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Create, Color, Pattern & Play!

Hi Everyone,

Last week I drove back to South Florida to attend the press run for the reprinting of my Kickstarter book, When You Lose Someone You Love. (In case you missed the last update, the first printing went well but the books were ruined in the bindery, so we had to reprint). I'm pleased to report that the press run went well the second time… and even happier to report that the printer has agreed to out-source the binding to the company which did an excellent job binding the prototypes. I'm hoping it will be smoother sailing from here. I know some of you are awaiting their arrival as eagerly as I am… and I will let you know when they arrive.

While I was on the road I had some internet challenges, and discovered (much to my dismay!) late Tuesday night that the pdf links for the pages I tried to post weren't working. Since I wasn't able to get that fixed until Wednesday, I posted an update saying that I was going to extend the contest deadline until Saturday, August 8th, to make sure that everyone had time to Create, Color, Pattern & Play with their designs. I know some of you didn't see the update, and posted your designs already... no worries, they will be entered into the drawing. And, for those who either didn't get to participate, or who did both pages and want more... keep reading-- I'm sharing two more designs in tonight's blog!

I also wanted to share the title page for the new Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern & Play series. I had fun adding color into the counterspaces of the letters. Hope to see some of you try the technique.

As it turns out, I'm not sure that extending the deadline was necessary, because the new Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play" Facebook Group has had a LOT of activity in the past week. In two short weeks we have grown to more than 400 members, representing at least 10 different countries! This is a dream-come-true for me, because I've been longing for a community of people who are drawn to incorporate inspiration into their creative endeavors. I feel blessed to be collaborating with so many talented artists… thank you to everyone who has been sharing designs! I'd love to see this group become a forum where people can share their work, their hearts, and where we can support and inspire each other. 

While there are many people who shared work this week, there is one person who has totally blown me away both by the number, and by the beauty of the designs she shared. Terri Byrket Brown and I both gravitate towards a bright color palette, and I love her work (and all the sharing she's done) so much that I made her a Dangle Thank You as a surprise:                                                                                                                                         
Terri kindly gave me permission to share some of her incredible work. These are just a few of the designs she has posted:                                                                                                                                                           
If you are interested in seeing more of the truly awesome work that Terri and other Color & Creative Enthusiasts are posting, please take a few minutes to check out the new Facebook group Hope you will want to join the fun.

For those of you who have already downloaded the designs I posted last week and would like something new to work on, my editor has once again given me permission to share two more designs. This one is from the new Zenspirations® Birds & Butterflies book, which will be released in October:
You can download it by clicking the link HERE:
For those who prefer pages without words, or who would prefer to add their own, here is one of my favorite pages from Zenspirations® Flowers.

You can download it by clicking the link HERE:                                                                                                  
That gives you four different designs to choose from-- two from last week's blog and two from this week's blog. Every time you post one of these four designs, your name will be entered into a random drawing to win a set of the first three Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play books, PLUS pens from Sakura and paper from Strathmore. (There are photos of the prizes in last week's blog). The more pieces you enter, the better your chance to win. Please make sure that your pieces are posted by midnight Eastern time on Saturday, August 8th.                                                                                                                                                                    
I look forward to seeing what you create!                                                                                                             
Stay Zenspired,

Live in Color!

Hi Everyone,


Last week I announced the new "Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play" Facebook Group, and invited you to share your Zenspirations Creations. And what a great first week it's been! We already have 121 members, and I have been both awed and inspired by the fabulous artwork that has been posted. Thank you to those who 'live in color' and have been sharing! If you are a Color & Creativity Enthusiast, please take a few minutes to check out the new group and  join the fun:

Part of what makes Zenspirations pages different from those found in other coloring books, is that they are designed as a springboard for your creativity… I've been fascinated by how different everyone's designs are. Each one is impressive on it's own... but collectively they are even more of a 'WOW!".                                                     
To celebrate a great first week for the new group, and to encourage those of you who may not have tried this yet, I'm sharing two designs that you can download, print out, and use to create a special piece. The first one is from one of the new books which will be out in October:
Here is a link to download the image: DOWNLOAD
For those who prefer pages without words, or who would prefer to add their own, I'm also posting my one of my favorite pages from Zenspirations® Abstract & Geometric Designs

Click here to download this design.  DOWNLOAD
To make it more fun, I think another contest is in order! You may download these two designs as many times as you want all week… and experiment with different tools, color palettes and embellishments. Feel free to add patterns, lettering, and additional illustrations as well as color, and then post the results in the FB group by Monday at noon EST to be entered into a random drawing for the "Live in Color" prize package. The package includes the three original Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play books:

and some goodies from my two favorite art supply companies-- Sakura of America and Strathmore Fine Art Papers.

