2015 Year in Review

happynewyearHappy New Year! In the spirit of a brand spanking new year I'm taking some time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. Day to day it can feel like I'm going nowhere or not moving fast enough, doing enough, or working hard enough.  Anyone relate to that? Looking back allows me to really see what I've accomplished over a period of time. Sometimes it's nice to see how far I've come. (Hey! Not too shabby!) It's especially satisfying to look back on goals I made for 2015 and check off the ones I accomplished. And while I don't really make resolutions for the new year I do like to set some goals. There's something about writing things down that makes those goals real and attainable. For today I thought I'd share some of the highlights from 2015 for Katherine Lenius Design!


  • Licensing contracts! Back in April I signed my first licensing contract for a product that will come out later this year - I can't wait to share it with you! I'm starting to send my portfolio out to a number of companies I'd like to work with because I hope to get my art on a heap of new products this year. (psst... if you're an art director, call me!)
  • A few patterns of mine were selected to be in the new Print and Pattern Nature book, coming out later this year! This is honestly a dream come true, I'm a big fan of Marie Perkins and the Print & Pattern Blog, so I can't wait to see the book.
  • I was the first runner-up for the P&B Textiles and Pattern Observer Textile Design Competition which got me so so so close to a fabric line (hello, goal for 2016!) and it was a lot of fun.
  • My Etsy shop celebrated it's one year anniversary in August! I love having an Etsy shop and the shop is doing really well. It's also been a fantastic way to connect with different people, like shop owners, art directors, and local media. I hope to add many new art prints and products in the coming months.
  • I had my first gallery show! I never ever thought I would do a gallery show (I don't really expect to do more) but my show at the Chaska Community Center was a great way to share my work with my local community, family, and friends, and even though it was a terrifying prospect at first I'm really glad I did it!
  • I had two designs selected to Minted.com which has been a really great and supportive company to work with. I look forward to adding to my Minted store this year.
  • I was included in the student showcase of MOYO Issue 8 from the people at Make It In Design. Coincidentally, they've featured me TODAY in an "emerging designer" alumni interview.  Check it out!
  • My website got a facelift! I wanted to get a fresh clean site to show my portfolio and I've been really happy with it even though I'm always thinking of improvements I'd like to make.

I also thought it would be fun to share some of my biggest influences from the year. These are the things that have taught me the most, changed my viewpoint about something, and inspired me.


  • READING: Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon | Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert | How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone. | Uppercase Magazine, Janine Vangool, editor. Art, Inc. has such great information for working artists, everything from changing your mindset as an artist to practical tools for running your business. Elizabeth Gilbert continues to blow my mind and this book transformed the way I think about creativity and fear. Fiona Humberstone, the brand stylist, offers a beautiful and practical approach to styling your brand and I'm slowly making my way through the steps in her book. Uppercase Magazine is a constant source of inspiration and one day I hope to be on the pages of this beautiful magazine.
  • LEARNING: Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells courses. I took Part A and B this past year and the MATS courses are a wonderful way to learn about different art markets, get some valuable advice, and make new work. I also really enjoyed a few courses on Creative Live, which I love because you can view live classes and workshops for free and pay a fee when you'd like to access classes again and again. I also revisited Skillshare this year. I started on Skillshare a couple years ago when I was first learning how to make patterns and I find more and more great classes that are presented within a manageable chunk of time.
  • LISTENING: I'm a big fan of podcasts and this year I was especially addicted to Smart Creative Women with Monica Lee. I've listened to her for awhile now but I spent a lot of time with Monica in my ear this year and loved every minute.
  • CONNECTING: Although it wasn't new to me this year I really started using Instagram in earnest this year. It's been a great tool for my business and such a great way to connect with other artists and get my work out there. More recently I've been diving into Periscope and it's so fantastic! It's like having a little office of co-workers in the best way possible. I'm learning so much from other artists and it'll be a great way to connect with people. Now I just have to be brave enough to do my own scope.
  • MAKING: This could be a long list but I'm loving that I started regularly painting again this past year. Now I'm starting to incorporate a lot of mediums into my work and I love it. There's nothing better than spending a quiet morning painting.

So that was 2015! And with that I'm on to a new year! Check in again next January to see how it all turns out.