- Filmed a ton of video clips for upcoming videos so I’ll be able to finish & publish those videos soon!
- Published 2 YouTube video (Episode 035 of my show, & a poetry book review).
- Finished sorting my Google Drive the first time around. This means everything in there already is sorted, so now I can upload more stuff from my computer & my phone so all my files are sorted appropriately.
- Drew SO MANY THINGS! Created 8 new designs that I can use for posters, t-shirts, & more in my shop.
- Finished the remaining 4 coloring pages for my farm animal coloring book, so now I can publish the book as soon as I scan & edit the images!
- Wrote & sent blog interview questions to two more people.
- Published 3 blog posts, including 1 blog interview.
- Spent multiple hours reading & watching motivational & educational videos. This week was probably the most so far this year that I’ve invested time in personal development.
- Practiced guitar 6 days this week. Looked into an online course about surf-style guitar.
- Made 3 posts on Instagram.
- Wrote 1 poem.
- Actually began making exercise a daily habit. I walked multiple miles on the treadmill & rode a few miles on the exercise bike throughout the week, as well as doing yard work & active chores & doing some walking in the neighborhood. Therefore, I rate myself highly in the exercise category! Also worked on eating olives instead when I feel an urge to passively eat sugar to retrain my habits. I did slack on the veggies, but I’m going to set up my environment for success in this area.
- Finally launched one of the websites I’ve owned for a long time but never did anything with – Life is My Playground (www.lifeismyplayground.com). This also is the kick-off to a website challenge where every week I launch a new site from the variety of domains that I own but have never launched!
- Got serious about my fashion design idea & even wrote a draft version of the email I will send to one of my favorite online stores (that I’d like to carry my design) once I’ve sent them a sample of it.
- Studied Spanish every night this week.
- Did various other promotional things, product research, research on various ideas, etc. Reevaluated what things will actually provide me with the most value.
- Finished editing comic & sent promotional idea to Campbell’s Soup regarding idea I have for them.
- Was happy & felt good all week. I feel like I’m made a lot of progress this past week.
- Devised & actually started doing the morning routine I wanted to do! Admittedly I’ve been slacking in this area ever since about halfway through January. So I came up with a better morning routine & it’s been great so far. I got myself a small notebook & I’ve been writing my top 5 goals every morning when I wake up after I meditate. I also listen to one song in the morning, & I want to incorporate dancing into my morning routine too.
- Went to a reptile expo (Tampa Repticon) for the first time & got three pet Crested Geckos, which are so adorable! I got to see & pet a lot of awesome animals while I was there, but most awesomely I got to HOLD AN OWL. Owls are my favorite animal EVER so I was so excited.
- Finished reading Willpower Doesn’t Work. Started reading The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.
- Did a lot of cleaning & organizing in my house & garage.
- Decided every Friday I’ll do a weekly planning session & set goals for what I’d like to put on next week’s Accountability Update
Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I am working to become an illustrator and I also run a small business on the side primarily focusing on turning my illustrations into different merchandise.
How did you end up starting your online shop? Was there a specific moment that you decided to do this?
I decided that I didn’t want to follow the same career path that I had been doing for the past 5 years, and wanted to focus on my art.
What is your favorite part about the creative work that you do?
Drawing animals and connecting with people!
I see on your website that you’ve lived in New Zealand & now live in Gainesville, FL. What are some of your favorite things about those places? Have they influenced your creative work in any way?
Both places have very unique wildlife, and that has definitely reflected in my illustrations. New Zealand has rolling hills, flightless birds, and no snakes. Gainesville has gorgeous swamps and prairies, and suburban birds of prey, which was completely new to me when we first moved to Gainesville, and still stops me in my tracks when one of them flies overhead, screeching!
A lot of your designs are about animals & nature. What are some of your favorite animals or plants to include in your work, & why? Do your dog & cat influence your art?
I like to highlight animals that may not necessarily be overly popular, such as aardvarks, frilled-neck lizards, and the aye-aye. I also like to share animals that are endemic to places that I have lived in, so I have illustrated a few New Zealand animals, a couple of animals found in Florida, and also Malaysia, the country in which I was born. I definitely also have designed merchandise that are inspired by my cat and dog!
