Daily Project Inspiration

I’ve been drawing a lot of inspiration lately ​from the daily creative projects of other designers. They range in subject matter and method of creation, but they do share one big common factor – to create. I am a maker by nature, I thrive on it. During my internet surfing it has really become clear to me that this is a great way to push yourself to create new work, build a portfolio of diverse pieces, learn new skills, expand your visual styles and show off your creative talents. Some of the daily projects that have inspired me are:​

Daily Dishonesty by Lauren Hom
Hand Written Letters by Mary Kate McDevitt
The Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische
Daily Drawings by Chris Piascik
365 Patterns by Fifth and Hazel
365 Patterns in 2013 by Ollibird
#365 Drawing Project by Sarah Jane
Logo a Day by Dear Miss Modern (this is a little different, but same principle)

I’ve been thinking about starting one of my own for a while now, and have a few rules that I want to follow. 1.) I want to do something unique. 2.) I want create my work based on a theme. ​3.) I want to showcase varied styles of work within that theme. 4.) I want this to remain a fun endeavor. I’m still hashing out the specifics like length of time, type of work, and how often I will realistically be able to post new pieces – keeping in mind rule #4, but I’m really excited about this. The project is going to kickoff on March 21st with full details and how to get involved if you’re interested.


Without the Doing, Dreaming Is Useless


I love new ideas. Ideas are my most favorite thing in the world. And I too suffer from creative paralysis. Does that phrase hit home with anyone else, “creative paralysis”? The first time I heard it something clicked and I realized that I’m not the only one that deals with it. The mental overload of projects and possibilities can be overwhelming. I stumbled across this video today while keeping up on my rss feed and completely fell in love with it. If you are a creative professional and are anything like me, you might just identify with this talk like I did. It’s completely brilliant and insightful.

The process goes a little something like this. I get a genius idea – maybe my best idea ever. I research and gather and procrastinate just a little bit, sometimes more, then finally start working. Then the artistic decisions eventually start to stall out the progress I am making. There are so many choices to make and questions to answer. “Which way is the best direction to go? What should I do here?” This continues until my idea haunts me and I avoid even thinking about it. Not long after the project comes to a complete halt as my brain goes numb with overload of possibilities. I couldn’t restart it again if I wanted to. I begin to loathe my idea. It sits in my studio and stares at me day after day. Then my idea turns on me and I begin to doubt myself and my abilities. But something happens, the time passes and all of the sudden the idea has a new life again. I’ve grown, and learned and I have a new light to bring back to the project. So I work and work and work until its finally finished. I feel accomplished. I’m on top of the world. My creative confidence is soaring. I now understand that the idea wasn’t ready when I first thought of it, something was missing. It needed time to develop subconsciously. No, I wasn’t ready for it. I needed time. Everything is right with the world. Onto the next brilliant idea. Sound familiar? Me too, friend.

One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned is that you take things on as you are ready for them. And that’s okay. Things have a way of silently passing by when you aren’t actively seeking them out. So get ready, give yourself time and trust your instincts. Just don’t wait until you are 100% ready because the day will never come. 90% is perfect.

I highly recommend reading Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. It follows along the same topic line and is hugely inspirational and motivating.

It is not just you.

Thanksgiving Illustrated

This year we had a small gathering for our Thanksgiving dinner and I thought it would be fun to illustrate our menu for our guests. Just the basics really and pretty much all I could be trusted to cook, but everything turned out very tasty. I hope everyone had a yummy holiday.

Thanksgiving Illustrated

An experiment with art and happiness.

Plastered all over the internet are motivational posters preaching “Do what you love.” We’ve all seen them. Especially those of us on Pinterest, you know what I’m talking about.

Do what you love. I’ve been thinking long and hard about this topic lately in large part due to the fact that I am currently reading (and loving, if I might say so) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She dedicated an entire year to this project of finding happiness for herself. She wasn’t unhappy to start with, but she felt that her life could be even happier. Reading this book is sparking all sorts of ideas I’ve never fathomed before. I am happy in my life, but I too think I could be happier. One thing in particular that has been bothering me lately is this constant, overwhelming anxiety. I’ve had it my whole life, but it really flares up in times of stress. Well, its been flaring up lately. I keep having this feeling that I don’t have time to do things that I actually want to do. Like I spend all of my time doing grown-up, adult things that I have to do and never have any true fun.

Do what you love. What do I love though.. truly love? It sure sounds like a simple question when you say it, but can you answer it? I struggled. I know what I say I love. I know what I should love. I know what other people love. I contemplated over this question for quite a while before I realized that I had to go back to the basics to find my answer. And now that I have the answer it seems so obvious. I can say that now that I’ve figured it out, of course.

I love art, drawing in particular. I went to art school. I have a BFA. And I think that is precisely what the problem was. In art school I spent 6 hours a day standing in front of an easel, for a grade. It was critiqued and my status on the Dean’s List depended on those drawings. I had to be there. I had to draw set-up compositions of plastic fruit and wrinkly naked people. I don’t like being told what to do or how to do it. This is not a secret. You tell me that I have to sit there for 6 hours and draw fruit and it immediately becomes the very last thing I want to do. Do you see my point here? In school I was forced to draw, forced to create, and while that is all fine and good and what you should be doing in art school, once I graduated, well drawing remained an assignment. It was a chore. It was a task on my to do list that no one was forcing me to do anymore. So I stopped. I forgot that I actually love to draw. Fancy that.

