SYW240 – Creativity Unleashed

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Traci Bautista celebrates the creative process throughout her work as a mixed media artist, educator, and paint maker. Emphasizing color swatching, inspiration boards, and sketchbooks, she focuses on how you can playfully develop ideas towards a finished work. Our conversation includes a look back at Traci’s evolution, the role of AI in art making, and all of her favorite things right now.

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[00:00:00] Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I’m your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is episode 240. In this episode I’m joined by mixed media artist, educator, and paint maker Traci Bautista. Our conversation explores Traci’s entrepreneurial journey and the practices she leans on today to brainstorm and plan her creative projects.

[00:02:07] Jennifer Wilson: Hi Traci. Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:02:10] Traci Bautista: Hi. Thanks for having me.

[00:02:12] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, I'm looking forward to our conversation today. Can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself? We're gonna go into a lot more details during our interview. It's all about you. But I love if just we could introduce you to our audience.

[00:02:27] Traci Bautista: Awesome. So let's see. My name is Traci Bautista and I am a mixed media artist, a designer, an author, an educator, and a paint maker. I wear multiple hats. I have been in this world for a little over 20 years. I started my, my company in 2002. And I actually have a background in design, graphic design. That's what my degree is in. And I worked in tech in Silicon Valley for about eight years before I decided to quit my tech job. I was a director of marketing for a software company or a, um, for a couple of different tech companies for a while. And then I just wanted to I actually wanted to teach art to kids, and so I quit my job without a plan. This was in 2001, and the rest is history. I started teaching, I was a traveling art teacher, um, out of my, out of my Jeep. I would go from, I would go from school to school. Um, and I taught in the district where, uh, where I was living and actually where I grew up, and it was amazing. It was so much fun. It was so different. I actually didn't, I didn't have a teaching credential. I just loved art. So I taught art to kids and, um, at the same time started my business. And funny enough, the very first place I ever taught at was a scrapbook store and.

[00:04:09] Jennifer Wilson: Oh funny.

[00:04:10] Traci Bautista: Yeah, adult classes actually. So I brought my, um, I knocked on the door and I brought, I wasn't a scrapbooker, but I made handmade books and they had photos in them. And so that's kind of where my teaching into this whole mixed media world started. I would teach, uh, painting and how to combine them with, and stamping and how to combine them with your photos. But I would create these really fun books, handmade books. And so they were like these mini books of like picture books. And, um, and then that led me to this whole mixed media world. And, um, and teaching kind of at a bigger stage. I started applying for larger, like mixed media retreats and, uh, traveled the world to teach, uh, painting and collage. And, and, uh, went to, I mean, I've, I've traveled all over the United States. I was on the road for sometimes three, three and a half weeks, a month just teaching and traveling internationally. And then, um, back in 2000, I think four, I got an email from my publisher at that time was North Light Books. And they asked me if I wanted to write a book. And so that, that kind of dove me into the world of publishing. And I've written three books since, or three total. Three, three books. And um, the first one was called Collage Unleashed and the second one was called Doodles Unleashed. And the third one was called Printmaking Unleashed. So lots of, uh, unleashed artwork. I guess you could say. But that, uh, really kind of has been the foundation of what my business is, is just teaching and inspiring people and artists to play and to experiment and to, um, just to have fun when they're creating their artwork. And then from there, um, I started while I was teaching, I ended up back in 2008 or nine, I think. Um, I started kind of just to teaching online, which was like way early. So, uh, and these were just like PDFs. I had been teaching already in person for a while and um, I decided to start developing online courses. And so I think my first online course actually, was probably actually on my blog. I started blogging in like 2003 way back in the day when, when there was like Typepad and that was all, you know, there was like Typepad and I think Blogger. And so I, I blogged way back then. So I would always like do, I would teach, I would teach stuff on my blog, but then officially I launched, I think my first online course in like the late 2009 and started teaching it in 2010. So since then I've been teaching online and primarily now what most of, well half my business is teaching, and then the other half is my paint business and designing products for other manufacturers like stencils and stamps. And I started, um, designing for and, um, licensing my work. And, uh, designing back in probably 2006 or seven, I had one of my first product lines come out with I Love To Create, called Collage Podge, which is a collage glue and, um, adhesive. And then I have worked with a few other companies to license my work for stencils and stamps. And then I've also developed my own products. So in 2017, I went to a fountain pen show. I had never even heard of a fountain pen show. One of my friends was teaching there and she, she was like, oh, come visit me. And I got, I was just like in awe. There was, I love pens, I love markers, and these people were just like fountain pens. It's like this, um, I don't know. Have you ever been to a Fountain Pen show?

[00:08:33] Jennifer Wilson: I have not. I did not know that existed.

[00:08:35] Traci Bautista: Yes, and they are.

[00:08:37] Jennifer Wilson: I mean there's a show for everything, right?

