The Art of Personal Connection: How to Share Your Artist Story

The Art of Personal Connection: How to Share Your Artist Story

The Art of Personal Connection: How to Share Your Artist Story

Have you ever thought about sharing your artist story with your audience? It can be such a fun and rewarding way to connect with people, showcase your creative process, and inspire others to pursue their own artistic passions.

You might find that sharing your story helps you forge deeper connections with your followers. By revealing the personal motivations and values that drive your art, you can create a sense of empathy and understanding that goes beyond mere aesthetics. Consider sharing some of your own struggles and triumphs, as well as the ways that your art reflects your unique worldview and experiences. This can help your audience feel more invested in your work and eager to support you in your journey.

Or you might enjoy delving into the technical and conceptual aspects of your art. This could involve explaining the different techniques and tools you use, breaking down your creative process step-by-step, or discussing the themes and ideas that underpin your work. By sharing your insights and expertise, you can help your audience appreciate the depth and complexity of your art, as well as the amount of thought and skill that goes into each piece.

Or you might want to shake things up and do things a little differently. Perhaps you could experiment with different mediums or styles, or challenge conventional artistic norms and expectations. By sharing your unconventional approach and highlighting the ways that your art breaks the mold, you can capture your audience’s attention and spark their curiosity.

Of course, there’s no one “right” way to tell your artist story. You might find that you’re a mix of different personality types, or that your style and approach evolves over time. I myself use my art to forge deeper connections with people. I’m very open and honest about my struggles with mental health – and those posts generally do the best because they make others with similar struggles feel seen. The key is to be authentic, relatable, and engaging. Use a friendly and relaxed voice that is relatable, and don’t be afraid to inject a little humor or playfulness into your posts.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just starting out, here are some tips to help you tell your artist story!


1. Be authentic and true to yourself

When it comes to telling your artist story, authenticity is key. Embrace your unique perspective and let your personality shine through. Whether you’re contemplative, quirky, or unconventional, allow your true self to take center stage. Share your passion for creating and connecting with others, dive deep into your inspirations and motivations, and showcase your unique approach to art. The goal is to connect with your audience on a deeper level by being true to yourself and sharing your creative journey. Remember, everyone has a story to tell, and yours is waiting to be heard.

What inspires me the most is mental health, nature, poetry, and the wonders of the universe. I find that when I create art that is inspired by my passions, the joy, excitement and pain that I feel shines through and resonates with others. It’s amazing to see how my art can bring people together and create a positive impact on their lives.


2. Use visuals to tell your story

As an artist, you have a powerful tool at your disposal: your ability to create visuals. Take advantage of this by weaving illustrations, photographs, or other visual elements into your artist story. These visuals can help bring your creative process to life and give your audience a more immersive experience. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your studio, a snapshot of a work-in-progress, or a finished piece, these visuals can help your audience better understand your journey as an artist. Plus, it’s a great way to showcase your unique style and aesthetic. So go ahead, get creative, and let your visuals do the storytelling for you!

It’s always surprising to me how much my followers love the timelapse videos I share of my artistic process. To be honest, I sometimes assume that these videos might not be that interesting, but to my surprise, I get tons of positive feedback and requests for more! It just goes to show that you should never assume what will or will not get positive engagement.


3. Share your inspiration

As an artist, inspiration can come from many different sources. It’s important to take the time to reflect on where your ideas and creativity come from, and to share that with your audience. Whether it’s a hike in the mountains, a song that moves you to tears, or a personal experience that shaped your worldview, these moments of inspiration can be powerful drivers of your art.

By sharing the stories behind your inspiration, you invite your audience to connect with your work on a deeper level. You allow them to see your art as more than just a beautiful image or a well-crafted piece, but as a reflection of your unique perspective and experiences. So don’t be afraid to open up and share the personal and meaningful moments that inspire your art. Your audience will appreciate the insight and connection it brings.

All of my art is born from a spark of emotion. Whether it’s an intense feeling I’m experiencing or one I want to convey through a piece, emotion is always at the heart of my artwork. But inspiration can come from many other sources, too. I find solace and inspiration in the peacefulness of a forest walk, the depth of emotional music, the wonder of animation, and the beauty of poetry. In fact, I’m constantly questioning and exploring the mysteries of life, and that inquisitive spirit often leads me to new creative insights.


