A Creative Career Is Facilitated With Perserverance


Butterfly on Wheels Illustration by Leah Quinn
Butterfly on Wheels Illustration by Leah Quinn

So what does the word ‘perseverance’ mean to me? A lot quite frankly. Allow me to explain. I have been persevering for years and I couldn’t be any happier that I hung in there when the tough got going. And when you do persevere, you see results. Here I share just some of the results from my own persevering.

You’ve heard that saying, ‘Everything happens for a reason’, right? No worries I tell you, as you explore your own art career, go with the flow and push yourself just a little more with each and everyday. Take chances with your art to discover a journey you write yourself. It can be a very pretty journey, I assure you.

‘Inch by Inch, Success a Cinch’ – Lilla Rogers

That quote of Lilla’s resonates in my head on a daily basis, it spurs me on but good! I have learned a ton since last year and am incredibly grateful to all the new talented artists I have met this past year. I also learned that I have a serious passion for creating patterns! psst, so much so, I think I might have a slight ‘pattern designing’ issue as it’s hard not to create patterns on a daily basis, but let’s just keep this on the down low okay? 😉  Within this past year, I have designed well over 600 patterns, yes, 600… I’ve stopped counting at this point. But where was I just last year?

Pattern Designs created from my GTS day1 mini prep artwork
Pattern Designs created from my GTS day1 mini prep artwork

Last year in 2015, due to an unforeseen technical computer glitch (read old hag of a computer that died a slow death’ 😉 ) – I wasn’t able to enter my design for GTS 2015, but I didn’t let that stop me from reaching my goals.
Instead, it actually encouraged me further and with yup, you guessed it, with loads of perseverance.

I had been an artist for as long as I can remember, and experienced success using my creativity in various careers over the course of 25 years: web designer, writer, interior design business owner, blogger, graphic designer, shop owner, etc. But I was missing my art, my stamp on something. My art, back then was something ‘I did’ as a reward after I got all my ‘real work’ done for the day. For something that is so rewarding to one’s soul and makes you come alive, why would you wait to ‘do it’?! Doh!

So as I watched the GTS competition evolve last year, I loved every moment of it. Even as I watched on the sidelines, the process of the GTS competition was thrilling and seeing the incredible art come across my feeds. It was stunningly creative and extremely inspirational that I took further action. Right there and then, I took action on where my creative career was heading, I decided it was to become a priority and S.T.A.T. at that! I signed up for my first MATS creative course. It’s been an exhilarating “upward and onward” journey ever since!

“Action is Magic”, a favorite quote of mine by Megan Auman, designer & originator of “The Little Black Necklace”.

What does a day of ‘action is magic’ look like? Just yesterday I started the mini prep exercises for the Global Talent Search Contest offered by MakeArtThatSells.com. And by the end of my work day, I had submitted my mini prep art work to the Make Art That Sells Instagram Feed. I had also created 29 patterns – not color ways, but actual patterns all based upon the art work I did for the ‘mini’. I also came up with two blog post ideas (this one you’re reading now and one I am next writing, “designing patterns from existing art”). Not bad for just a day’s work. That’s ‘Action is Magic’ in motion. It wasn’t always like this for me. It wasn’t this easy either.

How’d did I learn to do this? Let me explain, it took perseverance, full-throttle dedication and a few years of ‘said action’ for it to become magic.

You see, I’ve been wanting to learn about the surface pattern design industry since I read an article in “Architectural Digest” roughly 10 years ago while at the dentist’s office. Yes, an odd place to be inspired with the putrid smell of nitrous gas and sounds of shrilling drills abounding around you, but alas, I knew then, my years of being an artist and designer would change gears. I knew it would take time to get me there. I first had to learn perseverance and wait for the dentist to finish cleaning my teeth. 😀

So as I set off to learn as much as possible. I knew that education was to become a priority. I had taken amazing creative and insightful courses in the past five years taught by very talented and well-established artists such as Flora Bowley, Kelly Rae Roberts, Jessica Swift, Tara Gentile and Megan Auman among a few others. I continued with my perseverance in searching for the right educational courses that would help me to direct my career path where I knew it needed to be heading.

It would also take a few not-so-successful attempts of mine at Rachael Taylor’s fabulous surface and design courses back in 2013 & 2014, as I was learning about shifting priorities in my life and artistic career. But when GTS came around last year, it was a defining moment for me. I realized what I wanted and could do and create with my art. I had tried before, and would try again, and this time with full gears ahead!

This wasn’t something I just woke up and wanted to do one day, this had been an idea swirling and evolving in my brain for years. But at this point in time, I dove in while not ever looking back. It started with the Home Decor course in the autumn of 2015, then MATS A, then Home Decor 2016 and Bootcamp 2016 all from MakeArtThatSells.com with Lilla Rogers, while also handling Modules 1 & 2  with Rachael Taylor at MakeItInDesign.com.

