How to Do It All

How to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life - While only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes Out With a Sharpie

On Monday you can buy this excellent book by renowned author Linda Formichelli.  I was introduced to Linda by on old friend and client (Hey Rachel!)  Linda is a veteran author of dozens of books and hundreds of magazine articles.  She is an all-around impressive human being.  Just click on her name and that will become obvious quickly. 

Linda hired me to make editable worksheets to go with How to Do It All.  Lucky me, she gave me an early free copy!  As a mother to a sleepless baby I rarely crack open a new book, but this one had me riveted. Rather than providing escapism or indulgent wishful thinking her book gave me the structure to have my most productive (I'm talking money here) month I've had in years.

Plus, I volunteered 6 hours a week, learned some French (40% fluency you guys!), and kept the kitchen clean (well mostly). 

Working with Linda was a breeze and an inspiration.  If you are feeling directionless at the moment and want to make things happen, this book is a good investment.

Historical Illustration Project

Belated happy birthday to Professor John Howe.  He is a professor of Medieval History at Texas Tech with a tenure of more than 30 years.  I produced some images for his new book Before the Gregorian Reform: The Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium.

I really enjoyed this project which included mapmaking, recreation of a Papal seal and a line drawing of a motte and bailey castle.  It was interesting research not only for the subject matter but also because I had to conform to the strict guidelines of the publisher.  Nothing is more satisfying to a nerd in her late 30s than learning something new and following the rules!  

Wearable Technology or What my job entails

If you haven't heard of Troubadour Research and Consulting they deal in market research, big data, and strategy consulting.  Mostly they are comprised of smart people who kill at Geeks Who Drink. Example of a winning team name: "That's How You Get Ants-wers".  We have worked together quite a bit.  They translate data into visual storytelling and need an occasional assist from an illustrator with a background in sequential art (that's me).  

As a result I get to work on fun projects like this one where they calculate how various people feel about wearing technology, like a smartwatch or google glasses, and I make drawings that match the data.  They put the two together and created a cool app for their clients. Fun right?!

 My favorite part is the sketching stage.  They ask for a particular kind of person, let's say a "Cool guy living in a big city" and I get to ask, "Are we talking Austin cool?  Waris Ahluwalia jetset cool?  Or more Paul Bettany in a skinny scarf?" 

They check the numbers and we narrow it down until we get something like this:

I have an ulterior motive for posting this.  I was recently at a party and noticed that when folks ask the classic party question, "How's work?"  I reflexively blathered on about about data and visual storytelling until their eyes went dead.  Now, I'm just gonna send this link.