Words for the Day :: No. 59



I wanted to say thank you today to everyone who emailed, shared and commented on my Facebook fan page & on Twitter on this post from last week. Your sentiments are heartfelt. Here’s to defining our own lives!

Have a great Tuesday, friends.


Smart Creative Women Course :: Monica Lee



One of the things I love most about being in a large creative community are all of the opportunities for learning there are with the experienced people in the community. One of my favorite experienced people is Monica Lee. Monica is the voice behind the Smart Creative Women Podcast (I’m an upcoming guest, so stay tuned!). Monica, a successful illustrator for many years (and now podcast host and creative coach) is launching a new online course called Smart Creative Style. What I love most about Monica is her down-to-business, no-nonsense approach and her great sense of humor.

Smart Creative Style is a creative business online course that leads participants through a series of lessons and mood boards that help them to unearth their own unique look and style. If you’ve read my book Art Inc, you know that that finding your voice and developing a personal branding style is critical as you launch your creative business. “With visual imagery coming at us 24/7 it is all too easy to water down who we really are,” says Monica. “Businesses and brands need to have a distinct aesthetic voice and look to stand out now more than ever.” Monica’s hands on 6-week game is your opportunity to distinguish yourself and tap into your originality.

Do you struggle to know, own or capture your personal style or the style of your business? Your “creative style” is who you (and your business) are — in things like your blog, your website, your products and your messaging. This course is designed to help you capture your aesthetic and unique style. It is a course for any creative entrepreneur who wants to define or redefine their creative style.

The course starts March 9. Learn more and sign up!


On Getting Older



A couple of months ago, my friend Karen asked me if she could photograph me for a new project she was starting in which she would profile women over forty who were thriving; to accompany their photograph, each woman briefly describes what thriving means for them. It is called The Thrive Project.

I agreed and a few weeks ago when we were both in Salt Lake City for the Alt Conference, Karen sat me down and took my picture with one of her film cameras. That photo is pictured above.

I get my picture taken a lot, so I am used to seeing my image, but for some reason this particular photograph struck me when Karen sent to to me for my approval. It hit me hard how much I’ve aged physically in the past 10 years. Hello, grey hair & laugh lines. I am, after all, forty seven years old, so all of that is age appropriate. But for a moment, I was taken aback. I am getting older and it’s showing.

As with many of the hard realizations we make in life, we can either fall into a deep depression about the things over which we have no control or we can embrace them. And at that very moment, I took a deep breath and said, I am going to own this.

And then I realized another thing: that despite the sprouting of grey hair at my temples and lines on my face, I have never felt younger or more energetic or excited to get up every day than I do today. Never, ever, ever. I am, indeed, thriving — more than I ever have in my forty seven years.

And so I began to embrace this image of myself with the lines on my face. And a couple days later I posted it on Instagram — without a filter or anything that would disguise the stuff that I might normally try to camouflage. And I expressed how the image had hit me when I saw it for the first time. Lots of people commented, relating and expressing their delight with the light in the photo (Karen is a fantastic portrait photographer).

My sister, who is two years younger than I am, commented on the photograph by posting this quote by the inimitable Frances McDormand, which moved me greatly:

“Looking old…should be a boast about experiences accrued and insights acquired, a triumphant signal that you are someone who, beneath that white hair, has a card catalog of valuable information.”

I am a self-described late bloomer. If any of you have heard me give a public talk in the last couple of years you’ve heard me tell stories about how I did not begin drawing or painting until I was 31, and how I did not begin my art career in earnest till I was 40, and how I did not get married till I was 45. I didn’t get my first tattoo till I was 28 (and I get my 13th tattoo in two weeks) and did not dye my hair pink for the first time until I was 41. Every year older I become, I get braver and freer. Getting older has, for me, been the best, most liberating process.

Yesterday I was recording a podcast, and while telling my story, I pronounced my age. My interviewer jokingly said, “Aren’t you supposed to keep that a secret?” The woman interviewing me is 50, and so she was being sarcastic, of course. But later on we got to talking about why I am so open about my age. It’s something I hadn’t thought about much before, but I suppose it’s part of how I own my unique path. I am in the same place in my career that some illustrators are when they are 30. Instead of being ashamed of that (I did get a late start, after all), I am owning it. And I wouldn’t redo my life in any way, even if I could. I think it’s important for people to know there are all kinds of paths, and all kinds of ways to live a life, and all kinds of things you can begin as you age.