4. Talk about your creative process

As an artist, your creative process is unique to you. Whether you meticulously plan out each step or let your intuition guide you, sharing your process with your audience can help them appreciate the effort and time that goes into each piece. Do you start with a rough sketch in a notebook or do you jump straight into a blank canvas? Do you use specific tools or techniques to bring your ideas to life? Let your audience in on your secrets and give them a glimpse into your creative world. Sharing your process can also inspire others to explore their own creativity and try new techniques.

All of my art is made using digital tools like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. When I get an idea for a new illustration, I race to my computer and start sketching it out in Photoshop. But if I’m out and about without my trusty computer, no worries – I always have a little notebook with me to jot down my ideas. That way, I can capture every little spark of inspiration and turn it into something beautiful (hopefully).


5. Share the ups and the downs

As artists, we all experience both the highs and the lows of the creative journey. Sharing those experiences with your audience can help them better understand the realities of being an artist. When you share your successes, you give others hope that they can achieve their goals too. And when you share your struggles, you show that it’s okay to fail and that setbacks are just part of the journey.

When it comes to my art, I pour my heart and soul into every piece. Some of my most engaged illustrations are those that speak to the struggles and challenges I’ve faced in my own life. One topic that hits close to home for me is anxiety. It’s something I’ve battled with for years, and it can be a real struggle to overcome. But I’ve found that channeling those feelings into my art has been a powerful way to cope and connect with others who may be going through similar experiences.

Another theme that’s near and dear to my heart is my journey in becoming a children’s book illustrator. It’s been a long road with many ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. From my early days of sketching and doodling to my current work on published children’s books, it’s been a wild and rewarding ride. I’ve learned so much about myself and my craft along the way, and I love sharing that journey with others through my art.

So, whether I’m creating illustrations that explore the complexities of anxiety or sharing my experience as a children’s book illustrator, I always try to infuse my art with passion, emotion, and honesty. It’s my way of connecting with others and sharing a little piece of myself with the world.

So don’t be afraid to be honest and vulnerable in your artist story. Share your personal victories, no matter how small, and be open about the challenges you face. Your audience will appreciate your authenticity and be inspired by your resilience. Remember, your artist story is a powerful tool to connect with your audience and share your passion for art.

Telling your artist story can be a fun and engaging way to connect with your audience and share your creative journey. By being authentic, using visuals, sharing your inspiration, talking about your creative process, and staying positive, you can create an artist story that resonates with your audience. So go ahead and share your story – the world is waiting to hear it!

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How To Stay Motivated

How To Stay Motivated

Dream Big, Create Bigger: 10 Tips for Overcoming Creative Blocks

As a creative soul, I understand the struggle of staying motivated when it comes to crafting beautiful artwork. Let’s face it, there are times when inspiration seems to have gone on vacation, or the creative blocks seem to be building walls all around us. But fear not, my friend, for there are plenty of magical strategies that can help us reignite our passion and keep the artistic spark alive! Here are some tips I use myself, to help you keep your artistic spark alive:


Setting Goals:

Let’s talk about setting goals. It’s important to dream big, but it’s equally important to break down those big dreams into smaller, achievable goals. By doing so, you can watch yourself make progress towards artistic aspirations! So, start small and work your way up to the bigger picture.
Here are some steps you can take to break down your big artistic goals:

1. Start by identifying your big goal
Whether it’s creating a sculpture, designing a website, or writing a novel, figure out the bigger picture of what you want to achieve.

2. Break it down into smaller tasks
Once you have your big goal in mind, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Make a list of everything you need to do to achieve your goal.

3. Prioritize the tasks
Decide which tasks are most important and which ones can wait. This will help you focus on what needs to be done first.

4. Set deadlines:
Set specific deadlines for each task. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you’re making progress towards your goal.