I can't wait to see what you create! 

Stay Zenspired,




Community Action Alert: Protect Your Copyrights

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your input regarding credit lines for the new books. I was delighted to discover a clear consensus for "Color & Creativity by:", so that's what I used. Here's a sneak peak at one of the pages from the Zenspirations® Expressions of Faith book with the new credit line in place.

Congratulations to Sue Clark, who won copies of the new coloring books, which will be out in October. Sue, please let me know where you'd like them sent. 

As I mentioned last week, I was totally blown away by the amazingly creative work submitted by all of the coloring enthusiasts… and think such great work deserves to be shared. And so, in honor of the new books, I am inviting you to join the new "Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group, and to share your Zenspirations Creations!  I've been so busy trying to finish the new books that I haven't had a chance to design a special banner… so I used the art from one of my 'Loveline' notecards.

You can share your work from the first three Create, Color, Pattern, Play books (Flowers, Inspirations & Abstract) -- and, as a thank you to all the Coloring Enthusiasts, my editor said that it would be okay to post the 'sneak peak' pages from the new books in the new group. Since we can all learn from each other, I encourage you to not only post your work, but toalso share the tools you used to create it. And check back and/or turn on your notifications, 'cause I'll be posting some special things later this week. Here's the link:  I'm looking forward to being Zenspired!

But I'd like to devote the rest of tonight's blog to raising awareness about the Copyright Office's plans to create a new Copyright Act which would change the copyright protection that we have enjoyed since 1976 when our current copyright law was established.

My friend and colleague, Cherish Flieder, founder of the LinkedIn 13,000+ member Art of Licensing Group, and the online community of, and I are committed to making sure that visual artists voices are heard. Towards that end, we have co-authored this Call to Action, in order to:


1.      Raise awareness about the potential changes to U.S. Copyright Law and how they would negatively impact visual artists.

2.      Inspire each of you to make YOUR voice heard by writing a letter to the Copyright Office by Thursday, July 23, 2015.

a. Letters from U.S. citizens should be addressed to:

Maria Pallante
Register of Copyrights
U.S. Copyright Office
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20559-6000

and begin:

RE: Notice of Inquiry, Copyright Office, Library of Congress
Copyright Protection for Certain Visual Works (Docket No. 2015-01)

Dear Ms. Pallante & U.S. Copyright Office Staff:

Send your letter electronically as a PDF or word document via this link:

b. Letters from non U.S. citizens should be emailed to Catherine Rowland at and should be addressed to:

 Catherine Rowland, Senior Advisor to the Register of Copyrights
U.S. Copyright Office
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20559-6000

 and begin:

RE: Notice of Inquiry, Copyright Office, Library of Congress
 Copyright Protection for Certain Visual Works (Docket No. 2015-01)

3.      Encourage you to share this information with everyone you know, and ask them to do the same.


In 2006 and again in 2008, Congress considered enacting “Orphan Works” legislation. An ‘orphan work’ is a piece of art whose copyright holder is unknown. As drafted, the 2008 Orphan Works Bill would have made it impossible for visual artists to protect their art and intellectual property because:

1.     It would have allowed anyone to use a piece of art for any purpose if they were unable to locate the copyright holder after a “diligent” search. 

a.     Since there is no searchable database of visual art, finding the copyright holder of a particular image is like looking for a needle in a haystack… nearly impossible.   

2.     It removed statutory damages, which currently prevent rampant willful infringement. 

  a.    Currently, if a company uses a piece of art that has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, without the copyright holder’s permission, they risk being forced to pay up to $150,000 for EACH product they use the art on! This ensures that most companies work out an agreement with the artists whose work they wish to publish, rather than risking expensive legal action.

b.    Lack of statutory damages would have made it “cost effective” for companies without integrity to steal/use art because no financial penalty would have been imposed.

The legislation was defeated in both sessions of Congress, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner of The Illustrator's Partnership, as well as all the 'team leaders' (myself included) who went to Washington D.C. to meet with Congressional representatives, and who served as the interface between art organizations and the master lobbying effort.


