Author: veronicabishop (page 2 of 19)

educational coloring

For those of you who have been so kind as to follow my “junior Great Books” project, I thank you! Here is what I have been working on lately, ramping up to my first book series. I want to first write some books for little ones, maybe ages 3-6, introducing key authors and concepts.

I may do characters to go along with my animal plushies in another iteration, but for now I thought it would be fun to do alphabet coloring pages. Instant gratification!

So I will be posting them here as they are completed so anyone can download and print them as they please. At the end of the series, I will compile them into a complete book (both PDF and print) at the end of the series.

I hope you enjoy! As always, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, comments, struggles, suggestions, requests, or just want to talk. 🙂



A is for Augustine

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”

St. Augustine of Hippo, known best for writing City of God, was quite the ladies man in his youth. It wasn’t until he saw the wrong in habitually stealing pears off of someone’s tree (for kicks, he didn’t even eat the pears) that he recognized the nature of sin, which prompted him to turn his life around and write Confessions.

B is for Bronte

“Conventionality is not morality.” –Charlotte BrontĂ«

“Honest people don’t hide their deeds.” –Emily BrontĂ«

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” –Anne BrontĂ«

The BrontĂ« sisters each wrote well-received works in their lifetimes under male pseudonyms, Emily for Wuthering Heights, Charlotte for Jane Eyre, and Anne for Agnes Grey. They employed “Byronic heroes” in their novels–arrogant, passionate, yet magnetic male figures with dark hearts (see Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester). As children, they had very vivid imaginations and created matchbook-sizes novels to bolster the morale of British soldiers.

C is for Cicero

Credite amori vera dicenti: “believe love speaking the truth.”
Docendo discitar: “by teaching one learns.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a politician during the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. He wrote to keep his mind sharp and drown his sorrows when he lost interest in serving the government under the rule of Caesar. He believed that greed is evil, and that repayment of debt is as important as national security. He believed that the only way to gain power is by mobilizing goodwill. “Freedom suppressed and then regained bites more sharply than if it had never been in peril.”
Gaining true friends and a good reputation requires goodwill (doing or willing to do one a service), confidence (intelligent and regarded as just/good), and respect of the kind that gets one promoted to high office. If a man is just, all three requirements are in the bag. You must genuinely be the kind of person you wish others to see you as. “Nothing counterfeit has any staying power.”
  • Wisdom: the ability to distinguish truth from falsity and to understand the relationships between them and the consequences of each.
  • Temperance: ability to restrain passions (pathe) and to make the appetites (hormai) amenable to reason.
  • Justice: capacity to behave considerately and understandingly in associations with other people.
Qualities of a just person include moderation, loyalty/devotion to family, eloquence, kindness and liberality (both money and services), lenient in demands of others, avoid offending anyone. True friendship is wanting the best for another with no motives other than that person attaining what is best (requires that both parties are just).

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”

 Dante Alighieri was from Florence, Italy. He famously wrote the epic poem The Divine Comedy, an allegorical journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven. It was released in Italian instead of the typical Latin or Greek, thus reaching a broader audience and enhancing global literacy. He is credited with inventing the poetry rhyme scheme known as terza rima.
He studied painting, music, and poetry, and was influenced by a contemporary group of Italian poets–who wrote about personal & political passions–as well as Homer, Dante, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and Cicero’s De Amicitia.
He worked as a pharmacist and was involved in public affairs before turning to philosophy. He fought with those who were wary of the Pope’s political influence in the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict in 1289 and was consequently exiled from Florence for life.



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365 small steps

Saying out loud what your goals are is necessary in order to calibrate your journey towards them. Daily steps, however small they seem, will get you closer to your goal; communicating about it with other people keeps letting you know whether you’re on the right track.

As this hits the internet, I will be on my way to Austin, Texas for the second seanwes Conference. I went last year, and it is no overstatement to say that it was life-changing. I learned so much, and met the most wonderful people. The clarity I received from intimate conversations is priceless. It’s safe to say I would not have made the progress I made this year if not for those conversations. I know I have a long way to go, but I feel such a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that I’m making forward progress. Prior to this time last year, I felt anxious, directionless, like I was treading water.

This time last year:

  • I was taking all kinds of self-inventory tests and reading all manner of books and articles designed to help me figure out what my “element” is, what specific thing I’m good at and want to pursue.
  • I had a hundred different things I wanted to do and was anxiously dabbling in each of them with no particular direction, wondering which of them was going to be the thing.
  • I was really hoping to quit my day job really soon.
  • I don’t even remember what was going on with my website, but I know that it was pretty sad stuff.
  • I couldn’t say in one sentence what I’m all about. “Well, I sell crochet stuff sometimes, I’m a sign artist for my day job, but what I really want to do is write and illustrate, but don’t really have the energy to be creative when I get home from work.”
  • I had janky business cards that I wasn’t thrilled about handing out.
  • I would not have been able to answer 9 Key Questions for Building a Successful Brand Foundation.

Now, going into this year’s conference:

  • Thanks in great part to the conversations I had last year, I know exactly what I want to do for at least the next couple of years (i.e., I have an elevator pitch): I will write and illustrate a series of books that make the concepts of the Great Books accessible to children.
  • I have a focused direction for multiple products.
  • I have regular content that I’m putting up on my website and social media.
  • I still don’t want to stay at the day job for the rest of my life, but am comforted that it is a great place to be while I overlap.
  • I have a professionally designed logo and web elements that bring clarity to my website, products, and business cards (which are now mini bookmarks with a sample of my hand lettering and an email address linked to my domain–instead of the old gmail address I’ve had since college).
  • I also got some great clarity from hand-letterer Lauren Hom’s ten-week Passion to Paid course. She and the students in the class helped me define a side project that propelled me into my current conceptualization of a book-themed product line/curriculum.

