For many artists, following a creative path is a lot like an Alice in Wonderland adventure — falling down multiple rabbit holes that must be navigated on the journey. Such is the story of Lori Nawyn who was born an artistic and creative child but lacked the self-confidence and support needed to nurture her aspirations. She always liked to draw and write stories. Then, a transformative fifth grade writing assignment solidified her decision to be an artist and author.
“I saw that writing and art could be a catalyst for exploring all the emotions that churned inside my heart and soul. I decided I wanted to grow up to write and illustrate books for children that would help them know their worth.” says Lori.
But on the way to that vision, Lori tumbled down many of life’s “rabbit holes”. She dropped out of school, married young, started a family and had multiple odd jobs over the years. She eventually landed a job for a mid-West company as a designer and sign painter leveraging some of the art skills she had learned in high school. Press on letters, sketches on graph paper and hand painting large wooden signs was her first commercial art experience.
The years passed, as they do and after a move to Colorado, Lori found herself immersed in raising her young family and working as a data entry operator. The demands of parenting and working left little time for creative expression and she yearned for an outlet. Sometimes she would find a few minutes here and there to sketch her children or scenes from nature. An illness after the birth of her youngest daughter and the passing of a beloved grandmother marked a low and difficult time.
Then she made herself a promise… “I told myself that if life got any easier, I’d definitely find time to draw.”
But several years later as she was dealing with two ill children, the death of a close friend and the passing of two more cherished grandparents, Lori realized — life was never going to “get easier”. She finally gave herself permission to express herself artistically and started sketching, drawing and painting in earnest. She created handmade greeting cards and booklets for family and friends and got her artwork into some local and regional publications. Her writing career flourished with a published novel, two inspirational books for women and several cookbooks. During this creative time she also illustrated three different children’s books for authors.
Then, another rabbit hole… After a dog sledding accident and a period of time needed to heal, Lori finally got clear on her artistic aspirations. That introspection and decision allowed her to shelf her writing career and all of the art that was waiting to be expressed — just poured out of her. And she hasn’t stopped drawing since!
As Lori’s desire to work as a full-time artist began to take shape, she came across ALSC member Joan Beiriger and her well-known art licensing blog. It was Joan who guided Lori to the Art Licensing Show where Lori learned all about art licensing from the plethora of resources on the site. She began connecting with the community of artists, Art Directors and Manufacturers. As Lori puts it, “I was in heaven!” She began building up her portfolio on ALSC where greeting card company, Blue Mountain Arts recently reached out to her about publication possibilities.
“I’m sincerely grateful for all the kindness and encouragement I’ve received from others at the Art Licensing Show. It’s truly a community of phenomenal people who love sharing ideas and helping each other. This year I’m focusing on building my portfolio on ALSC, improving my skill sets and making new contacts and friends. I would love to work with additional manufacturers and I’m interested in all phases of design, development of giftware, apparel, and many other products.”
Lori’s creative plate is quite full these days. She’s also currently a student at Utah State University majoring in Outdoor Product Design and Development where she’s designing fabrics and outdoor products for children. And she’s busy actively promoting her post cards and creative paper play products for kids.
Lori’s inspiring creative journey illustrates that it’s never too late to make a choice and start doing what you LOVE! Life will continue to offer up the many challenges that it does. That’s just life being Life. It’s all part of the journey. And it’s even OK to step over some of those rabbit holes that you see coming up on the path.
About Lori Nawyn:
Lori Nawyn is an artist, illustrator, designer and award-winning writer. Among her many art and design collections are the characters and patterns she creates under the label Life Dance Studios. Some of these include; HeartGramz, Addie and Sage, Little Mo and Tess, Mouse Family Tree, Love Yourself: Love the World, Libby and Jack, Flamingo Road, and Chicken Tracks. Her inspiration comes from her desire to help others know and celebrate their own inherent worth, as well as from the mountains of Idaho where she has many happy memories with her family and her four dogs. Lori and her husband are on a new adventure, currently building a home in the foothills of Utah’s Cache Valley. To see more of Lori’s work, visit her website at www.lorinawyn.com, or request access to her complete portfolio on the ArtLicensingShow.com.