posters, or paint backdrops for   school plays. I have continued to stay involved with creative endeavors throughout my life. My very best friend from middle school went on to get a degree in art and now has a very successful business in graphic arts. Despite having a great deal of positive attention about my work, I think there was a bit of a confidence thing that held me back. I’m over that now. In fact, I am so over that that this past December, I launched the first annual Christmas Coloring Countdown (#ChristmasColoringCountdown). For the each of the 24 days of advent, I posted a coloring image on my website and then broadcast it through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+. The idea was to provide me a way to stay busy while I waited for Santa -- I mean, of course, a way for parents to while I waited parents a way to keep kids busy as they waited and waited and waited for Santa.

2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

The inspiration for my art often comes in the form of a illustration prompt (like what is given in the Facebook group, Doodle Day); a fee free competition; a collaborative project like the Monster Coloring Group; a story I have written; or a gift I want to make for someone. The inspiration for my writing often comes from experiences with family; contests like Susanna’ Leonard Hill’s Holiday Contest; participation in groups like Julie Hedlund’s 12x12; and the work that I do as a psychologist. In fact one of the picture book manuscripts I have written and illustrated, RED LIZARD, GREEN LIZARD, comes from my work in teaching impulse control and decision making to some of my younger clients. It is currently out on submission at several publishing houses hoping to float to the top of the slush pile for selection to be published. Cross your fingers. And, your toes, if you wouldn’t mind. Thanks.

3. Why is this work important to you?

There is something very gratifying in watching ideas come into being. It is also very gratifying to watch the enjoyment or appreciation of others of the work.

4. What takes your breathe away when you make art?

Stepping away from a piece and then coming back to it at some later point and saying, “Wow, that’s good. Hey that’s mine!”

5. Can you tell me a little about your creative process, and why you work the way you do? Are there any mistakes you've learned from on your journey?

I am what the industry refers to as a pantser. I don’t have a particular structure when I start -- I just start. An idea will fly into my head and I will capture it on some scrap of paper and when that commodity -- time-- avails itself to me, I write, draw, create. A mistake I have made is in rushing the process. There are steps to a process because they are necessary. They take time (which I don’t have nearly enough of) and so I have launched a few projects before they were ready. I just get soooo excited, it’s hard to wait. I’m learning to wait though and I have read my book, RED LIZARD, GREEN LIZARD, billions of times now, so that is helping

6. How does your creative process evolve in your workspace? What does your workspace look like?

My workspace can be found in a host of different places. Because I work fulltime as a psychologist, I attempt to capitalize on available time as much as I can. Consequently, I will work in the car (when someone else is driving, of course), in our den at the desktop computer, in our sunroom curled up in one of my favorite chairs, at the kitchen table, at my desk at work...you got the space and I’ve got the time, I’ll work in it.My workspace can be found in a host of different places.

7. Do you have any favorite art products you use in your space?

I don’t really have any favorites right now. I am a pen and ink, colored pencil -- pretty basic artist. I do want to try my hand at watercolor pencils and traditional watercolor. I might find some favorites then.

8. Great, do you have any other favorite mediums, you love working with?

Because I am just a kid in grown-up clothes, I still prefer colored pencils, crayons and markers.

9.  Have you made any artworks using digital art, or mediums?

Haven’t tried it, but am very interested.

10. Do you write or have you've written any childrens books?

Writing is actually where I started. As I have been writing, I have found myself doodling a bit of what the characters might look like. Then I would fall in love with one of the characters and draw more. Of the manuscripts that I have written, I have begun or completed the illustrations for four of them. Not every story I write is one that I would want or feel I have the capacity to illustrate.

11. Do you have any favorite childrens books?

One of my favorite books as a child was a beautifully illustrated copy of Cinderella. It was about 11x14 inches and had a primary color schemata of greens. I looked at it so much the binding fell off, but my Grammy helped me put it back together. I can’t find mine anymore. If anyone knows of such a copy, I’d love to learn more about who the illustrator was and whether the book may still be available somewhere.

12. Are you inspired by any childrens book illustrators?

I definitely do not have one Artist/Illustrator that inspires me most. I love the amazing variety of style.

13. What other types of Illustration have you've done?

​Most of my “illustration” work to date has been in the form of individual pieces on furniture and walls -- right, despite being 50, I do still color on the walls. My largest piece was a sixty foot mural in a child development center. That was a great deal of fun. I would slip into the center at nap time and paint away. When the children awoke -- Viola! -- more painting on the wall.

14. Are you open to working with self-published childrens book authors?

​I would certainly be open to working with author’s pursuing self-publishing. If an author likes my work and I am moved by his or her story, I would be happy too.

​15. Do you take commissions?

I will do work for commission; walls (for murals) must, however, be geographically close to me. All other work is negotiable depending on time frame. For inquiries, contact me through my website

​16. What are you currently working on right now?

These are images from two books that I wrote: RED LIZARD, GREEN LIZARD and QUEEN LA LA BEAN. Queen Bean is still a work in progress.

