Nathan Yoder // Where Are They Now series

Episode 438 is LIVE on May 17, 2023 at 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET / 7:30pm BST / 8:30am in Hawaii

This week we go back to the archives, I interviewed Nathan first back in 2013 and the latest time was after he moved more to an illustration focus back in 2016. It will be great to catch up with Nathan this week and see where his business has been and where it is now.

On this entrepreneurial journey there are a LOT of unknowns. We dive deep into this and what Nathan has held onto in these uncertain times. This episode will be centered around his faith and where his focus on Jesus in his life takes his business.

I hope you will join us for this conversation. You can be part of the conversation live with us. Simply join the Creatives Ignite Family by giving me your email and get a reminder email 30 min before the show: You can also add it to your calendar so you don’t miss it. (Those links are in the emails). See you there, then you can type in the chat and ask questions live.

See you on Wed. May 17, 2023 at 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET / 7:30pm BST / 8:30am in Hawaii

Listen here


  1. Nathan, can you tell everybody a little background about you, who you are, where you are, and what you do?
  2. You’ve been on the show three times, first on the show back in December 2013, then 2014 with Sean Tulgetske, and in 2016 as you pivoted to do more illustration. How has life and business changed since last time we talked?
  3. What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve faced in regards to your business?
  4. How has your faith played a role in your business decisions?
  5. Does your faith and calling play a role at all in your ability to marketing yourself?
  6. How do you get your name out there? Agent? Groups? Conferences?
  7. How do you go about learning new skills? When is it important to sharpen skills you have already and what have you done to do that?
  8. Do you ever feel isolated in the industry because you are a Christian?
  9. How have you overcome that or dealt with that?
  10. Do you ever deal with being overwhelmed? If so how have you dealt with that?
  11. How do you come up with new ideas?
  12. Do you have any creative outlets or non creative outlets that you do regularly to keep you balanced?
  13. Have you avoided burning out?
  14. Do you collaborate with others? What elements make up a perfect collaborative project for you?
  15. What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself in the last year, that has been most impactful to your life or freelance business?
  16. What’s one piece of advice you would tell your past self 10 years ago?
  17. What is next?

Connect with Nathan

Past Episodes

August 3, 2016:
July 16, 2014:
Dec 11, 2013:


[00:00:00] diane: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Creative Ignite and I am excited to have Nathan Yoder back on the show. So we are doing this series called, where Are They Now? And I talked to Nathan, uh, back for the first time. And during the first year of, well, maybe the second year of design recharge, uh, what the podcast used to be called.
[00:00:26] So this is like super awesome for me to be able to see, [00:00:30] um, somebody that has been on the show featured, loved what they were doing way back in 2000, um, 13 and 2012 and earlier. But then, and he said yes, and then he came on with Sean Toski, who was also a hand letter and they were working together at Sevenly in 2014.
[00:00:51] And then in 2016, Nathan came back on and he was doing a shift and he was doing more illustration. Still does typography, but um, [00:01:00] his illustrations are so awesome and, um, Nathan loves Jesus and I love Jesus. So there’s gonna be some Jesus talking there will not be cussing, but if you don’t like the word Jesus, you might wanna just click off and tune in next week.
[00:01:15] Um, but hopefully not. Um, And just to remind you, I do respond to all the, um, the comments down below. If you’re watching on YouTube or in, um, any other platform, just you can always reach out, but, and my email’s always [00:01:30] down below as well. Nathan, give us a little bit cuz we’ll have a little bit more of a faith conversation.
[00:01:36] We’re gonna talk about that in our industry and hopefully I know some of you guys that might be really interesting that came live. So tell everybody, just, um, give them a brief overview of who you are and what you do in case they didn’t know who you are.
[00:01:52] Nathan Yoder: Sure. Uh, yeah, I, um, I’m, uh, as Diana had kind of mentioned previously, uh, I [00:02:00] primarily do illustration these days.
[00:02:02] Um, uh, in the past I, I had done a bit more hand lettering. That was kind of what kind of provided me the end to freelance work. Um, but yeah, over the, the last, uh, several years I’ve been, uh, focusing more on illustration work and, uh, and specifically as it relates to line work, uh, you know, pen and ink and, um, engraving kind of techniques.
[00:02:25] Um, and my personal work, I enjoy doing wedding engravings, [00:02:30] and so I’ve, uh, been enjoying migrating those sorts of techniques into the, um, pen and work that I do for clients. Um, the stuff that I do for clients isn’t a wood engraving, uh, but I’ll work on paper or on scratch board to kind of, uh, reproduce a similar sort of effect.
[00:02:49] And, um, I guess another sort of notable kind of characteristic of my work is that I, I, I try and keep everything kind of within the traditional sphere as much as [00:03:00] possible in terms of medium traditional media, uh, on paper, scratch board, things like that. Um, eventually, of course, everything gets moved to the computer.
[00:03:08] Um, but I, I try to primarily just limit the computer to kind of touching things up and adding color and preparing it for. Uh, how the client’s going to be using the artwork. But, um, but anyways, that’s, that’s kind of a very general overview of, of, uh, my work and my approach. And of course we can dive into, you know, more of that, uh, as we get [00:03:30] going
[00:03:30] diane: here, we will.
[00:03:31] Okay, so I want, if somebody doesn’t, um, el uh, oftentimes you studied design. You were from Oklahoma, you moved to California, and that’s where I was talking to you, I believe, when you were in California and then you moved to the, uh, Washington State or the Pacific Northwest, right? Mm-hmm. Okay. Yes. Um, so, um, from that, uh, when you were in Oklahoma and you were studying design, traditionally you studied design, [00:04:00] you got a degree in graphic design.
[00:04:01] Did you do much printmaking? In school or where did you pick up this extra skill?
[00:04:09] Nathan Yoder: Um, I mean, not in the way that I’m doing it today in terms of, uh, letter press, uh, and, you know, wood engraving, things like that. Um, I, I did do some, my, my in to graphic design was actually at a sign shop, you know, where he was, uh, you know, the guy running the shop.
[00:04:29] [00:04:30] Um, primarily focused on kind of vinyl signage, but then also screen printing. And so, I mean, that’s, you know, printmaking in terms of T-shirts, uh, that was kind of my, my end to graphic design and, and, uh, everything that I’m doing now can even in some ways be traced back to that first, uh, kind of freelance jot job that I had, you know, in, it started in middle school in eighth grade.
[00:04:54] And, you know, I kept working with that guy through high school. Um, but [00:05:00] yeah, I, I was, I was basically creating drawings, you know, making drawings. I, I enjoyed drawing ev you know, ever since I can remember. And then he was trying to kind of walk me through how to make those drawings usable, uh, and essentially kind of explaining to me what graphic design is all about as opposed to just drawing a picture, you know?
[00:05:20] And, um, and so yeah, I, I guess in terms of printmaking specifically through college, you know, I was made aware of, of more of that [00:05:30] process. Um, and so I think it was all stuff that was always kind of in the back of my head. And so as I started focusing more on kind of trying to understand, uh, and determine where I want to go with my personal work, I was just trying to kind of recall the things that have kind of caught my interest in the past and, uh, things that were drawing my interest, you know, presently.
[00:05:50] And, and it always kind of came back to, uh, pen and ink and I guess maybe that can even be traced back to, you know, working with a pencil just in black and white. I just think. [00:06:00] And the, the limits of just black and white, um, is a, it’s, those are fun constraints to work within. And then to take that one more level, you know, to kind of limit yourself to just a stark, you know, white, black line, um, and try and convey textures and tones and things through line work.
[00:06:17] It’s always been a fun challenge. And so of course, all of that even, um, you can trace back to the, um, the invention of the printing press and, and the limitations of the printing press and, and, and how, [00:06:30] you know, in order to reproduce an image on a page, it, it could only be reproduced, uh, you know, printed in black and white.
