New Classes being released starting January 2017

Excited to announce I'm stepping my tutorials up a notch (okay...many notches)!

 
 

Starting beginning of January, I'm going to be releasing (fingers crossed) one NEW class a month  around the topic of surface pattern design and illustration and how knowing your computer and programs is how you accelerate your business' efficiency.

I'll be talking about some of the things my tutorials teach you, but I'll be going into way more depth and covering all the bases of that topic, rather than a quick(ish) video. I've been messing around on iMovie & Premiere Pro (okay, let's be honest, mostly iMovie, 'cause I can't even with that other one), and I'm hoping to give you guys well cut and edited video with a bit of fun music, too.

What you'll be getting:

• 20-25 minute video on a specific topic.
• PDF worksheet with areas to fill in your own notes.
• If applicable, one real-live sample of the thing I'm helping you do.  For example: Custom-made Action, Brushes, or Templates.

The first class in January is going to be a reboot and complete redo about learning to automate your workflow using Actions and Droplets in Photoshop.  Very few people seem to take advantage of both of these things and it's my mission for everyone to be automating every fibbity flam thing they can. It's one of those things that makes you realize how incredibly sluggish everything moved before you discovered them.  You'll love this one.

Above all, I want the mini classes to be fun and engaging while being affordable.  I'm kind of tired of dry and informational stuff.  Yes, sometimes, you just want to see how to do something, but other times, you need to understand it.  Understanding is where I come in.  And I'm all about allegories, you guys.  And you're gonna get em.

Be the first to know when a new class comes out!

Select "Fellow Artist" PLUS you'll also get some free brushes & printables.

You can also follow me on Gumroad to keep up to date.

Using my Powers for Good (mini + full classes)

Find your Creativity + JUST START sketch Recently a client of mine said, "You know, you're a really great teacher. You don't just show me how, you let me discover on my own while coaching me."

After she said that, some pieces started coming together in my head. I enjoy helping people learn.

The things that I learned on my own aren't just for me; I have lots of little nuggets (and bigger ones too!) to share and I should be glad to share them.

Over the past few weeks, I've been debating what I should do with this information. At first, it was to get rid of my blog and post tutorials on a dedicated web page. ...But I do like sharing some tidbits that are too long for social media on the blog instead.

But then, there was this idea:

I want to revamp my current tutorials into videos with PDF worksheets + assignments and make them into mini-classes instead...AND I want to give these away for free only to subscribers of my design letters. They will only be available once, with a link within an email, so they won't be able to be accessed if you subscribe later. There will be quite valuable with a lot more information + content, so I will be offering them at a low price for non/late-subscribers as well.

I also want to develop full-sized classes for those who want to start from scratch and learn from a series of videos. These classes will use my own experience of surface design and illustration to coach you through creating designs that art directors go for. For these, there will be a discount exclusively for design letter subscribers, too.

My ideas will be fleshed out later, but I really want to encourage you to sign up because you'll be getting tons of free content besides the classes and they will aid you in your quest to become a better designer in the ways that count.

If anyone has any feedback, I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Any ideas for things you'd like to learn about the surface design world that you can't find and are curious about?

Getting Real: My Art Story

Since the end of the December, I've been hard-core into taking classes all about making art and how to sell it and what markets will work for me.  I won't link anything here, because that's not the focus of this post because this is *my* art story.

These classes will and ARE amazing for me and I'm INCREDIBLY excited to see what it brings to the table.  I feel I'm on the way to doing what's been in the back of my mind for a long time.

I suppose this is brought on by the thought that I'll be twenty-nine this summer and just got me thinking about how late I'm starting this and how late to the "game" I feel.

*back-in-time fade out here*

Enter: Nineteen year old Megan: Young student in college, eyes bright, studying photography.  My DREAM was to be a wedding photographer; in fact, I had at least 7 or 8 wedding clients under my belt between the ages of 16 and 19 (I know, right? Young!)  I thought it was awesome, doing that for myself, and loved setting up the shots and doing the editing afterward.  I loved it until...I didn't.

Until my young brain realized, "oh crap, I could actually screw this whole thing up if I miss/don't get a good picture of (insert shot here)!"  And that terrified me that I would be able to screw up so horribly the first go-around with no do-overs.

After that, I stopped doing professional photography (professional, meaning paid) and just shot for myself.  ...And when I say "stopped" I mean changed paths.  First, I went back to my old love, web development and design.  I had been designing websites for myself for fun since I had been fourteen years old and loved that, so I thought I'd get back into it while going to school.

But...

I had a connection (read: "network") from a classmate who knew of a graphic design position that would forever change my artistic ventures.  It was actually the same person I shot weddings with occasionally that introduced me to the job: textile manufacturing.

