Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

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 Businesses grow and evolve, and a brand may get outdated even if you did everything “right” the first time.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...

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...

Consistency in visual branding shouldn't be boring

Consistency in visual branding shouldn’t be boring

When you’re a creative person, you’re naturally pulled towards new things, experimenting, and reinventing yourself. Doing things consistently and predictably sounds like a total chore. Is this resistance to “being stuck in a box” preventing you from being consistent in your branding? If so, this post it for you. 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...

Dream Clients - Myth or Reality

Dream Clients: Myth or Reality?

Dream clients are actual human beings who have bought your services, and you freakin’ love working with them. Graduating from so-so clients to dream clients takes time, but once you get there, you experience a level of ease and joy in your business that nothing else can replace. Read more...

The The Human Centered Brand book

“The Human Centered Brand” book is out!

Whether you’re a writer, lawyer, illustrator, designer, developer, dentist, psychotherapist, coach, marketing consultant, hair stylist, jewelry designer, painter, creative agency owner, musician, bookkeeper… the methods described in this book will help you express yourself naturally in your business and grow authentic relationships with your clients. Read more...

Save time, money and frustration in your business with a brand style guide

Save time, money & frustration in your business with a brand style guide

The greatest time-saving trick of all time that I’ve discovered is having everything written down and accessible wherever I go. There are so many things you could (and in my opinion, should) have written down, and this includes the brand style guide: a document containing your brand elements and assets, so you can review and share them with your team. Read more...