My personal life musings

Illustrated journal page by Nela Dunato

Integrating words and images (my creative journey)

Since I started using sketchbooks in 2006, I alternated between drawing and writing. I occasionally combine the two, but it’s still not completely integrated. It’s like I have a “drawing mode” and a “writing mode”—when I’m using one, the other one is turned off. I want to evolve this part of my practice, so I’m giving myself assignments to integrate words and images. Read more...

Setting goals after a disappointing year

Setting goals after a disappointing year

It’s the time of the year when business owners and bloggers flock to reminisce on their past year, highlight their biggest achievements, and plan for the year ahead. I feel that goal-setting can sometimes create pressure that only makes us feel inadequate, instead of inspired. Read more...

What I did during my Summer Social Media Sabbatical 2019

What I did during my Summer Social Media Sabbatical 2019

I take regular social media sabbaticals in order to clear my mind and make more time for creativity and proper rest. This year I was unplugged from all social media channels for over two months–from mid-June to the end of August. Here's an update on what I did while I was away... Read more...

The challenge of restarting a creative practice

The challenge of (re)starting a creative practice

It’s no secret that sometimes I don’t do art for months. There are objective reasons, and emotional reasons, and totally silly reasons, but whatever they are—the result is the same: no new art, guilt and shame because I’m not making art, and overall grumpy feeling and lack of enthusiasm because I need my art. In the interest of documenting my methods for the future when it’s bound to happen again, but also to help others who have the same problem, I’ll talk about what I’ve tried and what helps me start again after a long period of not creating. Read more...

My journey of self-publishing a non-fiction book, part 1: Motivation, planning and writing

My journey of self-publishing a non-fiction book, part 1: Motivation, planning & writing

It wasn’t easy to create a book, and it took way longer than I thought it would. In this series of articles I’ll talk about the whole process, and why I made certain decisions along the way. It’s not intended as advice, but I hope it provides some insight in case you want to self-publish a book of your own. In the first part I cover: why write a book in the first place, how to decide on a topic, how to find the time to write, and the behind-the-scenes of my writing process. Read more...

Devoted to wholeness instead of pursuing success

Devoted to wholeness instead of pursuing success

A rare person can say “Look at all these things I’ve accomplished, now it’s time I take a well deserved break.” There’s always more to achieve. There’s always a way to become better, and to make a bigger impact. It’s my belief now that pure discipline in the service of success doesn’t lead to a life well lived. Read more...

Help me spread the word about my new book

I made a new thing! Here’s how you can help.

In case you still haven't seen one of my dozen announcements, I wrote and self-published a book called The Human Centered Brand, which is coming out on July 30th 2018. I've been working on this book for 18 months (just the book—I've been creating this body of work for much longer than that), so you can imagine it's a pretty big deal for me. Like, possibly the biggest deal since starting my own business. If you want to help me spread the word about this book, read this post. Read more...

What if people think my idea is stupid?

What if people think my idea is stupid?

Too many creative projects never see the light of day because their creators fear that their idea is stupid. This is a tragedy. Creating anything is an emotionally vulnerable experience that makes us question everything. I’m not immune to this, and neither are artists whose work I follow. If you’re experiencing this problem as well, in this post I share my thoughts on overcoming this mental block so you can finish and publish your thing. Read more...

The Ethical Impact of Your Creative Business

The Ethical Impact of Your Creative Business

“Voting with your money” is a way of demonstrating your values though your purchases. Choosing to buy from family-owned, local, eco-friendly, ethical businesses instead of predatory corporations is a small, but important way of making a positive impact. As a business owner or an independent artist, you have another way of making an impact: choosing carefully who you sell or give your time to. Read more...

What’s in your Creative Wellness Toolbox?

What’s in your Creative Wellness Toolbox?

Artists are intimately familiar with our physical tools—but today, I’m talking about a different type of toolbox. The toolbox you need to keep yourself in optimal mental and emotional shape to be able to create not just any kind of work, but your best work. Read more...

8 painful lessons from my most horrible client experience

8 painful lessons from my horrible client from Hell experience

Last year, I’ve had the most awful “client from Hell” experience in my 12 years as a professional designer. While the experience itself was horrible, the things that came out of it made my business so much better. Here are the lessons that inspired my transformation toward the next level of professionalism. Read more...

My favorite things in 2016

My favorite things in 2016

We can probably all agree on one thing: 2016 sucked. Hard. A whole bunch of terrible things happened around the world (of which celebrity deaths are the least problematic). Let's send it away with a “Whooosh!” and hope that better things are around the corner. To celebrate the pleasant things I've experienced in 2016, here's a little list of books, music, movies, places, art supplies, articles and videos that made my year more delightful. Read more...

I royally screwed up

I royally screwed up.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people put me on a pedestal I don’t deserve to be on. I fear that if they knew of all my past and ongoing mistakes, they would change their mind about me, and wouldn’t want to be my friends or work with me ever again. But I’ve spent the past year teaching and mentoring intensely in different ways, and I’ve learned that what I’m most interested in is teaching by example. If I want others to feel safe about admitting to their mistakes, I need to do the same. So that’s what I’m doing right now. Read more...

Why I start every day with personal creative practice

Why I start every day with personal creative practice

One of the reasons why I chose to be a freelancer instead of being an employee was to have more time for my personal art and other self-initiated projects. For at least half an hour (ideally a full hour) almost every morning I draw, paint or craft something that isn’t related to my clients or my business. I believe that prioritizing my creative practice benefits not only me, but my clients as well. Read more...

Why I don't take career advice from anyone

Why I don’t take career advice from anyone

Throughout your life, people have probably told you “You're so good at X, you should be a [something].” If you’ve heard the same thing over and over again, maybe you’ve ended up believing that was what you should do. One thing that many people miss is that the idea of doing something is very different from actually doing something. Read more...

An open letter to blogger outreach email senders

An open letter to blogger outreach email senders

I'm not a super popular blogger, but I get plenty of email pitches from people who want me to link to their stuff. (I can only imagine what it’s like for people whose readership is much bigger.) Today I've decided to get on my soapbox and tell all those marketers how I feel about their outreach campaign. Read more...