Since 2014, Congress has been holding hearings to gather information before drafting a totally new U.S. Copyright Actwhich would replace the Copyright Act of 1976. Last month they filed the Orphan Works and Mass Digitization Report, which makes it clear that the legislation they plan to propose [you may read their 234 page PDF here: ] will reverse the ‘copyright exists upon creation’ premise, and instead require artists to pay a fee to register every design they want to protect. It would also allow infringers to create and register derivative works, which would in turn make it even more difficult for artists to monetize their creations because they would not necessarily be able to guarantee their licensees exclusive use of a design.

1.     Under current copyright law it is not necessary to sign, date or even put a © symbol on a work; ergo millions of designs created since 1976 do not have attributions attached, making it difficult to identify the creators.

2.     The Internet poses an increased risk for art without appropriate credit to be shared, making it imperative for the Copyright Office to continue to recognize the ownership of these works.

3.     Many artists are extremely prolific, creating thousands of images each year. It would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming to force them to register every design created in order to protect it (including past, present and future works).

The U.S. Copyright Office has issued a special call for letters regarding the role of visual art in the coming legislation. LETTERS ARE DUE ON THURSDAY, JULY 23rd. You can read it here: Notice of Inquiry on Visual Works:


At this point, there is no bill before congress, and our job is to make sure that when a bill is written, the needs of the visual arts community will be taken into consideration. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional artist, crafter, hobbyist, student, manufacturer, art licensor— or not involved in the arts— copyright impacts us all. This is a time-critical matter; LETTERS ARE DUE BY JULY 23rd!!! PLEASE WRITE AND SEND YOURS TODAY! And then ask every visual artist you know to do the same. We were able to defeat this legislation in two different sessions of congress because there were enough people who were motivated to DO something… together we can make a difference. Every voice matters… please make sure yours is heard!

Submit your letters online at:

If you aren’t sure what to say, here are some suggestions from Brad Holland of the Illustrator’s Partnership:

In your letter to the Copyright OffIce:

It's important that lawmakers be told that our copyrights are our source of income because lobbyists and corporation lawyers have "testified" that once our work has been published it has virtually no further commercial value and should therefore be available for use by the public.

So when writing, please remember:

– It's important that you make your letter personal and truthful.

– Keep it professional and respectful.

– Explain that you're an artist and have been one for x number of years.

– Briefly list your educational background, publications, awards etc.

– Indicate the field(s) you work in.

– Explain clearly and forcefully that for you, copyright law is not an abstract legal issue, but the basis on which your business rests.

– Our copyrights are the products we license.

– This means that infringing our work is no different than stealing our money.

– It's important to our businesses that we remain able to determine voluntarily how and by whom our work is used.

– Stress that your work does NOT lose its value upon publication.

– Instead, everything you create becomes part of your business inventory.

– In the digital era, inventory is more valuable to artists than ever before.

If you are NOT a professional artist:

– Define your specific interest in copyright, and give a few relevant details.

– You might want to stress that it's important to you that you determine how and by whom your work is used.

– You might wish to state that even if you are a hobbyist, you would not welcome someone else monetizing your work for their own profit without your knowledge or consent.

The U.S. Copyright Office  acknowledges that visual artists face special problems in the marketplace and they've asked artists to respond to five questions. If you are a professional artist, please consider incorporating answers to these questions in your letter:

1. What are the most significant challenges related to monetizing and/or licensing photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations?

2. What are the most significant enforcement challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?

3. What are the most significant registration challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?

4. What are the most significant challenges or frustrations for those who wish to make legal use of photographs, graphic art works, and/or illustrations?

5. What other issues or challenges should the Office be aware of regarding photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations under the Copyright Act?

Here are links to sample letters:

 Other related information:

 The most detailed background information on the subject can be found in a video interview where well known children’s book illustrator and educator, Will Terry, interviews famed editorial illustrator Brad Holland, co-founder of the The Illustrators’ Partnership of America (IPA), who has been active in keeping visual creators aware of the ongoing orphan works threat. VIDEO:


In summary, the copyrights to your photos, artwork, and other tangible creative expressions are VALUABLE and enable you to determine how and where your work is used; which companies to work with, and what products you want your designs to be on. The U.S. Copyright Office needs to take the needs of visual artists and the Art Licensing community into consideration when drafting this new legislation. Please take the time to protect your future: write today, and share this to encourage others to write as well.


Cherish Flieder
Illustrator, Designer, Educator, Art Licensor, Entrepreneur
Founder of and the 13K+ Art of Licensing group on LinkedIn

Joanne Fink
Best-selling author, Calligrapher, Designer, Teacher, Art Licensor; founder of Zenspirations® 

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers, but felt compelled to share what we’ve learned with our fellow creatives. PLEASE consult your attorney for a specific interpretation of this proposed copyright change and to find out what it would specifically mean to your business. Nothing contained herein or linked to should be interpreted as legal advice.

