Skillshare Mini Challenge // Backgrounds for Everyone!

If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 42: 

But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Nehemiah 9:17 (ESV)


Mini Challenge for Bonnie Christine's Intro to Surface Pattern Design Class: Design a desktop wallpaper featuring your own artwork and favorite inspirational quote (for more examples, check out the free downloads under 'class project'). 

You can sign up for a free month of Skillshare here!

C L A S S   P R O J E C T

Desktop Background: I love the idea of this challenge but honestly, I rarely see my desktop background. There's a reason I design planners and organization printables... not because I'm organized but because it's my life goal to have structure, to get organized and to figure out a system. I have yet to achieve any of those goals. ;)

So, for this mini challenge, I played around with a few different desktop backgrounds to fit the styles of everyone. For those of you who keep a clean desktop, the ones who close out all windows at the end of the day so that they can open a fresh workspace every morning, I used the quote: "What she tackles, she conquers." Because trust me ladies, if you can create structure and strategy like that, I firmly believe that what you tackle, you will conquer. Plus, what a wonderfully motivating quote that would be to start your day with! 

What She Tackles, She Conquers // Desktop Background by Jitney's Journeys
What She Tackles, She Conquers // Desktop Background by Jitney's Journeys

And then I created this desktop background for people like me. People who always have countless windows and projects open, way too many to tackle in one day. People who, let's be honest, if you actually ever see your desktop, it's because you've stretched your trusty computer a little too far and it's given up on you. Time to close everything up and reboot. Time to take a break. Time to go pick some flowers on the wildside. ;) 

Flowers on the Wildside // Desktop Background by Jitney's Journeys

I realized after I posted the project and the name [Backgrounds for Everyone!] that I only posted feminine backgrounds so here's a gender neutral one. :)

Great Things Take Time // Desktop Background by Jitney's Journeys

Which background do you relate to the most? Feel free to use these backgrounds for your own desktop! 

Why I Love Skillshare // An Online Creative Learning Community

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats // Skillshare Calligraphy 101 Project by Jitney's Journeys

If you've had a face-to-face conversation with me in the past year, I probably mentioned my love for Skillshare at one point or another. Why? Because I'm obsessed. I think it's one of the greatest creative communities of all-time and I've consumed more knowledge through the classes, teachers and students than I have in years.

Skillshare is an online learning community for creators. Unlike traditional study, online classes at Skillshare are taught by industry experts and focus on learning by doing. The courses, which are not accredited, accept anyone who wants to learn.

I grew up in a wonderfully creative home. My parents always nourished the wild curiosities and adventurous endeavors that my brother, Chase, and I put our minds to. They never squashed our excitement for new projects (regardless of how crazy, messy or strange they were). In fact, they encouraged them.

However, my design background started in a high school journalism classroom with one of my favorite teachers, Brian Cole. He taught the intricacies of InDesign and photography. While writing copy was somewhat enjoyable, I couldn't get enough of playing with different layouts. I continued to Auburn where I studied public relations and finished out my degree working as a marketing / PR intern at Mammoth Printshop where I had the opportunity to sit alongside Whitney Zech, a phenomenal graphic designer who rekindled a crazy passion for design within my soul. She taught me the basics of Illustrator and it was over for me. I couldn't get enough of it. But then I graduated and JD & I moved to a small town so I was basically on my own for learning. I wasn't sure where to go for that (unless I went back to school), so I focused instead on arts and crafts for a few years until Chase told me about Skillshare. It took me a while before I signed up but I asked my friend, Ashley, to join me in one of the handlettering projects and she was in. 

I'm semi-embarrassed to admit that I'm always one for free trials then dropping the 'service' when the trial period is over but Skillshare is one of the few things I believe in paying for. After the first free month, I became addicted to learning these new skills. A lot of people ask how I have time to watch the videos and do the challenges. I'll tell you how: I make time for it. I make it a priority. I believe in learning. I believe in excelling. I believe in expanding your skills. I believe in joining in community with others so that we can be better. (Plus, it helps that I work solo in the studio all day and have the videos playing on repeat while I work on custom projects). During every trip we've taken in the past year, I've focused on one class and one project. It's because of Skillshare that I've been exposed to true techniques of handlettering, calligraphy, surface pattern design and so many other design niches. 

The most recent project I've finished is the Calligraphy 101 class, taught by Bryn Chernoff. I couldn't describe Skillshare in any better light than this: 

Calligraphy 101 Skillshare Project by Whitney Todd @ Jitney's Journeys

'Picking the phrase or quote' was definitely the most difficult part of this challenge for me. It was so hard to narrow it down but I wanted to use a phrase that has encouraged me as a creative, in hopes that it will encourage all of you as well! 