17. What is one piece of advice you'd give to new childrens book Illustrators?

Connect with other artists/illustrators. They are a great group and will connect you with all kinds of opportunities -- educational, work related, and social. If I had been asked to give one more piece of advice I would have said, “You are never too young or too old to start.”

18. What is one piece of advice you can give others about starting over again. Maybe others were raising a family, had financial setbacks, or a full time job?

Jump in and start connecting! That’s what I did/am doing and that is how I became involved in this really cool monster gig.

19. Do you have any other talents you share with the world? ​

​I wish I could share singing with the world, but if I did I would probably get kicked out. I write and have numerous picture book manuscripts ready for the right publisher. I would like to be able to share them with more than my children -- thanks, though, Carolyn and Will, you are a great audience.

20. Do you have any qoutes or affirmations that charge your creative spirit?

​Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.' — Neil Gaiman

​This is a brand new favorite for me. Why? Playing and dancing and drawing and building -- why not?

Thanks Teresa for a Great Interview!

​If you want your very own piece of Teresa's work! Download our Free Monster Chores Coloring Book. Where she Illustrated a page in the book titled Making The Bed! You'll also be placed in a Free Prize drawing for a $25 Gift Card from Fandango! To enter the drawing all you have to do is  download the book, then color Teresa's page below, and last share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MonsterChores2015. Plus all this month, you'll get to ask Teresa any questions you want on Twitter. Just tweet your question to her Teresa by typing @TMISchaefer on twitter followed by your question, and she'll answer it as soon as she can!  Thanks for taking the time to read this interview & Good Luck on out prize to the movies!

~ Click here to download your free copy! ~

Bobbie Dacus

Bobbie Dacus

​February Spotlight!

Meet Bobbie Dacus!

Website: http://www.bobbiedacus.com  

Blog: http://artsyteapot.blogspot. com

Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/ shop/BobbieDacus

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Bobbiedacus

I'm excited to share this months featured Illustrator. Bobbie Dacus.  She is  an Artist andIllustrator living and working in Dallas, Texas. She is also a contributing Illustrator in our Free Coloring Book Monster Chores!

          What was the moment that inspired you to become a Artist?              Why did you choose Children's Illustration?

I’ve wanted to be an Artist since my Aunt Dot gave me Paint By Number sets when I was a child. I remember the smell of the oil paints in those kits and still feel an excitement when I smell oil paint! My dad used to bring paper home from work and I loved making drawings about people and events. I was drawn to children’s book illustration when my kids were little and we took many trips to the library for story time. I fell in love with picture book illustration and was as thrilled as my kids about our trips to the library. At the time I was painting portraits and landscapes but was drawn to create my own stories and began working in illustration.

Can you tell us about your workspace?

I have my own studio in which I do work as a combination of painting and digital work. When I worked as a designer at JCPenny there were large drawing tables in our offices that were no longer used because everyone had converted to computers. Since they weren’t being used, the company decided to sell us the drawing tables at a very nominal amount - $15!! So, now I have an awesome electrically adjusted drawing table! I like to do my painting and drawing on my table.

                   What tips would you give another Artist to make their       workspace  more efficient?

For ambiance, I have a tabletop fountain and always have candles burning in my studio which makes for a very relaxing atmosphere. I think it helps to make your space as inviting as you can. Frame and hang your own artwork in addition to other favorite artists work. I like to keep a bulletin board with inspiring illustrations. They can be greeting cards,                                        illustrations from magazines, online, etc.​

What was the first Childrens Book you ever illustrated?

The first picture book I illustrated was "Saving Emma" by Bebe Willougby for the Stable-Leadbeater Apothecary Musuem in Alexandria Virginia.

Illustrating Saving Emma was so much fun because in addition to illustrating, I was able to do a lot of research on clothing and settings of that time period.  I also did the design work on the book since I have a background as a graphic designer.


  What Mistakes and Lessons did you learn from that experience? 

One of the lessons I learned was to be absolutely scrupulous in planning everything from the time frame to making sure you have enough art supplies. After I began the picture book job; I discovered I had not planned to have enough paint on hand. I was using Winsor Newton oil alkyds (fast drying oil paints) which weren’t always easy to find. Luckily, I live in a large city (Dallas) and several art stores were available but I had to drive across town to get them. Plan, plan, plan!!!

What is your favorite medium for illustrating for children?

Besides the oil alkyds, which are a favorite, I use Golden Open Acrylics ( slow drying acrylic paint). I paint on either gessoed paper or canvas. Often, I mix traditional and digital. I’ll begin a painting traditionally with oils or acrylics and finish the painting in Adobe Photoshop. I work in two styles, one is more realistic which is Saving Emma’s and the other more stylized and whimsical

Are you currently working on something? 

This is the picture book dummy and manuscript I’m working on entitled "Jungle Rescue.” I’m in the process of revising the manuscript, again! I’ve been adding a few new sketches to the dummy, too This is the cover of the book and these are some of the characters in the Picture Book. The story is an adventure set in the jungle with Griffin, a lion, a Streak, and a Zebra who rescue other animals in their boat.

