SketchKon 2018 Sketchbook 2

While I was at SketchKon I drew often and made illustrated notes of the presentations, panels, and workshops that I took.

SketchKon 2018 was an Unconventional convention with artists and teachers from Sketchbook Skool as well as sketchbook artists from around the world.

©2018, Suzanne Gibbs Art, Page from SketchKon 2018 Sketchbook.

I ran out of paper in my first sketchbook, so I started a second one during the conference. Upon returning from this trip I sat down to add color to a few pages in this second sketch book. Then I made a video flip through. I hope that if you have any questions or comments that you feel free to contact me.


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©2018 Suzanne Gibbs Art, SketchKon 2018 Sketchbook Page, Airline delay doodle pattern.

©2018 Suzanne Gibbs, SketchKon 2018 Illustrated Notes Sketchbook Page, Art Talk

SketchKon 2018 Sketchbook

A video of my travel journal and illustrated notes from SketchKon 2018—An unconventional convention with artists and teachers from Sketchbook Skool.

© Suzanne Gibbs Art, SketchKon 2018 Sketchbook Page, Yellow T-shirt Boy + Travel Notes

Towards the beginning there are 2 pages that were created before the trip in preparation for the presentation I gave during the conference.

Video created and produced by Suzanne of Suzanne Gibbs Art ©2018. Follow Suzanne on YouTube here.

©2018 Suzanne Gibbs Art, SketchKon 2018 Illustrated Notes Sketchbook Page, Panel discussion on travel sketchbooks.

Navigating Art Business Coaching

I recently received this email from an artist whom I met on line:

Hi Suzanne,

I’m writing to ask you about the Inner Circle art business coaching program that Alyson B. Stanfield runs.

I’ve been going back and forth about it since last year. What’s been stopping me is that it’s a lot of money for me at the moment. I think what we get out of these courses and the coaching depends on what we put into it, and also where we are in our businesses. You’re the only one I speak to who’s in the program, so I figured I’d get your perspective. Can you tell me if, from your point of view, you got any financial return from it?

Thanks for your time!

With gratitude, An Artist (name withheld for privacy)

Hi Dear Artist Friend!

You caught me online this morning! I am excited to respond.

In answer to your question, yes!

As you stated already—you must take responsibility for your own career and do the work!

The support of coaching and peer feedback is great. Please note you initiate all your own work—no one will tell you what to do. Alyson teaches a business framework from which you can support your career as an artist. I believe most artists in her programs do increase sales potential. In her program you will receive suggestions and regular feedback. You will be asked questions that you may not have thought to ask yourself. These questions will lead to new insight when you take the time to write and reflect + try new things.

You’ll need to be open to doing stuff even when your first reaction is… ah, NO!

Artists become more successful when they tightly focus their work and visual voice. This is work I love to do, and I am currently exploring ways to make this my business focus.

You’ll get much more out of the program if you show up to the monthly group meetings with Alyson and your peers in the group. Make sure to prepare ahead and ask questions. Then also listen to other artists questions in the live format of video conferencing. In the IC, you may possibly learn more from each other than from the actual coaching. These group meetings are terrific! However, if you do need to miss them, for whatever reason, there are taped versions of the meetings. The taped versions are perfect for the times when you really do have a conflict and the other work is priority. I might add, if you have a regular day job, the live meetings might be harder to incorporate into your schedule. You’ll need to decide if you will feel comfortable watching or listening to group meetings after they have been recorded or will you possibly feel as though you’ve missed out.

If you have never worked with a coach before, then you should know that there will be times when you feel like a shredded Bansky painting or a wilting flower in need of love, water and sunshine.

This is normal! When this happens, remember to reach out for help. The coaching team and your peers will be there to lend support and encouragement. If you are always needy and reaching out for help, then it is time to ask yourself two things: do I really want to be a visual artist and am I taking full responsibility for my own future as an art business owner and entrepreneur?

I am not sure how many of Alyson’s classes or workshops you have taken. Take a look back at them. The classes or ideas within classes that you may have resisted, might be the stuff you need to focus on. The Inner Circle (IC) can be a good place to get support for these sticky issues. I suggest this research as a starting place for your exploration about deciding whether to join the Inner Circle or not.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2015, Dorky Doodle Femme Fatal. Paper, Ink. 14 x 11 inches. $195

A few final notes.

