New Notebook from Denik!



Friends, I am so happy to share with you the release of a new notebook from Denik.  What’s special about Denik is their mission and vision: For every product they sell, a portion of the proceeds goes directly to building schools.

This particular cover came from a design I drew in my own sketchbook earlier this year:


You can purchase the notebook here and visit my artist page on Denik here.

Have a great week!


Portugal & Spain Sketchbook Spreads



“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
― Anita Desai

Hello friends!

As many of you know, I traveled with my wife Clay to Portugal and Spain during the month of October. We had an amazing trip. You can see many of the photos I took in the six cities we visited on Instagram. Since we traveled between six different cities (and had two stops on our way to Portugal), I spent a lot of time on buses, trains & airplanes and at cafes drawing in my sketchbook. I think there is no happier place for me than being on a train in a foreign country with my headphones in (playing my favorite music, of course) and drawing! Nothing fills me with such bliss. Some of the trains were a bit bumpy, but somehow I managed to pull off some detailed spreads! Here are some of my favorites from my adventure. You can see more of my sketchbook spreads here.


{I made this spread at a cafe; it was inspired by all of the beautiful ceramic tiles in Lisbon!}



{Portugal was one of the most colorful and pattern-rich places I have ever been.}


{A sketch of the view from the Duoro River in Porto, Portugal}




{A rendering of the beautiful hillsides of Granada, Spain}


{The beautiful windows of Madrid!}




{And, finally, things I saw in the visually-rich city of Barcelona!}

Now that I am back home, I am settling into my routine again, to working, painting, keeping my life organized. I am also planning the content for my upcoming online course for artists, which I am very excited about!

Happy Thursday, everyone!


More Sketchbook Explorations // Part Four



Friends! It’s PART FOUR of my latest class with Creativebug launches today! This week we take our pens outside of the sketchbook to create TWO new projects: a beautiful wave pattern with white gel pen on black paper and all-over patterns on the covers of kraft paper Scout Books (also with gel pens).


Join me for this class — the class lives Creativebug in perpetuity and you can take it at your own pace. It’s never too late to start!

Have a great Tuesday! And happy sketchbooking!


More Sketchbook Explorations // Part Three



Friends, today launches PART THREE of my latest class with Creativebug, More Sketchbook Explorations! This week we create a color-blocked background with watercolor and layer over designs in micron pen and gel pens. I think you will really love this exercise!

If you aren’t familiar with this four part class (part four comes next week), you can watch some videos and learn more about the class here before signing up. You can start the class now — the class lives on Creativebug forever so you can take the class at whichever pace feels right.

Enjoy and happy sketching! Can’t wait to see what you create!


More Sketchbook Explorations // Starts Today!



Friends, I am so excited to announce my next four-part class with Creativebug, a brand new sketchbook class called More Sketchbook Explorations. This class is a follow up to my previous Sketchbook Explorations class (which you can view here) but taking the first class is not a prerequisite!

In this new four-part class I take you through five different projects. In the first three classes we explore different mediums inside the sketchbook and in the final class we take our materials outside the sketchbook and onto different surfaces.

The class rolls out over four weeks, starting today. In this week’s class I show you how to create a lush background using Koi brush pens and then we’ll layer over with Micron pens to create a floral motif.

Post your images on Instagram and tag them #sketchbookexplorations so I can see what you’ve been up to!

Don’t have a Creativebug subscription? It’s fast, super inexpensive and easy. Just follow the subscribe links on the class page!

Each week I’ll be back to let you know what’s coming next. For now, you can watch this lovely trailer for the class.


Sketchbook Explorations Class // Relaunch



Hello, friends! I just returned from a whirlwind of a week in sunny San Francisco, where I taped my next set of classes with Creativebug. A new set of Sketchbook classes will launch early this fall, and a drawing-a-day class will launch in January. Stay tuned for those!

