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Tuesday
Nov032015

Birthday Blessings

Hi Everyone,                                                                                                                                            
Birthdays are milestones on our journey through life… they give us a chance to pause and reflect on where we have been, to think about where we are heading, and to give thanks for the incredible blessing of being alive. And this year I am especially grateful for the wonderful people I’ve encountered in the Zenspirations® community, and the blossoming friendships forming. I was truly overwhelmed by the hundreds of beautiful and thoughtful cards and messages I received this year. I wish I could thank everyone individually, but since I am still going through all the messages, I thought I’d share the heartfelt thank you design I posted on my Facebook page:                                                                           

In addition to all of the supportive and congratulatory messages, my new book, L’Chaim: Celebrate Life… Judaic Expressions to Color & Inspire, arrived just in time for my birthday, which made it an extra-special celebration. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon, and is scheduled to ship November 10th.                

It’s hard to believe, but this is the fourth Create, Color, Pattern, Play book to be published in the past two months! (If you are keeping count, Birds & Butterflies and Expressions of Faith were released at the end of September; the mini ‘portable’ Color Peace came out at the beginning of October, and L’Chaim: Celebrate Life will be available this month.) Flowers of Faith, which I’m working on now, has been fast-tracked, so it should also be available by the end of November.                                                                                      

For me, the best part of the new titles is that we've added 16 full color pages to the front of the books, most of which are dedicated to the 'inspiration galleries' showcasing the myriad of ways that people interpret the same design. I am frankly in awe of the amazing images which are being shared, and invite you to check out the latest albums in the Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group, to get a sneak peak at some of the images which will be included in Flowers of Faith. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471158256528576/.                                                                        

 I feel so grateful to be part of this incredible creative community… to be in an ongoing creative collaboration with people all over the world means more than I can express. In fact, in celebration of the phenomenon, I’m working on a new business card:

I’m planning to put the contact info on the reverse side… and would welcome your comments. 

The ‘fast-tracking’ of the Flowers of Faith book somewhat derailed my schedule this week, so I must regretfully postpone posting the results of last week’s contest until next week… but I am deeply appreciative of all the thoughtful responses you shared, and will let you know how the product development process is going.                                                                                                                                                       
Stay Zenspired,
Joanne

 

 

Tuesday
Oct272015

Coloring Products & Prizes!

Hi Everyone, 

Coloring is SO popular, that in the last month I’ve been approached by several companies asking if I would design a line of ‘Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play’ products. There are not enough hours in the day to create all of the different concepts which have been proposed… and I would REALLY appreciate your help deciding what to design. To thank you for sharing your opinion, I’m offering four fabulous prizes— and the good news for all the international subscribers— you can enter! Here are the prizes:               
My new 2016 Scripture Calendar (from Hopper Press)
& two packages of Scripture Clear Stamps (from Impression Obsession)

 

DO Magazine’s 1st TWO issues (the Premiere Issue, shown below, and the 2nd issue, which will be on newsstands November 15th)
2 Zenspirations Cool Cups (from Tree Free Greetings)
GRAND PRIZE: A set of whatever products get made (based on YOUR input!). These are some of the products under consideration.
Below are close up views of the box of sticky notes:

and the jar label:


 

CONTEST RULES:
In order to have your name entered into a random drawing for one of the prizes, please leave a comment with your answers to the ten questions below. You may copy and paste the questions into the comment section, and then type your answers. Answers must be posted by end of day Saturday, October 31st… winners will be announced next week. Here are the questions:

1. How often do you color?    
                                                                                                                      
2. Would you be interested in coloring on ’things’ (as opposed to in books)?                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
3. Which of the following product categories would you be more inclined to color, or to give to a friend who enjoys coloring?                  
  A. Cards (i.e. greeting cards, note cards, photo frame cards) 
  B. Stationery products (i.e. shopping lists, sticky notes, journals, file folders) 
  C. Gift products (i.e. picture frames, bookmarks, cool cups)                                                                                                                               
4. Would you prefer to color products which have a white background, or where some part of the background is partially colored?
 