[00:08:39] Traci Bautista: Yeah, yeah. But it is, it's amazing. There's all kinds of pens and inks and paper and stationary and I mean anything if you're a paper person and a pen person you'd love. So I went to the San Francisco Pen Show. And there were all these beautiful inks and that, i, I had been making paint. I learned how to make paint back in 2010 from one of my good, um, friends mixed, uh, she's a mixed media artist too, Karen, Michelle. And so I had been making my own paints and kind of experimenting. And after that pen show I was, I was like, I could totally make my own paints and sell them. Like I'd already been making paints and for my own work. And I thought, oh, well that would be kind of fun. So, That's how Traci Bautista color was born. I launched it with an Instagram post and just said, Hey, I'm thinking about doing this. Here are some of the color swatches. I did color swatches and I um, it was a series of posts on Instagram that launched the, that part of my business. And it has taken off in the last, what is it now? We're in 2003. So I just celebrated actually six years of, uh, Traci Bautista color in August 31st. And it, uh, has been just this amazing journey. I've, I've made probably over 300 different colors and shipped all over the world. And it has been just this beautiful labor of love. It's a lot of work to actually make paint, but to design the collections, market them, sell them, ship them, package, package ship. Um, it has really taken over a lot of my business. So, um, now, like I said, I have a couple of classes I teach online and a membership. And then I have my paint, um, subscription. Which has been so much fun. So I guess that's a long-winded story.

[00:10:46] Jennifer Wilson: No, it's all good. It's all good. I appreciate the thorough introduction and kind of showing how your, your business has evolved. Um, at this, you know, interesting intersection of, you know, following your creative interests, you know, opportunities. Also, you know, I can remember I created my first course around 2010 as well. So there was just that the groundswell of we're doing stuff online now, um, back in those days and just seeing how much things have even changed since then as well.

[00:11:17] Traci Bautista: Oh, I know. It's so funny. My first class was, was literally like seven PDFs. I delivered one PDF each week. And I think I tossed in like a couple of videos.

[00:11:30] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. But you know, something, there's something good about the simple formats that we used to use. There's still like, there's still a lot of value in that as well, I think.

[00:11:39] Traci Bautista: Oh yeah. And those PDFs, I mean, that's probably what I'm known for in my, in the world, that, that people have taken my courses. Those p I probably have wrote, wrote like another five books just from my courses that I've taught because of those PDFs.

[00:11:54] Track 1: For sure. Yeah. I know sometimes I think about like mining my old content and there's so much good stuff there, but it's. You know, it's so hard to go back when there's always so many things, so many directions to go moving forward as well.

[00:12:06] Traci Bautista: Yes, I agree. I agree.

[00:12:08] Jennifer Wilson: So there's two questions that I love to ask every single guest. And one is like, what is exciting you right now, both in your creative life and then in the rest of your life?

[00:12:19] Traci Bautista: Hmm. Let's see. In my creative life, I think what I'm most excited about is when I'm developing new products for my paints. I'm always wanting to kind of push the barrier of what, um, an art supply is and how they're, how they're created, and also just how they are, um, I guess shown to the world. So if you're, if you've seen my paints, um, if anybody's listening has seen my paints. They definitely are not your traditional watercolors um, as far as the way they look. Because I pour the, the color and the paints into layers, and so they're multicolored pans. So I think that's one of the most exciting things. I also developed a new, a new product in my business, um, called Pigment Bars last year. And I actually had been making wax kind of crayons and encaustic crayons for, um, probably, I don't know, five or six years. And, and I actually started back in the day, like when I wrote my first book of melting crayons to make crayon cupcakes. And so over the last year I've really like refined the recipes and, , refined the process of making my products. So I think that's one of my kind of things that excites me is always trying to figure out to how to push the boundaries of what I'm creating, um, when it comes to the things that I'm designing. And then also I think just color in general. Um, as far as my creativity side goes, um, I love just color swatching. I think that's, it's one of the most simple things you can do with any material that you have. Whether it's pens or whether it's paper or paints or inks. Just simply sitting and playing with color, I think is such a great one, a great relaxing activity. But also two, it just teaches you a lot about how colors go together, how your supplies, if you work with different supplies, go together. Um, so I think that's probably what's most exciting me right now in my creative life. In my, personal life. Let's see, what's most exciting me? I am, oh, I don't know. Um, that's a good question right now. I, I'm pretty simple these days. I have been on a very, um, a very, like, uh, what's the right word? Um, I've been on a really great fitness journey over the last, uh, year. I have always been fit and worked out, but over the last year I've been very consistent with my health and fitness. So that's kind of exciting me. I, which may be boring to other people, but.

[00:15:24] Jennifer Wilson: Not at all.

[00:15:25] Traci Bautista: Um, I have, I work out like six days a week and I've been, um, I weight train those six days. But also do cardio and yoga in between those. So, um, I think that's one of, one of the things that's exciting me. And then also planning a trip, um, hopefully in the next year. I wanted to do a sabbatical back 2020, but we all know what happened in 2020.

[00:15:54] Jennifer Wilson: Maybe you kind of got a sabbatical, but then also there was a lot to teach online during that time too.