In the meantime to whet your appetite, I’m so excited that Creativebug has officially relaunched my four-part sketchbook class, Sketchbook Explorations. This is a great chance for you to participate – whether it is your first time participating or you’ve taken this class before.

Summertime is the perfect time to crack open your sketchbook and explore new mediums. In this multi-part series, I’ll share techniques to incorporate pen, watercolor, collage, brush pens, and more. These exercises will help you to deepen your creative practice and play with approaches that go beyond your comfort zone.

Also, we want to see your work! Show off your sketchbook drawing skills and join the #cbugsketchbook Instagram contest. Read all about how to win a subscription and Micron pens here!

To celebrate this relaunch, Creativebug posted an exclusive interview with me, where I chat with Liana Allday (Senior Content Editor) about my artistic process and the Sketchbook Explorations series. You can listen to the interview here (scroll to the bottom for the recorded interview).


Have a great week, friends!


New Fabric Collection with Cloud9



Friends, I am so happy to let you know that I am releasing a new fabric collection with Cloud9! This new collection is called KINDRED, and it’s made entirely from drawings in my sketchbook. Here is a preview of all four patterns in all colorways.  All repeats are quilt weight cotton. “Blomma” will also be printed in voile. If you are a fabric retailer, you can begin placing orders for Kindred now, and the general public can order from fabric retailers who carry Kindred starting in October.

First up, “Blomma”, which comes in three colorways:




Also, “Fable”




Credo (which reads, “there is nothing to fear”) in four colorways:





And, lastly, Delicata, in three colorways!




Have a great Monday, friends!


Have Some Fun with Sketchbook Explorations!



Do you enjoy drawing in your sketchbook or doodling your way through the day?  Last year I launched Basic Line Drawing (which you can take or re-take at any time) and this year my newest class is called Sketchbook Explorations. Both classes are great for avid or aspiring drawers or doodlers.

You can watch the preview of Sketchbook Explorations below:

The class is divided into four parts. You can make your sketchbooks looks like mine (I’ll teach you some techniques) or use the inspiration to create your own totally unique spread. That part is up to you.


In addition to drawing, we’ll also do some mixed media collage with paper in our sketchbooks too! Throughout the course I share  my process and you have the opportunity to learn alongside me. I cover the materials you’ll need, composition and technique. You take the course at your own pace — it lives on the internet forever, so there is no rush!

Head over here to learn more, watch preview videos, sign up for my class or get a Creativebug’s subscription if you don’t have one already. It’s a steal at $4.95 a month (and you can take as many classes as you like and can cancel any time).

In the past students from my course have posted images of what they’re making on Instagram. If you do take the course, be sure to follow me @lisacongdon and tag me & use the hashtag #cbugsketchbook in your images so that I can see what you’re making!

Hope to see you in class & have a great Thursday!


Some Recent Sketchbook Spreads



As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I keep a regular sketchbook in which I create intricate spreads with various mediums. Today I thought I’d share with you some of my recent work in my sketchbook. For all of these, I used some combination of Sakura of America pens: Gellyroll pens, Koi brush pens or Micron pens.

If you enjoy keeping a sketchbook or would like to start, I offer a Sketchbook Explorations class through Creativebug and it’s never too late to start!





Have a happy Tuesday, friends!


New Online Course: Sketchbook Explorations!



Friends, I’m so happy to let you know today I am launching a brand new four-part online class with Creativebug called Sketchbook Explorations! You might remember my the online course Basic Line Drawing that I launched last year (you can also still take that one!). This class has a similar format but entirely new content and activities.

Watch the preview of the course here!

Each of the four parts is released one week at a time, and this first week is all about creating watercolor backgrounds and layering with a line drawing. You can make a spread that looks like mine, or use the inspiration to create your own totally unique spread. That part is up to you.


The following weeks we’ll do some collage with paper and work with pens as well (I’ll be back next Tuesday to share more about the content for Week Two). Throughout the course I’ll share some of my process and you’ll have the opportunity to learn alongside me. I cover materials you’ll need, composition and technique. You take the course at your own pace — it lives on the internet forever, so there is no rush! In the 2nd week of the course there will be a live chat with me that you can tune into to ask questions and learn even more.

