Hello, and welcome! I'm not sure yet what kind of blog this will be. I'm a little rusty when it comes to writing, but the only way to improve is to practice, so here we are. I figured this first post might be a good opportunity to share a bit about my background and how/why Lucky Leaf got started.
I've always been interested in art, nature, antiques, and books. Pretty typical Southern girl stuff. We moved to Kentucky from Louisiana before I started kindergarten, and I remember my mom commenting on the beautiful hills that surrounded our new home compared to the flatness of Baton Rouge. I loved growing up here, and, though like most teenagers I thought I'd move away at some point, I can't imagine doing so now. In fact, Kentucky themes show up in a lot of my artwork, from the state outline to local plants, and, more recently, horseshoes.
My interests haven't changed much since I was a kid. I still draw and read daily and am always striving to become better at the former. Recently, while looking through keepsake box my mom had given me after a cleaning frenzy, I found reminders of the first artist whose work I fell in love with as a kid: Lisa Frank. I used my very fancy Lisa Frank stationery to write letters to my best friend. Schoolwork was meticulously kept in Lisa Frank folders. I wanted to collect as much Lisa Frank stationery as possible. (Maybe i'll do a Lisa Frank deep dive in the future.)
In the same keepsake box, I found a card I'd received for my 9th or 10th birthday donning a P. J. Redouté print. I had no idea who this Redouté guy was in elementary school, but now, I keep looking for books about his work to add to my collection. If you've ever entered a home and found yourself noticing floral prints on the wall, you can blame him. In fact, you'll still find reproductions of his prints on cards or stationery at bookstores anywhere. Finding the card among all those other little treasures just confirmed the fact that my obsession with flowers has been a long time coming. So, here we are.
All Lucky Leaf designs start on paper. Most often, I have a book, photo, or inspiration image at hand as reference while I draw. (My phone is full of flower pictures.) If I like a drawing, I'll scan it and then re-draw it on my iPad, where I can add color and play around with scale, layering, etc. I'm not a graphic designer by training, so I'm still learning.
Currently, bookmarks are my favorite thing to draw and are often inspired by the books I'm reading. That's where the idea for this brand started, really. In 2020, sequestered at home due to the pandemic, I found myself drawing on scraps of card-stock trimmed into vaguely bookmark-sized shapes (until I found that craft stores sell bookmark blanks and I cried a little). Hours could go by as I filled the tiny space, coloring the designs in with various pens, colored pencils, and markers before laminating them. I amassed quite a collection, giving some away or mailing them out as gifts to family members or friends. I couldn't find many bookmarks at bookstores that weren't made of a material like wood, metal, or leather that I thought was too thick to actually use in a book. I wanted something flat but still sturdy. Early in 2022, I'd find my answer: waterproof paper. From there, I started digitizing more and more of my pandemic designs. When I ran out of those, I drew more...and more! I'll share some of the original drawings in another post.
Like many, I did some major reevaluating during the pandemic. I won't go into it all now, but basically, I came to a fork in the road: I either had to find a new career or try working for myself. With 8 years in the event planning business under my belt, I was burnt out in more ways than one. My husband, seeing my misery, encouraged me to start taking "the art stuff" (as we called it before I'd landed on a name for the business) more seriously. He even mentioned turning it into my worst/best nightmare: a career. I'm still not to the point where this is my full-time gig, but that's the goal. Turns out, being your own boss is, well, quite a slog, but I'll get better as I go.