[00:15:59] Traci Bautista: I know it was a sabbatical at home that wasn't. That I didn't get to travel. But no, I've been wanting to plan this really awesome pigment and paint tour. Where I will travel, um, to a few different countries and around the United States to meet up with some paint makers and some other artists and really just dive into pigments. And, and, uh, how, you know, how paint's made. And I, I started doing that with a trip I took to Australia right before the shutdown. And I got to meet David Coles, who is a master paint maker for the Language Artist Colors in Australia. He's, he's a paint maker in Australia. And that kind of sparked the idea after I got to sit and talk to him for like an hour. And we just talked about like pigments and how paints made the history of, I mean, he, he wrote a really amazing book, um, called Chromatopia. And um, I would love to, you know, do something like that where I meet up with different artists to um, just talk about paints and inks.

[00:17:10] Jennifer Wilson: That'd be incredible.

[00:17:12] Traci Bautista: I know it would be fun or even to make it into like a video series or, you know, something. So, I don't know. It's been on my, on my list of things I wanna do, so.

[00:17:22] Jennifer Wilson: I'm curious, and this kind of backtracks to your fitness journey, how does making that a priority in your life support your creativity?

[00:17:34] Traci Bautista: Oh, that's such a great question. Um, I am a true believer that it has helped just not only for my mental peace of mind, but physically too. Um, and just and spiritually. Um, it, working out for me is something that I, I've, I've had vertigo, chronic vertigo for probably almost, um, since 2014. And it was really bad for very many years where I could bear, I couldn't get off the couch. And so I would basically like do my work from the couch or I would, you know, lay down. I went to every specialist, every, everything you could do naturally. I didn't wanna take medicine. And I was so determined to figure out a way to, um, get back to normal. And so this last year has helped tremendously with that. Where I, I still feel a little bit of rocking every day. But I'm not, it's not as bad. And a lot of that has to do with the strength training. Um, and it also helps just with overall, you know, um, just overall feeling good and being, um, having the, I guess the, um, consistency. I, I feel like I, it has really helped me set the mood for my days. So, I work out pretty early. Well, I, some days like today, um, I work out at nine because the class that I go to is at nine. But I usually work out at like, around 7:30. And, um, it kind of is my kickstart for my day. So it is something that is just part of my daily routine now.

[00:19:22] Traci Bautista: It's definitely something that just has helped me, you know, kind of, um, have less stress in my life and also, um, helped with, helping me get kind of through the, the anxiety that comes with having vertigo too. So.

[00:19:42] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes.

[00:19:43] Traci Bautista: Um, yeah, it has, it has definitely helped. Um, like I used to practice yoga. This was back probably, I, I practiced yoga for over 10 years, but when I started having vertigo, I couldn't even do downward dog. And.

[00:19:58] Jennifer Wilson: What I was wondering is how does the yoga interact.

[00:20:01] Traci Bautista: Yeah.

[00:20:01] Jennifer Wilson: Vertigo? Mm

[00:20:03] Traci Bautista: it was horrible. Like I could not do, I couldn't do yoga for a couple of years. And so slowly but surely I just kind of went back to doing it. But I, I, I found a really good physical therapist who specialized in vestibular therapy. And, um, I saw her for, gosh, I don't know, it was probably like eight months for one year. And she really help me get back into a state where I could start doing yoga. But a lot of it was I had to, I had to, to strengthen my shoulders. And I think a lot of us who sit at the computer, especially if you do digital work, like if you're doing any kind of Photoshop work or you know, if you're painting. Even if you're standing and painting and you know, you don't realize how much it affects your posture. So that in and itself, you know, having that having the, um, the strength from lifting weights has helped tremendously. It, I, it's like night and day from a year ago. Um, so I think that's one, one reason that I do it. And, and at that time too, it was, when I first started, it was like, okay, finally I feel like safe to go out into the world to work out. You know, I'm not just doing home workout. So it was also like a social, a social thing.

[00:21:24] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. No, I'm so glad that I asked that question because I think it's so important. And how our bodies are kind of showing up can impact whether or not we can take the time. Whether we have the physical stamina. And you know, we're all so busy, especially um these days I feel like we're increasingly busy. And if we want to take time to create, if it's not part of our work day, and even if it is part of your work day, so much of being a business owner is not the actual creating part, it's all the other things. Yeah, anything you can do to support that is, I think, so important.

[00:22:01] Traci Bautista: Yes. Oh, I agree. Yeah. I was talking to one of my friends about that. And I said, you know, it's like I started my business to be able to, you know, share my artwork and do artwork. But I don't have that much time anymore to do artwork, um, just for myself. I do it when I'm teaching or you know, when I'm, I'm creating, uh, samples for my products. But just the, the act of just like actually playing and painting. That's also something where I, I try to at least do, you know, once a week if I can. Which is still kind of hard. I, I think I, I swap that out with going to the gym for.

[00:22:42] Jennifer Wilson: Mm hmm.

[00:22:43] Traci Bautista: For, my, uh, for my free time.

[00:22:46] Jennifer Wilson: So, I always like to talk about our bucket list. And traditionally, this is kind of a memory keeping connected question about adventures that we want to have, memories we want to make, or even memories that we want to keep that we haven't already. Um, but, you know, you talked about your paint adventure. Is that kind of one of your top bucket list items, or do you have others?