What one piece of advice do you have for Artists starting over again?

My advice would be not to give up. I’ve started over again after my kids were grown, I’ve had setbacks - health issues, and work almost full time now. I think you have to look at it like it’s something you have to do. You don’t have much of a choice because it feels so strong in you. So you keep at it, no matter how long it takes.

                   What have you found challenging about being a                   Children's Book Illustrator?

​Oh, goodness.. I think it’s challenging to make a living while doing the book illustration. It’s like juggling half a dozen balls. It’s writing, illustrating, social media and  all to get your presence and work out there. If we’re in this field, we love it and that’s what keeps you going. Just the pure joy of immersing yourself into the mesmerizing world of picture books is enough to keep you going. To quote Julia Cameron from The Artist’s Way "As Artists we belong to an ancient and holy tribe." So, when I entered into the world of picture books. I felt as if I've come home. I've found my tribe!

         Last...Do you have a favorite qoute or  affirmation that's                    close to your heart?

I just heard these two quotes a few weeks ago and now they are my favorites!

“Loving myself works miracles in my life.” &
“I’m working toward my dream!”

Want more of Bobbie Dacus?

Download & Print her free coloring page in our Monster Chores Coloring Book. Plus...When you download the book in the month of February. You'll get a chance to win a $25 dollar Petco Gift Card by sharing your finished coloring page on Social Media.

More details sent to your inbox when you download! Plus... If you have any questions for Bobbie Dacus during the month of February. Tweet them to her on Twitter using her tag @Bobbiedacus.

~ Click here to download your free copy! ~

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood, has intrigued us all for centuries, which is probably why I choose this illustration to work on. This is an Illustration that I actually started a few years ago. However I was never really happy with it. So I'm giving it a second go around.

I just completed the under-painting! Next I'll start to add some color!

I usually don't use my projector unless I need to redraw something on a larger scale. I didn't have that much time, so I opted for this. 

My main method involves doing the drawing. Then heading over to my local FedEx Copy Center and either enlarging the copy on the copy machine or shrinking it.  Then I'll take those copies and do color studies, or I'll transfer the image onto the final surface that I'd work on.

Walking the Walk!

Walking the Walk!

Last week I did a lot of reflection as to what needs to happen to move my art forward.

You know what I came up with? Well, it was a duh moment. I needed to make more art. When I say more. I needed to stop chit chatting with the canvas, and start making big moves towards it.  I needed to stop tinkering and start making. You know that question of what came first, the chicken or the egg? We'll I don't know the answer to that, but for an Artist. What comes first is the Art.

The truth of it all, is that I haven't created new art in quite some time, and that's because I hadn't been putting it first.  It has to be my top priority from morning till night.  Somehow that changed with time, as I was figuring out how to successfully start and make a living doing what I love. In all that figuring, I forgot the most important part. Yes! To make art. 

​So in the next few weeks. I'll be hunkering down in my studio, doing just that. I've committed myself to making 20 new pieces by March 31st. Art is my top priority, and I'm ready to start walking the walk instead of talking the talk. 

Keith Haring The Political Line…

Keith Haring The Political Line…

Going to an art museum for me is like going to the ballpark.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of sports. Don't believe me! Ask me anything. However I do love making trails in art museums. It's like meeting my heroes for the first time. I get a chance to be up close and personal with some of the greats that have inspired my work as an Artist.

What I'm super excited about is the Keith Haring Exhibit over at  The De Young Museum in San Francisco. It's only here for a few more weeks, and I nearly missed it. I got an email from a site called San Francisco Daily Secret. Which is a great site by the way if you like to travel. They send you daily secrets in your inbox about great finds in major cities. Basically I'm glad I got their email, because I found out that the exhibit opened way back in November, and that it ends on February 16th. 

Keith Haring is a popular Artist known throughout the world for the shapes, symbols, and line that he uses in his work, as well as his subway murals and the broad political heat within his art.

A lot of Art Educators also use his work to to teach their students about gesture and movement of the human body. It's because his work is loaded with bright local colors like cherry red, hot pink, and flashing yellows. It's a crowd-pleaser among middle school teens. Anyhow, this is supposed to be the first major Keith Haring showing of his work on the West Coast. So I don't want to miss out on it and I'm not. 

10 things that really piss me off about Michaels Arts & Crafts!

10 things that really piss me off about Michaels Arts & Crafts!

An Artist Perspective...

Michaels Arts & Crafts is a popular branded arts & crafts store, that I'm often forced to frequent. I say forced, because it's the only art store in my county, and all the cool stores I love are 45 min to an hour away. So bridge toll and gas is a factor. I end up spending 42 dollars on a sketchbook that was 12 dollars. Or $35 dollars for a few pencils that cost $4 dollars. You get the point.

