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April 10, 2019

I get a lot of questions about the wonderful (and very strange) world of art licensing and surface design, so I decided to start a series to help people navigate the industry. Designers, Illustrators, Lettering artists and fine artists can all get involved with art licensing, but there’s so much information to share that isn’t readily available.

Intro To Art Licensing and Surface Design

MY BACKGROUND

I started licensing about four years ago. I was a freelance designer, just dipping my feet into the world of illustration and lettering. I had an opportunity to work with a wonderful client in the paper goods world, and it was a perfect fit for the type of work I was creating. However, I quickly learned that the project was a royalty percentage of sales, instead of a flat fee – so I had some research to do! I spent hours googling, and getting in touch with industry friends, signed the contract – and made a very important shift in my business.

THE SCOPE

I created about 18 pieces (lettering, quotes, illustration, patterns) for this company to license (use for a specific period of time and terms) – sort of like “renting”. Then, I received a small (but mighty) percentage of sales once the product was put on the market.

THE RESULT

It was incredible to see my work in big box stores, professionally photographed, and shared with people all over the nation! I knew it was time to find more clients. I spent the better part of the next year and a half working on building a licensing portfolio (more on that later) and immersing myself into the world – making new friends, reading articles, researching companies, taking classes on Skillshare, and soaking in everything I could.

HERE’S THE THING

A lot of licensing is sort of “up in the air” – you may create a piece with the idea that i’d be perfect for a greeting card for Trader Joes (yes please), but then a client wants it, and see’s it working so well for a reusable shopping bag. It’s important that you start to think of your art working in multiple ways so you can create pieces that buyers will love, and see a vision for! Buyers often have really cool ideas for bringing a piece to life – like die-cutting, flocking, foils and even pop-ups that are really amazing to see in person!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to share as much as I can about the world of licensing. I’ll help you determine if it’s right for you, and point you in the right direction for resources and industry standards. If this gets your SO EXCITED OMG then be sure to sign up for our class Art Licensing for Letterers!

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April 8, 2019

I’m a firm believer that what works for one person, it’s NOT always right for the next, but I also love sharing what has worked for me along my journey! Over the past two years, my process for hand lettering has changed quite a bit, and I’m excited to share my favorite hand lettering tools and resources with you! I hope this post helps you try a new a tool or approach to creating!

Handlettering Tools and Resources for Beginners

First up are my traditional tools – things I keep on hand, and recommend having in your back pocket.

PENS

Honestly, I work with what I’ve got – HOWEVER, a few of my favorites include Micron and Tombow. I buy my pens in black since I do color work in Adobe Creative Cloud, but if I see a pen that looks interesting, I buy it and play around with what sort of shapes and lines it creates.

PAPER

I’ll use pretty much anything that’s laying around, but a fun fact is that I don’t typically like drawing in bound sketchbooks – I like being able to tear a piece out, and recycle it once I’ve documented/scanned it (especially if it’s a reject). I keep any sacred pieces that are special, but I’ve been using some form of the Konmari Method for paperwork for most of my life. When I want to ink something, I usually grab a pad of Bristol paper.

PENCIL & ERASER

Again, nothing fancy here – I love blackwing pencils because I feel FANCY AF but I’ll use a good old mechanical that’s laying around. I really like using my Draft/Matic pencil, less waste, and it’s really reliable! I use a really hard lead so that my lines are lighter and easier to erase. Magic Rub is my all time favorite eraser. Reading this back… Magic Rub is quite a name!

LIGHTBOX

I love my lightbox! It’s super lightweight and makes for really easy transfers and tracing. To be clear – I’m tracing my OWN work, not someone else’s. I trace over the sketch to refine it using a lightbox (over and over) if I’m working on a finished piece with ink. The one I have isn’t available anymore, but the one linked here is a good alternative!

SCANNER & PRINTER

I purchased an Epson Workforce printer when I was printing my line of stationery at home, it’s been reliable, customer services has replaced or been available to troubleshoot as needed, and all around I’m happy with it.

IPAD PRO & TABLET

I was skeptical about the iPad at first – seeing how people used the brushes, and thinking it would take away from the handmade quality – but this really surpassed my expectations, and sped up my workflow immensely. I love playing with procreate brushes so much, that I made a few of my own you can purchase here. I also have a wacom tablet, which isn’t seeing much use these days, but I do love it. It’s a smaller investment for this particular model, but you can do so many incredible things with a cintiq too! These aren’t required or necessary for success, but they definitely have made my life easier! I think this is obvious, but I also heavily rely on my computer – formatting files, prepping things for print, and some of my process isn’t possible without the use of one – along with the Creative Cloud apps.

CUTTING TOOLS

I used to print, cut, score and pack each one of my cards. It was a ton of work, lots of time (and papercuts) but saved me a lot of money when I was starting. My favorite tools are a paper cutter, a scoring board, a bone folder, and an x-acto knife.

EDUCATION

I went to school for Graphic Design, so navigating my way through Illustrator and Photoshop was a skillset I already had, but I’m always learning new things about the programs, and new ways of doing things. I love taking classes on skillshare to try new methods, learn new approaches, and get inspired by other artists. I teach a class about using the pen tool here, and there are tons of other classes you can take to learn more!

Interested in seeing more about my lettering, and how I’ve turned it into passive income? Sign up below to get updates about my licensing class, where I’m spilling all the details!

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Sign up to receive irregular (but informative) emails about business growth, and other resources. I’ll even send you a FREE list of all my favorite resources!

March 7, 2019

Online Workshop and Masterclass for Creative Entrepreneurs

I got an email from a peer about five years saying she was going to pursue and grow her creative passion, but wasn’t sure how to make it “legit”. I sort of laughed at the question, because I knew what she meant, but also it sounds so silly. What defines “legit”. Ultimately, she wanted to make sure she filed the correct paperwork to make sure she was doing business legally, and professionally, but it goes so much deeper than that. This feeling of legitimacy and success are vague, and we can make our own definitions of them, but we seem (I know I’m not alone here) to have a hard time doing so. Over the next few months we talked about what steps she needed to take to make her business both legally sound, and also “legit” enough for her ego. I’m happy to say she’s kicking butt, and has even opened several new ventures along the way!Grow your Creative Passion into a Full Time Job with the Mind Your Business Online Workshop

The business side definitely doesn’t come easy to most creative entrepreneurs. The thought of doing taxes alone could make you want to pull your hair out and give up, so I saw a need for a tool that people could use to help make the hair-pulling work make a little more sense, and be a lot more fun! I realized that The left side (thanks mom!) helped me with my creative passion, and the right side (thanks dad!) helped me stay organized, do the research, and pick up business skills without any formal training in it. This was a gift, and I’m so glad that I get to share what I learned with the world through my book, Mind Your Business.

Over the past two months, I’ve been blown away by the response with the book launch – which is currently in over 35 indie Stories, major chains like Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Amazon, and Joann Fabrics. Pinch me! But honestly, if I was buying this book, I’d have a hard time actually writing in it – it’s pretty (of course) and it feels so permanent to write down my two years goals, or five year goals in PEN on something so beautiful that I want to keep it forever. To overcome this, I figured I’d do some hand-holding through “Mind Your Business Workshops”. I’ve got the first two under my belt, and I’m so excited to be teaching the next one next week ONLINE! Doing the class online is allowing me the opportunity to reach people in other cities, states, an even countries! Hello to my attendees from Paris, California, Arizona and beyond! It also allows people the comfort of staying in their pajamas, which is basically what life is all about.

Incase you’re still wondering if this workshop is for you, here’s a little info about it.

  • The workshop is UNDER $50! Need I say more? I want this information to be available to anyone who wants it, so I priced it where I feel valued, but that someone even just starting their business would be able to invest in. While you don’t need a copy of the book to come to class, I’d recommend it – plus, amazon has it on sale for under $15.
  • There’s a Live Q&A – While you don’t need to attend live, I encourage it for this alone. The Q&A is your chance to ask me anything specific to YOUR business, your growth, your struggles.
  • Access to a private MYB Facebook group – a great place to ask questions about the book, about your business, and connect with other women. The goal of keeping this group private and small is so that it doesn’t add NOISE to your daily social media experience. Instead, it’ll be there as a resource when you need it.
  • It’s small, and mighty. I’m keeping the workshop small – I mean… tiny! Because I want to actually get to know you, and allow you all to ask questions without the workshop taking 4 hours of your time listening to someone else’s business questions.
  • I’m not pitching ANYTHING. This is the pitch. I’m not trying to sell you on some $400 course, some bigger plan, or some other product you MUST HAVE to get your business thriving. Literally, this course is about how to get clients, keep clients, tangible advice on kicking ass, and making money.

Got more questions? Just email me, send me a DM, or comment here and I’ll be sure to answer them! I know you’re amazing at your craft (whatever that may be) and I can’t wait to hear more about it, and watch you thrive!

Sign up for the workshop here, see you in class!
March 4, 2019

Checking in for your monthly reminder to grab your #ruletheworldplanner, and start writing down those goals and accomplishments for March! I’m so excited to be featuring Kelly Place, a talented friend and kind human! Her work is so whimsical, and I loved hearing about her productivity tips, and favorite March activities! 

Working Around Inspiration | Artist Interview

What does a typical day look like for you? Because being a Mom to three is my primary job right now, a typical day looks like a lot of lovingly controlled and thoroughly enjoyed chaos. I usually manage to stay in bed until 7, thanks to my husband getting up with our littlest before work. We try to balance our day with a good mix of outdoor time (exploring our backyard woods, learning how to harvest flower seeds, and using every piece of sports equipment that we own) with bits of creative play and screen time mixed in. And snacking. SO MUCH SNACKING. Time spent with my children fills my well of inspiration: listening to them laugh, watching the way the sun illuminates their play, and seeing endlessly random color inspiration in the outfit combinations they choose each day. If I have anything left in me by evening time, I try to fit in a quick workout, followed by approximately 1-2 hours of SOMETHING. Responding to emails from the day, drawing in my sketchbook, working on a commission, or sitting on the couch watching Netflix with yarn in my hands. I probably stay up way too late for our daily activity level, but the evening hours are my me time, and they are so necessary for unwinding and letting the inspiration materialize in some way.

Why did you create this quote for the planner? I have always loved this quote. I think it’s easy for us to feel like we aren’t being big enough activists, contributing enough to organizational efforts, making enough calls to all the right people… but so much goodness can come from making intentional efforts in small communities. We can raise children who don’t think twice about lending kindness where they see a need. We can hold ourselves to high standards of love and acceptance. We owe it to ourselves and to this precious earth.

What’s your favorite productivity tip? I’m lucky to not be under any tight deadlines most of the time. In general, I work when inspiration hits (or at least write my genius down), and I don’t force it when I’m not in the mood.  Lists help me keep jobs organized and feel accountable for personal projects, too. Also, if you have family or a community you see regularly, mentioning prospective ideas out loud really gets the ball rolling, since you KNOW everyone will be asking for updates!

The important stuff – what’s your favorite dessert? If I had to choose, I’d almost always pick a homemade cookie. Rich and chocolatey, light and lemony, buttery and flaky, loaded with bacon or nuts or salt. Cookies have me forever.

Current Netflix binge: Can I include Amazon Prime instead? Really amused with ‘Bored to Death’. Jason Schwartzman really pushes my late night humor button.

Brunch or happy hour: Happy hour! I am a perpetual snacker, but having a designated time to sit down, slow down, and enjoy some tiny foods with good company is always my choice. Plus, we are big fans of breakfast foods at any time of day in our house. 🙂

What are you currently working on: Children’s book illustration, and commissions!

Favorite activity for March: Hands down, picking out flowers online for the garden! I have a perennial buying addiction. And dreaming of corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day!

You can find Kelly’s work on her website or on Instagram

February 1, 2019
I’m so excited to kick off this monthly Rule The World Planner series featuring some seriously talented women! This month, I may be a bit bias, as the featured artist is (drumroll please!) my sister, Danielle Sara! Danielle makes incredible glass and ceramic pieces that truly make drinking water so much more special. She manages to do craft shows, produce art, and stay inspired all while still working full time as a high school art teacher. I love her dedication to her craft, and how no matter what idea she has – she’ll find a way to make it work! She truly makes the time for her craft, and schedules it in like an appointment – even with plenty of other jobs keeping her busy! Danielle’s been a huge inspiration from me, since growing up I copied everything she did, eventually finding my own voice. She’s one of my biggest cheerleaders, and I’m one of hers, so having her artwork included as the first coloring page is so special! I can’t wait to introduce you to her, and see how you color in her beautiful drawing! What does a typical day looks like for you? I am a full time high school art teacher, glassblowing studio coordinator/teacher and maker, so a typical day is working at school followed by making art and spending time with my hubby and dog. Why did you create this pattern? For me the mountains mean clarity and energy from nature’s beauty.  They are a meditative space that is cleansing and fulfilling. We all need positive energy in our lives! What’s your favorite productivity tip? Use your planner! Duh!  With 3 jobs and a life (sort of) I need to know when I need to be where and what needs to get done. My planner goes EVERYWHERE with me. Plus crossing out the tasks you finish on paper is so much more fulfilling than doing it digitally.  Not to mention going back and looking at all the things you did that week or month, it can make you feel so productive! The important stuff – what’s your favorite dessert? Frozen yogurt- preferably soft serve but lets be real, I will eat it all! Current Netflix binge: Is and always will be “The Office” and “Parks and Rec”. Brunch or happy hour? Brunch everyday What are you currently working on? My current focus is on full table settings made with glass and ceramics, tying together my 2 loves. Favorite activity for January: January is the best month because you can downhill ski, or cross country ski, or snowshoe, make snow angels, snowmen, hike in the snow, and drink hot chocolate and chai lattes.  I am pretty enthusiastic about the snow and give me all the winter clothing please!
You can visit Danielle’s shop, or see more of her work on Instagram!
 
January 23, 2019

Last weekend I threw a launch party to celebrate my book Mind Your Business! Of course, that whole weekend was a blizzard, the grocery store shelves were completely empty (no joke) and the roads were tough. Granted, we’re familiar with snow, so most people have a car that can handle the roads, a shovel, and salt, but it’s a lot easier to stay inside, with some hot cocoa when it’s a snow day. I found a perfect venue for the event, send out invitations, promoted it on the news earlier in the week, and had been posting about my party on social media for weeks. It’s a big deal, and I was excited to celebrate, and I had a LOT of chocoalte I didn’t want to go to waste! When Sunday rolled around, I didn’t want to cancel, so I figured, if no one turned up, at least I had a good reason why!

I was so touched when people started showing up, two friends even came in FULL SNOW GEAR because they WALKED (trekked may be a better term) to get to the event. I felt beyond loved, and was so excited to see everyone’s reaction to the book.

          

A huge thank you to Living Roots and Chuao Chocolatier for helping me put together an amazing event! To all my friends who baked, and showed up for me – it meant the world to me, and I can’t believe I didn’t take more pictures!

GRAB A COPY OF MIND YOUR BUSINESS! 

SAY HI!

Represented by Jennifer Vaughn Artist Agency. For commercial work please contact Jen Vaughn at jen@jenvaughnart.com or 760-808-2462