Discover more from Dandelion Seeds: Illustrated Essays
On the journeys that take us by surprise
And a look at what’s next for Dandelion Seeds.
Seven months ago, I published my first post on Dandelion Seeds — and since then, so much about this creative journey has taken me by surprise.
When I first started dreaming up the idea for Dandelion Seeds, illustrated essays were not at all on my radar. I only hoped to begin finding my way back to creative rhythms as a new mom, and I thought a newsletter might help me do so.
It wasn’t until a call with my good friend Mike Sowden, who writes the always-enlightening, that things began to come into focus.
Mike was the first one to remind me of the illustrated essays I created for Longreads back in 2017 and 2018, and he was the first one to say:
“You should start making them again — right here on Substack.”
And so I did, and what I soon discovered was that returning to illustrated essays was a creative homecoming I hadn’t realized I was in need of.
Illustrated essays have become my favorite way to tell a story, letting me hold both a pen and paintbrush as I create, and I love everything about the process of putting them together.
Then, after I started sharing illustrated essays here on Substack, something else took me by surprise:
You, the community that is growing up around Dandelion Seeds.
Every week, it feels like I’m a part of an ongoing conversation, a beautiful back-and-forth that I never expected to unfold when I began writing here.
I loved reading your wisdom and insights after I shared about our move to Belgium — which I then captured in “The roots of who you are” — as well as the stories you shared for our first collaborative essay series, The Sounds of Home.
There’s one more surprise this journey has held for me so far.
When I first started Dandelion Seeds, I didn’t share about it anywhere online. But after about a month, I finally worked up the courage to let my old mailing list know about this new project I’d begun.
As people started signing up that day, I was surprised — shocked, really — to receive a number of pledges, from readers who wanted to support Dandelion Seeds with a paid subscription. And as the months have gone by, I’ve received several more.
While I didn’t set out to offer paid subscriptions, every pledge has helped me realize that by doing so, I can keep pouring my best work into Dandelion Seeds, and make it my creative priority.
And so I’m equal parts excited and nervous to share that as of today, there are a few different ways to subscribe to Dandelion Seeds, which you can read about at this link:
Illustrated essays are the heart and soul of Dandelion Seeds, and it’s important to me that they will always be available for everyone to read.
The posts I send out every Tuesday will continue to be free, which include:
Sneak peeks and art downloads
Collaborative projects like The Sounds of Home
When I thought about what I would like to offer paid subscribers, I realized I simply want to go deeper into this form of storytelling I’ve come to love so much.
Once a month, I’ll share a more reflective essay, going behind the scenes of each season’s illustrated essay and exploring things like:
My thought process and creative process
What drew me to each particular theme or topic
Personal insights behind each story
And for those who would like to support Dandelion Seeds as a founding member, in addition to the paid monthly essay, you’ll also receive a piece of original artwork — a vignette illustration I’ve created for one of the illustrated essays.
Launch week surprise
Just as my own journey here on Substack has been full of surprises, I’ve got something fun in store for new subscribers this week.
It just so happens that Elena and I are currently in the US visiting family, and so for anyone who signs up for a paid subscription by next Tuesday, August 22nd, I’m excited to send a 5x7 print your way, featuring some of my favorite paintings I’ve created for Dandelion Seeds so far.
It’s my small way of saying thank you for your support, and I can’t wait to continue journeying with you here.
Dandelion Seeds is now a reader-supported publication! To receive a new illustrated essay every week and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.