  There used to be an Aaron Brothers, one city over, but one day. I took a drive over there and they had packed their bags and left. FOOEY! No goodbyes, No sales, No farewells. It made me mad, because now, I had to drive to Michaels to get the thing I wanted.  Oh Boy! Don't get me wrong. I'm not a hermit, it's just that I don't feel that Michaels has the qualities I seek in a real art store.  It's 80% craft and 20% art supplies, maybe even less. Just a guesstimate. Oh! and overpriced at that! So before I go any further. Here are 10 things that piss me off about Michaels Arts & Crafts.

1. They Have No Field Notebooks or a Tiny Tiny Invisible Collection!

Yes! Some of their sketchbooks look pretty, but they don't do the job well. You know, that of sketching. I love sketching from time to time in landscape formats. One of my favorite sketchbooks is at Blick Arts. The Cachet Spiral Bound 8 x 10. I also love the little band that accompanies it. You see, the book feels good to hold and the paper is spot on! It's a win win! I also use a Moleskine from time to time. Which by the way is Vegan.

2. The Selection of Flat Sheet Papers & Drawing Pads!

It's not vast and it's not wide! Most single sheets are reserved for scrapebookers, and I'm not knocking scrapbookers, but we artists would like to a wider selection of paper textures, and larger sizes to play with, and even drawing paper that comes in stacks. I'd also like some large flat sheets of cardboard that I sometimes get at Blick Arts in Berkeley.  The paper selection at Michaels is usually  a couple of paper pads, and a row of large single sheets. I want more and I want better! At better prices!

3. The Tracing Paper! 

I'm notorious for using tracing paper in my creative process. I'm old school like that! The biggest  complaint I have is about their selection. Only three brands. Ticks me off to the max, because when my favorite size is gone. The 14 x 17. They don't have it in the other brands. At least not at the store I frequent. At times I do spot that spicy looking Strathmore at it's best, 14 x 17 size. I seize all of it                                                                       with a vengeance!

4. You mean I can't just buy one stick of charcoal!

Nope! It's a deal or no deal situation. Leave with nothing or shell out 4 or more dollars for the whole pack. Oh! Pastels are even worse. You're committing to a range from $5 -$30 dollars. Not O.K. for one stick of color!

5. China Marker!

Non applicable - Moving on! They don't even sell them.

6. Proportion Wheels! 

Yet, another thing they don't sell! Next!

7. Overpriced Paints & Mediums!

Dear Micheal's. Your Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid comes in an 8 oz container and sells for 11.99, while at Blick Arts it comes an 8 oz container, and sells for 7.99. Did you miss the memo.

8. A small selection of Inks!

 I like playing with inks from time to time. My favorite inks are from Sennelier. They come in beautiful colors. They're a no show at Michaels.

9. That ripped off feeling I get!

Let's face it. When I shop here. I always feel like I've just gotten ripped off.

10. The fact that I still shop there!

I'm an Artist, and I run out of things from time to time. Things that I need right in that moment. Things that can't wait for shipping, and can't wait for toll fees and gas. So, it is unfortunate, that I drag myself to this dungeon not out of necessity but out of convenience and settling for less. 

Am I the only one? I'd love to here your frustrations about

shopping at Michaels.

​Just post your comments below.

Cecilia Clark

January Spotlight ! 

Meet Ceicilia Clark!

Email: Ceciliaaclark@gmail.com   Facebook: http://on.me./1w55XZa

Blog: http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au   Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ceciliaaclark

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/17oEE7x  Twitter: http://twitter.com/cc_lark

Cecilia is an Artist and Illustrator, living in Australia. She is also a contributing Illustrator in our Free Coloring Book Monster Chores! Seat back and relax as Cecilia invites you into her creative space, with some insights, tools, and tips on what it's like to be an Artist! Popcorn! 

How did you get started in Art & Illustration?

I have been drawing for as long as I have been able to hold a crayon or the spaghetti in my baby fist and my ability to read and write was not far behind.

All of my life I have found ways to draw, be it in the margins of my work books or with my fingertip in a mud puddle. I painted wall murals in the early 80s and have been involved in many community projects including making props for children’s theater, backdrops, costume and even during my stint as a chef I continued to use my artistic talents to enhance the dining enjoyment of my customers. I have come to an artistic career back to front.

Only now am I setting foot on the path I longed for since those early years but I have never strayed far from creativity in my daily life. I have painted commissioned works and recently created a character for a chapter book by another author and have been part of Julie Hedland’s 12 x 12 creating picture book drafts. I dream of having my own picture books with my own art published and do not think it will be too far down the track.

What’s inspires your Art ?

It may sound cliché but Life is the inspiration for my art. The whole planet is full of awesome and amazing things and people; and all of it has something to capture my artist heart.

Art is important to me because it has become my meditation, my place of peace.

Do you make art on commission? If so, what is your process?

The art I have made on commission has come through word of mouth. People who have seen my work have recommended me to others who have then paid me to create on their behalf. Usually I have some form of meeting with the person who wishes to purchase.

