#123 Janine Vangool: Magazines and Books for the Creative and Curious

Janine Vangool is the creator of Uppercase, a magazine for the creative and curious. In each issue, she tells you about artists and makers and the cool things that they do. She’s also created a series of books called the Encyclopedia of Inspiration, and that includes titles like Vintage Life, Ephemera, and Print/Maker. All of her publications are independent and ad-free. Janine works from Calgary, Alberta, Canada where she started out in graphic design. She always had an interest in publishing, and after creating smaller books and magazines, she went all in with Uppercase. She’s in her 11th year with Uppercase magazine and it’s distributed all over the world.

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Janine Vangool

Issue 43 is the most recent issue of the magazine.
The magazine proofs as Janine receives them.
This is just one way that Janine keeps track of the production of an issue.
Uppercase Magazine and the Encyclopedia of Inspiration.
Janine with fabrics from her Volume 1 collection at Windham Fabrics.

You can find out about Uppercase Magazine, the Encyclopedia of Inspiration, and her other books on her website, uppercasemagazine.com.

You can also find Janine on Instagram @uppercasemag.

If you’d like to post photos on Instagram related to your love of Uppercase magazine, use #uppercaselove.

You can participate in future issues and learn about open calls here on the website.

Here is the link to Janine’s fabric collections with Windham Fabrics.

And finally, these links would not be complete without a link to The Shatner Show, one of her very first books.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. If you have a project idea, no matter how unusual it may be, go for it anyway. Janine created a book celebrating William Shatner, and she had a whole party and book launch for it that was a huge success. Why not? As she said, it put the Uppercase name on the map.
  2. There’s something to be said for not overthinking a project ahead of time. So often you just need to jump in, like Janine did when she started her magazine. If she had thought too long about it, she probably would have focused on the obstacles to overcome and she may never have done it.
  3. Magazine publishing can be good for you because they are put out on a regular schedule. You may like that type of work if you like routine and the feeling of accomplishment each time you complete a new issue.
  4. You also may like the accountability of a regular schedule. Many business owners need that external accountability to get things done.
  5. Think about how patterns that you have designed can be used for other things. Janine used the spine patterns from her magazines to create a line of fabrics for Windham Fabrics.
  6. Janine uses the app Evernote to keep track of all her projects. It’s also great for when you are at the idea stage and you just want to keep track of ideas you have for future topics. If she sees someone on Instagram she likes, she takes a screen shot of them and then saves that in Evernote so she won’t forget them.
  7. Janine got a call from someone who asked her how she does things. She ended up inviting them to collaborate on a project with her. You never know when or where you’ll find collaboration partners, so think in those terms when you talk to other creatives and business people.

#122 Renda Writer: Mural Artist Painting for World Peace

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

Renda Writer

Renda Writer’s website is, of course, rendawriter.com.

You can find his most up-to-date happenings on his instagram @rendawriter.

Check out his World Peace Mural Tour — so far 70 murals in 8 countries.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. There are so many things that can inspire your art. Look at your background, at the music you listened to, at your hobbies during school to inform what you might like to do today. For Renda, he listened to hip hop music, and began to compose his own poetry and then to write his poetry on found objects.
  2. Your passion for what you do should make you always feel like you’re just getting started and you have a lot to conquer.
  3. When trying something new, like the first time he did a big mural, approach it from a point of having no fear. Just do it and enjoy the process.
  4. Doing any kind of live art making will have the potential for getting more work opportunities. People like to see artists do their thing, and you may find that painting a mural outside in public, for example, will attract onlookers and more clients. You may not get the job that day, but it may come in the future because they remember the conversation they had with you when you were painting.
  5. Think of everything you do as a long-term investment for your future. You may not see the work coming to you right away, but if you keep going, you will see it in the future.
  6. As an artist, you need to be able to part with your work. Remind yourself that you’re an artist, not a collector, and when you have an opportunity to create your art, you go for it then move on to the next piece.
  7. When Renda is writing a word or phrase over and over, he is bringing awareness and energy to those words. He’s found that after writing something hundreds or thousands of times, the meaning, feeling, and result of those words comes to him. It works like a mantra that you say over and over. He can attest that mantras work when you want to bring positive energy to yourself. As he says, words effect change, and you can write things into existence.
  8. One key thing you need to be available for when projects come your way is to be prepared. That will mean different things for each person. For him, it probably means being flexible with his time when he books a mural somewhere. Because if he’s not stuck in a schedule where he has to leave right when the mural is finished, he can stay longer if other murals come his way.
  9. If you’re doing live art that’s open to the public, be sure and tweet out your location or put it on Instagram so your followers can come out and see what you’re doing.
Renda Writer Love Mural
Suzanne Redmond in front of the Love mural in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

