Bonny Snowdon 00:06
Hello, I'm Bonny Snowdon, ex corporate person, a mother turned successful artist entrepreneur. It wasn't that long ago though that I lacked the confidence, vision and support network to focus on growing my dream business. Fast forward past many life curveballs, waves of self-doubt and so many lessons learned and you'll see Ignite, my thriving online colour pencil artists community, a community that changes members lives for the better and gives me freedom to live abundantly, whilst doing what I love and spending quality time with my beloved family and dogs, all whilst creating my best artwork with colored pencils, and mentoring others to do the same. But this life wasn't always how it was, for me, it used to only exist in my imagination. I've created the It's a Bonny Old life podcast to help increase people's confidence, share mine and my community's experience and hope through fascinating personal stories, champion the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community, and create another channel through which I can support others to realize their dreams. If you're a passionate colour, pencil artist, or an aspiring one, who's looking to create their best work and a joyful life you love, you're in the right place. Grab a cuppa, and a custard cream. Let's get cracking. Well, welcome to a very special episode of It's a Bonny Old Life. Today, the doors of the Academy open again, for new students and so, to celebrate, I am putting together a few lovely words from some of my students, quite a lot of lovely words, actually, which is really nice. I'm so, so blessed to have the most fantastic community surrounding me and I want to give a little shout out to some of the amazing people who have joined me. So, it's a little bit of a compilation of some testimonials that people have sent me and then there's some little clips from some Q&As that I've done over the past and, I just wanted to put out a little podcast with lots of different people in it, actually, just to sort of celebrate the fact that the Academy is open again, which I'm really, really, really excited about, because I just want to help everybody who wants to draw or wants to find some kind of peace in their life, and my members have found, as well, actually, that being a member and kind of contributing within the group and drawing and joining me in my confidence sessions and everything like that, it has made quite a big difference to what they're doing, which is just phenomenal. It's absolutely amazing. Here are a few different voices. We're starting off with the amazing, Judy, fantastic lady and fantastic artists. She's got quite a lot to say. I'd taken this out of a clip of one of my Q&As that I did a few weeks ago and Judy started off drawing at 71 and hasn't looked back, I have to say. I have one of her pieces on my wall. I was brought a beautiful, beautiful lion drawing and it's huge, massive. It's called "I Want to Be a Mighty King" and my children bought that for me for my 50th birthday and it's hanging on my wall and that's an original Judy Wysocki piece which I'm incredibly proud of. So, here's Judy with a few lovely, lovely words. There she is. Hi, Judy.
Judy Wysocki 03:24
Bonny Snowdon 03:26
Hi, how are you?
Judy Wysocki 03:29
I'm honored. I'm very honored that you thought of me today. I've been a fan of yours since almost the beginning, 2019 when you started Patreon, and I was one of your founding members. Just a little background. I talk about fear. How would anybody like to feel that they were starting something brand new, never done before at the age of 71. So, that was me. I retired and I had had an art background in 1964, where I went to two years of commercial art school and I worked in advertising, but it wasn't drawing. It was doing ads and furniture for a newspaper. So, the art I had done was when my kids were growing up and I was doing their posters for the Taffy Apple Sales for the grade schools and I use Snoopy as my drawing. So, I hadn't drawn in 35 years and I had a bucket of list when I retired and I thought, I want to get back to try in drawing. But talk about the fear. So, what I had to tell myself, it was a three-step program. I hadn't recognized what fear was. So, what is fear? Your hands, how do you feel? My hands are cold. My head was pounding. My heart was pounding and I just was scared and I had to recognize, okay, that's fear. So, you I go and I run my hands when I'm fearful under hot water. Well, your blood from your head immediately is diverted away to your hands, because they're warm. So, the fear was sort of under control. Now, this was a six-month program, this wasn't one day. So, I felt the fear. Overcome the fear. Now, I had to tell myself, you have to be courageous. So, then I bought some pencils, and I painted my art room, and I walked past it for another six months and my daughter said, so mom, I helped you paint the bedroom, when are you going to start drawing? So, then I started watching YouTube videos, and started drawing a few little things and then I found you, Bonny and I would sit there every evening, instead of watching TV, and I was sitting with a little magnifying