#illustrationcrush: Iris Gottlieb

I found Iris Gottlieb on Instagram & haven't stopped liking her work since.

She's honest, thoughtful and introspective. Which is SO clear from her work. In addition to her thoughtful illustrations, Iris does some seriously incredible scientific drawings. [AND a book!]

The Best $3.99 I Have Ever Spent on My Business

My phone interrupts my day. I spend way far much time tapping around, scrolling through Instagram and Googling all the things. [Recent searches include: Rochelle Udell, Pie Clip Art and 5 minute guided meditation] My iPhone went from distraction to tool with one download: The Scanner Pro App.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 2.08.49 PM.png

The Scanner Pro App is the best $3.99 I’ve ever spent on my business.

[I realize this sounds hyperbolic, but I assure you, it is not.]

I illustrate all my work by hand. Every little heart, bumblebee and that tulip wearing a scarf: each one of them has been scribbled with a Papermate Flair pen on some scrap of paper. While some of my clients want that original 8.5 x 11 inch sheet, most of them need a those illustrations to be reorganized in a cohesive, thoughtful way. In this case, a Spring Break activity page starts as a jumble of illustrated bits.
To get from idea to finished printout- I use Scanner Pro. 

Here’s how Scanner Pro has changed my business:

View from the table at the Rock Creek Cabin (also know as my mobile office that day)

View from the table at the Rock Creek Cabin (also know as my mobile office that day)

Scanner Pro allows my job to be mobile.

Let’s just say I’m in Rock Creek, Montana staying in a cabin that Teddy Roosevelt once slept in. My husband is obviously out fly fishing and I’m on a deadline for a kids’ menu for one of my favorite Des Moines restaurants, Django. Scanner Pro is the tool I used to get my French inspired illos from paper to print. I quickly snapped a scan of the images and was able to take that .pdf into my Adobe Suite without a hitch. No clunky scanner needed, no fancy settings to fuss with. 

Scanner Pro makes me a better book keeper.

How many times have you been in line at the bank drive thru and realized you didn’t scan those two checks? Need to sign a contract and send it back on the fly? Scanner Pro does both for me. I can connect my account to my Google Drive- one of my favorite features- so I keep a file ready in the app to scan all my business documents that I know I should keep each month. (Perhaps I might have forgotten about them in the past.)

Scanner Pro is easy. So easy.

I’m not exactly a tech genius. [Confession: I use Photoshop for many projects that should probably be executed in Illustrator. And, when the internet is on the fritz, I just assume unplugging/replugging it will help.] Scanner Pro works just like a camera. Point, tap that little button, edit as needed. Just like you see in those three photos above. With multiple settings available, I can scan photos, or what I use most regularly, get a black and white .pdf of every drawing I’m producing that day.

Get Over to the App Store and grab Scanner Pro for yourself.
I’d like to think you’ll find it as useful as I do. 

(And nope, Readdle  didn’t pay me to say this, but I wouldn’t mind connecting with you. If you’re reading this, we really should talk.)

What app has changed the way you do business?


Show Your Work: BHG Valentines

You know the best way to get more people to know that (1) You are an artist and (2) You get hired to make cool stuff?

Show. Your. Work. 

In this new XO-LP series (special for the month of March) I'll show you, start to finish, how some of my favorite projects came together. 

Better Homes and Gardens Valentines

We are lucky here in my city of Des Moines to be home to the great Meredith Publishing. All kinds of creative minds converge here to make mags like Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living and Eating Well. It's pretty amazing to have friends in this town who put their ideas in print (and then in mailboxes all over the country). 

For this particular project, BHG.com wanted printable, color-your-own Valentines for their loyal readers to download, for free, from their site for the upcoming holiday. One of their specific requests: a paper airplane for the one who is so so fly. 

So I started the same way I always do: A Papermate Flair Pen, some fresh white paper and my ScannerPro app. I work by hand, almost always, with pen and paper. I scribble all kinds of doodles on the same page, filling the corners "stream-of-consciousness" style. I draw whatever I think of... sometimes that's hearts and text that all work together within a theme, other times it's palm trees, shooting stars, celery and bottles of wine with arms and legs. 