[00:06:37] And it also, you know, illustrators were limited to, um, you know, how they could, you know, reproduce an image by cutting that image into a block of wood. And so, of course, uh, you know, there are things like stippling that you can rely on, but really what it came down to is line work. You know, these guys cutting.
[00:06:57] With, um, you know, either knives, you know, in [00:07:00] the initial sort of manifestation of printmaking. Um, but then eventually these jeweler tools, uh, jeweler tools that were used, uh, in wood engraving. And so that’s, that’s more the type of printmaking that I interests me today and that I try and kind of reproduce in my work is the, uh, the kind of the, the traditional approach to wood engraving.
[00:07:22] diane: Cool. So there is, um, for people who don’t know, I mean there are tons of different types of printmaking, wood engraving. [00:07:30] I’m probably gonna mess this up, but I think I know. So if you’re looking at, um, like a, a block that was, uh, our printmaking professor at, where I teach, she, um, uh, Nikki Schneider, she used to, that would, she would do wood cuts.
[00:07:47] Which could just be done on a piece of plywood, you know, you could do, but it’s different tools. Wood engraving is all these pieces sandwich together and it’s this really tight, the edges of all of it. And so it’s [00:08:00] usually a little, they’re smaller because the wood is, um, more premium. And, um, you’re not doing these huge wood engravings.
[00:08:09] You wouldn’t do a big, big piece. But they were used for books or for advertising and, and there were these elements which I also love. And, um, you have these little things back there behind you that you rest your, um, I think you rest your hand on as you’re cutting. Right. Those
[00:08:28] Nathan Yoder: things. Yeah. I. [00:08:30] A little bit, uh, this, these are, um, weights, uh, well, they’re, uh, sandbags le leather that you rest the block on as you’re working.
[00:08:40] Okay. And, uh, this is just kind of a, a working surface that’s kind of raised in order to bring it up a little bit higher to your face. Um, my, my desk kind of has some of these little pieces that can slide out that I can rest my arms on, but, um, but yeah, this is kind of my wood engraving desk over here, and then you can’t see it.
[00:08:58] But in front of me is my [00:09:00] drafting table. And, um, So this is kind of the fun, like work that I do in the evenings and this is the, well, I still think it’s fun work that I do during the day.
[00:09:09] diane: So then, so then scratcher board for people who don’t know it, it, you may have seen it at the art store where it’s a black and then you carve in and it’s white.
[00:09:18] I know people can make their own scratcher board, but do you buy yours or do you make yours? I know these were not questions on our sheet and this is not about Jesus. Oh, it’s okay, but we’re gonna get to it.
[00:09:29] Nathan Yoder: No, it, no, it’s all [00:09:30] good. I, I, um, I, I have looked into making my own just cuz I think, uh, it’s fun, you know, trying to kind of, no, I don’t know that kind of find your own process in, in, uh, making art.
[00:09:41] Um, but um, but yeah, I buy my own and there’s actually two different types that you can get. You can get the type that is just all black and you scratch away to reveal, you know, the white underneath. And that’s the more, more traditionally kinda what you’re doing when you’re engraving into wood. Um, you’re, you’re, you’re essentially, each stroke of your tool [00:10:00] is, uh, creating a white line as opposed to a black line if you’re drawing with a pen.
[00:10:04] And, um, but then you can also buy scratcher board, uh, um, that is just white without any ink applied. So you can draw over the top of it with a pin, but then you still have the ability to scratch that away. And, uh, so sometimes if you’re working on a, on a scene that, uh, is not so light, you know, then you might wanna start with a, a white surface.
[00:10:28] Whereas if you’re working [00:10:30] on a scene that’s very dark and you’re just cutting away highlights, maybe it’s a nighttime scene and, uh, you know, you might wanna start with a black, you know, um, piece of scr, uh, scraper board. So, couple different approaches there. Yeah.
[00:10:43] diane: So, um, uh, Daniel says he would love to at least experiment with wood block or, uh, and so there’s different like wood block and then wood engraving and then like, You know, uh, you can linocut or whatever.
[00:10:58] There’s lots of different ones. Right. But he says he [00:11:00] thinks it would be relaxing and fun. Is that something that you also agree with? Is it relaxing and fun to do that
[00:11:07] Nathan Yoder: for you? Oh yeah, definitely. And I, I think, I mean, you what engraving specifically? Uh, just given the fact that you’re working on the end grain of a, a block of wood, um, it’s very dense there, you know, so you can get just basically the, almost an infinite amount of detail in there.
[00:11:26] Uh, especially working with these jewelers tools that are just [00:11:30] allow you to be very precise. Um, you could just get lost in the detail and, and, uh, so I find that really relaxing. But it’s also, you know, you’re, you’re working with these tools in wood and, um, I, I think that also is just so nice. Uh, Just, it, it’s almost kind of a, uh, it’s, it’s almost a version of woodworking, you know, you’re working in the wood.
[00:11:52] But, um, I think, you know, just growing up, building things with my dad and whatever, I mean, it, it’s nice to kind of pull in, [00:12:00] uh, some of that to, into my work. You know, not just working on paper, but I’ll actually kind of feeling the wood and, and even just feeling the tool going through the wood. It’s, it’s very, uh, ther therapeutic in that way.
[00:12:12] diane: So, um, Maya, as, is it easier to work with wood, um, than maybe like a lino or a scratcher board? Do you think it’s easier?
[00:12:23] Nathan Yoder: Um, it is. Uh, yeah, I think so. And I think, you know, if you’re talking to somebody who’s doing linocuts, I’m [00:12:30] sure they’re going to, of course, have their preferences and everything. But I think for me, uh, the, in my experience with Linocut, it’s been a little bit softer, you know?
[00:12:39] And so you, you’ve got a little bit, almost more of like, A bounce or kind of, there’s more give and, and every time you’re making a stroke, whereas with wood engraving, the wood is very dense and so you’ve got a lot of resistance that you’re feeling as you’re pushing the tool through. And that allows your, um, almost just creates a very natural kind of, [00:13:00] it studies your stroke, you know, because you’ve got that resistance.
[00:13:03] Whereas when you’re drawing with a pen, and especially if you’ve got like a dip pen or something like that, you’re having to be very light, uh, on the page. So you don’t have any sort of resistance to give you any sort of, um, stabilization, you know? And so it is harder to be a little bit more precise when you’re drawing with a pen.
[00:13:21] That’s why sometimes it’s a bit tricky to reproduce that exact sort of look that you’re getting through. Uh, the wood engraving, [00:13:30] uh, medium just because again, it’s like if you’re looking at old wood engravings, they’re just so sharp and clean. I mean, the strokes are just very, very sharp and that, and that’s essentially why the medium itself just lends itself to that sort of precision.
[00:13:45] So when,
[00:13:46] diane: so the last time you were on was 2016 and we talked about illustration and that pivot that you had made, um, into, I know it was kind of random. I just went, boom. Uh, I’m just moving on. That’s all good. Um, but I loved [00:14:00] the wood engraving stuff. Okay. So, but back in 2016 you had pivoted and you know, at that point you’re building your business.
[00:14:09] Um, you’re maybe still doing some, um, Branding work. Do you think now are, is your, you know, how do you pitch yourself or d I don’t know if you have a agent or something, but is it more still branding? I know you’ve done packaging. Some of the promos that I showed that you had sent me were, uh, [00:14:30] packaging, um, brand work still, I think part of in a brand.
[00:14:35] Um, but it was a good bit. Was packaging related, is that, I mean, is that, and a lot of it was in. I don’t know about stetson’s, like a hat, you know, they’re not alcohol based, but the others were like cider and wine. And, um, so I’m wondering if is, is the industry that you’re [00:15:00] going for more narrow or is it more broad and you’re still kind of doing branding or packaging as a broad overview?