glass, and I would study your strokes, over and over, and over and over. I would look at how to draw black fur, how to draw this and I would just watch it. Then you started Patreon and then I would listen everything. I just was so excited, so excited. I hardly sleep at night. So, I had the courage. But I still didn't have confidence. So, I just kept drawing and kept drawing and some things I like some things I didn't, sometimes I will do a great piece and sometimes I felt like I was going backward and slowly the backward pieces became less and less and then you started the Academy and, like I said, I was doing some permissions and everybody says, you need to start a business. So, I thought, yeah, I really need to start a business. So, I had got the business cards, and I was studying up and I had the profile, and I had the page on Facebook. But that wasn't me. That just was being a business person. I was now 75, which just wasn't me. I just want to have the joy, the joy of doing whatever I want to draw and that's what you told me. I said I feel bad that I'm not promoting myself as a business person and you said, but look at you, you can draw anything you ever want to draw at any time and I discovered that I could wake up in the morning and say, what's my next piece or what are my next two pieces? Then I had the confidence to finally tell myself that was the three-step program, the confidence to hang my pieces in my house. So, now I have a gallery wall with my pieces and I've given some away a lot of as gifts. Then in January, the confidence reached another level and I did the Girl In the Blue Hat tutorial and that broke through another like tsunami and I love doing portraits. I just love them. I did my three grandchildren. Immediately, someone saw it on Facebook, and said, can you draw a friend of mine, he passed away at age of 23. So, I drew him and I raised my prices for portraits because they are very intense and I got it with no problems and now I have two other portraits. People have called me and two more people want portraits and I'm in another level of myself, but it's all about me and my motto is in my art room. It's my playground and I make the rules. So, my rules are that I'm just doing it for joy. It's the Marie Kondo thing what brings you joy and following you religiously every day, your voice is part of my everyday life. So, that's kind of me.
Bonny Snowdon 09:10
Bless you. That was lovely Judy, thank you so much and you know, it's amazing, isn't it, how you something just sort of clicks, enjoying and, I mean, I know how fantastic your work is because I have one of your pieces on my wall and when you look at something on a screen and then when you see it in real life is like, oh, my goodness. This blew up because it's massive.
Judy Wysocki 09:34
Actually, selling a piece to the famous Bonny Snowdon, was definitely a confidence feather in my cap, let me tell you that.
Bonny Snowdon 09:44
But you know, just when it clicks, and when you realize that the portraits, that was kind of your thing, I think is wonderful because the other thing as well is if you don't try something new, if you don't sort of step out of your comfort zone every now and again the Girl in the Blue Hat is quite a tricky tutorial and a lot of people would sort of like me, myself, as well, I draw animals. So, I was thinking, well, gosh I'm going to draw human or a blind man. Actually, I loved every minute of it. I really, really did and it's stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something different and it just means that you learn new things and you found your absolute joy.
Judy Wysocki 10:26
Yeah, it is joy. It's all about waking up in the morning and feeling peace and joy. I mean, all of us have stories to tell and the last 22 years, which a lot of us have been a challenging time for me. I just feel like I'm in a spot right now where somebody up there or on my shoulder has said, you deserve the peace and joy in your life. So, I'm having a ball. I'm having a ball and I have my old kitchen table from 1946. It was our kitchen table when we were growing up as kids and I have just a simple easel. I am one of the rare weirdos that I have five full sets of pencils and three papers, period. I'm not a hoarder for art supplies. It's just, I found my joy and those are the three papers are my joy pastel made, Durant light fest and the drafting film and my five different pencils, and full sets. I recommend if you can do it, do the full sets and it's less frustrating every time you want to do a piece from a tutorial, you can just grab them. Not everybody can do that. I had been able to sell a few pieces. I use that money, always for the art supplies and then I told my kids don't buy me anything in the house anymore. I don't need any more clutter. Give me a Publix gift card. So, they know and my girlfriends too that I get the Publix gift cards and I just read put in a huge order that will last me for the year of pastel matte and graphics film and some replenish my pencils. That's kind of about it. I just keep it simple. Keep it simple and it's all about putting the pencil to the paper. It's not about all the stuff.
