Untitled Senior Thesis Work

Untitled Senior Thesis Work | Melinda Isaacs Studio

Untitled, acrylic on wood panel, 20″x24″, 2015. 

New senior thesis painting that I started on Monday, September 21st. Still working on the proportions and finalizing the underpainting, but so far things are coming along pretty well. Once I finish this underpainting, I will go through the other three and touch up the underpaintings, complete all backgrounds and elements, and then it’s off to glazing! :)

Continue reading

Artist Manifesto

Melinda Isaacs, Artist Manifesto


Melinda Isaacs: Artist Manifesto

My artist manifesto!

Here’s a look at my artist manifesto: the rules that I live by in my art career! An artist manifesto is an extremely useful public statement that explains 01) why you make your art, 02) what threatens your art career 03) and why, when all odds are against you, you will continue to create your art. I found that it’s best to keep the entire manifesto under 250 words, to use strong language and verbs (I will, it will, and it is), and to think about why you create art.

Writing artist manifestos is really fun and can really make you think about why you create and to think about what you need to create work. For my artist manifesto, I included what will keep me inspired and what will help me get past the issues that I tend to run into during my art-making (without actually mentioning what it is). I’m very happy with the way that the manifesto came out, and I’m looking to have it printed and framed for my studio!

Here’s a text-based version of my artist manifesto:

  1. It is important to greet the day early and go to bed early. More sleep = more art.
  2. I can’t create art if I am not in good health, so I will take care of myself and live a happy, healthy life. My health is just as important as my work.
  3. I need to keep in mind that fame or popularity is not an indicator for great art.
  4. I have decided to accept art blocks as a part of my creative development.
  5. I will never be 100% satisfied.
  6. I must surround myself with what inspires me. I need to listen to music and let the music add another dimension to my work.
  7. I will not force myself to make something that I do not have any interest in.
  8. I will not produce shit work. As an artist, I will have standards.
  9. A day without art is a lost day.
  10. This is my calling. I will embrace it. I will love it. I will nurture it.

Continue reading

Current Thoughts on Senior Thesis

Thoughts on Senior Thesis | Melinda Isaacs Studio

So far my senior thesis has come along well! I’m finishing the underpaintings of the five paintings I have planned for this semester, and I’m finally able to piece together what I want to portray in my senior thesis. I had a critique in a small group with other Advanced Painting students yesterday morning and it really made me think about why exactly I chose the subject that I did for my thesis.

Peahen Rider progress.

Peahen Rider progress.

I have always had an issue with my body, stemming from anorexia when I was in high school. I have always had a skewed perception of what my body type should be, and it became a danger to my health. I wasn’t in the right state of mind, and my body suffered for it. Fast forward to 2011. I went from one end of the spectrum from when I wasn’t eating, to all I did was eat. I ended up severely overweight for my height and that caused me further health issues as well. Now that I am beginning to take control of my life, I’m steadily working toward a healthy weight, lifestyle, and mental state that will keep me in good health.

So what does this mean for my thesis?

The main issue that I want to tackle in my thesis is the perception of female body types in fantasy art. Most women are depicted with huge breasts, tiny waist, and a huge backside. They’re often depicted as

  • fragile
  • meek, and
  • scantily clad

This was because they were drawn/painted for the viewing pleasure of men. You never really saw a curvy woman with (natural) skin rolls. Women have curves, they have skin rolls when they bend over. Some women are predispositioned to having a bit of extra fat on their bodies. You know what? That’s ok! It’s also ok for women to be naturally stick-thin!

I want to break the typical fantasy tropes, break the stigma, and say “f*ck you!” to beauty standards.

Fantasy art is especially guilty in that regard as most women are depicted as tiny, unnaturally thin, and scantily clad. While, yes, they are beautiful, there aren’t enough women depicted with their natural curves (and not fetishsized). I’m using my body as the model in these paintings. I’m not nearly as big as I was at my heaviest, but I’m certainly as small as I was when I was suffering from anorexia. So, as I am finding my happy place with my body and my health, that all bodies are beautiful are resonating with me through my artwork. I want the women that I depict in the fantasy pieces to be real instead of, you guessed it, a fantasy. Non-fantasy women in fantasy artwork.

Yes, the images are going to be cliche and will play on your typical fantasy tropes (wolves, dragons, sabrecats – you name it). The point of my thesis is that I want to display these real women in a somewhat typical fantasy setting, with the main focus of the works being the women. The animals are there as support, and are painted in to show the personality of the woman. While the women share my body as I am going through my healthy transition, their faces are completely their own.

'The Blind Seers' progress.

‘The Blind Seers’ progress.

