Congratulations, you’re creative.

Now get to work!

At DragonCon 2014 on Friday night at 7pm, I’ll be giving a presentation in the Hyatt Hanover A – B called “Congratulations, you’re creative. Now get to work.” I invite all creative types to visit and have a chat about your creative career.

I meet so many people telling me they’re an artist, creative, and have a passion for what ever it may be. Great, welcome to our creative circle of trust. Now get to work. I’m sharing with you my professional philosophies that have brought my success in a happy, healthy art and design career. 

If you just need a job, everyone needs to be born, to be educated, and to die.
There will always be jobs in those three areas.

Power of your people

  • Funny people are successful.
  • Smart and funny people are more successful.
  • Being pretty doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t always work.
  • Drink with friends. Don’t take drinks from strangers.
  • Good sportsmanship is always admired. Bad sportsmanship is always recorded.

Self-marketing Skills

  • Embrace your unique style. 
  • Take pride in your work.
  • Never give someone the stick to beat you with.
  • Wolves smell weakness. Present yourself in a manner that is kind, strong, confident, and prepared. 

Interviewing Techniques

  • Work for knowledge, not money. 
  • Ask weird questions. They get the best answers.

Design Industry Business Practices

  • Don’t just stand there, do something or get out of the way.
  • Don’t say or THINK anything close to “oh, I don’t know that software . . “Oh, I only do ____________.”
  • Learn, take chances, and learn some more.
  • Get lost just to learn how to find your way.

Always, always, always changing. That’s the one thing in life we know for sure – things change.

Part II: Congratulations, you’re creative. Now show me your work.

September 4, 2016
DragonCon Panel | Part II

Today we’re going to focus on you as a creative body of work and the three areas you need to be aware of when presenting your work: self-marketing, interviewing techniques, and design business best practices.

Self-Marketing Skills

Everything we’re about to cover applies to any creative person pursuing their career goals. This rules of engagement can be used in person, in social media / communications, interviews, and in the work environment. So pretty much always keep these things in mind:

Be you

  • Embrace your unique style. You’re fabulous!
  • Be your professional self at all times. This is the clean, posed version of you.
  • Take pride in your work, yet stay humble. It’s a balance.


  • No one gets to beat you. Never give someone the stick to beat you with. You are allowed to be in this space, you are allowed to pursue your goals.
  • Let them point out the path. Letting them use the stick to point out opportunities for you to grow is acceptable. This kind of feedback is very valuable. You may gather some really important information to make you more successful.
  • Understand the truth vs perception. Things will happen and people will have a perception of you. This perception may or may not be the whole truth. However the perception can really have a big impact on your reputation.


Wolves smell weakness. Present yourself in a manner that is kind, strong, and confident.

  • Be kind, which means not defensive. The conversation will stop if you’re fighting every step of the way. NO ONE wants to work with a jerk or a little brat.
  • Be strong, like a tree in the wind. Things will not go as planned and the wind will blow. You got this, stand strong like a tree with your roots firmly in the ground.
  • Be confident. True confidence is calm. Cocky confidence is aggressive and loud. Understand the difference? If you haven’t found your calm confidence yet, please take time to do so. It may be a journey, so pack a snack.

Interviewing Techniques

The interview started before you even walked in the door of the office. We’ve gone straight to your LinkedIn page, to your Facebook, to your website, and anything else we can find out about you.

  • Be prepared. Be prepared. Be prepared. Have your social media cleaned up, your portfolio up-to-date, your resume up-to-date, your stories prepared, and know that being prepared will help you survive whatever may come.
  • The portfolio addresses the target audience. Whatever work you bring in needs to address the target audience / needs. Again, be prepared and have this together before hand.
  • Craftsmanship. The details of your craftsmanship speak for you. Have your work together and flawless.
  • Your appearance matters. The way you physically represent yourself is part of your brand. You do need to look put together, healthy, and clean. Can we put you out there to represent us?
  • Ask questions. When you ask questions you’re showing interest and that you’ve been paying attention. Even if you’re not getting this gig, you still have a great opportunity to learn something new.
  • Work for knowledge, not money. This is a big one. If you want more money, go get a job. If you want to be a successful creative career driven person, work for knowledge. Trust that the money WILL show up.

Design Industry Business Practices

The creative and design industry today is deep in the digital revelation. The one thing we know for sure is it will keep changing. With that said, you too will need to keep changing in order to keep up.

  • Take ownership. Don’t just stand there, do something or get out of the way. You are the professional being hired because you are the expert. Really take ownership in knowing your craft deeply.
  • Learn, take chances, and learn some more. Don’t say or THINK anything close to “oh, I don’t know that software . . “Oh, I only do ____________.” Google it! Pick up a tutorial and figure it out. You got this.
  • You’re not lost, you’re just finding your way. No one creative person knows everything in your space. It’s okay to have to keep finding new things, information, and ways of doing things.
  • Follow through with your commitments. A big complaint from clients is that creative types don’t follow through. This is an epic fail when it comes to business. Make it a good practice to follow-up with your clients.
  • Be a good partner. This is not just about making money. You are a partner with clients and colleagues. Be a good partner and someone who they all want to work with again. What does that look like?