Bonny Snowdon 12:29
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, Judy, for joining me.
Judy Wysocki 12:34
Bonny Snowdon 12:34
Honestly, I just love chatting to you.
Judy Wysocki 12:38
Thank you. You're joy to me. You're the biggest joy in my life right now in my hope. I love my children but I don't see them. I see you more than anybody in my life.
Bonny Snowdon 12:50
Bless you. Then my next guest is Karen. So, Karen, joined me in one of my Q&A sessions, which was all about confidence and the reason she joined me was because when she first started within the Academy, she came on to all of the Zoom calls and everything but was too scared really to put her video on and that's absolutely fine. You can sit and listen and everything. But what's been absolutely amazing about Karen is so, she didn't have a video on and then she started putting a video on and then she started putting her microphone on and then she started asking questions, and then she started contributing and you can hear from the little clip that I'm going to be sharing now how much our confidence has actually grown. She's the most fantastic artist, and she contributes so much to the sessions that I run and it's just wonderful to see somebody who was really not confident enough to show their face on a zoom call to now talking in front of hundreds of people, which is just absolutely amazing. So, you're going to hear from the lovely Karen now
Now, when I'm doing a drawing, I look at it and I just think yes, that's what I done. Now the other one's going to be the same. Before I used to be that worried about that sort of the eyes were going to be so different, it would look cartoony and that, but I never really felt my drawings, although I've always had something going on art-wise, from cake decoration to water colour painting, doing some acrylic painting, and various other things. But there was never anything that sort of felt odd that I'm good at doing this or I'm any good at it. It was just, it was okay, and all these. Now I feel so proud of the work that I do and it's made a difference. I'm actually going out and talking to people, even if it's someone in the tail in the supermarket, we're having a conversation and it's just so different. It's fabulous. I think on one of the episodes, I was saying about blood pressure and all and I'm not even taking any blood pressure tablets or anything. I'm just calm and relaxed. No antacid tablets or anything and it's just gone on and I thought, well, let's carry on and I've sorted Thomas on, yes, he will. So, that's it. But when I look back at that video, and that I think is a good part about the Academy is that if you can't attend a particular session, you can catch up with it and you can see it at a later date. Whatever is going on in your life, whether you're at work full time, I mean, I'm a carer, we're coping, and if I miss a session, I know I can see it in a couple of days’ time because it'll be there for me and so you don't waste any of the time and any anything. It's really good. You fitted it into your world, and that's fantastic.
Bonny Snowdon 16:12
So next we're going to hear from, I think, probably the world's kindest person, always there with a friendly word for somebody, always there to cheer others on and pick them up and is the most incredible artist, she really, really is just amazing, and hides her lighter under the biggest bushel going. But such a pleasure to have this lady within my community, the fabulous Charisse.
So, this is just a super short video to tell you one of the reasons of the many of why I love the Academy so much, and guess what, it's not coloring pencils. They are incredible and I love the tuition like Bonny gives the most fantastic phenomenal tuition that you could ever hope to dream of. Honestly, it's so helpful and the community are wonderful. I have so many brothers and sisters in my little colouring, pencil family and it's just lovely. Everybody is so supportive, and so encouraging, and so helpful with all their tips as well.
Bonny Snowdon 17:16
So, the next clip coming up is from Linda. This lady not only is an incredible artist, I mean, she really is just fantastic. But she is the kindest lady sending me emails with some suggestions about my knee, when I did my knee and a couple of weeks ago, and given me some help around that and just being just so, so supportive and kind not only to me, but to the rest of the community as well and it's people like Linda who make my community, the community that surrounds me, so amazingly special.
