Rounding Corners

Here is the first post of many that talk about some supplies that will help you mock things up for clients or create small runs of things that you are selling in your online store.

Make a Homemade Custom Label / Sticker

Have you wanted to know how to make a sticker but haven’t wanted to purchase 50 of them or 500 of them. You just need a few, well this video will show you how to make a sticker / label easily on a tight budget.

Xyron machines are found at any craft store or on amazon, links below: 5 inch Xyron Machine:
2.5 inch Xyron Machine:
1.5 inch Xyron Machine:

They help me to make stickers and labels for some homemade products or projects I am working on. Also I have used them to show clients a dummy of what their label will look like on the packaging etc.

Have a question on how to make something? Leave a comment below.

Or do you have suggestions on how I can make Tip videos like this better? shorter? etc. Please leave a comment below.

Rapid Recharge // Competitors or Allies

Episode 221. Airs July 26, 2017.

Are you better alone or do you and your skills get enhanced when you are around other people? Better alone or better together?

My dad read me this joke that he shared with his Sunday School class last weekend. It has stayed with me ever since.

Here it is, (honestly I tried to find the source. But there are so many versions out there, I couldn’t find the original in the time I gave myself.)

A visiting Pastor was attending a men’s breakfast in Farm County.  He
asked one of the impressive older farmers in attendance to say grace
that morning. After all were seated, the older farmer began—

“Lord, I hate buttermilk.

The Pastor opened one eye and wondered to himself where this was
going. Then the farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard.”

Now the Pastor was worried. However without missing a beat, the
farmer prayed on, “And Lord, you know I don’t care much for raw white

Just as the Pastor was ready to stand and stop everything, the farmer
continued, “But Lord, when you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em up, I
do love fresh biscuits. So Lord, when things come up we don’t like,
when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what you are sayin’
to us, we just need to relax and wait ‘till You are done mixin’, and
probably it will be somethin’ even better than biscuits. Amen.”

It made me think about competition and allies, and community and contrast. Competitors often push us to go further, but allies help us by lending a hand or solution or give us the support we need. Contrast in design is so important for a message to be seen. Contrast allows a viewer to see what’s important because it’s standing out.

Contrast is like the hot pepper, but you need the right amount and you need something to pair it with, something that makes the intense flavor palatable.

All over the internet there are recipes for habenaro peppers and fruit, or chili peppers and chocolate. People need contrast too, especially to grow. People can be palatable too, for example their personalities, energy, and moods make some people easier or harder to stomach for longer periods.

But just like peppers, depending on how they are used (amount, what they are paired with) they can be exactly what a recipe calls for. Am I making any sense?

See sometimes I get the idea I am too much for a lot of people. Honestly I have a lot of energy and people get turned off by it. So I have had to figure out how to read people to adjust my level of intensity accordingly. I don’t just chili pepper my way through life. I adjust or hold back and give them a little more pineapple instead of so much habanero, if you get my analogy.

I used to get the feeling like they are looking at me from hasmat suits thinking if I am nuclear or not.

I feel like other people feel this way too especially when we lose a job, or a client breaks up with us or if we are having a hard time finding clients or finding work. When we experience situations like these we tend to do a ask ourselves questions like, “What did I do? Why are they letting me go? What didn’t I do? How could I have done better, improved, communicated, etc?” The inner ramblings are endless. I replay events, situations, scenarios over and over, but get no where because the people aren’t able to tell you. Or I fear they aren’t telling me the real story to save a relationship, save themselves from an awkward situation, or because they don’t want to hurt my feelings.

At times like these, I think it’s time to investigate ourselves and do a deep dive on what is really going on. BUT you can take it too far and your self-analysis can become toxic and your self-talk and self-confidence can really go through the wringer if you take it too far.

That is where your core community comes in. This core community helps you assess the “real” problem, and helps you find a solution, gets you connected with your larger community. Your larger community also has a role, those people are the cheerleaders and the encouragers. We need people who will rally for us when we are too tired to do it ourselves.

This means you have to reach out and tell people when you are struggling. When we lose a job, or a client or have a hard time finding a position or growing our freelance business it is time to search for your core community. These are the people on the inside. Think of yourself and your work like an apple. Most of your larger community only sees the skin and your overall shape. But your core community is smaller and they are within the fleshy part, they reside close to the core. They know where they bad spots are and where the sweet spots are.

