Thursday, June 30, 2011

Help! A quick one question survey.

It's time to send out promo postcards. Actually it's way past time to send them (looking sheepish).


Would you mind helping me out here? Which design do you think is the best option? I've even thought of printing them both and sending them a month or so apart, but then there's the cost issue.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A day of antiquing and junking with my mom

My definition of the perfect morning:)

On Saturday, my mom and I went to a local consignment store and some antique shops. So much fun! I had wanted to do this since my kids were little, but the thought of little boys around all that cool, breakable stuff kept me away. So glad I finally went. 

I could not pass these old croquet balls up. I just love the design and color. The bowl was another find. It's originally from Crate & Barrel.

My son supposedly has a beach themed room. You can't tell, because I still haven't gotten around to finishing it. I found this adorable little shelf for him to put all of his 'treasures' in. Cuteness!

This was my favorite find—old music books and photos to use for collages!

Inspired sketch

I think I'm channeling Garth Williams this week. As a child, I was obsessed with Native Americans and pioneers. I researched both subjects to death and, of course, drew them endlessly.

I find I'm not sketching as much as I need to lately. I'm hoping that the Sketchbook Project 2012, which just arrived will get me going. Meanwhile, I'm sketching even though I don't feel like it. You should see last night's page—Yuck! Sometimes it just doesn't flow, but that's a normal part of being an artist. I just finished Steven Pressfield's The War of Art. Loved it! It makes the bad days easier. I know I just have to keep showing up everyday and do the work. Hopefully, I got the ugly out last night so that today the pretty comes back. I've reserved some inspirational illustrators' books from the library (Arthur Rackham & Richard Scarry) to push me through to the next level.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A quick sketch

This was a quick sketch that was supposed to be for Illustration Friday 'Swept'. I just didn't have the time to complete it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sketchbook Tour 2011

Tracy Bishop

Tracy Bishop and I headed up to San Francisco last week to view the 2011 Sketchbook Tour. I forgot to enter one number into my nav system, so we ended up in the design district, right next to an amazing cafe. We had the best potato salad and avocado BLT on foccacio ever!!! Luckily after some searching, we realized our error and made our way to the studio.

 We were a little shocked when we walked into the venue. It was very sterile and we weren't allowed to browse the books. You have to request two and wait to get them. We were so unprepared! It's a good thing that there were two of us to come up with names. We had a hard time remembering more than a few artist's books we wanted to see. Tracy put out a quick call on Twitter to discover some more. If you go — bring a list!

Jannie Ho's Comic Sketchbook

I loved holding these books in my hand and seeing the line work! I was surprised how many pages there were to fill! I followed along as Jannie Ho posted her story, but was still surprised how long it was. What a lot of work! If you missed it, you can read it here.

I'm holding Abigail Halpin's Sketchbook.

 I absolutely love Abigail Halpin's sketches! If I could wave a magic wand, I'd wish for her skills and style. Her book is beautiful!

The beautifully hand lettered sketchbook of Liz Caldwell

 Here's my friend, Liz Caldwell's book. Her hand lettering is amazing! I was in awe! It is such a beautiful book. I remember some of the days she was having as she worked on this book. 

One last visit with my sketchbook

 I just wanted to hold and page through my book one more time. I should have looked at it first, since I was immediately hit with the "I'm not good enough" wave of ickiness. I don't think that feeling goes away, ever! It just lays low until a weak moment appears, then it jumps out to say hi!

I have to admit, I considered not going to the exhibit since I had seen so many books online already, but nothing compares to seeing them up close and personal! They look less perfect, but so much more beautiful in person.

It was a great day! Go see them if you have a chance, but don't forget to bring a list!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dan Santat

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dan Santat today at my local indie bookstore, Hicklebee's. He's so funny and I love his work! We got a copy of his newest, not yet available graphic novel Sidekicks! I had to leave halfway through his talk to get my son from basketball camp, but I made it back in time to talk to him. I really wanted his other book Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World too, but I managed to control myself. I'd love to have him come back and teach an illustrator's workshop. I'm going to look into that and maybe organize it myself…gulp.

Photo courtesy of

Uber cool stickers he made for the event.

I'm a little behind on blog posts. I'm blaming it on the super heated weather we're having and a lack of air conditioning. Luckily, it turned out to be a blown fuse, which was easily replaced. I really wish we had some major home improvement skills around here. It's painful to hire a repair person only to find out that we could have easily fixed it ourselves. Live and learn.

I'll be blogging about my visit to the Sketchbook Project 2011 Tour, some new paintings I've just completed (I may sell the originals), and some new illos I've recently completed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Interview with Super Woman—Sarah J. Bray!

Courtesy of

A couple of weeks ago, I told you I was dating my website. I am so excited about this program! The questions she asks are really changing my way of thinking about my business, where it's going, and how to get there by really making my website work for me. I can't wait to start implementing what I'm learning. 

Sarah J Bray
Well I decided that I'd love to have a chat with the creator of that program, Sarah J. Bray. I've been reading her blog for awhile and following her on Twitter. I love her writing style and what she has to say. I'm soaking up everything she has writes about web strategy and content, what better way to learn more than by interviewing her! She was kind enough to agree :) Without further ado, here's what Sarah has to say.

Interview with Sarah J. Bray

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
The easy-to-put-on-a-business-card answer -- I’m a strategic web designer. The real answer? I build and re-build businesses, using the web as my hammer of choice.

I also write a lot – can’t stop writing, actually. I write about the things that make a more meaningful web. I write about making your website love you back. I write about business and about being a better web designer and about my love affair with toast. It’s all about the toast, really.