[00:15:09] And I know that was a whole bunch of questions.
[00:15:11] Nathan Yoder: Sorry. No, it’s all good. I, I, I think, uh, at my, the, the whole approach that I’ve taken, you know, the past several years, essentially kind of since I’ve started with freelance work, um, my approach has been to basically put the work out that I [00:15:30] want to attract.
[00:15:31] Um, uh, you know, I guess just kind of being in the, you know, graphic design industry, it being so closely tied to advertising, you just kind of understand the principle of advertising that, you know, it’s like if you want a certain sort of thing, you know, Put out the appropriate call to action, you know, and I, and I guess, um, that’s, that’s been my approach basically.
[00:15:51] I, I, I haven’t really, um, uh, kind of reached out to [00:16:00] people directly kind of asking for specific types of work. I just basically show, like, if I’m not getting the work that I want, I’ll just basically kind of create a, a, a fake project more or less, you know, kinda like what you’re doing in, in school, um, to basically show your capabilities, you know?
[00:16:17] And so if I, if I, if there’s a direction I want to go and I just haven’t been given that chance yet, then it’s like I just basically, you know, put something together like that and, and I just kind of pitch it to the world, you know? That’s, I guess the [00:16:30] beauty of social media is that you can do that. You can just throw it out there and.
[00:16:33] And, you know, people don’t even necessarily have to know that it’s a fake project. You know, you just hopefully make it look convincing enough that, uh, people are like, great, okay, do that for us. You know, and, and so, um, that’s, that’s been my approach. But in terms of attack at attracting a specific kind of industry or something like that, um, I, I, I’m not necessarily, um, interested in a specific industry targeting [00:17:00] a specific industry as much as I’m just interested in industries that can utilize the, the style of work.
[00:17:07] Right. Um, and, and kind of the, the, I don’t know what you call it might sound pretentious, almost like the quality of work that I want to do. I mean, for a time I was, um, I was kind of dabbling in like comic kind of illustrations and things like that and I was really enjoying it just cuz I, I, you know, I think that’s kind of style is fun.
[00:17:26] But it just kind of dawned on me that it was like, you know, well what am I doing? Like if I’m [00:17:30] trying to actually make it as a, as a, as a freelance artist, the money isn’t there, you know? And so, uh, where, where it was fun. It wasn’t like a viable sort of like career direction, at least for me. And, um, so, uh, you know, the stuff that I’m also very excited about is, is this line work and, you know, kind of pen and ink and engraving stuff and, and if you just walk into a store and look around at where you see that sort of work, uh, very often it’s within the food and beverage [00:18:00] industry just because so much of that is still, um, at a parkin’s back to kind of traditional, um, uh, kind of types of scenes.
[00:18:09] You know, when it comes to food, we don’t always necessarily want something that’s kind of new and sterile in terms of its modern packaging. Obviously that’s always a thing and it’s always out there, but. Yeah, there are certain types of foods that, um, have all this history behind them. Yes. And, and so that’s where it kind of always hearkens back to [00:18:30] old, the old world sort of approach to things.
[00:18:33] And again, that’s the approach that I enjoy taking to my work is, is kind of that. Old war world message, you know, where there was a lot more character in the work. Um, and so that’s, that’s basically my approach. I’m not necessarily trying to go after, um, food and beverage, a particular industry, right? It’s just basically where can this work kind of, where can my work kind of fill a need or something?
[00:18:57] And, and so that’s, that’s kind of how I [00:19:00] handle it. I like
[00:19:00] diane: that because then that helps us to really look at it, instead of being so niche in one thing, it’s saying what companies could this help this style reflect their brand better? Do you find yourself doing branding work or is it more like packaging or a, um, a campaign work?
[00:19:26] Nathan Yoder: Uh, typically it’s a, it’s an agency or a studio. [00:19:30] Who’s working on a larger rebrand or something like that, um, who’s coming to me to contribute to that larger sort of project? And so, um, you know, in the past I had been focusing a little bit more on branding specifically, but increasingly, I’m, I’m more excited to.
[00:19:48] Contribute, you know, illustrations to either a, a brand or a studio, working with a brand, you know, to their larger sort of, um, kind of [00:20:00] strategy for that, that brand.
[00:20:01] diane: That’s cool. Okay. One of my later questions was about collaborating with others since you just talked about contributing. I love that a aspect that you get to be, because sometimes it can be pretty lonely to be a solopreneur, I mean, I know because it feels like this a lot of times.
[00:20:20] Pretty empty room. Me? Yeah. Or me and the client. Yeah. And I get real excited cuz I’m an extrovert, so I’m happy to meet with other people. But, so in, [00:20:30] when you collaborate, what, what elements do you think make up the perfect, um, uh, contribution or collaboration for you in a studio?
[00:20:41] Nathan Yoder: Um, I mean, I think, uh, I don’t know.
[00:20:46] I, I, I guess it just kind of comes down to kind of a finding a client or somebody who shares, um, uh, I don’t know, kinda almost like the, uh, the approach [00:21:00] to, to, uh, the work, you know, that I have, you know? And, and I think that’s the other thing that I’ve found. So, Encouraging about this approach that I’ve been taking to my work, which, you know, it being kind of a more traditional approach is when I was working kind of within a, maybe a slightly more trendy space, um, I kind of found it to be hard to, I, I, it was difficult to kind of ground myself in kind of where I stood, but then also in [00:21:30] terms of the clientele that I was attracting, um, they also weren’t necessarily sure, you know, like even where I stood, you know, because I didn’t either, you know, it’s like we are chasing some sort of a, a mirage, you know, being the trend of like, you know, how are we going to kind of capture, you know, what’s hot right now?
[00:21:49] And so it was always, it wasn’t a, a very enjoyable space to live in. And so I, I guess where I’m at now, I, I. Uh, you know, focusing on [00:22:00] something that is somewhat clearly defined in terms of like the, the kind of first principles of art and design, working from that as my footing and, um, and also the tradition, you know, that has come before me in terms of all these other artists and, um, kind of eras of, of illustration and things like that.
[00:22:21] Um, it, it kind of just attracts a certain type of clientele who also appreciates that. Yeah. So it feels like it we’re [00:22:30] able to be more collaborative in that way where it’s like we’re kind of joining forces within a very clearly defined sort of line of, uh, I don’t, I almost wanted to say reasoning, but it’s al we’re, you know, we’re making illustrations, making artwork.
[00:22:47] I don’t dunno if that answers the
[00:22:48] diane: question. Yes. Yeah, that does. So they’re really giving you the space to do what you do best and you’re. Giving them options and saying, you know, here’s some styles. Which [00:23:00] one do you kind of, uh, are you going with? Or maybe it just, it sounds like they’re letting you do what you do.
[00:23:06] Great. And then they’re also, they value the time and the approach that you take. And then they have an approach that they’re taking and it’s very similar to how they, they appreciate what you can do and you appreciate direction and guidance and clear communication probably from them to give them what they want.
[00:23:28] Nathan Yoder: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, and [00:23:30] that really is key. I mean, cuz I think initially when I first got into freelance, I, I really did, you know, sadly kind of look at myself as kind of the expert and, and I kind of carried myself in that way where a client would come to me and I was like, okay, they, they came to me to get this done.
[00:23:46] Whatever it is. And so once they started speaking into the artwork, it’s, I got, I was tempted. I very often got very defensive, you know, I was like, well, hey, like now you’re trying to kind of be a backseat driver here. Like, what’s going on? It’s like, and that’s just the, [00:24:00] it’s just the complete wrong attitude to have.
[00:24:03] I, I guess I, I, once I was able to kind of drop that mentality and basically say, Hey, like I’m here to partner with this person. It’s, it’s, it’s not, or this client, I, this isn’t like a, the me show, you know, where I just, you know, they came to me. And cuz I think that that’s very much a sort of attitude within the industry.
