#111 Lisa Congdon: Artist, Illustrator, and Author

Lisa Congdon is an artist with a unique illustrative and lettering style. You’ve probably seen her photographs of her collections, like erasers and tools. You’ve also probably heard of at least one of her many books, possibly her art business book called Art, Inc. She talks about her new book, Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic, and how she has created a successful career as an illustrator, and author.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Lisa Congdon

Lisa's book Find Your Artistic Voice will be available August 6, 2019.

Lisa’s website is lisacongdon.com

Her new book Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic will be published August 6, 2019. Check her Instagram page for book tour cities and dates.

Here are a few things Lisa mentioned during this interview:

She previously worked with artistic agent Lilla Rogers.

Her very first book was published by Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine. Uppercase is a great independently published magazine for creatives.

Lisa uses these platforms for creating and distributing her online classes: Skillshare, CreativeLive,  and CreativeBug. All of her course offerings can be found on her website.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Try to get over the labels you might have taken on as a child, like your sister is the artistic one, you are not creative. Lisa says she’s the last one her family would have predicted would have a successful art career. You need to get beyond your former labels and just do what you want to do.
  2. Share your work online, even if you don’t think it’s great yet. You’ll get better, and people will encourage you to do more.
  3. The more you work at something and the more you practice, the better you become at it.
  4. If you’ve been developing a portfolio in illustration, you may want to look into an agent who can mentor you and help you get clients.
  5. A great way to become a better artist and to garner attention for your work, is to do a multi-day project, like a 100 day project, with a theme, that you post to your Instagram. Back in the day, Lisa did this more than once and posted her photos of her artwork to her blog.
  6. When building your website, make sure you have proper SEO built in as well so that people can find you.
  7. When considering whether to sell your art on Etsy or any other online marketplace, evaluate the fees or commission they will be taking from your sales and whether that is still worth it for you.
  8. If you keep your art shopping on your website rather than a third-party site, that will keep your customers on your website and that will help you in the search rankings online.
  9. When you create a website to showcase your art, or when you hire someone to create it for you, make sure you have been given the instructions on how to add new art to your site. You don’t want to have a site created, and then have it be outdated immediately because you don’t know how to add more art. Think of your website as the professional face of your business. And one more thing: Don’t treat your Instagram account as your portfolio that you show to potential clients. You should have a website for that.
  10. When looking to offer online classes, you can go the route of you creating the video and everything yourself, or you can go through a company that can do the video and coach you through all aspects of making a class, like Lisa has done with using Skillshare, CreativeLive, and Creative Bug. These are great options if you need assistance in filming, editing, or distributing your class, but just remember that working with them means that they will take fees or commissions from your classes.
  11. When trying to figure out what you want to do, consider what brings you joy and what makes you get out of the bed in the morning. And then figure out what people are willing to pay for and what resonates for them, and find the sweet spot between the two.
  12. There will be many things out there that you’ll want to try, and you won’t find out if they’re successful until you do. You need to be curious enough to try the new thing.
  13. Part of gaining your artistic voice is learning to work with your fear. You’re not eliminating your fear, but you’re learning to work with it.
  14. Fear has an important purpose in your career, because you push through it and you learn from what you’ve done and get better at it.
  15. Lisa’s newest book, called Find Your Artistic Voice, will give you practice tips of how to work through the fear and anxiety, and how to keep moving to find your art. It also includes interviews with 11 artists who give more tips and affirmations toward finding your voice.

If you’re ever in Portland, Oregon, feel free to stop by Lisa’s retail shop:

LOCATION:
687 N Tillamook Street, Portland

HOURS:
Wednesdays and Fridays, 1-5 pm

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I’m just now listening (you’re a great listener as well as an interviewer by the way, no small accomplishment) but what the heck is an SEO? There is no obvious discussion about that acronym. Inquiring minds MUST know! Thanks!

    1. Avatar

      Ahh, the confusing but necessary SEO! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s all the little things you do with your website that help make it easier for people to find on the internet. It’s what gets you up to the top of the list when they search your name or studio name, or whatever. For example, you need to have relevant content, use keywords that people would search for, link to other websites, and use searchable headings. Just google “How to improve SEO” and you’ll find lots of suggestions. The bottom line for me, though, is I try to keep my website interesting and easy to navigate.

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