  1. Alyson’s website has a huge library that Inner Circle members may access at anytime during the program. The information in the library is vast. I think Alyson could sell membership programs to her library because there is so much good juicy stuff!
  2. If the program creates a financial hardship, then I’d say, wait and save your money. Jpoin when you’ve saved the funds. You will be learning things that will require further financial outlay during the program. Being frustrated about money will not lead to excellent results.
  3. Alyson’s programs are best suited to fine artists, not illustrators or other types of creative work.
  4. Creating fine art for sale and teaching art are two different businesses. Many artists run both types of businesses as a means to self support and as a passion for what they do. When embarking on the path of joining the Inner Circle, it may be helpful to focus on one side of an art business. Not both in the same year. It is too much work to grow both an art business and a teaching business at the same time and do the work well.
  5. Many artists repeat the Inner Circle program for more than one year. The first year being the foundational year of building sustainable art business systems. The second or third years as business and income growth years. I am not suggesting that you will not see increased sales in your first year, but many see better results in repeat years (as told to me by other artists, I have only completed one year).

When, and if, you decide to join the IC, I recommend that you spend a massive amount of time on the intake paperwork and goal setting part in December and early January. The prep work you do will become your map for the year (the IC year is January–October). You are the guide to your own growth, the IC community is the support structure.

I hope this helps!

This post is my personal response and opinion about the Inner Circle program created by Art Biz Success and is not endorsed or affiliated to Alyson B. Stanfield’s work.

Walking While Musing, Episode 7

Thoughts on art and life while I am out and about in Denver Colorado.

Enjoy Episode 7 of Walking While Musing by Suzanne. This musing has no focus! I tried, I honestly did! Three times! You’ll have to watch to see what I mean.

I honestly found it nearly impossible to focus on musing while walking in a city. I realize my tiny small town life really is a part of who I am now. Langlois Oregon is only 177 people big! There are more cows and sheep in our little part of the world than people.

However, what I can say is that I know that in building a creative life it is important to get out of our comfort zone from time to time. I did this by creating this video!

Create adventure in your own life by doing something alone that seems just a little bit out of reach. Record what you have accomplished and reflect on what can be learned from the experience.

I know that if I were to record a musing again while in a city I would maybe feel just a tiny bit less uncomfortable than I did on this first time adventure.

My hope for others is that even while living in a city that you may find a bit of respite and beauty in your own surroundings (or watch my videos for nature breaks).

Includes a full deep breath at the end. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.

I will have a chance to try to musing in a big city again soon! I will be in Los Angeles in November and I will record another city video while I am at SketchKon. PS. I am a presenter at SketchKon this year, the first ever SketchKon Convention!

Then in December I will be in NYC and will dare to create a third walking while musing video. I plan to visit my sketchbook that lives in Brooklyn in The Sketchbook Project Library.

Please join me on these adventures! You do not want to miss out!

I would love it if you could go on over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

100 Subscribers would mean I can make a custom channel brand name! Only 97 to go! 🙂

Art Break!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Terrible, Flashe paint and other media on wood cradled panel, 14 x 11 inches, $375

October 2018 Sketchbook

Suzanne Gibbs Art October 2018 Sketchbook is ready!

Each month I fill a sketchbook and share it here on my blog via video. Below you can find my October 2018 sketchbook. Comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions are always welcome!

My sketchbooks are made for ME, and generously shared with you!

This month I found I barely had any drawing in me and only a little bit of painting. Instead writing filled my pages. The important thing was that I showed up for myself. By doing this my creative spirit knows it can trust me. I believe soon, my drawing and painting will come back. I am patient with my creativity. Are you?

I invite you to make your sketchbook pages 100% personal!


Prioritize and do less, better.

First, take a sheet of paper and write down at least 10 things you really want to do or make.

Go ahead, leave this post. Come back when you have your list. Or stare at the beautiful plan doing what it does best. Growing and showing off in fall with reads!

©2018 Suzanne Gibbs, fall bush, iPhone photography.

Hi! Do you have your list? Now we do the prioritizing!

I am sharing a nifty chart with you that does the work for you! What? Yes! Really!