5. In a journal, would you prefer to color on the outside, or to color the borders of the pages in the journal?      
6. Which (if any) of the following products would you most like to buy? Please list your top three-to-five favorites in order of your preference.                                                                                                         
a. bookmarks
b. calendars
c. file folders
d. greeting cards
e. journals
f. key chains
g. magnets
h. memo cubes
i. note cards
j. pen cases
k. photo card holders
l. placemats
m. recipe cards
n. shopping lists
o. stickers/sticky-backed labels
p. sticky notes  
                                                                                                                                 
7. What product(s) do you want to color which AREN’T on the list above?                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
8. What are your favorite coloring tools?                                                                                                                                                                                                          
9. What are your favorite types of designs to color? (Feel free to mention a specific book, image or icon if you have a favorite)                                                                                                                                               
10. Is there anything you’d like me to keep in mind as I begin designing this line? I really welcome your suggestions.                                                                                                                                                     
THANK YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts… I greatly appreciate your input!                                                 
I spent some time this evening looking through all of the cool images which have been posted in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group this week. If you are a Color & Creativity Enthusiast, please take a few minutes to check them out... you can look at the feed, but the real treat is checking out the albums, where you can see the variety of ways that different artists interpret the same design. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471158256528576/.                                               
Last week I posted two free downloadable designs from one of my upcoming books in the Zenspirations blog, and I invite you to use them (or any of my other illustrations) as a springboard for your own creative efforts. Go ahead and add patterns, borders, and additional icons. Experiment with color and embellishments... and I encourage you to make the design more meaningful by adding whatever words call to your soul. You don't have to be an experienced artist to create... this is a chance to let YOUR creativity shine! And if you'd like me to consider including your work in one of my books, you can share your interpretation of any of my designs by posting a photo in the appropriate album. I look forward to seeing what you do!                                                               
Stay Zenspired,
Joanne

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct202015

COLOR PEACE

Hi Everyone,

I just got samples of COLOR PEACE, my first ‘miniature’ Create, Color, Pattern, Play book!

The front cover features the wonderful work of the uber talented Terri Brown, and the back cover showcases Helga Cuypers’ stunning mountain scene. Inside are 28 illustrations, and over 20 ‘inspiration examples’ from artists around the world. Below is a photo of one of the spreads:

 

The pieces below were done by:
Tracey Lyon (top left)
Amrit Kaur (top right)
Gwenn Kranz (bottom left)
Terri Brown (bottom right)
Ranae Davidson (full page)
The books will be sold at Cracker Barrel (an American restaurant/gift store chain), and should be available on Amazon soon. I’ll try to post a link when I have one.    
           
Last week I was excited to share that I had just sent my next Create, Color, Pattern, Play book to press… and this week I’m excited to let you know that I’ve already started designing the next one! “Flowers of Faith”  is the working title; and I'm planning to have scripture on half the pages, with the other half divided between image-only pages, and imagery accompanied by one of my favorite ‘Zenspirational’ sentiments. I would be grateful for your input on this-- does 1/2 scripture; 1/4 inspiration, 1/4 no text seem like a good ratio to you? If not, what would you recommend? You can share your thoughts by leaving a comment-- and if you let me know your favorite scripture(s), I'll try to include them.  
                     
I would like to include inspiration samples from as many ‘Color & Creativity Enthusiasts’ as I can, so I hope you’ll help me spread the word about the new book— and that I’m looking to showcase art from a variety of different people. Towards that end I’m posting two FREE downloadable designs for you to use as a springboard for YOUR creative efforts.        
 
BE STILL SIGN:

Click here to download the BE STILL SIGN.

 

THIS IS THE DAY TREE:

Click here to download the THIS IS THE DAY TREE:

 

 

CONTEST RULES:

For every design you post (and yes, you may post more than one version of the same page), your name will be entered into a random drawing for one of the following prizes:                                                                  

1. A set of the five new Create, Color, Pattern, Play books: Birds & Butterflies, Expressions of Faith, the mini Perfectly Portable Pages” Color Peace,  and the soon-to-be-released Judaic Expressions & Flowers of Faith.

2. A Zenspirations® rubber stamp or clear stamp set by Impression Obsession: (You can see the line on their website, or by clicking the "CRAFT" and "RUBBER STAMP" buttons in the "SHOP" section of my website).           
3. A ‘Dangle Design’ Name Sign (you can specify the name and pick one of these two styles): 
                                                                                           
If you post two designs, you’ll have two chances to win; if you post five designs, you’ll have five chances to win. The prizes winners will be selected at random; the pieces to include in the new book will be selected by my editor and me.