[00:24:25] It’s like this kind of, uh, graphic designer or illustrator [00:24:30] celebrity mentality where, you know, and, and we’ve seen characters like that within the industry where, you know, they are kind of put on this pedestal and we hear about their process and how they only give. There are clients one option, and this is the direction you’re gonna go.
[00:24:44] And everybody bows to their, you know, expertise and, and you know, very, very many of those people, they, they knew what they were doing and, and, and the clients were actually wise to go in the directions that they were proposing. But, but so what comes with so much of that is [00:25:00] just such a, an egocentric kind of mentality that just squashes true collaboration.
[00:25:05] And, and the thing that I’ve found, um, as I, as I kind of dropped that mentality is that the work became so much more enjoyable. Like, I, I was often very grumpy all through a career, all through a collaboration with a client because I was constantly like white-knuckling the project, trying to get my way.
[00:25:24] And I was very unhappy if things weren’t going my way. Whereas today, you know, when, [00:25:30] you know, the creative brief you get at the very beginning of a project is no different than. The feedback you get in the middle of the project where the client is asking for something that is hopefully steering you more in the direction of what their original intent or, or kind of direction was.
[00:25:48] And so rather than getting all upset, you know, I, I try to take that feedback wherever it’s coming in the phase of the project and make it my, my objective as well. It’s [00:26:00] like, okay, the client needs this to change. Rather than getting grumpy and thinking, oh, this is ruining the whole project. I’m like, okay, I need to think creatively about how to, how to, uh, integrate this feedback into what we’ve created so far.
[00:26:16] And that’s my job to do it in a creative way that’s also attractive and that is, is going to be serving. Uh, you know, their ultimate end and purpose. And so, um, anyways, again, I, I don’t know if that exactly answers the initial
[00:26:28] diane: question, but No, that was [00:26:30] awesome. And I love, so I think this is a good segue and you’re gonna be like, how did you get to there?
[00:26:34] But me and you had talked about this last week. Um, we talked about how our faith can play a role in when we are just trying to always going after those trends. It can be, and you just said it can be very ego. Um, I know what I’m doing, client, you are in the dark. You know, like, do you hired me for a reason?
[00:26:57] You know, and there is a lot. And not saying [00:27:00] that we just bend like a, um, I don’t know, a, you know, a palm tree, you know, has to be able to bend, but it’s a very strong tree. Those trees are still standing after a hurricane, you know? Yeah. Um, but it’s like, where does that. Uh, maybe there was an element or maybe you just had some self-reflection or maybe it was like, Hey, this isn’t, this, isn’t Jesus.
[00:27:26] Like, I need to, this isn’t a [00:27:30] attitude that I want to go forward with. What happened? Mm-hmm. Or when did that come about? When you kind of said, Hey, you know, I’m gonna, instead of just chasing something, I’m gonna figure out who I am. And then was there maybe an element where you were like, I don’t like being miserable and being mad, or being whatever.
[00:27:51] And can you tell us about either those both two different
[00:27:55] Nathan Yoder: things or. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think it ultimately [00:28:00] is all kind of one, uh, kind of, you know, a conversation we had had previously is that, you know, it’s, it’s hard for me to kind of talk about my work and I approached my work for very long before bringing up kind of the underlying foundation of my life and work just because that’s, that’s the kind of the fountain head out of which everything else comes, you know, uh, you know, building a house or whatever.
[00:28:23] It’s like, you know, you’re building on top of a, of a foundation and that the structure of your house, you know, has, is [00:28:30] determined by whatever that foundation is, you know, the landscape around it or whatever. And, and, and, uh, and so that’s, that’s, you know, again, and, and the approach I take to my work, um, I’m, I’m constantly referencing, you know, what I believe, you know, that, uh, being a Christian and, and, and, uh, that shapes my entire worldview, uh, and.
[00:28:52] So, yeah, I, I think, you know, and, and hopefully a part of being a Christian is constantly, you know, assessing your life [00:29:00] according to scripture and, and what God has has revealed in his word. And so, um, I think as I was, uh, getting deeper and deeper into, uh, you know, kind of the creative industry, but also into, um, considering where I wanted to go with my work, you know, I think I got to this point where it was almost like a crossroads where I was like, okay, if I keep going in the direction that I’m going, [00:29:30] uh, can I say honestly that I’m following kind of the, the biblical kind of mandate, you know, the, the kind of the ethic laid out for me in scripture and, and I guess, um, That’s where, you know, I, I had to kind of take a step back and, and kind of be like, no, you know, I, I’m not, you know, kind of having that egocentric kind of approach to my work that says, you know, my way is the right way.
[00:29:54] You know, cuts explicitly against, you know, passages like in Philippians where it says, you know, out of humility, [00:30:00] consider the needs of others is greater than your own. And so it’s like that’s thing, passages like that are the foundation for my approach to my work and the way that I just laid out. I mean, that, that’s the reason why I work in that way, you know, it’s, um, it’s not my will be done.
[00:30:17] It’s I will be done. You know, the Lords will be done. So, so yeah, that’s, that, that was at least kind of a more or less the thought process, but behind that sort of a, Shift when you
[00:30:28] diane: made that shift. And, [00:30:30] and a lot of this is in your business, this isn’t necessarily your drawing differently. You know, it’s about in that, and there is so much of what we do has to do with not what we’re doing on paper.
[00:30:41] It’s how we conduct ourselves with our clients. It’s that we’re giving them space and time and that we’re listening to hear what their needs are. Because often they, people have a hard time, we have a hard time communicating. We just feel it’s wrong. I’ve said this like, it ha [00:31:00] you have to be very clear and you have to be, uh, someone who can take the feedback and not get upset.
[00:31:07] I always feel like Jesus wouldn’t, wouldn’t have, um, gotten upset to, um, be, uh, given feedback. Right. And I, I. I mean, I feel like he, when he was, he was like talking about the children. Now you’re really much better about knowing all your verses better. I need to work on that. But, but, [00:31:30] um, when he was like, no, don’t put these children aside.
[00:31:33] This is where we need to, we need to pour into the children. So he just had a different perspective from what the world would was thinking that was important. Right. The, the disciples were like, ah, push those kids away or something. And he’s like, whoa buddy, this isn’t what we’re supposed to be doing. And I feel like in a way, yeah, that client is supposed to be where we’re pouring into and it isn’t ego-driven, which I think [00:32:00] is, there’s something different about, um, Ego and then also being confident.
[00:32:06] And I know this wasn’t one of our questions, but is that something you could address?
[00:32:11] Nathan Yoder: Yeah, no, I mean, I was even just talking to somebody recently who, who’s also a believer, but they were kind of arguing, um, almost against kind of a mentality that kind of says that that’s constantly kind of, um, lowering yourself, you know, uh, kind of humbling yourself [00:32:30] more or less.
[00:32:30] I mean, they probably wouldn’t put it that way, but, um, basically arguing that, you know, in Christ, you know, we’re a new creature and so there should be all this confidence and joy and, and you know, and, and of course I believe that, but I, and I, and I think their other argument was that if we’re constantly humbling ourselves, we’re going to, it’s going to have a, um, uh, kind of a, an ill effect on our work.
[00:32:55] Almost. Kind of like you’re saying. It’s like you’re kind of, you’re cutting down your confidence so [00:33:00] that your work won’t be as strong and. And I, and I think I, I kind of get what they’re saying, but I think, um, I think a real biblical kind of approach to this, um, to the gospel, uh, gives you both true humility, but also, uh, all this confidence, uh, but in the right sort of way.
[00:33:22] And, and I’ll, I’ll explain that by saying, you know, in, in Christ, you know, the, the whole point of the gospel is to recognize that I am, I am a [00:33:30] sinner in need of the grace of God, uh, you know, for my salvation to be free of, of my sin. And, um, and so that’s humility to say, uh, Lord, be gracious to me a sinner, you know, you’re, and, and this isn’t, you know, just me comparing myself to some human standard of sin or, you know, doing things the wrong way.
