Archive for in the studio

in the studio . 2015 Blessings


I love the anticipation of thinking about the New Year with new plans and new ideas for what’s to come! However, I can’t adequately move forward into 2016 without first taking stock of some of the great blessings for Small Pond Graphics in 2015. It’s been a wonderful year of enjoying fun projects, working with great clients and trying new things! I’m so thankful for all the clients who have trusted me with their stories this year. Please pull up a chair while I give thanks for a few of the blessings from 2015…

1. Awards for Starkville Oktibbeha School District Marketing


For the last several years, I’ve had the great opportunity to work with the Starkville School Distict creating a new branding campaign, website and other marketing materials. Last spring, I was so honored to learn that the project received a 2015 Graphic Design USA Web Design Award as well as several annual marketing awards from the Mississippi School Public Relations Association! This year was special in the life of the district and our community as we became one consolidated school district, and I have been so blessed to provide a few tools for telling the story. Thank you to Nicole Thomas and the school board for allowing Small Pond Graphics to be part of the process.

2. Small Pond Pop Up Shop

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In August, the proprietors of Liza Tye and Company in Starkville invited me to be a part of the new boutique “shopping mall” as a vendor. It’s been a great experiment in learning about retail, getting to try new product ideas, and gaining new exposure for my artwork. I’m so grateful to all the customers who have shopped the store this Fall and continued to support my crazy paper shenanigans!

3. 20th Anniversary Market Street

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In the spring, I was honored to be asked to illustrate the Market Street Festival 20th Anniversary poster for the Columbus Main Street Association. Posters are one of my favorite kinds of and I had a lot of fun painting various elements of Downtown Columbus, Mississippi  to commemorate the event’s milestone. Little known fact: I actually designed the very first Market Street poster waay back in the day 🙂 Thanks to Amber Brislin and the Columbus Main Street team for letting me bring it full circle!

4. Crooked Letter Closeups

2015-04-09 15.44.23   t&g_crooked

It was pretty neat to see my Mississippi Crooked Letter block print shown in a couple of publications this year — The Sip Magazine and Town and Gown Magazine!

5. Prairie Arts Festival Fun

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I was privileged to be the Featured Artist for the 2015 Prairie Arts Festival held this Labor Day weekend in my hometown of West Point, Mississippi. I loved interpreting the signature windmill in my own watercolor style as well as the opportunity to host a booth at the Festival. I spent the summer producing a collection of fine art prints for the event and was so honored to receive first place in mixed media. Special thanks to Lisa Klutts of West Point Main Street for allowing me to come home!

6. Helping Clients Celebrate

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We love celebrating at our house, and I love getting to help others celebrate with special artwork. Bridal events, graduation, personalized gifts and even some covert Easter Bunny operations — I loved contributing a little watercolor fun!

7. First Wholesale Order

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Thanks to Letty Stricklin for taking a chance in a local artist and giving me my very first wholesale order!

8. Printmaking Now Exhibition


I was really proud to have my fine art block print, “Tall Grass” accepted into the 10th Annual National Juried Printmaking Now Exhibit in November at the IMAGO Foundation for the Arts in Rhode Island.

9. My Favorite Campaign – maybe ever


I’ve gotten to do a lot of design and marketing campaigns over the years and I’ve actually loved most of them — it usually seems that my favorite one is the one I’m currently working on! But, this fall I had the opportunity to do a campaign I’m really proud of for my own community. The Savor Starkville culinary campaign has focused on the  restaurant and culinary culture in Starkville, and it was so much fun to do! The campaign included 20+ watercolor paintings, 5 culinary maps, various ads, lots of copywriting, companion prints and other digital graphics.

10. Awards for Starkville Marketing

gdusa4    gdusa5

Each week I have the privilege of working with the Greater Starkville Development Partnership and its member divisions on design work for chamber, business development and tourism efforts in Starkville. I’m so blessed that the organization has a commitment to seeking out our own local creative class! Through our projects, I have the chance to explore many creative branding and marketing ideas, as well as a lot of illustration. I’ve developed designs incorporating wine glasses, soup bowls, crawfish, vegetables, scarecrows, a jolly old elf and more — plus the restaurant paintings I mentioned above. This year, our efforts were rewarded with a Mississippi Main Street design award, and Small Pond Graphics received three Graphic Design USA design awards. Thank you to Jennifer Gregory and the entire Partnership team for the blessing of so many great projects!

