Today is an Opportunity, Not an Obligation

Have you ever watched those motivational videos on YouTube? Photos and clips of athletes running, climbing mountains, surfing huge waves, practicing on a basketball court overlaid with a deep voice hammering home the point that in order to achieve what you want, get to your dreams, accomplish amazing results, and live the life you want, you've got to change your mindset? 

I love those videos.

And I realized recently that they're usually focused on physical achievement. The visual part anyway - typically they highlight men and women accomplishing astronomical physical feats - or even ordinary ones that most people still wouldn't strive to achieve. But what of the men and women who's dreams and goals are to own their own business, make their living through art, build their own house, travel the world, write a book, master the art of French cooking? The action shots of those people might not be as visually stirring (the artist in her studio, meticulously detailing an illustration, the writer at his laptop, searching for the right adjective, the aspiring chef in her kitchen, tasting a Bolognese sauce and making notes), but that doesn't mean they're any less inspiring. 

What does it mean to really go after goals? If we can begin to consider that our minds are actually built like a circuit, and the missing link between where we are and where we want to be is in rewiring our thoughts, then it seems achievable, doable, maybe even a relief, easy. But here's the real deal: that takes practice. Constant honing, developing, nurturing. The mind is not so easily swayed, and will, just like a boomerang, come back to its comfortable and natural habitat time and time again - until the natural habitat is positivity, optimisim, knowing that you are great, the best, that you will achieve what you want. 

As a freelancer and self-employed person, the one who goes out there and determines my own destiny, I practice this every day. And it just dawned on me that the motivational video of my own life, my success today and in the future, might not look like so many of the ones that already exist. The shots might be of me in my office, typing this very blog post, drawing words, brainstorming creative projects, having coffee with other like-minded creative and entrepreneurial men and women, taking yoga, calling potential clients, making lunch in the middle of the day, etc. etc. etc. And at the end of the day, when I sometimes want to only focus on what I didn't get done, what I haven't achieved, and all the 'what if's that come along with that, I practice filling my head instead with belief. That this, today, this moment, right now, is another opportunity. Not an obligation. This is an opportunity for me to live my dream, share my passion, touch someone else's life, offer freedom, time, attract adventure, wealth, and stories.

So I challenge you, dear readers, to try this out this week. Every morning when you wake up, say to yourself, 'I've got this amazing opportunity to live, to be, to create, today.' Train your mind to be your biggest and most unconditional fan. 

If you liked this post, share your thoughts in the comments below. And click here for a free PDF download of the inspirational motivational quote I created just for you. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, Instagram, reblog, repost to your favorite followers, and add the @jillyink so I can be a part of the conversation!

 

Cheers to you and this amazing Monday.

Free Friday Artwork: Cut Through the Bull

It's so gorgeous here in Oakland, it's almost impossible to stay inside and do work! I hope wherever you are that the weather is beautiful, or if it isn't, then you're able to make it a beautiful day regardless. This week has been all about getting to the intention behind everything. Everything from relationships and communication, to work and career, can be strengthened through a clear intention and objective behind it. And it may take some time, practice, some trials and triumphs, but when you really, fully, listen to your gut, cut through all the bull (that we tell ourselves, and we listen to from other people), every action you take will be aligned towards your goals.

So for your free Friday printable, here's a little minty reminder to get straight to the point. Click here to download a PDF, and then print it out, put it on your desktop, share it with your friends, and then go LIVE it!

 

If you liked this post, tell me all about it in the comments! Add the @jillyink if you share it with your friends, and then go have an amazing weekend.

 

Cheers!

Free Download Friday - For the Bike Lovers

Biking Beauty - Preview Good morning and happy Friday! As promised, this is the first installment of my free downloadable illustrations to take with you for the weekend. It's so beautiful out here in California, but whether you live somewhere warm, or you've been in a wintry tundra for the last few months, dreaming of perfect bike riding days can help add a little fresh air to your daily pursuits. At least that's what the inspiration was behind this illustration. It's available here for you to download and print out, or save on your desktop. And if you'd like a ready-made beautiful print of it, it's also available for purchase in a myriad of different sizes over on my Society6 page.

Click here to download: Biking Beauty

Happy biking, or bike day-dreaming, and enjoy your weekend! If you enjoyed this post, or like the illustration, be sure to share or re-tweet it to all your bike-loving/typography-loving/hand lettering-loving friends. As always, remember to reference @jillyink, and to stay up to date with more free giveaways like this, and my perspective on being a creative entrepreneur, make sure to subscribe to the Ink Blot!