[00:33:49] This is, this is, you know, you read scripture about even the holiest people that we can find in scripture coming into the presence of God and falling on their face. You know, this is, uh, [00:34:00] this is. Human depravity and, and just kind of our human nature being confronted with a pure, righteous and holy God. And that just naturally is going to humble you.
[00:34:10] At the same time, we recognized what Christ did for us, what Christ did for me on the cross, you know, he, he came and, and took the form of a man and died so that I can be alive in Christ and set free from my sins. And what confidence, you know, comes from that, it’s a wonderful [00:34:30] thing. And so it’s like the gospel gives both true humility, but also the, all this confidence.
[00:34:35] And, and so of course, you know, we’ve all experienced Christians who, who, uh, who are prideful and kind of are, are kind of carrying around that sort of pH uh, kind of attitude. And so, you know, that’s where you see somebody who is neglecting, um, uh, to see. To, to put themselves in true sort of contrast [00:35:00] with the holiness of God.
[00:35:01] You know? Okay. You’re, you’ve forgotten that part of it. But then you’ve also met Christians who are so just like down on themselves, basically constantly just like, um, almost like the monks of the past, you know, just like whipping themselves and scouring themselves and causing themselves all this pain in order to had to give pit, uh, penance to God for their sins.
[00:35:21] And it’s like, no, you don’t have to do that. Christ did that for you. You know, he’s, he’s died for you. So, you know, both things have to be, [00:35:30] um, uh, you know, considered and, uh, and lived with, you know, but, you know, recognizing who you are in the face of a holy God that granting you, giving you true humility, but then also meditating on what Christ has done for me.
[00:35:46] And then that creating confidence. And so, So, yes, I can, I can go into the world and engage with clients and say, Hey, you know, because I know who I am in Christ, I’m not trying to garner my sort of sense of [00:36:00] self-worth from a client’s approval of me and my work. I’ve, I’ve already got that in God, you know, kind of like a child having all this confidence because they know their parent loves them.
[00:36:11] That’s what a Christian has in Christ. While at the same time being humble and saying, you know, Hey, because I’m loved by God, because my identity is assure and secure in him, I can, uh, humble myself to your needs right now. How can I help you? And, and I’m not going to be offended if you criticize my work in any [00:36:30] way.
[00:36:30] You know, I’m going to try and understand where you’re coming from and, uh, and adjust my tactics to, you know, hopefully better serve your needs. So, yeah,
[00:36:39] diane: that was a awesome explanation. I think humble, I, I think, uh, a lot of. Uh, I have struggled with either talking down about myself or, um, maybe having, I know I’ve had some conversations and I’m like, oh, I thought they meant that and that wasn’t what [00:37:00] they meant.
[00:37:00] And I’m like, oh, yeah. You know, it was just like I, because it, I was coming across as I was trying to be confident. And I do think I’m confident I do, but it, I do think that there’s a real struggle in, um, a lot of people who are, uh, Christians who are trying to, um, understand what that, between the confidence and then humility.
[00:37:26] So I th I think you explained that. Great. So let’s go [00:37:30] into, You getting that? Um, just the calling. Your, uh, um, does your faith in your calling play a role in your ability to market yourself? Because this also has to do with what we were just talking about. You’re like, Mimi, me, the me show, it’s the social media show, right?
[00:37:50] Yeah. The me. Yeah. And so there is a lot of. Um, maybe battle internally for, for you or for any, uh, [00:38:00] anybody who has struggles with that. How much social media. You, you are a business owner, you have three kids and a wife. You have a house, you may have animals. I have no idea. Right. But there are people that are relying on you and then now it kind of goes against it when you have to go and just self-promote.
[00:38:20] Self-promote. Self-promote. Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about this and how, where your faith comes in and the role, uh, anyway, the end?
[00:38:29] Nathan Yoder: [00:38:30] Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s, uh, it’s, it’s something that I am always thinking about and, and I’ve been thinking about more and more over the past several years, you know, um, just because like, as you described it, I, I just, I don’t, I don’t like it like, at all, you know, from like, from, just from like a, I, there are so many blessings that come with, so social media, just in terms of [00:39:00] how, how any, any individual out there is able to share their work with the masses and, and thereby attract work.
[00:39:09] And, and that’s a wonderful thing, you know, at, but along with that comes all, all kinds of other baggage, you know. Um, I think the, um, the problem there, I guess is, [00:39:30] you know, with, with just, I guess self-promotion in general, it’s like I would, I would much rather somebody see value in my work and share it, uh, with somebody else.
[00:39:41] And in the, and in the, in the past. Um, that is how, um, you know, the, the, the role that a publisher. Filled, you know, you’d basically submit your work to the publisher. They would look at the work and say, Hey, either you [00:40:00] need to do a little bit more work here. I think you, I think you could do more. Come back to us in, in a time and, and we’ll see where you’re at.
[00:40:07] Uh, or, you know, they look at your work and they’re like, Hey, this, we think this is great. It’s worthy of publication. We’re gonna share your work. So something about that whole dynamic, um, kind of allowed for a certain amount of humility, you know, and it kind of humbled the artist and maybe it, and kind of good in bad ways.
[00:40:26] They can be discouraging if you’re constantly being rejected. But in another sense, you [00:40:30] know, you were, you were still recognizing some sort of a, an authority, albeit an earthly authority, higher than yourself. Whereas today, the, the temptation that is always there with social media is to say, I’m. I’m the, the, the arbiter of what is good and beautiful here.
[00:40:48] I’m, I’m kind of sharing my work with everybody, and so I get to say, what’s, what’s good here? And, and just the way that social media is even made, uh, you know, the, just kind of the foundational kind of aspects of social media. [00:41:00] Um, like there’s a certain amount of vanity that’s just baked into it, you know, just by sharing something on my account, it’s almost just like an implicit sort of, um, I don’t know what you call it, like, uh, kind of pride baked into it that like, Hey, I think this is worthy of, of everybody’s attention.
[00:41:23] And so, I don’t know. It’s like, you could probably overthink this to death, but, um, I think there, there’s, there’s, [00:41:30] there’s no denying at this. Point that social media, uh, stokes pride and vanity, we, we all see that. And we also see like the, the ill effects that that’s having on us. Like even just psychologically, just the world and the culture.
[00:41:44] And, uh, so that’s something that I’m very sensitive to and that I’m always trying to mitigate and try and find the ways of, of sharing my work online in a way that is helpful to potential clients. Like, Hey, here’s my work. But also, [00:42:00] um, uh, you know, not also kind of, uh, being, you know, prideful and, uh, you know, kind of causing myself to stumble and, and, and the sense of thinking more highly of myself than.
[00:42:15] Then I ought, you know, um, so anyways, I, it, it’s a, it’s a hard one to wrap my head around.
[00:42:21] diane: It is. It’s hard. And I think that people will take, I mean, I am just so thankful that I didn’t grow up with social media. [00:42:30] Yeah. Because I think that would’ve been so difficult. I was so, I still am so awkward that, you know, kids would’ve just to tore me apart.
[00:42:39] Yes. And so I’m really thankful. But there, so there’s, um, But we can, especially when we’re learning and we’re trying to get work, if we knew that there were these arbor AERs of, it was an authority, uh, a worldly [00:43:00] authority as you said, but whether it’s a. Agent or a, a magazine or a, a publishing house or something who was kind of taking these and then marketing for these people or saying, Hey, uh, you’re not quite there yet.
[00:43:14] Send me stuff in a year. And you’re like, what am I gonna do for a year to make money? But at that point, people would still be working on their craft and they would take that rejection as, okay, I’m gonna continue. They wouldn’t keep sending the [00:43:30] same work out. Um, again, you do have to send some of the same work cuz it might not be good for this, you know?