These pieces are going to be painted with classical artwork in mind, with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, Degas as my main inspiration. Contemporary-classical artists are also on my list and include Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Roberto Ferri, and Christophe Drochon. I’m heavily surrounding myself with their artwork to learn how they paint so that I can paint in a similar fashion. I want to bring back the fantasy art with classical roots.

As of now, I have two underpaintings that are almost ready to begin glazing, and I’m working on a third underpainting that is coming along great. Definitely make sure to keep up with my Instagram for all works in progress, and keep an eye on the blog for more information about the process and progress of my senior thesis!

Continue reading

Senior Thesis Progress

Senior Thesis | Melinda Isaacs Studio

Hello all! Terribly sorry for the lack of posts lately, a lot of things have gone on and I haven’t had much time to dedicate to keeping up with my blog. Now that I finally can breathe, I’m able to sit down and start blogging again!

Senior Thesis: Studio | Melinda Isaacs Studio

If you keep up with my Instagram, you’ll see how busy I have been with my senior thesis. This is my last year at the University of Cincinnati Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning Fine Art program, and I’m doing everything that I can to make this a positive experience! It’s really exhilarating to finally work on my thesis and work on the art that I have meant to create. Not to mention, I’m having fun with it since this work is completely-self driven. I just have to make sure that I have progress to show during individual and group critiques each week. :)

Here is a progress shot of one of my thesis works (this one is my favorite so far!):

Senior Thesis Underpainting | Melinda Isaacs Studio

Thankfully my classes have been a breeze and are really easy to manage. I was also able to snag a great studio for my painting work (I’m sharing a studio with my awesome friend, Sarah Maxwell!) and have dedicated every morning Monday-Thursday (plus some Fridays) to working on my thesis.

During my last year, I am exploring the perception of female body types in fantasy art, and how the perception changes with the body type. Using myself as the body model while I go through a healthy body type transition, I will create five to eight 20”x24” acrylic paintings on wood panel. I’m really exciting to see the outcome of these!

Even though I am using acrylic, I am treating my entire process like if I were using oil paints, starting with an underpainting/grisaille, and reducing the acrylic color with glazing medium to apply color in layers. I now have the underpainting finished on two of my works at the moment, and will (hopefully) finish the other three within a week or two. I’m hoping that I will be able to create three more paintings next semester and create a few graphite works to go along with them.

Senior Thesis Underpainting | Melinda Isaacs Studio

We’ll definitely see where I can go from here. If you would like to keep up with my progress on my thesis works, feel free to check out my Instagram! You can also keep an eye on my blog where I will post my progress, process, and commentary weekly.

Continue reading

5 Ways to Write Blog Content That Matters

How can I write blog content that matters to my audience? This is a question that is on every blogger’s mind whether they’re blogging for personal or business reasons. It’s how you connect with your audience, expand your reach and your market, attract new clients, and build your business’ value.

5 Ways to Write Content That Matters |

In order to write blog content that matters to your audience, you have to keep a few things in mind. Tailoring your content to your audience is one of the most important structural pieces to the business puzzle, because your content isn’t necessarily about you. It’s about your audience and what they can take away from the information you provide.

While your portfolio for your business is a very important piece to the puzzle, so is putting a lot of thought into what you’re writing. There is more than just showcasing your talents and work to potential clients. Writing content that matters means that:

  • your words are actively engaging your audience
  • identifying and solving potential issues that they are having, and
  • building trust with your audience through personal takeaways.

The purpose of this guide is to help you think about the ways that you can write and create content that matters to your audience. I vaguely remember reading an article from a marketing expert who stated that in terms of blogging, you should think about quantity over quality. In fact, I believe they also mentioned that you needed to have a minimum of 7,000 pieces of content a month to even get yourself noticed on the internet radar.

Fortunately, they are very, very wrong. A badass entrepreneur like you shouldn’t need to create a ton of content in a month. The main focus should be on the quality of your work, not quantity. You can write 100 pieces of content a month, but if they aren’t of great quality, then your audience won’t be interested.

I’ve noticed that a lot of small businesses tend to panic at the notion that they need to put content out there just for the sake of putting it out there in hopes that they’re noticed. The result ends up being that these companies go to canned content businesses, forking out a ton of money just to have something to post. Thus, they miss an awesome opportunity to add value and a legit connection to their audience.

When I started Melinda Isaacs Studio, I wasn’t sure where to start. Sure, I had a lot of blog post ideas, but they weren’t quality ideas that mattered to my audience. I wasn’t exactly sure who my audience was! Thankfully, I was able to compile five tips that are extremely beneficial to writing content that matters to my audience and allowed me to expand my reach. It didn’t come easy – there were many late nights, errors, and hair-pulling moments along the way.