And so here I go, leaning toward my fifites, hair greying, wrinkles gathering, experiences accruing, insights accumulating, joy abounding.

To view & follow along with Karen’s entire Thrive Project as it grows, simply go here.

Have a great weekend, friends.


Right Brainers in Business Summit // Coming Soon!



Calling all creative entrepreneurs! I’m so excited to let you know that I am participating as a speaker at this year’s Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit! If you’re ready to build a profitable and sustainable business on your own terms, come join me at the free 5th annual summit March 9th through 20th. You can grab your no-cost pass here and get practical business-building resources that will help you decide what’s next for your creative venture.

Each day will include interviews with successful creatives and coaches. My interview will air on March 9th. I hope you will join me live in the chat room!

Some of the things you’ll learn from the fabulous line-up of speakers include:

  • How saying no to your business can create a big YES to what’s next

  • Proven strategies for getting your products into the media + retail stores

  • How to create a conscious and compassionate relationship with your money and achieve financial freedom. It’s more right-brained than you may think!

  • The power of starting small to become big and why listening to your customers is gold

  • How to diversify and maximize your money making methods over time

Register here and see you at the Summit!


Words for the Day // No. 58



Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!


Come to the Garage Sale!



Bay Area/Northern California friends: I am participating an event this coming Sunday at Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville, CA. I will have THREE tables of stuff for sale, including TONS of vintage ephemera organized in lovely “lots” (vintage paper goods & photographs), art books, gently used and some new art supplies, some fabric and other random goodies. Everything is priced to sell!

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Come on by Sunday from 11 to 5 pm (or whenever I sell out, so get there early). Other vendors will be selling stuff too!! Address above & parking in this neighborhood is easy.

Please note: I am NOT selling these goods online; only at this sale, so please no inquiries.

Have a great Tuesday, friends!


Etsy Shop // New Additions!



All Good Things Print! 11×14 inches. Get it here.


She Who is Brave is Free print, 11×14 inches. Get it here.


Back in stock: Folk Art Coloring Book. Get it here.


Back in stock: signed copies of Art, Inc. Get them here.

Have a great Thursday, friends!


Words for the Day // No. 57



Today’s wise words brought to you by Stephen King. These words will appear in my next book of hand lettered quotes.

I’m headed this morning to Summit Powder Mountain for a week-long artist residency. I’ll be taking photos there all week and documenting the progress on the mural I’ll be painting. You can follow along over on Instagram.

Have a great Monday!


New Work Available at Uprise Gallery!


newwork for uprise

Friends I have three new abstract paintings available for sale online at Uprise Gallery, along with several others. Please have a look here if you are interested! Price includes shipping.

Happy Thursday, friends!

CATEGORIES: For Sale | Paintings




By now, especially if you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen me talk about & post images of the progress I’m making on the book I’m currently working on, which is all about swimming. The book doesn’t yet have a title (still working on that), but for now I’m tagging my progress #theswimmingbook on Instagram. The book will be a combination of essays (written by Lynne Cox and me), artwork by me, profiles of swimmers, photographs, vintage swimming stuff, hand lettered quotes, history, and fun facts.

I am pretty much finished accepting profile stories, but am still looking for one or two older swimmers (over 85 years old) and one or two disabled swimmers (of any age) — people in those categories who swim regularly (several times a week to every day) and are willing to do a short written email interview (not a phone or in person interview) for the book about why they swim & a bit of their swimming history (and are also willing to send me a snapshot of themselves in their suit/swimming gear that I can paint). If you know anyone who fits this bill, email me! (Book is finished now! No more submissions.)

#theswimmingbook (real title to come!) will be published by Chronicle Books and released in 2016.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!



