The Real Reason I Went into Creative Hiding

Blog1_headerFIN2 It’s been pretty quiet around here lately…I’d like to tell you that I haven’t been in touch because I have been creating and designing like a mad woman. But that would be just an excuse. I have been flexing my creative muscles; just not in the way you would think.

And no, it had nothing to with cake…

A few months ago I finished my first year in business (yay, me!) and I looked around, evaluated where I was, and freaked out… I wasn’t unhappy about how I had done businesswise. Creative businesses are tough and take time and dedication; I was good with that.

But when I looked back over the last year, I felt that I had backed myself into a proverbial creative corner with my Animal Tales work. The Animal Tales had been extremely well received as a greeting card line. People began to seek me out at shows, request specific animals, and really want me to build on the stories.

In short, I began developing a reputation as the “Queen of the Little Animals”…
a title that both pleased and horrified me.

Animal-StripIt pleased me because I had worked VERY hard to develop the animals’ photographic style and write their corresponding stories; I was very proud how it had all  turned out. It horrified me because “Queen of the Little Animals” sounds a lot like “Lady with the 250 Cats who Throws Spaghetti on Her Ceiling.” I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for that title—it’s kind of a scary, intimidating prophecy if you look long term.

 Also I was faced with a dilemma. The Animal Tales were so attention grabbing that my other creative work wasn’t being looked at. And to be honest, I knew why: they were a tough combination to sell together.

Large, lush black and whites and rich floral prints don’t necessarily sit well next to
a crazy dinosaur experiencing life’s awkward moments.

Rose_trexI developed some very real concerns that if I continued with the Animal Tales series I would never be recognized for my other works. At the same time I didn’t want to walk away from the Animal Tales—I’ve got a lot more stories to tell with them.

So I got very quiet on social media, I picked up a lot of freelance work, and I went to France. Because where is better than France to get all introspective about your creative path in life? I spent a lot of time debating the pros and cons, wanting to follow my heart but having to analyze my fears and doubts. That all sounds very dramatic over a bunch of little animals, but I’ve always been that way.

I have resisted the title of photographer because it’s too limiting. I’ve resisted the title of artist because it is too broad. Creatively, I am like Goldilocks (minus the breaking and entering thing).

I am a photographer, a writer, a calligrapher and hand letterer. I illustrate concepts using whatever skill set most flatters them. If that means a 19th-century photographic process, so be it; if it means pen and ink on paper…great.

At the end of the day, I didn’t go into business for myself to feel limited and boxed in.

After much introspection, I realized that the common link that all my work shares is that everything I create is my take on a modernized fairy tale: the dark, the fantastic, animals and objects with human sensibilities. In the end, I concluded that my creative flexibility was my strength, and I began new work that was in line with my larger creative vision.

So, where is this all going???? Why don’t we find out—together?

AdventureBoat_fullI am about to set off on a creative journey that has literally been a lifetime in the making. Does that sound interesting to you? If you want to come with me, I’d love the company. In return I promise to be far more present on social media sharing my journey with you. My processes, the successes and the learnings. Along the way, I plan on doing some very cool giveaways as a thank you for your support.

 Off we go…

Click here to sign up here to keep in touch with this journey.

And if you are one of the Animal Tale lovers: don’t worry, the little animals are sticking around. I’ve got at least a 100 more of their stories to tell. In fact you are going to be seeing a lot of them in the near future…They rule the holiday season around here.


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