Today, I am sharing with you the five tips that can help you write content that matters to your audience with the hope that these tips will benefit you, work for your business, and create a solid, healthy, and valuable relationship with your readers.

5 Tips on Writing Content That Matters

Understand Your Audience

Understanding your audience is essential in running a successful business and blog. That being said, you should think about creating content that matters the most to your audience. Think about what makes them tick, what interests them, what their demographics are, what age groups they fall under, and so on.

Think about what problems your audience/niche is currently facing. What can you bring to the table that other content creators haven’t thought of? In order to determine what point you will be making, you need to know the following:

  • Who exactly is your audience?
  • Who is your competition for your audience’s attention?
  • Do you have a focus for your blog? If you do, what is it?
  • What goal is your audience trying to meet? How can you help them reach that goal?

Consider what you know about your audience and direct your topics towards their interests. For instance, if your audience consists of web designers that want to start a freelance business, you want to make sure that you give them information on adjusting their approach to contacting potential clients.

Give your audience a ton of thought and get to know them – create a relationship with them!

This could be in the form of a blog post and worksheet combo that addresses the personal approach in email marketing to a more business-savvy, networking endeavor to build relationships with other designers and their possible clients.

By tailoring the content to your audience, you’re separating yourself from other bloggers who discuss generic topics and instead discussing what your audience really wants (and needs) to learn about. Provide them with information based upon what you know about your audience and you’ll be able to drive them back to your blog for more.

Organize Your Content

Bloggers tend to create blog posts that contain a lot of content which can be overwhelming to both the audience and the writer. The trick to combat this is to organize your content so that your audience is not intimidated by the amount of content that you are providing.

You can organize your content in many ways – by sections, using lists, and dividing the content by topics – whatever works the best for your writing style. Keep it as organized as possible and your audience will love you for it!

Keep your content organized and simple. Don’t give yourself and your audience more work! Organize it first so that they can follow along.

One way to make it easier for you to keep organized is by outlining your post. For example, I outlined this blog post by bullet points (they are actually the headings), which made it easier for me to compile all of my notes and keep track of the points I wanted to cover.

Develop Engaging Content

Posts from your blog, PDFs, and FAQs can offer incredibly informative and deep content, but unfortunately that information only flows in one direction. These content types are fantastic at providing information in a static + linear way, but sometimes it’s not enough to engage your audience and create a two-way interaction.

Traditionally, these content formats provide very little interaction with an audience because they don’t give the toolset needed to improve upon an already existing work. Long-term engagement levels with this type of content tend to flounder when compared with modern publishing tools.

Be creative! Build engaging content that will create genuine relationships with your audience.

In order to build real engagement and genuine relationships with your audience at a peer-to-peer level, you should give your audience the option to take part in said engagement. Ask questions. You can also create other supplemental content to go with your posts such as worksheets, freebies, downloadables, and even a visual image version of your post.

Create Content that Solves Problems

More often than not, your audience will meander to your blog and website when they’re looking for a solution to their problem. If you’re willing to listen to what your audience or niche is saying and able to pinpoint what they need help with, you can direct your content to solve those problems.

Try to listen to what your audience is saying on social media, on forums, even in their blog posts. One of the main ways to create content that matters is to listen. What does your audience want to know? What answers are they looking for that you can offer to them?

Once you have identified an issue that your audience or niche are experiencing, you can then give them a solution to those issues. This allows your audience/niche to see that you really know what you’re talking about and proves that you are an expert.

Content that matters to your audience will answer those questions, and even give them more to think about. Content that matters will add value to your services, your blog, and even your business. It makes you a valuable asset to your readers.

Solving their problems also builds trust with your audience through personal takeaways and lessons that they could learn from you. Being authentic and real is just as important! You can also share experience, tips and tricks, and valuable information that can’t be found anywhere else but through you. You’re the only one who has lived your life, felt what you have felt, and experienced what goes on in your life. Embrace it and share your wisdom!

Concentrate on Visual Appearance

The appearance of your blog post is just as important as the content! To be fair, it’s not just the images that you use that make a post visually appealing, it’s also the formatting and the organization, too.

Think of it like this: if your content was mashed together with shoddy images, multiple formatting errors, huge blocks of text, and no organization, your audience is less likely to pay attention to what you have to say. Instead, they’re going to focus on all the issues with your content and possibly click away from your blog without a second thought.

While the visual appearance of your blog doesn’t equate to creating content that matters, it does change the way that your audience views and listens to what you put out there. In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, the headers and sub-headers break up large blocks of text. Those headers are also styled a certain way to keep consistency with their brand.

