New Blog Design!




Friends, I am so excited to share with you my new blog design! This latest iteration of my blog was created by the amazing Sara Jensen. I have known Sara for a few years and was really excited to collaborate with her. She used my work, including my hand lettering and pattern design, to create a new blog that feels just like me. Thank you, Sara! You were a dream to work with. And also a special thank you to Sara’s husband Thor, who is also brilliant & did all the back-end stuff. These two are the best.

Have a happy Monday, friends!


Professional Illustration Class in SF :: June 4




Friends, I am teaching a professional practice class on being an illustrator –including information on the life & work of the freelance illustrator, different illustration markets, and tips on how to successfully promote your work to garner consistent, fun, paying illustration & licensing work. This particular class is in San Francisco on June 4 from 6:30-9 pm, but I am also planning to teach one in New York City in May, so stay tuned for an announcement on that. You can learn more and register for the San Francisco class here. The class will not be taped or live streamed (we are not set up to do that), so attendance at the class is necessary to participate.

Space is limited, so sign up early!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!


Words for the Day :: No. 18




Just one of the illustrated quotes you’ll find in this book, which comes out very soon!

Happy Thursday (almost Friday), friends!


On Messing Around



{A shot from my studio yesterday; some of this got painted over by the end of the day}

One of the greatest things about making art is that moment when you find you are on a roll with something: you cannot stop, and all you want to do is paint and paint {or whatever it is you do}. This moment (or this extended moment) is really pretty special, because often the opposite is true: that we are stuck or feel like we are onto nothing at all or that everything we do is unoriginal or just generally sucks.

Most of the time when we feel we are onto something potentially great, it happens because we are just messing around. We allow ourselves time to play, without external pressures, requirements or deadlines. I heard something recently (and honestly I don’t remember where I heard it) that play leads to mastery. I think this is why it must be great to go into an MFA program — to literally pay thousands of dollars to buy time to experiment and play and then to get feedback on it (so you can go back and do it over again).

As a full time working illustrator I have found that I just don’t have enough time to mess around in my studio. Lately I have been trying to change that, even if it means taking on fewer illustration jobs. I feel like I haven’t had a breakthrough or been on a good “roll” in a long, long time (even when I took the month of January off). And I think it’s mostly because I don’t have or make time to play in my studio. I truly love most of my “work” (aka illustration jobs), but I also want to push my practice so much further to break out of the habits/methods/motifs that are safe for me. But so far I haven’t felt that I could give sufficient time to both illustration work and zero pressure, playful experimentation. I always feel stretched a bit. Sometimes I feel stretched a lot.

Yesterday I made some time for play in my studio (aka, didn’t do other stuff on my list) and I hit the beginning of some kind of roll  (I think?). But just as I was hitting it, I had to leave the studio to go home for dinner. Sometimes I wish I was one of those artists who sleeps at her studio, and lives and breathes “her work” (aka her personal work, not her client work). But then I think about sleeping on the tiny sofa in my studio and cooking dried ramen on the hot plate for dinner and being away from my significant other, and I think, no, I am too old for that.

I wonder sometimes if the plight of the illustrator is finding this balance between making a living making illustrations for other people/companies/publications and also keeping up with personal creativity and experimentation. Regardless, that is my plight.

Old story here, new words to describe it (aka, balancing illustration & personal work). I am determined to figure it out.

Happy Wednesday, friends.


New Repeat Pattern :: Hot Air Balloons!



You might recall a couple of weeks ago I shared with you this pattern I made recently. I’m in the process of building up my repeat pattern portfolio, and here’s another I made last week (shown in two colorways).

Also, don’t forget that my four-week basic line drawing class starts today! And it’s not too late to sign up. Just register with Creativebug and you’ll have access to my class and hundreds more (for only $9.95 a month). Everything is online and you can participate at your own pace.

Enjoy and happy Tuesday!