[00:23:08] Traci Bautista: Yeah, no, that is one of my top bucket list items because it involves travel. Like one of my, one of my big things I love traveling. And, um, I would love to visit a few different places that I haven't been before yet. So that that sabbatical, that trip kind of is like putting a few places that are on my bucket list in that one trip. So.

[00:23:32] Jennifer Wilson: Into one epic thing.

[00:23:34] Traci Bautista: Yeah. Yeah. And so hopefully, I mean, my plan back in 2020 was to take like six months. But I, I would really have to figure out how that would work with my puppy. And, and, uh, I don't think I could, I, I could take her traveling with me if it was here. But then if I'm going internationally or abroad, then I'd.

[00:23:55] Jennifer Wilson: That it harder.

[00:23:56] Traci Bautista: Yeah, yeah. I'd have to really, really plan that. But yeah, that is definitely one of my, um, big bucket list things. Where, I mean, I, there's place, I, I still would love to go to the Philippines. I haven't been there. That's where my family is from. My parents were both born there. But I was born here. And, um, I, they, they actually moved here when they were two. So they haven't been back for a long time either. But that's one place I'd love to go and take a whole Southeast Asia tour while I'm out in that area. And, um, and so I may have to break up the trip into, I don't know if I'll be able to do six consecutive months. That would be ideal. Um, but, um, I also have the paint business to run. So, I think I'd have to do like a month or so somewhere. And then maybe come back and ship. So that's the one good thing about having a quarterly um, subscription. I have a little bit of time in between.

[00:24:56] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes now, I can't wait to see what you do or where you go.

[00:25:00] Traci Bautista: Thanks.

[00:25:02] Jennifer Wilson: Before we dive a little bit more into the process, I have a couple like quickfire questions for you. As I was looking at all the things that you have created over the years, and I just wanted to try to kind of give our viewers a better sense of how you create the things that you love. Um, without ever having seen your Instagram. I hope they like jump over to your Instagram, your website, and see all the things that you do, but I just wanted to ask a couple questions. So stencils or stamps?

[00:25:31] Traci Bautista: Ooh. I would say stencils.

[00:25:33] Jennifer Wilson: Are you one who waits for it to dry or you do you keep going when the paint is still wet?

[00:25:40] Traci Bautista: Oh no. I am like super prolific. I can't, I'm, I'm so impatient, so I keep going. And to do that, I work on multiple substrates and surfaces at a time, so I don't have to wait for things to dry.

[00:25:53] Jennifer Wilson: Nice. I was going to ask you like warm or cool colors, but then I noticed you, there's definitely like a trend here. You use a lot of purples and pinks. So if you had to choose between purple or pink.

[00:26:04] Traci Bautista: Ooh. Um, that's, so, ooh, that's a good question. Uh, I don't know. Right now I would actually, I, I would say I'm more into blues. But, and I, between those two colors, probably pink.

[00:26:21] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. Okay. Flowers or leaves?

[00:26:24] Traci Bautista: Oh, that's a hard one too. I love both, but probably flowers.

[00:26:29] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. You definitely have a lot of like kind of organic shapes, not as many geometrics. Um, like the organic is definitely dominant in your, in your shapes.

[00:26:39] Jennifer Wilson: If you're, like, choosing a new sketchbook, do you want it to be book bound or coil bound?

[00:26:44] Traci Bautista: Oh, I normally would choose a book bound. But I love working on single sheets of paper and binding them together. So I don't know if that if that's a.

[00:26:57] Jennifer Wilson: No, that's fair, that's fair.

[00:26:58] Traci Bautista: An okay answer.

[00:27:01] Jennifer Wilson: And then, uh, messy hands or clean hands.

[00:27:04] Traci Bautista: Well now I wear gloves, so I would say they're clean.

[00:27:09] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:27:10] Traci Bautista: But if you asked me that 10 years ago, it would've been messy.

[00:27:15] Jennifer Wilson: Um, so we've talked a lot about your creative journey and the things that you're offering today. How have you balanced kind of your own creative inspiration, your desires, the things that are like lighting you up, curiosities of yours with making sound business decisions? Because those things are not always intersecting.

[00:27:35] Traci Bautista: Yeah, no, you're so right. And um, I think that with my paint collections, I have a lot of freedom to develop things that I really love. And I, I hope my audience loves. Um, or my customers love. And the way that my paints are developed are based on an idea, a theme, or a memory that I've had. And then that translates into the color palette that I choose for that, that collection or that I, that I developed for that collection. And so far, I've been really fortunate that my customers seem to love what I create. And so, um, it, I, I am able to take the things that I love and pour them into the products that I design. Even like with the stencils I designed, they come from artwork that I've created. So I, I, I design based on collections. So it's like this idea. And then from that idea, I do mind maps and I do a lot of different things that help me kind of come up with the different bits and pieces of, of that collection. So I'm always putting my own kind of passions and artwork into them. Like my, one of my stencil lines is called Soulful Scribbles, and that was developed based on a series of paintings that I created, um, this body of work. And then I took those paintings and then kind of extracted some of the motifs digitally and then cleaned them up and turned them into both stamps and stencils. And so I think that's, um, one of the things that I'm really lucky that I have a, an amazing customer base that so far has really, um, loved, uh, the, the things that I've designed. So I'm able to take the things that I'm passionate about and put them into the products that I make.

