Guest Instagrammer for Sakura of America

01/26/15

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Friends, this week I’m guest Instagrammer for my favorite pen company, Sakura of America, over on their Instagram account. I am going to be sharing some of the ways I work with Sakura products, both in my sketchbook and in my work as an illustrator. I hope you will come follow along!

If you haven’t seen it already, don’t forget to take a look at my post about the giveaway that Sakura is holding this week in honor of National Handwriting Day!

Have a great Monday, friends!

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National Handwriting Day // Giveaway!

01/23/15

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Friends, did you know it is National Handwriting Day? To celebrate, my favorite pen company Sakura is holding a week-long Instagram giveaway. To be considered, write your favorite quote on a piece of paper and post your image on Instagram using the hashtag #handwritesakura. Special points if you use a Sakura pen to create your masterpiece!

On January 30, Sakura will choose 7 winners to receive a prize consisting of the items in pictured above. The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada, and you must be over 13 to participate.

The full rules are listed here.

On a separate but related note, I’m guest Instagrammer for Sakura starting Monday, so stay tuned over at their Instagram feed!

Have a great weekend, friends!

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Words for the Day // No. 56

01/21/15

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One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite writers.

May we all live our truth.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

 

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Words for the Day // No. 55

01/14/15

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Have a good Wednesday, friends!

 

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Words for the Day :: No. 54

12/29/14

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A little lettering & illustration work I did for my client Airbnb this past year.

Have a happy Monday, friends!

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Happy Holidays & Thank You!

12/24/14

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{Above, white gel pen on black paper, 2014}

To everyone who comes to this blog: thank you. My career as an artist would not be possible without you and others who buy, commission, share, write about, and otherwise support the work I do everyday. I feel very grateful. Thank you, thank you!

May you all have a wonderful holiday!

Stay warm and cozy and have a happy Wednesday!

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Words for the Day :: No. 53

12/18/14

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Have a good Thursday, friends!

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Words for the Day :: No. 52

12/15/14

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Wise words from Augusten Burroughs. This and 99 other quotes on bravery will appear in my second book of hand lettered quotes, due out from Chronicle Books in 2015! You can purchase my first book of hand lettered quotes here.

Happy Monday, friends!

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On Rejection & Criticism

12/11/14

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One of the most common questions other artists and writers ask me is this one: how do you deal with rejection and criticism?

I think the reason that people ask this question is that it is a real point of pain for artists and writers. In fact, it may be “the” point of pain, besides dealing with creative blocks, which are often caused by fear or rejection and criticism. So this question really is at the heart of the artists’ psyche, all the time, whether we are conscious of it or not.

Art is subjective. Not everyone will like what we do. Also, we are human. Sometimes we are going to make really shitty work, especially in the beginning of our careers. And what’s worse is that even as our work gets better, we get our work into the world and we become known, the likelihood that our work will be criticized or that we will experience rejection only increases exponentially.

One thing it’s important to understand is the universality of the experience: all artists deal with rejection and criticism — from the very subtle kind (no one “liked” that painting I just posted on Instagram), to more overt (my work didn’t get accepted into that juried show and the judge said it wasn’t developed enough), to mean spirited (someone publicly criticized my work, said it was crap), to self-inflicted internal rejection and criticism (I’m a terrible artist & my work sucks).

We are all looking for relief from this point of pain or a way to ensure that it will never happen to us. But the truth is, while we can gain some perspective and some thicker skin and most importantly, some self love, we cannot ever escape it. Sure, you can avoid ever being rejected or criticized by deciding never to put your work into the world, but where does that leave you?

Recently I talked to artist Susan Mulder about rejection and criticism for her series called The Rejection Chronicles. She asked me lots of questions about my experiences with rejection and criticism, my take on how to deal with them and some lessons I’ve learned. In turn, I talked about taking responsibility, listening to constructive feedback, ignoring mean spirited criticism, and not taking things personally (super hard, yes).

And if there is one lesson I’ve learned it’s this: rejection is always humbling. Situations that humble us and remind us of our humanity make us kinder, more conscientious people. And that’s always a positive thing. If seen in a good light, rejection and criticism can teach us where to focus, what we are good at, what we need to work more at, what we want to own, how strong we are and all kinds of other amazing things.