Mindful Magazine & “Filling In” for Maira Kalman


MF-07-Apr14 MindSpace_lowres


{Full page illustration I completed for Mindful Magazine, which is featured in the current April 2014 issue.}

I’ve talked about this before, but every now and again an illustration job comes my way that makes me squeal with joy. One such job came my way this past October. I received an email from Jessica, the art director over at Mindful Magazine, the subject line of which read: “new magazine + filling in for Maira Kalman.” It was a busy time for me and I’d vowed not to take any more jobs. But when I read the email, I knew I couldn’t turn down this assignment.

Jessica was writing to let me know about Mindful, a new magazine that focuses on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness in everyday life, and to ask me to contribute to a full back page feature wherein I would meditate and then make an illustration about my experience. The real clincher came when Jessica mentioned that this feature is normally completed every month by well known artist & illustrator Maira Kalman (who happens to be one of my personal heroes), but that she was traveling that month and they needed someone to fill in for her.

And, so, well, they decided to ask ME to fill in for her. How could I say no to that? I think I responded something like, “Well, I am swamped, but let me tell you something — I would NEVER pass up an invitation to fill in for Maira Kalman.”

Here are a couple of Maira’s back page features from previous issues (mine, out this month, is pictured above).





This assignment was also timely because I was in the midst of attempting to start and maintain a meditation practice. I decided to focus the illustration on my attempt one morning to meditate first thing, without food or coffee. My thoughts are hand lettered around the image of myself meditating. I hope you can see some of the humor!

Speaking of meditating, I promised to fill you in on my attempt to start a practice, and I’ve obviously been avoiding it. And that’s not because I’ve necessarily been avoiding meditation. In fact, I’ve been attempting it fairly regularly. I’m struggling with it for sure, but I am also learning a lot. And one of these days, hopefully soon, I’ll figure out what I want to say about it all.

In the meantime, the April issue of Mindful Magazine is on store shelves now. Also, have a great week, friends!


Embrace the Abyss T-Shirts




As some of you know, I spoke at the Nevada Museum of Art on Wednesday. The local AIGA (who sponsored my talk) made these awesome t-shirts with the title of my talk emblazoned on them (hand lettered by me, of course!)! I’m happy to announce that they are for sale and you can get them here while supplies last!

Have a happy Friday and a fantastic weekend!



Craftcation :: Keynote Speaker!




I’m excited to let you know that I’ll be giving the keynote address at this year’s Craftcation conference in Ventura, CA on Thursday evening, April 3! I’ll also be sitting on several panels and doing a book signing for my current books. Craftcation is is a four-day conference featuring industry professionals who lead attendees in lectures, panels & Q + A sessions on creative small business, along with teaching hands-on craft and food workshops. The conference is put on by Nicole Stevenson and Delilah Snell, and it takes place in the beach town of Ventura (about an hour north of Los Angeles). This list of this years teachers and presenters is AMAZING. Check it out here. I am so thrilled to be taking classes and attending some of the panels myself.

To learn more about the classes and events at Craftcation and to register, visit their website!

Hope to see you there!

And happy Thursday!


Now Available as a Print!



Happy to announce that I’m now offering a new archival print of one of my favorite quotes, pictured above.

Get it here.

Happy Wednesday!


Danielle Krysa :: Creative Block



Friends, Danielle Krysa, aka The Jealous Curator, has put out the most beautiful book, and I am so honored to be part of it. It’s called Creative Block: Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists, and it’s published by Chronicle Books. The book includes interviews with 50 artists, recommended activities for getting your creative juices flowing,  plus pages and pages of gorgeous imagery. Yes, it’s a beautifully curated & edited book, but truly the best part of this book are the countless pages of stories from real working artists talking about their worst days and how they get through them. I always say that it’s our humanity as artists that connects us with the world, and this book is a testament to that.