New Work for Airbnb


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Every now and again I get to work for a serious dream client — a company who has a really great mission & vision, a clean aesthetic & beautiful brand, and is filled with nice people. Recently I got to work for one such company, Airbnb, the community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. I used Airbnb when I traveled to Scandinavia back in 2012 and had a really fantastic experience. I plan to use them again when I travel to Spain and Portugal later this year.

Yesterday Airbnb posted an interview with me on their blog about the work I did for them & my own thoughts on travel in their Makers profile series. They also shared some of the work I did for them, which you can also see below. Pop over here to take a look!







Have a great Tuesday, friends!


Pattern Camp Starts This Weekend!



Friends, you may remember a few weeks ago I told you about Pattern Camp. Well, this amazing class starts this weekend and it’s not too late to register! My friend Jessica Swift will teach you how to make repeat patterns, which is not only a lot of fun, but also a useful skill in the world of illustration, licensing and surface design. You can learn more and register here.



My Next Book :: Fortune Favors the Brave!



Friends, as you may know, I’ve been working on a 2nd book of hand lettered quotes (a follow up to Whatever You Are, Be a Good One), focused on bravery. I’m so excited to show you the cover today and let you know that it will be out in August/September of this year. I’ll let you know this summer when it’s available for pre-order. I plan also to do some book signings, so stay tuned!

Many of the quotes from this book have been featured here as Words for the Day over the last few months, so you can get a preview of what’s included in this new volume.

Have a great weekend, friends!

CATEGORIES: Hand Lettering | My Books

Reflections on Overwhelm



I realized this morning that I had not written a blog post with more than 50 words in a long time. And that’s because I’ve been really, well, you guessed it: BUSY.

You may recall if you’ve been reading this blog for a few years that I’ve expressed here — more than once — that I do not like the word “busy,” and that I was going to try to avoid using it. But the truth is I keep coming back to that word to describe my life, along with words like “buried” and “slammed” and “overwhelmed with work.”

You’d think if you heard me talk like this (or received one of my “sorry I can’t help you right now I’m drowning in deadlines” email responses) that I was, in fact, miserable.

But the truth is, I’m not miserable.

I just have a shit-ton of work, and I am very happy about having a shit-ton of work, which makes me think I should probably question my dramatic word choices (e.g.: “buried” & “drowning”), but that’s another blog post entirely.

After my keynote address at Alt Summit last week, there was a Q&A for the audience, and a woman stood up and asked me about what happens when you begin to have opportunity as an artist or entrepreneur: the combination of excitement you experience (yay, my work is finally in demand!) and also distress (but I cannot say yes to everything! how do I decide? what about my kids and family? I’m overwhelmed!). It’s the side of success that we don’t talk about. We work so hard to build our careers; we want opportunity. We want to have so much opportunity that we can make choices about who we work with and the kind of work we make. But then when it happens, it can feel really hard and overwhelming.

So what I told this woman is that when I begin to feel overwhelmed with my workload and all the “please work with us!” emails in my inbox, I remind myself that I chose this. I chose this life. I worked hard for all those years specifically so that this busy life would happen. And while understanding that I chose the busy career I have now doesn’t alleviate the stress of the deadlines or occasional freak-outs (e.g: how on earth am I going to finish my next book before April 15?!?), it does keep me from feeling like a victim or complaining needlessly.

And the fact is, if you can choose to have a career that is full of opportunity, you can also choose to take breaks, say no to things when you don’t have time, take vacations, and even sleep in some mornings.

On that note, I am off to try to knock all 18 things off my to-do list today by 5 p.m. so that I can go get a manicure at 5:30.

Have a great Wednesday, friends.

CATEGORIES: Personal Essays

Linework NW // Special Guest



Friends, I am so excited to announce that I am an official Special Guest at Linework NW 2015, an illustration and comics festival in Portland Oregon, April 18 & 19 at Norse Hall.


The coolest thing of all is the Special Guest company I’ll be keeping: illustrator & comics artist Lisa Hanawalt, animator, character designer and illustrator Jay Howell, and one of my heroes, Ghost World creator, Daniel Clowes (!!!).

I’ll keep you posted on the events scheduled for the weekend and when I’ll be hanging around and what I’ll be doing closer to the dates. For now, mark your calendars!! It’s FREE!!

Have a great Tuesday, friends!