Fair Compensation


This is a pillowcase that I got on a trip to Thailand with my husband before we had kids. I love the loose patterns and bright colors. We’re not traveling anywhere exotic these days, but we will again, with Hazel and Thatcher in tow. I can’t wait!


I was approached this week by a company called Paper Culture. They are similar to Tiny Prints or Snapfish, but with an environmental platform. Planting a tree with every order, their mission “..is to deliver modern eco stationery as unique as the life events we help celebrate.”

Great, right?

After finding my portfolio on Behance, they contacted me about becoming part of their freelance design program. Always interested in additional revenue streams, I was excited to learn more. And, I really resonated with what I read on their website–caring about the future state of the planet, using recycled paper and reducing their carbon footprint, etc.

Unfortunately, those sustainability ideals don’t extend to their artists.

They pay $100 per design for exclusive rights, in perpetuity.

That’s it.

100 bucks. And you can’t even sell the design in your own shop.

I find this reprehensible. And disheartening.

After talking with them on the phone, I sent a strongly worded email declining their offer on the basis that they are exploiting artists everywhere and undermining the entire profession–making it harder for any of us to earn a living in this industry.

Would you ever call your doctor and ask for a free or discounted exam on the basis that you were going to tell all your friends about it and they’d get great exposure?

There will always be someone willing to be paid next to nothing in my line of work.

That doesn’t make it right.

By hiring freelance designers, they are asking those artists to provide a service that they will benefit from financially. Is it so wrong to expect to be fairly compensated?

I’d love to hear from you on this one–what do you think? Have you had an similar experiences?


Don’t forget, for the month of July, 10% of what I sell will go to The Art Students League of Denver, a local organization that focuses on providing opportunities for artists of all ages and abilities to study and work with regionally and nationally recognized working artists. From their website:

“ASLD is an inclusive and inspiring art community where members of all abilities are guided by professional artists to reach their highest potential.”


A Profound Shift



The illustrations above are for a client I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Johnny Bregar makes awesome, toe-tappin’ family music, and if you have young ones in the house, you should definitely check him out.

Johnny has commissioned me to do six illustrations for his new website–but here’s a sneak peak. Johnny’s music is a little bit folk, a little bit bluegrass, and a whole lot of fun for the whole family (my three-year-old and I have regular dance parties whenever ‘Mac and Cheese‘ comes on).

Last week, we had visitors in town for the holiday weekend. Long time friends, we hadn’t seen each other since becoming parents.

Witnessing that shift in others is profound.

Becoming a parent pushes, pulls, and molds you into something that is richer with more depth, leaving the person you were forever changed for the better (even if it is with more gray hair).

Make no mistake–this character building process is no walk in the park. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


Also, for the month of July, 10% of what I sell will go to The Art Students League of Denver, a local organization that focuses on providing opportunities for artists of all ages and abilities to study and work with regionally and nationally recognized working artists. From their website:

“ASLD is an inclusive and inspiring art community where members of all abilities are guided by professional artists to reach their highest potential.”


Under the Sea

As I mentioned last week, we created nautical wall art in Lilla’s bootcamp this month. This was my submission. Under the Sea

There are so many amazing interpretations of the assignment from my fellow artists in the public gallery. Here are a few of my favorites:

Nelleke Verhoeff

by Nelleke Verhoeff

Nicoloe LaRue

by Nicole LaRue

Victoria Johnson

by Victoria Johnson

Jill Howarth

by Jill Howarth

Harriet Mellor

by Harriet Mellor


And a reminder (for a few more days), 10% of all purchases from my online shop for the month of June will be donated to the Society of Illustrators: Summer Illustration Art Academy, helping send at-risk kids to art camp. Check it out!

My Hero

This month, in Lilla Rogers’ Assignment Bootcamp, we are making wall art with a nautical theme. Here are some of my sketches. Check back next week for my final piece!

Nautical Wall ArtWhale Sketch

It’s 6pm. The  baby is crying (which is what babies do, every night, as soon as you start to even think about dinner). As I tend to him, my daughter starts drawing all over her legs in purple and green marker. Then she decides to  “help” me cook and puts said markers into the bowl where the raw chicken is marinating and mixes it all together with her hands. I put the baby down and get Hazel to the sink to wash. As I fish her markers out of the bowl, the baby promptly starts screaming again. My hands are covered in raw chicken goo and Hazel has gone upstairs. She starts yelling from the bathroom, “Mama, mama, mama. I’m done. Come wiiiiiiippe me!” in this urgent, high-pitched whine that grates on my already fried nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard.