Danielle is going on a book signing tour to a few major cities, and I highly recommend going to one of these events if there is one near you:
San Francisco, March 5
Los Angeles, March 22
New York City, April 2 (you must purchase tickets to this one)
Vancouver, BC, May 15, 7 pm

A few spreads from the book:


{one of my mine}


{Holly Chastain}


{Aris Moore}


{Kate Pugsley}

You can get the book here or at your local bookstore. Congratulations, Danielle! I love this book.

Happy Tuesday.



New Line Drawing Class Starts March 4!




Friends, I’m thrilled to share the class I taped with Creativebug last year — and it begins a week from today! The class, called “Line Drawing with Lisa Congdon” is a super basic line drawing class for beginners. And the great news is that subscriptions at Creativebug are now only $9.95 a month, which is a steal (and you have access not only to my class but hundreds more).

The class is five weeks long, and includes instruction and activities in basic line drawing, creating patterns with lines, working on ephemera like photos, and basic block lettering. Once a week I do a live chat with the class where you can ask questions and interact with me. Still wondering if my class is for you? Watch this little video. And you can go straight here to learn even more and sign up.

You can also watch this trailer to learn a little bit more about me!

Have a great Monday and hope to see you in class! Don’t forget to register here!


Art Inc :: Coming Soon!




Friends, remember way back when (almost a year ago, eee gads!) I said I was writing a book (and it was kicking me in the ass)? Well, I finally get to talk about it!

So it is with great excitement and pleasure that I announce my upcoming book, published Chronicle Books, which comes out in August. Art Inc is a business book for new & emerging artists, chock full of tips on organizing, launching and promoting your career and interviews with successful working artists & others in the industry. The art and illustration worlds can feel mysterious and foreboding when you are just starting out, and I’ve attempted to break them down into understandable elements — how they work and what you can do to increase the chances to breaking into whichever of them you choose.

The book is part of the already well-known and successful “Inc” series by Chronicle, and is edited by the amazing Meg Mateo Ilasco (who founded the series). My friend Jonathan Fields has written an incredible foreword and there are interviews with people like Esther Pearl Watson, Paula Scher, Jessica Silverman, Susie Gharemani, Dolan Geiman, Claire Desjardins and many others. The gorgeous illustrations are by Karolin Schnoor.

You can pre-order the book here or wait till it hits shelves later this summer.

Happy Friday, friends! Have a great weekend.

CATEGORIES: Art Inc | My Books

Little Collector :: New Prints!



{Country – A new print featured at Little Collector}

Friends, I am so excited to announce that I’ve got two new fine art, limited edition prints at Little Collector! They are entitled Country (pictured above) and City (pictured below). Little Collector specializes in limited edition fine art for kids, and I’m so happy to have joined their ranks. (PS: It’s also okay if you are a grown up without kids and you want to buy from them!)


{City, another new fine art, limited edition print at Little Collector}

Little Collector is also selling bolts of two prints from my Land That Never Was collection:



You can get those here and here.

Enjoy and have a fantastic Thursday, friends!



New Repeat Pattern!



This may I will travel to Surtex for the fourth time — a surface design show in New York — to show my portfolio at my agent’s booth. To prepare my portfolio with some new imagery I’ve given myself the goal of making at least one new repeat pattern a week between now and the beginning of May.

Here’s the first! It combines my love for typography, geometric shapes and mid-century pottery, and it’s available for license!



Have a great Wednesday, friends!



36//36 :: Spoon Show




I’m really excited to be part of a show curated by the multi-talented Courtney Cerruti that opens this Friday at Paxton Gate Kids in San Francisco. 36 artists from the UK and the US were given one antique wooden spoon each and told to turn it into a piece of art. Here’s a shot of my spoon for the show:

photo 2

And here are some other lovely spoons!


I’ve got my eye on this one by Curtis Jensen, above.


I also love this one by Lindsay Ann Watson.

And this one by Yellow Owl Workshop:


And many more… Local people, I hope to see you there!


CATEGORIES: Exhibitions | For Sale