Sketchbook Stories :: Jamie Lentzner


I met Jamie a few years ago at one of the first Eastbay Art Licensing Group and totally became intrigued at how she seems to do it all – artist, small business owner, wife and mom. Jamie’s a really up-front, tell-it-like-it-is gal and she doesn’t hold back. She shares an honest account fo her life and running a small business on her blog and it’s totally eye opening.

Jamie’s background is in cartooning and animation. She spent her first few post-college years designing video games. Then she moved on to working in the educational software sector where she was the lead animator at The Learning Company. And for the past 9 years Jamie has owned her own company called Jamie’s Painting & Design, where she makes personalized ceramic wall art, keepsakes ornaments and dishes. She also creates logos and designs for local children’s sports teams so that they have an alternative to the generic typical trophy, offer instead a personalized tile or water bottle.

Jamie’s has had the amazing fortune of being featured on several TV shows and a couple of well known newspaper publications, like the Wall Street Journal. She’s even has a few A-list celebrities out there that have purchased her products. And her products sell around the country in various boutiques and websites. Pretty Cool, right!?!

Here’s is Jamie’s Sketchbook Story:

JL: When Cindy Ann asked for artists to feature in her Sketchbook Stories Series I originally jumped at the chance (in my head, not in an email to her).  When I finally got the chance to be featured she had a huge amount of very talented artists that had posted before me.  And I have to say their processes seemed very, very impressive and extensive compared to mine….oh and my camera broke.  So please bare with me as I try to piece together how I come to one of my finished products.

JL: When I started the business 9 years ago I used to hand paint each design.  It was tedious, it was exhausting and I did not enjoy it.  I enjoyed creating  art, not painting it day after day.  After some research we decided to shift the company’s focus from hand painting to Dye Sublimating.  For getting the art onto the tile or other product we use a technique called Dye Sublimation.  The hand painted design is printed out on a special printer and then taped to the blank product.  It is then placed in a special Dye Sublimation Press to almost cook the art into the tile.  The finished product will not fade or rub off.  I find the look is similar to hand painting but the time consuming factor of hand painting each product is removed.  I am able to produce hundreds of pieces (during Christmas or pre-Recession Days).

JL: When creating new designs I look to popular color combinations for nurseries and in home décor.  I often do searches online, watch HGTV, I flip through magazines, books and lastly I go shopping.  Some of my most popular designs have come from dreams, or classic favorites that I recall from my childhood. The easiest for me is to sit in front of the computer for hours, but it probably the least inspirational.


JL:My technique is not very complex, I just sketch out the designs or characters in pencil on white card stock. Then I paint with acrylic paints and use very small brushes to get the detail I want. I don’t do too many layers, but I make sure the art has some depth and that you can see the brush strokes, shadows, highlights and lots of detail. I stay away from manufactured or flat looking art.

JL: After creating an original painting I scan at a high resolution to ensure that the paint strokes are visible in the final outcome of my product design. Once it is into the computer and start manipulating it in Photoshop.  I first remove the background so that I can use the art almost like a sticker and move it around the screen.  I then tighten the black lines (the black line dot outline is one of my signature styles and one that usually defines a piece by me).  Next I play around with the colors and make sure they are the colors on the screen match my painting.  Sometimes after opening up the art scan I completely shift my direction and change the colors.  Or since most of my products have a coordinating ribbon, I have to make sure the ribbon I imagined exists and that I can get it in bulk.

JL: Next I start to play around with the placement of my art.  I don’t always go into each design with the location of each piece. I tend to layer them, cut them into pieces, delete pieces and try to create either a pleasant pattern or an image that stands on its own. In the back of my mind I also have to think of how I could use this on another product or for licensing (I license artwork with Stupell Industries also).

JL: Once the design is complete I either have the product photographed or I manipulate it in Photoshop, using the large inventory of photographed tiles I have. If it is a standard flat tile (Name Plaques, Name Tiles or Birth Announcements) I can do the work myself.  Other products, like plates and water bottles can be more difficult, as I am still pretty much a novice in Photoshop.

JL: Since my products are personalized with a child’s name or birth information I have created original fonts for my different designs. Instead of hand painting each design I place the information or create the name in Photoshop.

Here’s where you can find Jamie:

website ::

    blog :: – Where Jamie blogs about running a small business and raising a family.