[00:29:36] Jennifer Wilson: Do you think that your, your education, your work in the tech world kind of laid the foundation of being kind of an early adopter of lots of digital tools to be able to advance your work. Say more than an artist who maybe didn't have those skills and is just is creating and taking photos period. And not doing the digitization or doing, yeah, there's just, I'm just curious, kind of, do you think how that supported you along the way.

[00:30:04] Traci Bautista: Yeah. I, I, I think so, but also I think from an early age, my parents really enabled us with tools. Like we, they bought us the first, um, what is that thing called? The Apple IIc is, is like that beige

[00:30:21] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, I think it was the Apple IIe, I But maybe there a I don't know.

[00:30:24] Traci Bautista: Yeah, it was one of those, this was like back in the, you know, early eighties. And my sister and I, I would come home every day and I would be on that thing. I would either be like learning how to type or play, I'd play Hard Hat Mack, which was a game on there. Um, but I mean, I think also growing up in, in Silicon Valley in the, in the Bay Area. I think that also you're exposed to so much tech. Um, and my, you know, my first, my first job, um, outta college was in tech. And I've just always loved computers and have been really, uh, just, you know, everything I do has been based in computers. Um, even as a graphic designer, actually I, I got my degree in the mid nineties. And so I started in the early nineties. And at that time it was, I was still doing a lot of typesetting by hand. Like we couldn't actually use the computer yet. We had 'em there, but they wanted us to like hand letter Bodoni type with a ruling pen. And so I was really lucky and fortunate I think that I was able to not only have the hand skills to do that, but then right about that time was when I started learning Photoshop, like in 1991. And um, it was part of my degree, so, because I think also being a graphic designer that really enabled me with digital tools. And I, I just have loved them, you know, ever since. And when the first iPad came out in 20, when it was I think 2012, I was like, okay, I'm gonna figure out a way, I'm gonna buy that thing. I'm gonna pay for it by teaching a class about how to use it.

[00:32:04] Jennifer Wilson: There you go.

[00:32:05] Traci Bautista: And that was how my Procreate classes were born back in 2012. I, I launched my first, um, Procreate class back in, called Digital Canvas. Back in like the end of 2012. And I taught it in 2013 because I was like, okay, I'm finding a way to pay for this iPad. And I taught myself Procreate because of that. And, um.

[00:32:28] Jennifer Wilson: And that was pre Apple Pencil days, too.

[00:32:30] Traci Bautista: Yes, it was. I had a bamboo stylus. One of those, like soft, you know, the ones with like the little rubber tip. And, and I had an iPad mini of all things. So I, I actually designed on that iPad Mini for probably until 2018 when I got the newer, the very first, you know, when the, the bigger one came out.

[00:32:50] Jennifer Wilson: Mm hmm.

[00:32:51] Traci Bautista: Um, but yeah, it has been just something that I, I really love, I love technology. I'm always trying to find out what the latest tools are. You know, like I, I introduced my audience to Slack back in 20, I think it was during my, my, one of my courses, um, whenever Slack first came out. And it was, I think, a little too techy and I actually got like a lot of my students to use it. And um, and you know, there's lots of things I incorporate. I love Notion, have you ever used Notion?

[00:33:23] Jennifer Wilson: I have, yes.

[00:33:25] Traci Bautista: So like, things like that. I mean, I'm definitely more of a, a techie, I guess, artist. You would say.

[00:33:31] Jennifer Wilson: I once taught a class in Trello, and it was amazing for those who, like, were able, like, who adopted to it quickly. And for those maybe who was, um, more of a challenge, they didn't get as much out of it. But it was such a, like, a fun, kind of, unique experiment to see how we can teach in other types of spaces. Um, and other ways to organize information.

[00:33:56] Traci Bautista: Oh yeah, no, totally. I love, I, I used Trello for a while, um, until when Notion came out, I switched Notion.

[00:34:03] Jennifer Wilson: Now I actually, I, I know I'd heard about you in the past. I'd seen your work, heard your name. Um, but I came across you again recently through an AI summit about using it and using all these tools for business. And so how do you see artists and other creatives using AI tools? Um, I think you were specifically talking about Canva in your presentation, but all these tools and all this possibility as supplements to their process.

[00:34:29] Traci Bautista: Oh, there's, I, I just think there's so many ways. Um, I should clarify that I've only used the, like generative text, AI. I have not used any of the, like, uh, art, the, the ones that, you know, create like imagery. I'm still.

[00:34:47] Track 1: is it Mid Journey? Is that.