Cheers!

morning calligraphy: rumi style

rumi love valentines day is around the corner, and to lead up, i'm doing a series of love poetry calligraphy. starting with rumi's 'i swear'.

rumi close up

I swear, since seeing Your face,

the whole world is fraud and fantasy

The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf

or blossom. The distracted birds

can't distinguish the birdseed from the snare.

A house of love with no limits,

a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,

a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

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A little beauty for your January morning. I hope you enjoy!

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new! art work available on etsy

i've been receiving a lot of lovely feedback on the newest september show up at both sides gallery in pilsen, chicago. and an overwhelming amount of questions on how to purchase the work, if it's for sale, where can it be shipped to, etc etc etc. sept second fridays

so! with great aplomb and excitement, i'm proud to announce that all the framed typographical illustrations currently on view at the gallery are also available for purchase through the jilly ink etsy shop. browse away, but remember- these are one-of-a-kind pieces of work, so be quick to the draw if you want one for yourself!

 

have a lovely and gorgeous and wonderful september autumn day!

a whole bunch of bones

2nd fridays wallribcage illustration{'bigger is better' 11x14 original illustraion - $175 w/frame}

Phew! August is already more than halfway over, and it seems crazy to me that so much has happened in the first 19 days of this summery month. Renovating and revamping a gallery space in Pilsen, frantically making work for the Chicago Arts District 2nd Fridays Art Walk, hanging the show, frantically making more work for the Pilsen Unisono Festival, designing a mini jilly ink booth, teaching painting classes, planning for the next three months at the gallery, putting together some exciting editorial work for magazines, commercial work for clients, and plugging away at the upcoming designs from the jilly ink wedding stationery line - this has been one crazy month, to say the least.

pelvis illustration{'so tight' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame SOLD}

finger illustration{'long and hard' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame SOLD}

cheekbone illustration{'nice cheeks' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame}

 

The thing is, though, I'm realizing I wouldn't have it any other way. Ok, maybe with a little less pressure, but honestly, the deadlines, the excitement, the collaboration, planning, productive daydreaming, painting - living fully in everything I'm passionate about is so incredibly exhilarating. I'm so pleased to share with you the work that made it into the gallery for the month of August.

 

rockin curves{'rockin' curves' 11x14 original illustration - $175 w/frame}

 

 

And! Look for some pretty/strange/pretty strange skull prints to be popping up in the jilly ink Etsy shop this week as well!

 

unisono fest table{skulls & script 11x14 prints - $15 each - coming soon to the jilly ink shop}

 

 

(* if you're interested in purchasing any of the original art work from the 2nd Fridays Art Show, please feel free to email me at jilly.ink@gmail.com or call Both Sides Gallery at 419-543-2248)

nine months and a new show

bigger is better insta nine months ago, i was invited to show work at the gorgeous both sides gallery space in pilsen, chicago. it was a magical experience, full of meeting new people (one of which just so happens to be pouring me a cup of coffee right now), putting my art work out there, gathering feedback, and becoming exposed to one of the most vibrant art communities in this fair city.

tonight, nine months (to the day, and date - how about that?) later, i'll be showing another series. you may remember when i drew a few bones back in the fall.. well, i've decided to expand on that idea and move a little deeper..ehem.. into the body, and context. the theme of this month's show is 'inner beauty', so my take on that was to use suggestive phrases typically geared towards certain parts of the female and male bodies, and juxtapose them alongside illustrations of bones about which they'd be construed as positive attributes. i'll have much more photos to post next week about the opening tonight (i might have a few pieces that need finishing this afternoon... ever the procrastinating artist), but here's a sneak preview of two of the pieces i'll be framing and hanging on the walls.

rockin curves insta

if you happen to find yourself in chicago tonight, stop by both sides gallery from 6-10pm, on the corner of 19th and halsted. or stop by anytime this month to take a gander at the show!

a stationer's dream anniversary

you always remember your first... anniversary. it's special, memorable, fresh in the mind. but the traditional gift isn't necessarily something that most people get all excited about. paper. it's not quite as shiny or sparkly as the jewel years, or the precious metal years. but, as a self-proclaimed paper lover myself, i can't help but think that this one might actually be the best. sure, a lot of people most likely go the traditional book route, but there's so much room for creativity with this one, that it's almost a shame to waste it with something typical. i've had the pleasure to work with two very creative ladies on their first anniversary gifts to their husbands, and while they're both very different takes on the traditional gift, i think they're both incredibly special pieces that will eventually travel with each couple as they move forward beyond this first year of matrimony.

photo (2)for meredith, she wanted her and her husband's vows written out as 'something beautiful, in a romantic script'. they both wrote their own vows - and he even paused in the middle to play the guitar, a gesture that surely brought tears to more than just her eyes - and cherished those words so much that having them hung on their walls was a no-brainer.