What is your superpower?  I think it’s running your business while Mom to three little ones, one of whom is very new.
Yes! I am a mom (my daughter Charlotte is 3 months old now!), and I run a design studio...but I think a lot of moms do amazing things like that. If I had to pick something else, it would be the way that my brain doesn’t stop working on a problem until it’s solved. Some people might call that worrying; I’m trying to re-frame that and take the anxiety out of it, because it really serves me well. I don’t stop. I keep going until everyone’s getting what they need.

Tell us about your new program, Hot Dates with Your Website and how did you come up with the mind altering content?
Haha...mind-altering! I love that. It sounds very super-powerish. :) I came up with the hot dates because nobody has time to work on their websites, and that makes me sad. It’s like not taking time for yourself by not doing the things that are going to get you where you want to go.

You can change the course of your business with persistent and powerful focus. It doesn’t have to be hours and days and weeks of focus; but short periods of intense focus, doing extremely strategic things adds up. I wanted to make it fun. I wanted to build in the allure of an intense love affair and the excitement of getting rewarded for being good to your business.

And it’s working. It’s crazy-working. I’m such a practical person, and I have to see results in order to feel like my work is worth anything at all. So I’m really excited that it’s resonating with so many people.

How does it work?
Every week, your website writes you a letter (by the way, I’ve nicknamed your website “Mo”, which comes from my fondness for building and keeping momentum). In the letter, he invites you on a date to a certain location, whether that be somewhere outdoors, in your favorite thinking spot, somewhere private where you can blast some music, wherever. He also includes a few pages to add to your Date Book, which is a workbook I created for everyone to take with them on their hot dates.

In the Date Book, you’ll find the area we’re focusing on that week. Eventually, we cover every piece of your website from top to bottom, inside and out. We also cover marketing, products and services, list-building, pricing, content strategy...on and on and on. It’s a ridiculous amount of information (and something even I need a refresher on every now and then), but we cover it in 30 minutes of extremely focused time every week.

The way we keep that focus is by using a timer. Seriously, it sounds hokey, but it works. After your timer goes off, you’re allowed to be finished. You can pat yourself on the back and give your website a good smooch. You’re done.

After that, you shoot an email to a secret email address, which then automatically sends you your reward for a job well done. The rewards are sometimes goofy, sometimes delicious, but always fun.

What can subscribers expect to get out of this?
World domination! Just kidding. They can expect to learn solid web strategy and beyond that, learn how to apply it to their specific style and business. Even if people think they know everything there is to know about marketing and web strategy, have they ever taken a measuring stick and held what they’re currently doing up against that knowledge? This is like that measuring stick, but it takes you beyond measuring and into actually making your website generate more business for you. Every. Single. Week.

Will we all have superpowers by the end?
You know, everyone already has superpowers. But going on hot dates with your website every week helps you to be able to look at your business objectively -- and that’s the hardest part for any business owner. It also teaches you what works to make your website do the work for you; instead of YOU feeling like a slave to IT. Having that kind of superpower in your box of tricks is invaluable.

What is your big thing & how did you decide this was it and stick to it?
My big thing is creating meaning. When you create meaning, people are attracted to what you’re doing without you having to shove it in their faces. I don’t respond well to constantly being marketed to, but I do respond well when someone has created something brilliant that helps me experience the world in a new way. I encourage everyone to think about money, yes, but to understand that money and meaning go hand in hand.

I stick to it because I can’t help it. It’s what I do every day when I’m “done” working. It’s what I help my clients and employees do. It’s what I’ll help my kids do one day when they’re old enough to understand that not everything is play (and hopefully, I’ll be able to teach them that everything CAN be play if you let it).

What words of wisdom do you have to share with your loyal and soon to be loyal fans?
Think about what your favorite clients/customers LOVE to see, do, and share, and create something like that for every piece of your business. Then people will love to see, do, and share your stuff. Make it your business to delight people. To make them think, “Wow, I cannot get enough of that. If this person’s website/product/service were gone tomorrow, there would be a tangible hole in the world.”

And learn good marketing principles. Drink up everything you can. Marinate in the stuff. And then go create your own path.

Thanks so much, Sarah! You can read all about this new program here. I wouldn't be sharing it with you if I wasn't so excited about it! What are you waiting for! Go! Now! You only have until June 17 to join us!

Affiliate link because I really love the program!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy 10 Little Man

I've been out of town visiting family in Santa Barbara this weekend, but had to sneak in a quick post about a special little man. My baby turned 10 today! I tried to memorize him when he was a newborn because I knew how fast time flies! It didn't work. I can only imagine him as he is now. Happy Birthday sweet man.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Watching them grow

These last few months, I've enjoyed watching my oldest blossom. He's really come into his own. I get to witness him standing fully in his own power. At thirteen, he's so comfortable in his own skin, which amazes me! I was so shy at that age, but he's not. It is awe inspiring and every bit as exciting as watching him take his first steps!

He's got this great talent of being able to manage and guide people. He gets this gift from his dad. Yesterday was my nine year old's end of the year party, so I brought the big guy along. He handled it with ease and they loved him!

I can't wait to see what he'll do in high school. There are so many opportunities at the school he's going to. So glad I get front row seats!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Work in Progress — Hansel & Gretel

I'm busy working on some new portfolio pieces. Here's my version of Hansel & Gretel.

I'm reading Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters' Guide to Shooting from the Heart with the goal of greatly improving my family and blog photos. 

Trying to figure out where to put all of these yummy veggies! Cody isn't waiting until the harvest to enjoy our crop.

Wondering if we can spruce up this deck by ourselves.

Experimenting with how to warm this pool of ours. Right now I'm trying a liquid pool cover. Sounds like magic, but I'm giving it a try.

Enjoying my favorite flowers ever. LOVE!

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