1. You are a wife, mom, artist, and business owner—you wear so many hats in your day-to-day life! What does a typical day look like for you and your family?
Ha! Honestly, there is nothing “typical” about my day—my husband works as an aquatic restorative aid, freelances as an illustrator, and is currently taking front-end web development courses. I manage the household (cleaning, making meals, playing referee to small kiddos, etc.) while also running a business (this includes: replying to email inquiries, writing blog posts and newsletters, posting to Instagram, meeting with potential clients, shipping commissions, treating clients to lunch, negotiating contracts, creating custom pieces, attending workshops, meeting with other creatives or sketching at an event). Together we homeschool all four of our children, so, needless to say, every day looks different. The following are a few constants in our day: 1) My husband and I wake up, pray and spend time with God together—matcha lattes in hand, 2) We have breakfast with the kiddos and everyone gets ready for the day, 3) The kids do their chores and then we start school, which we usually do for about four hours each day, and 4) Depending on the day, usually Wednesdays through Fridays, I’m off to work on my business while my husband stays home with the kids. Sundays through Tuesdays we switch and he’s off to work on whatever he needs to while I’m with the kids. At 5pm we switch gears: he starts his coding classes and on my work days, it is the time when I stop working to take a nap … I mean clean and hang out with the kids before I start dinner at 6pm. After dinner, we give the kids a bath and either let them watch a show or let them play a bit longer before it’s lights out. Once lights are out, we’re back at it, finishing up on whatever we didn’t have a chance to finish during the day. I’m literally writing this at one of those times!
2. You do live sketching for events. You are really putting yourself on the spot to create something beautiful, and your clients really trust you to provide them with lovely art. How do you develop this trust with yourself and with your clients?
Well, first off, I hardly ever trust myself. I always think that I’m going to screw it all up! Each and every time I sit down to sketch, I give all of myself up and trust in God to guide my hands. I have no other choice because I always feel like I’m not ready. However, before I get to the point of sketching for a client, I practice, practice, practice. This practice is what gives me the confidence to even take the chance, and I believe that my body of work is what develops trust with my clients.
3. In your most full or challenging seasons, how have you still managed to create? What have those seasons looked like? Do you feel like you’re in one of those seasons now?
This is something that I struggle with often. In a sense, I’m constantly creating. However, it is not always realistic for me to create for myself on personal projects. Which, ironically, is usually when I create my best work and ultimately what attracts clients. Lately, I’ve been trying to heed the advice of fellow illustrator Pascal Campion; he starts his day off with a personal sketch before he moves on to client work. I’m not quite there yet, but this would be ideal.
4. How are you seeing the fruit of your creative work blooming now from seeds that you planted long ago?
It’s funny because I started my brand in 2014 and I can’t tell you how often I’ve worked on blog posts, newsletters, illustrations and social media posts, put it out there for the masses to see, only to receive virtual “crickets.” It wasn’t until 2016 that I realized I had to start local. I had to go out, meet people, and tell them what I do! I was terrified of this because as a stay-at-home mom, I had only been talking to my kiddos for so many years. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to carry a decent adult conversation and I knew that I needed practice. I decided to join a meet-up called “Tuesdays Together.” We meet on the second Tuesday of every month and it’s a place where creatives and entrepreneurs can gather together for coffee and conversation. I can’t tell you how instrumental this group has been for me in learning the art of networking and building the confidence to share my work with others. The first company that I approached to sketch for was Kate Spade New York (in Cherry Creek, Denver). I walked into their shop with my iPad in hand and showed them my website, blog, and portfolio. They were super excited to support me and together we planned my first live-sketching event!
5. What inspires you: as a wife, mom, and artist?
As a wife I am mostly inspired by my super sweet, handsome, but humble husband. He has the patience that I do not, and I am constantly learning from him. He is a man who truly loves his family, and I appreciate that we have the same morals, value,s and goals so we are able to live out our lives as a team. He is honestly my best friend.
As a mom I am inspired by each of my children. There is nothing better in the world than getting to know them as individuals and seeing their personalities shine! They inspire my husband and me to create a life that is crafted specifically for their faith, growth, and joy, which in turn brings us fulfillment.
As an artist I am inspired by color, shapes, and lines, all revolving around the female figure, as well as by the beauty and confidence of each woman that I sketch. I’m also heavily inspired by traditional animation and its ability to bring drawings, LINES even, to life.
6. What or who do you read to help inspire your work? What other resources do you recommend to fellow creatives?
I am most inspired by traditional Disney animation (Cinderella, Bambi, The Little Mermaid, etc.), which has greatly influenced my drawing style. Because of this, I love learning about an animator’s process and listening to things like “The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast” to inspire me. I also really enjoy Jenna Kutcher’s “The Goal Digger Podcast” and I’m obsessed with taking her super helpful online courses for social media. I also learn A LOT from creative lawyer Christina Scalera and love reading her “The Contract Shop” blog, as well as her informative newsletters.
7. Do you have a scripture, word, or mantra that guides your work?
The Proverbs 31 woman constantly inspires me. Anytime I feel discouraged about having to wear so many hats each day, I remember her and then I’m instantly encouraged! I also live by John 15:5. Without Him, I am nothing and have nothing.
8. How do motherhood and creative work complement one another?
All of my children are super creative and they inspire me to create the way I did when I was a child—free and without restrictions. If they want to draw something, they just go for it and are not afraid. I envy their innocence. It’s also a plus that I can include them by having them model for me whenever I need to practice figure drawing. I love to pay them in lollipops!
9. What is something you have learned in the past year that you are taking in to this next year with a new perspective?
This has been a hard lesson for me but I’m learning that I don’t have to keep up with everyone else. Fulfillment is greater than success (Shanna Skidmore). At times I struggle because I dream big and have such big plans for my business, however, I often feel like I’m a hamster on a spinning wheel—going nowhere fast—especially if I compare myself to other fashion illustrators out there who are extremely successful. But most of the ones I follow are not married and do not have kids. This is something I like to remind myself of whenever I get discouraged. I also remind myself that success to me is having the freedom to homeschool and spend time with my kids, so my walk may look much different than the walk of others. Moral of the story? It’s okay to slow down, pick some flowers, and just enjoy the journey. I’ve never really understood that saying until now.
10. If you could tell moms who long to create as they raise little ones a word of advice, what would it be?
Automate as much as you can!! I love using apps to help my day run smoother. Trello, Planoly, and Dubsado are my favorites for business. Chore charts, Trello again, and meal planning (this one is challenging for me) are great for homeschooling. Also, some days can be a bit tough but I often remind myself that those little ones are the reason that I’m doing it all in the first place.