Maintain consistency through your post visual appearance. Don’t skimp on how you portray your site!

Images should also have a similar brand style that maintain consistency to make that content (and your brand) seem more professional and appealing. By concentrating on how you portray your content, you’re able to focus on creating awesome content!

There is a lot that goes into creating content that matters, but I promise that it gets easier with time and practice. Create a fool-proof plan that will help you keep your thoughts and content organized, and above all, be yourself! Be genuine! Be authentic! Only you have walked in your shoes. With that being said, you have a lot to offer your audience and you just have to tap into that. You can create content that matters – I believe in you!

What steps do you take to create or write content that matters to your audience?


Continue reading

7 CSS Tricks to Spruce Up Your Blog


I’ve been working on a new theme for WordPress lately, and I’ve been thinking about ways that I can improve the CSS functions to make the design more appealing. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my designs, and practicing is always so much fun! I completely understand the struggle with wanting to add some flair to your designs, so I decided to compile the top 7 CSS tricks that I know so that you can use them too!

Melinda Isaacs Studio: 7 CSS Tricks to Spruce Up Your Blog | Want to add some flair to your current blog or website design? Learn how to spruce up your blog or website with these 7 simple CSS tricks!

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, can alter the look and feel of a design with a few short lines of code. If you’re not used to editing it, CSS can be very intimidating when you’re first starting out but with practice and perseverance, you can do anything with it! It doesn’t take long to learn the ins-and-outs of using CSS once you’ve started practicing and it’s super simple to make changes to your blog or website design!

7 CSS Tricks to Spruce Up Your Blog

01. Letter Spacing

Letter spacing can alter the way that your text looks on your website and has very beautiful and elegant results! This property changes the spacing in between the letters. I have found the the best use for letter spacing is when it’s used for headings, titles, and other call-to-action text. Here’s an example of letter spacing in action:

Melinda Isaacs Studio: 7 CSS Tricks to Spruce Up Your Blog | Want to add some flair to your current blog or website design? Learn how to spruce up your blog or website with these 7 simple CSS tricks!

To change the letter spacing for any piece of text, feel free to use the code below:

.h1 {
font: normal 22px 'Georgia', Times, FreeSerif, serif;
letter-spacing: 2px;

In the example above, the letter spacing controls the way that the heading, in this case heading 1, would appear when you use that tag on your website. Because it’s an h1 tag, all the h1 headings will be affected. You’re also more than welcome to edit the above code to change the look of any text you see fit.

02. Alignment

Alignment in CSS controls the way your text and images are placed on the page. In terms of text alignment, you have the option to align the text leftrightcenter,or justify. Other web elements only have the first three options (left, right, and center). Take a look at the code:

.p {
font: normal 14px 'Georgia', FreeSerif, serif;
text-align: left; // can also be - left, center, right, or justify

I personally align my text to the left to make the text easier to read and to make what I’m saying easier to perceive and more approachable.

Melinda Isaacs Studio: 7 CSS Tricks to Spruce Up Your Blog | Want to add some flair to your current blog or website design? Learn how to spruce up your blog or website with these 7 simple CSS tricks!

In terms of images, you can create separate alignment styles to use padding and margins to control how the text around the images looks.It also aligns the image to whatever you specify in the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Here’s a visual example of image alignment:

Melinda Isaacs Studio: 7 CSS Tricks to Spruce Up Your Blog | Want to add some flair to your current blog or website design? Learn how to spruce up your blog or website with these 7 simple CSS tricks!

Here’s the code that I use for my hand-built theme:

.aligncenter {
display: block;
margin: 0 auto 24px;

img.alignnone {
margin-bottom: 12px;

.alignleft {
float: left;
text-align: left;

.alignright {
float: right;
text-align: right;

03. Padding and Margins

Padding and margins are very important in creating white space in a blog or website design. It assists in the alignment of web elements, emphasizes white space in a design, and can increase the space between elements without involving extra code. Essentially, you can make your design look neat and clean with white space, eliminating clutter.

Here’s a better look at what a margin and padding looks like and see how they differ:

Melinda Isaacs Studio: 7 CSS Tricks to Spruce Up Your Blog | Want to add some flair to your current blog or website design? Learn how to spruce up your blog or website with these 7 simple CSS tricks!