5. Celebrate your progress
Finally, celebrate your achievements along the way! Each time you complete a task, take a moment to acknowledge your progress and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Let me tell you a little story about how I used these exact steps to achieve my dream of selling my own animated TV show to a studio! It all started with a big audacious goal – I wanted to see my characters come to life on the small screen. But I quickly realized that in order to make that dream a reality, I needed to break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Step one: I identified my big goal. I knew I wanted to create an animated TV show, but I needed to get specific. What kind of show did I want to make? Who were the characters? What was the storyline? Once I had a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve, I was ready to move on to step two.
Step two: I broke it down into smaller tasks. I made a list of everything I needed to do in order to create my show, from character designs to storyboards to pitch materials. It was a lot, but breaking it down into smaller chunks made it feel less overwhelming.
Step three: I prioritized the tasks. I knew some things needed to be done before others, so I focused on the most important tasks first. It was hard to resist the temptation to work on the fun stuff first, but I knew I needed to stay focused if I wanted to achieve my ultimate goal!
Step four: I set deadlines. This was a game-changer for me. By setting specific deadlines for each task, I was able to stay on track and hold myself accountable. Plus, there’s nothing like a good deadline to light a fire under your butt!
Step five: I celebrated my progress. This was the most fun part of the whole process! Every time I completed a task, no matter how small, I took a moment to celebrate my progress. Maybe it was a little dance party, or a treat from my favorite bakery, or just a moment of quiet reflection to acknowledge how far I’d come. Whatever it was, it helped me stay motivated and inspired to keep going.
By following these same steps, you can break down your big artistic goals into smaller, achievable tasks and make steady progress towards achieving your dreams!


Establish a Routine:

Regular practicing your craft is vital to keeping our creative juices flowing. By making art a part of your daily routine, you’re making a commitment to your craft and your creativity. Establishing a routine can also help you overcome procrastination and creative blocks.

  1. To create a routine that works for you, consider factors like your work schedule, other commitments, and the time of day when you feel most inspired. Find a time that works best for you, whether it’s early in the morning or late at night, and try to stick to it. Remember, consistency is key! Whether you’re committing to creating art for 10 minutes a day or two hours, make sure you’re making it a part of your daily routine.
  2. In addition to creating a routine, it’s also important to have a dedicated workspace where you can create without distractions. This can be a separate room, a corner of your living space, or even a desk in a shared workspace.
  3. Oh, let me tell you about my secret to staying creative and motivated! I’ve found that the best time for me to work on my personal projects is in the early morning, before my work day begins – so that’s about 5am. I’ve set aside a chunk of time for myself to focus solely on my passion projects without any distractions or interruptions – because everyone is still asleep! It’s like my own little magical oasis of creativity!
  4. By establishing a routine and dedicating a space for creating, you’re setting yourself up for success and ensuring that your artistic skills continue to grow.

Embrace New Challenges:

Let’s talk about embracing new challenges in your artistic journey! Trying out new mediums and techniques can be super exciting and refreshing for your creativity. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and feel like you’re not growing as an artist, so stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring new possibilities can be incredibly rewarding.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes along the way. In fact, mistakes are often where the most interesting discoveries happen. Embrace the process and enjoy the journey of trying new things.
When it comes to trying new mediums or techniques, start small and work your way up. You don’t have to jump in headfirst into something completely new. Start by experimenting with a new brushstroke or a different color palette. As you gain more confidence, try a new medium or technique.
Another great way to challenge yourself is to participate in art challenges or competitions. These can be a great way to push yourself creatively and get feedback from other artists. Plus, they can be a lot of fun!
Remember, it’s important to keep things fresh and exciting in your artistic practice. By embracing new challenges and exploring new possibilities, you’re keeping your creativity alive and thriving. So, let’s go out there and try new things, experiment, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!


Seek Inspiration:

Inspiration is essential to creating meaningful and impactful art. Luckily, inspiration is all around us! There are so many different ways to find inspiration and get our creative energy flowing.

One great way to find inspiration is to follow your favorite artists on social media. Seeing the work of other artists can be incredibly motivating and can give you new ideas for your own work – just don’t compare yourself to others! You can also join online artist communities where you can share your work and get feedback from other artists.

Visiting art museums is another fantastic way to find inspiration. Seeing the work of artists from different periods and cultures can broaden your perspective and inspire you to create something new and unique.

Reading books can also be a great way to find inspiration. And let’s not forget the inspiration that can be found in nature! Taking walks or hikes can be incredibly calming and can give you a chance to reflect and find inspiration in the natural beauty around you.

