Monthly Archives: October 2016

Tools & Resources to Grow Your Creative Business


I know many of you’re an artist/maker yourself and trying to grow your creative business.

I appreciate it when I learn new resources and tools to grow my business, so I wanted to share some of the resources I’ve found helpful.

This is kind of a random list, but I hope you find some of these helpful 😀

If you’re considering wholesaling your arts/crafts to retail shops:

  • Megan Auman’s “How to Sell Your Products to Retailers” online class on CreativeLive  an artist friend of mine recommended this class to me, and WOW was she right. This is solid gold and worth every single penny. It’s quite extensive and detailed and packed with actionable steps to make your wholesale business successful. At the time I’m writing this blog post, I’ve probably only watched 50% of the contents (it’s very long), but I’ve already made a return on my investment by implementing one thing I learned in the class. You need to watch this if you’re curious about wholesale!
  • Etsy Wholesale – As a small creative business owner, I rely so much on Etsy to sell my products online. I know it’s not perfect (my biggest pet-peeves being you have to compete with so many people who sell similar products at a really low price.) and I’d like to have my own online shop someday, but for now it’s working. Etsy also offers a platform to wholesale to retailers, which I’m considering applying for. I also learned a lot about wholesale policies and pricing from just reading their Wholesale Guide.

If you’re struggling with copy-writing:

  •  Laura Belgray’s website, Talking Shrimp – I first discovered Laura on a webinar she did on copy-writing. She’s so hilarious and her materials offer lots of real-life stories and examples that will make you cry with laughter. When you sign up for her newsletter on her homepage, you’ll get a free cheatsheet for writing your tagline. I look forward to her newsletter, too, because it always makes me laugh 😀 and I need laughter in my life more often!

If you get distracted by too many blog articles and online resources when you should be getting other work done:

  • Pocket app – Pocket is awesome for saving articles and online classes to watch later. I often get sucked into the interweb’s rabbit hole when I’m supposed to be getting my other work done.It usually starts out when I’m checking my email in the morning.I’d open one newsletter from a creative business blogger I like and starts reading the post. And I find a link to another article that sounds intriguing like “5 signs you need to redesign your website immediately!” I click on that and start reading another article…and another… Before you know it, you’re overwhelmed with more marketing strategies to implement and worksheets to fill out… Wait, what was I supposed to do today? 😀
    With one click of a button, you can save the articles and webpages on your Pocket app! I usually try to set aside a couple of hours a week to read and learn new things, and having everything in one place is really helpful. I can pick and choose what I want to learn depending on what mood I’m in and how much time I can spend.

If you use Instagram for reaching your audience and want to up your game: 

  • Meighan O’Toole’s blog – Meighan is an online creative business strategist and offers lots of free and paid resources for creative business owners. She doesn’t just talk about Instagram, but I read this blog article “9 Tips to Create a Cohesive, Branded Instagram Feed” and learned a bunch!
  • Link In Profile – It lets you add links to your Instagram images and send your followers to where you want them to go. I’ve just ended my 30-day free trial, but it’s seriously saving me time and I enjoy not stressing about updating the clickable links on my Instagram profile every day! I just signed up for a personal plan (it’s $9.99 per month after the trial period.) It’s a little difficult to explain in writing how it works – you can view my Instagram profile to try it out yourself 🙂
  • Alex Tooby‘s free Instagram tips & e-course – Alex offers free and paid services to increase your engagement and profits on Instagram. Her free offerings include Must-Know Insta Tips eBook, 7 Day e-Course, and IG Supremacy Checklist. I took her 7 Day e-Course and learned a few new tricks on using hashtags!
  • Later‘s blog – Later is an app/service that lets you schedule and manage your Instagram posts. OK, full disclosure, I’ve had Later account for a long time but haven’t used it as a scheduling tool (yet). BUT I learn so much from their blog posts! Just this morning, I got this post 9 New Instagram Features You Probably Missed in my email inbox. Totally useful information for someone who uses Instagram for their business (like me!) The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags was also pretty awesome and I recommend it to my friends all the time!

Ok, that’s it for today! Do you use any of these? What other tools, articles, classes do you find helpful? Please share in the comment below!

Thank you ❤

p.s. I’m gonna be on my sabbatical week off this coming week! My good friend is visiting me from Japan, and I’m super excited to hang out with her 🙂 You’ll probably see a couple of blog posts from me, though, about my winter holiday collection release (yay!) but won’t see my regular post until the following Sunday, November 13th. Just FYI!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot


Have you gotten my new digital wallpapers yet?