I know I still need to work on:

  • Building an audience. I don’t have much of a following yet, but this is a good thing at this stage. It needs to be the first step before I launch any products, and it gives me the freedom to write my books/create products/build my brand in the meantime. I can find my voice and have room to establish myself without the pressure to “perform” for a large audience.
  • Incorporating my awesome new design elements into my products and web presence, and create a landing page with a specific launch date.
  • Actually write the books…and all that entails (writing, editing, illustrating, publishing, marketing, distributing).
  • Reach out to influencers within the realm in which I want to establish myself.
  • Share and curate my work more regularly, as well as set strict deadlines.

Apologies that this has been a me-centered post, but I share this in the hope that it inspires someone who is where I was a year ago, or where I am now looking into the future. I can’t stress greatly enough the value of community. You need to step outside of your own point of view in order to get real clarity.

Daily journaling helps, too, but saying out loud what your goals are is necessary in order to calibrate your journey towards them. Daily steps, however small they seem, will get you closer to your goal; communicating about it with other people keeps letting you know whether you’re on the right track. One step a day doesn’t seem like much…until you’ve done it for a year.

I’m excited to see what insights will come during this conference and am excited for what the coming year will bring.

What are you working on now that didn’t seem possible a year ago? What have you learned? What steps do you look forward to making toward your goals in the coming year?

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fill your glass by focusing

Sometimes I pull myself in too many directions. If I’m working on the one thing I tell myself needs to get done today, inevitably I’ll want to do something else. I like to fool myself into thinking that I’m multi-tasking, but that doesn’t really exist.

You literally can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. Focus, by definition, is having a single object very clearly in view. Many things will vie for your attention, but they can’t all have it. Choose one thing at a time, or it will all be blurry.

If you’re going to do something well, give it your full attention. Go all in on one thing instead of being a jack of all trades. Don’t half-ass a bunch of things instead of doing one thing well.

Me, trying to do all of the things

I think of it like filling glasses. Imagine a coffee shop. You’d expect them to sell a small range of coffee and coffee-related beverages, right? Now imagine that you order a cup of coffee, and while the barista is fulfilling your order, he goes off and starts filling another cup with soda. Then he decides that he’d like to make a batch of lemonade and start filling cups with that. Before long there’s a long line of cups, each getting a different kind of beverage. But there’s only one barista, so only one cup is getting filled at a time. Each cup is only getting a few drops at a time because the real goal is to fill that first cup of coffee.

If you’re the customer, you’re pretty pissed by now that you haven’t been given your coffee. It’s a coffee joint, so the expectation is that they’re going to deliver coffee.

As creatives, it can sometimes feel impossible to just hone in on one thing. But if you’ve declared to your audience that you’re going to do something, you had better deliver.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t do all of the things that you love. Make time for things that fulfill you and scratch your creative itch. Just be sure that you’re making forward progress in the thing you want to be known for, and share things that feed that. You don’t have to project all of the things you do; it’s confusing enough for people notice what other people are all about. Make it easy on them by being clear about what you do…then do more of that.

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baby steps

Slow and steady wins the race. Action beats inaction. Taking small steps is so much more important than thinking about big steps. Sometimes I have to remind myself that tiny positive things add up and that’s so much better than stressing about making big progress (which adds up in a negative way).

I think of it like driving veeeerrrry slowly in your car: eventually you’ll get further than just sitting there revving the engine and wasting gasoline.

I have a huge project ahead of me, and it’s daunting. It’s so big that sometimes it’s paralyzing. But I know that I need to chip away at it a little bit at a time.

So I am making a bit of a pivot in the content of this blog, and I want you to know what you can expect in the future. I will still be writing about creative resistance, but it will be more along the lines of what I’m specifically encountering in my current creative projects.

First of all, if you aren’t familiar with the idea of overlapping (working a day job for financial stability while you work on what you’re passionate about on the side until it can support you), I highly recommend the book Overlap by Sean McCabe.

My passion is to make big ideas accessible to young people. I believe that the ability to think critically is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow on future generations. I’m writing and illustrating a series of young adult and children’s books making the ideas of the Great Books (Plato, Dante, Augustine, et al) super digestible. I want to normalize what used to be a standard education but has unfortunately become very rare. Everyone is capable of learning big things and no one should be scared or ashamed to be exposed to “smart people things.”

I want to get kids excited about reading through book related products, as well. Hand-lettered bookmarks, handmade book bags, and crocheted animal plushie characters that introduce kids great literary characters and their authors.

I’m making myself publicly accountable for making this vision a reality, and documenting the process. I invite you to follow along, to sign up for updates on the book release, to join the conversation in whatever way you’d like and ask questions about what makes actually doing creative things so dang hard sometimes.

It will be messy. Most things are before you get to the finished product. And that’s okay, because perfect is an illusion that keeps you from doing the important, messy things. Thanks to those who have stuck with me thus far, and thank you/welcome to those who are newly jumping in.

I invite you to make messes and take baby steps with me. 🙂

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