Free Downloadable Print to Celebrate 21 Secrets: Create and be Happy

It’s time to celebrate! Monday I wrote about the very first class I’ll be teaching online, Passion for Patterns, as part of the 21 Secrets art journaling workshop. This will be a totally new endeavor for me, not to mention a milestone, so I’d like to do something special for everyone.

To share my enthusiasm for this new experience, I drew a festive pattern and added a phrase that sums up the tone of my workshop, and also kind of my life’s philosophy.

Create and be Happy

I would love to share with you a free printable version of this encouraging message!

All you have to do is:

  1. Visit the 21 Secrets Spring 2015 workshop page by clicking on this link and check out the workshop descriptions.
  2. Comment here with any class title other than mine that looks especially fun to you.
  3. Be sure to include your best email when you fill out the form and write your comment so I can send you your print.

Once I receive your comment, I’ll use the email you provided to send you a free digital copy of the “Create and be Happy” print.

Create and be Happy

The file you get will be high resolution and printable up to 5×7 inches, so it’ll be easy to pop into a standard size frame, or you can hang it up poster style like I did with a couple of pieces of washi tape. You could even paste it into your current sketchbook or art journal!

The email you provide when you fill out your comment will not be shared on this site at all. However, if you prefer, you can also email me directly if you’d rather not comment here or don’t want to leave your email with your comment. Email me at, and I will happily send you a copy of the print.

Also to be clear, you do not have to sign up for the e-course in order to get this free print. I only ask that you go check out the 21 Secrets Spring 2015 class page, because it’s a great way to see the details of the class I’m teaching, plus, it’s a chance to browse all the classes and learn about 21 creative folks you might not be familiar with yet.

I hope you will enjoy this print and that it can add a bit of color and inspiration to your creative space!

Travel Workshops with Light Grey Art Lab

My most recent motto has been, “it’s better to do something because then you’ll have done it.” Does it sound a little obvious or redundant? Perhaps, but for me it’s a good reminder, because I have a tendency to not do very much when left to my own devices. I get complacent and revel in the peace and quiet. I haven’t stretched myself much lately. I haven’t taken classes, I haven’t tried many new things, I haven’t traveled. I want that to change, so, simply put, I’ve made an effort to start doing stuff.

Lately this new motto of mine has helped convince me to do Artomatic, to finish the Sketchbook Project Ltd. Edition and send it off by the deadline, to take on more freelance work even when I was already busy, and to sign up for 2 travel workshops with Light Grey Art Lab!

Light Grey Art Lab
I believe the girl pictured above is none other than THE Alyssa Nassner of Small Talk Studio. She is one of the creatives at Paper Bicycle, as well as a freelance illustrator.

Do you guys know about Light Grey Art Lab and their sister company, Paper Bicycle Creative?

I first discovered and got to know Lindsay Nohl, Francesca Buchko, and Chris Hajny, all from Paper Bicycle, when they started their daily pattern challenge. I was way too busy at the time to do more than watch what they created everyday, but it was an amazing inspiration to see such a variety of new patterns pop up on a daily basis, created by incredibly talented artists.

Months later when they announced that they were launching a new business, Light Grey Art Lab, where they would be teaching courses at a new studio space in Minneapolis, I was so excited for them, but also a little jealous of all the people who were lucky enough to live nearby.

Lucky for me, one of the first classes they posted was a “travel workshop”. When I saw the topic, I pretty much freaked out with excitement and knew I wanted to go. They put together a workshop that would take place at Surtex in NYC! It included access to the show, as well as lots of instruction about all kinds of things related to the business of surface and textile design.

As excited as I was, and as right as this workshop felt for me, I was a little nervous about signing up. True, designing patterns is definitely a dream of mine, but it’s always seemed to remain just out of reach. A couple of years ago, I actually thought about going to Surtex to do a walk through, but I was too chicken. I imagined getting overwhelmed and lost in the crowd, so in the end I “didn’t see the point”. I knew that the chance to go to the show with creatives who were familiar with the industry would make a world of difference, so after contemplating for a few days I made the decision to go, and went to sign up for the workshop.

And it was sold out!

I was heartbroken because I wanted to go so bad. I kicked myself for waiting even a few days to make my decision. The only thing I could think to do was write to Lindsay to say that I’d be very happy to take someone’s spot if they weren’t able to go for some reason. Lindsay is one of the friendliest people on the planet, and in this case she was also my hero. She wrote back to me to say that hope was not lost. She was going to see if it was possible to create a few more spots on the trip.

It took a while to hear back, but eventually Lindsay worked it out so I could go! She even managed to get me a roommate so I wouldn’t have to pay extra for the hotel! With a second chance to go, I didn’t waste any time signing up!

By now I have gone to the Surtex workshop and returned home again, brimming with ideas and inspiration.

Surtex Workshop. 1st day!
First Day of the Surtex workshop, meeting right outside our hotel.

I’m going to write another post just about my Surtex experience, but I also want to tell you about another travel workshop that popped up on the Light Grey Art Lab site a few weeks ago.

Illustration Bootcamp

This one is called “Illustration Bootcamp” and it’ll take place at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis. It’s led by guest instructor/illustrator extraordinaire, Meg Hunt, and was marketed as a travel workshop to encourage people from other cities to come join the fun. I let this one stew for a while too (didn’t I learn my lesson the first time?), but luckily it didn’t sell out before I made up my mind to go.

Why the hesitation? Well, I never thought I could be an illustrator. I have a vivid memory from when I took my first printmaking class: Another girl in the class was also taking an illustration course at the same time. I loved what she was doing and thought it looked like so much fun, but I had this clear thought in my head, “I’m not an illustrator. I’m not good enough to do that.”

Looking back on the memory now I think, “how odd!” and I wonder where that thought came from. But like it or not, the belief ingrained itself within me, and I’ve believed it for years: I might be creative, but I’m no illustrator.

For me to sign up for “Illustration Bootcamp” took some guts. I still feel a little like an interloper–like it’ll be really obvious that I don’t belong or something–but in the end I decided to do the workshop because it’s something I’m interested in, and I know I’ll walk away from it with the benefit of the new experience, gaining knowledge, inspiration, and hopefully some more creative friends.

At this point I’m especially excited about the trip now that I’ve met some Minneapolis based creatives who were part of the Surtex workshop. It’ll be great to reunite with some of my new “old friends,” but I’m also very excited to meeting the other participants in the workshop, including a couple of online friends, Emily Balsley and Lisa Marie Tsering, who signed up for Illustration Bootcamp too! Can’t wait!