Did you know that I have an e-newsletter you can sign up to get my news and updates?

{If you’re already on my list – THANK YOU! I appreciate you :)}

If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, you might wonder – why do you need to be on the email list if you already follow me here and on other social media platforms?

Well, I follow many people on multiple social media platforms, but I don’t always see what they post.

Let’s face it, social media decides what they want you to see, not necessarily the other way around! It’s so annoying 😦

I like getting emails from people I admire because it’s a sure way to learn what new products they offer, get inspirations, and just to find out what they’re up to in general. I don’t need to wonder what might be coming up or go to their social media feed to find out what I may have missed – I simply don’t have the time for that!

I love the convenience of getting important stuff delivered right in my inbox. Even if I don’t read every email in full detail (yes, I often skim!), I’m less likely to miss something that would benefit me.

If you didn’t know or haven’t signed up, yet – I create digital wallpapers for your smartphone and desktop and offer it exclusively to the friends on my e-list!

For example, I recently sent my new wallpaper, “Watercolor Circle Flowers” in red, purple, and blue, to my email subscribers:

I created a repeat pattern that’s fun and organic. The motifs are from one of my new drawings for the 2017 calendar!


watercolor circle flower red, purple, blue on smartphone screen
It works on your smartphone ❤
And your desktop!

If you’re a subscriber, you should’ve gotten it in your inbox earlier this month (if not, just let me know at yuko (at) honeyberrystudios (dot) com, and I’ll re-send!)

For new subscribers, you’ll get them instantly delivered to your inbox once you follow this link to sign up! I promise it’s quick and painless 😀

Thanks friend! I hope you enjoy the new look on your devices 🙂 I certainly feel calm and relaxed when I see mine ❤

p.s. My email subscribers will be the first ones to hear about the new winter holiday collection release – if you don’t want to miss it, be sure to sign up today 🙂

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot


Creative Process: Mindfulness Calendar Illustrations

I showed you a sneak preview of my 2017 Mindfulness & Gratitude wall calendar a couple of weeks ago in this post.

Let me take you on a behind-the-scenes tour and show you my creative process today.

I started creating illustrations about mindfulness and gratitude after I came back from the 10-day silent meditation retreat earlier this summer. It was deeply healing and I wanted to make art about it as a reminder of that experience. (You can read about my reflections here.)

May all beings be happy, peaceful, and liberated.
live like you have everything you need meditation watercolor drawing
Live like you have everything you need.

Once I started to make a few of these drawings, I thought, why not create more and make a calendar that encourages people to live mindfully every day? 

What does “living mindfully” mean to me? It means that I can hit a pause button in my mind when I’m in a stressful situation and think “oh, this situation is stressful.” I remind myself that whatever is going on is only temporary, and I bring my focus back on my breathing. It helps me stay calm and respond to a situation more thoughtfully rather than reacting.

Of course, I’m a regular human being and not a Tibetan monk :D, so I still react to situations.

I get mad when someone cuts me off in the traffic (without the turning signal on even!!). I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night worrying about how my business isn’t where it should be and can’t get back to sleep. I get so jealous when my husband devours slices of super cheesy, gluten-and-carb-filled pizza or a big piece of custardy Bosc pear tart with a scoop (or two) vanilla ice cream and does not gain an ounce.

Believe me, I’m not above it all!

But I try. Every day is a new beginning and you can only try, right?

For the calendar, I created 12 new drawings with watercolor, gouache, and pen on paper.

Many of the drawings are inspired by nature and seasons. I also incorporated some everyday objects like these tea cups and pots:


I also hand-wrote positive messages for each calendar page to encourage mindful living.

I gathered these simple quotes and sayings from the instructions of the meditation practice or advices my wise friends gave me in the past. I also included some of the things I tell myself when I’m feeling off-centered.

It’s OK if the only thing you did today was breathe.
There is enough for everyone. I worked on this illustration on my parents’ dining table while I was in Hokkaido, Japan.
You can always start again.

Then I scan my hand drawn art in to Photoshop to edit and design the layout for the calendar pages.

Working away on a tiny table at an airbnb we stayed at :D
Working away on a tiny dining table at an airbnb we stayed at 😀

Here is a couple more sample pages for you 🙂

It's OK if the only thing you did today was breathe.
It’s OK if the only thing you did today was breathe.
You can always start again.
You can always start again.
Be gentle with yourself.
Be gentle with yourself.

Do you know someone who can use a little positivity boost? This calendar makes a great gift for the holidays, and it will be available on my Etsy shop early November!

