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April 29, 2019

Create Animated Gifs on your iPad

When I realized you could make your own Gifs for Instagram stories – I saw a real opportunity to extend my brand on Instagram Stories (one of my favorite aspects of Instagram). I can use my artwork on stories to “jazz it up”, and honestly they’re just so fun to make. It’s exciting to see other people using them and enjoying them too! When I decided to make them, there wasn’t much information online – so I decided it was a perfect opportunity to make a class about it! I read everything I could find, and annoyed the heck out of Giphy support team until I figured it out. Now, I’m so excited to release a second class about it because technology is always getting more advanced and there’s an even faster way to do it now!

If you’re already lost – I’m talking about those adorable “stickers” you can add to your Instagram Stories (an plenty of other places) that feature a quick animation. Learn to Make Animated Gifs on Your iPad

Between the classes (which is are both under 30 minutes) we’ll cover:

  • The two ways it’s GIF is pronounced (it’s a serious internet battle)
  • How to Create them using your iPad
  • How to upload them to Giphy
  • Seeing and sharing them on Instagram Stories!

This class is under 20 minutes, and so much fun – I can’t wait to see all the gifs you’ve created, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see them in action!

See you in class!

Be sure to check out some of my favorite artists too! Hello Kristen Long, The Uncommon Place, Molly Jacques, and Adam JK

Take the first class here | Follow up Class here!

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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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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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March 9, 2017

Handlettering Workshop at Rochester Brainery

I’m excited to be teaching a lettering workshop at Rochester Brainery next month and I want you to come join me!

Come learn the foundations of typography, and create your own inspirational poster! You’ll experiment with different tools, methods, and create your own masterpiece! You can use these tools to create a unique piece for your walls, a card for a friend, or just to doodle.


November 22, 2016

Sugar and Type 7 Reasons to Shop Small this holiday season

Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK and that means holiday shopping madness starts NOW! With tons of craft fairs, black friday deals, and a million ways to shop from your pajamas, here are some reminders of why shopping small is so incredible.

  1. Unique and one of a kind
    When you buy from a local craft show, a local shop, or online from someone locally, there are a TON of handmade items. This item won’t be found in every department store, but that doesn’t mean it’s not popular. These items have something extra special about them!
  2. Meet your maker
    When you shop at your local craft sales you actually get to meet the person who made what you’re buying. Chances are, they’re super cool and you’ll want to be their friend (see number 4 & 6).
  3. Better than a pinterest DIY fail
    Don’t wait until the last minute, try something you found on pinterest, and then realize you totally failed. Adding a handmade element to your gift is great, but you don’t have to make the gift all by yourself. And let’s be honest, you’ve got a lot of shit to do.
  4. Grow your community
    You grow your personal network, and your community as a whole. You can make a new friend, or introduce an old friend to someone you just met! This helps the local shops thrive, which leads to the next item on our list!
  5. Support your local ecomony
    Local companies support local jobs! When you shop local, you’re giving right back to your community. The money goes back into the community, and supports a thriving economy.
  6. Makes a good story
    When you buy a gift locally, you get to tell the recipient all about your experience. Maybe your friend happens to own the shop, or maybe the company started kickstarter, maybe they give back to a non-profit that you strongly believe in. Each local item (even food) comes with a story! When you meet the marker, you can learn their own story and share it to make each gift really an experience.
  7. Super cool shit!
    Honestly, some of the most beautiful pieces come from your area! Talk about getting inspired! We’ve got everything from jewelry makers, to soap makers and I love knowing that my purchase helps them pursue their passions.

How are you shopping small this season? Head over to instagramand tag your favorite shop so I can check them out!

October 7, 2016

excelsiorama typeface designed by UNY DesignersYou know how they say “it takes a village”? Well this village (AIGA UNY) got together and made something pretty fantastic. Over 30 designers contributed to “excelsiorama” a typeface by graphic designers living and working in “Upstate” (not NYC) New York. We each got to pick a letter (or number) and take our own spin on it, making the typeface fittingĀ for every wacky situation. Check out this awesome feature on How Design. This project shows the power of having fun, and collaboration. Thank you so much to Tyler Fink for organizing this circus show (also fan girl time – how cool that I get to meet people like Tyler and all the collaborators through AIGA and design?) You can too – just join AIGA! (shameless plug).




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