.pre-footer .wrap {
clear: both;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 60px 0 40px;
width: 1160px;

The example above is from the Melinda Isaacs Studio CSS file. Like in my example, you can add padding, margins, or both to control how the element you’re editing looks. The margin in this example is set to 0 auto to center the content in the pre-footer wrap. The padding controls the inside border of an element, reducing it by 60 pixels at the top, 0 pixels on the right, and 40 pixels at the bottom. Feel free to take a look at this example on my home page. You can find this example where the posts and my instagram feed is located near the bottom, right above the footer.

04. Custom Buttons

Custom buttons are a great addition to any blog or website! They add a touch of flair and customizability to the buttons that you use on your blog. I use custom buttons of different colors and sizes across the Melinda Isaacs Studio website. Feel free to use and edit the code below for your own site!

This is how the button looks!

Use this code to make the button appear on your site: <a class=”button-black” href=”#”>Test Button</a>

/* Gradient Buttons
--------------------------------------------- */

a.button-black {
border-radius: 3px;
box-shadow: 0 1px 1px #999;
color: #fff !important;
display: inline-block;
font-size: 16px;
margin: 0 20px 20px 0;
padding: 10px 15px;
text-align: center;
/* width: 130px; */ // You can set the width if you like, but if you omit it, the width will adjust to whatever text you put in the button

a.button-black {
background-color: #444; // This sets the main background color of the button
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #444, #000); // The first hex code is the lighter color for the gradient
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #444, #000); // The second hex color is the darker color for the gradient
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #444, #000);
border: 1px solid #000;
text-decoration: none;

a.button-black:hover {
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #000, #444); // When you hover over the button, the first hex code is the darker color
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #000, #444); // When you hover over the button, the first hex code is the lighter color
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #000, #444);
text-decoration: none;

05. Color

You can easily change the color of text, links, backgrounds, and other web elements with CSS. I use color to distinguish different features of my website, such as the alternating widget areas on the front page, the color of my text and links. I also use color to draw attention to the parts I want visitors to pay attention to the most.

body {
background-color: #fff;
color: #1c1c1c;
font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;
font-size: 16px;

In the above example, the color for my main text is the hex code #1c1c1c, which is a dark grey color. You can essentially change the color of your text to whatever your imagination desires (cue rainbow)! However, please note that bright colors on a bright background, dark colors on a dark background, and light colors on a dark background can make it very difficult for visitors to see your text. I have found from trial and error to avoid those so that I don’t strain the viewer’s eyes.

06. Position

In CSS, position refers to type of positioning method used for any web elements. The positions that are available for you to use are static, relative, absolute or fixed. 

blockquote::before {
color: #999;

blockquote {
margin: 40px 40px 24px;

blockquote::before {
color: #999;
content: “\f122”;
display: block;
font-family: “dashicons”;
font-size: 30px;
height: 0;
left: -40px;
position: relative;
top: -10px;

In the above example, the blockquote on my website is positioned as relative, which means that this particular element is relative to its normal position. In this case, the negative 40 pixels to the left means that the blockquote will subtract 40 pixels from the left side of the blockquote.

Here is an example of a blockquote. Notice how the negative 40 pixels to the left made room for the giant quotation marks, making the blockquote relative to that element.

The other three positions, static, absolute, and fixed are entirely different from the relative position. Static refers to a position in which the element stays in its current order and the all elements appear as they would in your CSS document.

Absolute means that the element is positioned normal to its ancestor element and fixed is positioned to the browser window. An example of the fixed element is my navigation bar at the top of the browser window. I have it set to fixed so that as you scroll down the page, my navigation bar and links will scroll with you. Very useful!

07. Display

While this CSS trick can be a little difficult to get the hang of (and it has a lot of properties to play with!) it’s very rewarding to use on your blog or website! Display refers to the type of box used in your HTML code. The property values associated with display are as follows:

inline: Default value. Displays an element as an inline element (like <span>)
block: Displays an element as a block element (like <p>)
flex: Displays an element as an block-level flex container. New in CSS3
inline-block: Displays an element as an inline-level block container. The inside of this block is formatted as block-level box, and the element itself is formatted as an inline-level box
inline-flex: Displays an element as an inline-level flex container. New in CSS3
inline-table: The element is displayed as an inline-level table
list-item: Let the element behave like a <li> element
run-in: Displays an element as either block or inline, depending on context
table: Let the element behave like a <table> element
table-caption: Let the element behave like a <caption> element
table-column-group: Let the element behave like a <colgroup> element
table-header-group: Let the element behave like a <thead> element
table-footer-group: Let the element behave like a <tfoot> element
table-row-group: Let the element behave like a <tbody> element
table-cell: Let the element behave like a <td> element
table-column: Let the element behave like a <col> element
table-row: Let the element behave like a <tr> element
none: The element will not be displayed at all (has no effect on layout)
initial: Sets this property to its default value.
inherit: Inherits this property from its parent element.

The above table is from W3School, a free online resource for web development.

I actually use the display: block; property in a few of my design elements, and have even used it in one of my example! Take a look at the blockquote example again:

blockquote::before {
color: #999;

blockquote {
margin: 40px 40px 24px;

blockquote::before {
color: #999;
content: “\f122”;
display: block;
font-family: “dashicons”;
font-size: 30px;
height: 0;
left: -40px;
position: relative;
top: -10px;

The red, bold text is where I have my blockquote set to display as a block, like it were a paragraph. According to W3School, display: block; “displays an element as a block element” and starts on a new line, stretching out to the left and right as far as it can within its container. If this blockquote wasn’t in a container (the post container), it would have stretched from one end of the screen to the other.

Whether you are in the process of redesigning your website or wanting to update a few features, you can use these tricks to do so. There are many resources available online for more advanced CSS tricks, and my most favorite resource to us is W3Schools. It’s completely free, and you can use the in-browser code editors to teach yourself how to manipulate CSS and HTML.

If you would also like to edit the CSS in your page without committing any permanent changes, you can use the Google Chrome DevTools. Just press the f12 button on your keyboard and the screen will come up! Feel free to check out the DevTools Overview to find out more information. In the meantime, I hope that these 7 CSS tricks will help you make great changes to your blog or website!


Have you ever used CSS to make changes to the way your blog or website looks?


Continue reading

Resources for A Beginner Entrepreneur

How do you become successful as a beginner entrepreneur when you’re not sure how to start?

That is the question that I have asked myself for the past month while I am preparing to move my small business forward. In my last post, I briefly talked about how I was feeling stuck, both in life and as a beginner entrepreneur. To get past feeling stuck, I have been actively searching for resources for the beginner entrepreneur. I’ll be honest with you, that’s where I stand at this moment. And it’s ok. Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s not an easy process to get past being a beginner, but it’s wonderful because as you grow, so does your business!


I have found a variety of resources through other creatives, communities, and from my search on Google – I was pleasantly surprised at just how much information is available for beginner freelancers. Feel free to read on to learn more about the resources and tips that are available for you to use to become a successful entrepreneur!

Creative Communities

Social communities are an incredible resource to take advantage of! Not only do you connect with other creatives who are in the same field as you, but you have access to information that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else! I recently joined a few Facebook groups that have become my most valuable resource, such as the Biz Designers and the Daring Creative Workshop on Facebook. I’m so happy that I joined both of them!

The Biz Designers group is dedicated to “entrepreneurs, bloggers, marketers, or anyone working on starting or growing a modern business online”. And to top it off? It’s a Facebook group created by Whitney English from The Day Designerso you know it’s a great group to join! You’re able to ask questions and get answers from other creatives, you can bounce ideas back and forth with other people, and you can learn from other creative’s posts. All in all, it’s a wonderful community!

I had also asked the same question in the Daring Creative Workshop and got great responses there, too! It’s my favorite group to take part in. This group is full of great people; run by an awesome and talented leader; has plenty of one-on-one advice; supportive members; and you’re held accountable for what you do and what you want to do. I feel like I fit right in! It’s definitely recommended to take advantage of joining a community that you feel will help you build your creative stride!

Accounting Software

If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to become acquainted with accounting software to keep track of your invoices, profits, and other fun business needs. Saving money is also key as a beginner entrepreneur that I just starting out. I use Wave, a free accounting software. Unfortunately, Wave is a little limited unless you pay for the premium service, but so far it’s done everything that I need to run Melinda Isaacs Studio proficiently! Wave gives you the option to send invoices through their software, keep track of profits, client information, and the ability to take credit card payments if you opt for their premium service.

Other accounting software to look into for creative business owners is 17hats, Intuit Quickbooks, Less Accounting, and AccountEdge Pro.  If you would prefer to have an accounting software that you can use from your desktop, there are a few open source accounting software available as well! You can use free open source accounting software like GNUCash (free!), TurboCASH (free!), Compiere ($$), XTuple PostBooks (free!), and SQL Ledger (free!). These are only a few that I’m aware of and I’m sure there are more out there!

Skillshare & Webinars

Until a few months ago, I never really put much thought into attending webinars or participating in online learning classes outside of college. It wasn’t until I came across Skillshare and the Lunch + Learn webinar series that I became incredibly interested in learning outside of my college classes. I’m happy to say that the results are wonderful!

Skillshare has both free and premium services, the only differences being that you are able to take more than one class and you have access to the premium classes. That isn’t to say that the free Skillshare classes aren’t as good! I learned a ton while I was using the free service.