Be happy,

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

Watercolor food drawing tutorials!

I recently made several drawing tutorials for Sakura of America, and my watercolor food drawing tutorial series are now available on their YouTube channel!

1. Let’s Draw Vegetables!

2. Let’s Draw Berries!

3. What’s on Your Plate?

I hope you check them out and let me know how you like it!

If you share your work on Instagram, please tag me @honeyberrystudios so I can enjoy your beautiful work!

Do tell me in the comment below what tutorials you’d like me to work on next! I’m always looking for ideas 🙂

Thanks friend! xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

Sneak preview! 2017 mindfulness & gratitude wall calendar!

Confession time: I’ve been a bit out of sorts the past few months.

On top of the usual summer busy-ness, I traveled to North Carolina in August, dealt with an illness and the loss of our beloved kitty, Sheppie, and took a trip to Japan in September.

And just as I thought I could finally sit down to focus, we had another pet emergency with our parakeet, Gerty, over the last weekend (she seems to be recovering ok), so I had to hit the pause button again.

As much as I want to believe I could do everything like my life is normal, my work had to take a backseat through these planned and unplanned events.

Life happens. And I’m trying to remind myself that things have always worked out in the past, and this will also pass.

With that being said, I’m slowing making a progress on my winter holiday products and am very happy to see how they’re coming together!

Here is a sneak preview of my 2017 Mindfulness & Gratitude Wall Calendar:

I'd rather be here and now watercolor illustration calendar
I’d rather be here and now.
may all beings be happy, peaceful, and liberated watercolor art calendar
May all beings be happy, peaceful, and liberated.
Live like you have everything you need watercolor art calendar
Live like you have everything you need.

In addition to the wall calendar, I’ll be releasing new art prints, notebooks, and holiday greeting cards in early November. 

I’ll keep you posted on when these will be available on my Etsy shop! Stay tuned 🙂

Thank you, friend! Have a wonderful day 🙂

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot


You’re making a difference even if you’re not making money.


{First of all – THANK YOU for responding to my “What do you enjoy reading about the most on my blog?” survey! I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know how you feel. If you missed it, you can still share your thoughts with me here :)}

I recently posted this video on Instagram and it resonated with a lot of people.

You are making a difference even if you are not making $

I often get anxious when I’m doing things that are not actively paying the bills, like gardening, making food from scratch, and taking my mini sabbaticals every 7 weeks.

I could decide to let them go so I can spend more time on growing my creative business (and I almost did give up on gardening a couple of years ago). We only have 24 hours a day, and if we wanted to create time for something important, you just need to say no to other things.

But really, I often get my creative inspirations from doing things like gardening and cooking healthy meals from scratch.

Gardening gets me in touch with the seasons and nature. It also gets me outside of our house regularly. I’m a homebody and would stay home for as long as I care to admit if I let myself 😀

I also feel empowered knowing that we’re able to meet at least a tiny portion of our basic needs ourselves.

Eat a Rainbow Colorful Summer Vegetable Illustration by Honeyberry Studios
Eat a Rainbow, watercolors & pen on paper.

Making food from scratch might take longer and could actually be more expensive than buying prepared or processed food, but it also helps me feel good in my body and mind.

Cooking is a very hands-on creative activity with an immediate reward (well, most of the time anyway) and gives me a break from a lot of thinking and computer work, too.

This beet walnut hummus recipe is not only tasty and healthy, it's beautiful!
This beet walnut hummus recipe is not only tasty and healthy, but it’s beautiful!

I also feel annoyed by other household chores, like cleaning and grocery shopping, but if they don’t happen, my working environment wouldn’t feel as good and productive.

Yes, as a creative business owner, I need to be making money and maintain a strong focus to achieve that goal.

I constantly think about how to create a life where I still enjoy the craft and have a sustainable business doing what I love. I need my life to be meaningful and joyful so I can continue creating work that brings others joy ❤

These other things, though they don’t seem to be directly helping me bring in the big paycheck, are part of what keeps my creative reservoir filled. And it’s my professional obligation as a working artist to do so.

If you ever felt guilty for taking the time out of your day to attend to “other” needs, think of how those activities are helping you to stay well-rounded so you can focus on your goals.

Remember, your creations have values. It makes people happy and feel warm and fuzzy. It makes them laugh out loud. It makes them think or cry. People are moved by what you create. It’s truly magical!

Keep putting yourself out there even if you don’t feel it’s making a difference today. Believe me, you’re making a difference by doing what you do!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot