Experiments in Blue // Week 23



This week’s Experiment in Blue is an ode to summer — summer fruit, flowers and bright cheery colors. I’m also headed to France in July so I added a little French “good day” as well.

Happy summer, all!


There Are No Rules


doodling manifesto_quarterly

Pictured above is a Doodling Manifesto that I wrote a few years ago. At the time, I was beginning to teach a Basic Line Drawing class through Creativebug — mostly for people who don’t self-identify as artists — beginners, really. My goal in designing that class was to simplify the practice of drawing into some very basic principles and to give people permission to draw without worrying about making the thing they are drawing look “realistic” — which, for most people, is the most intimidating part of drawing. I also wanted people to understand that drawing isn’t just about drawing actual “things” — that it is just as much fun to draw shapes and weird patterns — and that that act (which we commonly call “doodling”) — is just as much a valid form of art-making than anything else, especially if you are a beginner.

The class became wildly successful and still today, four years later, it’s a very popular class on Creativebug. It may sound obvious to people who identify as artists that creative expression doesn’t have to be complex or layered or perfect, but for beginners, the notion that they can pick up a pen and draw lines and circles to create basic shapes (and eventually patterns and other designs) — and then call it “art” was mind-blowing.

Technically, my Basic Line Drawing Class is not designed to teach you “how to draw” — at least, not in the traditional sense. In the class, I teach a form of drawing that embraces wonkiness and imperfection, simple lines and use of negative space. I went on later to record a 31 Day Drawing Challenge, which you can also watch on Creativebug, in which I guide you through drawing 31 different everyday objects and things in nature in several different, very simple ways. The goal is to get comfortable drawing things, and embracing all of of the imperfections, which in my opinion add charm and interest.

Mostly, I want people to understand that you are in charge of what you create. There are no rules for the right or wrong way to draw something (despite what your elementary school art teacher may have told you). I have made a living (as have many other artists) in drawing everyday things & scenes in unconventional, stylized ways. I also draw very realistically when it’s called for in my work. I love approaching drawing in different ways. You can see my love for diverse approaches reflected in my portfolio.

Curious about the class? Take a look at the trailer below and ignore the fact that it says “COMING THIS MARCH” — this video is several years old and the class is available for viewing now! And yes, my hair has grown a lot since then!

You can take the class (or my 31 Day Drawing Challenge or subscribe to Creativebug for free for a month) here. This class is also great (and super appropriate) for kids!

Have a great weekend, friends!


Samantha Hahn



Friends, I am so excited to launch the next phase of Interviews with People I Admire: recorded interviews! I’m not calling this a podcast (you won’t find links to the interviews anywhere but on my blog for now). But it’s a format I’m testing out for the time being. I think recorded interviews will give you a richer perspective into the creative process of the folks I feature here!

Today I am so happy to share an interview with my good friend, Illustrator Samantha Hahn. Samantha is an illustrator from Brooklyn, New York, best known for her beautiful ethereal watercolor portraits of the female figure. Not surprisingly, many of her clients include iconic fashion industry labels and magazines like Marc Jacobs, J Crew, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire — the list goes on and on. She is also the author of two gorgeous books, Well Read Women and A Mother is a Story. Below I have shared photos of her latest book and some of her work so you can get a flavor for her style.

In the interview Samantha and I talk about her work and inspiration, but most interestingly, about “the other side of success” — what happens when you work hard to pursue a career in illustration and then, as you’d always dreamed of, you become a busy illustrator. We discuss what we thought that would look like for us and what the realities have ended up being.

Just click on the play button below to begin listening! The interview is about 53 minutes long.

Samantha’s latest gorgeous new book: A Mother is a Story (and the companion journal).

A Mother is a Story and Stories for my Child_ journal and book coverSamantha Hahn

Samantha’s first book, Well Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heriones

well read women COVER

Images from the interior of A Mother is a Story:






Experiments in Blue // Week 22



Yesterday I was inspired to paint a floral motif for this week’s Experiment in Blue. I draw flowers a lot but I don’t often paint them, and so this was a true experiment. I really had fun doing it, and I plan to keep working on my watercolor floral motifs! This piece was made mostly with watercolor paints and a touch of gouache.

I hope everyone in the U.S. has a nice and relaxing Memorial Day holiday. The weather here in Portland should be lovely! My best to everyone.

Tomorrow I’m back with a new interview with someone I admire. Stay tuned for that!


Joy of Swimming Instagram Contest!



Introducing my Instagram photo contest for The Joy of Swimming!

Here’s how to participate & some info on the contest:
+Post an image of the book (or yourself, your kids or your friends with book) in an interesting environment to Instagram using #theswimmingbook and #myjoyofswimming (using both of the hashtags is really important — if you don’t use them, we have no way to find your entry) and you must also tag me using my IG username @lisacongdon  in the description of your photo.
+Extra points for creativity or humor! Your image can even be a drawing or painting of the book, a hyper lapse video —  wherever your inspiration takes you! The only rule is that the image of the book cover must be in the photo.
+Entries are due midnight, June 23rd. I will judge the entries and announce one winner on June 24th.+Contest starts…NOW!

What’s the prize???

Winner will receive  two signed copies of The Joy of Swimming, two archival prints of artwork from the book (both signed by me), and a $50 Speedo gift certificate! I’ll also throw in some other surprise goodies from my shop! I’ll also post your winning photo to my feed and tag you!

If you don’t already have your own copy of The Joy of Swimming, there’s still plenty of time to get one so you can participate in the contest. Head on over to the book’s website for information on where to purchase (click on the “Buy the Book” tab up at the top of the site.

Can’t wait to see what you post!