The greeting cards and note pads were made exclusively as holiday gifts starting in 1979 and 1992 respectively. The initial recipients were teachers and family. My son and daughter also illustrated the note pads, making this a fun family project.
The Leelanau Love ~ Color on Art Book was created in the winter of 2015, and offered to the public the following summer. I embraced the challenge to illustrate, publish and market this body of work. It is the type of pursuit that makes me feel most alive! As I dug deep to write a note to the recipients of the book (in-lieu of a dedication), I realized that I have pursued creative giving my whole life.
As a creative & idealistic soul, I did the most honest, loving and courageous thing that I have ever experienced by transforming this lifelong activity into a business.
Sharing my artistic gift since becoming an entrepreneur has taught me a great deal about life…vulnerability, strength, grit and fearless determination.
The longer version…
Many years ago I designed note pads along with my artistic children for teachers, friends and family as holiday gifts. The recipients received several note pads tied together with ribbon that were illustrated with our original drawings. We continued this for many years, spurred on in-part by those that were anticipating this year’s design. We repeatedly heard comments regarding their delight to receive another useful note pad. I began using photographs on the note pads a few years ago. These quickly became my favorite. From time to time, my talented grown-up children still lend a hand with some of the art work.
My most cherished gifts to give are custom note pads for special occasions. My daughter designed pads as a party favour for her bridal shower. That design was greatly admired, and a unique gift for each attendee. For my late Father’s 82nd birthday, I designed two note pads utilizing vintage photos of when he was just a lad. He was very appreciative of this thoughtful gift and loved using them.
The name Dancing Frog Press (DFP) came from a unique in-class assignment my son did in the 5th grade. During a special presentation by a local artist, the children were directed to paint a frog sitting on a lily pad. I first observed the little paintings on the bulletin board in the classroom, neatly arranged and nearly identical to one another. I noticed one frog down in the corner that was extremely different from the others. I knew the moment I spotted it, that this painting was my son’s work. He was born with an uncommon perspective and approach to life. I noticed these unique qualities when he was very young. He loves all, and judges none, all the while, remaining genuine. He and his little painting of ‘Alexander the smart frog’ dancing across the stage are my inspiration for the name dancing frog press.
In April 2014 an unexpected lay-off from a full-time office job launched me toward pursuing my dream of living a sustainable life as an illustrator. When my daughter Raquel Jackson was helping me in the initial stages with marketing, logo design, consulting, etc. we discovered her drawing from 2002 for that year’s note pad…a vector art dude with frog-like features was the perfect fit to becoming a part of the Dancing Frog Press Logo! Even before the business was born, this whimsical guy was a part of the story and now he’s the mascot.
Charlotte is always creating illustrations and working on developing new products and partnerships.
She collaborated with a regional leather maker to create her own line of Leather Note books.