Dreamboarding lightly…;)

Dreamboarding lightly…;)

I am inspired from The Women Unlimited Thrive conference 2014 I attended yesterday. It was full of amazing stories and a plethora of advice on how to be and become successful…

If you are new to business, it can also leave you a little vulnerable and a tangible feeling of the ‘smallness’ of your own home working empire.

If you have ever been to a business conference, I am sure you can relate.

So, this morning I woke with a real drive to connect with my business dream by creating a vision board of how I want my business to feel and look within the next year or so.

Making a vision or dream board, is advice I regularly hear when investigating how to visualise being a successful business woman. I don’t know if you have ever tried it or seen any examples. Typically they can reveal definite outcomes such as a nice home office, collaborating with friendly people, a happy relationship etc.

My goodness, I am repeatedly asking my clients to create a vision board for their business illustrations

So, I kind of liked the idea of ‘practicing what I preach’ so to speak…

This time, I took on some fabulous advice from Amy Palko about creating a Dreamboard. She advises to manifest the board after a meditative space of silence…lightly holding the question ‘What am I birthing here?’. It was important to keep my focus relaxed and not overthink what I am looking for.

Typically, I started with predetermined ideas of a beautiful art studio with messy paints splashed everywhere, lots of light and even a pet dog walking through;) The board started with what I had fixed in my ‘mind’.

Then, something peculiar happened, I accidentally came across an image that swirled and stirred deep inside my heart and stomach. I felt butterflies and a deep connection with it and had no idea why. I put it aside as I knew it was significant in some way.

So, out of all my chosen images, this one spoke to me above and beyond any other.

This image (first image on pinboard picture above) sings to my soul and I am sure it will reveal its answers to me as time goes on. My initial thoughts are that the lady is elegantly serene in textured but feminine clothing, within comfortable surroundings. There is a neatness to the image, yet it feels rustic and comfortable enough to not feel stuffy or too perfect.

This could be an image that represents the feeling of my business, or how I want to be in my business. Most likely it represents everything about my business in one single image. So powerful and revealing. I will look at this image every day and see what secrets it holds.

Over to you

I invite you to find some quiet meditative time and create a Dreamboard based on a question you may have. Pay attention to your responses whilst you ponder over the images.

Is this a head or a heart response?

If the picture does not make sense….don’t discard it, but keep it close by, as it will most likely reveal interesting truths about what your soul is searching for.

Oh and also

If you enjoyed this blogpost then do share in your social media preference, or comment below your thoughts and experiences of vision/dreamboards. I would love to hear from you…

Bye for now,

Lisa x

Sometimes we just don’t get it right….

Sometimes we just don’t get it right….

I write this blog post in a reflective frame of mind after working on a most interesting client commission the past few weeks.

On the surface, it seemed a simple request. A request to design a single image, so it came under my current service charge of £90.

But, no matter how thorough my process of collecting client information, Skype chats and creating drafts is, I can sometimes get it a little wrong.

After all, I am only human. I am sure you can relate.

You see, for £90 I have to become heavily involved with ideas and development and creating what is right for my client as quickly as possible. I rely heavily on the information given and concise and accurate feedback.

£90 is not a huge price to pay for interpreting a lengthy questionnaire, up to an hours Skype chat, developing workable ideas as rapidly as possibly and then creating the final image. There is really little room to make a mistake or for re-do’s.

Whereas to be commissioned for a number of images for a project flows more easily, after the style and look of the image is established. We are on a magical roll by then! 😉

On this occasion, I took two ten hour working days for idea generation, designing and implementing the information and feedback given for an image. From the written email feedback,  I really believed I was on the right track.

I have to hit the ground running from the start. If I don’t get it right pretty quickly, then the image rapidly becomes an uneconomical and exhausting frustration for both parties.

So, I sit here in the light of courage and wisdom, of my first ever experience of a mismatch and misunderstanding. All I can do is request a further payment for more ‘development work time’;  or , of course, a full refund and I keep the idea designs protected under copyright. This is all I can do to respect the clients and my own personal boundaries. This feels like the best solution. I also need time to reflect and take the positives out of this situation.