[00:34:48] Traci Bautista: Yeah. Mid journey. Yeah, Mid Journey. I think there's a few others that I think actually Adobe might have in integrated into some of their products. But, um, I, so I have not done any of the image stuff. But for, for text, I am a huge proponent, um, using it as kind of my virtual assistant for a lot of marketing stuff that I do for my business. But also just in the creative process. So in my course inspiration sketchbook, I actually teach a, a framework of how I develop a body of work. And there's a lot of play, but there's also this foundation I think, that I learned when I was in design school. Where, um, I start with an idea or theme and there's like some brainstorming. I do mind mapping as part of that, some adjective work, adjective banks and stories. I write stories about the collections that I develop. And now with the use of some something like Chat GPT, I'm able to take my ideas. Kind of input them into Chat GPT and then have it, you know, have this conversation with it to help me really kind of refine some of the things that I wanna work on. Whether it is writing, you know, kind of more descriptive pieces for the story that I'm trying to tell. I've even had it, um, help me brainstorm my color palette. So I tell it like, this is the colors that I'm thinking. Can you, can you, um, you know, give me some ideas on, uh, descriptions for names and the actual color? Um, color pigment choices. Um, I've had Chat GPT also help me think more about, um, techniques. So you can input, you know, this is what I do as a mixed media artist. Um, you know, could you suggest like a couple of techniques to help me get this particular look and feel in my work. And it's amazing. Like what it'll, it'll tell you in a matter of a couple of seconds. So I really think that it's such a great tool as a, um, as a kind of assistant to you as you are building out your, your artwork. Um, your like if you're, if you're doing this for your business, any kind of marketing that you're doing. But just even in your creative process, there's a lot of things that you can actually have it give you creative prompts based on a theme. So if you're working on a, a body of work, or even if it was a, a scrapbook, um, Uh, you know, with a specific theme, you could have it write captions for you. I mean, there's so many different things and different ways that you can use it. It's been really incredible. And then I take that idea and I love creating what I call mind maps, which basically kind of help me brainstorm an idea. And so I started creating digital inspiration boards or mind maps using Canva. And then, so I take a lot of what I do kind of in my physical sketchbook, or art journal. And then, create a digital mind map inside, or a digital inspiration board inside of Canva, which has been a lot of fun. And they have, they have their own AI um, assistant, um, inside there. Right inside there where you can just click on a little button and ask it to write, you know, write, uh, if you have questions or if you have prompts. It'll, it'll also generate, um, AI text for you too. And imagery. I think they, they have some, a little, like you can go in and in there when you search for imagery in there, you can actually be really specific, you know, and there are images that come up. It's kind of hit or miss still, but it's kind of fun to play with.

[00:38:47] Jennifer Wilson: Well and I think one of the things that's been helpful to me is filling in gaps. Like I may have, okay, these are the three or four things I know I want to include, but then when you ask ChatGPT to I'm going to give you an outline. You realize, Oh, well, I forgot this fifth thing or this fourth thing that's also really important. And I want to incorporate that into it. So just like making sure that I'm thinking through all the different possibilities, the options, um, in a more kind of comprehensive way. Cause you know, we're just people it's whatever comes to mind, but no, this is when you, uh, add in you know, basically the entire internet in all knowledge prior to what? 2021? Then, um, it's pretty helpful to kind of supplementing our capacities of our brains.

[00:39:36] Traci Bautista: Yeah. No, I, I, I agree. It's been amazing. Like I, you're, I'm the same way with like, like a course that I'm developing or, you know, even like for a, a quick workshop for, for my membership. I'll put in the topic and an outline of what I'm thinking and like, and you're right. And then I'm like, okay, is there something else that I could be, you know, talking about that I'm missing? And then it does spit back like all these other ideas and you're like, oh yeah, that's actually really great. I mean, I had it help me, um, brainstorm ideas for organi, organizing my creative space in my studio, which was really helpful. And I had it do a timeline. I said, I wanna do this in two weeks. Can you give me a day by day timeline that outlines the number of hours I need to spend and what I should be considering each day? And I was just blown away. I've had it also plan a, like a, a, uh, a macro meal plan for me, macro based meal plan. So, I mean, it's just incredible. Like all the things you can do, not only for your, for your art and your business, but also for your life.

[00:40:47] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, I'm kind of thinking I want it to give me like a cleaning schedule or something.

[00:40:51] Traci Bautista: Yeah. No, you

[00:40:52] Jennifer Wilson: You know, personalized to me and my like, unique quirks. And so. Anyway, yeah, there's always so many possibilities.

[00:41:00] Traci Bautista: It would be fun to see what it, what it, uh, tells you. For sure.

[00:41:05] Jennifer Wilson: I want to go back to, um, your inspiration boards a bit. Can you talk more about the purpose and the benefits of using these, um, how they fit into the overall process and, you know, maybe some more of the why behind your inspiration sketchbook course?