[00:43:38] Yeah. Author, but it’s really good for this authority. So it’s, it works out. Yeah. So it’s not, but if you’re trying to send the same authority, the same piece of work that you’ve done nothing to and not improved upon, then you haven’t grown. And if that was a authority that you really wanted to, um, I don’t know.
[00:43:58] Em, you wanted to be [00:44:00] embraced by, and I think that for me, social media can be hard if I come at it with, oh, did I get how many people like this? How many you know? And yes, obviously when we’re marketing for our clients and we’re marketing, those are the metrics. But I always have had a really warp since, even for this, this podcast or web show or whatever we call it this week, um, I just think if somebody showed up live, [00:44:30] so thank you guys all for showing up live.
[00:44:31] If somebody besides my guests showed up live, then it’s a win. And I, uh, those are the things that I always. Then that it’s mattering for those people. Okay. And whether there were three people or 56 people, it didn’t matter to me. I thought it was great that I got 56 people, you know, but mm-hmm. I’m happy with, with the people that showed up.
[00:44:59] And I [00:45:00] do feel like that is a, um, that’s the way Jesus would want me to be, I think in just like, Hey, you serve his right in front of you. Yeah. And you. Um, and, and Amy says it’s always more fun to join live, I think it is, cuz you get to be a part of that conversation. Yeah. It’s important for me to read what y’all are writing as we come and I try, try to figure out where y’all are popping in from and, and say hey to you.
[00:45:27] But yeah, it is a [00:45:30] battle and I think that you do have to be consistent in posting, um, or being visible. I have also taken some time, uh, off of certain platforms and I really, I, I’m not sure, I’m not sure I know what, where I’m supposed to be, but I know that if I don’t do something to tell people about what I’m doing, then how can I ever be reaching more people?
[00:45:56] Then I think about the, the. Um, the [00:46:00] story about the talents, which always bothers me cuz it’s like talent and then talents, it’s like coins. Yeah. This one, you know, these people were given these coins and some people went and made, you know, they invested it and did other things and this one person just dug a hole and put the coin in and there were at least I c kept track of this, this coin.
[00:46:21] Yeah. And I do feel like there’s some of this that comes into play, like God’s given you this great skill and I think he wants to use [00:46:30] you and he wants you to love on clients in a certain way, but it’s just as much you loving on them as it is this awesome work that you get to do as well. So to me it’s like this twofold.
[00:46:41] It’s not just the work that Nathan you can do, it’s also the way you work, the way you talk, the way you love on your clients. Yeah. And I think that we just have to. I don’t know, spur each other on to and encourage each other to, if we haven’t seen something, we [00:47:00] just need, cuz hey, it’s mattering to somebody.
[00:47:02] The next client might not see you except on social media. But it is a battle and I think we just have to take time off when, when we need time off. What do you think about taking time off from social media?
[00:47:15] Nathan Yoder: Yeah, I, I mean, I, I’m, I’m a proponent of that to the point of exiting social media altogether. You know, it’s like, I, I think the, I don’t know, the, um, [00:47:30] the thing that I find frustrating, I guess in some ways is.
[00:47:37] I, I would not choose social media as my means of attracting work if I was given other options. I just, I don’t agree with the, the whole kind of approach, and I don’t agree, and I don’t, I, I’m not a fan of what it does to people. Me being one of those [00:48:00] people, um, right. I just, I, I don’t think it’s good, like how we can be so manipulated, even, you know, even just unconsciously, you know, by either what other people are sharing or whatever the powers that be are sharing.
[00:48:16] Um, I don’t think it’s good for like critical thinking and actually sitting with, with something that you’re being confronted with and thinking through it rather than just passionately like reacting, being, taking such a reaction approach to every world [00:48:30] issue. And, and so, I think where, whereas it is doing a lot of good, I think you have to set that aside and consider, you know, the, the ill, the ills that have come from it.
[00:48:42] And, um, I think, and you know, obviously the argument is always, well if you get off social media, you know you’re not gonna have work anymore. And I’m like, okay. But at the same time, just about anybody you talk to will talk to you for a long time about the ill effects that social [00:49:00] media has had on their life.
[00:49:00] And I’m like, can we not then invent another way and, and can we not stop and consider the fact that there have been other ways in the past that we’ve walked away from, like maybe we should return to some of those ways, but to return to anything in our modern day. You know, culture is almost sacrilege, you know, it’s like to go backwards, like why would we go backwards and.
[00:49:20] And I think, but, but I think it’s worth considering. And, and I think for me, I’m, I’m thankfully, you know, I’m, I’m so, I’m so thankful that word of mouth is starting to work for me now. And so I [00:49:30] don’t have to rely on social media as much. And, um, because again, um, that’s social media is really kind of the only reason I’m on there is to, is, uh, for the sake of a, of attracting work, um, for, for my business.
[00:49:46] You know? And, and of course, you know, somebody might hear that and be like, oh, like how selfish of you just to share work and, and uh, and, but I think the other sort of expectation that has come with social media is that you have this incredible [00:50:00] sort of sphere of kind of. Uh, kind of circle of friends and acquaintances.
[00:50:06] Um, but, uh, that, that there’s this impulse to always kind of keep up with, but, um, I don’t know. I even, those, uh, you can only keep up with so many people and, and you can only keep up with so many people to a meaningful kind of extent, you know, depth, you know. Yep. And, uh, you know, I, I think, and maybe it’s also the phase [00:50:30] of life that I’m in, I just am so much more encouraged and built up by the people that I see face to face and that I interact with on a daily basis than on a weekly basis, you know, at church or whatever.
[00:50:41] I’m so much more encouraged by those people in those communities than I am with a community that is just inherently superficial. Um, I hate to say it, you know, as, as social media. And so it is a very, it can be a very, um, powerful tool. Um, but I think in the ways that so many of [00:51:00] us are attempted to try and use social media, it’s not a good replacement for those more effective tools and, uh, modes of, uh, communicating with people, you know?
[00:51:10] Yeah.
[00:51:11] diane: Dee says, I don’t think it’s selfish to make a living using social media is just advertising. But she said earlier, she said, I don’t get my work. Most of my work from social media or I don’t get my work from social media comes mostly from putting myself out there and networking. And that’s exactly what you’re saying with people.
[00:51:27] And I think for me, um, I mean, I [00:51:30] live like. In the, I mean, in the middle of a whole bunch of fields. So there’s not, yeah, I mean, uh, a lot of networking that’s going on, um, yeah. In, in my city, but I’ve still been able to make real friendships with people and then been able to get work from some of those things.
[00:51:49] Or like going to Creative South. I know we got to meet at Creative South one year, long time ago. And, um, uh, Brian White, I met at Creative South, um, who was here [00:52:00] earlier and I think Drew Posa, uh, uh, he, I met him, um, at Creative South and, but I’d seen his work cause he’d done a tons of work for, um, a church that, I can’t think of what the name is, um, does a tons of their children’s stuff.
[00:52:15] And I just think that it is, it is really, it is important to have real relationships. I do think you can start, um, having those, um, Uh, I think you get interested [00:52:30] maybe in somebody on social media, but if you don’t ever take it from. To a conversation like what we’re having then you’re never having, even though we’re not sitting right next to each other, we’re face-to-face, um, virtually, but we’re still able to have a real conversation.
[00:52:46] And it’s about having those things with clients, with right. Regular people. I’ve had people who’ve asked me there, I was like, well, hey, do you wanna meet up on Zoom? Uh, do a, you know, a talk, a chat on Zoom? And they were like, what [00:53:00] for? And I’m like, yeah, to be friends. The, yeah. Oh, like that was it. Yeah. Um, Saddleback, that’s right, drew.