Example of the business classes on Skillshare

Here is a small list of the Skillshare classes I recommend:

Another thing to note is that you can win a scholarship through Skillshare and get the premium service for free. You just have to be active and post a project every month in one class to keep your premium membership.

Webinars are also great because you can learn “in-person”, connect with other viewers, chat with the webinar host, and do all that from your personal computer. Truth be told, webinars are great resources for a beginner entrepreneur for a few reasons. First of all, you can communicate directly with the webinar host if they’re hosting a Q&A session during or after their webinar. Secondly, you can also connect with the other attendees, and gain valuable information as you take part! So, while you’re learning, your business is growing. It’s a win-win situation!  

List of Resources

The one thing that I enjoy the most about being a creative is that I know there are other creatives out there. There are creatives out there who have been in the field and know how to run their business. More often than not, these creatives will share or create their own resources that you can use for yourself. You just have to know where to find them!

Feel free to take a look at the following list to see what resources I’ve gathered over the years:

  • Day Designer Daily Planner Download – A daily planner is always a great resource to have if you’re wanting to manage your time, keep up with appointments, and keep up with business needs. The Day Designer can do just that! I highly recommend giving the Day Designer a try before you buy the full thing and I promise it’s well worth it!
  • 30 Ways to Find Your First Clients (And Help Them Find You) – One of my favorite articles written by Regina! She has wonderful insight on running a successful business/blog, and her entire archive is filled to the brim with awesomeness!
  • The Library by Elle & Company Design – Elle & Company has always created amazing, insightful, and relevant content for their readers. For just $6.99 a month, you have access to their entire collection of resources that are made specifically for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers alike.
  • Business Plan eCourse – An online eCourse dedicated to creating business plans – a business cannot survive for very long if you don’t have a strong plan to follow.
  • Roost Tribe – This requires a subscription that just costs $5 a month, but with the subscription you will have access to advice, freebies, and other digital goods!
  • Emma Dime’s Top Notch Type – This is a wonderful resource for bloggers, entrepreneurs, and creative business owners alike! This is a series on beautiful, free fonts that you are able to use.
  • Blog Clarity Workbook – Kyla Roma’s Blog Clarity Workbook is a wonderful resource to consult and I highly recommend joining her newsletter to learn more about how to run a business and blog.
  • 12 Essential Steps to Starting Your Freelance Business – Another wonderful article by Regina is incredibly valuable! I definitely recommend taking a look! :)

As you can see, there are plenty of resources available for the beginner entrepreneur! It’s not all of them, but these are the resources that I am constantly using, looking at, and keeping in the back of my mind so that I can refer back to them when I need to. I am constantly searching for more resources every day, making note of where they came from and how I can use them in my business.

If you’re a beginner entrepreneur who is just starting out and you feel like you don’t know where to begin, please take a deep breath. I completely understand how you feel! Just know that a ton of resources are out there, just waiting for you to find them and use them to grow your business. As your business grows, so will you.

[tweetthis]”Remember: Dreams don’t work unless you do.”[/tweetthis]

I hope that this post was helpful. If you have any resources that you would like to share, please feel free to let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Continue reading

Freebie Friday: Weekly Planner Freebie

Hi all! It’s finally Fri(yay)! This week has been extremely interesting with all of the storms blowing through Butler County, my fiance starting his second week at his new job, and I have been taking the time to finish long overdue overhauls on my site. Admittedly, it’s been one hell of a week! Amidst all of the chaos, however, I was able to devote a huge chunk of time to create a weekly planner freebie that I can share with you!

Lately I have been going crazy over finding the perfect planner. I’m looking for something that is somewhat simple, has a decent amount of space, looks pretty, is affordable, and can be taken around anywhere. College classes are starting in a couple of months (which means my senior year of college is almost here, eek!) and I need a paper planner that I can use alongside my digital planner on my laptop and phone. I still plan on purchasing a BlueSky planner once the BlueSky & Day Designer collaborated planner comes to my local Target, but I really wanted to try something different:

Ta-da! I created my own weekly planner freebie that you can print for yourself!

Weekly Planner Freebie | Melinda Isaacs Studio

click to download | file size: 70 kb

This was my first time using Adobe InDesign CS5, and to be honest, I don’t think I did all that bad! It’s fairly simple, but that’s what I had in mind as I was creating this planner. I still wanted it to be pretty but I didn’t want it to be too distracting. However, I did end up creating a second set that is a little prettier than the simplified version so you’re more than welcome to use that, too!