  • They then tell me what they want. I learned the hard way that I really need a clear brief from the client, and to write it down so both of us know what the journey will be. I have also learned how to price my work so that it is seen as a valuable commodity and how to value myself as an artist. So in short, someone calls and says:
  • “Hey make me some art, I saw your Pinterest boards and love your stuff.”
  • I respond with “Sure, it will cost you this much per hour or part thereof, I will draw up some concept art and you will pay for that then if you want to go ahead we will talk turkey and nail down the details”
  • to which the client says “Hey I can get it cheaper from my mate though I do like your stuff better than his.”
  • I say “These are my prices, I have to pay rent too you know, if you called a plumber you would gripe about the price but you would pay it or have your toilet overflow which would not be as pretty as my art.”
  • Client thinks for a minute or six and then says “Let me think about it okay.”
  • “You know where to find me.” Says I in a cheery friendly way then go and do some pencil sketches and research on client topic or work on something else altogether.
  • Client gets back to me - concept art goes out,-client pays for concept art- calls again and we talk about details and agree on the price.
  • I work on the further development until client and I are both happy the art reflects the desired ooutcome.
  • Client pays, landlord happy, children and pets get fed that week and the story cycle starts again. (nb:no children or pets were starved in the answering of this question)

How about your workspace?What tips would you give another artist to make their workspace more efficient?  

My workspace is everywhere. I might be creating in my head long before a single bit of ink or paint lands on a surface. My family is used to me only having 1% of my attention available when I am creating something because the other 99% is lost in the making.

I do have an art desk and a computer desk and plenty of shelves, cupboards and containers to hold the various tools of my trades. I would advise anyone starting out to make sure all precious implements are out of the reach of spouses, small and large children and pets. Make sure they know you are serious about your craft and the tools thereof. Don’t be so precious about art that you hold yourself back. There have been times when the only art materials in my house were coffee, crayons and cosmetics, the only art space a crowded kitchen bench, you can make art anywhere with anything if you just believe you can.

What others talents do you share with the world?

I can cook, sing, raise children, repair door hinges and change the oil in my car but my singular talent is storytelling and I love to regale an audience with a good yarn. I write stories and occasional poems and I tell stories through my voice, my writing and my art. I am a multi-skilled person and very grateful for it. I also coach public speaking and can teach effectively.

Do you have a your favorite affirmation or quote?

I don’t have a single favorite affirmation but something that is important to me in choosing a picture book is the art. I do judge a book by its cover and good art can enhance a story beyond measure. Good art no matter how wonderful can never fix a bad story.

Why is this work important to you?

The colouring book collaboration and my piece of art within it is important to me because it has been a wonderful opportunity to network with Artists around the world and to begin to recognize names, and in turn have my own name and art noticed by others.

Wanna see how she makes? Come snag a few peeks behind the scenes and see some of her work in progress? 

Cecilia's Coloring Page for Monster Chores!

~ Click here to download your free copy! ~

Out on a limb…

Have you ever walked out on limb?

I mean for a goal or a passion that your really believed in. It started for me when I was very young. I've always known for some reason that I wanted to be an Artist. I didn't even know what that meant at the time. Then I fell in love with Illustration, now art became a combination of my two favorite things. Storytelling and Pictures.

When I was growing up, people would tell me that I was lucky. Lucky to know what I wanted to do with my life. That always caught me though, because at the same time. When people found out that I wanted to be an Artist. I'd get that look. If your an Artist you know it all too well, and it was often followed by a ton of questions. "How are you going to make money doing that? What are your backups?"  etc, etc.  Don't get me wrong, these are all good questions, but inside me lived a had to, not just a want to. It wasn't something that I just wanted to do, it was something that I had to do, no matter what!

I'm going to get a little corny here, but with that knowing comes a great responsibility. To step into it and explore fully. As I started to do that. I found that I got further faster when I when I put myself out on a limb.  That meant walking out on an unsteady surface, that creaked and cracked, and that was unpredictable. You see! Your dreams, your goals, and your passions are out there! Out on that limb! In order to grab them. You've got to step outside your comfort zone.

 You can't! You just can't always  wait until all your ducks are all in a row. There isn't a right time, or a right way to do it. Those answers show up, after you step out on that limb. You can't rationalize it from down below. Once you place yourself on it. Your mind does wonderful things.

If you keep waiting and waiting and waiting.     All that changes is time. So I have a question     for you! How are you going to spend you time?


 Thank You !  so much for dropping in and visiting my blog!

If you take a look around, you'll see that it's still a work in progress. I'm O.K. with that. You see, I'm the type of person that jumps into new projects and ideas without testing the waters. After all, once your in, your mind and body automatically start making adjustments. That's what being an Artist has taught me, and that's what it's all about.  Making the necessary adjustments to complete your masterpiece.

So. what I've done here already is make the first adjustment, by packing my things and making the big move from blogger to wordpress. It's exciting and scary at the same time. WordPress is a whole new landscape that I've got to get used to. So. I thought why not!  Why not share this journey with you.  As I build this new blog, and add new bells and whistles to it. I want to take you along for this journey.