Bonny gives helpful advice with regards to setting up my business, from setting goals, navigating social media, website development, pricing, finding my audience and my confidence, and the wealth of information in her video hub that is searchable by topic, and I've barely scratched the surface.
Bonny Snowdon 18:18
Then we have a little note from Meredith here as well, lovely down to earth, has really, really found her passion with her pencils, which I can't tell you how fabulous it is when somebody finds something that just kind of fills, whether it's a void in their life, or a little tiny knock in their life, something that is going to give you just that little bit of something to take your mind away from everything that's going on in the world and give you a little bit of peace. So, lovely Meredith and her super words.
She walks you through each step, and she has this uncanny ability to know when you need a bit of a boost. It looks like a hot mess, but she says trust the process. So, you do and you end up with something you never thought you could draw. Time passes so fast when I do this. One thing that taught me the most is I had to slow down. It became an exercising mindfulness. You can't rush this. There are layers upon layers upon layers, and it's become my refuge and it's just me, Bonny and the scratchy sound of pencils on paper that I become addicted to.
Bonny Snowdon 19:30
So, Jane is one of my members as well and she uses the tutorials in a slightly different way in that she doesn't actually do the tutorials. She doesn't work through them, but she listens to them and I think quite a few people work in this way not necessarily drawing the tutorials but working on their own pieces and listening to my voice and my hints and tips and everything whilst they're drawing and it seems like for some people this works incredibly well. So, even if you don't have time to sit down and do some of the bigger pieces, you can still have that commentary in the background. My tutorials aren't just put this bit of colour here and put this bit of colour. I am a coach by trade. So, I'll talk about all of the things that can kind of stop you in your tracks when you're drawing or what you need to kind of look out for and when you're starting it's going to be a case of, this is looking absolutely awful, oh, my goodness, it's going to go in the bin, and I talk you through all of the feelings and the emotions that you're going to end up feeling when you start drawing and it just gives you, I think, a little bit of peace of mind knowing that everybody else is going through exactly the same thing and I talk about my dogs, I talk about my family and my crazy life and all of the stuff that happens and particularly, if I'm drawing something that's, I guess the same thing like a big ginger horse's neck. I'm not going to go, put a bit of ginger in this and a bit of ginger in that it's all about and that is then when I start to kind of talk about different stories, or I might talk about social media bits and pieces, or pricing or anything that is going to help you with your business if you have a business or with your confidence and all of that type of thing. So, it's not just about the drawing when you join me, you're joining my big, crazy, happy family.
I'm not somebody that does a lot of the online tutorials. I'm quite happy doing my own work. I've been kept busy with commissions for 18 months now. But whilst I'm drawing my Commission's, I listen to the tutorials. Some I've listened to several times, it's lovely to have the conversation in the background, I get reminded of things, it makes me think of things and I learn things as I go along. So, that's how I use it. I dip in and out and that's what I love about the Academy.
Bonny Snowdon 21:58
So, next up, we have Claire from Canada. Claire is just like an angel, really, gentle, and serene, and kind and supportive and she joins me in the majority of my live sessions. She always has something to contribute, her work is just lovely and she's just the most lovely lady, I think I can say this about everybody, really, everybody's just so lovely and it makes life and I'm going to say it makes my work much easier. But what I do isn't work at all. I don't class it as work at all, because I love it so much. But it makes everything just so pleasurable to have people like Claire, in my community.
I've been learning so much since I've met her and I'm really looking forward to every month new tutorial and the academies very well structure where we have art clubs every week, we have sketch club, we have business drop-ins, confidence sessions, there's all kinds of activities, you have retreats with her in person that you can attend, and I can't wait for it to come to Canada. It's just amazing and the people in our group, whether it's the Facebook group, or the Academy, Ignite group, they're just wonderful artists and I was wondering what they were doing there. We all keep learning, and we keep getting better.