What have I learned?

  • I want to communicate more clearly the importance of finding out what the client likes, and also what the client does not like about my pre-final creation. After all, feedback is all subjective and open to misinterpretation.
  • I want to establish how much developmental work a client needs control of before the final image is drafted.
  • My price per single image does not reflect the amount of energy, love and time that goes into every unique design. There are clients who are happy to trust that my art creation will be close to their ideal very quickly and not requiring developmental work, whereas some clients would want more control on the design and its final look. So, to accommodate for this, I will add an optional developmental cost to the price that will give clients the security and satisfaction of rough sketches, mock-ups and final images with amendments). I see this as a workable solution for all 😉

This is all a learning curve for me. I respect and adore my clients.  I am being open here, so you understand what goes on behind the scenes and  my passion for refining and adjusting my service to get things as near to the perfect experience for you.

Fortunately, the majority of my client experiences have been magical and wonderful!!!

So, thank you for reading this blog post and I would welcome any comments or advice you wish to share, or your own experiences of a mismatch.


Connect with my clients: Catherine Haymes

Connect with my clients: Catherine Haymes

Welcome, again, to Connect with my Clients– an exciting series of blog posts to learn more about the Why my clients hire an artist to visually express how their business feels.

My clients are also the very people who inspire me with their talents and commitment to provide a personal, remarkable way to express their business.

Meet Catherine Haymes, the Kitchen Moxie over at Everybody’s Home For Dinner.  She’s all about primarily reconnecting with food so you can reconnect with yourself and give back more to your loved ones.

A self-trained but relaxed comida aficionada (read: tutti foodie) with her hands and heart grounded in traditional European cooking, she specialises in Italian, French, Germanic and, closest to her beating stomach, Austrian cooking. Despite her Japanese heritage, her Japanese and Oriental cooking is “too European”.


ebook - Catherine Haymes

ebook – Catherine Haymes

She released a book back in January titled “Everybody’s Home For Dinner: Be The Life You Want To Be With Food At The Heart Of It” – a book designed to fundamentally change the way you cook by putting you at the heart of it and be guided to reconnect with food at a primal level, to reconnect with yourself – and which features my artwork!

Connect with my Clients…

1)    What was your desire when you were looking for someone like me?

I’m always on the lookout for people I want in my life, and in a bid to meet new people, I met you on a 30 Day Video Challenge ran by Marissa Murgatroyd in May 2013.  I was astounded by your courage to be true to yourself and your light – you have this je ne se quois that just draws people in.  Kindness, playfulness, a gently pure white light that illuminates all the other colours – that’s you alright.  I kept in touch with you ever since, and it’s been wonderful!

2)    What were your specific reasons for hiring an artist above other services, or ways of adding images to your brand?

In November last year I had just written my book, “Everybody’s Home For Dinner”, and it occurred to me that I wanted to bring the essence of it to life – it was just a 20,000 word bundle of words at this point, and food is multi-sensual, so I wanted to bring forward the visual dimension to help spur more of it to life.

I was part-inspired by the artwork to Marcella Hazan’s excellent book “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” – it was a collection of very simple, hand-drawn illustrations of vegetables like tomatoes, courgettes and aubergines – and I knew I wanted something along those lines, but also different to reflect and embody the spirit of my book.

Now, I’m no artist – I can’t draw or paint, I even struggle to doodle!  So I knew that I needed an artist to help me bring my ideas to life.

There were a handful of artists I was thinking of contacting, all of them wonderful at their work, but I chose to work with you because of your ability to empathise with the spirit within each business and creation.  I treat my business as if it was another person whom I’m working with to create the things that want to exist in this world.  I also treat each creation as another person to bring them to life too.  Lisa is sensitive to all of these spirits, or essences, unlike any other artist, and I could just sense that she could bring them to life.

3)    What 4 words would you write to describe yourself as a female entrepreneur?

Free Range Meetup 040712059 copyWholesome – I look at the bigger picture of where cooking fits into everyone’s lives and want everyone to be the life they want to be with food at the heart of it.  Having a full heart and (comfortably) full stomach are good starting points to living a good life, I believe.