 Thanks for taking the  time to make a difference.

Stay Zenspired,




The Return of the Orphan Works Legislation

Hi Everyone,

My next two Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play books are due this week, and I've been working round the clock trying to get everything done. On Friday, my editor and I reviewed all the AMAZING and AWESOME images that several dozen coloring enthusiasts submitted for consideration… it was incredibly difficult to finalize the selection because the entries were all creative and inspiring. In fact, on a couple of instances, we wound up deciding to show more images on a page just so we could showcase additional inspiration samples. In the end we tried to pick pieces that were created in a variety of media… although a few of my favorites didn't make it in, overall I'm really pleased with the final selection. We got submissions from all over the world, and wound up selecting work by artists in England, India, South Africa and the United States. Can't believe that the new books will be in the stores (at least in North America) in three months!                          
One of the things I'm especially excited about are the 12 full color pages which will be at the front of the book. Six pages will be devoted to the inspiration pieces; the other six will be used to teach people how to add color, patterns and additional icons to create a truly unique piece of art. I'm also trying to show how the same image looks when colored with different tools, and asked my daughter to test some of the different tools I was thinking of featuring. I only have room for 6 leaves... another tough choice! 

 Here are close ups so you can see the contrasting textures:


I'm delighted to report that I have finished everything except the teaching pages for Birds & Butterflies, and am now focusing on Expressions of Faith. Here's a sneak peak at the covers:


If you'd like to win copies of the new books, please answer the questions below by leaving your repsonse in the comment section. I'll pick a name at random from those who leave a comment, and the luck winner will get a copy of each book as soon as they are published.

Here's what I'd like to know. Since I look on these pages as a springboard for individual creativity, I'm thinking of adding a line to the bottom of each page to give credit to the co-creator of the page. I'd really appreciate your advice on this. Please leave me a comment answering the following questions:                                              
Do you like the idea of giving a credit line for the person who colors the page? 
If you do, what would you like it to say?
Here are a few options I'm considering:
For the first part of the phrase, would you prefer:
1. ©Joanne Fink; (which is what I use now)
2. Zenspirations® illustration by Joanne Fink; 
3. Illustrator: Joanne Fink of Zenspirations®; 
4. Design by Joanne Fink/Zenspirations
5. Something else:_________________________                                                                                                      
For the second part of the phrase, would you prefer:
1. Decorated by: ____________________
2. Colored and enhanced by __________________________________
3. Colorist: ________________________
4. Color & creativity by __________________________
5. Something else: _____________________________                                                                                           
Thanks, as always, for your input… it means a great deal to me.                                                                                 
And now, before I go back to the coloring books, I have a favor to ask, and it's important. For more than a year Congress has been holding hearings for the drafting of a brand new US Copyright Act. At its heart is the return of Orphan Works. "The Next Great Copyright Act" would totally change the protection that we have enjoyed since 1979, when our current copyright law was enacted. This is extremely serious for those of us who make our livings in intellectual property, especially visual artists, but it will impact everyone.              
The last two time Congress considered similar legislation (the Orphan Works Act), I was one of many people who helped raise awareness and coordinated the opposition effort. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner of The Illustrator's Partnership, as well as all the 'team leaders' who served as the interface between a guild or art group they belonged to and the Orphan Works Opposition Headquarters, we were able to defeat the legislation. And now, much to my dismay, it's reared it's ugly head again. 

At this point, there is no bill before congress, and our job is to make sure that when a bill is written, the needs of the visual arts community will be taken into consideration. This is a time-critical matter; LETTERS ARE DUE BY JULY 23rd!!! PLEASE WRITE AND SEND YOURS TODAY! There's a LOT more to the story, but since I have to finish my books, and don't have time to explain everything, the favor I'm asking is that you go read my friend Joan Beiriger's blog:

Please read Joan's blog, read what Brad & Cynthia from the Illustrator's Partnership advise (link in blog), and draft a letter! And then ask every visual artist you know to do the same. We were able to defeat this legislation in two different sessions of congress because there were enough people who were motivated to DO something… together we can make a difference. Every voice matters… please make sure yours is heard! 

Stay Zenspired,
PS I forgot to ask Erica who won the copy of Dasherie, so I'll have to let you know next week. :-)





Lettering is Flourishing!

