motivational monday: dreams and deadlines

-Napoleon Hill

I find this quote so true. This is a print I made for my This Creative Life line in 2010. Whenever someone would read this aloud they would pause for a moment, and you could tell their goals were racing through their mind. I like being a small part in their realization.

Sometimes goals can be daunting, and feel unattainable. Sometimes we pile on too many goals and then have trouble knowing where to start. Whenever I get overwhelmed from filling up my plate I take a moment to breath, and prioritize all those goals. I’ve been chatting with a fellow handmade artist the last two days helping her through the stress of holiday season as best I can. When holiday season comes around we want to put our best work out there, because it’s the time of year that the most eyes will be on us. Sometimes we want to create all the things and we end up short circuiting ourselves. I did my best to break myself of that cycle this year, by doing as much work as possible this past summer. I still didn’t reach goals I had for DesignerCon, but you know what, neither did Paul Frank, and he’s been doing this a lot longer than I have. That was a nice reality check.

Dreams, goals, and deadlines are all great, as long as we don’t let not reaching them tear us apart. No one is perfect, or has it all figured out, no matter what their blog or social media feeds are leading you to believe. Paul Frank shared some secrets with me at DesignerCon, and those secrets reminded me that even if Robo Roku ever got to be as big a name as Paul Frank, I still wouldn’t have it all figured out. We are all always growing and evolving. This Motivational Monday post is to remind you your life is not a race. Make goals, have dreams, reach for the stars, but don’t stress out if things don’t happen as quickly as you want them to, or as quickly as someone else. We all move in our own time. Just don’t give up.

motivational monday: you can’t be stopped


I took this pic a few weeks ago when Roxy came in town for work. We were able to sneak in some fun time, which for us equals Veggie Heaven, Momoko, and photography adventures. I couldn’t find my camera after our adventures, so I haven’t posted any pics yet. Turns out I put my camera in my glove compartment in my car. OOPS! Getting a pic of this graffiti was important to me. It’s a great message. We all have set backs from time to time, but as long as you don’t give up, YOU CAN’T BE STOPPED.

I know it’s hard to remember that when things are not going your way. When things don’t go the way I planned I do my best to remind myself life is not perfect, though it’s hard to see, there is a silver lining in that gloomy cloud, there’s a lesson to take away from our losses and set backs, and there are plenty things I should be grateful in my life. Sometimes we take things for granted, and compare ourselves to other people that we think have it better than us, that’s where we get in our own way. If you have a problem you can’t solve, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, if you’re too shy, please don’t be afraid to ask me for advice. I am one of those annoying people that likes to cheer people on and help with any problems…. but I’m also very honest. With laser focus, humility, appreciation, and kindness to others, you will reach your goal. I don’t know anyone that’s doing all those things and not succeeding. I hope this “motivational monday” will remind you to stay the course and help others along the way. We’re all in this together.

motivational monday: keep your eyes open

Grace Coddington
I love Grace Coddington, if you haven’t seen The September Issue, I HIGHLY recommend it. Whether you’re a fan of Vogue magazine or Anna Wintour or not, it’s inspiring to see the work that goes into producing a top fashion magazine.

Here’s an article with Grace Coddington, the Creative Director for American Vogue.
I find her so amazing.

Trailer for The September Issue…


motivational monday: be you

As I mentioned before I’ve been taking an online course called Make Art That Sells by art licensing agent/agency owner, Lilla Rogers. The class has around 500 students, and our FB group is pretty lively. There are some phenomenal artists that make you swoon over their work, but unfortunately time and time again fabulous artists have posted in our group feeling “humbled and intimidated” by other classmate’s work. I have been wanting to post my response to these feelings in the group, but have been a little too shy to do so. Now that we are on our last week, I feel I have to get this out. I don’t share these “humbled and intimidated” feelings, never have, never will. It’s not because I think I am so great, there are hundreds of artists in the class more skilled than I am. It’s because I know…

No Matter Where You Are In Your Career
There Will Always Be Someone Better and
Someone Less Skilled Than You.

This will ALWAYS be true.

Knowing that this will always be true keeps me from comparing myself to others. I owe it to myself to be the best that I can be, so I keep clocking in hours working on my craft, improving everyday. I will forever work on improving, for the moment you think you are too good to keep learning is the moment you stop growing.

This class has been hard for me since there are probably less than ten people in the class that have a graphic style similar to Robo Roku. Which, is sort of a good thing, in that there is less “competition” in that style, but I felt my work was not understood.

This is my favorite piece I turned in for our third assignment. The design brief was to design a plate including pods/flowers for a specified retailer.

Plate by Robo Roku

This design was hardly “liked” by my classmates. My Instagram followers “liked” this one, though. Hooray!

This past week our design brief was to do a painted collage for a specified retailer, including text and flowers, and using two colors assigned to us based on our astrological sign – I got blue and orange (a combo I don’t love).

sumimasen by robo roku

This piece received the most likes from my classmates over all the other assignments I’ve submitted. My Instagram followers didn’t like this one much at all…. which proved a point to me.

I have roughly the same amount of Instagram followers as classmates, and my Instagram followers love what I love. They are my audience. They understand my work. Since I’ve been selling my work for a living for 7 years now I know that Robo Roku has an audience, but not everyone in this class has taken the path I’ve taken, so they might get discouraged. This happens to friends at craft fairs sometimes, too. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s where you are showcasing. When you are in a creative field like this you have to remind yourself how subjective art is. More than anything you have to remember “people buy your joy” as Lilla Rogers says (often). I know that’s true, because I don’t release a character until it gives me a certain sparkly happy feeling, when I get that feeling I know it’s done.

Every blog post I have seen from classmates has been a positive one about how much they have learned, even if it has been challenging. I have learned so much, have new characters to share, will be doing more paintings, and have new styles that will be introduced this year. The course has been one of the best things I could have done for Robo Roku. I just hope I can pass one thing on to my classmates, and to you.

Don’t get caught up in what other people are doing. You do you. Keep learning and growing. Try to stay positive. If something is not working for you, try my 6 Ways to Get Creatively Unstuck tips. No one starts out “great” at something, you have to work at it, and never give up.

motivational monday: be better

Be Better

Sometimes we can get caught up in being the best at xyz, we end up losing sight of what truly matters to us. Creatives tend to have many passions and we can spread ourselves too thin trying to be the best at so many things. Even worse than overworking ourselves we might end up making impressing other people a priority. I see this happen with clients and friends more often than I’d like to, and it’s hard to see. At the end of the day, we need to make life/career choices based on what will make us happiest and pay our bills, not what will “wow” people the most.

Are you suffering from the need to conquer the world in various fields, and starting to wander (or are you already wandering) all over the place?

Take a moment to imagine your perfect (and realistic) life.

What career or hobby are you doing five days a week in your perfect (and realistic) life?

Are you skilled at this? If not, start working toward your goal.

Creatives can be skilled in various fields, and it’s fairly easy to start doing things just to make money. Be careful with that move, you don’t want to sell yourself short on time.
I do web sites for clients as a part time gig, and do my best to limit our client intake.
Any time spent on client sites is time not spent working on new designs, which is what I’d rather be doing. We don’t need to put all our talents up for sale, it’s best to use our time toward accomplishing our number one goal.

Think about your number one goal. Write it down real big and hang it above your workspace, bathroom mirror, and/or bed. Remind yourself how precious your time is, and when you start getting involved in a project that steers you off course do your best to course correct right away. Spend this week taking steps to focus on your number one goal and plan for your “perfect” future. Let me know how the goal focusing goes and good luck!
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