#121 Jo Packham: Creator of Magazines and Champion of Women

Jo Packham is the creator and editor of Where Women Create magazine. She now has four magazine titles, and just over a year ago she switched to a new publisher. She’s always been an advocate for women and the arts, and she’s continued that with her new partnership with Women’s Leadership Live.  In addition to her magazine work, she is hugely involved in her community of Ogden, Utah. She recently opened up an event space there called Urban Studio, which people can use for parties and classes.

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

Jo Packham award

Jo Packham

Where Women Create Work was awarded by Samir Husni – Mr. Magazine and the MPA for winning the 
Hottest Launched Magazine in 2018 – WHERE WOMEN CREATE WORK. 
Jo Packham (behind magazine) having fun with her partners at last year's Women's Leadership Live tour.
This is a special issue that Jo has created.

You can find information about all of Jo Packham’s magazines at wherewomencreate.com.

If you’d like to submit your artwork, studio, or business to any of Jo’s magazines, please see her submission guidelines. Remember that if she doesn’t respond right away, be persistent and email her again.

You can also find her on Instagram: @jo_packham, @wherewomencreate, @wherewomencreatework

She’s also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Jo will be working with Women’s Leadership Live next year when they go on tour to celebrate International Women’s Day. That day is March 8, but they’ll be starting the last week of February and will be touring for about six weeks. You can visit Jo’s website or the WLL website for the dates and locations of their tour.

If you’re in Ogden, Utah, you can visit Jo’s Urban Studio to see if you’d like to use the space for a party or event.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. More than once, Jo Packham has contacted someone to have a meeting and see if there was some way they could work together. That’s how she first created a magazine with Stampington. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who you think would make a great collaborator.
  2. When working with collaborators, listen to the suggestions that they have related to their expertise. They know their specialty areas and what has worked for them.
  3. If you’d like to be sure that a new project you’d like to do is something people would like, then take a poll of your readers, or listeners, or students, and ask them exactly what kind of content they would like from you.
  4. Jo has found that the artists she profiles like to take their own photos. She doesn’t need to hire professional photographers anymore. Recognize that artists today are excellent photo stylists and trust that they will provide you excellent photos for your collaboration.
  5. Jo has recognized that women business owners have many valuable things to offer, even if they are a very small business. Don’t limit yourself to only working with large companies because there are many niche business owners who are experts and very business savvy in their own right.
  6. If you make a major change to your business, like Jo did when she moved from Stampington publishing her magazines to Disticor, make visual changes too so that your customers, readers, or students will know that your company has changed.
  7. When naming your company, be sure to search names online, in your state, and globally to make sure no one else is already using the name.
  8. If you want to try something new and very different than what you’ve done before, test it out for a short time period and see what your customers’ response is. That’s what Jo did when she created the combined Where Women Create Work magazine issue in partnership with Women’s Leadership Live. And by the way, that issue that she talks about here is on newsstands right now.
  9. Since questioning her readers, Jo has learned that they want hard core information, but not in a 20-page article. People today want actionable business tips explained in a concise manner. Keep that in mind with blog posts and articles, that people today want powerful but shorter stories.
  10. Jo has 4 magazines, and recognizes that people will search for her website using any of the 4 magazine names. What she’s done is, no matter what name you type in, they will all go to the same website. You can do that too, for example, the names of your different retreats, or the name of your book. You can set it up where they all go back to your one website.

#120 Rae Missigman: Maker of Marks and Crafter of Color

Rae started her art journey with simple mark making onto pages, and she later moved to painting and crafting her own mark making tools. She now teaches online classes, as well as live art retreats, including an upcoming one in Italy. Rae has also published a book of her techniques and projects called Paint Play Explore, and she tells us about the process it took to write and photograph her book.

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

Rae Missigman

Rae’s website is raemissigman.com.

Her Instagram is @raemissigman.

Rae’s Pocket Journal Class that she teaches with Sandi Keene can be found at popupartclasses.com.

You can find her line of stencils with StencilGirl Products here.