Hi Everyone,

I'm nearing the finish line on the two new Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play books… they are due next week! I'm still polishing pages and have quite a few images yet to create… so it is a blessing to know that while I stay focused on the art, my awesome team of coloring enthusiasts are busy creating inspiration pages for the books. IF YOU ARE A COLORING ENTHUSIAST WHO DID NOT GET PAGES TO COLOR AND COULD STILL GET THEM DONE BY THURSDAY, PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP and I will e-mail you a couple of pages to do. In case you are new to the blog, submitting pages is not a guarantee that they will be selected for inclusion, but I need more than a dozen pieces for each book, and am hoping to feature Zenspirational artists from around the world. It's really exciting to be able to see all the different things people are doing with my designs. Below is one I got this afternoon from Tombow Design Team member Jennifer Priest, who used Tombow tools to color the design. 

Over the past two years, Jennifer, who is my social media coach, set up my blog, Pinterest page, Zenspirations by Joanne Fink Facebook page, and Instagram! As of last month I even have a Twitter account (although I haven't used it yet). I'm still happily learning how to use Instagram-- following lettering artists, designers and coloring enthusiasts all over the world. I am continually awed by the incredible work people share. Social media is a wonderful way for me to get (and hopefully give) inspiration. I especially enjoy seeing what people are doing with the techniques I teach and the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play pages they embellish. If you are posting a Zenspiration design, please use the #Zenspirations. (For those who aren't on Instagram, the '#' is a 'hashtag' and helps you search for topics of interest.) If you are on Instagram, I'd love to connect: If you aren't on Instagram, I'd recommend it! Here are a few of the things I've posted to Instagram this week:

The first time that I saw Zenspirations® on social media was in November of 2009-- about a year after I started experimenting with pattern & line. My local calligraphy guild, the Scribes of Central Florida, invited me to give my first-ever Zenspirations workshop, and one of the workshop attendees, Erica McPhee, blogged about it the next day. You can read Erica's original Zenspirations blog post on her website:

Although I wasn't active in the Social Media world back then, Erica was... and would occassionally blog about the Zenspirations projects she worked on. But what totally blew me away was the amazing Advent calendar Erica brought to the Scribes holiday party. Below are a few photos, and you can read the complete blog post at:

Erica and I have a lot in common-- we are both calligraphers, writers and designers, and we have a mutual interest in building community through the arts. I wanted to share a couple of Erica's ongoing projects with you. In November of 2013 Erica founded The Flourish Forum, an on-line community about everything related to calligraphy, lettering, flourishing, Zentangles®, and more. There are 4,000+ people from 28 countries registered for The Flourish Forum; members can peruse the extensive resources and tutorials the forum offers. Erica says "It's a wonderful community-- very positive, very sharing-- where a lot of friendships have been made. You can see a lot of the content without registering, but if you want to view the video tutorials and be able to download the full set of handouts, you'll need to register." One of the things I like best about The Flourish Forum is that it is a totally free resource… so if you are interested in lettering, I encourage you to check it out:
After founding The Flourish Forum, Erica realized there was tremendous growing interest in the calligraphic arts, and created something really cool: Dasherie Magazine ( 
Like The Flourish Forum, Dasherie is an inspiring resource for calligraphers and lettering artists-- as well as brides and others commissioning calligraphy. Launched in the summer of 2014, Dasherie is a beautifully designed magazine featuring gorgeous photographs throughout the 100 pages.                                                 
I'm sharing this, in part, because the third issue of Dasherie is at the printer,  and I'm honored to be one of the artists profiled! Below is a 'sneak peak' at my article.                                                                                            
If you'd like to order a copy, here is the
Now that the third issue is 'to bed' Erica is busy planning the next one. As a regular Zenspirations blog follower, Erica knows that you guys are often willing to share your thoughts in the comment section (especially if there is an incentive!). She offered to send a copy of the issue with my profile in it to one of the people who answers the following question: Who or what would you would like to see featured in a future issue of Dasherie magazine? A name will be drawn at random, and I'll let you know in next week's blog who the lucky winner is.
Speaking of winners, congratulations to Terri Young, who won the box of notecards from last week's blog! Terri, please let me know where you'd like them sent. I appreciate all your comments and interest, and would be grateful if you would keep me in your thoughts and prayers this week as I am finishing all the drawings for Birds & Butterflies and Expressions of Faith. I'm trying to create designs which other artists can use as a springboard for their own creative endeavors… and am finding it challenging to create images that look complete and inviting to color while still allowing room for people who like to pattern to add their own creative touches. As always, I welcome your suggestions.        
Stay Zenspired,