 Seeker – I seek knowledge and understanding in cooking and my work:

What are the minimum ingredients and techniques required to make a sponge?

What is the ultimate herb and spice combination required to make a goulash?  (2 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 tbsp sweet paprika, 1 tsp marjoram, and potentially up to 1 tsp of caraway seeds, particularly for vegetable goulashes but not always for meat goulashes. *wink*)

Why are there so many books that focus on food and diets but rarely on cooking and what it means to cook?

Why are there so many cookbooks with recipes that don’t indicate how it’s meant to look, taste, smell, feel, sound, at various stages of cooking, so that we know we’re on the right track?

These are the kinds of questions I ask myself a lot and which inform a lot of the work I do.

Practical Philosophy: I believe that when we stop for a few moments to think about what we really want in our lives, it makes it much easier set about and focus on getting those things.  After all, you wouldn’t rush in and make a cake if you didn’t know what kind of cake you wanted and needed to make – so why do we rush in and build a life we didn’t particularly want, or worse, fit our needs?

4)    How does your business feel?

Come to my home and step into the warmth.  Wipe your shoes on the doormat and replace them with some comfy, fluffy slippers.  Walk through the vanilla ice-cream coloured hallway into the kitchen.  The kettle’s on.  Please, take a seat at my Kitchen Table, and feel free to raid the cupboards and nibble on cake, cookies or carrots, whatever takes your fancy.  Grab a mug of tea or coffee (or something stronger if it’s one of *those* days!) and let’s talk.

Let’s talk about what you think and feel about food.

Let’s talk about what you think and feel about yourself.

Let’s talk about all the problems and troubles you’re having making time for cooking when you have a bazillion other things to worry about.

Let go of any judgment that you and everyone else might have about your thoughts and feelings about you, cooking and food – judgment redirects your thoughts and feelings away from your real reasons for thinking and feeling the way you do.  That is counter-productive, because the redirection will rarely land you in the place you want to be…joyful, happy, peaceful, wholesome, ecstatic, alive, radiant, full, love…

And it reduces the chances of eating damn good food.

So instead, let’s talk about the place you want food to be in your life and the lives of the people you love.

Let’s talk about your beliefs and hopes around cooking for yourself and the people you love more often.

Let’s work on building it together.

5)    I invite you to comment on my process for creating custom-crafted artwork.

From the moment I sent off the request I felt comfortable – it was so easy to work with you because there was not only the explanations on paper but also the Skype call to talk to you about the ideas I had, which was really useful to clarify the details that I couldn’t work out on my own.  What I really loved was how it felt like you had just opened a window into my mind and saw the illustrations I was imagining, and just plucked them from my mind straight onto paper.  As soon as I saw the illustrations, I instantly connected with them, “Oh yes, that’s it!  Exactly what I was dreaming of!”

6)    What can custom crafted images do for your brand and services?

It helps to instantly create the resonance with your audience that would otherwise take you several sentences to build.  It helps to instantly create the feelings that you want your audience to feel. It creates the space and defines the safe container of what you and each service is about.

Best of all, because it is custom crafted to your specific requirements, it’s unique to you and differentiates you from everyone else who’s using stock imagery, even if the imagery was bought somewhere.  When people land on your pages, they will instantly know it is you and your work they are going to play in and not someone else.

7)    Where do you think unique artwork can be used in a female business?

ebook - Catherine Haymes

ebook – Catherine Haymes

I used unique artwork to help define the space and boundaries for my book with a front cover and a recurring background image that represents the book philosophies of simplicity, whole-heartedness and homeliness: a carrot, an onion and a stick of celery – the ingredients for making an Italian soffrito, which forms the base of many traditional Italian dishes.

I also used it to beautifully illustrate a metaphor around the Inner Foodie Tree: we all have one, and it informs how you cook far beyond the typical cooking equation (your skills + a recipe = the dish du jour).  It takes into account your thoughts and feelings around food, cooking and, most importantly, yourself.  It shows the effect of using all of your senses and how the quality of ingredients supports cooking.  It helps explain the relative importance of each part to cooking.

