a girl who creates
Sunday, August 30, 2009
farm shots

We headed to the farm Saturday and spent the day. Amy turned me on the polaroid app for the iphone so I went around and took some pictures.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009
just another tool of the trade

I've had an iPhone for the last couple of years and this summer upgraded to the 3GS. Yes it is quicker and you can do more with it and these are reasons I why I think every illustrator/designer needs an iPhone:

Email: The number one reason I got it and the feature I use most. Since I want to keep my flexible career, being reachable is key.

PDFs: This was the reason I switch from using a palm phone to and iPhone. iPhones can read PDF files and since a lot of my jobs specs come in as PDFs I really needed this feature. When I had my Palm phone, I would have to wait until I got back in the studio to respond to an email about a job, or while on vacation, I would have to call someone to log into my webmail and tell me what the PDF said. When you work in children's publishing, deadlines are tight so people usually want a answer that day.

Social Media: I stay connected through twitter and facebook through my phone while I'm out of the studio.

Mobile Portfolio: I have a collection of work pieces within my "photos" area that can be easily scrolled though if I need to show someone my work.

Apps: There is seriously a app for anything. The app store is chocked full of great apps and many of them are free.

The only downside I've found is that they are not able to view websites in flash, but I can live without that.

And personal reasons you should have an iPhone - especially if you have kids:

Video & Audio: You can record on the fly and have a record of cute voices forever:

Movies: It also comes in handy for watching movies during those long restaurant & doctor waits (I currently have Nemo, Cinderella, Dora, and various tv shows on it for just those occasions)!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
HOW now brown cow?

Thanks to Jeff Fisher, I'm quoted in the October Issue of HOW magazine which happens to be the Self-Promotion design Annual. If you are any kind of artist selling your work, this particular issue should be on your shopping list every year. This is a really great article about social networking for creatives and Jeff does a great job of it with his business. I met Jeff on the HOW forum around 8 years ago and he has always been so helpful to those newbies and veterans in the design field. Be sure to follow him on twitter and become a fan on facebook.

I thought I'd share my full interview so you could see how I use social networking:

1. Prior to your involvement in sites defined as "social networking" what
constituted the online presence/involvement of your business? Website? Forum
participation? Online portfolios? Blog?

I've always had an online portfolio and website, but when I first started out, I participated on a lot of forums. I read more than I commented or posted and then moved onto blogging that opened me up to other illustrators who were more on my level (career-wise) and I could connect to them better.

2. When and where did your business first venture into social networking?
LinkedIn? Facebook? MySpace? Twitter? Other?

I've been on LinkedIn for a good while now and have been able to find some good contacts that way. I've also found it to be a great place to update my mailing list. With everything going on in the economy, I've found that a lot of publishers have laid off their creatives so I've been able to see who all is where now.

I've never been on MySpace - it's always seemed so "high school" to me and most of the people I've seen on there have beer parties every weekend!

I joined Twitter in February of this year. It became an instant addiction, but in a good way. I've been able to network with a lot of other artists and it makes it feel like I'm working in the studios with other colleagues. I know a lot of people on twitter just like to have large following numbers and will follow anyone just so those will follow back - I follow people who I'm truly interested whether it be their art, a service or their personality. I don't have time to weed through people I'm not interested in.

I joined facebook a month or so after twitter. I've been resistant to joining facebook because I didn't want to mix business with personal. I didn't want to hook up with old friends (there's a reason they are "old" friends!) and didn't necessarily want to mix my personal conversations with business. I've been able to keep it pretty professional by automatically posting my tweet to my facebook status*.

*Note: since this interview, personal was bleeding over to professional a little more than I liked, so I've started a fan page that is business related. To get all my business "friends" to meet me over there, I posted this status:

"Attn: FB art/design friends: I'm switching business things over to a fan page to separate personal from biz here on FB. Please, don't take it personal if I unfriend you, I just need to redirect your friendship over there -... we can still talk:) To get my updates "fan" me over here: http://www.facebook.com/HOLLiCONGERstudios and "follow" me on twitter. Thanks for understanding guys!!"

Almost everyone has fanned me over there now.

3.What business benefit did you initially see with your initial social
networking experience?

In a way it makes me more accountable. I usually let people know what I'm working on or what I have coming up and since I've publicly mentioned it, I feel like I really need to follow through on it. It also make me feel like I'm working with others in the studio.

4. What social networking sites or tools are you currently utilizing to
market and promote your business efforts?


5. How do you specifically make use of these resources as a self-promotion

I mention what I'm working on and link to what I've been working on (usually housed on my blog agirlwhocreates.com). I've mentioned my online shop some (typographyphotography.com) to generate business - but overall I use it for networking.

6. Which social networking resources is currently the most effective in
bringing business to your firm?

I haven't been on twitter long enough to see how it's bringing business my way. LinkedIn lead to a pretty lucrative design/illustration contract that feeds me work monthly. I found the company through another contact and noticed in their profile that they were hiring in-house positions. I emailed them to see if they would be interested in working with me on a freelance basis. They said yes and they have been one of the best clients I've ever had!

7. Have you recently moved away from using certain social networking sites
that you used more in the past?

I don't participate or read many forums anymore. I started finding them less and less helpful to me professionally and there tended to be a lot of nay-sayers and know-it-alls that I just didn't like to be mixed with.

8. What social networking resources do you see your firm making greater use
of in the future?

I love twitter and see myself using that more and more. I like the real-time aspect of it.

9. How do you balance the expression your company brand and your own
personality in your social networking efforts?

I think it's important to show your personality, but I've chosen to have a more professional appearance on the internet as a whole. Everything is searchable and what you say could come back to haunt you! I mention my family, etc. every now and then and talk about by daughter a good bit (she's my studio assistant and I will miss her terribly when she starts kindergarten in the fall!) but don't discuss my beliefs or political views. I have gotten a little more personal on twitter & facebook only because it's more real-time and I tweet on this-and-that that's happening right then.

10: What one piece of advice would you give other creatives as they consider
the possible use of social networking opportunities for marketing and
promotion of their business?

If you're using twitter for your business, keep things professional. Make sure you don't say anything you wouldn't want your client or potential clients to read. Personalize your twitter background. I'm surprised how many creatives I follow that use one of twitters unattractive backgrounds. Take the time to add your style to it. Make sure you link to your portfolio or blog in your profile. I have several artist who follow me and I don't follow them back because they haven't included a link in their profile. i want to know who they are and see their work. Also, take your client list and promo mailing list and see who all is on LinkedIn and Twitter. Maximize your marketing efforts that way, plus it's free!


Friday, August 14, 2009
today's THE day!

Today's the day!! When I got up this morning I saw that my husband had tweeted some of the lyrics to Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes." Which was so not cool - trying to make me cry. If you haven't heard it you can here. Prepare for boo-hooing! I kept it together though. She was raring to go this morning and couldn't wait to leave wearing her cute little uniform.

I made her note and packed her lunch (today's ice cream day!):

And off we went to school. Once we turned down the Kindergarten hall, she started getting apprehensive. When we left she started crying and had to leave her that way but we've already heard that the tears dried up when we left. I didn't cry a bit! She's been too excited for me to be sad.

And here's a shot that every parent can get on the new day of school:

Bright white new shoes! Today is the last day they will ever be clean :( To celebrate tonight, we're going to the Rainforest Cafe (her choice)! Thanks for all the well wishes via comments, facebook & twitter. I appreciate it!!

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Thursday, August 13, 2009
1 day to go!

One last piece of art to wrap up the countdown. This has been in my sketchbook for a while and thought it was a perfect piece for this little series.

Tomorrow is THE day!!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
2 days to go!

The Woog's allergies finally caught up with her today so she's been resting all afternoon so I decided to do a quick piece on my own.

Tomorrow: Art for 1 day to go!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009
3 days to go!

Knowing my work, you should have expected an alphabet so that's what we did today. The Woog wrote her alphabet and I used her letters in this design.

Tomorrow: Art for 2 days to go!

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Monday, August 10, 2009
4 days to go!

Picked some veggies in our garden today and decided to make a school picture of them all. I let the Woog draw her's first and decided who would be in her class. Then I did mine real quick (but didn't name them like she did).

Tomorrow: Art for 3 days to go!

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5 days to go!

Didn't get a chance to post things yesterday but we did finger print art. This is apparently what we will all look like on the first day of school (art directed completely by the Woog).

Tomorrow: Art for 4 days to go!

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Saturday, August 08, 2009
6 days to go!

Decided to do some art on the chalkboard today. I drew the bus and she added "her friends" in the windows and colored the bus some.

While I was getting this post together, I heard her in the kitchen yell "Daddy, come look at my bus, it's better than Mommy's!" So you be the judge (I think it is better).

Tomorrow: Art for 5 days to go!

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Friday, August 07, 2009
7 days to go!

Today we visited my MIL and she gave the Woog a bag a school supplies so the entire way home she drew pictures. When I opened the car door, about 30 separate pictures she had drawn in a 1 hour period fell out. She cracked herself up while drawing them all. Most were portraits and the one she did of her daddy as a duck chicken was hilarious. It's isn't school themed but made with brand new school supplies so I guess that counts. You can see her cut drawing here.

Since we were out and about most of the day so I had to squeeze in this little collage while sitting with my grandmother a bit with nothing more than a pen, glue stick and Walgreen's school supply ad.

No bad for a quick 10 minute collage! I'm hoping tomorrow we have more time to make a bigger project together. She's had something in mind all along to make!!

Tomorrow: Art for 6 days to go!

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Thursday, August 06, 2009
8 days to go!

I've been making lunch box notes for every school day since she was three. She went to Mother's Day out twice a week, but now that she'll be going five days a week, I've got to carve out some time to make one for everyday. I usually make the notes the morning before school, but I don't think there will be time so I'll have to make them in advance. I started photographing the notes but they piled up quickly and haven't been able to shoot them individually yet (my plan is to compile a book of all the pictures, while the actually notes will stay in her keep sake box). You can see some notes here, but here are some of the notes from last year (click on the image to read the notes):

Today we collaborated on a little project. Much to the Woog's delight, they will have ice cream in the cafeteria. So, I decided that she can get ice cream every Friday. I wanted to include a little ice cream cone in her lunch box on Fridays so she would know when she could get it. No note, no ice cream. So she picked out the colors and did some stamping on the ice cream while I put everything together and added more color. I then laminated it so I can reuse it for the entire year:

Tomorrow: Art for 7 days to go!

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009
9 days to go!

Well, we're finally here. Nine days away from the first day of Kindergarten so to celebrate (and help us both get prepared & excited) we're doing school themed art everyday until THE day! We haven't nailed down exactly what we'll do, but some days we'll be on our own and others will work on a piece together.

This transition wouldn't be as easy if it wasn't for:

  • If my aunt teaching Kindergarten across the hall from the Woog's class

  • Knowing that this school is the best school for her and in line with our family teaching & values

  • Her being so excited to start school and looking forward to it for more than a year.

  • Looking so darn cute in her school uniform.

  • Me being excited and geared up with so many ideas & prospects to grow my business even more under a more steady (& quiet!) schedule

My contribution for today's art was to make the series header and little countdown tag above.

You can check out her art celebrating 9 days to go here!

Tomorrow: Art for 8 days to go!

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