Who are some of your biggest creative inspirations & why?
I draw my inspiration from exploring nature, so I like going on hikes and bush walks, encountering new animals etc. I also love traditional tattoos and Chinese art, and looking through art history books. Currently I follow many different designers on social media, including but not limited to; Phoebe Wahl, Pippa Dyrlaga, Sue Van Gageldonk, Becca Jane Koehler, Victoria Astrom, Lili Arnold, Susanne Suflanda Konig, Yumiko Higuchi, Gunnar Freyr, Bao Pham, Sarah Walsh, and Hilary Jane tattoos.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started? What’s your best advice for someone who’s just getting started with doing what you do?
Draw everyday, even if you don’t think it’s a good idea, or if it’s not executed to the standard that you had originally envisioned. Just put it down.
What kinds of things helped you build a customer base when you were first starting out?
Posting on social media frequently, connecting with other designers within the same community.
Do you have a specific process for creating new designs? What are some of your favorite art materials to use in your art?
I usually play around with ideas and poses of different animals, either sketches on paper or drawing directly on my tablet that’s connected to my laptop. I love acrylic and watercolor, and I also love trying out different pens! Once I settle on a design, I clean it up as a vector image and finalize from there.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t give up.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Does any apect of it relate to what you do now?
I wanted to be a marine biologist, then I wanted to be a comic artist, and then I wanted to be a translator and travel the world. I’m sort of weirdly in between everything now; I am still connected to animals and nature, I am working towards illustration as a career, and I love to travel when I can (although the translating part has definitely fallen short!!)
What’s your favorite type of product to make & why?
I love designing fabric patterns and sewing; surface pattern design is quite challenging for me because I have to focus on interesting details and subsequently making a pattern that works on a larger scale when repeated across a yard. Having that come together, as well as holding a finished product in my hand after sewing it, are both rewarding.
What has been your biggest challenge or setback, & how did you handle it? How did it help your business more better?
I didn’t have a background in illustration or design, so everything I have learned thus far in terms of the softwares used to create my art has either been self-taught, or from helpful advice from some very important people in my life. I feel like I am constantly playing catch up, while still needing to produce something tangible to keep my business going.
What’s something about you or your creative work that most people don’t know but you wish they did?
I’d like to think that I’m an open book 🙂
The cats you draw are so cute & funny. How do you come up with what they should be doing/wearing in your designs?
Most of the time it’s from seeing something my cat and other cats do something funny first hand, and I put it down on paper (like the pin of the naughty cat swatting at houseplants). Other times, I shamefully follow popular trends like pizzas and cats.
Why do you do what you do? What drives you to be successful/keeps you interested in what you do?
As mentioned above, I wanted to pursue a different career, and I hope that my art will bring a little bit of joy in people’s lives.
What’s your favorite quote, & how does it relate to or inspire you & your approach to your business?
I do not have a favorite quote.
What are some of your biggest goals for the year ahead?
On a personal level; take illustration courses to bolster my knowledge, and explore my art style. I believe art should be constantly evolving. On a business level; expand into different product lines.
What are some of your longer-term goals?
It would be pretty cool to work for/with a museum and non-profit organizations to illustrate for them, but that’s pretty wishful thinking right now. Something hopefully to work towards.