Aside from those, I think that unique artwork can be used to describe the indescribable when no words can do justice to it.  I also think that unique artwork is a great alternative to photographs because it can bring a softer quality to the business – in my case, more homely and handmade.

Unique artwork is invaluable when you want your audience to be guided by their imagination too.  Photographs are real (mostly – let’s not get into the Photoshop debate!).  Art is a dream brought to life when it’s fixed to a surface (tweetable).  Using art and words, you can set the background and prompts for the dreams you want your audience to have in a much more fluid way than what can be achieved through photographs and words.

8)    What advice would you give someone who is considering hiring an artist or illustrator?

Know what you want beforehand – it saves you and the artist of illustrator time and makes it more likely for the collaboration to be a success.

What feels like “something’s missing”?  What would be better represented or explained in a picture or illustration?  Where does your business feel that there is something it wants to show you and your audience that so far hasn’t been shown by your words, or photos?

Then map it out as far as you can – daydream, fantasize, what does it look like?  What does it represent?  How does it feel when you see it in your mind’s eye?  Build the pictures you want.

Oh, and it goes without saying that you should hire someone you get along with and who you think and feel will bring your imagination to life.  For me, that is Lisa.


Thank you Catherine for answering my questions, in order to help prospective clients feel more informed about Lisa McLoughlin Art.  Very much appreciated…

If you would like to see how I can visually help you with your business needs, then do connect with me here .

If you enjoyed reading about Catherine’s journey and would like to find out more about her new book then do pay a visit to her online home here. You will not be disappointed!




Not sure I know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it – Try this.

Not sure I know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it – Try this.

As I branch into website art and design, I ponder my processes and how I can make the collaborative client experience more effective.

I often hear the sentence ‘Not sure I know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it’.

This uncertainty can lead to frustration for the artist and client, as time is spent guessing what the client may want, thus running the risk of unnecessary re-dos and stifling the creative process.

So, I am continually refining my service and helping you become more involved with the process, to develop a deeper understanding of my art/design choices and my craft.

This blog post will introduce you to one element of my art process. The mood board.

What exactly is a mood board?

A mood board is an inspirational collage of images, text, textures and styles for the purpose of focusing the art/design process.

The mood board precedes the mock-up images or design and is introduced after the completion of the questionnaire and Skype session.

Essentially, the mood board captures the atmosphere and helps to organise thoughts, impressions, themes and feelings (Tweetable). They save  precious time and minimise misunderstandings.

Images and words are ideally arranged in themes such as colour palette, inspiring words, textures, style and typography. The images can also be scaled to show preferences and the dominant style.

The example I have here is a demo case study website I am designing for a business I am naming Small Steps coaching. Over the coming weeks, I plan to blog about the process from mood board to mock-up website.

I am really looking forward to it.

So, this demo brief is to design a website for a female entrepreneur (let’s call her Daisy)  who is a coach specialising in coaching women after a major life event. In essence, to help them start to rebuild their lives in a gentle, nourishing and slow-paced way.

After completing my questionnaire, Skype session and mood board, it is clear that Daisy has certain words that convey the feeling of her business. She also wants an elegant, handwriting typeface to convey an informal friendliness. She loves watercolour art style and after her Pinterest discovery session, she is clear on the colours she would like to use.

This mood board really conveys a soft and natural feeling already, don’t you think? Daisy would like to create a feeling of safety.

I certainly have a clear idea of my way forward and cannot wait to start doodling.

Over to you

So, I invite you to create your own mood board for a project or image idea. When working with me, I am more than happy to see what ideas you have.

I am like a detective. The collection of items reveals a lot about how you want your business to feel.

Try and focus your ideas to a select number of images and typography. Formulate 2-3 boards if you prefer, or sit with your ideas a few days and see how you feel when re-visiting the board. Ask trustworthy friends and previous clients to comment on how the mood board is being interpreted.