2015 has been a wonderful year for Small Pond Graphics. I’m so, so grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love every day, to work to create a business model that works for my family, and to share it in this space. I’m looking forward to the new blessings 2016 has in store!

Small Pond Graphics Earns Three American Graphic Design Awards


I was very excited to learn last week that Small Pond Graphics has been awarded three American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA magazine for projects promoting Starkville events! I’m so very honored to have the opportunity to work with the Greater Starkville Development Partnership to brand and promote the Starkville community through their on-going programs and events, and it’s exciting for three of the projects to be recognized nationally.

Small Pond Graphics earned two awards in the “Posters” category and one in the “Point of Purchase” category for illustrated print pieces created for the 2014 Starkville Community Market, the 2014 Starkville Christmas campaign, and the 2014 spring unWINE Downtown event. The events are part of the annual calendar of programs produced by the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Starkville Main Street Association as vehicles for both increasing shopping and dining traffic in downtown districts and promoting the area as a tourism destination.

For more than five decades, Graphic Design USA magazine has sponsored a prestigious slate of annual awards, with the American Graphic Design Awards being it’s flagship program. The awards are judged by a nationwide panel of distinguished design professionals. According to GDUSA, nearly 10,000 entries were received in this year’s 52nd annual competition, with only the top 15% recognized with Certificates of Excellence. The Awards program showcases outstanding new work in print, packaging, point-of-purchase, internet, interactive and motion graphics. NYC-based GDUSA has been in publication since 1963 and serves as a comprehensive resource on the news, trends, people and products of the graphic design industry.






Small Pond Graphics Earns American Web Design Award


I was very pleased to learn this week that Small Pond Graphics is the recipient of an American Web Design Award from Graphic Design USA magazine for the design and development of the Starkville School District website! The website design, which launched in July 2014, came as the culmination of a year-long process of working with the SSD communications team to rebrand and retool the district’s marketing and communications efforts.

In 2013, SSD embarked on a strategic planning process which identified key communications goals including the development of a bold, new marketing campaign. I was privileged to lead a branding discussion and work session with the strategic planning committee, which allowed us to identify ideas and target audiences. This session served as the seed of the district’s new “Starkville Spark” brand and marketing campaign. The campaign, which included a new logo, email newsletter, media advertising and promotional materials as well as the website, won top honors in the 2015 Mississippi School Public Relations Association Awards of Excellence program.

The new SSD website employs more resources and downloadable information, easier navigation, an interactive calendar, personnel directory, news feed, as well as a cleaner, well-branded design. In conjunction with the desktop site, the development includes an app-like mobile version, making it easier to navigate for the growing number of mobile users.

I am very proud to have the chance to be a part of creating a new face for the public school district in my own community! I’ve written before about my belief in public schools, and it means a lot to me to be a part of telling the story of the teachers and programs that my own children benefit from each day! It has made this client project a very personal one, and makes the American Web Design Award even more special.

For more than five decades, Graphic Design USA magazine has sponsored a prestigious slate of annual awards including the American Web Design Awards program. The awards are judged by a nationwide panel of distinguished design professionals. According to GDUSA, over 1100 entries were received in this year’s competition, with only the top 15% recognized as winners. The Awards program showcases the “power of design to enhance websites and online communications.” GDUSA has been in publication since 1963 and serves as a comprehensive resource on the news, trends, people and products of the graphic design industry.


print shop . New Greeting Cards in the Shop!

April is National Letter Writing Month, and it’s inspired me to get some of my latest card designs added to the Etsy shop!  It’s amazing how treasured a hand-written letter or card has become in our culture of digital communications. I’ve enjoyed thinking through stationery sentiments with some of my daily lettering practice.  Here’s a sneak peak at the new card designs. I hope you’ll take a look at the print shop and get inspired to send some snail mail!



client work . Spring Poster Projects

Posters are some of my favorite types of design projects, and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to do quite a few of them each year, especially for area community events. Over the last few months, I’ve been able to use watercolor illustration for several poster projects, so I thought I’d share a quick recap of some of the pieces. Plus I’ve included glimpses of the behind-the-scenes paintings used to create them.