I went in for an interview, and got the job. It was full time, mind you...and I was still in college at this time.  Regrettably, I quit going to school 2 years prior to graduating, but I was inadvertently setting the bright path for the future.

...And then I belonged the the beloved OC to LA morning commute.  YAY *insert roaring applause here*

Since then, I've moved on from that previous company, but now I work for a different fabric converter, who is AMAZING and I can't say enough great things about the people there, the things I've learned and the relationships that have been cultivated through working in the textile industry...but I'd still love to keep creating and make a small business for myself.

This is the purpose of these classes: to better my art and create the things I want to make. I've spent almost 9 years working on so many amazing artist's artwork,

I just needed to remind myself that I'm an artist too and I can't forget that.

Review of Make Art that Sells part A (MATS)

Just going to go ahead and say it: Lilla Rogers, with her Make Art that Sells classes, is a freakin genius.

There! I’ve said it. These past 5 weeks have been so freaking amazing for me. I’ve explored more about my own creativity than I have ever learned in college or any other time in my life and I am downright HAPPY about life. These classes have shown me community, structure, and enthusiasm about my craft.  This is my review of the course.

Pepper Pop Collection by Megan NIcole Designs

I don’t think there would be such MASSIVE opportunity to meet other people had it not been for these classes. It’s like this world comes alive with people you had no idea existed and everything is just…sparkly with goodness!

I’ve also made a few friends along the way and I hope to meet some of them in the future. I need these people in my life -- creatives who make beautiful things. I believe that a creative person always needs people in his/her life that complement his or her own life goals.

Lilla has structured these classes in a great way, too. First, there’s a mini assignment to get your creative juices a-flowin to prepare you for the main assignment two days later. The goal is to turn in a beautiful and fun piece at the end of the week. This is great for me, especially, because I’m really great at deadlines. Like seriously. It’s at 6pm, you say? Oh, I’ll be there at 5:30 with 7-layer dip!

It’s also been great learning how to show enthusiasm with my art. Before, this class I was very secretive and “in-the-shadows” about my stuff. It was embarrassing to say definitively, “I’m an artist” because I feel it’s a rather looked-down-upon vocation. Neither Scientist nor doctor am I, but I’ll make the most badass wall art for your office and you’ll love it gosh-darn-it!

This enthusiasm word has been a great discovery for me, partly due to Tara Swiger’s podcast Explore your Enthusiasm I talked about last week. I’m learning to not just be content or happy with something. I’m learning to be enthusiastic! Let yourself look forward to the future and be excited for it. Share you love with all the peeps!

I’d recommend Make Art that Sells for anyone with a passion for their art who actually wants to make money doing it. “Eesh, let’s not talk about money,” you say. Well…I won’t today, but know you CAN make money and a living off of doing what you love if you put your mind to it.

I’m looking forward to the future of my own business (I just got my business permit and seller’s license! YAY!) and I hope you’ll tag along and see where this craziness takes me!

Podcasts for Boss Lady (Women) Entrepreneurs

 
Podcasts for Women Entrepreneurs
Podcasts for Women Entrepreneurs

Feeling alone sucks when you’re trying to build a fledgling business as woman entrepreneur. Especially when there’s not many to talk to besides your captive audiences like husband, boyfriend, or Scruffy the dog.

To do this, I’ve turned to podcasts that help me be a better entrepreneur, boss lady, and lady who gets it done. All the podcasts below are hosted by women and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from these super-boss-ladies who made it happen. They all have a similar message:

Do the work. Stop researching, stop thinking, stop making resolutions and just DO IT.


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Explore your enthusiasm

She writes her episodes beforehand which makes them short and sweet with TONS of amazing information and tips. I love how each one has a purpose without getting too much off-track.  Plus sometimes her dogs make an appearance =)

with Tara Swiger
Podcast + Website

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Elise Gets Crafty

Elise is just great.  I related to her the most out of most of the people -- she's made herself business savvy just by having a successful crafty business. I love that she shares her "secrets" in an approachable way.  And her newest launch of GET TO WORK BOOK is my most favorite planner (not affiliated, I just love it so much!)

with Elise Joy Cripe
Podcast + Website

legal road map podcast autumn witt boyd

Legal Road Map Podcast

Legal advice for creative entrepreneurs.  Autumn is a lawyer specifically helping creatives to protect themselves and their businesses. She is super knowledgeable, friendly and down-to-earth! 

with Autumn Witt Boyd
Podcast + Website

being boss podcast a podcast for creative entrepreneurs

being boss

I'd recommend starting at the beginning of the podcast because they give A LOT of great information for when you're just starting out.  Their later episodes are great for once you're *in* your business.

with Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon
Podcast + Emily’s Website + Kathleen’s Website

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Raise Your Hand. Say Yes.