When you go into self-analysis mode it is important to have your core community there. These people are there to tell you when you have gone too far, or when you need to keep pushing. These are people who know you, or know your work. These people are colleagues, creatives you admire and trust, but most importantly the love you enough to tell you the truth. They will call you out on something when no one else will. This is probably not hundreds of people but a smaller group of people who are working within your industry already.

I have been asked to open a patreon many times. But it doesn’t set well with me. Instead I am going to build a group of core communities. About a year ago before I knew how much time the Interim Chairperson position would take, I had asked y’all if you wanted a facebook group or a slack group. There was a good bit of response for both. I thought I would be able to do slack better than facebook. There will be a larger group, the larger community for you to interact with. The core communities will have their own slack channel. Everyone needs four or five people to be in a core community group with them. I would like to see if y’all are interested in something like this.

Over the years people have asked for a place for critique and advice. I have debated on this so much. And feel like the core community is a better place for this. I haven’t worked out all the details but it will be a monthly subscription to the large group and to be placed in a core community. As you grow and change you can request a different kind of group that will serve your needs better. But I am just trying to see if this is even something you are intersested in.

If you are interested in being part of a core community or just interested in finding out what it entails send me an email that says YES CORE COMMUNITY. That is all I need. If I get enough response I will reach out to you then start teaming people up based on their interest, experience, and needs.

Send the email to

or send me a tweet to @designrecharge

If you are interested in learning more about Recruiting Creatives, sign up here. And look for new information starting Sept 1, 2017.


Uncomfortable and Afraid, But Doing it Anyway

Episode 217. Recorded live on June 28, 2017

This week I am launching a brand new part of the Recharging You brand. I am launching Recruiting Creatives. Tune in and hear about how tackling this scary thing has me diving off the edge of the starting block.

What shape will my dive be? Will I fall flat and belly flop? It doesn’t matter what matters is if I get back up and try again. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn and I had two special guest, Dustin Lee from RetroSupply and Suzanne Sarver also from RetroSupply. Dustin has has been encouraging me all along and he was one of my first matchmaking clients.

Connect on Instagram & Twitter: @designrecharge

Or email me at diane [at]


Rapid Recharge // New Year = New Start

Aired, January 4, 2017. Episode 197.

I have been thinking about 2017 a lot more than I usually think about the new year. This time of year is one of reflection and inspiration for me. But in looking back, I have to be honest with myself about things I did not accomplish and at the same time be proud of all that I did do.

But don’t you want to know why there are things on the Didn’t Accomplish Yet List? Because I did not make them a priority.

I tend to put other people’s needs in front of my own, and enjoy putting out other’s fires instead of dealing with my own. But this year God revealed something to me on a walk yesterday. He has been waiting on me to do something so that He can do something.


Today marks day two of my ReFresh / ReBoot. I have so many things I want to do. I need to first start with a list of goals (that are realistic).

I need a list, do you?

Goals for 2017:

  1. Create more. I feel like I did pretty well last year but want to do even better this year. Sometimes I get too consumed in my head and my self-talk can be debilitating.
  2. Face my fears and be more COURAGEOUS.
  3. Plan where and what my business needs to do to get where I want to be. I am in a defining stage right now. It is scary and freeing, but today mostly scary. I have had my own freelance business for over 20 years, and been working it as Little Bird Communications for 14 years.
  4. Grow Design Recharge. You can help with this by sharing the podcast and the YouTube channel and leaving comments here, on YouTube, or Sound Cloud.

Plans and goals for my design business:

  1. I want to clarify my audience for Little Bird.
  2.  Create content for that audience (entrepreneurs).
  3.  Reach that audience
  4.  And complete list item one from 2016’s goals, which was to rebuild little bird’s site.




Since 2016, I have chosen three words to define my year. Last years words were Action, Connect, and Believe.

Action was to make more and not get caught up in it being perfect. I did that and feel like I am ready to do more.

Connect was to continue to connect more designers and illustrators through Design Recharge. I did and hope to do even more this year.

Believe was to believe in my abilities and all that God has given me and not doubt myself so much. I still need to work on this quite a bit.


For 2017 my words are:

Courageous: Taking on challenges, especially ones concerning my creative voice.

Prioritize: Meaning don’t put off something because it is for my personal business for the sake of work.

Communicate: I will communicate clearly my message. I will start by re-evaluating my business, my talents, my interests and passions then define who I am and what I want my business to be. I will write more blog posts, I will share more helpful videos. And as a result, dI will grow personally and my business will grow.


Episode airs Wednesday, Jan 4 at 2:30 pm ET / 11:30am PT.