[00:53:06] Sorry about that. Um, but it, it’s like you do have to put yourself out there, and I think it’s, it’s easier to just say, Hey, I’m just gonna put myself out there on social media and just put this work. But then they miss the joy of getting to know you, Nathan, because there isn’t that conversation. And it isn’t just, you aren’t just the work.
[00:53:29] And I think [00:53:30] that that’s part of that, that’s the part where your faith comes in and your, your relationship of who you know. God wants you to be. And that is always changing. We’re growing, we are always finding new things that we can, um, explore new things that he’s put in our path, new people we can love on, and also things that we can work on.
[00:53:53] Right. It’s not like we’re all perfect or anything, but No, not at all. And we [00:54:00] are here at the end and I, um, wanted to make sure. So, um, I have, we’ll do these sort of lightning rounds. I don’t know if we can really do these lightning round, but we’re gonna try. Yes. Um, do you ever feel isolated in our industry because you’re a Christian?
[00:54:16] Nathan Yoder: Um, I mean, I think just by the nature of things, yes. But I just given the fact that our, our industry is just inherently kind of materialistic. I think it [00:54:30] tends to kind of, uh, I don’t know. Uh,
[00:54:37] I don’t know. I guess I, I wanna be careful. It, it, whereas a Christian, it’s like there, the, there a Christian’s perspective and world for you is always on eternal things. So much of our industry is focused on promoting the schemes of man, you know, and like the things that he has made. And cuz I had even thought about this previously after our conversation, I was like, you [00:55:00] know, it just about any like, fine artist that you meet whose work depicts in some way, uh, nature, you know, wildlife or even portraits or whatever, it’s, it’s hard not to find an artist that’s depicting those things.
[00:55:13] Essentially the works of God depicting his creation and beauty. It’s hard not to find an artist who doesn’t on some level recognize a spiritual reality, even if they’re not a Christian. Whereas within the design industry, um, it, it just seems like just about every other designer [00:55:30] you meet, it, it, it’s hard to find, uh, uh, You know, on average it seems like it’s more of a nihilistic sort of character, somebody who is either, um, uh, what’s the terms anyways?
[00:55:46] diane: I don’t know what nihilistic means.
[00:55:48] Nathan Yoder: Uh, basically all is meaningless and kind of pointless, and there’s no like, kind of ultimate purpose in life, you know? Uh, um, and so I don’t know, but I, but I think that there’s some [00:56:00] sort of correlation there between, within the design industry where we’re constantly focusing on the schemes of man and pro promoting the, the material aspects of life.
[00:56:09] Whereas, you know, uh, traditionally kind of fine artists constantly kind of being inspired by nature and essentially, you know, again, the works of God. It’s like, it’s hard to not go to a national park or experience some natural sort of wonder and, and, and stop and think, just look at the night sky in the universe and be like, man, like, be impressed by some sense [00:56:30] of like the divine nature that, you know, sparked all of this.
[00:56:33] Um, And so I think, um, I don’t know, I kind of rabbit trailed there, but I think in some ways, you know, within the design industry, it makes sense why you wouldn’t find as many Christians, you know, or even people who believe in God just even just starting there just because it seems like it kind of breeds a sort of, uh, atheism that it’s like, man is more important than God, you know, just [00:57:00] because that’s what I spend all day promoting, you know, it’s the works of man.
[00:57:03] And so that’s, uh, that’s something that I even wrestle with just being in this industry, you know, it’s like trying not to get too wrapped up in all of that. But, but yeah, you know, again, uh, just by the nature of things, just by even just the statistics, I, I might, I, I feel a little bit lonely sometimes as a Christian within the industry that I exhibit, but I also try not to think about it too much and, and because it’s not that important ultimately, you know, it doesn’t really matter if, um, My [00:57:30] industry is predominantly Christian or not in the sense that I’m going to carry myself in the same way regardless, and I’m not going to carry around a sort of like, um, uh, I don’t know, kind of grievance complex, you know, like, uh, you know, people should pity me for being, uh, as a solo,
[00:57:46] diane: right.
[00:57:47] I think, I think in, for me, I have, um, there, there were have been times where I have felt like, oh man, I’m the only person in the room that loves Jesus. Yeah. And if I say that, they’re gonna be [00:58:00] like, it’ll be like the witch hunt, you know, they’ll be like, you know, black letter her and get her outta here.
[00:58:07] Sort of, you know. But I haven’t actually found that to be true because I haven’t ev I, I just tell people I love Jesus. Um, and they seem to be okay with that. They may not also love Jesus, but that’s okay. Um, and so I just, I think, but it has it before I was okay sharing that it can. Be very [00:58:30] isolating, I think.
[00:58:30] Yeah. Um, and, and it can feel pretty lonely because it is, um, it’s not in the arts. I think in general, you’re not, um, surrounded by it. It’s not predominantly, um, um, maybe, uh, maybe that’s a generalization, but I, yeah. I have, I would say in, you know, in the areas that I’ve been around, they’re in working in academia, it’s not [00:59:00] very, uh, not many people are Christians there.
[00:59:02] So, but I think that when you get down to the brass tacks of it, it’s having conversations and being willing to Yeah. Even if we don’t agree that we have conversations and I think that’s, you know, that that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to be the light to the light of the world. Right. Right.
[00:59:22] Um, so. I wanted to ask you this cuz this kind of leads into my next week’s guest. Um, [00:59:30] and her and I are gonna talk a lot about this, but I kind of wanted to see, and this was one of the questions on the thing, so we’ll try to lightening this one. Um, but is there, uh, coming up with new ideas, is there anything that you do, cuz you’re working very traditionally and a lot of the things are nature inspired.
[00:59:50] What is, what some of the first steps for you when you’re trying to come up with new ideas?
[00:59:57] Nathan Yoder: Um, I think, [01:00:00] uh, part of it is really trying to make sure that, you know, cuz typically, I guess, I guess there’s two approaches here. Like if we’re considering a client project versus a personal project, cuz you know, I.
[01:00:14] Those two, they’re problems associated with both, you know, with a client, I always try to make sure that I’m starting with a, a good idea of, of what the client is after, because that if I can collect that information, if I can get a good sense that I’m on the same [01:00:30] page with the client, um, that gives me a lot of the fuel that I need for a creative idea.
[01:00:35] You know, just because I can start to, you know, problem solve in that direction. You know, it’s like, okay, like what is the, what is the message and what is the general sort of mood or feeling, you know, that this client’s trying to convey? So then you just kind of brainstorm around those things. Um, and, uh, within personal work, it’s, it’s a bit more difficult just because I think, [01:01:00] um, in many ways the easy thing about client work is that you’re being handed the objective, whereas with, with personal work that’s all on you, it’s like you have to come to a, to, to an understanding of, of what you want, you know, and what you want to say and what you want to convey.
[01:01:18] And, um, and I find that difficult sometimes. I, I, you know, some people I, I see they can just spit out all kinds of work and it can be very abstract and all over the place. I, I need to have some sort of [01:01:30] a, a, a clear idea or a. Message to convey through whatever I’m working on. And, um, uh, so that could be a challenge.
[01:01:39] So I think within the personal work that’s, that’s, the verdict is still out in terms of giving, uh, helpful advice. Do you think you, I, I think just starting is the good place is just working.
[01:01:50] diane: Do you think you start with like brainstorms or wordless and, and you need kind of that message in, in verbal form for you to move [01:02:00] forward?
[01:02:01] Nathan Yoder: Yeah, I, I think so. Uh, I think it, it helps because a lot of times with a client, you know, I’ll try to have them include in their brief some sort of like a, you know, a story, you know, kind of put their, whatever the, the thing is that they’re trying to convey in like a story form. You know, this is what we’re trying to achieve and, and who we’re trying to reach and all this.