Although it is fine to simply color, what sets Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play apart from all of the other coloring books on the market is that there is room on each page to add your own patterns and special touches before coloring. Therefore I’m looking for people who can add patterning (and/or other enhancements) as well as applying color.  
                                                                                                   
IMPORTANT STUFF TO KNOW:
 
1.      You will need to post your creations by end of day Sunday, November 1st. 
 

2.      My editor and I are looking for designs which will inspire others by showing a variety of coloring and patterning techniques, so don’t be afraid to try different things. The more you do the better your chance to be included in the book or win a prize!                         

3.     VERY IMPORTANT: PUT YOUR NAME, e-dress and phone number on each design before you scan or photograph it!
 
4.   Post your images IN the appropriate album in the new Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471158256528576/.  You can get to the albums by clicking the Photos button underneath the imagine banner.

5.      If your art is selected, you’ll need to send my publisher a high-res scan (300 dpi) or the original art so they can scan it, and you’ll need to sign a Permission-to-Publish form.
 
6.      Because the books will not be printed on paper which accepts wet media, please DO NOT use watercolors or any other type of wet media. Color pencils, gel pens, markers and crayons are all fine. 
7.     Submitting pages is not a guarantee that they will be selected for inclusion.

8.   Artists whose work is selected will be given credit in the book, and will receive two free copies of the book when it is published. 

9.    Since I always like opening doors for young talent, I’d be happy for you to share this info with any promising art students (or fellow artists) you know who would like to have their work published. 

10.   You can e-mail me (joanne@zenspirations.com) if you have any questions: please put  “ZENSPIRATIONS® COLORING ENTHUSIAST QUESTIONS” in the subject line.                                                  
I look forward to seeing your work!                                                                                                               
Stay Zenspired,
Joanne

 

 

Tuesday
Oct132015

Judaic Expressions

Hi Everyone,

I am excited that my next book in the Create, Color, Pattern, Play series is going to press tomorrow! Here’s the cover design:

 

It was a bit of a rush, and I want to give a special shout out to the team of Color & Creativity Enthusiasts from the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play  Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471158256528576/), who created more than 30 inspiration samples. Thank you for sharing your wonderful work... it's a thrill to see the different and creative ways you utilize my imagery. You inspire me!

Here's a 'sneak peak' of two pages from the ‘inspiration section’, show-casing several artists’ interpretations of the same design. Isn’t it cool how different they all are?

The page below will transition from the full color section at the front of the book to the coloring page section. The full color images will be on the left, and the black and white coloring page of this image will be on the right. 

I also wanted to share a few of the pages I created specially for this book, and tell you about the creative process I used to design them. I love the Jewish philosophy that it is up to each one of us to use our God-given talents to make the world a better place, and tried to incorporate that into the piece below. It actually combines two core Jewish Values: ’Repair of the World’ (Tikkun Olam ), and ‘Deeds of Loving Kindness’ (G’milut Hasidim), which often go hand-in-hand.

 

In this next piece, I drew the parting of the Red Sea, and added the prayer of wonder and gratitude which the Israelites said afterwards, once they had safely gotten out of Egypt and were safe on dry land. This prayer, the 'Mi Chamocha' (Who is like You?) is a core component of Jewish prayer liturgy.  

 

 

I’m especially proud of the third piece I'd like to share tonight, because it took me outside my comfort zone. Earlier this year I was asked to design the cover for the Wedding Issue of The Heritage, Orlando's local Jewish newspaper. The design features a ‘Chuppah’ (Jewish wedding canopy), and I liked it so much that I thought I’d use it as inspiration for a coloring page. Here's what the cover looked like:

 

 