Her Italy retreat is through Prone to Wander Retreats. You can find out more information here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. For Rae, mark making was a kind of therapy in that it allowed her to get energy out, and later to get words out and put them on the paper, even if they weren’t legible. You may find that the act of just making hash marks and counting, or just making swirls with your pencil may help you through difficult times.
  2. Anything can be used for mark making, and it doesn’t have to be something you purchase. Rae has repurposed all kinds of household objects for mark making, such as paper rolls, string, and rubber bands.
  3. It’s great to learn the rules of how to do something, like when you’re being taught a technique with certain steps in an art class, but then dare to break the rules and try what works for you.
  4. If you want to feel accomplished in your art making, work small so that it is easily completed. Finishing a project will feel very rewarding to you.
  5. As your art style evolves, Rae recommends that you don’t go back and erase your old art. It enables you to see your progress and it will make you feel good about where you are.
  6. If you have 15 minutes just make a little art. With our busy lives, it’s often easier to just do small art pieces rather than large because we don’t have large chunks of time to work on it.
  7. Rae worked with a publisher on her first book Paint Play Explore. The benefits of this over self-publishing for her were that they kept her accountable during the long time it took to create the book, and they had a marketing team that helped with the design and promotion.
  8. Rae was asked to teach a class in Italy. To get ready for that, she booked other live classes leading up to it.

#119 Susan Lenart: Creating Sacred Devotional Jewelry

Susan Lenart is a jewelry artist, silversmith, and designer. Looking for inspiration, she traveled the world to study different cultures and their adornment. Digging even deeper, she studied how things physically connect, not just jewelry pieces but all kinds of things, so she could adapt these connection techniques to her jewelry. She has created a unique style of jewelry, and she shares her techniques through her books, classes, and retreats.

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

Susan Lenart

Here are some of the things we discussed on this episode (click on the names to follow the links):

Susan’s website is susanlenartkazmer.com.

Go to Susan’s Facebook page for her weekly Facebook Lives on Thursdays.

She also can be found on Instagram @susanlenartkazmer.

Susan’s free e-course is called The Alchemy of Soldering. You can sign up here.

Registration for her Intentional Metalsmithing six-month mentorship and training begins on September 20. You can sign up here.

Susan is hosting a retreat in Morocco in 2020. You can find out the information here.

Her calendar of other in person workshops is on her website here.

Be on the lookout for her re-release of her book Making Connections. That will be available in October, 2019. 

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Offering an online class for free will enable your potential new students to see what you’re like and what you can offer. They will be much more likely to sign up for on of your paid classes if they’ve already gotten to know you. Susan has done this for her Alchemy of Soldering course.
  2. Providing a Facebook group for the students who take your class is a great way for the students to show off what they’ve made and encourage one another. As the instructor, you can also answer any of their questions there.
  3. Susan will be using Kajabi for her six-month mentoring program. Kajabi is a site where you can create online classes, develop online communities, and you can do group meetings.
  4. When Susan wanted to write her first book, Making Connections, she wanted to do it a certain way, unlike other books she has seen. The publishers she spoke with didn’t see her vision, so she decided to self-publish her book her own way. Self-publishing is a great option, and is probably a lot easier now than when Susan did it back in 2008. If you’d like to hear how one of my artists self-published a book of her art recently, you can listen to my Episode #93 with Lara Chapman and my follow up Episode #94 about how to self-publish a book of your art.
  5. Susan guides her students to make talismans that relate to themselves. She encourages them to look at the things that they collect, the items that they notice when they’re out in the world, and to consider using those in their art making. You can study other cultures as Susan has, but then she urges you to study your own life to make art that is personal to you.
  6. Susan doesn’t use the word talisman lightly. She believes that a talisman is putting energy into an object, and when you wear the talisman, you will feel that energy. That is why it is so important to use objects that resonate with you, so that you will no what energy is coming from it.
  7. Susan explains what she means by making a body of work. For her, she’ll be making many pieces that have similar materials, and keep the same voice, and keep the same direction. The many pieces together will talk as a bigger piece than one piece by itself. Keep this in mind when you are presenting your work in a solo show, or as many pieces within a larger gallery space.
  8. If you’d like to be more like a visionary with your business, start planning things years down the road. It makes you more proactive with your growth and motivates you to move forward.
  9. When looking to plan or attend an overseas retreat, look for locals who can help you with this. Susan has used Michelle Fletcher and her company Camels and Couscous to plan her Morocco retreat. Michelle has lived in Morocco for a long time.
  10. If Susan is being paid to show up as a teacher, she shows up as a teacher. She tries not to leak the other aspects of her business over to her teaching jobs, so for example, you won’t see her selling her jewelry during her classes.
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