why i super duper loved alt summit 2012 but i'm not going back in 2013

tammie bennett art girl in yellow hoodieif you aren't familiar with alt summit, it's a design and blogging conference. it's held in salt lake city, they added a NYC version in august 2012, and they have great online classesas well. i attended ALT in SLC in 2012 and had a great time. but after quite a bit of thought and deliberation, i'm not going back in 2013. here's why ::

money :: it costs a lot by the time you add up ALT tickets, plane fare, hotel, transportation, food, and a little shopping. not to mention the new fun outfits i'd buy if i were attending. i just bought an imac and am in the midst of getting a bright shiny new website and online shop. both of those put a pretty big hole in my pocket.

building me before i build a network :: when i attended alt last year, it was only 2 months after i had made my choice to be an artist/designer. a self-taught artist. i am a very confident person in most areas of my life, but when i am learning something new it takes a while for me to gain confidence. so here i was at this conference full of amazing people who have been doing amazing things on the internet for years. and i had just decided what i wanted to do – i was a newborn. out of my league. conferences like this are hard even when you have iron-clad confidence because they are basically who's who conventions and everyone there is impressive and maybe a little bit intimidating. so i found that i didn't take advantage of meeting as many people as i could have because i wasn't very confident in my abilities as an artist, designer or blogger.  (i've been blogging off and on since 2007, but have never managed to make it stick and really find my blogging voice).

time after time i saw people introduce themselves to a group and everyone's faces light up with recognition..."oh, my gosh, i LOVE your blog!" instead of just being proud of my newbie status and using the opportunity to meet really cool people, i was hesitant and not quite myself. i got stuck feeling like "it's such a short time at this conference and people want to use this time to network and make connections with people that could help them in some way, so why would i waste their time when i don't have much to offer". gosh, it sounds so pathetic and sad-sackish to type it out, but i'm being very real here. i'm going to use 2013 to build up my body of work, to build a blog audience, to build my confidence.

schedule :: i have a lot of plans for myself for the next 2 years and i'll have to limit the number of trips i take. i really want to go to quilt market to meet with manufacturers. i want to show at surtex. i'd love to attend (or host!) an art retreat.  there are a few workshops in the bay area i'd love to attend.  i also plan on traveling to portland each year to watch the team my husband coaches run at the national championships (they won last year!).  that's a lot of trips.  which means a lot of money and a lot of time away from my kiddos.  i have to pick and choose.

overwhelm :: ALT gave so much information and i learned so much. i also got totally overwhelmed with the things i could and should be doing. i still have a list of things to do for my business and art and blog that i haven't touched yet and i don't want to add to it right now. i want to start checking things off.

i do think ALT is totally worth the investment if you are ready to learn a ton, have a great time, meet new people and network like crazy.  if you attend, let me know all about it!

alt summit & me

self portrait ready for my alt recap? it was totally overwhelming and exhilarating and exhausting and inspiring, so i'm going to give you my greatest takeaways and  i'm doin'  it list-style.

  • ben silbermann - founder of pinterest - is amazing. a great speaker, an amazing visionary, and creator of his own great story.
  • i was surprised at how easy it was for me to feel overwhelmed, intimidated and shy being surrounded by all the lovely people with amazing blogs. but once i just opened my mouth and started talking i made a lot of good connections and friendships.
  • on the other hand, i was surprised at how many bloggers i felt an immediate connection with.
  • gretchen rubin - author of the happiness project - is totally inspiring and i wish i was in her YA book club.
  • one theme i kept hearing from multiple speakers was "do not be afraid to fail!" i need to remind myself of that. lots of times.  it's all okay.
  • i talked to so many bloggers and illustrators in more advanced stages of their careers and they were so friendly, encouraging and helpful {thinking of you, jenean morrison, shayna kulik and monica lee and a few others}
  • the organizers of alt are amazing, amazing people and SO much work went into the event, and i am so grateful for them and the sponsors for making the event happen for all of us.
  • the cargoh crew worked their fannies off wrapping our gorgeous gifts - {thank you carriann} - and thank you fifi du vie for my awesome print {that i've been coveting online!} and greeting cards!
  • it was so fun to dress up for the parties and obviously photobooths are always fun!
  • a lot of blogging and licensing artwork really comes down to trial and error. always be up for trying new things and if it doesn't work....try something different. no biggie
  • i now have tons of resources, ideas, bloggy friends and tips to help me on this journey.
  • i've got even more fire in my belly to get this blog and my surface design career rolling.
  • natalie is super cute and funny, and if i'd gotten a chance to talk to her in person after the panel, we would totally be best friends...i'm sure of it.
  • i snuck in a 4 mile run every day that i was there and it kept me sane and helped me take it all in.
  • anya is a gorgeous human. for real.
  • i'm totally inviting maggie mason to dinner. and if she says no, then i'll just happen to be eating at the same restaurant she is. right at the next table. and i'll pretend like we're eating together.
  • exchanging business cards is so fun!
  • "your creative projects do not have to start on january 1st" ~ lisa congdon. i'm so busted.
  • "be prolific - create tons of designs" ~ marisa. this really spoke to me because prolific is my word of the year.
  • people like to watch a story and watch you go through your challenges
  • when you have a "gasp!" moment - get it out there. you don't make it perfect first.
  • create good, original content. hear it a lot. and it's true every time.
  • collaborate with people who have the same aesthetic {anyone reading want to collaborate? i have some ideas - email me or tweet me from contact tab}
  • "people succeed because they just don't stop" - ben
  • "improving your energy level, outer order and physical body can help you be happier" ~ gretchen
  • the days are long but the years are short- perfect description of motherhood from gretchen
  • this book came highly recommended. just ordered it.

i have a couple lessons for next year (and yes, there will be a next year. i won't miss alt 2013) :: - i won't waste half a day waiting to introduce myself to people. i'll sign up earlier so i can stay at the grand america and make it to the dinner with on wednesday. i'll explore the city more. i won't be afraid to approach the "famous" bloggers. i'll bring a phone charger to the sessions. i'll learn how to properly apply eyeliner.

>>remember one of my goals for 2012 is to take and post a self portrait on this blog each month? that photo above is me in january  2012<<

hand drawn business cards

as you may know, i decided to hand draw all of my business cards for alt. here are a few more that i've done. i think at this point i have only actually done about 65. they have been taking a lot longer than i originally thought, but it has been so fun!hand drawn business cards i have a couple "themes" going on. i have lots of faces, some graphic (arrows, triangles, geometrics), some typographic, and some nature ones. i have used watercolor on a few as well. more hand drawn business cards

{sorry for the blurriness - my hands are obviously shaking with anticipation of my trip!}

i wish i had taken a picture of the reverse side. they are stamped with my name, website and email using this awesome rubber stamp made by paper pastries on etsy.

i can't wait to hand them out... and i super can't wait to collect lots of cool cards from my fellow alt attendees. if you're going, please find me and say hi!

<><> i think i'll be taking a break from the blog until monday the 23rd.  i had big plans to do a bunch of posts ahead of time, but you know how that goes. i may try to post from my trip to alt, but i always seem to have bad luck getting internet in hotels. if i don't pop in here before monday, have a happy weekend! <><>