Oh man, Tiffany's podcast is two parts hilarious and two parts inspiring.  Not only do you get biz advice, she interviews real-life people with different backgrounds that can indirectly help your business flourish if you use some of their methods.

with Tiffany Han
Podcast + Website

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The Lively Show

A little bit different on the business spectrum, she's more of an inspirational speaker for women who have businesses.  She's very open and forthcoming about her own life, too (especially now that she's traveling alone through Europe!)

with Jess Lively
Podcast + Website


See more podcasts I listen to while I do creative work!

These are more "fun" and story-centric.  They are for entertainment and laughter!


I'm an illustrator and pattern designer.  I specialize in using watercolor and digital design for creating floral illustrations, maps, and novelty patterns.

These inspiring women make me feel like I can make my own illustration & pattern business successful. I've learned to diversify my income using different avenues like: Selling in a shop, licensing my designs, selling outright, commissions, and teaching.

 

Lilla Roger's Bootcamp: Manifesto Peice

Happiness Manifesto My manifesto piece for Lilla Roger's Make Art that Sells Bootcamp is done!

Man·i·fes·to /ˌmanəˈfestō/ Synonyms:policy, statement, mission statement, platform, program, declaration, proclamation, pronouncement, announcement

I enjoyed making this Manifesto piece so much more than I had anticipated!  At first, I didn't have much of a direction to go in, except that I knew the palette I wanted.  Something fresh, bold, and cool; the coral-toned hot pink turned out to be my fave...and I'm not even a pink girl (but maybe I am... gasp!).

I kept thinking how happy this art class (and others!) are making me and I just had to express that somehow with bold words and pretty motifs!

Design Surface Patterns From Scratch with Bonnie Christine

There I was, sketch pad in front of me, pens laid out and an extra FIVE WHOLE days of vacation from work! ...with NO inspiration whatsoever. Motivation was low and I thought I had no where to start designing and I didn't want to feel left behind when I would start my next set of classes in the following weeks -- you can read about that in my posts about Lilla Rogers Bootcamp and Make it in Design! Inspiration had to be somewhere!

As luck would have it, I had just begun following Bonnie over at Going Home to Roost (fantastic blogger and designer!) for about a month, and when I discovered her class Design Surface Patterns from Scratch on CreativeLive. I just had had HAD to take it since I just love her!

About the class

Just trust me...you'll love it! No matter where your skill-level is in Illustrator is, you will get something out of this class. You'll not only learn the basics and some advanced methods in the program; it's learning how to connect with people (networking, going to shows/markets), legal stuff (trademarks and business owner info), and you get some cool goodies, as well!

I'd really encourage you to take the class if you're interested in become a surface pattern designer. I had never considered myself an artist, so I wasn't too confident in making anything amazing myself. BUT, Bonnie showed how she works from her basic sketches and turns it into something amazing after she's done. I found I learned the most in how she gets inspired daily, and how she goes about making her designs: Doodling! This idea was revolutionary to me. Doodling to make beautiful art never occurred to me.

My take

After she assigned the homework, I got down to business.

With no idea how much fun designing a collection myself would be, I dove right in with taking photos in the garden we made early Spring 2014. I'm very attached to the garden since it's the first I've planted. Brian and I even built the mortared the wall that goes around it!

Garden wall grass dirt

Then, sketch, sketch, sketch! I filled several pages full of motifs and designs and condensed some here for you to see.

I chose my colors from a muted variation palette that was in my garden at the time. I just love the soft feel. Saturated my blues a little bit more and made a collection using less than 10 colors.

This collection is named Garden Slice and it represents this new, art-filled chapter in my life and to saying "here, here!" to this coming year!

Garden Slice Collection by Megan Nicole Designs

 

Bootcamp and ABSPD is starting!

I am SO excited to start the Bootcamp class from Lilla Roger's Studio and Make it in Design Module 2! The bootcamp starts this coming Monday, the 6th, and MiiD starts the following week.

Art and Business of Surface Pattern DesignLilla Rogers Make Art that Sells Bootcamp

I'm taking these to get me the kick in the butt I need to start designing on my own. I have such a hard time with the commute to work to make things, but having a structured class will be what gets me in gear.

I can't share anything specific about the classes, but I'll be posting my progress and showcasing my artwork here every few weeks once we're done with an assignment.

This past week, I've also been taking the online class from Bonnie Christine at Going Home to Roost's class, "Design Surface Patterns from Scratch" over on CreativeLive. Coming up with some cool sketches and things. Although I'm not new to Illustrator, nor making repeats, her industry tips and advice are the most helpful to me, personally. Here's some sketches rough sketches I've done in response to her "homework challenge".

More fun things to follow, too, like freebies (such as Illustrator brushes and free simple patterns), how-tos (if you have any suggestions, let me know!), and I'll be posting lots of lists and maybe some reviews of products I like.

How are you participating in any creative classes? Do you have any recommendations or a link to your review of one?