I’ve been GUSHING over all the awesome comments, personal notes & messages I received from folks about my posts the last few days.

THANK  YOU!! :-)

I’ve been writing and rewriting these posts for what feels like forever. Fretting over whether or not to press the publish button. I was feeling an array of emotions, including nervous, scared, uncomfortable, and insecure. But, in the end I needed to “put it out there” for myself. I needed to be seen and heard, and have that public accountability. I needed to start planting those seeds.

So, Thank you, THANK YOU for all the lovely messages and words of encouragement!!! :-)

- Cindy Ann

guerilla painted intersection

I just found this video over here and I totally love it. How fregin’ cool!! And totally my color palette :-)

Estimated at 500 liters of water-based environmentally-friendly paint on the asphalt of Berlin’s Rosenthaler Platz.


Now that I’ve shared with you some of my enormously BIG dreams, do I have a plan to get myself there? I do, it’s not completely set in stone or anything, but I definitely have a few goals that I’m working toward. Milestones on my path to achieve my dreams.

So, I’m once again putting myself “out there” and am amping it up. I’m going to share with you some of my personal career goals. Thank goodness, this is so much easier to do in writing then it is to actually say out loud. I’m trying really hard not to be meek or shy about what I want. I mean, I’m on a roll, so why not and just keep on going.


My top goals for this year – Starting Now:

☸ To conceptualize and have full comprehensive product line in development!! – A big one I know, but it can be done. And I know exactly who I want to do it with!!

☸ To design a line of Hoodies with Roxy! – I absolutely love their hoodies. They are the only ones that actually fit me (I may be small, but I have long arms. These are the only hoodies that have long enough sleeves). They are a total staple in my wardrobe. I even wear them to bed at night.

☸ To land a fabric and scrapbooking licensing deal – Which means I need to make a few more pattern collections. Totally do-able.

☸ To have a functioning up and running Etsy Shop selling objects and items that I love! – This one has been on my list forEVER, and somehow always seems to fall to the bottom of my list.

☸ To exhibit at a craft fair – This kind of goes hand in hand with an Etsy Shop.

☸ To have a gallery show. – Because I’ve always wanted to.

☸ To create and teach a workshop. – I actually think I would be pretty good at it.

☸ To work with Chronicle Books on a project. -I’ve worked for them, now I want to work with them.

☸ To create and post a video clip – I just have to figure out what I want to talk about and what you want to see.

☸ To have multiple streams of income coming in from a multitude of sources. – Some of which are totally under my control.

☸ To travel one place outside of the country to gather inspiration.


Those were some pretty BIG goals, but it just gets BIGGER cause and now I’m going to (hold my breath) step boldly and share with you my TOP Dream Companies that I would like to work and build strong long lasting relationships with:

☸ Demdaco

☸ Roxy/Quiksilver

☸ Chronicle Books

☸ ek Success

☸ Robert Kaufman

☸ Clarkson Potter

☸ Oopsy Daisy

☸ Creativeco-op

☸ Enesco

☸ Darrah & Company (I just discovered them at Atlanta and absolutely love their Natural Life line!!)

Ok so there it is!!! It’s now ALL out there!! I said it!!

Well more like wrote it, but all the same it’s “out there” Wheww…that was super scary!! Sometimes saying “it” is the scariest part. Like when you take a leap of faith to say “I love you” to someone for the first time, and you’re not sure if they’ll say it back, or even if they feel the same way. It’s kind of like that.

Opening yourself up to receive opportunities also means opening yourself up to be vulnerable. Sometimes you just have to take the chase and I’m totally glad that I just did it!!

So, starting NOW I am putting my full energy towards making these goals happen. I know that there is a long road ahead of me but I’m looking forward to wearing down the soles of my shoes on my path to accomplishing them. I’ve never been one to shy away from hard work and I know that there is going to be a lot of that. So I’m vowing to push past my fears, face the unknown and be fearless. Starting Right Now!!

fearless enormous dreams

I’m working on being fearless, asking for what I want and not allowing fear to stop me from getting my needs met. It sounds so simple in theory, but trust me this is really hard work. To be truly fearless you must first be confidence in who you are and what you have to offer. Which means being at the ready to muffle the cries of those green gremlins when they come sneaking up on you. Trusting in the unforeseen and truly believing that everything will wind up working out. It’s totally a tall order, but I’ve made up my mind, and I’m choosing growing (even with all of it’s challenges) over fear!