[01:02:22] And um, and that helps because an illustration is essentially like a visual, visual storytelling, you know, it’s [01:02:30] like rather than just. Depicting something that’s in front of you. Um, and whatever impression comes out of that being left up to the viewer, um, an illustrator has a very clear objective to con convey a very specific message, you know, and, um, so yeah, I, I think things like word lists and uh, things like that, keywords can really help kind of narrow things down and, and get you going in the right
[01:02:58] diane: direction.
[01:02:59] Okay. So [01:03:00] next in, I guess second to last question is, what’s one piece of advice that you would give the Nathan from 2013?
[01:03:10] Nathan Yoder: Um, I think, uh, I don’t know. I, I guess maybe just to try and, you know, it’s easier said than done when you’re considering, you know, a younger version of yourself and just. Adolescence and how, how kind of vulnerable you are in those kind of, [01:03:30] and even just like shortly after adolescence, you know, it’s just how, how impressionable you are and how much you want to impress others and make sure you’re being, um, admired by others.
[01:03:44] Um, obviously, you know that, that you struggle with things like that more at, during that season of life than later. Um, and almost unavoidably, just, that’s just kind of where you are in life. But that would kind of be my thing [01:04:00] is just try and convince myself not to be so influenced by other people’s, you know, perception of, of you, of me talking to myself back then.
[01:04:11] And, um, and again, I, I guess that’s where, as a Christian, you know, kind of pointing me, again, talking to myself in the past, pointing myself back to, to God’s word and, and what he has said about himself, but also about me and who I am in Christ and what he’s done for me. Uh, really trying to [01:04:30] get that through my, you know, fixed goal and so that I wouldn’t be so, uh, you know, painfully self-conscious all the time.
[01:04:39] Mm. That would be hopefully helpful to me then. That’s a great,
[01:04:43] diane: that’s great. That’s a great advice for early and because I do think we do care. We care about what other people think. It’s not what we’re supposed to care, but it just happens. So it’s just this constant. But can you imagine if you were telling yourself this, you would be like, oh, he looks like he’s doing [01:05:00] okay.
[01:05:00] You know, like mm-hmm. I just need to just not worry so much. And I do, I, I, I think that, so then what is next? That’s the last question. We had plenty of more, but I knew we wouldn’t, but we had a great conversation and I’m really glad. Yeah. So, so what would be, what’s next for you? What, what are you hoping to do next?
[01:05:18] Nathan Yoder: Um, I mean, My, my wife and I, we’ve, we’ve talked about ever since we first met, um, someday doing children’s books. So we think that would just be so fun. And it seems like, you know, it’s almost [01:05:30] cliche when you talk to an illustrator that’s like what everybody wants to do. But, you know, my my wife, uh, she, uh, before our kids came, came along, um, she was a, um, elementary school teacher.
[01:05:42] She taught, uh, like second, third grade. And, um, and so of course that’s just kind of, she’s just really good about, uh, just obviously teaching, but, um, you know, kind of just telling a story and, and so, but she’s also, she, she really [01:06:00] enjoys drawing and doing watercolors and things like that. And so, um, so we’ve talked about collaborating in that way.
[01:06:06] You know, where I think she could, she could write a children’s story much better than me, but then kind of also joining the forces on the illustrations, cuz. Her work. She just has such a, a great sort of personality in her work, but a lot of times she, she kind of struggles with kind of, uh, fleshing out those drawings.
[01:06:23] And so we’ve thought about, uh, how it would be fun to almost have her do the initial sketches and then I come in and kind [01:06:30] of maybe kind of put some of the finishing touches on things and maybe kind of sure up the perspective and the proportions and, you know, I just, I think that would be fun. So, uh, but beyond that, I, I would love to do more with, um, wood engraving and, uh, I, not too long ago I actually bought a letter press machine, which I haven’t, uh, had a chance to even touch, uh, since, so I would love to do more with letter press and my wooden engravings and, um, uh, but yeah, [01:07:00] beyond that, I guess just, um, just continuing to grow hopefully.
[01:07:04] I think that’s the thing I’ve found over the years that. Really, truly keeps me excited. It’s not necessarily about jumping to this or that trend, kinda like what we’ve talked about, but it’s just about growing. And, and I think that’s the thing that makes your early years so exciting is the fact that you’re learning and growing.
[01:07:20] And so much of burnout, I think and stagnation mm-hmm. Uh, comes from just stop, you know, making up excuses for not learning anymore, you know? [01:07:30] And, and I think, uh, that’s the, that’s the thing that’s exciting about, um, I don’t know, life when you’re engaged, when you’re learning. I mean, even just, uh, my wife and I having kids, it’s like that’s a whole new sort of challenge.
[01:07:43] It, it just keeps things exciting when you’re having to learn. And, and, uh, so that’s the thing I I, I’m constantly trying to research, uh, you know, my work, what engraving especially lately, but then how I can improve in terms of line work, creating books and things like that. Um, [01:08:00] That helps me sort of maintain that excitement.
[01:08:02] So, um, so yeah, hopefully also just getting better at the work that I’m doing today would be what’s next.
[01:08:08] diane: That’s great. I love that. Well, I just wanna make sure that you guys know how to follow and Jen says, after seeing your work for the first time today, that sounds like it would be amazing. And Drew said your work is super amazing up there earlier, so you got a lots of praises.
[01:08:23] If you haven’t seen Nathan’s work, you can go to yonder, Y O N D [01:08:30] R. Studio like And then if you wanna, and the links are right at the top of both YouTube and if you’re looking at it on your podcast thing, his links are at the top. Mine are below that, but his links are right at the top.
[01:08:46] Um, and then on Instagram it’s just Yoder, y o d e r. Anyway, Nathan, it’s always good. We had a great, I think we had a great conversation. Oh yeah. And I, it’s just nice [01:09:00] to be able to talk about all these things and really we’re maybe not giving direct exact answers because right in the middle of it, But sometimes it’s just nice to talk to somebody in the mud hole with you, you know?
[01:09:15] Yeah. Like, um, we’re right here. We’re trying, we’re trying to get out or we’re working on it, but we’re just being, uh, the pastor came in, um, at the, my, this is my parents’ church, and he was like, do you, are you gonna do a virtual background or something, Diane? [01:09:30] And I was like, Nope. I’m gonna leave it authentic.
[01:09:33] This is what I did last week. I’m good with this. This is fine to me. I’m thankful that the church lets me come and use their internet every Wednesday for a while. Yes. You know? Um, anyway, to me it’s just, um, it’s just really nice and I’ve just really enjoyed our conversation and I always do and I’m always praying for you, Nathan, and just helping you to everybody just to move forward.
[01:09:58] Hopefully this was helpful [01:10:00] today and just thanks for coming and thank you Nathan for giving us lots of. Uh, good answers and advice and just honest, um, thoughts on, on life and working.
[01:10:15] Nathan Yoder: Yeah. Well, yeah. Thanks for having me on. And, uh, yeah, I always enjoy the conversations. I mean, I could, I could, I could do another couple hours.
[01:10:22] I feel like that so many of the things we touched on, I feel like were just like the, the outline. I’m like, okay, we need to get into more of it.
[01:10:29] diane: Yeah. Well maybe [01:10:30] we’ll have to do that. I, I would love to do that. Yeah. Um, and Barry says, great conversation. Loving your work, Nathan. I knew you would, Barry. You would love his stuff.
[01:10:39] So thank you. Um, anyway, I will see you guys all next week and we have Brandy C on and she’s gonna be talking to us about, um, where maybe we should go in the beginning of that creative process. And she gets pretty passionate about it. Um, So anyway, [01:11:00] I think she’s gonna talk a little bit about her faith as well cuz uh, she goes but she is super passionate about not just going straight to Pinterest.
[01:11:08] So that was one reason I wanted to kind of, I figured you were, you know, not going but you did the Stetson Beaver, uh, if you guys look at that one, that one’s like, cuz I love beavers and so I loved that beaver drawing that you did. So anyway, makes then thank you and everybody, I’ll see you guys next week.[01:11:30]

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