This Self-Taught Illustrator Proves It’s Never Too Late

Here’s an uplifting reminder to all you aspiring creatives out there: it’s never too late. Case in point: illustrator and author Lisa Congdon. With more than 360k followers on Instagram, and a feature in the 2017 book, 200 Women Who Will Change the Way you See the World, Congdon is clearly a force to be reckoned with.

Which makes her creative journey all the more surprising. “My start was very non-traditional,” she admitted once in an interview with Creative Boom. “I was just a regular, non-artist person (at the time in my early thirties) and I took a couple of art classes for fun. That was about 18 years ago.”

With “zero intention” of becoming a professional artist — or even of being an artist at all — things took off, mainly thanks to the internet. “I was basically just bored at my job, and going through some big changes in my life after a breakup with my partner, and needed something positive to focus on,” she recalled. “So I started taking classes making art at my kitchen table.”

But after sharing her work online she found that what she perceived as a simple hobby, could actually be the start of a new chapter. “My mantra has always been, ‘Begin anyhow,’” she says. With clients that include Comme des Garçons, Crate and Barrel, Facebook, and MoMA – you’d want to take note.

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Greetings, earthlings! My name is Lisa and if I don’t know you already, it is nice to meet you. 👋🏼 I live/work in Portland, Oregon (I moved here almost five years ago from San Francisco). I paint, draw and write stuff for a living. I didn’t start drawing or painting till I was 32 & didn’t leave my day job to make art for a living till I was 39. I turn 52 in January (I’m a textbook Capricorn), so art has been in my life for 20 years. When I’m not making art (or traveling on a book tour), you can find me on my carbon Trek road bike. I ride with & am on the board of a women’s cycling team here in Portland called Sorella Forte. I love going fast on my bike more than just about anything. Next year my goal is to ride over 3500 miles (more on that another time). I am a former competitive swimmer and I even wrote & illustrated a book about swimming a few yrs ago! My other great love is reading. I read a lot of books in my downtime. I have been an out member of the LGBTQ community since 1991. I am married to the most incredible woman. I wake up each day with so much gratitude for our life together. We’ve been together for 11.5 years, and the secret to our happy relationship is that we laugh and genuinely enjoy each other’s company every single day. I also have an amazing family who I love, and even have the great fortune to work closely with my sister Stephanie on many projects. Sometimes you’ll see photos of my dog Wilfredo on my stories. He’s a squishy, sweet, gentle creature. I am a very routined person: I get up at 5:30, eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, work out at the same spin studio many days a week (when I’m not outside on my road bike), make my own lunch every single day, and stop working by 5:30 to enjoy my evening. I loooove clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories and you might find me posting selfies of my outfits every now and again. I’m also passionate about social justice and supporting & raising money for organizations that help protect & provide opportunities for vulnerable people. Oh, and I collect lots of old things! That’s a little about me. I hope everyone has a solid Saturday!! Photo by my dear friend @dibblephoto 💙

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