Weekly Planner Freebie Mint | Melinda Isaacs Studio

click to download | file size: 71 kb

This weekly planner freebie was designed with creatives and other entrepreneurs in mind. You definitely want space for weekly goals, projects, appointments, notes, and plenty of space for each day. I also included today and to-do spaces for those that want to keep a short list for the week as well as space for brainstorming ideas! Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way that this weekly planner set came out and I fully intend on printing this for myself as soon as I can.

Let me know how the weekly planner freebie works for you in the comments below! I would love to hear what you think!

Continue reading

What To Do When You’re Stuck

When life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade? There are times in life, careers, and relationships that you will feel stuck with no way out, no where to go. Unfortunately it’s just how life is and it can become incredibly daunting to think about. We all get stuck from time to time. Everyone eventually gets to the point of hitting a wall. Even as I write this now, I feel like I am stuck.

Of course, there are a number of reasons as to why it happens – a waning interest in what you’re doing, becoming burnt out on the monotony of life, difficult living situations – we’ve all been there. The great news is that you don’t have to be stuck forever. There are plenty of options that can help you get through whatever is making you feel that way. One thing to note, however, is that the sooner you realize that you’re stuck, the more effective these tips and tricks will be in creating a better situation for you.

What to do When You’re Stuck


Break Away

Sometimes it’s just better to take a break. Even if it’s for a few hours, it can help you to clear your mind, reassess the situation, and come up with solutions on how to get yourself unstuck. This can come in a variety of options, whether it is to go out on a date, go out-of-town for a weekend, or even just step away from the problem for a few hours.


My fiance believes in meditation as a way to control his stress, focus, and to bring overall peace to his mind. Keep in mind, however, that meditation is not for everyone. It requires a decent amount of time, a quiet atmosphere, and the ability to sit still for extended periods of time. Meditation is meant to promote relaxation of the mind and body and serves as a door to compassion, love, patience, generosity, & forgiveness. According to Gaiam, meditation is similar to fitness in the way that you train your body and can be accomplished in many ways.

It’s also a way to generate an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state in terms of how you’re feeling and can be used to cultivate a particular mental response to certain phenomena. This can be incredibly useful to help you feel like you’re not stuck by bringing peace to your mind and body. You can also couple meditation with yoga – this is good for both your mind and body!

Take Some Vacation Time

Sometimes you just need time to get away. And that’s perfectly fine! You can take a small trip out-of-state, go somewhere in a different part of town, have a get-together with friends, or even have . The main goal in taking vacation time is to focus on you and get away from stressful situations. Of course, it’s only really helpful if you have the means to take a vacation, such as vacation time, funds, and time.

To help keep my stress levels down, I took a vacation with my fiance and his family to New Mexico (read more about it here!) I was constantly active so that I didn’t have the opportunity to think about my situation. It helped me reevaluate my situation once I returned home, because I had an extended amount of time to physically remove myself.

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

This is the most difficult tip to follow, mainly because it could seem like it will take forever to get where you want to be. Don’t give up hope, though! If you keep your eye on the prize, you’ll retain your focus on the one thing that will get you unstuck. Whatever it may be (a new car, a different apartment complex, a new job/career choice), you will eventually reach your goal to create a better situation or life for yourself.

My dad always told me to keep my eye on the prize, to focus all of my energy towards achieving my goals. If you dwell on the situation, the potential of creating a worse situation is greater than if you were to focus on the important things. Now, that isn’t to say that you can’t worry about it. It’s healthy to worry a little, but it is better to focus on what’s important to you rather than focus on the things that aren’t.

Stress is a part of everyday life. It’s unavoidable. However, there are many different approaches and steps that you can take to get out from under the crushing feeling of being stuck. Being stuck doesn’t just involve relationships or homelife. Feeling stuck can even have crushing results on your entrepreneurship, making it very difficult to make progress.

To be quite honest with you, I am at the point of feeling stuck. I have felt stuck for a few months now and I’m only now making progress toward my goals and where I want to be in life, in my career, and in my schooling. The tips that I mentioned in this post are what I am doing daily to help make my life better and I hope that they can help you too!

When you’re feeling stuck, what measures do you take to rid yourself of that feeling? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Continue reading

Melinda Isaacs Studio on Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

This may make me seem a little slow on the uptake, but I discovered Bloglovin this afternoon while I was browsing the internet. I follow a TON of blogs, and to be honest, it’s nice to have all of those posts in one place! I kind of wish I would have caught on sooner! Either way, I’m happy to have stumbled upon this wonderful website and I can see myself using it daily.

Please feel free to Follow my blog with Bloglovin! I should have all of my posts on there as soon as possible to make it easier to keep up with what I’m doing. Cheers! :)

Continue reading