Personally, my biggest sources of inspiration come from nature, books, music, and animation. There’s just something about being surrounded by the trees that fills me with a sense of wonder and creativity. Taking a walk in the woods or even just sitting outside and listening to the birds can be incredibly inspiring.

When it comes to books, poetry is my go-to source of inspiration. There’s something about the rhythm and imagery of poetry that sparks new ideas in my mind. Maybe for you, it’s a graphic novel or a collection of short stories that really gets your creative energy flowing.

Listening to music brings out a lot of emotion for me. I can often be found crying while listening to music. It helps me channel my emotions into my art.

And let’s not forget about animation! It’s my absolute favorite medium of art because it brings together all my passions into one beautiful package. From stunning illustrations and mesmerizing music to captivating storytelling, animation has it all!


Join a Community:

Being part of a community can provide you with the support, motivation, and new perspectives you need to keep your creativity alive and thriving.

Attending art events is a great way to meet other artists and connect with like-minded individuals. These events can include art exhibitions, gallery openings, and artist groups. They offer an opportunity to network, get feedback on your work, and see what other artists are creating.

Online forums are another fantastic way to connect with other artists. You can join forums or groups on social media or dedicated art websites. These forums offer a chance to share your work, get feedback, and participate in discussions about art and creativity. Plus, they can be a great way to get inspired and learn new techniques.

Taking art classes is also an excellent way to join a community of artists. You’ll get to meet other students who share your passion for art and learn from experienced instructors. Art classes can also provide you with a structured environment to work on your craft and get feedback on your work.


Celebrating Your Progress:

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection and forget to acknowledge our achievements along the way. Recognizing and celebrating your progress, no matter how small, can be incredibly motivating and help build your confidence as an artist.

One way to celebrate your progress is to keep a record of your achievements. This could be a journal where you jot down your accomplishments, a folder on your computer where you store your completed pieces or even creating a board on Pinterest. Whatever method you choose, make sure you take the time to appreciate your progress and acknowledge your hard work.

Another way to celebrate your progress is to reward yourself for your achievements. This could be as simple as treating yourself to a favourite snack or taking a day off to relax and recharge. Celebrating your progress doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it should be something that brings you joy and helps you stay motivated.

And remember, it’s important to celebrate even the small achievements. Every step you take towards your goals is progress, and progress should be celebrated! By recognizing your achievements, you’ll build your confidence and stay motivated to keep creating.


Take Breaks:

As an artist, it’s easy to get caught up in the creative process and forget to take care of yourself. But rest is crucial to keeping your artistic soul thriving and your creative juices flowing.

One way to take a break is to step away from your art and engage in a different activity that brings you joy and inspiration. This could be as simple as taking a walk outside, reading a book, or listening to music. By doing something different, you give your brain a chance to recharge and reset.

Another way to take a break is to schedule regular downtime into your routine. This could be a day off every week, a long weekend every month, or a vacation once a year. Whatever schedule works for you, make sure you take the time to rest and rejuvenate your mind and body.

For me, whenever I feel frustrated or stuck with my art, I know it’s time to take a break. I’ll go for a leisurely walk, take a relaxing bath, or curl up with a good book in the sun. Sometimes, my husband and I will even take a day off on Fridays to spend quality time together and do things we enjoy.

And remember, taking breaks doesn’t mean you’re being lazy or unproductive. In fact, rest is essential to your creative process! By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to tackle new challenges and create art that truly reflects your artistic vision.


Stay Organized:

As an artist, your workspace is your creative sanctuary, but a cluttered workspace can be overwhelming and demotivating. By keeping your workspace tidy and organized, you can help reduce stress and stay focused on your art.

Oh boy, let me tell you, I am a total neat freak when it comes to my art space. I mean, I get giddy just thinking about the perfect storage bins to organize my supplies. But here’s the thing, as much as I love to keep everything in order, I gotta admit that sometimes I struggle with naming my files. I mean, who hasn’t been guilty of using names like “Final.psd,” “FinalFinal.psd,” and “FinalFinalFinally.psd”? It’s like I’m playing an endless game of finals, and it’s not so funny when I’m trying to find a specific file in the middle of a creative frenzy. But hey, at least my storage bins are colour coded, right?


