8 design blogs and business mentors to inspire you

8 design blogs and business mentors to inspire you. This list of creatives have inspired me, and it is my hope they inspire you!

We all have people who inspire us to reach beyond what we thought possible. Those people we look up to, admire, and are on our, I will follow along with you list until…well forever. It is because, in the sea of noise, their voice, style, and words have connected to something within us and, on such a level that they have earned true loyalty. The bloggers and creators on this list have earned this with me, and each of them has captured my attention in their own unique way. They have helped me grow as an illustrator, challenged the way I think, made me laugh out loud with their words, and some I have gotten to know personally and can say they are my friend, even though we have never met in person.

This is not an exhaustive list of amazing blogs, all of the ones I follow, or even all the amazing people I have met and become friends with from the start of my freelance journey. This list is only the creative mentors who have changed me, and it is my hope that you may find them inspiring too as you venture on your creative journey. 

As I continue to grow as an illustrator, I am sure there will be more creatives that will also earn my loyalty, and join my list of business mentors. 

I want to note this list is not organized in any particular order. I love them all the same.


lauren_hooker_elle_and_company
 

Lauren Hooker, Elle & Company

I have been following along with Lauren for a very long time. She is a wonderfully talented brand designer, and her blog is rich with information on design, blogging, Squarespace, and business as a creative entrepreneur. Lauren’s voice on her blog comes across as down to earth, and incredibly professional. One of my favorite things she does is her Ellechat webinars. Since I am usually busy with the kids during the day, I love the fact that she provides the recordings on her web site so I can catch up if I have missed it. Lauren was also recently listed in this post from Creative Market, 50 Amazing Design Blogs Every Creative Needs to Bookmark. It was so great seeing her blog listed there!


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Jamie Starcevich, Spruce Rd

I discovered Jamie by reading a collaborative post she did on Lauren’s blog, and since then I have been hooked. She has some amazing in-depth articles on her blog on branding and design, but I adore getting her email newsletter. Jamie is a thinker, and she shares how she runs her design company freely in her emails. I always look forward to getting her inside perspective on things as a creative freelance designer.


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Jenn Coyle, Hello Brio

Oh, there is so much to say about my friend Jenn. I am so glad I get the privilege to say we are friends, even though we have never met in person. I met her on one of Lauren and Jamie’s webinars, and Jenn and I connected immediately. She is a very talented letterer, runs her own lettering group, shares her process on her blog, and makes super fun video tutorials on her YouTube Channel and in her Skillshare classes

Fun fact: Jenn and I have exchanged over 68 emails as of writing this post, with the same email subject from when we first connected: Lauren and Jamie’s Lunch and Learn. I have thought about changing the subject line, but haven’t because it is a cute reminder of how we first met.


bonnie_christine
 

Bonnie Christine, Going Home to Roost

I admire this lady immensely, and am so thankful I stumbled upon her through her Skillshare classes. Bonnie’s work is stunning, and I can really relate to her since she is self-taught just like me. I took her first class on surface pattern design a while ago, and her teaching style is very detailed, thorough, and moving. I love the way she teaches, and she has touched an imaginative tribe of artisans with her dreamy patterns, and features lovely works on her blog.


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Emily Thompson & Kathleen Shannon,
Being Boss

Recently, I have become a big fan of podcasts, and started listening to them in the evenings when I work after the kiddos have gone to bed. I cannot recall how I found these ladies, but their Being Boss podcasts are amazzzzing! Listening to them while I work takes away some of the isolated feeling you get from working at home. Emily and Kathleen are witty, and smart business bosses, who make you think about the big picture, but also make you laugh at the same time. You can also find Emily at Indie Shopography, and Kathleen at Braid Creative.


Paul has my name tattooed on him, which makes him awesome in my book! I have been following Paul for a short time, but I can tell you every Sunday, I look forward to his Sunday dispatches. He not only makes me really laugh out loud when I read them, but he always challenges my way of thinking on a subject, and shows me a very different perspective. I cannot say enough good things about his newsletter, and if you sign up, you will get your name tattooed on him too (you’ll see). Since I just started binge listening to podcasts, Paul’s podcast, The Freelancer, is now on my playlist.


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Zakkiya Hamza, Inkstruck Studio

I found Zakkiya’s blog when I first started painting with watercolors. She is so detailed in her tutorials and shows how to use different techniques with watercolor.  Her DIY craft ideas are so darling, and I am quite obsessed with her gorgeous hand painted eggs! If you are just starting out with watercolor, or are looking for some incredible DIY projects, her studio is a great resource for learning watercolor.


teela_every_tuesday
 

Teela Cunningham, Every Tuesday

In the rabbit hole of searching for who knows what online, I magically came across Teela’s wonderful blog, Every Tuesday. It is a treasure trove of really incredible design tutorials. I have been following her for almost as long as Lauren, and she is the reason I joined Skillshare. I just had to enroll to take one of her classes, and ultimately discovered the amazing Skillshare community. If you want to see something innovative and learn some incredible design techniques, go check out her blog or take one of her classes on Skillshare.


I wanted to share with you the individuals who have inspired me, touched my life in a meaningful way, and changed the way I do things with their insightful words. 

Speaking of insightful words, I have just fallen in love with Brené Brown after watching her TED talks (thank you Kathleen Shannon). It is literally 1:42am while I am writing this, and my toddler just woke up with a bad dream. But, I am back to writing this post so one day, hopefully, my daughter and her brothers will see these words I am typing, along with you, and watch some TED talks to learn that:

 “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change”, and to “live and love with their whole heart” - Brené Brown