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we decided on gray ink (a prevalent color in their wedding decor) and slanted script. i'm so pleased at how thrilled she is with the final result, and i'm sure the prints look even more beautiful framed, and on the walls of their home.

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IMG_3721danielle, my dear wonderful cousin, contacted me with a super unique idea for her first anniversary gift. her husband bobby has a side passion for dj-ing, so her thought was to have the lyrics of their first dance song- songbird - written out to look like a vinyl record. this was so much fun to create, and i'm in love with the progression of the script around the outside of the record. they just celebrated this past weekend, so congratulations danielle and bobby!

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i'm currently working on a super different wedding guest 'book' for a special bride, and i can't wait to see what other interesting and lovely and personal commissions come my way!

 

paper and pen crush

i've been doing a lot of perusing around the stationery world recently (and by recently, i really mean for the better part of the last three years), and i just have to remark on some of the lovely work that's kept my eyes trained on the screen (sometimes at the sacrifice of doing my own work... it's all in the name of inspiration, right?). pitbulls1

pitbulls and posies - an la-based paper goods and design shop run by amber moon (who seems to love her hippy-esque name just as much as i did upon first glancing at it). i love the mixture of softness and edge that permeate all of their projects. some of my favorites include the deconstructed chevron pattern with sequins suite for an elopement announcement, and their desert mod invite suite, full of vibrant colors, tumbleweed silhouettes, and a playful layout.

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~~~

neither snow1

neither snow - this lady's penmanship is breathtaking. all at once whimsical, fluid, edgy, and graceful, it's so utterly romantic, it makes complete sense why people would want her script on their invitation designs, or their bodies. i'm in love love with the parisian wedding for which she scripted dinner menus, place cards, and table numbers on distressed vases. it's all so timeless and fluid, organic and wistful, almost melancholic. i tend to draw a lot of inspiration from things that have those traits, and mara's hand is one of them.

neither snow2

 

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just a little eye-candy to keep you occupied for the rest of your afternoon, as you look longingly out the sunny window and wish you had an extension cord long enough to bring you outside to finish your work... err, or that could be just me. either way, happy wednesday!

a different way to say i love you

valentine's day is right around the corner. of course, how could anyone miss it? as soon as the last of the confetti was thrown from rooftops on new year's eve, pink heart-shaped pieces of construction paper began to line the windows of nearly every store - from nail salons to the corner deli to every stationary shop in this town. while i don't quite agree with the amount of pressure that these two back-to-back holidays inevitably assume, i do always think any inclination to let the people in your life know how much you love and appreciate and value and lust after them is good. so, without further ado, the jilly ink valentine suite, currently available in the shop:

'darling don't you know - i fucking love you' cards - $4.50

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'oh baby - oh you kill me' cards - $4.50

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'oh shit - ok - fine - i love you' cards - $4.50

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love stickers! $3 per sheet of 24 stickers

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happy loving!

joy and weddings and logos galore

for the past few weeks, i've been designing and drawing up a storm here in the (for the meantime) stormless city of chicago. i thought i'd share a few of the most recent projects i've finished. first up, for our recent lululemon athletica store reopening party at the 900 n michigan location, we decided to honor our amazing yoga, run, spin, and dance ambassadors (see the lovley amber cook, rebecca niziol, antonia desantis, mike thomson, karim tonsy, and jim bennit). custom cards housed a very special surprise for them, and i was more than happy to provide the lettering for these inspiring and incredible members of the downtown chicago community.

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secondly, a lovely wedding logo for a couple of engaged new yorkers, wilma and theresa. they wanted a design that brought the two of them together with their new shared surname. i think it'll look lovely on everything they decide to use it on throughout their wedding planning, and thereafter.

wilma wedding logo final

 

and thirdly, the most lovely woman from north carolina contacted me a few weeks ago to design the logo for her wedding photography business. anne liles is incredibly talented, and her style is so indicative of everything i find beautiful about love - the simplicity, the purity, the vibrancy and richness of all the senses. she captures all of that and more, and i was so pleased to be able to design something that represents that, along with her motto, 'life is art'.

anne liles photography final