Bonny Snowdon 23:38
So, Jackie touches on the value that she finds in the Academy and I think when we talk about value, it's not necessarily what you get for your money, although, personally, I'm biased anyway. But I do think you get an awful lot for your money. When I came to create the Academy, and we spent months and months and months talking about what it was going to be transformational really, for people who were going to join me. It wasn't just right, let's just cobble this all together and off we go. There was a huge amount of thought process that went on the beginning of last year to put it all together because I wanted a really, really great experience for people and it's evolving and I take on board any feedback and I try to make it better and better and better. But what you get within the Academy is a huge amount. Sometimes, I think, I don't know, maybe it's a little bit overwhelming sometimes the mount that you can get but you don't have to do it all. But I have my foundation's course my coloured pencil foundations course which is my signature course. It's 40 hours of learning, which is included within the Academy over sort of seven modules and I talk about all of the real basic side of things to drawing. So, we talk about colour theory, and we talk about values but with my teaching, I am not a technical person and if I sit down and somebody tries to teach me something that's really technical, and gives me all of these different facts and figures and everything about stuff, I just switch off. So, these modules are sort of quite short, there to the point I give visual aids in them so that you're working with visuals, and you can kind of see what I'm talking about and I have exclusive tutorials within the foundation's course, that show you and give you a really, really great insight into using different surfaces and how you can use your pencils, and techniques and everything within those surfaces and then, of course, I have all of my live events, which actually, I think are the real heart of the Academy when all of the community gets together, and I have something like, I can have a couple of 100 people on a Zoom call, which is amazing, absolutely amazing, the turnout that I get is just fantastic and we have art club every Tuesday where we all draw together, we have sketch club and skills club and some of the things that we've done this skills club, just recently. I did a whole session on pastel matte. So, I took you through kind of all of the colors, how to kind of get the best out of pastel matte. By the time this podcast goes out, I will have done the same thing for drafting film. I've also done a skills club around self-critique and then we have our confidence sessions, which are absolutely incredible. I mean, they just blow me away every single time. This month, we're talking about personality, self-awareness, and knowing yourself. Because if you want to make changes, you can't do that, unless you actually know who you are. We have my business dropping every month, starting from the very beginning, and being really specific about what we talk about each month, so that by the time people join the Academy, actually, you'll have got like four months’ worth of the business droppings to go through, which are full of information that I've picked up, whilst I've been running my business for the last five years and it's not just the sort of oh, you've got to do this, and oh, you've got to do that. There's a lot of in depth understanding about your audience your values, and the values that I actually have within the Academy are so, so important that empathy, that belonging, that making sure that everybody is part of the community, and nobody's left out. Really, really important to me. So, here's Jackie,
It's brilliant value for money. It really is. I've been members of other Patreons in the past and what you get in the Academy. Like I said before, it's about so much more than just the drawing. Bonny is very, very giving of her time and if you do join the Academy, it's something that you definitely won't regret. We're a really lovely community very friendly. We're all like-minded artists with the same shared values and I really hope to see you in the Academy soon.
