Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

Posts from the ‘inspiration’ category

I began using Pinterest last year as an experiment to showcase my artwork and my illustrated characters’ lives as well as images or subjects that inspire my creativity. I have recently found it useful as a way to collect images for research related to my illustration projects.

I am taking part in an online Skillshare class about hand-lettering, and the main lesson revolves around choosing a quote to draw. I’m using Pinterest to collect the images I’d like to use as style and inspiration reference for when I am ready to begin sketching my ideas. The quote I have chosen is from the TV show, “Dr. Who.” I won’t reveal it right now, but I will share the Pinterest reference board and more about my work as I work through the lessons for the class: Hand-lettering Class Research Pinboard.


Leave a comment

In recent months I have been thinking about different ways of getting my art into other people’s hands as a fun way to get some attention for my artwork. Being a self-marketing machine gets pretty dull and repetitive, and for the amount of time I put in, it is often without much reward or acknowledgement from the public. What I do never seems like enough and I always expect, or would like more reaction than I get. So I made a fun challenge for myself and my friends Thelma and Louise (as luck would have it, they were interested). I wanted to give prints of my “Love, New York” artwork away as a fun surprise for the recipients.  I figured what I had been doing wasn’t getting a lot of attention, so why not try something else, and I held the same expectations for this experiment.


“Thelma,” our intern “Cherise,” and “Louise” after our reverse art heist.

 I have a handful of images for my “Love, New York” illustration theme and one focuses on a woman wearing a leopard-print coat, sunglasses, green turban, and she carries a large orange tote bag. For “Turban Lady,” my idea was to secretly place a small number of  prints somewhere inside of a department store without the employees noticing. I came up with a plan to visit a few of them in Manhattan with my gorgeous volunteers. Each of us were to shop in the store as if we were looking for clothing or an outfit. While in the dressing room, we’d conceal a print in the items of clothing. Each postcard-sized print was inside of a clear, plastic sleeve with a pipe cleaner attached to it for easily attaching to a tag or hanger; they were also sized small enough to be able to fit into a (preferably leopard-print) coat pocket.


At Store #1 there were a huge number of employees out on the floor which got me nervous right away. I couldn’t walk 3 feet without someone new asking me if I wanted a dressing room or help finding something. It seemed as if they somehow knew I wasn’t really shopping! I got over it and attached my cards to the items, after trying them on, of course. We were sending each other image texts from the dressing rooms! Here’s a cute pair of shorts on me. (Pardon my black socks, I know they are a “Don’t” with shorts.)


Placing the cards amongst the fashions in Store #2 was much easier, and Thelma joined us at that point, so that meant more free art for their customers. She was even bold enough to place one of the postcards inside of an orange handbag right out on the store floor.

thelmabag thelmabag2

We had one or two more cards left so we made a third stop and left the remaining cards there.

I included my contact information on the reverse side of the card and asked if the people who found it might get in touch with me and let me know something about them. Unfortunately no one has responded, but we went into it knowing that we might not hear back. It’s entirely possible that with the large number of security cameras around, that people in the store noticed what we were doing and didn’t approach us, but tossed the cards.

Basically what I got out of the experience was being able to act on one of my ideas, a fun afternoon (we went out for wine and a snack afterwards with Cherise), and a touch of mystery. Who knows, I may still hear from someone, so stay tuned for that and my next art giveaway idea!



As promised, I am revealing last Sunday’s source of awesome inspiration…. a wedding card for my friends Holly and Craig, who got married in Las Vegas early in March!

Holly had worn a headband with devil horns and a veil for her bachelorette party. That headband sparked the idea… I feel that Holly and Craig have a devilish nature in common, so I drew this cartoon portrait of them as devils and did a little play on words: “Devils May Care,” to state their obvious love and care for each other, but also to indicate their quickly pulled together (but well-thought out) nuptials.

I had this image in my head for a few weeks before having the time to execute it, so I’m pleased with how it turned out, and so are the newlyweds.

Baluchi’s, one of the restaurants that I illustrated for the Park Slope Reader’s restaurant review asked to purchase a print of my artwork! You must stop by some some of their delicious Indian cuisine and to check out the print, everyone is really nice there. I am very flattered to have this print displayed in the restaurant. I also added a small caption to let people know it was published in the Winter 2009-10 issue, along with my credit. I am working on getting in touch with other managers at restaurants that I have illustrated in the neighborhood to see if they would like to purchase prints.

