Design Ranch 2015

Little sketches of each project I completed (or almost completed) while at Design Ranch

Little sketches of each project I completed (or almost completed) while at Design Ranch

Camp Waldemar is typically an all-girls summer camp but for four days, every other year, the creative and rowdy attendees of Design Ranch call it home. Instead of lectures, this unconventional conference is comprised of intimate workshops taught by creative professionals. The whole point of the event is to step away from your computer and revive your creative spirit while making things by hand. And the best part: no wifi or cell reception. Only good food, drinks, nature, and new friends to inspire you.

Lumiere tintype photographs of Lin Zagoriski, Ryan Considine, and myself

Lumiere tintype photographs of Lin Zagoriski, Ryan Considine, and myself

The conference only allows 150 people to attend and this year tickets sold out in a single day! Thanks to Mutual Mobile, I nabbed a ticket along with my co-workers Lin Zagorski (good friend and talented illustrator) and Ryan Considine (my nerdy other half). Together we drove 2.5 hours west of Austin to experience Design Ranch. We bunked (and I mean summer-camp-bunk-bed-style) in a cabin with illustrator Kevin Rathge and his lovely photographer wife, Roxanne.

When we weren’t attending the amazing workshops we were walking around the beautiful Camp Waldemar sipping on espresso made by Flat Track Coffee or enjoying a local beer from the Austin Beerworks brewery. My favorite Design Ranch experience: being woken up by a bugle alerting everyone that breakfast was ready in the main hall. Design Ranch was design heaven!


Each workshop was an hour and half to three hours long. I participated in 6 over the course of three days:

  • I branded and painted bird houses with Helms Workshop
  • Carved my own gravestone from wood with Bryn Perrott
  • Painted and screen printed on a skate board deck with the two guys from Morning Breath
  • Shot and developed my own tintype photograph with Lumiere (if you live in Austin, you have to check these guys out!)
  • Drew type on reclaimed wood canvases with Bobby Dixon and Brian Phillips
  • Made my own fields notes with non other that Mr. Aaron Draplin himself!

I was completely overwhelmed with the good vibes emanating from every single attendee. It was so easy to walk up to anyone, including the amazing workshop leaders, introduce yourself and end a conversation with a new friend. Design Ranch reminded me that it’s important to play, even as an adult. It was a breath of fresh air to be immersed in such a strong, encouraging community. Thanks to the Austin chapter of AIGA for organizing this event. It’s a big undertaking and the thought that goes into it shows in the quality of the event. I’m already missing Design Ranch and day dreaming about 2017.



I had the pleasure of completing a commissioned portrait of Stifler, a Red Fox lab who lived to be 13 years old. He was described to me as a sweet, good natured dog who liked to climb under people’s legs as if never realized how big he grew. Stifler was well loved and treasured. His owner was known for standing in line for hours to get Stifler a BBQ birthday meal from Austin’s beloved Franklin’s.

See below for images of the entire process starting with the main reference photo and ending at the final, framed piece. I begin with a loose drawing in my sketchbook, scan that into my computer and manipulate it a bit if necessary, print that, transfer it on to the final watercolor paper with a light box, then complete the final drawing, paint it, and frame it.


Send me a note if you are ever interested in a commissioned pet portrait.

Happy 2015!

Usually I commit to the same vague resolutions I do every January: exercise more, eat healthier, draw more, work towards clearer skin, read more books, and watch less TV. These are things I think about on a daily basis, but even more so in the new year. I’m always convincing myself that I’d be much happier if I did them consistently. Then I proceed to beat myself up through the whole year when I don’t achieve these things. That’s not very constructive or healthy!

This year, in hopes of not falling into the same cycle, I am making a specific list of 15 things I hope to achieve in 2015 (inspired by Wit & Whistle’s birthday lists). My list originally  had over 40 items! It’s easy to think big, but I want this to be  an achievable list so I pared it down.

I’m hoping to stick to this list better than I did my 2013 end of the year resolutions. I’ll check back in later this year with an update of what I have achieved and what is left to do. This way I have way to measure some of my achievements this year and not feel so guilty on those days where I want to spend 8 hours snuggled under a blanket, eating junk food, watching Gilmore Girls. 

Here’s to a productive, healthy, and creative 2015!

  1. publish 12 or more blog posts
  2. make 10 mini paintings
  3. paint walls in the house blue, grey, and teal
  4. make a new logo for my business and select a brand color
  5. set up a Society 6 shop
  6. scheme new products to sell other than prints
  7. update Etsy shop with photos taken with my new camera
  8. add a store to my website
  9. create a return address stamp or sticker
  10. read 4 books
  11. learn how to do capital letters in calligraphy
  12. finish plant/succulent painting and make 3 more personal paintings
  13. plant a herb garden
  14. learn how to wear lip stick
  15. make up a 15 day drawing challenge for myself and do it (also inspired by Wit & Whistle)

Psst! Giveaway!

In the last couple of days I hit 600 Instagram followers! I know that isn't much in the grand scheme of Instagramers but I'm really thrilled to have that many people checking out my art on a daily basis and leaving encouraging and supportive comments.

As a thanks, I am giving a print away. To enter, head on over to Instagram, find the image below, and leave a comment with it describing which piece in the image you'd want if you won. I will randomly select a winner tomorrow, Sunday Aug 2rd at 3pm!

Prints do vary in size. Let me know if you have any questions!