One way to stay organized is to declutter your workspace regularly. This means getting rid of any items you don’t need or use, and finding a designated spot for everything else. By eliminating excess clutter, you create a more spacious and calming environment that allows you to focus on your art.

Another way to stay organized is to use storage solutions that work for you. This could be a set of shelves, storage bins, or a pegboard to hang your supplies. Whatever method you choose, make sure it’s easily accessible and that it helps you stay organized and focused.

And remember, staying organized isn’t just about your physical workspace. You can also keep your digital workspace organized by creating folders for your files and photos, and using software to help you manage your art and stay on top of deadlines.


Practice Self Care:

As an artist, your emotional and mental well-being is just as important as your artistic skills. Creating art can be a fulfilling and joyful experience, but it can also be emotionally draining. That’s why it’s important to practice self-care to maintain motivation and creativity in your artistic journey.

One of the most important aspects of self-care is getting enough rest. Adequate sleep is essential to your physical and emotional health, and it can help you feel refreshed and energized for your creative pursuits.

Eating well and staying hydrated is also key to maintaining your physical health, which in turn can positively impact your mental health. Fuelling your body with nutritious foods and plenty of water can help you feel more energized and focused when creating art.

Exercise is another important aspect of self-care. Regular physical activity can help you reduce stress, improve your mood, and increase your energy levels, all of which can benefit your artistic practice.

And finally, taking care of your mental health is crucial to maintaining motivation and creativity. This could mean taking breaks when needed, practicing mindfulness or meditation, seeking support from loved ones, or seeking professional help if necessary.

Every day, I make sure to do at least one thing just for me. Sometimes that means taking a bubble bath or other times, I’ll go on a solo walk.

But that’s not all! Exercise is also a huge part of my self-care routine. Some days, I’ll do a hardcore, sweaty workout that leaves me feeling like a superhero. Other days, I just putter around the house and try to move my body in whatever way feels good, whether that’s dancing in my living room or doing squats while I’m waiting for my tea to steep.

Remember, practicing self-care is not selfish, it’s essential! By taking care of yourself physically and mentally, you’ll be better equipped to create the art that brings you joy and fulfillment.


Remember Why You Started:

As an artist, it’s important to always stay connected to the passion and purpose that inspired you to start creating art. When facing creative blocks, lack of motivation, or other challenges, it can be easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place. But by remembering your why, you can stay motivated and inspired to keep creating.

Take some time to reflect on what inspired you to start creating art. Was it a desire to express yourself, tell a story, or make a difference in the world? Whatever it was, keep that passion and purpose at the forefront of your mind. This can help you stay focused on what truly matters, even when faced with challenges.

When you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, remind yourself of the impact your art can have. Think about the people who have been touched by your work, or the positive feedback you’ve received. This can help you regain your motivation and perspective.

For me, creating art has always been a form of therapy. It helps me process my emotions and feelings and has been a lifeline during some of the hardest times in my life. I also create art to connect with others and share my experiences, hoping to make them feel less alone.

Whenever I’m feeling blocked or unmotivated, I remind myself of why I started creating art in the first place. It was a way for me to express myself and make a difference in the world, even if it’s just one person at a time. And I know that my art has made an impact on others, whether it’s brought them joy, comfort, or a sense of belonging.

So, always remember why you started creating art, and let that passion and purpose guide you on your creative journey.

You got this!

I hope these tips have been helpful to you in unlocking the secret to creative success! Remember, setting achievable goals, establishing a routine, embracing new challenges, seeking inspiration, and being part of a community can all help you overcome creative blocks and achieve your dreams. Don’t be afraid to experiment, make mistakes, and most importantly, have fun along the way! So go forth and create, my friend, and let your artistic spark shine bright.

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Achieving Dreams: How I Became an Illustrator

Achieving Dreams: How I Became an Illustrator

Achieving Dreams: How I Became an Illustrator

When I look back on my art career, I see a long, hard road that took me through many ups and downs. From the outside, it looks like a dream – but I had many nightmarish years.

I started out as an artist when I was four years old. I would host art gallery openings in my tiny room – with my art taped haphazardly to my walls. I charged my parents an admission fee of 25 cents, which they always paid.