I re-purposed one of my existing illustrations to give as a retirement greeting card to a nurse at my allergist’s office. She’s been working at that office since before I started going for treatment there and I’ll really miss seeing her. I personalized the inside with her name and the message “Congratulations on your retirement!” In the future, I may offer this card in The Nancydraws Shop.

Leave a comment

I really love it when I have an image or an idea in my mind and I can get it exactly as I imagine it onto a piece of paper and into the world without a glitch!

Believe me, this is a rare occurrence. Usually it takes me a few drafts, centimeters from my eraser, turns with the pencil sharpener, and layers of tracing paper to get the art to look the way I want. More often than not, I either can’t seem to make it as great as I imagined it in my mind’s eye, so I have to compromise, or I didn’t have a clear enough vision of what I wanted until I started sketching.

The drawing that inspired me to write this blog entry happened just an hour or so ago. I really am pleased and surprised with how easily it flowed from my mind to my pencil. The image has been floating around in my imagination for a few weeks and I just could not let it go until I made it real. I wish it was always that easy and quick.

Unfortunately I can’t go into much detail about what the image is or what inspired it for reasons that I don’t want to give away right now. I will be able to share all later in the week!

Leave a comment

I’ve been forced into a transition of sorts, my day-job/perma-lance gig has cut back on the amount of hours they need me to be on schedule each month, which is really hurting my income. Of course, I am glad to still have some kind of income but it definitely makes me nervous, knowing I will need to find other sources very soon to be able to bring home enough money. My illustration work hasn’t been a big money producer in the past but I am always working on that and hoping for a break.

The change in my situation means that I have some more time now, to work on my ideas and projects, but I also need that time to send out resumes, make phone calls and search online for new possible freelance gigs for the near future.

Its been quite a while since I’ve had to make those calls to search out gigs and connections. It is something that makes me feel uncomfortable, but I know that the more I reach out and communicate with new contacts, the more my confidence will build … for a sustainable period of time, I hope.

I had a moment of inspiring thought as I considered all of these things. I was calling a few staffing agencies to whom I’d sent my resume last week, and as I heard myself explaining what I was looking for, I realized I sounded very professional and together, adding to my feelings of confidence! So, I am enjoying the fact that it currently feels more exciting to be in the position that I ma in, as far as where else I might find work and what my new connections will lead to. I always feel better about these things when I begin to take some sort of action.

All of this does not take away from the fact that I’d rather be drawing right now, I think I’ve made my point … stay inspired until my next post!

1 Comment

I am finished with long-ish break from my magazine/office gig and was able to get some good art time in during the past couple of weeks. This seems like a natural time of reflection for me each month; changing gears to be back on a different schedule while trying to keep the momentum going and keep my own work moving forward.

For the past few months I have had many ideas and projects, and at times I am never completely sure that I am working on the “right” thing. I want to show that I can do graphic design as well as production and illustration, so I have some design ideas going, there are a few art gifts I am working on for friends, sketching and rewriting my new story starring Adelé, a series of illustrations of cakes, sending out resumes and query letters, a day of freelancing on a project for my toy designer friends, blogging, planning the opening of my shop, plus unsuccessfully trying to find time to learn new software. And, the boring stuff… updating that mailing list and making some tweaks to my website, etc.

I was able to get small bits of each thing done, and did actually finish a task or two. The big questions that has been living in the back of my head for the past 3-6 months are: How can I get my illustration to the next level? Is one of the ideas I am working on now my “next big thing?” Do I need to alter or enhance my style to gain more attention? It is going to take some time to find the answers to these questions, I know greatness is not achieved without a lot of time and hard work.

It has really helped to keep a list of goals for each week, it helps to have that structure to help me remember what to do next. I am looking forward to getting my Etsy Shop going … There’s nothing there as of this week, but I hope to post some prints for sale this month, with the help of Mom and Dad. (Thank you!!!)

So, I hope the Etsy shop will help bring more focus to my efforts and lead to more web traffic and networking, maybe some $$ along the way. I am glad to have so many outlets for my creativity; when I can’t get inspired to work on one thing, I can always switch to something different. I just don’t want to let myself avoid what is more important, if only I could decide what is more important!

Until next time, I will post a sketch or two of Adelé in progress.

Leave a comment