[00:41:24] Traci Bautista: Yeah, so I love inspiration boards, both digital and physical. So I, I actually just, um, yesterday in, in, in my membership this month we're focusing on, um, documenting on the process. And I did a video all about one of my inspiration walls. And I just love having this visual place that I can refer to as, um, k kind of as like the seeds of an idea or jumpstarts or reminders of what I'm working on for project. So anytime I create a collection of paint or a body of work, I, I start by creating these boards. And sometimes they are mood boards like inside of Procreate. Where I take a bunch of the photos that I've taken that are based on that theme. And pull a color palette from it. And then there's sometimes when I use things like Canva and make kind of like a more in-depth digital inspiration board that has ideas for the project where I can write, you know, a little bit more lists of things. Like, I put a adjective, I like to call it adjective banks. I learn this technique when I was in college from one of my design professors When you start a project, you spend about five minutes just writing down any adjective, word, phrase, idea that's related to the theme of your project. And so I'll take that, those ideas and kind of create this, this digital inspiration board inside of Canva that has, you know, it'll have that list. It might have a color palette in there. I drag some of the photos that I've taken into it. So it's this board that just has a lot of references. Sometimes I put videos in there. Sometimes it's like creative prompts I wanna think about. So I have this like one place that I can refer to and it collects all of the information for a project. And well, it's not like I set in stone. It's this, it's a, it's a reference. It's a place that I can just keep coming back to, to kind of feed the inspiration for that particular project. And a lot of mine are based on themes and color. So there's a lot of like color swatches and color palettes inside of the, the inspiration boards. Um, sometimes it is like a technique that I've been playing around with, so I might have done some mark making or, you know, printmaking. And then I put a piece of that up onto the inspiration board. So, or wall. So I, I kind of toggle between both the physical, like actual tangible inspiration wall, like that's up in my studio. And then also a digital board. So that I can have that kind of in my pocket. And that the beauty of using something like Canva is that I can access it on my phone. I can access it on my iPad and on the desktop, and I can even print it and put it up if I wanted to. But these digital inspiration boards are just such a great way to have everything in one place that relates to your project or your theme.

[00:44:33] Jennifer Wilson: I love that. I'm curious if you've ever tried to build one in Notion and maybe, like, what were the struggles with, like, a more organized format versus, you know, a more kind of abstract, holistic, trying to connect things together visually?

[00:44:50] Traci Bautista: Yeah. Yeah, I, I've tried like, so in Notion I've done like a gallery view where you can, it's almost like a Kanban board style, kind of like Trello. Where can, you can show the, um, image, you know, but the, you can't move things around so organically like you can, like on a digital whiteboard. And so I like also having a view where I can see everything. The one thing about Notion is that things get tucked into places and I often forget where I put things. That's my own, like disorganization. But, um, I just love the fluidity of being able to kind of drag and drop and move things around and see things visually in one, like one board. Um, and with Notion there's, I feel like it's a little, um, you could do it, but it's not as, uh, I think visual. I don't know what the, what's the right way to explain it.

[00:45:59] Jennifer Wilson: No, no, I get it. I get it. I think you're, you're explaining it well. Um, now how, when you are creating an inspiration board to kind of provide this reference for a collection, a body of work, a project. How does that connect and how is that different from any kind of sketch book work that you're doing?

[00:46:21] Traci Bautista: Yeah, so the sketchbook kind of feeds into, they kind of go hand in hand. So I have what I also call an inspiration sketchbook, which has components of what's in the inspiration boards. And a lot of the sketchbook is actual physical work that I'm doing with with the materials that I'm using. And some of those things will then end up on my board later. So I may be playing inside a sketchbook and say, oh, I really love this idea. So I'll tear out that page and maybe put it up on my board. Or I take a photo of it and put it inside the digital board. And, um, so they kind of go hand in hand. The, the sketchbook is more of the place to play for me. It's my like experimental playground I always call it. And it, it's, um, I use, you know, some of the stuff that I've put up on my, or in my inspiration boards. And I use some of that as jumpstart for what I'm playing and what I'm doing inside the actual sketchbook.

[00:47:23] Jennifer Wilson: Nice. Nice. We've talked a lot already about technology, but are there any like other digital tools and devices that have changed how you imagine and iterate? Um, I love how your process kind of goes back and forth between the physical and the digital. Um, but is there anything else you'd like to add about that?

[00:47:42] Traci Bautista: Um, yeah, just being, I think also being all Mac based has been really awesome. Because then I can switch, you know, like really easily between my Mac Pro and my iPad if I need to. And even on my phone, I actually do a lot of work on my phone in Canva. Like just if I'm sitting around somewhere, if I don't have my iPad.

[00:48:08] Traci Bautista: Um, also, I actually started editing all my videos on my phone. Instead of on, I used to do everything on my desktop. And I use an app called Video Leap, which I love. And it's I don't know. I, I wanna say I think it's subscription for a year. I think I pay for the year, but it's not very expensive. And there's lots that you can do just with that app, you know?

[00:48:32] Traci Bautista: And, um, that hasn't changed the game for making video you both short form and long form video. Um, that's one of my favorite tools. And then I use the Adobe suite of products. Uh, Photoshop and Illustrator. I love being able to now work on the iPad, um, on Illustrator, especially if you do any kind of pattern design work.