Check it out!

Here is the link to the chart. Don’t worry, it will open in a new tab so that you can come back over here when you’re finished. Fill the chart in with your ten items. Have fun. Use the instructions on the page. Then come back and comment: how was this experience for you?

A few things I have learned from using this tool.

You get out of it what you put into it. If you put information in the chart that you really never wanted in the first place you are wasting your time. If you use the chart with stuff you really love and want to do or make this chart can help you prioritize. Once you prioritize you can know what to start with first!

Why prioritize?

  1. Doing everything means doing nothing at all.
  2. Doing less means more success.
  3. Doing what you love, people will feel your energy and enthusiasm and gravitate towards you.

I could write more, but I like you will prioritize today. Less is more. Doing what matters, matters most.

If I have helped one artist to know without a doubt what project is best to work on next, I am 100% satisfied with this blog post.

Walking While Musing, Episode 6

In this Walking While Musing episode I follow through on a promise from Episode 1 when I told my audience I would walk around the cabin we are currently building.

Interestingly, what I noticed first when I went to walk around the construction site looking at it through the eyes of my audience is: garbage! Piles of garbage.

To build requires the use of materials. Just as to create requires the use of materials. I don’t think we set out to make garbage, but the garbage is the result of the process.

In short, we need a certain amount of garbage to build a creative life we desire!

I hereby give you permission to make a little bit of garbage in order to make and build your best creative life!

As always I include a full deep breath at the end. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.


I would love it if you could go on over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

Pretty please!

100 Subscribers would mean I can make a custom channel brand name! Only 97 to go! 🙂

Art break!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, OPEN, Flashe paint and other media on wood cradled panel, 16 x 16 inches, $480

Artists “See” Naturally

I recently saw a social media post about wood. In particular the patterns of wood at the cellular level magnified a gazillion times. The images instantly made me think of the work of other artists and even my own work.

As artists, and the way we painstakingly pay attention to detail, do we “see” naturally, what scientist study through a microscope?

Below is the link and images to the study of wood at the cellular structure.

The Mesmerizing Microscopy of Trees: Otherworldly Images Revealing the Cellular Structure of Wood Specimens

The work that I have made that “feels” similar in visual content to the tree cellular structure pictured above is pictured below.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, A Big Event. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Black Ops Zero. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Line and Dot. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Stadium Arousal 2. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, City Blocks. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Heap O’. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Heap O’. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Stadium Arousal 5. Paper, Ink. 12 x12 inches, $175

These works are all available, please email to inquire about purchasing. Thank you.

Feminism + Art

I believe in feminism for these reasons. Equality. Equal chance. Equal notoriety. The vote. The possibilities. We are all people.

The conversation about women’s rights started a long time ago, and has yet to find resolution.

I am a feminist, but I do not wear the label on my sleeve. Labels in general are divisive. I believe in understanding and listening + honoring other peoples choices. So long as what others are doing are not oppressive or dismissive of the rights of others.

Obviously, my utopian world is a long way off.

This month I had the pleasure of listening to a podcast of one of art history’s feminist greats. I am happy to share it with you.

Linda Nochlin Explores the Role of Women in the Arts in a Previously Unaired Interview

Women have participated in making art since the beginning of time. Yet, their participation in the art world has been blocked. Linda Nochlin has some wonderful thoughts on this topic.

When this podcast come in my email I set myself up to make art and listened intently. I invite you to get yourself set up to make art, then hit play and listen while making. Enjoy! If you have thoughts or ideas, please comment or write me a message.

Since sharing is what I do, please enjoy viewing my art below.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2015, Dorky Doodle Wind-Me-Up. Paper, Ink. 14 x 11 inches. $195

As a female artist, am not a pawn in a game. I am human. You cannot wind me up, because I make my own life. Plus, I can draw how I feel.

I’d also love to share a painting I made 8 years ago. At the time I was exploring the idea of the female form in grids and behind “bars” or structures. In my mind, the grids both hold us up and hold us back.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2010, Girl in Garden, oil, 48 x 24. SOLD

Crafting a Life, Part 2

Edited. Originally published on May 21, 2012.

These things are true about me, crafting my life.

