Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

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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!


Bike rideAdele and Henrí ValentineAdele & Henrí Vespa BirthdayChristmas Gift Tagsbfly-retireBaby's 1st Birthday
Colson Patisserie, printColson Patisserie; Love, New YorkColson Patisserie, original artcookie-cardFlatbush Farm illustration printMore Christmas Gift Tags!
gifttags2-group"Hairstyles I've Seen on the Subway" (with Cindy)Hairstyles I've Seen on the Subway; Love, New York illustration print"Hairstyles..." print detailHairstyles I've Seen on the Subway; Love, New Yorklucy-sticker-art

I’ve had a Flickr account for as long as I can remember, which isn’t very long, 6 years (?) and only recently discovered how great it is for artist networking and sharing. There are all kinds of groups to join, and once you join them you may post images of your art to them. So far I have joined the Pikaland group (hi Amy!), What I Wore Today, Illustration Friday, Illustration, Paper Fetish, Good Paper Goods, and Etsy Greetings.

Aside from the obvious and directly-related groups I’ve joined already I need to find the groups that my potential clients and customers are following. I’m thinking NYC- and Paris-centric, or travel and design themed groups.

Other suggestions, anyone?

Off I go!

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I had one of those days where every chore I took on seemed to take forever to finish, then when I had time to work on something creative I just couldn’t seem to focus. Instead, I ended up cleaning up my work space since my drawing table often becomes a “dumping ground” for things that I’m not sure what to do with, or am too lazy to put away immediately.

I decided that since I have some time set aside for my artwork next week, I might as well take the opportunity to clear things up and make it a pleasant place to work. The clutter was part of what was distracting me; all that stuff kept getting in my way! I had left sketches and supplies out for my Christmas and Valentine’s cards, so I filed the papers, put away things that didn’t belong there, and even shredded a pile of papers sitting in the shredder which lives under the desk. Now my desk is an open runway for new projects: Clear for take-off!

Recently, on another organizing binge, I discovered a birthday card illustration from some years back that I had forgotten about, so I made time yesterday to post it in The Nancydraws Shop. Pictured above, the card features Adele and her feline pal, Henrí, on their way to a birthday celebration.

I hope you are inspired by Spring to create, clean-up, or both!

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In January, I asked people to suggest and then vote on what my pigeon character’s name should be. Holly Moser suggested the name that ended up getting the most votes, so she wins a portrait of: Percival Featherington III!

I have begun working on the prize… and decided to show off some of the preliminary sketches. Above are sketches of Percival in his signature Santa hat, and below is the frame drawing, transferred onto fabric and ready for stitching. The final product will be a digital file with these 2 elements and others combined with my Photoshop collage-ing technique.

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I have three new Valentines on offer in The Nancydraws Shop. I knew I wanted to feature Percival Featherington III, Brooklyn pigeon extraordinaire, but I also wanted cards for pigeons… I mean… persons of every persuasion. To keep things simple, I’ve swapped in same-sex pigeons where applicable. Did you know that pigeons are excellent actors? A Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

The Nancydraws Shop

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Today I am participating in a blog swap with a friend of mine from high school, Jean Ciemniecki Mead. We were in art classes together, our first class of the day, if I remember correctly. I always marveled at how perfectly her black liquid eyeliner was applied each morning.
Nowadays, Jean lives in Georgia and has a blog called “Eat Your Beans, A Vegan Mom Challenge,” which she began in June 2011. Jean documents her process of going vegan and has some great recipes posted, as well as inspiring quotes and photos. Make sure to check out the Beer Battered Tofu or the Vegan Lasagne. Jean and I are both fans of the Red Lentil Thai Chili, which I created art work for on my post on her blog today. Links and photos for recipes are throughout the post.

Hi, Jean,
What is your blog about? How did you start writing it?

I started my blog this past June, I was challenging myself to go vegan and decided that by blogging about it, I would not only be held accountable  but I might help others too. I include vegan recipes, music and book info and I rant every now and again about how difficult (but rewarding) being vegan in an omnivorous household is.

What else aside from blogging and searching out new vegan recipes do you do most days?

I work part time at the local library. I really love my job; I am surrounded by books and have a blast with the kids during story time. I am also a wife and mother of two kids, so I spend a lot of time refereeing, driving, cooking and cleaning.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Reading. On the couch, with wine and no interruptions….it doesn’t happen often (the interruption part anyway). I love stupid horror movies, blasting music and dancing around like an idiot with my kids (or alone), and thrift store shopping.

Do you have any pets?
I have two dogs, a Belgian Malinois (German Shepard type dog) who is a 2 year old crazy toddler and a Husky mix that is 12 years old but still wrestles with the “puppy” when she gets the notion. It usually sounds like Chewbacca and the Hamburgler at a WWF smack down.

Do you have any favorites out of all of the recipes you have posted on the blog?

Yes, the Red Lentil Thai Chili. I make it every week and freeze it. Everyone I know is sick to death about hearing about it. I am also enjoying homemade miso soup.

Any recipes that turned out to be disasters?
Yup, plenty! I have murdered quite a lot of perfectly good food. In my house, they are called “epic fails” and it usually includes a baked good. My current disaster has been vegan Yorkshire pudding. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Has your life become more creative since you began your blog? If yes, in what way(s)?

Yes! Back in High School and College, I was creative in a totally different way, very much into art and a little writing. But now, I have discovered how much I love writing and do so every chance I get.

Is there anything in particular that inspires you? (a color? a place? a person? a time of year?, etc.)

Music is my muse. I love it and listen to all types any chance I get. I would rather listen to my online radio station than watch TV at any given time.

Vegan Lasagne
Since Thanksgiving is only one week away, what are you thankful for?

I am thankful for my friend’s and family’s unwavering support in everything I try…. I am also thankful for spell check.

Do you have any advice for others who would like to go vegan?
Yes, do it! Try it! Inform yourself, read, read, read about it and try out recipes. Make small changes if you have to and eliminate one animal product at a time. If you feel that going vegan is the right thing to do for yourself, whether it is because of health reasons or animal cruelty reasons-do it and don’t let others talk you out of it. I have a list of books on my site that help and recipes on there that will get you through your cravings.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for letting me share my blog with you and your readers! I always end my blog posts with a quote of the day, this one is a favorite of mine… 

“Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”
—Anthony Robbins
Jean in her kitchen, as she massacres fresh beets!
Hello Family, Friends, and Fans,
I’ve been invited to be hang two of my illustrations in a group show at the Gowanus Print Lab in Brooklyn, NY. “Hybrid World” is a joint venture with the Gowanus Print Lab and the Graphic Artists Guild, which I am a member of.
I’m thrilled to take part in this opportunity and I hope you’ll be able to join me for the opening reception on Friday, November 11 from 6-9pm. Further details at the link:
Gowanus Print Lab
54 Second Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 1121
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Last night I cooked up a delicious pot of Red Lentil Thai Chili for dinner. It was for nourishment as well as doing my part of a guest blogging swap that I’m participating in with Jean Ciemniecki Mead. I made sketches of some of the ingredients to go along with my post for Jean’s blog, Eat Your Beans: A Vegan Mom Challenge. We’ll each be taking a turn on each others blogs in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes and your sweet potatoes peeled!

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