Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

Posts from the ‘creativity’ category

A quick post to remind you that if you are in the New York City area this Sunday, September 21, I hope you’ll be able to stop by the Ridgewood Market in Queens.

I will be there selling items from The Nancydraws Shop: Foodietoos, greeting cards, prints and original art from my “Love, New York” series. Look for my purple and green table display!

The Ridgewood Market is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Location details:
Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. Ridgewood, NY 11385 (between Linden St. and Gates Ave.)
Near the L, J, and M trains

Follow Ridgewood Market on social media:
Instagram @RidgewoodMarket
Twitter @ridgewoodmarket
Ridgewood Market Facebook Page


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photo 1Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work, is a great follow up to his highly successful Steal Like an Artist; once you have been inspired and created work, you need to share your efforts with the world. Show Your Work is very simply written, using bold statements, art/poetry, quotes, and hand-drawn charts to elaborate on the author’s ideas. I appreciated Kleon’s bare bones style of writing; for this subject matter it really helps to get the point across simply and makes what he is saying memorable.

photo 2The main subject of the book is to get your work out there, and learn new and effective ways of self-promotion for your artwork. I have found other self-promotion or marketing books to be more complicated or difficult to translate to the business side of being creative. Show Your Work takes take the complication away and makes the subject matter instantly relate-able. From my own past experience, self-promotion has seemed intimidating, but the straight-forward way Kleon presents his material can help motivate even the meekest self-promoter! He recommends beginning the process of sharing by first documenting each day what you do at different stages of your process. After compiling this daily log that you create for yourself, you can choose what would be most interesting and valuable to share with others via your blog, e-newsletter, or social media outlet.

Sharing what you’ve been working on is definitely important, but as Kleon mentions in Chapter 7, there is so much information being thrown at us via the internet and email, we don’t want to become “Human Spam” to others. This brings up a very important and helpful point. Networking is not only about tooting your own horn and saying “Look at me!” Kleon offers that listening is an important part of the sharing process. By listening you may learn something that will help your work and you may also be able to offer something to the person to whom you are listening to. Being a “connecter” rather than just gaining “followers,” sharing ideas or aspects of your creative process, and showing true interest in others work are some of the ways Kleon suggests widening your circle of fans. This is a point I really appreciated since many artists are natural observers and listeners, and the old concept of self-promotion seemed like it was based on constantly promoting oneself.

The author doesn’t want you to be Human Spam, but expresses that you also need to be able to tell the story of your work in an interesting way to someone who knows nothing about it. As humans we all want to connect to personal stories and make ideas more tangible. The better you can be at explaining what you do and why you do it will make it more emotionally valuable to your audience and potential clients. He uses a quote from John le Carré to further illustrate this point: “‘The cat sat on a mat’ is not a story. ‘The cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is a story.”

photo 3The aspects of the book that I’ve discussed here were the most powerful to me, but Show Your Work contains much more. I had heard some of the advice before, but the way it was presented and explained made it innovative and I think even the most seasoned self-promoter can use a reminder, breath of fresh air on the subject, or an update. Check it out for yourself and see if you found it as helpful as I did!

photo 4






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A shared post from Pikaland: What does being an artist mean to you?

The organizer/instructor of the online class that I’m taking, Amy Ng, is very active on her blog, Pikaland, which is how I found out about the class in the first place. This week she asks readers, “What does being an artist mean to you?” and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the question here, but make sure you also read her post at the link above.

In the Pikaland post, Amy included a quote from Edgar Degas:

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas  

Degas truly sums up my feelings about being an artist. My thought process and visual interpretation of the world are a big part of my creativity. Without the ideas or quirky observations about life my drawings, photos, and collages would not have much meaning to myself or to others, they’d just fall flat. I know that my way of thinking and observing has effected my daily life in the way that I witness particular moments happening around me and then I’m able craft them into a visual treats to share.

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A small selection of my illustrations from over the years…

… and more on this wall. I also looked at my online work.

Recently I began an online class called Work / Art / Play via an illustration blog I’m a fan of, Pikaland. Discussing my work for the class is right in line with the main subject of my blog, finding inspiration and my artistic process. The first assignment was to look at several examples of my work from over the years and try to find common patterns and then the elements of my art that are the strongest.

So far I’ve noticed that I mainly use graphic, flat shapes to compose my illustrations; my work often depicts daily life mixed with subtle humor; I like to incorporate words and multimedia (collage, photography, embroidery, watercolor, pencil, and ink).

Another step was see if there are similarities between our work and the artists we admire. I was surprised to find that all of the aspects I mentioned above are present in some way for my list of favorite artists! Roz Chast, Henrí Matisse, Hanoch Piven, Romare Bearden, Maira Kalman, Alexander Calder, and Claes Oldenberg. (To name a few.)

Parts 2 & 3 of last week’s module were more challenging. Since I only had about a day to evaluate my work and write out my thoughts and analysis, I know I will need some more time to consider these answers. Part 2 was about considering what matters in our lives, not just our artwork, and what we are good at in addition to our creativity. And Part 3 is about bringing the observations from Parts 1 & 2 together to figure out how to create the strongest and most self-satisfying artwork based on these discoveries.

I think blogging about it helps the process! The first week was a very interesting start to what I feel will be a valuable experience. Some great topics came up in the Q&A session as well… such as one of my questions! I asked if I should make the effort to unearth some of my college work, which I have in slide form in my apartment… the originals are a couple hundred miles away at my parents house… if they haven’t sold them. 😉

As it turned out it wasn’t completely necessary to include the college work but I was able to notice some interesting similarities between what I was doing then and a new style that I’ve recently begun working with. I was really into combining watercolors, drawings, and colored pencil back in the day, and after many years of working in a digital style I’ve decided to experiment with the watercolors, drawings, and colored pencils again. I shouldn’t be that surprised, I chose watercolors since I’m familiar with them, but I can see how my skills and sensibilities have matured, while the essence has remained the same.

I will keep working on this and post more discoveries…. meanwhile a new module was released today. I guess I will be a little bit behind on my classwork.

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