REFLECTIONS IN THE GREEN TRIANGLE BOOK
ALL MY FRIENDS
for such a long time I thought that I was alone / desperately seeking friendship & reaching out out out floating on desperate waves looking for someone / pleading in the night that I would find somebody to spend time with / searching & searching with the mistaken impression that I was alone / looking for someone I could enjoy being with & embrace & understand & be understood by / but with time I’d see the the whole time / I’d been surrounded by friends
one day I opened my eyes & saw that
I’d never been alone
& I began to find friends everywhere I looked
I was friends with the sun in the sky
the rainbows up ahead
the ideas & questions of if & why
birds singing in the forest I passed thru
each blade of grass covered with morning dew
birds outside my window chirping in the morning
in the lightening & thunder crashing out their warning
the rain pouring onto the pavement
peace, love, & independence
the moon watching gently over the night
the first brand new ray’s of the sunrise’s light
& the twinkling stars I wish upon
the joy contained in each beautiful song
the hummingbirds sipping nectar from flowers
in the fun & freedom filling my every hour
I found friendship in
leaves rustling & drifting down in the breezes
music floating from open windows
jazz musicians playing in cafes
magical sounds of harmonies
artwork & music & films & books &
poems on the walls
crashing waves upon the shore
& the sun melting onto the water in the afternoon
the smell of freshly mowed grass
& the after-rain’s fresh scent
& the sunsets & the sunrises
in the adventures I have everyday
& in happiness
I found a friend
- Published 1 YouTube video (Episode 034 of The Ashlee Craft Show).
- Downloaded video clips for my mission statement video that I am working on.
- Wrote 10 poems.
- Drew 8 farm animal coloring pages for the coloring book that I am working on. Almost done with this book!
- Started seriously practicing & studying guitar again. I slacked off on it for a while but I missed it & I want to become really, really good at playing guitar.
- Made 5 Instagram posts, several of which promoted specific products of mine.
- Published 1 blog post.
- Spent a few hours sorting my Google Drive to help me organize & find my files better.
- Got a new haircut that makes me look like the person I want to become.
- Filmed 50% of a video about my new haircut.
- Worked on editing & creating the images for 1 of the blog interviews I am working on.
- Made 2 new pages on my website, including one which includes a sortable list of the interviews I have conducted.
- Got clearer about who I want to become. Researched a few things in this area.
- Networked with 1 new person.
- Decided to get pet crested geckos after doing a lot of research.
- Saw The Beach Boys in concert!
- Began reading “Be Obsessed or Be Average” by Grant Cardone & “Willpower Won’t Work” by Benjamin Hardy. Finished reading “I Will Follow You: A Poetry Novel” by C. J. Robinson.
- Slacked off on eating vegetables & on exercise. I am disappointed in this, because I want to be exceptionally healthy. I know I won’t achieve that if I don’t make healthy eating & exercise a consistent habit. I created some plans on how I can change my environment to eliminate my excuses.
- I felt like I lost some momentum at the beginning of the week, but I regained the momentum towards the end of the week & had a great weekend.
reflecting upon the silver bar sidewalks & the misty moonlit jaunt thru the breeze double rainbow like a pot of gold in the sky / illuminations / reflecting on windows of trucks & on the sunglasses of passerby / on the Sunday / in the rain
driving thru the puddles / rustling of tires against water sprinkling it upwards showing showering rainstorm reflections
looking in the foggy mirror & at everything mistaken & distorted by the silver / like a whole other world hidden behind glass / distorted in the golden gaze rectified in my precision & by my passion / rejuvenated & suddenly understanding who I was the entire time
down many mistaken roads I walked & many mistaken lies I spoke / many sights of sorrow & many things of beauty filled my vision / down many darkened alleyways filled with soot I trod & many days it just never dawned upon me that I what I’d yearned for & what I’d sought had been there all along / I just had never seen them
I thought what I’d been looking for was something that could be bought / so I looked & looked in all the windows to every store but I kept finding myself wanting more & more / I thought what I’d searched for was far away from me & that by leaving this place, I could be free / so I ran away so I wouldn’t be alone only to find that I’d always been home / I thought what I needed was the love in somebody’s heart & that by finding that love, I’d make a start / so I searched for the one I was looking to find only to see I’d been there the whole time / all that time, I was only too blind to see as I looked & searched & cried & yearned only to find that all along, I’d been exactly where I needed to be
it hadn’t been money or distance or love that I’d needed / I didn’t need to go anywhere or buy anything or find someone to love me / I just needed to see the beauty within me
& all the loneliness turned to friendship, all the dark into light, & suddenly I began seeing the world with my own eyes / my own eyes looking at my own destiny / my own life / now I was free
I had been deaf / to the reflections / of the music / rhythm beating beating beating beating onwards / onwards / into the next reflection
- Made 1 YouTube video (Episode 033 of The Ashlee Craft Show).