[00:48:53] Traci Bautista: It's been fun to use the pattern tools, um, on the iPad. You can do a lot on the iPad between Procreate and Illustrator. And then also using Photoshop's, um, pattern preview tool has been a game changer too for doing any kind of, um, work that I do. But really, my, my first choice is Procreate. I love Procreate for doing all kinds of work that I do from just brainstorming. I'll, I'll do like written mind maps in pro in Procreate, and I love it for, for digital collage. So layering and really playing with photos. So for those, your audience is scrapbookers. There's a lot that you can do inside of Procreate where I think most people who use Procreate use it for illustrating. But I love using it to really play with my photos and to, um, you know, to take them and blend them together to create mood boards inside Procreate to create color palettes. Um, there's so much that you can do even for memory keeping inside of Procreate.

[00:49:59] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, so fun. I had never thought of it that way. I, I use it just for, you know, playtime on my iPad. Um, but yeah, I can't wait to share all the links that you've mentioned in this episode and any to additional resources. Um, I have one final question for you. you had to start from scratch tomorrow with no supplies, no body of work, no projects in motion, no lines of business, but you had all the knowledge and skill that you have today, what would you do first?

[00:50:31] Traci Bautista: Oh, that's a that's a hard and a good question. Um, could I take a trip around the world, just to, and just travel? No. Um.

[00:50:42] Jennifer Wilson: No, totally fair. Like if you need to like regather inspiration and figure out what, you know, what's your new creative direction, that's fair.

[00:50:50] Traci Bautista: Yeah, I mean that's probably one of the first things that I would do is just take a break. I mean that and, and travel somewhere. But if I could start all over again, um, gosh, I know that's such a great question. I would probably start by, I mean, obviously we have social media. But, um, you know, I think it all comes back to developing a body of work that you're passionate about and that you're passionate about sharing with other people.

[00:51:26] Traci Bautista: 'Cause the, you know, it depends on if you want, I mean, even if you want to share it with other people. But, um, I, I would probably you know, just paint and do work for myself. You know, like just to play and experiment and, um, I guess if I had to make money and make a living, then I would figure out how I could sell it.

[00:51:50] Traci Bautista: Which would probably involve, I mean like definitely building an email list and, but to get yourself out there, I would probably start either with YouTube or Instagram. I don't know, Instagram these days I actually don't use my Instagram feed as much. Um, I use Instagram Stories.

[00:52:09] Traci Bautista: But I would, I would probably just start sharing my journey on one of those platforms and, um, and, you know, if I wanted, if I needed to make a living from it, if that makes sense.

[00:52:25] Jennifer Wilson: Well, I think there's just, there's so much value in just the feedback support and just simple accountability of when I do this, I share it. And so that makes that helps us all be consistent. And, um, keep going, even when it feels hard or we feel like what we're doing totally is not good at all.

[00:52:45] Traci Bautista: Yeah, yeah. No, totally. I mean, now knowing what I know with, you know, how social media and everything works and you know, I would probably, definitely, um, use one of those platforms to help me get my, my work out there. And it does come back to consistency. Which I'm not, uh, consistent as, as far as like the way that I post and how I post. I, I do everything kind of, I'm not a planner. So I always, I was talking to one of my, um, one of my friends, uh, and she's such an amazing plant. She plans everything out and she has like everything ready to go. And I do everything kind of like, oh, I wanna post this now. And that's what I do. I, I make a video that day and then I'm like, okay, I'm gonna edit and put it up. Um, so yeah, I would probably try to maybe plan a little better too.

[00:53:40] Jennifer Wilson: Sounds good. Sounds good. Especially it's good to like, know yourself and know, okay, here's some, um, tools or, uh, strategies that I can use to better support myself, um, I'm starting over here. Traci, this has been so fun. I want to get out and do some painting today. I'm, yeah, I'm feeling very inspired. Um, can you share where we can find you online? Anything you might have new or coming up towards the end of this year?

[00:54:09] Traci Bautista: Sure. So you can find me at, uh,, and you can also find me on Instagram, um, at Traci Designs, which is T R E I C Designs, and also on YouTube at that. Those are the two main places where I share content, um, for social. And this year I, I've been working on my book, uh, inspiration, my fourth book, Inspiration Sketchbook, which has been a very long timeline.

[00:54:45] Traci Bautista: It, I, I started it, I put it down. I've taken a break and so hopefully I'll have that wrapping up soon. But, um, coming up this year, I have my paint subscription, which opens, um, usually in the end of September, October. And it's been sold out since 2017. I just launched a brand new, um, subscription for my pigment bars, which told, which sold out recently.

[00:55:14] Traci Bautista: And so I have that coming up. And the best way to find out is to go to my website and there is, um, a, uh, a wait list that you can get on for that. And then I have a course, my digital canvas course, and my Inspiration Sketchbook course, those two. Um, I'll be doing a live, a live session coming up, um, later this year, early next year. And, uh, those, those are kind of the main places that you can find me.

[00:55:49] Jennifer Wilson: Excellent. I will link all of those up in the show notes for this episode. Again, thank you for spending time with me.

[00:55:56] Traci Bautista: Thank you so much, Jennifer, for having me. This has been a lot of fun.

[00:56:00] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to scrapbook and create whatever you like your way.

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