Some topics we will discuss?

• Showing up

• Out Work not Over Work

• Building Your Business and I will share a simple plan to track that growth

• Taking time to Learn New Skills

I challenge you to write your three words and what they mean in the comments below. And thank you for letting me be a part of your journey with you.


Here is the pdf. Let me know what you think. Please share your goals in the comments below. Dream Decree – Goal Setting 0117














When Side Projects Turn to Client Projects

I am bringing you on my journey of how my illustrations have been getting me some work from clients.

I regularly volunteer at my church and work the computer during the service, putting words on the screen during the songs and making sure the sermon slides are advancing properly. It is very rare that I have to advance the pastor’s slides so I use the time to take notes during the first service and during the second service I draw. Sometimes I draw during both. Most of the time I am drawing something my pastor is talking about.

A few weeks ago Jeremy Steele, one of the pastor’s at my church, was talking about Christmas decorations and from that I started drawing (and listening). I began with a Strathmore watercolor postcard pad.

img_7119I thought I would start sharing the tools and products I was using. I started by using a uni pin pen .01 size, black and waterproof and fade proof because I knew I was planning on using watercolor on the piece.

Here is a picture of it.







Then I used a combination of different colors from my Derwent Inktense pencils. I have the 24 pack.

I then added water with a fine detailer water brush by Ranger.


I added some of my water soluble crayons at the end.

From that post of the ornaments, I got a call from one of my favorite clients (and friends) asking for me to do a holiday card for them. So I began the same way as always, first with sketches, then laying a light pencil line down and covering it with the .01 black uni pin pen. You can also see a blue tint on a few areas on this version.


The blue is a watercolor resist pen by Molotow But I have also used a fine line resist pen when doing small details. How it works is like a wax or much like rubber cement. It will not let any color get below the resist and after everything is dry you can easily rub it off.







You can see some detail shots here:

























Two projects one a Holiday card and one a craft project for the client. I hope y’all enjoy these behind the scene looks.





img_7193Here I used a Stabilo-All Pencil to do the final touches. Once you activate the pencil with water you can create great shadows and intensify the black. I bought a full pack of 12 pencils. But you can purchase just one. Here is the link for the single pencil. Or if you want to be more economical you can buy the pack. Here is the link for the 12-pack.

For the black and the red I used a Large Faber Castell Marker.

I used a white Molotow 2mm round tip/1mm extra fine acrylic paint pen. I have a bunch of these in different sizes and colors. I love how they write. They are very opaque and I love that about them. Then finished the piece by writing North Pole with this paint pen and final touches with the Stabilo-All black pencil.


The links above are my Amazon Affiliate links. Thanks for reading the post and for all the encouragement.

Please leave a comment below.

Rapid Recharge // Positivity

Episode 188. Aired October 12, 2016.


This week on Design Recharge I will be talking about the power of being positive and how changing how you talk to yourself and what you say to others can impact your life. A few years ago I made a change in my life to only say good things about people in my life and to try and think more positively internally about myself. See I have a bad habit of being really critical of myself and saying things to myself I would never say to someone I know. Last year I read a book by Brené Brown called Rising Strong. Like many of her other books it reached me in a powerful way and brought to mind what I had been doing to myself. Come hear a few of my stories and ask questions.
#rapidrecharge #positiveattitude #positivity


Things we talked about today:

Brené Brown’s books:

Rising Strong

The Power of Vulnerabilty


Punctuation formatting

A quick video about using and formatting punctuation correctly.

Where do those silly commas, periods, and other punctuation go?


And another one about hanging punctuation and ellipses in both Adobe InDesign CC and Adobe Illustrator CC.

Do Amazing Things Where You Are

No matter where you are in life or in your career, your words, actions, and attitude matters and can be infectious to others. We don’t all work at the best agency in town, or the place where you can work on finding your creative voice. It always seems like life is better somewhere else.

I have found that it is best to try to get the most out of right where I am. I know that I am there for a reason. The reason may not be that I am not ready, but that other person I am going to touch isn’t ready yet.

You are where you are for a reason. I would love to know what you think about this type of post and if you would like to see more of them.

Scotty Russell you inspire me so much. I also finished your creative south podcast today. You are doing exactly what I am talking about. Check out his podcast interview here, and watch the interview I did with him a few months ago here.


Just to clarify, I think if you are not getting fulfillment you need to keep looking, but know that it will come. Someone may need to leave before a spot for you is available. Don’t give up. Just find contentment and keep learning and growing in your current situation.