I scan in all the illustrated pages, no matter what. I have big .pdf files of unused illustrations just waiting to come to life in some project. With Scanner Pro I can keep it all, and I do. All the celery, shooting stars, and bottles of wine with arms and legs. [If you have a project that calls for pretzels with hats- I have that too. We should talk.]

From that little corner of heart + arrow pattern, I put together an 8.5 x 11 inch print to use as decorative elements for the edges of the airplane instructions, the coloring pattern for the plane itself and another border for the Valentine Word Search! [My dirty little secret: I use Photoshop. I know, I should be better at Illustrator by now, but I'm still learning. Skillshare is helping.]

Photo cred to BHG.com

Photo cred to BHG.com

Putting it all together, with a few illustrated folding instructions, was the final step. From there, my friends at BHG.com set up this great shot of just how much fun this plane project can be. 

You can still download your free XO-LP + BHG love notes from their website. [A heart covered airplane is cool everyday, not just on February 14th.] Look for more start to finish projects in March, including a wedding, a bunch of personal stationery and a few freebies for you. 


Two Years Later: The Wedding March

Wedding photos by the super talented Justin Salem Meyer

Wedding photos by the super talented Justin Salem Meyer

I'm a wife.

Back on March 7th of 2015 I married that tall, patient man I'm lucky enough to have as a roommate. On that day we promised to keep each other grounded, and to let each other dream big. And you guys, it's not always the easiest promise to keep, but we practice it, daily. 

In retrospect everything seems simpler. I probably wouldn't have stressed about custom napkins or my non-traditional wedding get up or the weather. I would have let those weeks leading up to the wedding be filled with yoga and meditation and healthy eating. But alas, I'm not that relaxed of a human, ever. But I have no regrets about our big party. It was the very best day. 

What advice do I have for brides prepping for their big day? I'm so glad you asked, people of the interwebs, because I have a few tips.

  1. Decide what three things will make your night.
    When the wedding planning starts it is SO easy to get overwhelmed with options. Paper goods, dresses, and the dreaded Pinterest: there are all the things. For us we narrowed it down to three things that were must-haves at the wedding for each of us. We picked one we agreed on (for us that was a dance party with our favorite local DJ) and went from there. After we narrowed down what was important it was easier to budget, and to make the choice to nix a few extras that just didn't matter to us. 
  2. Comfortable shoes are 100% the way to go.
    I went for some fancy blue Ted Baker beauties, but should have stuck to wearing my favorite gold loafers (that just so happen to be from Old Navy). You will be standing, a lot. And why not keep your toes from swelling. Because your feet should be as happy as your heart on the wedding day. 
  3. Get personal.
    My favorite parts of our wedding were the most personal: matchbooks I hand drew, fishing fly boutonnieres, desserts made with love by our friends, wedding photos of our guests hanging from the walls. And you know what, those are the things our guests remember the most too. The little bits of Kevin and Laura we sprinkled in were the most beautiful parts of the day [that and the Moscow Mules we served on your way into the ceremony.]
  4. Write your thank you notes RIGHT AWAY [Seriously]
    We failed on this. Big time. Instead of writing thank you notes, we took off and hit 33 states in our first year of marriage. Write your thank you notes as soon as possible - because thank yous are important and it's more fun to write them while riding your wedding high. [Shameless plug: if you need wedding thank you notes- I can help with that!]
  5. Keep saying thank you.
    A wedding is one day, a marriage is a lifetime. And while planning the wedding took work, so does being married. Yes we wrote thank you notes (very late), but our friends and family continue to support us as people and as a married couple, in so many ways. Keep saying thank you for that support. It matters. 

Happy Anniversary, Kevin. 

And in keeping with #5: to all of our friends and family who support us with high fives & dinners together & just being out there, loving us, we can't say thank you enough. You are the very best.