So, what is it that I really want out of my life and work? I mean,Truly and Deeply! None of this politically correct BS that can sometimes gets spewed because I don’t want to be perceived as being too ambitious, aggressive, or superficial. Cause the truth is, that I am ambitious and I do want to be successful. I want to make a long career out of creating and making art, and I want to live comfortably and debt-free. AND I want to have enough of the green stuff left over to buy some of the nice things that I fawn over, without worrying about zeroing out my bank account.

I thought, perhaps one of my first step to becoming fearless would be to open-up and share with you some of my enormously BIG dreams!! A little scary but, I need to be brave and “put it out there” in order for my dreams and ambitions to feel real. So, that I can start to put my full energy towards making them happen, and so that I can openly invite in the opportunities that I want.


So this is it. These are my dreams and ambitions. Some are spiritual. Some are creative. And some are monetary and sometime materialistic.

☸ I dream of being seen and heard, of being noticed and valued for the work that I do and create. I want to spread my creative seed and leave something behind in this world, that will carry on way beyond my lifetime.

☸ I dream of my work being recognizable and EVERYWHERE! (But not in the same way a crazed fad hits the scene like a hasty hurricane.) I want my work to seep into people everyday lives and become a part of the atmosphere and environment.

☸ I long to see my work out in the world in a BIG way, but at the same time I also want it to be intimate and visceral. I have visions of it appearing on walls and on the sides of buildings, in books, and on beautiful objects that people can hold, carry, and interact with on a daily basis.

☸ I want to have “that” amazing house and live “that’ amazing life. Where time is on my side and I can do all of the things that I love while someone else takes care of the things I don’t enjoy and aren’t very good at.

☸ I want to live in a spacious pre-fab house that is filled with books and amazing furniture. That has a roll-up door that opens to a living garden, with a stellar view and a hammock positioned in just the right spot to watch the sunset. I dream of a home that is warm & modern, comfy-cozy, organized and clean, all at the same time. A beautiful space that reflects who I am and rejuvenates my soul.

☸ I want to surround myself in an open and accepting environment with other loving and creative souls. Surrounded by people that are there for me in both the joyous and challenging time. That tell me the truth even if it’s hard to say and that encourage, share and fosters my creativity.

☸ I dream of being inspired and creating all day long in an existence where the well never runs dry or at least refill quickly.

☸ And I dream of having all the help I need to make it happen. I envision having a team of employees working for and with me, in my amazing studio space, that has plenty of room to make a mess and has natural light flowing thru every window. Of having a cleaning service that shows up at my house on a daily basics to do ALL of the chores that normally eat up my time and drain me. So that I am free to do the things that matter most.

☸ I want to have the time to travel and experience the world. To be open and exposed, experience new things and to feel and really SEE!

☸ I dream of a beautiful life where I can afford to have the things I want as well as the things I need.

To live the life creative!!

What are your enormously BIG dreams?

Sketchbook Stories :: Dawn Gonzales

Dawn is an absolutely amazing, fun and wonderfully quirky lady that I had the pleasure of working with when I was at Old Navy. Her never-ending creativity and excitement is totally contagious! And just you watch out when she gets super excited about a project. There’s no holding her back. I’m am so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work her and am even more grateful that we are friends!!

Dawn was raised in the American west (Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and California) and attended the University of Arizona where she studied painting, printmaking and sculpture, and graduated with a BFA in 1993. Two weeks later, with $800 in her pocket and two overstuffed suitcases, she moved to San Francisco to be an “artist.” She has been in the Bay Area ever since doing marketing in various capacities for companies such at Isda and Co., Zia Natural Skincare, The Beauty Store (now called Pure Beauty) and Gap, Inc.

Dawn has been drawing, painting and crafting since she was a little girl and she is SUPER LUCK that in her current position as Manager for Creative Services for Old Navy she gets to do all of these things!! Dawn designs Flagship Store window displays, seasonal interiors and Old Navy’s PR showroom in New York City, the latter of which is detailed in the sketchbook story that she is sharing with us today.

Here’s Dawn’s Sketchbook Story:

DG: I get inspired by a little bit of everything: Of course my adorable English bulldog, Cookie. She is the light of my life and keeps me happy from sunup to sundown.