And then, my husband walks in from work.

He takes one look at me–picks the baby up, goes upstairs to help my daughter, and then takes them both outside to play and water the flowers.

I wash my hands. And exhale.

He is my best friend. My partner. And on some days, he is my salvation.

My hero.

Last weekend, we celebrated Father’s day. We had a lovely breakfast with my dad and then he and my husband went out for a round of golf for the afternoon.

In my family, mother’s day seems to be a bigger deal. I don’t think it should be. I’m sure I would have completely lost my mind by now without my husband (I honestly don’t know how single parents do it).

To all the Dads out there, I salute you. Happy (belated) Father’s Day.

And remember, 10% of all purchases from my online shop for the month of June will be donated to the Society of Illustrators: Summer Illustration Art Academy, helping send at-risk kids to art camp.

Old Habits Die Hard


This is a photo (taken by my husband) of my daughter playing in the creek by our house. A perfect fleeting moment.



This is my word for the year.

Just saying the word surrender makes me feel like I am exhaling. My shoulders relax. My chest loosens.

I come from a long line of worriers. And I am trying to break the cycle.

Worrying doesn’t stop things from happening. It doesn’t protect or help anyone. Focusing on what I do want what instead of what I don’t is far more productive.

And I know this.

Old habits die hard though.

So I return to this practice of surrendering over and over again. When I have worked myself into a frenzy because the baby didn’t nap and I don’t know how I am going to meet the deadline. Or whether or not my client is going to be happy with what I created for him? Or where my next paycheck is going to come from?

Or how in the hell am I going to keep my kids safe through school shootings and global warming?


Exhale. See the world with love instead of fear. Focus your energy on what you want, not what you don’t.

And then let go.


Don’t forget!

10% of your purchase from my online shop for the month of June will help send an under-privileged kid to art camp! Let’s help make a difference.

Help Send a Kid to Camp


As a culture, we have decided that memorizing our multiplication tables and learning how to spell ‘innovation’ isn’t as important as playing with clay or painting a picture. Demoting or eliminating art classes nationwide, we have decided somehow that art is optional. Incidental. The fluff.

What a crock of shit.

“Creative people invent, imagine, problem-solve, create, and communicate in fresh, new ways. Every business requires creative thinkers in the form of scientists, engineers, medical researchers, technology innovators, business entrepreneurs, artists, performers, writers and illustrators, designers, inventors, educators and parents. Those with the ability to “think outside of the box” will lead the future and make special things happen.” (from the fine folks at Crayola)

Nurturing creativity isn’t about grooming all kids to become professional artists. It’s about teaching them how to express themselves and encouraging them to think freely.

Creative thinking is how we are going to solve the issues challenging our modern world.

A couple weeks back, I decided I wanted to donate a portion of the proceeds from my online store. Starting this month, a percentage of my sales will go to an organization (a different one each month because I couldn’t pick just one!) that supports children and/or the arts for the remainder of 2014.

Summer Illustration Art Academy

For the month of June, 10% of what I sell will go towards sending at-risk kids to illustration camp in New York. Hosted by the Society of Illustrators, the Summer Illustration Art Academy:

“… will make a difference in the lives of 30 at-risk youth ages 9-13 from the most vulnerable neighborhoods in New York City. Students attending the Academy learn multi-media drawing techniques from several prominent illustrators and comic artists. Using NYC cultural, historical and scientific institutions as their learning labs they will gain greater insight into the life of an illustrator.”

Supporting the arts, whether it be music, drawing, or encouraging imaginative play, is something I really believe in. Visit my store and let’s help send a kid to art camp!




Tiny Moments

How to Meditate

This month in Lilla Rogers Bootcamp, the assignment was to create an editorial illustration for an article about meditation. Whether sitting quietly and focusing on my breath, practicing yoga, or getting lost in my creative flow as I work, I enjoy meditation–so this assignment was right up my alley. If you want to see more of the work submitted, Lilla’s May gallery is now live (my illustration is on page 5).


Yesterday, I worked in the morning and then spent the afternoon with my little ones. While we were eating dinner, I asked Hazel what her favorite part of the day was. She said, “Taking a walk with you mama.” Then she asked me about my favorite part.

While out on our walk, she found this big, beautiful feather. “…it’s magical Mama, now we can fly!!” So we flew. And Thatcher, who was strapped to my chest in his baby Bjorn, just giggled as we swooped back and forth along the sidewalk, our arms open wide. That was my favorite part.

