Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

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...

Coping when art turns out bad   Mermaid watercolor painting process

Coping when art turns out bad + Mermaid watercolor painting process

Sometimes you put in a ton of effort into an artwork and in the end you realize that it just sucks. It doesn’t look anything like you’ve envisioned it, and you feel like you’ve just wasted a lot of time on something that wasn’t worth it. In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat you can watch me paint a mermaid that did not turn out the way I wanted, while I talk about 4 different ways you can deal with similar “art fails” of your own. Read more...

How to get over fear of technology and learn anything online

How to get over fear of technology & learn anything online

Mandatory shutdowns have removed the only income source from many small businesses. Everyone keeps saying the answer is “technology”, but what if you’re among the people who find technology extra challenging? Sadly I don't have a magic wand that can make technology easy overnight, but I hope that this article can help you start thinking about it differently and open up more possibilities for learning and growth. Read more...

My 6 favorite mixed media art journal sketchbook techniques

My 6 favorite mixed media art journal & sketchbook techniques

If you’re interested in mixed media art journals, you’ve likely seen it all. YouTube is full of step-by-step techniques if you want to give it a try. But over the years I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t like about making art, and this has led me to develop my own methods which work with my style and personality. In this article, I share some techniques I use to bring more fun to my sketchbook/art journaling practice. Read more...

The Ramp and the Ladder - 2 methods for improving client experience

The Ramp and the Ladder – 2 methods for improving client experience

Our responsibility as business owners is to make purchasing easy for our dream clients. Of course we want our clients to be happy! On the other hand, you don’t want to make it too easy for people to hire you, because you want to make sure that only the right clients get through your sales process. Read how making things easier, or purposely more difficult on prospective clients—what I call the Ramp and the Ladder—can be used to improve your client process. 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...

Rebranding 101 - Why and how to update your existing brand

Rebranding 101: Why & how to update your existing brand

Whenever designers create a brand for an organization, we want it to be long-lasting. What’s the point of doing it if you’re going to scrap it in a year or two? The challenge here is that in order to create a long-lasting brand, the information designers and brand strategists are working with has to be accurate and future-proof. Unfortunately, new businesses often base the information they give designers on lots of assumptions, which may or may not prove to be correct in a couple of years time. Businesses grow and evolve, and a brand may get outdated even if you did everything “right” the first time. Read more...

Art just a hobby

Art “just” a hobby? + Creepy portrait drawing process video

In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat, I’ll show you my process of drawing the sketch “Skin deep”, while talking about a subject I feel is quite important: what if you don’t want to be a professional artist? What if you want to remain an amateur forever, or at least at the moment? There’s a lot of pressure on creatives to earn money with their skills, and I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes it’s not a wise thing to do. I’m much happier keeping my drawing and painting practice personal, and I’ll tell you why I made this choice. 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...

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...

Should you do an art challenge video

Should you do an art challenge? + Mermaid drawing process video for Mermay

Inktober, Mermay, Drawing August, 100 days project, 36 days of type... there's no shortage of art challenges, and many of us are asking ourselves "Should I do one this year?" If you've never done an art challenge, in this episode of Nela's Art Chat I give you some of my tips on how to decide, and how to prepare if you do end up doing one. You'll also be able to watch a time lapse of my ink mermaid drawing from start to finish! 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...

What's the best sketchbook out there?

What’s the best sketchbook out there?

This post is a tribute to one of my favorite sketchbooks: Canson Art Book Universal. I’ve gone through 3 of these sketchbooks since I first discovered them in 2012, and none of the other ones I’ve used so far have lived up to its versatility. 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...

Real friends pay full price

Real friends pay full price

If you own a business or do creative work for a living, it’s very likely that some (or a lot) of your clients are friends and family. That’s great, right? However, some of your friends and family might think they’re entitled to a discount just because they know you. My stance on this is that friends and family should pay the full price like everyone else, and in this post I explain why that is. Read more...