Favorite Things Roundup
Happy 2018! A few of the people that I follow online have recently shared a round-up of their favorite things, and I have really enjoyed reading them - so I thought I'd create one to share with all of you!
PS: None of these recommendations are sponsored. I am gushing about stuff I love. Read on!
Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Brush Pen No. 22
This pen is loaded with the deepest darkest blackest inky black ink you'll ever find in a brush pen. And the brush tip is super generous so you can do really flowy drawings with it. My artist friend Alicia Schulz introduced me to this pen and it works really well for art-on-the-go.
Posca Paint Pens
It takes practice to learn how to hold a paintbrush and use it to make marks that you like. Most people have wayyyyy more experience drawing and hand-writing with pens or pencils. Paint pens are a wonderful solution to bring the immediacy and motor-skill mastery of drawing right into your painting practice. There are many brands of paint markers and paint pens out here, but by and large I have found Posca to be the most reliable with ink quality and longevity. If you are going to buy one single paint marker, get a white one, and work some magic in the layers of your paintings.
Aquanotes, shower edition
My songwriter friend Amit Erez, (who used to be my housemate,) got our household the first waterproof notepad from Aquanotes. What was intended as a place to capture his brilliant new song lyrics quickly degenerated into a series of funny notes, drawings, and anonymous conversations between anyone who happened to be using the shower in our house that year. Given that we were a household of four adults who hosted hundreds of Air BnB guests from around the world, you can imagine that this was quite a colorful exchange. Now, we no longer live in that big wonderful house that so closely resembled an international youth hostel, but the Aquanotes have remained a staple product in my shower. Need to make a quick sketch? Gotta write a grocery list? Have a random thought? There are so many days when I appreciate this handy place to jot it all down.
I call this journal my “external brain,” and it's where I organize my thoughts. I just dump my thoughts, sketches, and lists into it, page after page. I tape things into it if I've jotted them down elsewhere. I always have one of these journals with me in my purse or backpack. For the past several years, I’ve bought Leuchtturm1917 Journals. They have numbered pages, and a table of contents in the front. It allows me to search through my journals easily. If you've heard about bullet journaling, this is essentially the super-simplified form of that. I just make a note of what each page is about in the table of contents, so it's easy to reference later.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott
Oh, Anne Lamott, you have my heart! Seriously, for anyone endeavoring to do creative work, you have got to read this book. Anne makes a case for doing the work despite (or in spite of) any outer measures of "success" that you might encounter along the way. Even though I don't consider myself a writer, per se, I found so many parallels to the painting process. This book was deeply relatable, sobering, and encouraging all at once.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
by Maria Semple
Set in Seattle, Washington, and Antartica, of all places, this novel was a page-turner. I honestly couldn't stand the main character, (but who could? If you read it, you'll see what I mean) but I really enjoyed the details about the Pacific Northwest and it was the kind of story I simply couldn't put down. I'm pretty sure I read this all in one weekend.
Strand: An Odyssey of Pacific Ocean Debris
by Bonnie Henderson
Have you ever seen something washed up on the beach, and wondered where it came from? What if you could travel to the very origin of where that thing was made or lived, and tell its story? In this nonfiction book, author Bonnie Henderson does just that. She finds a load of shoes washed up on the beach from a shipping vessel gone overboard, and takes us to the factory where they are made in Shenzhen, China. She finds a beached whale and manages to talk her way onto a biologist's whale research boat to find out more about them. I was lucky enough to get my first illustration gig right out of college, with Bonnie, illustrating the chapter headings for this book, published in 2008. I recently found myself re-reading this book and realized that I really need to recommend it to people. It's an awesome read and every outdoorswoman, nature lover and explorer needs a copy.
In 2017 Feist came out with a new album! I remember seeing her play at 2013 Pickathon when I had a total fan-girl meltdown, crying with joy as she sang. And she told us all that she would not tour again until she put out a new album - I'm so glad she was able to make more music.
Okay so in addition to Feist, I also want to tell you about my excellent friends the Shook Twins, Robin Jackson, and Nathaniel Talbot. Also, I've been listening to a lot of Vulfpeck, Elephant Revival, and Shakey Graves. And here is an entire playlist on Spotify of my top songs from 2017. And this music video by Vulfpeck is probably the cutest thing I've seen all year:
I was inspired to start my regular newsletter this year by enjoying dispatches from some of the artists and authors that I admire most. Two that I think you'd like are:
Alex shares straight from her heart, and her truth-telling always gives me the warm-fuzzy feelings. I took an in-person writing workshop with her in October. It was the first time I've ever taken a writing workshop, and she kind of set me on fire. I've been emailing you regularly ever since, so I think we are on to something here, folks!
I've never met Austin in person but I wonder if he kind of talks in lists. Everything he shares is always straight to the point. I like the way this guy thinks. His books, Steal Like an Artist, and Show Your Work, are spot-on and chock-full of truth. His weekly newsletters are short, sweet lists of ten things he thinks are worth sharing.
Raise Your Hand, Say Yes by Tiffany Han
Tiffany Han is like a super sassy Jiminy Cricket who sits on my shoulder and shouts - not whispers - creative advice, support, encouragement, praise, and direction. Every time I listen to her podcast I feel motivated to get crackin' on my creative work! On her podcast, Tiffany interviews hundreds of artists and creative business owners for the real, butt-kicking truths about their life and work, and shares her own insights along the way.
This American Life
This is the podcast that started it all for me (you, too?) and it is still my favorite! The storytelling and reporting is done so well, and I just look forward to it every week. If you're not on the podcast-listening train yet, this a very good one to begin with.
Oh and here's another brilliant thing by This American Life host Ira Glass, made into a super rad video by Daniel Sax:
And that's the whole round-up! Yippee!
Tell me, what are some of your favorite things? Books, movies, podcasts, bands, art supplies, artists, or even your favorite pair of slippers?
Hit "reply" and tell me all about 'em - I would totally love to know!
Pssst! Want to nourish your creative core? You can learn more about my upcoming workshops and retreats by checking out my Events Calendar ! Or book a private one-on-one mentoring session! You can even sign your group up for a Full-Day Painting Workshop!