Once you stop learning, you start dying.

albert Einstein

I graduated Art Center in December of 1997…ages ago it seems. I was young, one of the youngest in most of my classes, an of course, I learned sooo much and really loved my time there. But once out of school I started working pretty much immediately…free lance illustration projects, then starting my career at South Park and as a Street Painter in the same few months. From that point I was knee deep in work for 8 long years and I love it. I had a great job in the Entertainment industry that paid well and allowed for summer hiatus which just happened to coincide with street painting season. Perfection! For a while anyway…

The only class I’d taken since is Kurt Wenner’s 3 day workshop on ‘Perspective and Illusion’ in Sedona. It was a fantastic class and loved that time learning from a master. All things I was able to apply to my ‘We Talk Chalk Projects’. So working along we went another few years until Pandemic hit. All our scheduled We Talk Chalk Projects were on hold or postponed. Now, this for someone who is constantly doing something, was an interesting development.

So I thought I’d give you a little pandemic bio on the courses/classes I’ve taken …Because I’ve packed so much into my brain over the last 6 months, it’s overflowing, right onto your screen :)


Becoming a doer has led me to live my life’s absolutely biggest creative dream.

Bonnie Christine

1. Bonnie Christine & Flourish
I’ve already told you about my great experience discovering Surface Design with Bonnie Christine. I’m a member of her “Flourish” Surface Design Tribe’ and everything about it is fantastic and she is just lovely. ‘Flourish’ is Community, lessons, workshops, peer groups, Q&A sessions, industry interviews…great stuff! I’ve known how to use illustrator for the most part for years but it wasn’t until her courses that I actually really learned. And since she only teaches surface design in illustrator, I was invited to teach a member lead workshop to the ‘Flourish’ Community on creating a Surface Design from a painting in Photoshop. So much fun!! Here’s her website to learn more…BonnieChristine.com

I’ve actually just signed up for her “Immersion LIVE” coming up in October. It’s a 3 day intensive virtual workshop and I have her swag box coming in the mail, free for early bird sign ups!! Awesomesauce! Can’t wait to see what’s in it and to be a part of the LIVE course!! I believe registration will open up to the public in the next week – if interested check out her website above for details.

What I learned: This is where it all started for me. I watched her first course on CreateLive and was completely hooked on the idea of surface design. I learned how to make repeating patterns, create a full collection in several color ways, a better understanding of Adobe Illustrator, how to create a surface design portfolio, what licensing is all about, and I have a community of artists that I can totally relate to and love connecting with.

Give yourself margin

STacie bloomfield

2. Stacie Bloomfield from Gingiber
Bonnie had interviewed Stacie one day and my interest was piqued. She offered a course called “Leverage Your Art” and I jumped at the chance to learn about diversifying your income, wholesale markets, POD’s, manufacturing your own products. Now as part of signing up for this class, I receive a Bonus!! A portfolio review with Bonnie Christine! Can’t wait. I’ve submitted my portfolio and expect my feedback via email in the next few weeks. Here’s a link to Stacie’s page.

What I learned: Now I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t really have the same connection with Stacie and I did with Bonnie or Shannon, who I’ll talk about next. BUT, she did deliver great information and was very helpful during the course and in the Q&A’s. So…I learned her methods of approaching clients, creating artwork that you use for multiple application, diversifying my income, creating products, Art Agents…it’s a long list. I’m actually still going through the material even though she’s just about to start her next run of courses.

p.s. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

shannon mcnab

3. Shannon McNab – I discovered Shannon on instagram via her #sketchdesignrepeat. She’s a pretty awesome teacher and I signed up for her ‘Pitch Your Portfolio’ Course. LOVED. I learned all about finding the right people to send your portfolio to and how to approach. Something Bonnie and Stacie also cover but it’s great to have 3 different view points. Shannon is pretty low key, straight to the source method and I really liked her approach and teaching style. Registration for her next course ends this Wednesday…Pitch Your Portfolio

What I learned: I learned a lot about creating a portfolio in illustration and surface design, or a combination of the two, and finding the right companies and person to send it to. I learned Airtable, how to keep track of what I’m creating and the people I’m hoping to license with.

Bonus with this class was the one on one portfolio review with Shannon. That was so great!! She really had some amazing feedback and gave me some good steps to take to move forward. BTW…I’m in love with the far right collection in the image above. Isn’t it cute?!! The flower pattern totally reminds me of my grandmother. :)


4. Skillshare – Can’t say enough about Skillshare. I absolutely love that I can type in anything art related that I’d like to learn and it’s there. I think my total Skillshare learning hours is up to about 80. I’m addicted. Here’s my link to Skillshare – It’s only $99 a year but you’ll receive the first two months free. That’s a steal for unlimited access to any and all classes. And I’ve even take some multiple times. All included in the yearly fee. But, if you sign up and realize you don’t like it…you can cancel before your 2 month trial is up.

What I learned: I’ve learned Procreate, Affinity Designer, took a few Photoshop courses to brush up on my skills, a watercolor class, learned how to use instagram and Pinterest, and how to create a course…which leads me to the above image. Of my new course on Painting a Succulent in Soft Pastel. This is a story for another post but if you’re interested in learning something new in the arts…I highly recommend Skillshare.

People buy your joy.

Lilla Rogers

5. Make Art That Sells – Lilla Rogers is an art agent who offers a variety of courses. After following their IG account for a while and seeing all the fantastic art everyone was making, I had to sign up for the ‘Creating Collections for Home Decor’ course. I’m right in the middle of this class and am loving it. Here’s a link to the Make Art That Sells Website

What I learned: It’s making me think about things in a different way and I’m figuring out how to combine everything I’ve learned in the last few months to give my body of work an entirely new spin. So taking my favorite painting “The Dust Seeker” which inspired an entire pattern collection and illustrations, to designing the actual products they can be applied to. I’m really excited about this…I’m only 1/4 of the way through the course but am really excited about the possibilities.

There you have it. What I’m up to on in a nutshell. A big nutshell. I’ll probably have an updated list in the next few months after I complete my Home Decor class and Immersion LIVE. But if you haven’t taken a class in a while, I encourage you to find something, anything you find interesting because believe me it’s out there. Take a virtual class, an online workshop, sign up for Skillshare or CreateLive, or just head over to YouTube. Now’s the time!!! Don’t wait – because it’s never the right time. You just have to make the time.