My thoughts & opinions

Doorways of inspiration

Doorways of inspiration

How is it that sometimes I can be so full of inspiration and drive to create, but other times I can’t even get myself off the couch? Why is it so difficult to remain in the state of forward momentum? How could I reinvigorate that creative spark after the fire has died out? I’ve tried to answer all of these questions, and more, in this essay. Read more...

Fact-checking 13 MLM myths about business

Fact-checking 13 MLM myths about business

I'm tired of seeing misleading claims that multi-level marketing companies are spreading about business, so I want to raise awareness of how damaging those myths are. Starting a small business from scratch is many times more likely to lead to profits than joining an MLM, and the small business ecosystem is way more supportive than any MLM team. Read more...

One logo design concept, one revision

One logo design concept, one revision: why this method works

It’s common among logo designers to present 3 concepts to the client, so they can choose the one they like the most. I’ve even seen this taught in design schools and courses. I don’t offer multiple logo design concepts to my clients—I show them one, and then we discuss whether it works for the business or not, and if something needs to be changed. This may not work for every designer, but I’ll explain why the “one concept, one revision” approach works for me and my clients. 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...

Branding is a journey, not a one-off project

Branding is a journey, not a one-off project

A brand is never “perfect”—it’s on a trajectory towards perfection, but it will never reach that point. Of course, being closer to that perceived “perfection” is better than being far away from it, that’s why we even bother doing this work, fully aware that we’re in it for the long haul. Read more...

Creativity in digital isolation

Creativity in digital isolation

“Common sense” marketing advice for creators is to publish something every single day. I know many folks who show up daily or almost daily, and it works for them. It’s an excellent marketing technique if you can pull it off. I’m not doing it, and I don’t think it’s the right way for everyone. I want to talk about the positive side of not having to put on a show every day (or every week, or even every month) if you’re not the kind of person who can or wants to do that. Read more...

Creatives have a responsibility towards social justice

Creatives have a responsibility towards social justice + Colorful portrait drawing process

In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat, I’ll show you my process of drawing the ink and watercolor painting “I See Color”, while talking about a somewhat timely subject: how creatives can support social change, and why we should. Our talent and skills have power. We can use those powers to uphold the status quo, or we can use them to inspire and enact change. If you already aren’t convinced why we all need to take a more active role in our society, I hope this video will make you at least consider joining me and thousands of creatives across the world in this effort. Read more...

How and why to sell accountability?

How & why to sell accountability?

Sometimes what people really need is not your expertise or your superior knowledge—all they need is someone to hold the time and space for them to show up. If you’re struggling with what to offer to your clients at this time, think about what “accountability” might look like for them. Read more...

12 uncomfortable truths about doing creative work for a living

12 uncomfortable truths about doing creative work for a living

I started earning money with my creative skills when I was 19 years old, and have been running my own design consultancy since 2014. I admit that I got into this career with some unrealistic expectations, and I learned many lessons that no one warned me about. If you’re still early in your career or studying in a creative field, consider this post as a warning so you can decide whether this is something you’re willing to accept as a part of your life. Read more...

Mermay 2019 - How it went and what I learned

Mermay 2019 – How it went & what I learned

As I announced in my previous video, I took part in this year’s Mermay challenge and attempted to draw and paint mermaids every day during the month of May. In this article I’ll show you my favorite mermaid drawings from this challenge, and share how I felt about the whole experience and what I learned from it. Read more...

Sketching with fountain pens

Sketchbook Adventures: Sketching with fountain pens

As a hoarder of art and stationery, I frequently dip into creative obsessions. Lately it’s been going on with fountain pens, which are my new go-to note taking and doodling tool. In this post I share why I switched from ballpoint pens to fountain pens, which pen models I’ve bought so far (there’s quite a few), and my impressions after writing and sketching with them for a couple of months. Read more...

How do I know what I'm buying? – Logo design and spec work

How do I know what I’m buying? – Logo design & spec work

I’m fully aware of the risks my clients take when working with me. I used to think I should be offering money-back guarantees, endless revisions, or doing exactly what they tell me to do to make sure they’re happy. Thankfully, I learned quite a bit over the years and I no longer think that. I do one revision within the scope of the project, and only offer a refund in case I cancel the project. I know where the real value of my work lies, and I want to share these thoughts with you today. Read more...

A dialogue about art, narcissism and Vincent van Gogh

A dialogue about art, narcissism & Vincent van Gogh

After watching the movie “Loving Vincent”, my partner asked me: are artists narcissists because they want others to appreciate their art? I thought others may wonder about that as well, so I'm sharing our dialogue and the explanation I gave him on this matter. 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...

If you love your work, charge more.

If you love your work, charge more.

Often people that do administrative, service or technical jobs think that creative careers are glorified hobbies, and make derogatory remarks about them. Dismissing the specialized skills creative people bring to the marketplace is harmful and unfair. In this article, we'll dissect this pervasive myth that people who love their work shouldn't charge for it. 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...

From art block to a new art series

From art block to a new art series: Notes from navigating my creative process

Writing about art for me is writing about my process—not only the physical process of painting or drawing, but the process that happens in my mind, because that’s where most of the struggle is. In that spirit, this article isn’t a how-to, and it isn’t focused on technique—I’m documenting my thoughts here like I would in a journal. Learn how I managed to get over my crippling self-doubt and started painting with joy again. Read more...