When it's all done, I hope to have a blog that inspires and ignites all kinds of creative sparks in you. I want to share stories about my life as a Teaching Artist. How I learned to test ideas, and got youth excited about what they were learning, through the arts. I wanna share how I keep moving forward in the arts, by learning to spot and hone in my creative process, and more importantly how to sustain it, in the mist of a gazillions obstacles, that we humans call life. I also want to show you how other Artist, Illustrators, and Writers do it, by interviewing them, and giving you the chance to ask them questions. I want to share my work in progress with you, and give a glimpse at my day to day life as an Artist. I also want to share my big moments and new projects with you, and even mishaps in my studio.  

This is my big vision and my goal for this blog, and I hope you'll continue to join me. I'll keep you updated on my progress through tweets and in my newsletter. While  sharing new edits to this blog, and any new content I add to it, as I figure out how to use this thing called WordPress. In the meantime though I invite you to take a look at my newest project Monster Chores, it's a coloring book for kids and the kid in you. I made it in collaborations with 12 Artists, Children's Book Illustrators and Writers. It's all about some very young monsters, who were sent off to do their chores, but these monsters have some silly and unorthodox ways of doing them that you may or may not approve of. You can get your hands on a printable copy for FREE! Then tell us what you think about!

Blog Hop!

Welcome to The Blank Canvas Blog Hop!
~Facing The Blank Canvas~ 
Written by Artist/Illustrator Jennyann Carthern
Facing a Blank Canvas is like being confronted by a two headed monster! On one end, the canvas is inviting. On the opposite end, it becomes an eerie reflection of ourselves looking right back at us. We're forced to face our deepest fear. The shady one that tells us that we are inadequate, when in fact,"Our true deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." - Marianne Williamson
If I start to believe that monster. I start to feel inadequate. I start to question myself, often bringing up a pool of negative thoughts and emotions, like fear of failure, imperfection! Oh! Oh! Oh!...and my absolute favorite. "It's already been done before." 
So, how do I face the blank canvas, when it might very well be a reflection of me.
     Well...for starters, my creative process doesn't really start with the canvas. It starts on a piece of paper, or an empty page in my sketchbook. You see...I love illustration, and that is what I do. I make kid inspired illustrations and wall art. The canvas is usually the last stage in my creative process. 
In order to get there, I'll have to let you in on 5 things I do to face the blank canvas!
 I let go of how much the paper cost. 
(c) Jennyann Carthern
As much as I like to call myself a free spirit. When it comes to the canvas. I often transform into a perfectionist. It's a trend I see often among my creative friends.
The paper has a lot to do with this, along with the ritual of buying it. I compare buying paper to finding that perfect purse that calls my name. It's magical! It costs a pretty penny too! Then when I take it home or tote it to my studio, I'm afraid to touch it. I might ruin it's beauty & perfection. 
One day I realized that this ritual was preventing me from expressing myself on the paper. So now I work organically. I dive right into the paper! I tear it, I rip it out and I sketch to my hearts content! The marks aren't always perfect, but I don't care. After all, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." -Pablo Picasso
  I find reasons for boredom! 
Have you ever been stranded at a stop light, waiting for the light to turn green? While in that fatal moment, you gaze out the window, and see a woman standing at a bus stop with 10 bags of groceries in her hands. How the heck does she do that! That would be an awesome illustration!   I pay attention to unexpected moments, and I jot them down to take back to my sketchbook.
I surf the web. 
(c) Jennyann Carthern
The internet has a lot of groovy surprises. Like quotes, poems, idioms and Pinterest.  Pinterest allows me to create prompts for myself. I have pin boards for settings, character, and background ideas. This has allowed me to install touches of personality into my characters. In turn supplying me with ideas for the page.
 I'll take a day-cation! 
(c) Jennyann Carthern
Yep....! I'll blow everything off for a day, and just take some chill time. I'll use that time to tour a museum, go to a factory, or discover some place that's off the grid. All I take with me, is some cash and my cellphone.   Yes, you got it! I leave my sketchbook behind. A faux pas among many artists, however it's a part of my creative process of working organically. You've got to find what works for you. Leaving my sketchbook behind has released me from  the expectation to purposely look for pretty things to create.   Banning it from my day-cations has allowed me to truly be in the moment. When I do get inspired, my sketchbook becomes anything that's two feet in front of me.  FIVE.    I never ever forget to have fun! 
(c) Jennyann Carthern
Now that you've got my 5 tools to facing the blank canvas. What do you think about them? Please leave your comments below, and if you really enjoyed this post, please tweet, share, pin and definitely send out a huge thunderclap! 
On another note: In a few weeks I'll be accepting a limited number of commissions for children's wall art for the holidays. 
(c) Jennyann Carthern
Personalized painting on canvas or paper that you can give as a gift to a loved one, or to feel a space in your child's room. I'll add you to my interest list, along with 20% that will expire on Sept 22nd. When you sign up HERE!     Also, please don't forget my blog giveaway. It's a one year membership to The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. So make sure your signed up to enter HERE. Thank you for hopping along with me at The Blank Canvas Blog Hop! 
  1. Sept 8….Karen Friedland  
  2. Sept 9….Lezette Markham
  3. Sept 10Cynthia Patton 
  4. Sept 11Jennyann Carthern ←ME
  5. Sept 12FRIDAY FRENZY - Kiala Givehand, Tori Deaux, Karen Friedland
  6. Sept 13Jan Blount
  7. Sept 14Effy Wild
  8. Sept 15Virginia Simpson-Magruder
  9. Sept 16Dariana Cruz of Dari Design Studios
  10. Sept 17Susan Miller
  11. Sept 18Grace Howes
  12. Sept 19Tori Deaux
  13. Sept 20Kiala Givehand
  14. Sept 21Martin Arkenstone
  15. Sept 22Nicole Piar←YOU ARE HERE
The Not-So-Accidental Blog Tourist Hop

