Monthly Archives: November 2014

Frank and the bunny gang, updated

Frank and the bunny gang Frank and the bunny gang

Good news, the third illustration for Frank’s Adventures is complete! The bunny gang is here to steal you away…

There are thirteen panels in the book, so that means I have ten more to finish. I have the sketches done already, I just need to colorize and fine-tune them. I also need to tweak the story and the wording a little bit more. It doesn’t feel quite done yet, although it’s mostly there. Also, I need to design the book cover! If I don’t encounter any major problems, I think I need about eight – ten more weeks to get everything completed and ready for print.

I plan to list the Kickstarter for the book on Friday of next week because I think having it as an active fundraising campaign while people are doing their holiday shopping will be good timing. I’ve already done the lion’s share of the planning for the Kickstarter campaign, but there are a few things left to complete. So my Kickstarter goals for next week are:

  • decide on a project image
  • finalize budget and funding goal
  • polish up the wording for the backer reward levels
  • complete the intro video
  • lock down my project milestones and timelines

I know that sounds like a lot, but most of the work is already done. I just need to tighten things down for the final push. It’s nice to feel like I have traction and see things that I’ve been planning fall into place and start to become tangible!


Discovery and Frank in the Forest

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I have been in discover mode this week, searching for blogs to inspire and teach me, communities to join, and muses to ignite and manifest my creativity. Here are a few I’ve stumbled upon…

I am loving the tin-punched votive candles at A Beautiful Mess.

Smitten Kitchen’s sweet potato roast might need to be on my Thanksgiving table.

I would build this backyard and out-building from Gardenista today if only I owned my brownstone.

This crepe paper DIY advent calendar from Oh Happy Day is wonderfully delicate.

These savory ramen dishes from Design Crush are perfect for winter days and have me drooling already.

Hula Seventy’s jar of magical thinking should be a staple in every single household.

I’ve been chugging along with my goals. I have the red-lined contract back from my lawyer and am waiting for my agent-to-be to reach back to me so that I can discuss the suggested changes (minor additions like the ability to handle any arbitrations remotely via tele-conference) before signing on the dotted line. I’m excited about the whole thing and really like this agency, so fingers crossed that everything goes well.

I’ve successfully reworked one of the other two existing Frank’s Adventures illustrations in the style I decided on using. I’m actively at work on the other and also on sketching the remaining images so that I can list the Kickstarter to get that beast into production. For those of you interested in the muse behind Frank’s Adventures, my courageous little white Chihuahua Frank is featured heavily on my Instagram account @shawncarneyart and also has his own Facebook page.

Frank in the forest Frank in the forest

I’ve made my first six sales on Etsy in the last week, so the store is officially up and running! I’ve had a spate of repins on Pinterest, likes on Facebook, and followers on Twitter, Instagram and Etsy, which means my initial attempts at promotion seem to be working. That’s good news!


I read an interesting interview with Yuko Shimizu on 99U today. She talked a little bit about changing careers to illustration after investing a decade in advertising. I was able to connect with that, obvs, since earlier this year I shifted my trajectory from corporate technology to illustration.

During almost twenty years working in my last career, I went from building computers to managing tech support around the world to oversight of a global corporate technology infrastructure. My job was with a major record label, so peripherally I helped shape an industry that brings an enjoyable product to the market. I watched technology change the way we produce, distribute, consume and think about music. If you’re not familiar with technology, you might be surprised to know that it flourishes under creative forces. Like any craft, the more innovation and beauty you put into it, the better the results. But to be truly useful, you must align your results to be exquisitely functional. It’s a wonderful balance of right and left brain choreography.

Now that I’m starting my own business, I find myself drawing on lessons learned from my last career. Branding, research and design, production and manufacturing, supply chain, promotions, sales, customer service… Business is business, no matter the field.