I was in third grade when I decided that my true calling was in writing and storytelling. I started writing stories and making picture books (which I still have).

When I was 13 it was my dream to be an artist at Disney. Every Saturday morning I would sit for hours and watch Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, rewatching them over and over again until the VHS tape wore out. I dreamed about one day being one of the artists that painted the backgrounds for animated movies. Those two movies are still my favourites today and bring up a lot of emotions when I watch them. Those movies sparked something in me. It made me feeling something like I’d never felt before – they allowed me to dream big.

It was in high school that I started to feel the doubt creep in. I don’t know what I was thinking, but for some reason, I decided to drop art class and take Spanish. And trust me when I say that I HATE languages. But somehow my art teacher found out about my plans and demanded that I go to the school counsellor and drop the Spanish for art. So, of course, I followed her advice – thankfully.

Mrs. Doran – if you’re reading this – thank you so much! You are amazing and your belief in my talents will always be one of the most important things that have ever happened to me. Who knows where I would be now if it wasn’t for your guidance. You were right – I should have never doubted myself.

The year was 1999 and it was time to apply to colleges. My little girl dreams of becoming a picture book maker and animator never fizzled out – but, the confidence in my art had. Fear of rejection stopped me from applying to Illustration or Animation. I didn’t believe my art was strong enough to get into my program of choice. So, following the advice of my Grade 13 art teacher, I enrolled in Graphic Design.

For three years I studied Graphic Design. And for all those three years, I hated it. But I don’t regret my decision to study Graphic Design. Not only did I meet my husband there and my best friend – but the skills I learned in that program led directly to what I do today as an illustrator. I believe that this is the path I needed to go on in order to lead me to where I am today.

So now this is the part of the story where the nightmarish years begin.

After graduating college, I got my first design agency job in Toronto, Canada. It was the type of job that make you wake up with anxiety and sob on Monday mornings. I hated everything about it. The atmosphere, the culture, the people. It was all toxic. And on top of all that, I never got to use my creativity.

I got fired from that job. I don’t remember the reason.

Now I had to go home and tell my husband that I lost my job. To make matters worse – he had yet to find his first job out of college. So we were living off of my salary. Which was barely enough for the cost of living in Toronto. For years we lived in bad neighbourhoods and buildings that were falling apart. One of our apartments had so much mold that our bathroom ceiling caved in.

We started accumulating credit card debt – and on top of it I had thousands of dollars in school loan debt. It wasn’t until recently that my husband told me he would ask his parents for money in those years to help us pay rent. I would have been against it back then if I knew.

Thankfully, not too long after being fired, I found my second agency job. This time it was for a travel agency. The culture and people were an improvement from my previous job. However, I didn’t know it then – but it was the type of job where I was meant to design in high volumes and quickly. Aesthetics and good design weren’t important.

So here I am – taking hours to design one project and being so proud of the work I was doing – but it turns out others don’t think it’s efficient.

It wasn’t too long before I was fired from this job too. One day my boss calls me into his office and said that I’m too talented for this job. That they need a designer that can work quickly and pump out design after design. I go back to my desk to pack my things while trying not to break down right there in front of everyone. Now I had to go back home and tell my husband, again, that I got fired from my job.

I was done with agencies. And clearly they were done with me. At this point my husband found his first design job – so we had his salary to live off of. Again – his salary was just barely for our expenses. I decided to try freelancing. I worked so hard in those days. I did work for free to build my portfolio. I charged low rates. I looked and looked for clients. I barely made any money in those years – even for how hard I was working. When I started my career, I thought that if I just work hard enough and long enough, things would eventually fall into place.

Now I realize it was because my heart wasn’t in it. The work I was producing was sub par, because I had no passion. Also during this time I submitted my first picture book idea to publishers. I mailed my book dummy to a good amount of editors. I got one rejection letter after the next. It was so disheartening. But looking back on it now, I’m impressed by my strength to never give up. I was getting rejected by agencies and clients and publishers – but I just kept going.