These tiny moments, these snippets, they carry me through. Through the days when I feel like I am drowning because there isn’t ever enough time or money. Through the long nights, tear filled because of new teeth or bad dreams. Through the weight of my own angst, as I try to find balance between being a mom and being an artist.

These tiny, perfect moments–they make it all worthwhile.

Blessedly Full


From my sketchbook


With deadlines looming, it’s been a crazy week. A sick kid means sleepless nights (again because of the three year old, not the baby). And the tiny one has decided napping for longer than half an hour at a time isn’t his style anymore. So I’m gonna make this short and sweet.

I’m doing some work for Johnny Bregar, a kids’ musician whose sound has been described as “…rootsy Americana with a hint of bluegrass.” It’s music that I enjoy listening to as much as my three year old does.

If you have little ones in the house, definitely check him out. Johnny lives in the greater Seattle area and his next gig is this Memorial Day (May 26th) at the Folklife festival at 11:45am. If that’s your neck of the woods, take the whole family!

I did the artwork for Johnny’s album Dragonfly a few years ago, and Johnny has commissioned me to to do several illustrations for his new website. So I’m listening to Polly’s Rain Dance and Shoo Fly Pie while I sketch.

I have a couple other client projects that I am wrapping up, and I’m working on an editorial piece for Lilla Rogers Bootcamp as well. Though weary and wishing I could hook myself up to a caffeine drip, life is blessedly full and I am grateful.



Giving Back

Hope Tank

This week, I had the privilege of sitting down with Erika Righter Ramirez, owner of Hope Tank  (a charitable boutique in Denver) to discuss the possibility of doing some work together. Selling an eclectic mix of cards, t-shirts, baby gear, menswear, art and more, a portion of every item sold supports a charitable organization or social cause. Buy a t-shirt from Fed By Threads, and feed 12 hungry people. Purchase a diaper bag from Bella Tunno, and a donation is made towards supporting at-risk children and teenagers.

Combining philanthropy with business, Erika is doing something special. Check out her shop (located at 64 Broadway in Denver) if you haven’t been in already.

Hope Tank

Erika and I discussed the possibility of selling some of my art in her shop, and to do so, I will need to choose a charity to donate a percentage of my sales. There are a few organizations that are near and dear to my heart, but how to choose just one?

Our conversation got me thinking–I want to add a philanthropic element to my own online shop. So in the next week or two, I will narrow down my list of charities to try to add that feature to my online store. Stay tuned.

What are your favorite charities and why? I’d love to hear from you.

Back At It

Brandywine Crab AppleTree

The blooms above are from my parents’ Brandywine Crab Apple tree. Aren’t they amazing? I really do love this time of year. Hope. Possibility. Rebirth. And flowers!


Albeit crazy and ever-changing we have found a rhythm, my little family of four. Thatcher is four and a half months old. Hazel just celebrated her third birthday. I don’t think it’s possible to understand how full life will be with children until you have them.

Blessedly, chaotically, magically, maddeningly full.

There are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done. The dust bunnies in particular are experiencing unprecedented gains (if you happen to pop by for a visit, please don’t look too close). And I have yet to figure out how to cook anything for dinner that takes longer than 15 minutes to prepare…

And yet here I am, trying to do more. As we settle into our new normal, I am slowly getting back to work. I have taken on some client projects and am actively submitting my work in the hopes of drumming up some new licensing deals. I have given my little blog a (small) facelift, and I have updated my online store. Check it out!

Please note that stretched canvas prints are also available. Contact me for pricing and information if interested!

To celebrate getting back into my professional groove, I am having a sale. Use the Promo Code: BackToWork for 20% off your next order (offer good through this Sunday, May 4)!!! Here are a couple of the prints I added:

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

Enjoy The Ride

Some other amazing things that are in the works:

The ever-inspiring Christine Mason Miller is offering a new e-course: The Conscious Booksmith: A Mindful Approach to Creating Your Book.

“Do you have a book in your heart that just needs to be written and brought to life? Then this is the course for you.”

And Liz Kalloch, with Stefanie Renee, is creating an exciting new print magazine entitled Mabel–Making a Living, Creating a Life. From their website:

“Mabel is a print magazine that is here to tell real stories about making a living and creating a life.  At Mabel, we’ll be talking about the different ways we support ourselves in the world—stories from entrepreneurs, artists and small biz owners about how they’ve gotten where they are—it’s not always pretty, it’s not always tidy, but it’s always beautifully real . . .  please join us!”

Lovely, exciting, and inspiring. I love to see artists spread their wings and fly.