Head over here to learn more, watch preview videos, sign up for my class or get a Creativebug’s subscription if you don’t have one already. It’s a steal at $9.99 a month (and you can take as many classes as you like and can cancel any time).

In the past students from my course have posted images of what they’re making on Instagram. If you do take the course, be sure to follow me @lisacongdon and tag me & use the hashtag #cbugsketchbook in your images so that I can see what you’re making!

Hope to see you in class & have a great Tuesday!


My Doodling Manifesto


doodling manifesto_lowres

Earlier this year I designed this Doodling Manifesto and I realized the other day I had never shared here on the blog! If you’ve taken my line drawing class with Creativebug, you’ve probably heard me talk about some of these principles.

1) In doodling, there are no rules. We all have that voice in our head that says, on occasion, “you should be doing it this way.” And when we doodle, it’s important to tell those voices to shut up. Rules play a really important role in some forms of art making: how to hold your brush, what materials to use, how to create a lush background, on and on. But in doodling, you get to draw whatever you want however you want. And, furthermore, no one but you ever has to see what you doodle. So you have all the freedom.

2) Carry pens and paper with you everywhere. This is important because you never know when the opportunity (or inspiration) will strike. In line at the bank? The waiting room at the doctor? Make your down time (even the boring stuff) less boring with doodles.

3) Make time to doodle every day. Even if you only doodle for a few minutes a day, free form drawing can loosen up your creative juju and even help you process other more difficult stuff, like working through creative blocks or thinking about solutions to life’s problems.

4) Think of everything as lines and circles. You don’t have to “know how to draw” to doodle. Make shapes! Create lines! And if you do want to draw flowers or people or buildings, think of them more abstractly as a collection of lines and circles.

5) You are the boss of your art. You get to draw what inspires you. You get to draw what you want to draw, even if it’s the same stuff you always draw. If you keep a sketchbook to doodle (which I highly recommend), your sketchbook (unless you choose to share it) is your own private place that no one else ever has to see.

6) Imperfection rules. Do you know that Japanese term Wabi Sabi? It translates to something like “beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” The idea here is that it is actually the “imperfections” that make something beautiful or interesting. What I often describe as “wonkiness” in art is to me what makes something really cool or different. Embrace imperfection in your doodling.

7) Doodling is art (end of story). Many of the large abstract paintings I make in my studio and sell to clients begin as doodles in pen in my sketchbook. Many of the repeat patterns I create that adorn fabric began as doodles in my sketchbook. Doodling itself, even if it’s never translated to things like canvas or surface design, is art. Every great artist doodles and every great doodler is an artist.

8) Black and white are beautiful colors. While I do use colored pens and watercolor paints in my sketchbook when I doodle, my favorite tools are black Micron pens and white paper. I encourage you to embrace the simplicity of using just one color (even if it’s not black) and even if it’s just every now and again. When you draw in black on white you will find great beauty in the monotony.

9) Negative space is as important as positive space. Whenever I teach line drawing, I remind my students that it’s important to pay attention not just to the marks you are making on the page (the positive space), but also to the white (negative) space that surrounds it. Composition is made up of negative and positive space and how they interact together, so ponder both as you doodle.

10) Everything you draw (even the stuff you don’t like) is part of your journey. It’s important to remember that even when you want to rip something out of your sketchbook because it is SO UGLY (and even if you do, and you can), the exercise of “making mistakes” or pushing something on the page too far when you should have just left it alone (sound familiar?) is all part of the journey of making art (regardless if you are a doodler or a professional artist). We learn & grow from those experiences. It’s important to learn to embrace the ugly, the mistakes, the “that looked so good until I added that color” moments. It’s all part of your path.

Have a happy Thursday, friends!