Bonny Snowdon 28:18
So, my last guest is Suzanne, and she touches on something that actually I haven't mentioned yet, which are the critiques that I create each month and this started out as something that I wanted to try and do as many as I could. But of course, having a group that's over 1,000, well, quite a lot over 1,000. Well, you can't do everybody. It's impossible. So, I have limited it now to 25 a week, which works out to 100 a month, which seems like a huge amount and it is a huge amount. But Thursdays, when I create all of the critiques is one of my most favorite times. I get to see what people are doing. I get to big up people; I get to talk about the amazing things that they're doing within their drawing. I get to pinpoint all of the fabulous colours that they're using and the techniques that they're using and the far rendering that they're doing and, you know how they've picked the most fantastic composition or put two pieces together and it's what I really, really, really so passionate about, is seeing how people develop and when I see people I'll critique something one month and then maybe I don't get another critique from them for maybe another month to six weeks and I see the difference between one critique and the next. Honestly, it's mind blowing sometimes, absolutely mind blowing and the fact that people are so brave to send their work in critique and getting feedback is scary. I remember when I had my first proper critique, and it was really scary and you kind of sit there with bated breath waiting for the results to come back and you're thinking but it's one of them, the best things you can do to develop as an artist getting somebody that you trust, and that you aspire to critique your work, and to give you a really good plan of action to go forward, and develop your own work and move up those steps. It's a really powerful exercise and this is something that I offer exclusively to my Ignite members, my academy. Each week, I offer 25 critiques, it's through a bookings service and the reason I've done it through that is because I can't say no. So, if everybody emails me their critiques, I can't choose which people are going to have a critique, and which people just, I just do them all and then all of my time would be spent doing critiques. So, we're now using my website, and we have a booking system and the email goes out every Monday. But what I've done is I've staggered it over time zones. So, one week, it goes out at 9am. The next week, it goes out at 11pm. The next week, it goes out at 3am and the following week, it goes out at 4pm and then it goes back to 9am and it means that I cover the time zones for the US and Canada, it means I cover the time zones for Australia, and it means that everybody has got a chance then to be able to get their work critiqued and of course if people send me a message, whether they're a member or not, if you send me a message and you say, can you just give me a bit of a handle with this, I always, always, always help. I'm hoping I don't get a massive influx but I'm hoping I do. I like to help people. But I just love to help and I'm never not going to help anybody. So, the critiques are a big, big part and Suzanne very kindly talks about that in her little message.
Bonny, offers advice freely, she has business advice, she does critiques, some of which I am just in amazement of because they give you encouragement, she let you know what you're doing right and what looks amazing and then she adds in those tips that you can take that picture to the next level. Joining Academy was the best thing I ever did and I'm in it for a year now. I will hate to see that year end. But I have learned so much from Bonny and having her on the screen and listening to her instructions as I work along is just so inspiring. It's like having her right in my living room with me.
Bonny Snowdon 33:03
So, honestly, I feel so, so blessed to have such fabulous people within my community and it's the community I think that makes the Academy that lovely, joyous happy group of like-minded people who all share our values, and we're all happy to help, who we're all happy to support to share their work and are all on the same mission really and that is just to create a really blessed and peaceful life, whether it's as a hobby artist, or whether they're actually wanting to create a business from what they're doing and brushing shoulders with some of these people meeting people from all over the world, and they have just the most fantastic stories to tell, they're so generous with their support and their kindness. The Academy has been going for what, six months, seven months, it is far, far, far surpassed anything I thought it was going to be and, for me, that is down to the community. Finding your tribe of people, finding those people who you feel really comfortable with, and you feel happy to share your highs and your lows with I think is so important. So, I've really enjoyed this little session and I do hope you come and join me in the Academy. If you don't come and join me in the Academy, I hope that you pick your pencils up and you start to draw and maybe you use some of my free sessions. Maybe you go and follow another artist or something like that. But the important thing is the creativity the actual doing of something creative, which is going to steal your mind, is going to be able to help you get away from the everyday strains and stresses of life and family and jobs and all of that kind of stuff and find something that's just peaceful and keeps you calm and gets you into a space even if it's just for five minutes where you can just be happy and be you. So, thank you all ever so much for listening, and I do hope you'll come and join me. I really hope you enjoyed listening to this episode of my It's a Bonny Old Life podcast. If you did, I'd be so grateful to you for emailing me or texting a link to the show, or sharing it on social media with those you know who might like it too. My mission with this podcast is all about sharing mine and my communities experience and hope by telling your fascinating personal stories, championing the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community and to create another channel through which I can support you to realize your coloured pencil and life dreams. If you haven't done so yet, please help me on my mission to spread positivity and joy throughout the coloured pencil world by following me on my socials at Bonny Snowdon Academy or by getting on my list at bonnysnowdonacademy.com, and remember, I truly believe if I can live the life of my dreams doing what I love, then you can too. We just need to keep championing and supporting each other along the way in order to make it happen. Till next time