When formulating your mood board, great questions to ponder are ‘How do you think your audience will respond to these colours/images/typography etc?’

If you would like me to help you realise a desire to make your business look more beautiful, then connect with me here for a no obligation chat.

Oh and also

If you enjoyed this posting then do share it with your social media preference.

Let’s get moody!! 😉

Connect With My Clients: Jac McNeil

Connect With My Clients: Jac McNeil

Welcome to Connect with my Clients– an exciting new series of blog posts to learn more about Why my clients hire an artist to visually express how their business feels.

My clients are also the very people who inspire me with their talents and commitment to provide a personal, remarkable way to express their business.

Meet the lovely Jac McNeil, a certified coach and luminary for self-leadership. Her work helps women unearth their own powerful business truths so they can do more of the work they love and feel called to do. She created the transformational business-building program In Your Element and the digital program The Solopreneur Sojourn– A Digital Retreat Kit for your Business.


I was first introduced to Jac McNeil through Corrina Gordon Barnes from You Inspire Me when I was seeking a mentor for my new business.

I studied Jac’s website, listened to her webinars and really connected with her wisdom and the depth she explores a clients journey through her coaching and mentoring process. I was so impressed that I signed up for her Summer Element group mentoring program during the Summer of 2013 and have never looked back!

So, when Jac enquired about hiring me for her wonderful Solopreneur Digital Retreat kit, I was honoured and absolutely delighted. I knew she was my ideal type of client and also a discerning business woman.


Jac hired me for 15 digital retreat kit illustrations, a website service button and Facebook Page banner and we then started a beautiful and fun journey together creating a high quality resource for the very people that I love (women entrepreneurs).



connectwithmyclientsJacMcNeilConnect with my Clients:

1)    What was your desire when you were looking for someone like me?

What I most wanted was the visual aesthetic of the kit to match the depth and power of the exercises so that it would be an “experience of the senses” for my readers. I wanted the art to create an ambiance that words and fonts alone cannot do.

2)    What were your specific reasons for hiring an artist above other services, or ways of adding images to your brand?

I wanted personalized art because pictures do speak a thousand words (tweetable). A graphic artist is amazing at fonts and layouts but they don’t tend to create one of a kind art.

3)    What 4 words would you write to describe yourself as a female entrepreneur?

Feminine, Powerful, Layered, Discerning

4)    How does your business feel?

Integrity-based, Transformational, Compassionate

5)    I invite you to comment on my process for creating custom-crafted artwork.

What I loved about working with Lisa is that she asked the right questions. She researched my Pinterest board and then combined her intuition with her attention to detail to create beautiful, resonant images that reflected the look and feel of my work. She took the time to understand me and what is important to me and that came out clearly in the images.

6)    What can custom crafted images do for your brand and services?

I know I sold more of my retreat kits because I chose to put a lot of attention into the visual detail. I believe custom crafted images enhance my work and express my values of excellence, beauty and high-quality that might otherwise be missed in stock photography or fonts alone.

7)    Where do you think unique artwork can be used in a female business?

Everywhere! Brand cohesiveness is so important: website, social media pages, logos, new program banners, PDF’s, e-books, custom worksheets, the list is extensive.

8)    What advice would you give someone who is considering hiring an artist or illustrator?

Know what you need first. Ask yourself: “if an artist could enhance this idea/project/website, what exactly would I want them to do for me?” The clearer you are about your own needs the better the fit will be.

Once you know what you need then interview at least 2 potential artists, ask lots of questions, see lots of examples of their work, ask about their process, timelines, ask for estimates and then go with your intuition on who feels like the best fit for you

Thank you Jac McNeil for answering my questions, in order to help prospective clients feel more informed about Lisa McLoughlin Art.  Very much appreciated…

Also, look out for future blog posts about my own reflections on the process of projects I work on in: Reflections from Lisa McLoughlin Art, or, Demo Case Studies to show the diverse applications and process of creating illustrations for a brief..

If you would like to see how I can visually help you with your business needs, then do connect with me here >> .

Oh, and also:

If you like what you have read then do share with your social media preference. Thank you for your support.