You can read my interview with Susan here. I also talk about rejection (and 14 hours worth of other content about making a living as an artist) in my online course Become a Working Artist, which you can purchase (and watch at your own pace) here.

Have a great Thursday, friends!

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New Print // Last Week to Shop!

12/10/14

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Don’t forget: this is your last week to shop in my Etsy store before the holidays!  My shop will be closed from Tuesday evening of next week until early January. All remaining orders will ship Wednesday, December 17.

Good news! Just in time, I have added a new print to the shop, pictured above. You can snatch it up here.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!

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Words for the Day :: No. 51

12/09/14

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Words of truth from Ursula LeGuin. These particular words will appear in my next book of hand lettered quotes, which comes out next Fall from Chronicle Books.

Have a great Tuesday, friends.

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Words for the Day :: No. 50

12/03/14

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This quote, along with 99 others, will be included in my next book of hand lettered quotes, coming next fall from Chronicle Books. I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular quote over the past week.

Hope everyone is having a good & cozy Wednesday.

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JCCSF Catalog Cover

12/02/14

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It was an absolute pleasure to illustrate this cover for the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco’s Winter/Spring catalog. It was an honor to work for this fantastic organization. Thank you, JCCSF!

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On the Messiness of Life

11/27/14

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{The quote above by Tara Brach, one of the world’s greatest Buddhist teachers, will appear in my next book of hand lettered quotes, due out from Chronicle in 2015)

For most of my childhood my mom had a cartoonish greeting card taped to our refrigerator that said DULL WOMEN HAVE IMMACULATE HOUSES. Even after it was splattered with food and yellowed at the edges, this card never left the center spot on the freezer door until after I went off to college. This saying was, in a sense, my mother’s mantra. She wore her lack of fastidiousness like a badge of honor. She told my siblings and me repeatedly that she had more important things to do than to clean all the time. It was, she told us, more important to be an interesting person who did interesting things in life than to be obsessively tidy.

While I have never been a fussy house cleaner, thanks in part to my mom, I have had a harder time embracing the more figurative disorder of life: things like messy relationships, unfinished conversations, incomplete projects and impending deadlines. Immediately after reaching adulthood, I began continually obsessing over the details of the imperfections in my life and how I should fix them. If only I worked hard enough or fixed this or that relationship, my life would finally be okay. It might even become perfect!

This idea of “if I could just fix this” was, for most of my adult life, the theme. If I can just get through this to-do list. If I can just mend that relationship. If I can just finish getting that part of my life in order. Then I will finally arrive at a beautiful, perfect life. As a result, I spent years with horrible anxiety, in therapy, exploring Buddhism, reading self help books, trying to find some relief from this spinning wheel.

One of the most beautiful things about entering your 40’s and leaning toward your 50’s  (I turn 47 in January) is that you learn really crazy lessons almost daily. Stuff you thought was true your whole life comes undone. And this undoing can feel both completely terrifying and also completely liberating. One of the lessons I have learned is that I will never, ever feel like I have arrived. There will always be relationships that feel painfully awkward, there will always be unfinished items on my list, goals I haven’t achieved, unresolved email threads, people who I may have disappointed, people who don’t like me. I am never going to get there. Ever.

While this idea still freaks me out from time to time (wait, oh no, I really don’t have control?), it has been the most freeing understanding I have ever had about my life. And furthermore, I have realized the messiness of life I once rallied against is precisely how I learn and grow and evolve.

Truth be told, I still rally against the messiness. I still make to-do lists and stress out at the end of the day when I have to move things I didn’t accomplish to the next day’s list, again. I still worry that people don’t like me. I still want to please the important people in my life. The difference now is that those thoughts don’t control me or my ability to feel happiness and joy. And I also understand now that the messiest situations give birth to some of the most beautiful (I wrote about that here earlier this year). It is in fact the messiness — and not the orderliness — that is part of what makes life so profound.

So this Thanksgiving I continue to be thankful for growing older, for everything I have learned, and for my beautiful messy, imperfect life.

May you also find some beauty in the messiness of your life.

Have a happy day, friends.

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Words for the Day :: No. 49

11/24/14

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Pretty excited to have this gem in my next book of hand lettered quotes, coming from Chronicle Books, Fall 2015.

Have a great Monday, friends.

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