black lives matter, mindful policing

black lives matter, penelope dullaghan illustration

I don’t know much about police training, but I can’t help but wonder how different things would be if police were not only trained physically, but also mentally with mindfulness skills. What if instead of bigger guns and brute force police were trained to first have greater situational and personal awareness during stressful situations? If they knew how to slow down their heart rates, emotionally regulate and be present during acute stress?

To comfort myself this morning, I’ve been turning away from the violent images and instead reading about ideas like this. And while there seems to be a lot of pushback to not “hug-a-thug” (come on, people), mindfulness in policing does seem to make a difference in police-citizen encounters.


By |July 7th, 2016|everyday things|Comments Off on black lives matter, mindful policing

July 4th!

penelope dullaghan july 4th gif

By |July 4th, 2016|everyday things|Comments Off on July 4th!

Hollins University – print

hollins edu magazine penelope dullaghan illustration

I love seeing the final illustrations in print. Thanks to AD Jean Holzinger at Hollins University!

By |June 29th, 2016|illustration|Comments Off on Hollins University – print


watermelons illustration, penelopedullaghan

Summertime means juicy, delicious watermelon! … sometimes. Other times they are like eating soggy cardboard nothingness. How do you choose a good one? I heard to choose ones with yellow belly buttons. Then I read in Vegetarian Times to choose heavy ones with dull rinds. I was talking about this with a couple of Colin’s cousins recently and no one knew for sure. Do you?

By |June 28th, 2016|illustration|Comments Off on watermelons

on the subject of allowance

 veda perfume

Allowance for kids. Is this a touchy subject like most parenting concepts? I have no idea if I’m stepping into something sticky, but I’d love to have a little discussion about it if it’s approachable. And I’m going to work through the idea of allowance as I write, so bear with me. And please feel free to weigh in! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

* * * *

At the start of summer break, Colin and I started gathering seldom-used things in our house for a garage sale. And that got Veda thinking about having a lemonade stand at the same time to earn a little money of her own.

She then thought that she’d like one other thing to offer her customers, and she came up with the idea of homemade perfumes. Her first attempt was with a container of water, some beech nuts and a handful of mint from our garden. She steeped it for a few days, and it went south. On to Plan B.

Next up was essential oils. She saw my oils on the bathroom shelf and thought she could mix some scents together to form her all-natural perfumes. So we looked it up on Pinterest and found a recipe that looked simple to try.

Together we calculated the cost of materials – roller bottles, base oil and labels – to determine how much money we had to put in up front. Then we made the perfumes (the fun part!) and calculated how much she should sell them for to earn a little profit for her piggy bank.

She was WAY into it, pushing each step along and wanting to work at it a little every day. I thought about how it was a good tiny start to educating her on earning her own money. How it brought in math, measuring ingredients, going out to buy supplies, thinking about labels and signage, etc. And it was good for her to take ownership and feel good about her offering.

And so the subject of allowance came up in my mind. How in contrast, allowance feels to me like just handing over money for tasks done around the house that should be helped with anyway. We all dirty the dishes, bring dirt in on our shoes, messy our bed covers, etc. And therefore, in my mind, we all should pitch in to tidy up, sweep floors and make beds. And these everyday tasks aren’t done to earn money, they just need to be done regardless. Same goes for yard maintenance – sticks fall, leaves accumulate, and weeds pop up and they all need to be addressed as part of everyday life.

Teaching Veda to care for our home and to maintain things we have charge of is just part of her learning to be independent and self-sufficient for when she eventually has her own home.

So again, I’m working through this as I write it, but it looks like I think earning money should come from outside of everyday household tasks. I love the idea of Veda thinking about ways to earn money (when she wants to) by being creative and by offering something to others. I want her to have an entrepreneurial spirit and not think that things get handed to her just because she’s here doing what needs to be done anyway. That doesn’t happen (for most people) as adults. So why not help her learn how to do that as she’s young?

Watching her come up with the idea of the lemonade stand and essential oil perfumes inspired me. I saw her think deeply about what she could offer. I saw her work out the math on the kitchen chalkboard to determine her costs. I saw her attempt and fail at one idea and how that didn’t discourage her, but made her keep thinking of alternate options. I saw her take ownership of a self-directed project.

All that, in my view, is very valuable. Much more so than allowance for allowance sake. But I know I’m just scratching the surface of this idea. And I’m pretty new to this with a seven year old who’s just now starting to think about it. I certainly don’t want to be like the mom with a toddler who think she knows everything about teaching a teenager to drive. Other parents have been here, done that, and I’d love to hear about their experiences. What works in your household? And if you’re just getting started like us, where do you fall on this idea? I’m all ears!

By |June 23rd, 2016|mindful parenting|8 Comments


penelope dullaghan orlando flower illustration

Still sad and feeling quiet. Hold your people close. Teach tolerance. Love unconditionally.

By |June 17th, 2016|illustration|2 Comments

“A Letter to Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Have you read Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book “Big Magic”? When we did (‘we’ being me & SALT Project), we were floored. FLOORED! Spoke right to our creative souls. And we had to do something about it!

Then somehow we lucked into getting our hands on a “crankie” (an old art form where illustrated scrolls are wound onto two spools and hand-cranked while a story is being told or sung)… and our own magic happened.

A big thank you to Elizabeth Gilbert for inspiring us to chose creativity over fear!

By |June 13th, 2016|video|5 Comments

penelopian pattern for your phone!

penelope dullaghan iphone wallpaper

Just to spread some penelopian pattern love, I thought it’d be fun to offer my latest floral pattern to you as a new background for your phone. Click here to download them and choose the one that works for your phone (5, 5s, 6 and 6 plus). Enjoy!

* * * Update: apparently some folks have had some problems with the link above. Try simply saving the jpg below to your camera roll. That should work! :)


By |June 9th, 2016|pattern|1 Comment

Last day of 1st grade!

penelope dullaghan apple

Today is Veda’s last day of 1st grade. I’m SO looking forward to summer with her – camping, swimming, popsicles (blend up some watermelon and freeze – so good!), gardening, reading, sidewalk chalking, being bored, exploring and all the other fun stuff that comes along with it! Yay!

By |June 8th, 2016|art with kids, illustration|1 Comment

Sketchbook Skool – starts June 10!

Sketchbook Skool - penelope dullaghan

Hello friends!

Sketchbook Skool’s Expressing klass will begin online for the second time on June 10th. For each of the six weeks of the kourse, you’ll get a new teacher (including me!) showing you how to take your creativity to the next level. I am teaching a bunch of techniques that I use everyday in my illustration work. I hope you’ll love seeing the step-by-step!

You can also join the Sketchbook Skool community of creative people just like us from all over the world. I think it’s really valuable to be able to show your work – and get feedback from – klassmates doing the assignments alongside you. It helps you see your work more objectively to grow more quickly.

To check out Expressing and meet the teachers, click here.

There’s still time to sign up for this kourse, so please join me! Click here to sign up for Expressing now!

By |May 31st, 2016|everyday things|Comments Off on Sketchbook Skool – starts June 10!