The Not-So-Accidental Blog Tourist Hop

Hi everybody! It's Monday, and tag. I'm it! 

Surprise! Surprise! I've been tagged by Writer & Illustrator Kim McPhearson in The Not So Accidental Blog Hop Tour! I'm super excited to participate. I don't know who started it, but it's an cool way to connect with Artists & Writers answering these four questions below. 

So Let's get to it!  

1. What Am I currently working on?   

Character studies for my book!
I've got a few different projects on my plate. I'm currently working on my first wordless picture book, and a series of limited edition art for the holidays! I'm also participating in another Blog Hop that kicks off today called The Blank Canvas Blog Hop. 
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like to think that my work is great at telling visual stories. I love capturing moments of humor, play, and day to day life in my work.

What makes it different, is that most of my work is done using traditional methods. I'm in love with the materials.  I love the marks, the smudges, and the organic feel of  touching it. Raw materials have a heartbeat that I'm attracted to. People often tell me that they love the the energy and expression in my work. They tell me that my work is a refreshing take from the digital work that is out today. They miss the quality of the artists touch. They want more of it, and I'm happy to give it to them.

Inspired by a Trip to New Orleans!
This is not to say that digital work doesn't have a voice, especially in getting my work out to you, in publication, prints, and a handful of other distribution methods including editing my work.

 So, yes! I might initially pass up the tablet for a paintbrush in the
beginning stages of an idea, but head towards the digital in the finishing touches of my work. 

3. Why do I  make Art and 
Do what I do ? 

My Benicia Studio!
I knew I wanted to be an artist at a       very very young age. I've always made  art, and the passion for it has never left me. I wanted to learn more about painting, drawing, and sculpting. You name it! I studied as many art forms that I could get my hands on. I made sure that my life was emerged in all areas of the arts. It's as if I was being pulled towards it like a magnet. I truly feel that it was what I was born to do. 

I was lucky though. I have a supportive family who didn't cringe at the notion of me stating that  I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It is important that parents allow there children to follow their own journey and pursue their passion.  Let them discover how to make it work. There are lots of avenues an artist can take, but they'll never find them, if they're not allowed to journey towards them. 

4. How does my creative process work? 

Commissioned Work!
Well...It's time for me to go.

So, I'll have to tell you more about my creative process on Sept.11. When I post all about it at The Blank Canvas Blog Hop. In the meantime, drop by the studio of  Karen Friedland for Day 1 of The Blank Canvas Blog Hop. Karan is givingaway a 16 in. print of her art, valued at $100.00. The winner will get to choose from 1 of 4 prints. So visit her blog and feel free to charm her with your comments, tweets, and shares, and please come back on Sept 11th and do the same for me. 
It would truly be an honor! 

P.S. I'm offering everyone in the The Blank Canvas Blog Hop a chance to win a 1 year membership to The Society of Children's Book Authors & Illustrators. 

Just Click Here to Enter! 

If your still hunching to know about my creative process, and how I tackle a blank canvas.  Sign Up Here!, and I'll send the post straight to your email inbox on Sept.11th

Before you go! 

If you loved the idea of The Accidental Blog Hop Tour &  you're an Artist or a Writer. Well.....Consider yourself tagged!
To participate, tell your audience I tagged you, answer the above questions, and post it on your blog, Monday Sept.15th & Feel free to tag 2-3 more people or non at all, and post their bios with a pic beneath your post. It's up to you, and don't forget to have fun! 

8 A-Ha Moments Since My Last Blog Post In August of 2013!

Hi everyone I am back! 

It's been a while since I've written a blog post here on Paint Is Thicker Than Water. A year and 16 days to be exact. So I thought I'd share how I've been building my business in the past year, and how it's been moving be forward.

My 8 Ah-Ha Moments
 Since My Last Post on August 2013 

8. In June of 2103, my heart nearly jumped out of my body, as I said yes to doing 2 Murals in a local residence for two young boys. I was going with my mother to meet her two sisters, who was visiting at Red Robin. Take it, that I'm Vegan, but I went anyway to show some love to my Aunties. My mom's two sisters. One has passed away this year, along with my dads sister the next day. I will forever miss My Aunt B, and Aunt Sharon. While at Red Robin, I ran into one of my friend's moms, from high school. She was celebrating her sister's birthday, and told her sister about me. She then asked me if I did murals. Saying yes, was like jumping off a cliff. I had done murals before with groups, but never alone. Fear told me that I wasn't good enough, and that I couldn't do this. It was fear that led me to charge a low rate. I didn't vision myself as a pro. But with each action that I took, setting the appointment, making the invoice, purchasing supplies, etc. I became more confident while painting the murals, and I began to see my talents for the first time. 

