Campaigns for Positive Change




Graceful Works will be a part of Chicago Artist’s Month 2014. Our ongoing project Campaigns for Positive Change is a featured event.

Campaigns for Positive Change is an online exhibition that features artwork from Chicago land youth that proposes their ideas on how to stop the violence and bring peace to the Chicago land area.

Please visit the exhibition by clicking here.

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Things to Consider When Designing a Book Cover

It’s fair to say that your book cover is the first thing that most potential customers will see. So the title in combination with your cover are such an important part of your book design process.

From my perspective as a designer, here are some important things to consider when designing your book cover.

COPYRIGHTS – Make sure that you know where images, fonts and illustrations from outside sources come from. If you are dealing with a designer with a lack of integrity, they may take a photo off the internet that you do not have a legal right to use for a commercial purpose. Or they could use a free font but it is free for personal use, so you have violated the agreement with the author.

LICENSES – When you purchase a photo or illustration there can be different license choices. (i.e. standard license, enhanced license) You want to look at the number of copies that are permitted with your license. One standard license might allow 10k while another may allow 250k. If you hire a designer, make sure they give you a copy of all the licenses.

FONTS – Sometimes fonts can really date a piece of design – really consider if the font you are choosing is a trend right now. Really think about about the message of your book and choose a type face that further communicates that message. (i.e. your book is about how to be a great public speaker – pick a font that exudes confidence, charisma, integrity and leadership) Click below to see an example.


QUALITY – Please make sure you are using hi-resolution photos. 200 dpi(dots per inch) and above. Do not settle for bit mapped images they will cheapen your cover. Please, do not keep a white box around images.

BUDGET – To keep your costs down, do your due diligence. The clearer an author is with what their cover design is, the quicker the process. If you already know what images and fonts you want, production will go very fast.

PATIENCE – If you want an image of a winged white horse with an olive branch in it’s mouth dancing on a rainbow while flying over a city, that’s fine. But that is a very specific image that is going to have to be built and will take hours for a designer to create.

RESOURCES – photos and illustrations:,,,

All the best with designing your cover!
Katie Keller; Designer and Founder at Graceful Works

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Quick Craft Idea for Memorial Day

Yes, we all have a lot do in our busy lives. So here is a quick craft idea to honor our service members on this wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.



  • Pre-cut Wooden Heart (I got mine from Michaels)
  • Red and White Acrylic Paint  (I used a red glitter paint)
  • Paintbrushes (I used a foam brush and a fine detail brush)
  • Blue Ribbon
  • Staple Gun and Staples

So we have our wood heart.


  • Use the foam brush and red paint to paint the heart red. Remember to use consistent brush strokes.
  • Once the red paint is dry, paint on your “Thank You” with your white paint and detail brush.
  • Once the white paint is dry, cut your blue ribbon to the size that you desire. Then staple the blue ribbon towards the upper part of the back of the heart.

Here is a finished example!


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The Role of the Arts is to Provide a Constructive Way for People to Express Themselves

Students artworkStudent artwork from my “Campaigns for Positive Change” class.






I am a resident of Chicago. In my opinion, the most pressing social issue in Chicago is the young people that are dying too young as a result of gun violence.

I am also an artist. I conduct a monthly after-school program with a Chicago Public School that does not have an arts program. I find it unacceptable that arts education has been cut from SOME of our schools and especially a school area where a little less than 100% of the student population is at the poverty level. I find it unacceptable because I see how the arts can be used to make a positive difference in the lives of young people.

Art is all about expression. Whether or not we approve of the subject matter, we should be able to agree that it is a constructive form of self-expression. Because what this violence comes down to is the fact that people are expressing themselves. However, there is destructive self-expression being done through guns and what have you.

We can use the arts as a vehicle to work with young people on positive techniques of self-expression.

For proof, please check out this link to some more student artwork from my after-school class. This artwork is also from the “Campaigns for Positive Change” class.

Link to Campaigns for Positive Change Project

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Social Entrepreneurship and Arts Education

Recently, I have made the decision to redesign the tagline for my company. The new tagline is:

Filling the world with positive and original designs to help provide arts education for all schools.

This choice was made for a few reasons. I was reading Blake Mycoskie’s book Start Something that Matters. Blake is the founder of Tom’s Shoes, a company whose philosophy is to give a pair of shoes away for every pair of shoes it sells. While reading the book I received clarity about things I was already doing.

I had already started a charitable portion of my business, The 12 Gates. I was already scheduled to do an “Empowerment Through the Arts” class with Chicago Public Schools. So I just received clarity about how to articulate the purpose.

Last year, I had a business partnership with Chicago Public Schools. As a result, I worked with the 5 different 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms just about every Friday that school was in session. As a result of this experience, it came to my attention that the school did not have an art teacher or a formal art program. I personally know and believe in the healing power of the expressive and meditative nature of art. So I was disturbed that a school where the children are overcoming high rates of poverty, gang culture, and a local economy with the drug trade embedded into it did not have a positive arts outlet for the children to express themselves.Do I blame the schools? No. Do I blame the leadership? No. it is not about blaming, it is about fixing a problem. I know and believe in the healing power of creativity. So it is my responsibility to make a difference.


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Google Inside Search – AMAZING!

Google has come out with a new an amazing new feature that allows one to search the web for an image by utilizing the image as the search source! How exciting!

This can enable a business or artist to be proactive in seeking if there are any unauthorized use of trademarked or copyrighted work. You could also see where your presences is on the web.

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Awesome Social Media Widget for WordPress Sites and Blogs

This widget is eye appealing, easy to use, and extremely versatile. I would recommend this widget for anyone seeking for a social media application for your web site.

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