During this time, my husband and I are still moving from one grungy apartment to the next. Still accumulating debt. None of our friends were aware of our entire situation. I kept a lot of my life secret. I felt so ashamed. I felt like the social stigma of the starving artist. I was starting to feel like my dream of being an artist was a failure. Then one day, my friend asked me to design her wedding invitation. That invitation got noticed by a lot of people who asked me to design their invitations. I felt like I had found a niche. I decided to give it a shot and see how far I could go with this new business venture – designing invitations and cards for life’s special occasions. I named the company TearDrop.

Here are some of the invites I designed and sold

I ran this company for almost 10 years. It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t do everything myself, so my husband quit his agency job to help me with the business. That risk didn’t help our situation. We weren’t making enough money to pay ourselves. A lot of our money went back into the business. Between buying supplies and marketing costs we kept accumulating debt.

On top of the debt, I was being berated by brides on a daily basis. I hated running this company. I only started it because it was bringing in a pay check – a pay check that could barely pay for anything. All these years I was just following the money and not my heart.

2013 is when things changed. I got pregnant with our son. We decided it was the responsible thing to do for my husband to go back to an agency job. We needed a stable pay check. It wasn’t about us anymore.

I decided to shut down TearDrop and focus on an illustration career. If I didn’t do it now, I would never do it once the baby came.

This is when I truly started following my heart with the help of my son’s tiny heart growing inside my womb.

All those years of working in graphic design, I was still drawing. So I had a lot of art I could use for my portfolio. I designed a website to showcase my art. I started contacting publishers and not long after I got my first book deal!! It was with a very very small publisher – I had never heard of them before. The book was a small collection of poetry for kids called, My Foot Fell Asleep.

I was a published illustrator!! This lit the spark back in my heart and reignited my love for art and illustration. After all those years of doing work I hated, this felt like a dream come true.

My husband’s new job allowed me the freedom to keep pursuing illustration. In the beginning I did struggle with finding the right agent. I signed with a few horrible agents that conducted themselves very unprofessionally, but eventually I found one that was a perfect fit.

Christy Ewers from The Cat Agency contacted me in 2014 about signing with her. Unfortunately at that time I was unable because I was under contract with another agent – who I was trying to break my contract with. Months later, I was able to break free of my contract and I quickly emailed Christy – and she’s been my agent ever since.

I am extremely grateful to have someone like her by my side. She was the catalyst for the big changes that were about to happen in my life.

Just a week since signing with Christy is when my life and career changed forever. (You can read the whole story in a previous blog post here.) Long story short, she secured me a two book deal with Harper Collins. The advance from that deal was so substantial that we were able to buy our first home. No more run down apartments. No more debts. We could finally live in peace and security for the first time since we’d met each other.

That two book deal that I signed – those books turned out to be Dear Girl and Dear Boy. Not only was I a published illustrator but I was now a #1 New York Times Bestselling Illustrator.

It’s been five years since the release of Dear Girl. When I illustrated that book, I had no idea what was in store for me. It all started with a dream. A dream to be a picture book maker and create stories and art that would inspire others. And now here I am – five years later and over 30 books published, living in my dream home with the cutest family, being financially free and the most magical part – I have even worked with Disney.

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Poetry Is So Much More Than Words On A Page

Poetry Is So Much More Than Words On A Page

Poetry Is So Much More Than Words On A Page

I was just 15 years old when I started writing poetry. It was a time in my life when I was struggling to make sense of my emotions and the world around me. I felt lost, confused, and overwhelmed. Writing poetry was a way for me to express my feelings and emotions in a way that was free from constraints, rules, and limits. It was a place where I could feel comfortable letting my thoughts out into the world in a beautiful and creative way.

As I began to write more and more, I found that poetry had become much more than just a way to express myself. It had become a passion, a hobby, and even a form of therapy. Poetry allowed me to explore my innermost thoughts and feelings in a way that I never thought possible. It was a way for me to connect with others who had similar experiences and feelings, but who were unable to express them in their own words. Poetry helped me find my voice and, in turn, helped others find theirs too.

The beauty of poetry is that it can be interpreted by anyone who reads it in many different ways. Each individual reader can take something unique and personal from a poem, and it may mean something different to each person. For example, a poem about a bird could symbolize freedom and escape for one person, but for another person it could represent the sadness of being trapped. Poetry creates a space for interpretation that allows us to explore our own ideas and feelings on a deeper level.

