The power of a glass of tea.

This is a photo of a life-changing moment. I took it on November 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM. I had posted on FaceBook that I was going to be speaking at a conference in Amsterdam and Koosje Koene invited me to tea when I was in town. We’d never met in person, only online and we were both a little nervous at meeting a total stranger.

I’m glad we did.  Well, that’s an incredible understatement.  That glass of tea led to lots of emails to a business idea to our first kourse  …. to over five years of SketchBook Skool.

Continue reading “The power of a glass of tea.”

How I found my tribe.

We just launched a new social network just for SketchBook Skool called the SkoolYard. Among many other things, it’s another place for me to hold forth and write long pieces —like this essay to welcome new members. You may not be in the community yet but some of my thoughts may still resonate with you.


When I was little, we moved an awful lot. We lived in London, Pakistan, Pittsburgh, Australia, Israel, and Brooklyn — all before I finished seventh grade. I lived in different neighborhoods, spoke different languages, and had to learn about new cultures, new sports, new foods every year. I guess this diverse upbringing had its upsides but the hardest part was always being the new kid. And always feeling like an outsider.

Continue reading “How I found my tribe.”

Where have I been?

I have spent the last two weeks doing everything but writing blog posts. Let me catch you up on what I’ve been up to, as I hope that you will be a beneficiary of my efforts.

Last fall, we presented SketchKon, the first Sketchbook Skool convention, and when it was over, we did a lot of stock taking. It had been a wonderful opportunity to meet many of the people who had taken kourses with us and who had formed our vibrant community. We learned so much in those few days and came away even more determined to give you exactly what you want and need to make art making a joyful part of your lives.

Continue reading “Where have I been?”

Podcast 15: The Story of Sketchbook Skool

Five years ago, Koosje Koene and I started on an epic adventure to create a new creative business. For this episode of the art for all podcast, we sat down to discuss all that has happened, all we have learned, and all we hope to do with Sketchbook Skool.  We were joined by our Dean of Students, Morgan Green.

If you are a fan of Sketchbook Skool or are hoping to start your own creative business, I hope you’ll find this discussion of interest.

NOTE: This is the last episode of Season One. We will return soon with the new season. For updates, please subscribe to the free Sketchbook Skool Zine.

Podcast 13: Breaking Creative Blocks

This week on the podcast  author/coach Jill Badonsky gives me sage and funny advice on breaking down creative barriers and getting to work.

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COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE (transcribed by robots, vaguely checked by humans) Continue reading “Podcast 13: Breaking Creative Blocks”

Podcast 12: the seven deadly creative sins

A few years ago I was thinking about my tendency toward jealousy and my occasional bursts of wrath. These are among my less appealing qualities but I insist on hanging onto them nonetheless.

As I thought about these shortcomings, I realized that they constituted two of the deadly sins described in Dante, and that in fact, if I was completely honest with myself, I was guilty of all seven: Envy, wrath, pride, greed, lust, gluttony and sloth. Not in my life in general, but specifically when it comes to creative matters.

I decided to write a series of blog posts in the subject which I enjoyed and met with muted response upon publication here. Nonetheless, that series remained very interesting to me and so I decided to revisit them in my new life as an internationally acclaimed podcast host.

This week’s podcast is a fresh version of the seven deadly sins as they apply to creative endeavors, retooled and updated for a new generation, and scored lightly with well-mixed Gregorian chants.

I’m not sure if the listening audience will be any more interested in them than the reading one was, but I enjoy hurling things at the wall and waiting to see what sticks.

If you don’t think the deadly sins apply to you, spend a half hour with me and your headphones and let me know if I convince you otherwise.

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Or here


Episode transcript (but please listen to the podcast!) Continue reading “Podcast 12: the seven deadly creative sins”

Podcast 11: Austin Kleon

This week I interview best-selling author Austin Kleon on the creative process.

Austin is one of my favorite writers and thinkers about the creative process. He is a poet, a collage artist, a blogger, an author, a diarist, and a writer who draws.

Listen to the episode here.

Mentioned in this episode:


COMPLETE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Continue reading “Podcast 11: Austin Kleon”