See you at Blue Print!

I’m so excited to return to Blue Print Surface Design and Print Show next month! I’ll be exhibiting with my art collective, Pencil Parade, at Show #1 May 17-19 in New York City. 

Last year was the first time any of us had exhibited at a trade show and we had a great time. We learned a lot, met some wonderful people, and it was a fantastic way to really step up our game in our work as independent artists and designers. On the one hand I feel immensely more prepared for this year: I know what to expect and I have a lot more confidence in my work. On the other hand it’s always daunting to prepare for a show like this. I inevitably feel like I want to bring my very best work and that just has to be the next thing I make. So I’m constantly chasing my own tail. But I’m bringing some fun new work and I’m looking forward to being in New York again and seeing some friends.

If you’re an art/creative director or an art buyer you can register your team for free and please stop by the Pencil Parade booth (#44!). And if you’re a fellow artist who’s going to be in town for the shows, stop by and say hello!

I’ll be busy busy for the next few weeks finishing up collections, but here’s a sampling of some recent work I’ll be showing at Blue Print! 

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Spring, please. PLEASE!

Yeah, it’s a cliché, but I’m sorry, I live in Minnesota and the older I get the more I appreciate spring. I’m so blasted excited for winter to be over I can barely sit still. I’ve been wearing flip-flops around the house just to make myself feel better. But then it snowed 6 inches on Monday so, you know, one step forward then you fall on your butt on the ice. 
 
I cope by making floral art (then more Christmas, but then more florals). Florals will always have my heart. As the snow came down on Monday I was painting fruit and flowers, which turned out to be a nice form of therapy. Then, because I couldn’t help myself, I made this homewares collection presentation because I would LOVE to see this on some dishes or serving pieces - or a tablecloth! 
 
 

#12019 Fruity Floral

#12019 Fruity Floral

Here are more brand new collections that make me feel all kinds of bright and warm spring/summer feelings:

#9053 Twilight Floral

#9053 Twilight Floral

#9054 Peachy Posy

#9054 Peachy Posy

#9052 Simple Things

#9052 Simple Things

Everyone feeling better? Deep breath. We’ll get there. 
 
If you’re interesting in licensing or purchasing any of the above artwork, just drop me a line and I’d love to chat with you!

Love is All Around

It’s the week of LOVE! I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a fun dinner with my family, complete with pink cupcakes (I also like to decorate the table for the holiday). Then we did a little “escape room” puzzle challenge with the kids. They’ve got to work for their Valentine treats. Being Ash Wednesday, I also spent some time at church! It was an odd mashup of events. 

It will come as no surprise to you that people spend some money on CARDS this time of year, so here’s a selection of Valentine designs from my portfolio. Lots of love to go around! 

Maybe I’ll add some fun hand drawn lettering so this could work as a card too.

Maybe I’ll add some fun hand drawn lettering so this could work as a card too.

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These cute classroom valentines are available on  Mpix.com  as a customizable valentine for the kiddos!

These cute classroom valentines are available on Mpix.com as a customizable valentine for the kiddos!

How I’m working better and smarter this year

Does everyone start off a new year ready & rarin’ to go? I’m probably not too unusual in that respect. While I don’t make crazy resolutions or run myself ragged trying to accomplish all my dreams in the first two weeks of January, I do try to set some goals, re-think how I work, and brainstorm ways I can work smarter and focus on what I want to do and accomplish. With that in mind I have a few recommendations for those of you who might find yourself in the same new year new energy boat. 