So yeah, that’s a lot for one’s creative plate, but if I was to learn if I could become a successful full-time artist being able to easily handle multiple client assignments, then this was going to be a defining moment. Perseverance, passion, dedication, effort, time, willingness to learn, be open to critique and lots of creativity were all going to be required.

I also knew I needed more art work in my portfolio, as I was designing my art website from scratch after it was hacked last year – again more perseverance. So I started to participate in the 100 day project, as I was inspired by Tracey English and other amazing artists I looked up to, that I met through the incredible MATS courses.

After I saw these professional artists firsthand, successfully handling the 100 day project along with the various MATS courses and assignments flawlessly, I was in awe of their productivity level and consistent high-quality of daily art work, I jumped on board to further push myself in creating more work for my online portfolio.

Color Your Cover Art Journal - Leah Quinn Design
Color Your Cover Art Journal – Leah Quinn Design

So I decided i’d challenge myself to design a pattern a day for 100 straight days. (I felt this would help me in my creative process of surface design – and oh my paisley pattern, did it ever!) I also found myself creating anywhere from 4-10 designs at a single clip. And that’s what perseverance gets you… to a place you never imagined. Squeal! It makes me very happy indeed. Again, action is magic, isn’t it?

So if you want change in your life, persevere through your goals once they’re clearly identified. Discover a way to have fun with what your passion is. Use that passion within you to explore unknown territory – you’ll be very glad you did, and in fact you might just have a new career! One that you have, in fact, created yourself! Now how happy would that make you!?

Again action is magic, day by day, inch by inch. Be you and be your creative self and discover the art you are to create. I promise you, it will be a lovely surprise each and every day if you do. It will be a most joyous journey of self-discovery and growth.

*And my surprise for the day? If you like to, you may sign up on my newsletter list to receive a free downloadable coloring page of a design I created.IMG_3248

**Extra bonus surprise, I have created a coloring book full of my fun designs. In fact, the action in magic has been so hot, I’ve actually already gone ahead and created two additional volumes. I am currently editing the books. But will give you first chance on receiving a discount on my first coloring book when it goes live.

Create Everyday!

<3 Leah

I’m Relishing the 1920s

So I have been having a fun journey during the first mini week at Boot Camp, an online course offered from MakeArtThatSells.com with LillaRogers.com.

While recently finishing her incredible Home Decor course there is always something up Lilla’s creative sleeve! As a student, you actually look forward to Mondays when new art assignments and good stuff you’re digging to learn, arrive. Now how cool is that for a class you take?!

So here are a few of my own ladies recently – quick sketches, done in ink. Some watercolored, while others are iterations in Illustrator. If you are at all curious, you should most definitely check out the current Instagram Feed over at MakeArtThatSells – it’s filled with amazing drawings and sketches – a definite play for creative eye-candy by very talented artists.

This has got to me my most favorite assignment yet. Also I’m recognizing the joy of creating my art. It’s a good feeling to stretch my art muscles! Thank you Lilla Rogers so very much for inspiring so many, including me.

If you wish to follow me on Instagram – You can find me at Instagram.com/LeahQuinnDesigns and Instagram.com/NYHeartnSoul.

ladies1920s lady1c lady2 1

Make Art That Sells – Finishing Notes

I'm a Make Art That Sells Graduate - Yay!
I’m a Make Art That Sells Graduate – Yay!

Well five weeks is up for the amazingly crazy ride one experiences with Make Art That Sells for Home Decor. It lasted a long five weeks but time flew so quickly!

So much art I created, I noticed I was starting to get into a flow until I had a snafu with the computers. Shtuff happens sometimes.

While I was upset that I wasn’t able to upload my fifth week’s work, you will see it soon enough once I reload my files back into my new hard drive.

In the last week, not one but two hard-drives decided to kick the bucket on my computers. I was fortunate not to have lost files, but have since gotten things fixed and am already a few days into Boot Camp at MakeArtThatSells.com with LillaRogers.

So out with the old, and in with the new. I have a few new hard drive installed, the windows are open, am airing out my home and cannot wait to get started on the minis for Boot Camp!

What I can share with you is this, if you thought the talent was spectacular with the Home Decor classes, you will be blown away by the level of talent already showing in the Instagram feed for Boot Camp.

With this online course which boasts five months of art creating prompts, one will come out on the other side with loads of artwork to add to their growing portfolios while developing all sides of themselves as an artist.

So off I go to work on resintalling apps, files, finding my work from a few weeks ago to post here and on the private facebook groups for the Home Decor class and more…

Here’s just a little sample of what I have just started getting my hands into for the March’s mini at Boot Camp. I have also started a new instagram just for my art and designs – you may follow me here: Instagram.com/LeahQuinnDesigns 🙂

Sketches of 1920s Women

Quick Sketches of Women from the 1920s