When I finished the murals. I was exhausted, and It felt really good. I felt like I won the Olympics of painting that is. My client was amazed, and I was proud of myself! She not only gave me great compliments, she showed the rooms to everyone, and commissioned me to do 4 more pieces on some crates. I realized that in all the years that I had been trying to become an Artist. I already was. I was allowing fear and self doubt to hold me back. Saying yes changed the outlook  of what I was capable of forever. I now know that if I can do this project. I can do anything. 

7. In August of  2013, I  received an email invitation to be a volunteer social media blogger for Inventing Our Future Summer Institute 2013. An Arts Education Conference in Oakland,CA at the Chabot Space & Science Center. It so happened, that my invitation came from a recommendation. In 2012, I was guest blogging on a project called Mapping Our Future. Inventing the next 10 years, for Art is Education and the Alliance for Arts Leadership. Another artist involved in the project raved about my contribution to the blog, and said I should be a part of this event. I am thankful that Susan Wolf  allowed this door to open for me. I didn't let anyone know that I was sick the entire time of the event, nothing deadly, just a rocky stomach. I worked really hard and was so happy to be there, learning new ways to teach art. I also made a connection Lourdes Schallock, another teaching artist, whose spirit rocks! It was awesome to find out that she lived in my town, so we carpooled, and her husbands Daniel Schallock is an pretty cool Artist and Illustrator too! 

6. In January 2014, I discovered the 12 x 12. A challenge to write 12 picture books in 12 months. I'm not sure how I landed on it, but I thought it was pretty cool. I bought the Shel Silverstein Silver Program. It was just what I needed to jump back into writing for Children's Picture Books. As soon as I joined, I was assigned a Critique Group with 4 other writers and illustrators. I discovered that writing 12 picture books in 12 months are overwhelming, so I slowed down my participation in the challenge and began to write at my own pace. Joining this helped me to start writing again.

5. In April of 2014, I attended The Right Brainers in Business Video Summit for the 4th time. Woo HOO! It was great! So great, that I wanted the connection to last a little longer. I took action and committed myself and my wallet to a year of  business coaching in Jennifer Lee's Cohort Coaching Circle. Jennifer Lee is the writer of The Right Brain Business Plan and Building Your Business The Right Brain Way. Since joining I finally feel focused, supported, and have a sense of direction around building my business. I'm not alone anymore. It also led me to partner up with 5 other members in the group to form a Cohort Huddle, basically a mastermind group. We meet weekly on Google Hangout to support each other in areas that we feel stuck in, and the big bonus is in the accountability. Overall, I'm happy I joined, so happy that I even joined another mastermind group of writers, in which we meet bi-weekly via phone to chat and support each other. 


4. In May of 2014, I hosted my 2nd Open Studio. I decided to showcase my work in progress, since I'm building a new portfolio. Sketches have an energy of excitement about them, and my visitors agreed. I am grateful for all the complements suggestion and feedback that visitors shared with me. Visitors said things like "I love your work, it's so expressive," and one visitor pulled me aside to compliment me on my mark making. She said drawings don't look like this anymore. She loved it. Thank You to my Visitors again. 

3. In July of 2014, I partnered with 16 Artists  and Illustrators in Jennifer Lees Cohort Circle to participate in a Blog Hop. I've heard of blog hops before, but I never knew how to do one. Let alone join one. So naturally, I wanted in. The group met via Google Hangout and decided on the terms and the title of the hop. It starts on September 8th, and I'll be posting more about it in a few days. You'll have the opportunity to experience how 16 artists work behind the scenes when faced with A Blank Canvas, along with a chance to win prizes & giveaways from all of the participating Artists. 

I'm also giving away a 1 year membership to the SCBWI. The Society of Children's Book Writer's & Illustrators! As a member you'll get tons of benefits, along with The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children. When you When you Sign Up to my newsletter for a chance to win! When you enter.  You'll also receive updates about the other artists, and links to their pages during the blog hop! So what are you waiting for! If this prize isn't for you. You can also pass it on to someone else...

2. In July of 2014, the trademark for my business name Paint Is Thicker Than Water was finally approved! I'll tell you more about this process in another post. 

1. In August of 2014, I started a project, and a collaboration that I can't really give away right now. It's very new, and we haven't even had our first meeting, but stay tuned. 

I learned a lot since my last post back in August of 2013. I learned that the only way to conquer fear is walk right through it! I also realized that I can't do this alone. Growing a business is nearly impossible without a network of awesome people to support you on your journey. 

P.S. The other day, I heard that F-E-A-R had two meanings.
Forget everything and run, or Face Everything and Rise. 
The Choice is Yours! -Zig Ziglar!