For this annual spring event series for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau, I painted backgrounding and an illustration to represent each of the four events. The Savor Our South series poster included all four illustrations, and I used the bowl to create the event poster for Souper Bowl. I got my marching orders last week for the King Cotton Crawfish Boil, which (I think) will use this crawfish and corn illustration. I’ll be sure to share that poster when it’s complete.




I was so pleased to be asked to create the 20th anniversary poster for the Market Street Festival in Columbus, Mississippi this year! I decided to create illustrations of some of the iconic images from Downtown Columbus, where the festival is held. For this one, it was also fun to hand-letter most of the text for the event specifics!



Many times when I do posters or even stationery designs, I create a lot of individual illustrated images and use Photoshop to put them together — just like the process I shared recently for my lettering practice. For this holiday poster I was asked to create last fall for Starkville, however, I wanted to do an illustration of Main Street, so I created more of a true painting using watercolor and some acrylic paints. Then, I hand-lettered the text to add on top of the painting. This poster is one of my favorites!





print shop . 2015 Personalized Easter Tags

Spring is almost here! We’re getting ready to pull out our decorations for Easter and spring’s new beginning, and I’ve decided to offer a small collection of happy tags to celebrate. I’ve been having fun creating this family of bunnies and “Happy Easter” sentiments. I’d love to personalize some for your little bunnies for Easter or Spring parties, teacher gifts, or happies to share with friends!

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print shop . Personalized Halloween Tags


I’ve been having some fun getting into the Autumn spirit over the last week, and I’m excited to share some new Halloween tags available with personalization! The tags can be printed with your preferred name and are $10 for a set of 12 — just pick one design or an assortment! See individual images of each tag below. You can order by sending me a message with your PayPal email address (for invoicing), your personalization text and the breakdown of your design/quantities.

boo_for_you broom_owl candy_corn frank happy_ghost jack owl_o_ween smashing_pumpkin witching

print shop . Kids’ Worship Posters


This summer, Crosspoint Baptist Church commissioned me to create a series of prints to hang in our new children’s worship area. They gave me four Bible verses they wanted to include, and it was very fun to work on depicting them in watercolor paintings and painted lettering! You may recognize some of the inspiration from this year’s Summer of Water painting adventure! I decided to add a couple of them to the Etsy print shop. You can check out the art prints here!

client work . Downtown Block Party 2014

I wanted to share a little client design work this week. I’ve been excited to work on a few new projects this year for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and one is the design suite for the annual Downtown Block Party. The event serves as the kick-off the Fall football season and includes a pep rally, so we wanted it to have a bit of a “fan” feel. It was fun to use a photo of the Mississippi State University cheerleaders I had taken at a previous block party and convert it to a more “posterized” look similar to the New South Weekends campaign. [It was also kind of fun to sneak a little hot pink in with the typical maroon around here :)]

Enjoy! And, if you’re in the Starkville area, I hope to see you at Downtown Block Party this Friday night!



client work . Starkville’s New South Weekends 2014

No, watercolor painting is ALL I’ve been doing this summer! I thought it might be good to share some of the client work that has recently launched. This is my fourth year to have the opportunity to design the New South Weekends design suite for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Fall series centers around annual Friday evening events held during Mississippi State University home game weekends.

This year, I wanted to design something that had a very “college football” look, but also a little edgy to follow some of the flavor of the Starkville brand we’ve established. I went on a search for vintage football imagery for inspiration – very fun. I ended up taking an illustration from a 1938 Amhearst College football program that I found in the public domain, and giving it a more maroon (go Dawgs!) and modern feel. Here’s a look at the vintage illustration and a couple of the 2014 New South Weekends pieces. I hope to see you in Starkville this Fall for some of the great events!


[1938 Amherst College Football Program]


[2014 New South Weekends Poster – Starkville, MS]


[Mobile Site Graphics]


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