  • I always do one of those “brain dump”/mind map things when I’m planning out a new year. I do believe that writing things down helps me narrow my focus and leads me to accomplish more of my goals. This year I’ve also been using the Your Best Year 2018 book by Lisa Jacobs. It’s been a really helpful tool to be even more intentional about how I spend my time and what I accomplish. Hopefully it will help me stay on track when the shine of January is far behind me. 
  • I’m determined that 2018 is the year I finally get a handle on my business finances and accounting. I’m not going to lie, I HATE this part of business, but I’m finally ready to embrace it and I know my business will benefit from it. I’m using the resources and wisdom of Melissa Whaley, a tax advisor and financial strategist especially for creative women entrepreneurs. I’m learning TONS.
  • I also finally did a one-on-one consultation with Jennifer Nelson, the founder and artist agent behind Jennifer Nelson Artists. Jennifer is so incredibly generous with her advice and support that I’ve been thinking about doing a one-on-one with her for awhile. It really helped me know what I don’t need to worry about and how to move forward in the best way. It was awesome and I think it’s really important for those of us out here chugging away on our own to have someone we can check in with, whether that be a paid consultation or having a good support group (ideally, a little of both!)
  • I‘m also taking charge of some of the technical issues involved in my business. My computer is getting a badly needed upgrade that will (hopefully) drastically improve my workflow. And I’m also using some new tools to help with my work. I just took a Skillshare class by Elizabeth Silver called “Optimize Your Design Workflow: Adobe Bridge for Artists.” I don’t currently use Bridge and I know it can help me, so I’m diving into that.

Those are just a few of the things I’ve been using in this new year (one month gone!) to work better and smarter. Of course I’m also making new art! Here’s a little show & tell of some new stuff:

 

2017: Good Stuff from a Good Year

2017, you had your moments! For all the upheaval in the world my business had a good year. I reached a lot of goals I set for myself (and heck, came up short on some too, but that’s life!). The first week of the new year I’m always in planning mode. I grab all that NEW YEAR ENERGY by the tail and try to make the most of it. I also feel that reflecting on what I’ve done, writing down my goals for the year ahead, and coming up with some strategies to accomplish those goals is really important. Especially as a solo entrepreneur, I’m the only one who’s paying attention and holding myself accountable! 

Here we are, let’s look back on my year! Some really great stuff happened and it was fun to think back on 2017.  So if you’re interested, here are a few of the highlights:

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From the top (kind of chronological, not in order of importance):

  • I got myself a new website last January! I switched over to Squarespace, and oh, Squarespace, how do I love thee? So easy and a good investment on my part.  
  • Then I got to see my work in the Print & Pattern Nature book by Bowie Style (a.k.a. Marie Perkins from the Print & Pattern Blog) - dream come true! She was also kind enough to feature me on her blog in March - how cool is that?
  • That big mug up there is ME at BLUE PRINT, my first trade show I exhibited at with my awesome art collective, Pencil Parade. That was by far the most important (and scariest) thing I did for my business this past year. I’m really happy with how it went and in fact, I’ll be back there later this year with Pencil Parade from May 17-19! 
  • Another perk of Blue Print was meeting my Pencil Parade comrades (Betsy, Megan, and Brooke) in person for the first time! These ladies are awesome and I’m so glad I have them! This pic also represents all the other artists I got to meet this year in real life, from international online acquaintances (even some art/design heroes) to some new local artist friends. This profession of mine has an incredibly supportive community and it’s important to connect with and support each other.  
  • Yes, that’s my iPad up there. I got my iPad Pro at the end of 2016 and it’s become such a valuable tool I had to include it. (I’m using it right now) It’s given me more flexibility, it helps me work more efficiently, and I actually love creating art on it too. I can make art wherever I am: with my kids, on the couch, in a coffee shop, or in bed (?!). 
  • My first greeting card with Design House Greetings for Trader Joe’s came out this past summer! It’s been SO fun to start working with them (did you know they’re based in MN?) and I have a number of new cards coming out with them in 2018.
  • Another great new client, Mpix, who make customizable photo cards. I was able to order Christmas cards for my family that were of my own design. More designs to come this year!  
  • My 30 Days of Patterns Challenge! This past fall I made a new pattern every (or nearly every) day for 30 days. It was a way for me to speed up my workflow and be really productive in a fun way and it was a good (but manageable) challenge. I made a lot of that work on my iPad too (wink, wink).
  • Also this fall I started the Yellow House Post! This is a newsletter for friends, shop customers, and art aficionados. I share new art and shop items, special promos, and free printables. I love sharing that kind of stuff (what else is the internet for anyway?). Sign up here if you’d like to receive it!

There you have it! 2017 in a pretty little nutshell. There are of course other good things from the year, including some art opportunities that won’t come to fruition until this year. Now I’m looking forward to another great year of art making and growing my business! Thanks for coming along for the ride! Happy New Year!