Why I'm Drawing the Pedal Love Coloring Book

The colored in version of my Pedal Love Girl illustration wearing a Pussy Hat is available as t-shirts, mugs and other nice things on our Pedal Love online boutique at Zazzle.com. She'll also be available for you to color in yourself in the upcoming Pedal Love coloring book.

The colored in version of my Pedal Love Girl illustration wearing a Pussy Hat is available as t-shirts, mugs and other nice things on our Pedal Love online boutique at Zazzle.com. She'll also be available for you to color in yourself in the upcoming Pedal Love coloring book.

The idea for drawing a Pedal Love Coloring book slowly started to form in my mind after my sister gave me a set of beautiful Japanese watercolor pens and The Enchanted Forest adult coloring book for Christmas in 2015. While I loved the adult coloring world the talented young Johanna Basford (creator of The Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean and other gorgeous coloring books you need to check out if you haven't already) has created, I realized I would actually enjoy creating and coloring in my own drawings more.

So I pulled out my old tablets, pencils, pens and colored pencils and began making some bike friendly illustrations. My first few attempts were fun if a bit awkward and not quite up to what I'd like them to be (and I drew the chain guard on the wrong side at times), but I noticed very quickly that I adored the creative process of trying to capture the ideas that were forming in my head. (At right: one of my early bike-friendly drawing attempts).

Moreover, I really enjoyed the social media conversation I was engaging in as I asked friends and family scattered across the U.S. and farther (even Canada and Italy!) what they thought of who I was drawing, and more importantly - what she should wear!

It was also a marvelous surprise to realize that even on some of my toughest fatigue days I could often still draw. That felt like such a delicious accomplishment, to be able to sit in bed and still be creatively productive even when I was too exhausted to take a shower.

Also, the whole adult coloring book phenomenon totally fascinated me. Talk about a growth market! In December of last year U.S.A. today reported it's a trend that isn't going to disappear anytime soon. It's such a wonderful form of stress relief in our busy busy lives.

As I drew more I decided to move to larger paper so I could create more detailed pieces, and that's when I really started to get my illustrating groove back. And idea started to form...

Was there, I wondered, something in this fun that I was having with drawing that I could harness for Pedal Love? Could I possible draw an entire coloring book that would capture the celebration of how bicycling is transforming people's health and well-being not just here in the U.S., but around the world? The truth is that I'm actually better at drawing than coloring my drawings in.

Could this journey to create this book in turn not only help me in my own physical healing, but to help to create financial wellness for myself and Pedal Love as well? Could I create a low cost residual income stream to help support myself financially so that by 2017 I can focus solely on Pedal Love - and pay my creative team as well?

It felt like a crazy bold idea, but so very very fun. My ego (whom I've named Cassandra) both applauded the idea, and then turned around and told me I was getting to big for my britches.

But wasn't this exactly the kind of "Permission Slip from God" moment I encourage other people - especially women - to give themselves? Was it perhaps time to return to my childhood and teen dream of being an artist? After all, I'd recaptured my childhood and teen dream of being a writer, hadn't I?

Could I follow through for myself on this? I did some research and found that on Blurb.com I could create a really beautiful 24-36 page soft cover book that would be very affordable to produce and still allow me to raise money to help support Pedal Love.

That's a lot of illustrations of people riding bikes. It takes me about a week to create a complete drawing on a 14"x17" piece of paper - large enough for me to get very detailed so that it will be actually fun to color in.

"Flights of Fancy" is the drawing I'm working on today. This is my second version of it. This is a shot from my iphone, next week it'll be professionally scanned so I can include it in a downloadable pdf as of May for National Bike Month.

"Flights of Fancy" is the drawing I'm working on today. This is my second version of it. This is a shot from my iphone, next week it'll be professionally scanned so I can include it in a downloadable pdf as of May for National Bike Month.

Can I do this? I'm not sure. But I'm willing to try. I'm going for it. It not only means I need to really focus on getting the drawings done, but I need to be courageous and bold enough to fund-raise while I'm drawing so that I can keep focusing on drawing rather than take on other freelance projects to pay the bill. If this is capturing your fancy please take a look at the fundraising levels we're offering. Yes, there's something for every budget. I promise.

Whew. Yes, it's pushing a lot of my deserving buttons even as I write this. But I've given up a lot on myself and my dreams in my life, how about you? I've often set aside my most creative, adventurous, active, curious self in order to fit in and do what society told me was a safe should that would make my life financially successful. Does this have any resonance for you?

What I learned in 2000 (along with many others) is that the Internet was turning the world upside down.  While it began to give us a an extraordinary platform from which we could connect with people all over the world easily, creatively and inexpensively, it also so shook up how we work and what we get paid for, and how we find that work, that many (like myself several times) have often been left under employed and worse.

Over the past 17 years the more I've either dusted off, or dug deep to learn new creative and artistic ways to connect digitally with others, the more I've thrived. My art and creativity, which my parents discouraged me from pursuing professional for fear I'd starve, has been the very thing that's given me any edge to succeed.

So is an adult coloring book that's sold on demand really that crazy? What do you think? And how is your creativity helped save your life? I'd love to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allowing Your Skills to Flourish

In just two weeks I'll be presenting at the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. March 6-9th. I'm so excited - and yes nervous! I'm not only giving three presentations on storytelling from different angles (giving presentations, social + traditional media, and "finding the heart of your story"), but I'm also first out of the gate for a Pedal Love Council keynote on "How Bicycling Makes Lemonade" as the opening plenary for the entire summit.

Whew. Yes, I've taken on quite a bit. But this time I'm going to be really ready. This time I'm allowing my skills and talents to flourish by truly preparing well in advance.

In the past when I've stepped up my game and asked for a bigger assignment I've often sabotaged myself from being my best when it came time to actually perform. Maybe you know this one? Wanting to take on something bigger, knowing you now have the talent to step up your game, but then just not allowing yourself to spend the time you need to brush and polish your skills to their very best.

My way of sabotaging myself when I was a teen and young adult, and then again after I got divorced at 36, was to overwork at what I needed to do to pay the bills, and obsessing over different men and romantic relationships. Not always, but certainly often enough I did this to the point that I had little energy and to focus on my own art, my own writing and other possibilities that I was passionate about - especially at the point when I was just really starting to get into my groove and shine.

How about you?

Now I realize that allowing myself to personally flourish at my art, at my craft, at my teaching, and coaching is what I need to focus on in order to flourish in any other aspect of my life.

What does this mean for me for the summit? It means that I worked on writing and practicing my 15-minute keynote over and over again this past weekend, and I'll continue to do that over the next two weeks. Remember TED works with the speakers they put on their TED Global stage for 6-9 months ahead of time. I want to have my keynote down cold.

I'll also be going over my three presentations again, and again, to make sure they're at their best - and - making sure they're really timely and current in the images and examples I'm pointing to. Listening ahead of time is a big part of giving engaging presentations.

What would it take for you to really flourish as a storyteller to elevate your voice for more active, sustainable, mindful mobility? What would it take for you to give your next presentations with only minimal notes, and your next speech with no notes at all? Are you ready to jump in?

If you are I'd love to know what you're up to and how it's playing out for you.

If you're attending the summit I hope you'll join me for one of my presentations - including this hands-on storytelling intensive.