- Downloaded 5 new fonts from the awesome Google Fonts.
- Faxed off IRS letter to update EIN with new company name!
- Downloaded numerous Kindle eBooks on the programming language Python so I can start learning it.
- Networked with 14 new people.
- Began working on a video about my personal “Mission Statement”.
- Installed DaVinci Resolve video editing software on my computer.
- Made post on here about interviewing people from my blog & received a lot of responses! Began writing interview questions for some of the people.
- Organized more of my Google Drive, which will ultimately make all my files easier to find.
- Wrote & published 2 blog posts.
- Had revelation about WHAT DO I REALLY WANT? (I wrote about this revelation here http://www.ashleecraft.com/personal-evolution/5-beautiful-rare-things-want-feel-2018/)
- Drew 3 new designs, which I will put on products in my online store once I edit them.
- Used CoSchedule’s Headline Anaylzer tool for the first time & was impressed by it.
- Re-vamped my Evernote to-do list to make it more practical & easier to use.
- Saw Billy Joel in concert!
- Went to Alpaca Magic USA, a local alpaca farm in Homosassa Springs, FL. Got to feed & pet alpacas, & got great footage for a YouTube video about alpacas!
- Began writing my 50 Adorable Moose Facts book, & got about half of it done.
- Felt like I lived with passion more of the days this week than not. I did a lot of amazing, fun things! My anxiety bothered me for a few days & on those days I had no motivation to do anything. But I took it easier when I needed to & worked through it.
- Slacking on my veggie-munching goals. I’m lazy when it comes to eating vegetables. So I bought mini veggie cups of beets & three-bean salad, as well as some fruit squeeze pouches, so I have no excuses. Ate sugar compulsively two days in the past week. Still not exercising as much as I wanted to.
- Began reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It” by Kamal Ravikant & “I Will Follow You: A Poetry Novel” by C. J. Robinson. Finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”.
I want to stop hiding. I always hide. I look at the floor instead of at people. I hide behind my hair. Invisibility. I want to be seen but I also find it uncomfortable. I put on a cliche face & appear open but there’s a thick glass wall between me & everyone else. I’m tired of wearing masks. I’m tired of not being as colorful, as bold, as cool, as vibrant, as alive as I can be. I go out but I don’t want anyone to see me even though deep down, I crave being seen. I want people to know me. There’s nowhere left to hide. I want to be so authentic that when other people see me it makes them feel braver. I want to give them permission to shine like the brightest star too. I want to stop only posting manufactured, manicured posts to social media. I want to stop showing only the “perfect” things. I want to share what it’s really like. I want people to see who I really am. Even if they don’t always like it. I’m tired of playing small. It’s bullshit. I’m every color of the freaking rainbow, & I’m going to stop being afraid of showing it.
MASTER OF MY WORLD.
I want to be the master of my every moment. The master of my universe. To be the one shaping my world, designing & molding & manifesting exactly what I want. I’m tired of my subconscious fears & anxieties & limiting beliefs controlling what happens. They don’t know how to drive. I’m taking the wheel back from them. Taking away their licenses. My car, my rules. I want to create the kind of life for myself that I deserve. In sync with the Big Universe out there, co-creator & collaborative artist & lover. To both be the one in control, & the one creating & tapping into the flow that I effortlessly skate along. To let that flow guide me. To be able to create real magic for myself. To love myself, truly & deeply & completely. Like we did when we were children. Before we learned how to hate ourselves.
HUGE POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
I want to be a really, really kind person. I want to be used as a force of immense good in this world. I want kindness to be the way I change the world for the better. I want to be the kind of person who gives huge tips at restaurants. The kind of person who shows up with a car filled with dog food & cat litter at the animal shelter. The kind of person who shows up & writes a huge check for a local charity. Who makes care packages for the homeless & handmade cards for lonely in the hospital. Who creates places & opportunities that empower other people. To do my part of throwing the starfish back in the ocean.
