Susan Neal

Susan Neal

As I travel and teach for Paper Crafts magazine, the most common question I hear is “how can I get your job?” I thought I’d take this last opportunity to answer with the long version, basically a synopsis of my time here at Paper Crafts… let’s go back in time!

In  2001 I started a relationship with Creating Keepsakes magazine. I had entered a few contests, one of which I won, and the other which led me to doing some design work, including this first cover:

The July/August 2001 issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine

The July/August 2001 issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine

In conversation with the CK editors, they discovered I was a designer/painter. They quickly got me in contact with the managing editor (Jennafer Martin, who is now the editor-in-chief of CK) of their new sister publication Crafts magazine. Literally, within a few days I had design assignments. I spent the next few years designing and painting for Crafts, but my heart was turning to paper. I was done with wood!

Fortunately, Crafts magazine and Valerie Pingree (the founding editor of Paper Crafts) also made such a change and in February of 2004 Paper Crafts magazine was launched and I was along for the ride. And what a ride it’s been!

Heres where it all began: the Febraury 2004 issue of Paper Crafts.

Here's where it all began: the February 2004 issue of Paper Crafts.

At the time I had just sold a paper crafting retail store/web site I had started in 2002. I suddenly had two very important things necessary to contributing to Paper Crafts magazine in a big way: time and plenty of paper crafting supplies. 

In short order I was asked to fill the role of Paper Crafts Pro for the magazine. It was very much a job that evolved over time, and one that was exciting and creative and really, just fun. We (the PC Pros) became contributors not only in design, but at editorial boards meetings; we helped to critique past issues and plan for new ones. We researched trends, brainstormed and got super creative.

Early on, I conceived a special issue idea that turned into Card Fashion; using fashion to inspire card design. I got to concept, write, assign, organize and I loved every moment of it. I have to thank Jennafer M. and Stacy C. for giving me that opportunity.

Card Fashion, 2006

Card Fashion, 2006

It was such a joy to work for Paper Crafts that I don’t think I’ve ever said no to any request in all the years I’ve worked there. I’m sure I’ll hear about it if I did!

We soon got opportunities to teach; which has been one of my most beloved responsibilities and one that I’ve carried through to a new business I started last fall, Q’s Creative Card Classes. I love to travel, meet new people and share in our mutual paper crafting passion. I was just in Valley Forge a few weeks ago and will be in Tulsa again this weekend – hopefully I’ll see some of you there!

CKC-Valley Forge, 2009

CKC-Valley Forge, 2009

We travelled to CHA and other industry conventions, representing the magazine, doing research and creating relationships with manufacturers. Many great memories are associated with these trips and I dearly miss them.

In 2006 I was asked to represent Paper Crafts on a local morning show KSL Studio 5. I clearly remember the butterflies that first day, but oddly enough they quickly disappeared and I left the show that day thinking, “I think I can do this.” I’m sure a large part of this was the ease of interaction with the hostess of the show, Brooke Walker.

Heres one of my appearances on Studio5. Love that Brooke Walker!

Here's one of my appearances on Studio 5. Love that Brooke Walker!

Surprisingly, the most intimidating thing I’ve been asked to do is video tape instructional videos. I know this sounds very similar to live TV, but actually, it’s much, much harder, as you have nothing but a camera (or two) to relate to. No cute hostess to play off of or fill in your blanks – just you and the camera. Fortunately, I was very prepared and despite my nervousness, was able to create some successful teaching segments. The second time I did this was much easier, which just goes to show you that some things just have to be done to be learned.

Practice makes perfect!

Practice makes perfect!

You can see me in this video!

You can see me in this video!

It has been my absolute joy being an ambassador and cheerleader for Paper Crafts Magazine and one I don’t plan on stopping. I continue to devour each issue and share that love with anyone I come in contact with. As a founding PC Pro, I’m hoping you’ll still see me on occasion.

Working for Paper Crafts has given me a whole new set of skills that I want to use. Q’s Creative Card Classes has become a huge part of my life. I’ve also continued my relationship with Studio 5 and am now a regular cooking and paper crafting contributor for them. I still freelance design and consult in large part because of the treasured friendships and valuable relationships I’ve gathered over the years. 

I’m sure it’s easy to see the opportunity part of this equation. I want to thank every one of you who gave me those moments… you know who you are!

I prepared for those opportunities by working. Really, it’s that simple. I love this hobby so much that work for me was a joy, but it was still work. Lots and lots and lots of design, educating myself on techniques and even creating some along the way. And of course, staying on top of trends and reading Paper Crafts magazine! The editors at Paper Crafts are so good at communicating just what they need, so read closely and don’t give up! Keep submitting and persevere. I’ll be looking for your name soon!

Your Founding PC Pro,
Sue Neal

P.S. If you’re intrigued by the concept of Card Fashion, I just happen to have three copies from the secret Paper Crafts vault. Leave me a comment and I’ll pick three random winners to receive their very own copy! All comments must be received by midnight on Thursday, August 20.

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