Part I: Congratulations, you’re Creative! Now get to work.

September 2, 2016
DragonCon Panel | Part I

Today we’re going to focus on you as a creative person and the three areas you need to be aware of: yourself, your relationships, and your process.

Yourself: What is your motivation magic and your core values?

Motivation Magic

What are you creative about and why? What magic keeps your creative heart beating? What motivates you to keep going?

Core Values

What are your core values?

Activity: Take a look at this list and check all that apply to you. Then go back to the ones you checked and circle the top five. 

Authenticity Achievement Adventure Authority
Autonomy Balance Beauty Boldness
Compassion Challenge Citizenship Community
Competency Contribution Creativity Curiosity
Determination Fairness Faith Fame
Friendships Fun Growth Happiness
Honesty Humor Influence Inner Harmony
Justice Kindness Knowledge Leadership
Learning Love Loyalty Meaningful Work
Openness Optimism Peace Pleasure
Poise Popularity Recognition Religion
Reputation Respect Responsibility Security
Self-Respect Service Spirituality Stability
Success Status Trustworthiness Wealth

Relationships: Power of your People 

Who are the people you surround yourself with? Do you have a powerful circle of people?

  • Funny people are successful.
  • Smart and funny people are more successful.
  • Being pretty doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t always work.
  • Drink with friends. Don’t take drinks from strangers.
  • Good sportsmanship is always admired. Bad sportsmanship is always recorded.
  • We don’t have to like you to respect you.
  • Always know where the lines in the sand and sticks are.

Activity: Take a moment and introduce yourself to a person in the room near you that you don’t know yet. From here forward, start to become more aware of who you allow into your life and what power they bring. 

Process: Just because you take a different road does not mean you’re lost.

  • Art is an adventure of the mind.
  • The creative process can be the best part of the artistic journey. Do you really understand yours?
  • What do you do that gives you back motivation or makes you start to think of creative ideas? Are you making that a part of your process?
  • It’s in the details sometimes: What do you eat? What do you wear? Where do you go? What are you listening to? Who’s in the room with you?

But really, here is the process:

  1. I have an idea!
  2. Record it now. (ex: write it down, draw it out)
  3. Plan how to get there.
  4. Start. Start again. That’s okay, start again. You got this.
  5. Follow through.
  6. Accept it.

Make space for art in your life.

From small to big, you can always make space for art in your life. In this lesson, I’ll talk about realistic and affordable ways to make some space for art supplies and to work.

X Small on the go: pencil bag and drawing pad | working space is a drawing board

Small: toolbox and storage portfolio

Medium: desktop easel and storage unit

Large: use the walls to work and store your equipment | invest in a nice easel

Art supplies to get the party started!

  1. Portfolio | portfolio, approximately 30″ x 24.” large enough for your biggest pad of paper
  2. Paper | bound sketchbooks. 8.5″ x 11.” 50-100 page; large drawing newsprint pads. 18″ x 24″; XL Mix media pads;  tracing paper pad
  3. Drawing Media | One each Graphite pencils: B, 2B, 4B, and 8B; boxes of vine charcoal; white charcoal pencil; Sanford Ebony graphite pencils Soft 14420
  4. Other Drawing Supplies | kneaded erasers; Magic rub erasers; straight-edge; Clip/clamp light: (available at hardware stores); plastic Oval palette; roll of 1″ masking tape (not blue tape!); ruler; pencil sharpener; Xacto knife; standard T-Square 24″; dry cleaning pad


Dick Blick |

Sam Flax |

Look trouble in the face.

Howdy All! Today’s creative minds tips are really 3 things:

1. Look Trouble in the Face

2. You’re not in control of everything

3. Go take a break

Design on,

L. Rush

Morse Museum

Located in the charming town of Winter Park, Florida is The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. This is an impressive collection of famous American craftsmen, but the main focus is the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933).  As you walk through the collections, you really get a snapshot of American design history and the labor of love. This is a must see for fans of the American Arts & Crafts movement or of the Art Nouveau movement.

The show stopper is for sure the Tiffany Chapel. It was originally designed in 1893 and exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Morse Museum reassembled it in 1999. When you get there, take a moment to sit down and just take this whole space in. The detail and craftsmanship is to be respected.

My personal favorite find the whole museum is the invites that Louis Tiffany would make. I found them to be so personal and made with love, that I think all my future invites should be made by hand.

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To plan you visit, go to for more information.

~ Live in Design History ~

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Designer to Designer:
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, yet my clients are FREAKED OUT when I use it.  I’ve been asked so many times this week on why did I write it in another language . . .🙂. Folks are so cute.

My lovely colleague just shared with me a great, funny resource to use in place of that. Check it out.

Then one of my alumni students sent me this one,