LIFE REALLY IS MY PLAYGROUND.
Life is supposed to be fun. I get caught up in the stress & boredom we’re conditioned to feel as adults. I fall down onto what they tell me adulthood is supposed to feel like. The drudge. The dreaded Mondays. No more time to play & breathe & explore. But they’re all wrong. Why was dancing invented if we were all supposed to be so serious most of the time? Why does it feel so good to be happy if we’re supposed to despise at least 33% of our lives? I want to lean back in the swing & look at the pure blue sky. I want to lie on my back in the meadow & see the shapes of dinosaurs & flamingos in the clouds. I want to sit at the end of the ocean & build a moat to protect the sandcastle, & I want to start each day with dancing. It doesn’t take any courage to hate Mondays or to be dragged into the rat race, but it does take courage to play.
COMPLETE FREEDOM TO LIVE THE WAY I WANT TO.
I started the year focused on becoming a millionaire. As if that was the be all, end all. But it never was enough to keep me focused. Something was always missing. I was afraid. If I wanted to succeed, I had to make my goal about HOW I WANTED TO FEEL & not just how much money’s in the bank. That’s what the journey is actually about. I want to know what it’s like to live my life exactly the way I want to. Because if you don’t have a foundation, where’s your hustle? Where’s your hunger to push through & make something happen if you become lazy in success? I want to build a life that’s mine & on my terms. Complete, beautiful freedom. The concept of “millionaire” is part of that, but not all. & “millionaire” doesn’t (won’t) feel the same to me as it does to numerous unhappy others. Money is amazing, but it alone isn’t solid enough without a good foundation under it. That foundation is the underlying lifestyle & story I’m going to design for myself. Otherwise you end up a stressed, cynical millionaire. & that’s not what I want to be.
I want to be free. What do I want my life to look like? What would my life look like in a year if I loved myself truly & deeply? How would I dress? What hairstyle would I have? How would I make money? Where would I live? How would I spend my time? It’s my responsibility to build the life I want for myself. Living in complete freedom is living like you love yourself completely, truly, & deeply. I want to make my life biggest, most beautiful art project.
The weather this week made me more tired for a few days, but I still got a lot done & I made sure I took time to rest & take care of myself.
- Published 1 blog post.
- Drew 12 coloring pages for my Cute Farm Animals coloring book.
- Began gathering facts for upcoming “50 Adorable Moose Facts” book.
- Made 41 slideshows for the Udemy course I’m making based on my “101 Ways to Love Yourself” book. Done making all 102 slideshows for the course! Next step is editing them.
- Wrote 4,085 words in the novel I just began on this week.
- Finished coloring two of my new designs (“Llama Pug” & “Owl Riding a Magical Unicorn”).
- Put 2 new designs of t-shirts, poster, etc in my online store.
- Read business articles & brainstormed.
- Researched & picked a programming language to learn. I chose the language Python because from what I can see it’s there’s a growing need for it, & it’s the language with the second most job postings on Indeed.
- Submitted EIN business name change documents to the IRS to update my EIN with my new company name!
- Reset password to my Shutterstock account that I set up years ago so I can submit stock photos.
- Researched how to be a voiceover artist, writing tips, cheap college options, how to play the saxophone, selling used clothes, & how to become a life coach.
- Finished the Udemy Course “How to Make an iPhone Sticker Pack” (1st Udemy course I’ve ever finished!).
- Went to an event at a local technical college about the various degrees & programs they offer there.
- Downloaded 5 new fonts from Google Fonts.
- Released 1 YouTube video.
- Downloaded ebooks on Kindle about learning the programming language Python.
- Sent LinkedIn connection request to one new person.
- Began working on my “mission statement” YouTube video.
- Installed & began using the DaVinci Resolve video editing software!
- Eating vegetables is now pretty much a habit, & I crave them a lot more. I didn’t exercise as much as I wanted to. Some days I ate more sugar than I’d like to. But overall, I feel like I’m definitely making progress on my health goals.
How are you doing this week & what are you working on?