DG: Other artists inspire me, especially Koko the gorilla. (I own three pieces of Gorilla art!) My favorite weekend jaunt is Mendocino, where everything seems to move at a slower, more relaxed pace. I think it is simply paradise on earth. My favorite local weekend place to hang is in my beautiful backyard where I can lay on the deck, gaze at the California native plants and listen to the chickens cluck next door.

DG: A few small factoids about myself: I have a twin sister living in Seattle who is an artist as well. I love hula hooping and roller-skating. I have seen Barry Manilow in concert twice and know almost all of his songs by heart. I am a crazy wedding dancer. I own a gorilla suit just for fun. I don’t have a drivers’ license by choice – and you should thank me for that.

Old Navy Public Relations Showroom process:

DG: Since the purpose of our PR showroom is to present our upcoming lines to magazine editors, the first step is to familiarize myself with the items of the season that we want to be featured in the media. This might be an elevated and trendy skinny cargo-pant, a beautifully detailed sweater or a great new yoga-pant with a technologically forward fabrication. The hero products for the season always inform what the showroom design will look like because, essentially, we want to present our product as best as possible so that editors will want to feature the items in their fashion magazines.

For Fall 2011, our public relations coordinator knew that these patterned blouses were going to be big and we had a fabulous leather jacket in the line that she wanted to speak to. So, we knew the focus would be on these items for the overall look of the showroom.

DG: But, before I start designing the space itself, I work on the invitation that will act as a teaser for all the invitees. Spending some time with this idea usually sparks bigger ideas for the showroom concept. My first idea was to marry the soft florals with the edgier leather for a “leather and lace” sort of statement. Here is my initial hand drawn sketch for the invitation done during our team kickoff meeting.

DG: The next step is to refine the drawing in Illustrator. I prefer to flesh out my ideas on the computer for speed and convenience (must be the fast paced retail environment that I’m used to!)

DG: Then, I work with our product design department, if necessary, to acquire the actual digital textile assets to drop into my design. Voila! The finished invitation!


DG: And now onto the showroom. The first thing I do is lay out everything to scale on an overheard template. Once I am happy with the final design, I create individual mechanicals for our external print/production vendors.

DG: Since there were so many lovely patterns in our fall line, I decided to keep the walls clean and white, focusing on vignettes of pattern as backdrops for the mannequins.

DG: To evoke fall, we focused on a center statement (the dimensional tree and birds). I tend to use a lot of birds and trees in my work. In these pictures you can see that I appropriated the textile patterns into the backdrops and also for the cutout bird silhouettes hanging on the tree.

DG: The engineers who created the tree did an excellent of job of translating my original tear sheets and sketches into the dimensional plywood tree that you see here. It is my favorite part of this showroom design.

DG: The patterned wall backdrops are 96“ x 96” and are created from stretch frames and canvas. On one panel, we actually used brown pleather to resemble the cool jacket I mentioned earlier.

DG: Of course, I leveraged the invitation art for our hallway announcement. Since Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy all present their clothing lines in the same building, we need to have some sort of navigation for our attendees at the launch party.

DG: After the event is over, the showroom and the product is professionally photographed for our online press kit so that the editors and stylists can refer back to what they have seen. It’s a very exciting process to be a part of design-wise, but what is even better is that I also get to visit New York to work in the showroom 4 times a year.

Here’s where you can find Dawn:

    old navy::


cookie’s fb ::

dawn’s fb ::



Atlanta Baby

(Caroline Simas, me, Jessica Swift, Khristian Howell, and Jenny Jordan)

This past weekend I visited Atlanta to check out Americasmart for the first time!! My oh my, what a HUGE tradeshow!!! It was a total sensory overloaded!! I had to remind myself to blink and even had to close my eyes to rest a few times. I was on an information scavenger hunt filled with design, products, inspiration and friend. It was so great to see, in person, all of the products from companies I work with, companies that I want to work with and companies that I never knew about but am so glad that I do now.

I was lucky enough to be hosted by the lovely and super generous Jess Swift (oh and…if you haven’t given to her Kickstater Rainboot Project you only have 3 days left to get in on the action). And I got to sleep in her studio!! How cool is that!?! It was a jam packed design-filled weekend. I got to spend an artist-girls night out at one of Jess & Khristian’s favorite tapas places!! I got to see Bridesmaids and ended it with a really good slice of pizza, before Jess and Caroline took me to the airport. So much fun. I can’t wait to go back!!

doing a little upcycle redecorating

I’ve been inspired by all the stuff I’ve been pinning lately and have taken on doing a few little upcycle redecorating projects myself.