I took out the ‘Celebration 2015’ and replaced it with the traditional Hebrew phrase “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li” which means “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”… but quickly realized that there wasn’t much to actually color in the design. In brainstorming the best way to capture the essence of a Jewish wedding in a coloring page, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I should draw a bride and groom under the Chuppah. The only problem with that conclusion was that since I seldom draw people (or anything with faces for that matter!), I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull it off. It was a challenge, and took me longer to draw than any of the other piece in the book, but I’m pleased with how it turned out. Thanks to my friend Barbi Striar Disraelly for her suggestion that I 'ghost' whatever is under the bride's veil, which I did in PhotoShop. I really like the way her hair looks... and hope that it will be a fun design to color.
Now that Judaic Expressions is off to press, next on my agenda is to finish sending out the rest of the packages with my Kickstarter books. My goal is to get everything shipped by next week. Unfortunately I don’t have addresses for everyone… and since I know that many of my blog followers were kind enough to back the Kickstarter, I thought I'd ask those backers who haven’t received their package yet to take a moment to log into Kickstarter and make sure that you’ve given my the correct address. You can also e-mail it to me-- but please make sure to put KICKSTARTER ADDRESS in the subject line so I can find them.                                                                                                                                                                          
After I get When You Lose Someone You Love shipped, I’ll be heading right back to the drawing board to finish Expressions of Nature and Heartfelt Expressions; the last two ‘Create, Color, Pattern, Play’ books I'll be working on this year. I hope some of you will be interested in contributing art for the new books. I plan to include inspiration samples (ike the ones above) for five of the 32 pages in each book, and will start posting art to download in the next couple of weeks.                                                                                         
To make sure you are notified, please leave me a comment to let me know that you are interested in submitting your art. Please also let me know how much time you would ideally like to have to create a design. Is one week enough? If not, would two weeks suffice? I look forward to your thoughts, and to our next creative collaboration...    
     
Stay Zenspired,
Joanne 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct062015

A Grateful Heart

Hi Everyone,
Earlier this year, someone in my immediate family was facing surgery with a probable cancer diagnosis… and I was shocked, devastated and terrified when I heard the news. As I tend to do in times of crisis, I work through my feelings by putting pen to paper… and tonight I’d like to share a few pages from the journal I kept that week. These are unretouched photos of the thoughts which poured from my heart… I'd recommend reading the journal pages, then going back to read the notes I wrote about them.


 

 


I instinctively place my words where I think they will most express how I feel. For example, in the piece above, I wanted to convey the impression that I was cowering in a corner…On the page below, I changed the style of lettering, and had the last word run off the edge of the page in an attempt to visually communicate being breathless.

And this page is where my soul spilled out… it expresses my total disbelief at what was going on. I used question mark symbols as dots on the 'I', to add a sense of surrealness. 


This next page was a fervent prayer…

While I didn’t awaken to discover that the whole thing had been a bad dream, my family was lucky enough to receive good news… and to have gotten through this particular health crisis. Unfortunately, some of my friends and family members have not been so lucky. In the past few weeks, six people that I love have lost people that they love… and my heart grieves with each of them. Several other friends are fighting valiant battles against cancer; their strength, grace and courage continually inspires me. In their honor I am dedicating tonight’s blog post to everyone who is living in the shadow of loss, facing a life-threatening illness, or supporting someone who is. 

In America, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I created some new Zenspirations® Pink Ribbon art to help raise awareness… (while we are on the subject, please remind those you love to schedule their mammograms!). Below are three designs that you can download, print and use as a springboard to let your coloring and creative skills shine. The first is a greeting card:


Click here to download the Pink Ribbon Survivor card.

 

The next two are Create, Color, Pattern, Play pages:

Click Here to download the Pink Ribbon Circle design.

 

Click here to download the Pink Ribbon Flower design.

 

I’d love to see how you interpret these designs, and invite you to post your finished piece in the albums I’ve set up in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play  Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471158256528576/). I encourage you to reach out to someone you know who is dealing with cancer and send them a card and/or coloring page, along with a note letting them know you are thinking about them. It always helps to know that others care, especially when you are facing a life-threatening illness or mourning the loss of a loved one. 
And while we are on the subject of loss, many of you have written to me to ask where you can get a copy of my new book, When You Lose Someone You Love
I’m delighted to report that you can purchase it at two venues: Sam Flax, Orlando’s awesome local art supply store, and at the Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park. The Morse is one of my favorite museums; it houses an incredible collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and is well worth a visit. And, for those of you who do not live in Central Florida, the Museum Shop is willing to ship within the continental United States. So if you have been patiently waiting for a book, please reach out to the Morse.                       
Before closing tonight I want to share one last page from the journal I kept earlier this year… written before the surgery. I did this page as a reminder to myself that looking for the blessing in every situation— especially the truly challenging ones— is the best way for me to stay grounded in gratitude, for it is when my heart is grateful that I truly feel connected to God. 
I would love your thoughts on the journal I shared tonight... do you think I should turn these journal pages into a book? If so, should I make it the same size as When You Lose Someone You Love, or should I keep it in a vertical format? I'd really appreciate your leaving me a comment with your suggestions.                          
Stay Zenspired,
Joanne

 

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