I made art as a baby, crafted as a child, and studied art as a young adult. As a yound adult I made my living in graphic design work. Throughout my life I studied art again, and then again and again—always a student. My favorite form of communication is visually and in writing. Crafting and creating a life is beautiful and artful living matters.

My childhood can be measured in creative phases: I have painted, drawn, cross-stitched, quilted, sewed, puppet crafted, made art with yarn and fabric, card crafted, knitted, clay + ceramic building, learned batik, made macramé, put together plastic model airplanes, used fire to fuse encaustic, installed art installations, and authored books. Constantly creating with my hands and heart. My mind got involved later when I studied to receive my MFA.

An Original Suzanne Utaski (my maiden name), created in ceramics class 8th grade. Inspired by Goodnight Moon.

In recent weeks I have been consumed with the idea of helping artists to more fully express their visual voice. To calibrate a newly crafted way of life, I believe we need the voices of all kinds of people to mingle, listen, and share.

I feel as though I am uniquely qualified to do this work. As I mentioned, I started expressing my creative voice as a child. In addition to arts and crafts, I regularly created costumes and dressed up. I did performances with friends, for friends, with family and for family. My life as a child was full, provocative, and exciting. Growing up in Mexico and Brazil, I absorbed cultural differences at a very young age. Learning to love all kinds of people. Growing up without TV or the Internet allowed my imagination and utopian vision of our world to flourish.

Crafting or making things was a typical part of my play and my day in my house.

I did not know that I was very lucky to grow up this way. What I’d like to do now is help others to craft a life worth sharing. If you are reading this, implore you to follow your curiosity, and make your ideas sharable (not only on the internet).

The internet is a gift and a hindrance.

We’ve begun to loose the joy of personal expression as we swish our fingers across screens. Vicariously living through other people’s content, we loose sight of our own. I know I am guilty of social media surfing! Children as young as 9 months can be seen “playing” on their parents or their own iPhone’s or iPad’s. I fear loosing touch with their own voice, before it even has a chance to develop.

The inherent joy in crafting a life well lived is beautiful.

Making items by hand: whether we call it crafting, craftivism, studio crafting, making, creating, art, drawing, painting or whatever—the innate desire to communicate and create connection—is of huge value to humanity. Our voices matter. Communication through objects we make to share is worthy and worthwhile.

Fully realizing your voice and then learning how to best express that story is priceless.

I remember going into New York City with my mother as a teenager in 1979. We visited a museum show about American Quilts. Many of the the quilts on display in the exhibition were made by the Amish. Included also was an exploration of the tradition of quilting in America. The quilts were beautiful, the show had a historical framework that enhanced the story of the quilts and all of them were hung like paintings on the walls of the museum. At this show I could feel the passion. Art creation requires the use of the makers’ hand, heart, and voice.

I think this exhibit was possibly the beginning of my love affair with art. More specifically art made by women. The quilts represented art that was both beautiful and practical.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, 100 Postcard Series, #9, Mixed Media, varied sizes.

I enjoyed the quilt show so much that I spent the next year designing and making my first quilt. Entirely by hand with help from my mother.

 I crafted the quilt, for use in my own life.

Later, I took the quilt to college with me. Four years after that, I took the quilt across the country from Pittsburgh to California for my first job and apartment.

My quilt was stolen from me.

One night while enjoying a date in San Francisco my boyfriends’ car got broken into and the quilt was gone when we returned. I hoped the person that took my quilt needed the item for warmth. Instead of anger, I held the image of the thief needing the warmth of a crafted object.

To me, objects made by hand hold more value than those purchased in big box stores.

The objects made by hand can be anything: quilts, paintings, drawings, or books. What matters most is the person who made the work and that they are realizing and sharing their voice.

“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” (Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy)

To me, art is craft and craft is art. My head, heart, and hands have make all the work I have ever created. I have a lifetime of experience in expressive creation.

I now have the desire to understand, share, and cultivate not only my voice but that of other artists as well.

There are those who persist in the separation of Art and Craft, and they should because it helps both sides to stretch and grow as they argue the hierarchy in arbitrarily created constructs. However, I am happy to be the middle person and persist in working and believing in both camps while helping artists to realize the importance of their own voice in whatever medium they choose.


Crafting a life, Part 1 can be found in this previous blog.