On a late night raid of my office closet I discovered a box of old sketch books. I was amazed by the books and books full of old drawings. I was enamored with what I used to create. Why am I not still drawing? Ding. The light bulbs in my head started blazing brighter than the sun. I pulled the bins of drawing supplies out and it was like I just won the lotto. I couldn’t remember what half of these things are even used for anymore, but that didn’t matter. I was going to use them. I was sure that it would all come back to me as I put my pencil to the paper. And it did.

So as part of my happiness effort, which is what I am currently calling it since it’s not a full blown project yet, I have been setting aside time each day to do what I love. It’s genius. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this all along.

This is one of my recent sketches. The other side of this experiment, beyond happiness was taking my hand drawn sketch from paper to computer art. I am still working on the perfect process and the coloring isn’t final but I thought I’d share what I have been up to thus far. I have a whole stack of new sketches that I am swooning over.

I am an artist.

Do what you love.

Sigwalt No. 9.. Come to Mama

Ebay is genius. I can’t say I’ve always thought this, but I definitely think so now. I recently won a bid for a glorious vintage Sigwalt No. 9 clamshell letterpress made in 1888. She arrived late last week, 15 pounds, 12 inches tall, 18 inches long. Fully restored and awaiting new rollers. Isn’t she beautiful? I can’t even express my sheer excitement to get this girl into production. I am a longtime admirer of letterpress printing, but new to actually making my own prints. Its going to be a learning experience, but its going to be great. I’ve been compiling resources for supplies and advice and plan on posting that for reference once its closer to being completed.

Coming soon: The Rust Belt Market

While driving home the other day I noticed a coming soon sign in the window of a previously empty building in downtown Ferndale. Assuming it was going to be another restaurant or something of the sort, I didn’t think much of it beyond “neat, that building has been empty for way too long,” that was until I read the description of what it was going to be. To my joyful surprise, the most amazing thing e.v.e.r. was going to take over what was once Old Navy. And my heart skipped a beat when I realized it.

The Rust Belt Market, a year-round indoor weekend marketplace, is setting up shop. This is going to be an amazing opportunity for local artists to create, exhibit, sell, and interact with peers and community face to face. Not only is this going to be a powerful tool for selling your goods, it is also going to be an invaluable resource for inspiration, networking, marketing and expanding your clientele. Think a weekly brick-and-mortar Etsy-like arts & crafts fair in a mod indie environment.

“Our atmosphere will be one of camaraderie with fellow creators..” Doesn’t this just energize and inspired you to get involved? I’ve already put in my request to become a regular vendor. This is such an exciting opportunity for local artists/crafters/designers and our community.

I encourage all of you local crafties out there to get involved and help this movement thrive. It is going to be a huge addition to the city of Ferndale, as well as Metro Detroit and Michigan as a whole.

Learn more about The Rust Belt Market and how to become a vendor here.

Garden of Love

The USPS is releasing their new stamp collection, Garden of Love, May 19, 2011. These beautiful designs were created by José Ortega and are going to be a wonderful addition to wedding invitations and rsvp cards. I can’t wait for their spring debut. More information about the collection here.

Lisa and Brandon’s Save the Date Tags

Lisa and Brandon’s Save the Date Tags turned out so cute and we are all happy to say they they too, are in the mail. This project was definitely an experiment for me since this was the first time I’ve designed a set of tags for anything, let alone a save the date, but as soon as Lisa told me about it, I knew it was a great idea that we just had to do. I also knew trial and error was going to be a big part of this project from the paper to the printer to the envelope wraps. More on those envelope wraps to come. A big thank you to Lenny’s Copy Center for being able to print 100# cover, which was a necessary request to make these tags have the sturdiness they needed, when the larger print shops couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do it. I called every print shop in the book and they all turned me down because it wasn’t a big enough job for them to want to take it on. And not only could Lenny print them for me, he charged half the price of my usual printer. (Score!) Once we managed to get them printed, the tags were hand cut into a tag shape, hole punched and tied together with a thin black twine. They came in a set of three, tags one and two had their general save the date info, and on the third tag Lisa and Brandon wanted to use one of their beautiful engagement photos taken by E.C. Campbell Photography. Her photography is amazing guys, you should check it out if you haven’t already. More on Lisa and Brandon’s wedding coming soon. We are currently in the process of designing their wedding invitations and stationery, which will follow suit on the teal and black theme from their save the dates.  More photos of their save the dates here.

The Details
100# Cougar White
A1 Envelopes, Basis Aqua 70#

3.5 x 5 inches, (A1)

Lenny’s Copy Center

Michelle and Jared’s Magnet Save the Dates

Michelle and Jared’s Magnet Save the Dates are in the mail! Their wedding is coming up fast and we are in the process of finalizing their wedding invitation suite. (Meaning more posts on this couple’s designs to come.) For their save the dates, they wanted to create 4×6 inch magnets that reflected their invitation design with a modern twist. Keeping in the same teal and mocha colors as their invites, we mixed up the fonts and incorporated the peacock feather illustration. Want to see more of their save the date design options, check them out here.

The Details
12 mil. magnet, gloss coating
A6 Envelopes, Cougar White 70# txt

4×6 inches, (A6)

Overnight Prints