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Art-blogger and Artist; Interview with Sara Barnes

In this podcast episode we had a great conversation with American artblogger and artist Sara Barnes. She is the curator of the artblog brwnpaperbag.com and the Instagram account with the same name @brwnpaperbag. If you’re a lover of skilful illustration and embroidery, her blog is a must visit. Over the years she has developed a distinct style and as she states in the interview; “A carefully curated feed with her audience’s interest in mind.”


Despite a B.A in Illustration and M.F.A in Illustration Practice, Sara found herself going down the writing path. Graduating in the depth of the recession in 2008, she found nothing but an uninspiring administrative job. She felt unchallenged and decided to launch her blog Brwnpaperbag.com.

“You perfect your skills by doing something everyday”, she says in the interview.

Her blog allowed her to train her writing skills and dive deeper in her interest for coding. Learning everything she could about html, coding and WordPress, she was able to have full control of her blog since the beginning. “I am a bit of a control freak”, she admits. However, she can now proudly see the fruits of her hard work. With time, she gained increasing traction and more writing gigs began to come her way. Thus the Brwnpaperbag blog gave her legitimacy and served as a real life resumé that she could show potential partners. This also lead to a long term writing partnership with the renowned art blog MyModernMet, where she writes articles on a regular basis.

“A lot of my traffic accumulates from all my pins on Pinterests that I’ve been pinning through the years”

Over the years Sara’s audience has been growing exponentially. Today she has over over 200k followers on Instagram and more unique viewers on her blog than she could’ve imagined. Pinterest and Instagram are the biggest sources of traffic to her blog and she highly recommends anyone running a blog or creative business to utilise these platforms to their advantage. 

To start she didn’t use any particular Social media strategy, however in recent years her primary focus has been and still is: Quality content.

“With good quality posts, your audience is more likely to engage with the content, which will increase its visibility“

Her feed has developed through paying close attention to which posts that work and why they are attractive to her audience. Over time this analytic strategy has generated a stunning and harmoneous feed of illustrations and embroidery.

“It’s about the multiple income streams that it all goes together”

Throughout the episode Sara provides insightful tips on how she manages her creative business. By combining multiple smaller income streams through writing gigs, affiliate commissions and sponsorships she is able to work with her passion.

Before leaving us she tips using the Asana application to manage your time and to-do lists. She also gives two recommendations for further learning within the field of artistry and creative entrepreneurship:

  1. “Made of Stars”, a book by illustration artist an writer Meera Lee Patel. “It’s a fantastic book that helps you figure out who you are, your strengths and unique talents that you contribute with in the world. At least for me, this is something highly valuable for anyone on the creative entrepreneurship route”, Sara recommends.
  2. “Design Matters podcast”, that hosts resourceful conversations with different kinds of creatives.

For more great Interviews, don’t miss to subscribe to our podcast Charles and Elin on the podcast platform of your preference!

For embroidery lovers embroideryart

In the episode you also hear about our celebration of our monthly pattern program for embroidery lovers. On the 15th of each month we send out a unique design inspired by cities around the world. Each design also contains a colour guide and stitch guide to help you learn this healing craft. Subscribers are able to sign up uniquely or monthly, and easily opt out at any time. To know more about the program and for registration please visit: tipeee.com/charles-elin

The image to the right is an example of the October design inspired from Lisbon.

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