New Notebook in the Shop!



Now in my shop: my 5×7 inch “mega” screen printed notebook/sketchbook (front and back pictured above).

Filled with 48 blank pages for your doodling or sketching pleasure and originally designed for my sketchXchange event in Portland in October 0f 2014, this notebook (beautifully printed by Scout Books) is now available for purchase here in my shop.


Have a great Tuesday, friends.


Portland, YOU Are Awesome



This past week I spoke two different times at two different events for 2014 Design Week Portland. I have always known Portland is a special place. I have been going to Portland for visits for the past fifteen years. Several members of my family, including my sister and parents live there, and I have loved that town from the beginning. But the experience of the last several days brought a new level of love and appreciation to my heart. So many incredibly kind people, well organized, sold-out events, and good beer, food, smiles & hugs.


Thursday I spoke at the Design Week HQ in Pioneer Square (which happened to be a geodesic dome). I was in conversation with Namita Wiggers, former Director and Chief Curator for the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, and also friend and inspiration, now freelance curator, writer and big brain. We talked about my path, how I’ve used the Internet and my mulch-disciplinary approach to making a living as an artist. Thank you to everyone who came out to hear us talk, and for all the great questions I got and interest in what I do. It was all very heartfelt! A special thanks to Namita and PDW organizer Kate Bingaman Burt for inviting me to do this event!

Then, this past Friday evening, I gave a talk about my work in general & my sketchbooks to a crowd of over 200 people.


The event was organized by the amazing Yvonne Perez Emerson and Scott Baker, founders of WeMakePDX.


Here I am with my wife Clay and Yvonne at the party following my talk. I have been working with Yvonne to prepare for the event for almost nine months, and I cannot say enough about her energy and enthusiasm, not just for my event, but for supporting and being part of the Portland creative community.

Thank you, Portland, for making me feel so welcomed!

Have a great Monday, friends.



SketchXchange & Book Signing



{what I drew on the airplane flying home from NY yesterday}

I have written here before about my love for filling the pages of my sketchbook with whatever is living in my brain. Whenever I have a free moment, which lately has been while I am flying on an airplane, I grab my sketchbook and get to drawing.

On Friday, October 10 at 5:30, in Portland Oregon (Portland area friends, this one is for you), I am giving a talk at Leftbank Annex as part of Portland Design Week and WeMake Portland’s sketchXchange & Design Week Closing Party events.

I’ll be talking about my approach to my sketchbooks and sharing images of my sketchbooks. Every attendee with get a FREE Scoutbook with my design and will have the chance to enter to win a huge set of Micron pens (courtesy of Sakura of America). At the event, I’ll be selling & signing copies of Art Inc. and Whatever You Are, Be a Good One. And I’ve got a discount code for tickets, so scroll down if you are interested!


I am offering my readers a discount on the ticket price — which includes not only my talk at 5:30 but also the awesome party & art show that will follow! The code is wemakefriends — enter this code for 50% off when you purchase your tickets here.


{what I drew on the airplane flying to NY last week}

On WeMake’s blog today they’ve posted a little interview I did with their founder, Yvonne.

Hope to see you at the event!! Happy sketching!


Portland, I’m Coming for You!



Portland friends! I’m headed your way October 10!

I’ll be giving a talk and signing books as part of Design Week Portland at The Leftbank Annex. My talk is part of WeMake Portland’s monthly sketchXchange (I’ll be discussing how I approach my sketchbooks), and will be followed by a book signing for my new book Art Inc, the closing party for Design Week (which includes tons of fun activities & live music) AND the Put a Bird in It Show!

My talk is at 5 pm sharp, so get there early for a seat. Oh, and I’ll be giving away a pack or two of Micron pens to a lucky winner or two (from the audience)! I’ve also designed a 5×7 inch notebook which Scout Books is generously donating to everyone who attends.

You can purchase the ticket for the entire event here.

Hope to see you there, Portland friends! It’s going to be super fun.