For me, poetry has been a journey of self-discovery. It has allowed me to delve into the deepest parts of myself and explore the emotions and experiences that I have had throughout my life. Through writing poetry, I have been able to make sense of the world around me and understand my place in it. Poetry has given me the tools to express myself in a way that I never thought possible, and it has allowed me to connect with others on a personal and emotional level.

So, with that in mind, I invite you to take a journey with me through some of my own work below. I hope that my poetry can inspire you to explore your own emotions and experiences, and to see the beauty and dreaminess in the world around you.

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If You Don’t Believe in Unicorns Than You Need to Read This Book

If You Don’t Believe in Unicorns Than You Need to Read This Book

If You Don’t Believe in Unicorns Than You Need to Read This Book

This book was my first book as an author AND illustrator. So it is extra special to me.
When I was younger, I dreamed of being a writer. But I also wanted to be a unicorn. So when I got older, and the time came for me to choose which one of those things I wanted to do more, it was no contest—I knew I just had to write about unicorns.

So what did this mean for my book? Well, first off: it meant that I wanted to prove to the world that unicorns are real. And second: it meant that it was going to be sparkly. Glitter is my favourite colour!

As you can see from the title of the book – Unicorns Are Real – I knew I wanted this book to be “factual.” I started with some basic questions:
What do unicorns eat?
How do they spend their days?
What are their interests and hobbies?
And so on and so forth.

From there, I just started writing down all kinds of things that popped into my head—and before I knew it, I had an entire book!
I wrote it in an hour and half or less, to be honest. I was inspired by the idea of how magical unicorns are and that we could all use some magic in our lives.
I just couldn’t get enough of magical creatures. When I finished writing the manuscript for Unicorns Are Real – I was so excited about it and realized this book would make a good series. I started making a list of other magical creatures that I would love to write about it. Creatures like dragons, mermaids and fairies. And those creatures went on to star in their own books! And poof – I had a four book series!

This was the first version of the cover!
Before submitting my manuscripts to my agent, I created a book dummy for Unicorns Are Real. A book dummy is a model of your children’s book. It is the entire book laid out with pictures in sketch form with the text. A dummy usually also includes 2-3 finished illustrations. It is made in the size that you want the final printed book to be.
I think that picture books are the most amazing form of storytelling – and the hardest. While they are created using words and images, they’re really a partnership between the two. As word counts drop, the illustrations have to carry more of the story, and things like page turns have to be concise. And since I was writing a board book, there were even less words than a traditional 32-page picture book. So the illustrations were that much more important.
A dummy is the best friend of any children’s book author/illustrator. It also helps anyone else who’s collaborating with you to see how text and illustrations work together on each spread. If you are both an author and illustrator, it is a must to submit a book dummy to publishers before they agree to signing you to a contract.
Once I had my completed dummy, I sent it off to my agent who started shopping it around to publishers. Random House quickly responded with interest!!
I was so excited I could poop!
Soon after, they came back with an offer: they wanted to publish all four of my books! I couldn’t believe it…I was going to be a published author AND illustrator!!!
The sketches that I had submitted for my book dummy actually went untouched. I think there was only one spread that I had to rework.

But… the final illustrations went through rounds and rounds of revisions before it turned into the book you see today. Although revisions can be a very stressful and time consuming thing – a part of me enjoys them.

Have you ever dealt with anxiety? If yes, what tools have helped you?

I’ve been illustrating for about ten years now, and I have to say that one of the most fulfilling parts of my job is working with a creative director who pushes me past my comfort zone. It’s not always easy, but it’s what makes me a better illustrator. And when it comes to illustrating books, I think that’s important.

So, to all those creative directors who put me through the ringer – THANK YOU!!
I had so much fun creating this book – it was like drawing all of my favourite things at once: unicorns, rainbows, stars, nature… and lots and lots of glitter!
I hope you love it as much as I do!

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Read Aloud

Read Aloud

I have a question for you. Have you ever wondered what the Easter’s Bunny’s real name is? Or what his favourite food is? Well, that’s exactly what we’re gonna find out!

Today we are reading from a book that I wrote and illustrated called, If You Met the Easter Bunny.

Let’s hop to it!

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