Friday, May 2, 2008

Inspiring Interview { Brenda Ponnay }

If you are a blogging affectionado like myself then you are surely familiar with the creativeness that is Secret Agent Josephine. I've been stalking Brenda (Secret Agent Josephine) for longer than I'd like to admit. I love her photos, creative endeavors, designs, inspiration, and most recently her adventures as a mom. So as the month we remember mom begins, we thought we'd share this great interview with a mommy blogger that is so much more than just that!

You've been blogging since before blogging was cool (2002 to be exact). What do you think is the best thing about blogging? Besides the many professional contacts, I think the best thing about blogging is the quality friendships I've made. The internet and blogging are like a filter. You meet people who are sincerely interested in the same things you are! Many of the friends I've made are just as quirky as I am and I cannot wait to meet them in person. I know I'm bound to have a good time with someone who can make me laugh out loud in an email or an instant message. Another thing that I've thought about as a new-ish mom is that you never hear moms complaining about needing to talk to another adult anymore. I was afraid of that as I approached motherhood. Sure, there were times in those early days when I felt like I had landed on the moon but I hardly ever feel isolated. There are so many mothers who are only a click away, going through the exact same trials and tribulations I'm going through. They've kept me sane.

Being a full-time wife and mother, how do you find time for creative projects, design work and blogging?
Ha ha. I don't! Well I do, but I have to squeeze it out like squeezing blood out of a rock. It's one of my biggest struggles. I steal time during my daughter's nap and after she goes to bed at night but it's never enough and often I'm not feeling creative at those times. I think I mostly pull it off by abusing caffeine.

My good friend Heather from Oh my stinkin heck just recently called me on my excuse that wasn't feeling creative. I don't remember the exact percentages but she said that getting creative work done is 80% discipline and 20% creativity. Even though I hate to admit it, I think she is right. I rarely ever get writer's block (or in my case designer's block) but I do struggle with forcing myself to just sit down and get things done.

You are always coming up with clever ideas (like gumball, illustrated alphabet cards, etc). What inspires you and how do you stay creative? Ideas usually hit me over the head and say, "Why didn't you think of this earlier!" As far as inspiration goes, everything inspires me. Other artists inspire me. TV inspires me. Kids' books inspire me... I think for me, it is more about turning off the negative voices and then being inspired. My head is overflowing with ideas but I often hear myself saying, "You can't do that. You're not good enough," etc. etc. I get really bummed when I can see something in my head but for some reason or other I can not make it happen. What helps me is to let go of perfectionism and just go with the flow. Sometimes drawing/ideas/designs just pop out of my head with very little effort. Other times they need to perk for a day or a week or years.

Gumball was just a party favor for my daughter's first birthday party but I liked him so much I decided to share him with the internet. In the olden days (because my blog is soooooo old, ha ha) before I got greedy and decided to sell stuff on Etsy, I liked to think my blog was more than just a journal. It was like T-mobile: the blog where you "get more." It made me happy to give away little pdf's now and then to reward my faithful readers. I still think that but I'm finding less and less time to make these things. I'm also a lot more paranoid about people stealing my graphics than I used to be. I love to share with my readers but if someone is going to take a design and sell it or use it as their own...that kind of burns me. So I've done less and less. But that was my idea behind the flashcards. Just a little something to give back. My readers are so wonderful in their constant support. I wish I could buy them all cars.

Can you share some of your favorite websites or blogs with us?
Oh boy. This is always tough. There are soooo many and I never get out and about as much as I'd like to. There are just not enough hours in a day to read all the wonderful blogs that are out there.

Here are some I do really like though:
Lori Pickert started a flickr pool about inspiration boards and it really took off. I love spending time looking there. Then she started a blog about the inspiration boards and she's interviewed so many really interesting (and many big-time) artists. I love looking at the photos and learning little personal tidbits about these amazing people. Yes, she interviewed me too, but I don't think I really belong there with those other artists who are published and have won awards and stuff. I'm deeply honored to be on there though. I also love keeping up with what she is doing on her Camp Creek Press blog where she is teaching children methods behind art. I find myself learning so much from her just because I never really went to school for art.

Another site I find very helpful for every day life is The Happiness Project. I always come away from that blog with something new to think about.

I LOVE Loobylu and Amanda's Sketchbook and Penelope. They are not my peers but I feel like I've grown up with them. They were so kind to me when I was making the jump from corporate monkey (graphic designer) to freelance illustrator. I've learned a lot from them.

I also have a thing for Paris and read these blogs often: Paris Breakfasts and momster.

I could go on and on! You'll probably have to cut some of this. I'm sorry for being so long-winded.

As a mom, wh
at magical invention would you like to get your hands on?
I would like some kind of five-point harness seat thing that I can attach to my child that has straps like a back pack so I can just heft her onto my shoulders and carry her down the stairs with me. Sometimes I have my hands full of things I'm carrying down to my car and she'll be whining at the top of the stairs for me. It's terrible, I can't put everything down to pick her up but it would be so much easier if I could. It may sound wrong but I could really use something like that. Or maybe a personal assistant.

Tell us the one thing you can't leave home without. This and I also can't leave home without a sippy cup of water and three pacifiers, but my child is spoiled.

What is your most treasured belonging? My laptop. My whole life is on it.

What are you coveting this Spring? Wow. Here is where I should be all hip and fashionable and name off some super-hot designer bag or something. But I'm not very hip. I'm coveting a new thinner me who gets up every morning and takes long walks. I guess you could say I'm coveting a red hoodie. I've been wanting one of those for ages.

Thank you Brenda for taking the time to chat with us and for continuing to create an inspiring blog. Be sure to check out Brenda's blog and etsy store.