I was sharing with my friend, Lauren (from the Department of Agraculture), the other day about how I quickly plunge from inspired to discouraged when scrolling through my Instagram feed and Pinterest. At first, I feel like, "Yes! I can do this. I can create something wonderful too!" But then the disillusionment of, "No, I can't. Everyone is accomplishing so much more than me," sets in. Lauren quickly diffused this by sharing John F. Kennedy's quote: "A rising tide lifts all boats." Even though Kennedy was referring to the economy in this speech, one of the creatives she follows on IG shared the quote in a post and wrote about how this is the same effect for creatives. When one of us is successful, it's like a rising tide and it lifts us all to succeed as well. Instead of getting discouraged by others' success, we should be excited for them, knowing that it is a sweet tide of success, lifting up the world of creativity, knowing that s/he is making a way for us all, creating opportunity. 

Don't get me wrong, I still get discouraged every now and then, but that perspective changed a lot for me. When I see the teachers and students of Skillshare, I see this quote played into motion. So many have been willing to share skills that we wouldn't be able to have access to otherwise. Because of the variety of classes offered, we're able to create that tide, to build skill on top of skill, and to reach new levels of creativity we've only imagined. I've been deeply inspired by this community coupled with the encouragement and tips we're able to give one another. 

Check out my full project and steps here. Want to join in on the fun with Skillshare? Get a free month membership here! Let me know which class you take and maybe we can take it together! 

Kind Heart, Fierce Mind, Brave Spirit // Artwork

I have intentions of selling pretty much all of the artwork I create, but I decided to hold on to this one. 

I've seen this quote floating around Pinterest and Etsy for a while now but I've been so inspired by it. The quote actually derived from Kate Forsyth's The Witches of Eileanan"May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave." I haven't read the book but I do love this quote. 

When I finished painting this girl, she seemed to hold all of these characteristics. Obviously, she's not real but an artist becomes connected to the person or objects in the artwork, just as a writer becomes connected to the people (fiction or non-fiction) that he / she writes about. Trust me, as I'm writing this, I'm questioning if I should share this or not. I realize how crazy it sounds. But I'm trusting that you'll either disregard the craziness and continue to read future blog posts or you'll love this piece and totally relate to what I'm saying.

Kind heart, fierce mind, brave spirit: these are characteristics I pray to develop in my own life. I lack each one daily but it is because of the grace of God that I entail these characteristics at all. 

This painting hangs in my studio along with a few other favorites of mine. It is a reminder of who I want to be and the warrior heart I strive to attain. 

What quote or scripture are you drawn to this week?

Watercolor Wednesday // Your Path is Beautiful and Crooked

It's official. You can buy your first Jitney's Journeys original watercolor print here:

But before you purchase, read the story behind this print below. Hint: You may find a little surprise waiting for you at the bottom of the post. 

In all honesty, many of my days feel chaotic. My mind is a jumbled mess and my path seems completely at a standstill, blocked by trees (at least the view is nice!). 

During JD's most recent trip, I decided to take a watercolor class. This class was amongst many, many things I did during his absence to keep my mind preoccupied and my hands busy (so that I wouldn't bite my fingernails - a dreadful habit I never noticed until my brother pointed it out a couple of months ago). 

While searching for inspiration, I fell in love with a quirky yet charming photo of pigeon-toed vintage brogue shoes.  I immediately began sketching and painting.  

Most days, I'm super quirky. But not on purpose. It just happens that way. My feet turn inwards and my face turns a sweet shade of pink when conversations navigate towards me.

Some days I feel completely confident in what I'm doing in life. Then I snap back to reality and realize I have no. I. dea. And that's okay.

"Your path is beautiful & crooked & just as it should be." 

Just being honest here... it would be nice to have thousands of "likes" on FB or Instagram on all of the things I post but that's certainly not the case. This watercolor, however, had the most "likes" - by far - of anything I posted. 

That tells me that you're with me. Not only do I need to be reminded that my path is beautiful & crooked & just as it should be, but YOURs is too! 

So let's walk these paths together. 

Our beautiful, crooked, just as they should be, paths. 

Side note: In honor of our first "Watercolor Wednesday", we're offering free shipping on your purchase of this watercolor print.

Use code YOURPATH at checkout. Offer expires Sunday, September 28!!