(wall art: paintings Ava Blu and I did together, a small block print by Mati, a print from a friend, and a picture of Ava Blu dressed up as a lady bug- one of the first of her many costume changes)

I’ve been in the same house for the last 6+ years and it’s in dire need of some updating. I think the last time that I actually thought about how I wanted my space to look was when I first moved in. But to be honest, there really wasn’t much thinking or planning involved. I was just so excited that we could actually afford a house in the bay area, even if it was a ‘fixer upper’, that we pretty much just slapped some fresh white paint on the walls and hurried up and moved in. As the years have tick on, that excitement that I first felt has definitely dwindled, especially since our home improvement project list just seems to grow and never gets any smaller.

(Shutters that have been sitting outside the side of our house for years now get a new home. Completely naturally weathered! They make a great display board and frame.)

So, you could say it’s been quite a while, since I’ve seriously thought about what I wanted my home to look and feel like. And even longer since I’ve actually done anything about it. Life has just been too busy, and the walls and decor have been dismissed in between the blur of rushing in and out of the house to get to here or there. I’ve somehow forgotten how powerful a space can be for your physical and mental wellbeing.


(Just wait till you see what I have planned for these guys!! )

But now, that I am working from home and am here ALL day long, it’s really important for me to create a space that I want to actually be in, that’s more symbiotic and reflective of the work I create. And well, more intentional and more ME!!

I don’t have the time or money to do everything all at once but a small project here and there has been a great way to break up my day and make my space just a little bit more enjoyable.

Sketchbook Stories :: Stephanie Ryan

I met Stephanie online, thru Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way class. I started a group for artists to chat on the class message board, and her and I because fast friends. We were chatting so much on the forum, that we actually became some of the the top posters in our class along side Ms. Monica :-) It was an amazing learning experience. And I’m so grateful that I was able to find a group of ladies that I was able to connect with. I totally found my tribe and was super sad when the e-course ended and the forum closed. Steph and I knew we needed to stay in contact, so we now schedule a chat once a month on the phone. And I was lucky to have her drive down and help me at my Surtex booth this year.

A little bit about Stephanie. Her true creative journey began after a fire destroyed Little Souls, Inc. the doll company where she worked for 11 years. She had started there working as a doll maker and was steadily promoted from designer to buyer, to product manager. After the fire, Stephanie was faced with the fact that she had to start over and she decided to go back to school. Stephanie decided to enroll at Moore College of Art & Design where she studied graphic design and discovered her love for fabrics and patterns. Stephanie now freelances as a designer, specializing in tabletop, surface, and product design. My fingers are crossed that she’ll decide to take the leap to exhibit at Surtex next year, and of course be in my “neighborhood”!!


Here is Stephanie’s Sketchbook Story::

SR: When Cindy Ann asked me to submit my sketchbook story I was really excited to participate, I thought it would be fun to share my process. The more I thought about it however, the more I realized that I don’t sketch all that much!

SR: My process is more intuitive, I find that when I sketch I tighten up too much and my work loses some of it’s magic. I also try not to look at reference, I like to work from my imagination when painting my flowers, it gives them a whimsical look that I can’t replicate when looking at reference.

My painting process is simple. I work with watercolors and ink and I use my imagination and intuition to guide me. I start with a blank watercolor block and fill my brush up with color and start painting shapes, the shapes turn into flowers in unexpected ways and I add details at the end with a micron pen.  I try to fill up the paper with a variety of flowers and elements like swirls, dots and leaves to use in my finished pieces. At this stage, I never know what the finished piece is going to look like.

SR: When I am finished with painting, I scan everything into the computer and start cleaning it up in photoshop. Once I have all of the elements together, I start playing.

SR: I never have an idea in mind of the finished art before this stage in my process. This is the fun part for me. I start moving elements around, add textures, play with color and sometimes words to complete the piece. Once I have my central image finished, I try to pull together a supporting pattern collection to compliment it.

SR: Life is very exciting these days.



Steph’s Painting Demo

Stephanie Ryan Painting Demo 1

Here’s where you can find Stephanie ::


       blog:: Small Sweet Steps ::


    twitter:: @SmallSweetSteps