What is different is that it’s mine. Mine to develop and nurture and prune and be proud of. I have goals that stretch out into the years ahead. Today I am standing in a newly plowed field and I am planting the seeds. But you can’t just plant seeds and walk away and close your eyes and hope. You have to sweat and labor and work and love and build and enjoy the f*cking process since THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW is the only moment that ever actually matters because this is your life and then, if you’re lucky and you stick with it, one day the fruits of your labor will blossom and bear more fruits and it never really stops because it always requires nurturing and pruning and fertilizing, so you can never be stagnant, but that’s okay because again, THIS IS YOUR LIFE and all that matters is that you appreciate each moment (even if it occasionally manages to both suck and blow) and remember to breathe and find joy and maybe, just maybe, if you’re really really lucky, you manage to positively affect at least one other human life in the process.

That’s my motivation. What’s yours?


Frank’s Adventures, update!

Frank's Adventures - Yoga DeerI’ve had a breakthrough with Frank’s Adventures! I’ve been struggling with choosing the style in which to illustrate the story and after much research, nail-biting, and false starts, I finally decided on the style you see in the illustration above. My process is to hand-draw with pen and ink on paper, scan the drawing into Photoshop and use the pen tool and paintbrush to digitize and colorize.

I’m really happy with the results! As with most things for me, the hardest part is figuring out HOW to do what I WANT to do. Once I sort through the process, the rest is cupcakes and icing. With sprinkles.

Over the next week, I plan to rework the other two drawings I had done previously for the story (Frank’s Adventures – The Bunny Gang and Frank Gets the Upper Hand). * Once I have three drawings pretty much done, I’ll list the Kickstarter to start the book publication process!!

*As an aside, it’s fascinating to me how much I am learning every day. My illustrations have evolved in ways I never expected and my Photoshop skills have increased by leaps and bounds! It’s amazing what’s possible when you follow your dreams. What’s the most important lesson so far? Never short-sell yourself. Never settle. You get one life. Live it to the fullest.


I read something today on Seth Godin’s blog that really resonated with me:

“…vemödalen. The fear that you’re doing something that’s already been done before, that everything that can be done has been done.

But no one is asking you to be original. We’re asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. We’re asking you to step up and take responsibility for the work you do, and to add more value than a mere cut and paste. Give credit, definitely, but reject vemödalen.”

And, yes I do see the irony of cutting and pasting that particular quote here. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Before I left my job, I created art simply for art’s sake. Now, however, the urgency of financial support sometimes supersedes and often rides shotgun with the urgency of creativity. So, I still make art that I am proud of and feel strongly about, but often I have an underlying focus to make sure it is marketable to a general audience.

Am I creating art that is true to me and authentic to my narrative? Surely. Am I thinking of art as a business and considering what might or might not sell? Indeed I am. Can these two things coexist peacefully? Of course they can.

We are all artists in one way or another in our lives. This automagically makes us explorers and adventurers and shamans. We connect people with ideas and concepts and imagery that often makes them feel in visceral ways. This does not preclude us from also being here now and showing things in simple terms that may have been visualized a million times before by a million different artists. So what prevents vemödalen?


Your perspective. Your style. Your brand. Your personality.

You are the fairy dust that allows earth-bound people to imagine a world in which they can fly.

Unicorn Chakras

Unicorn Chakras – Available on my Etsy store!

Latest holiday design! Also, weekly goals.

Finished another design for the holiday cards:
milk and cookies

I’m pretty happy with the direction the holiday designs are taking. I’ve been focused on my color and typography and I think my work is looking more polished now.  I also decided to work on removing the outlines on drawings and I like the way that’s looking.

Goals for this week are as follows:

  • Work on a social media promotional campaign (above and beyond the basics I’m already doing)
  • Pitch my site and work to bloggers and magazines
  • Add new work to Etsy site
  • Update store banner and name/logo to include a bit of color
  • Start thinking about topics for the monthly newsletter
  • Create more artwork
  • Finalize and sign licensing contract
  • Initial sketches for Frank’s Adventures

Winter seems to have crept up on New York City, so I’m more than happy to hibernate indoors these days. Give me an excuse to not freeze my butt off outside? Yes, thank you!


FREEBIE! 2015 Calendar digital download!

I was playing around doodling different icon designs and I decided to put a basic 2015 calendar together. All items are hand-drawn except for the numbers, which are a free font called Amatic by Vernon Adams found on Font Squirrel. Feel free to click on each image to download that month as a JPG or download the whole 2015 Calendar as a PDF. Enjoy!