Hey, all! Welcome to the new site in all its work-​in-​progress glory. Let’s talk about some stuff, like why there’s a new site in the first place and what you can expect from me moving forward.

Where I started.

Back in 2013-​ish, I expressed a desire to merge my online professional and personal presences. I was really tired of what felt like segmenting myself instead of embracing my entire self. All in all, it worked pretty well. With the help of a couple friends, I was able to get my site up and running to really showcase my design work and focus on writing.


Then came 2016. A lot of life-​altering things happened that year. I broke up with an abusive husband of 6 years, was raped by the first person I dated after the break-​up, and lost my job — just to name a few things. With all these changes, I was faced with some decisions to make.

For one, I was no longer going to be Dani Kelley. When the time came, it was really important to me to reclaim Dani Ward. It felt like coming home to my true self.

Early in the year, I interviewed with a local business owner. He pointedly stressed to me how important it was that all employees fit “within the company culture.” I wondered if having my blog so readily available with my portfolio had somehow affected his opinion of whether I could do my job. After a friend was hired there and told me how very conservative it was, I realized my hunch had likely been correct, given my decidedly not conservative views.

Finally, this past semester, as I helped my graduating students prepare their portfolios and resumes, I found myself stressing to them the importance of separating their professional and personal identities online. And I was struck that I wasn’t following my own advice.

I’m not embarrassed by my political and social views. I’m not ashamed of my mental and physical health struggles or the limitations they present. But the time has simply come for me to once again separate my professional work from my writing, artwork, and even teaching.

New beginnings.

A few months ago, I quietly began building this website. I transferred a lot of content over from my old site, and started working on getting the design and content where I wanted it. I’d hoped to dot every “i” and cross every “t” before publishing new content, but I quickly realized that’s not how I want to work. I want to be raw and open. I want you to see things rough and see how they go from rough to awesome. That’s how design — and life — works, after all.

So here I am. A Fat Girl in progress, pulling all of my writing and art and teaching into its own space to live and breathe and flourish. Part of this brand is all about showing you my creative process as an artist and human being, so I may as well start organically now!

What to expect.

In some ways, you can expect more of the same. Just. A lot more of it. After some relative silence, I’m ready to start sharing again.

  • I’ll keep writing as I continue working through thoughts and ideas and experiences as a human in this world.
  • My lettering and illustration will take a bit more of a center stage, as well. While those things can certainly be part of my professional design work, I’ve found that the vast majority of my commissioned work is culturally-​driven artwork. I think that’s better suited to Fat Girl, Living than my professional space.
  • I’m also going to start recording and sharing a lot more videos. I’ve been recording videos for my students for the past couple of semesters, and I’ve found that it’s a really helpful format for people who want to learn more about art and design principles.

So far, the above is what I’m able to start doing right now. But I know I’m capable of doing and sharing so much more.

Which is where you come in.

Join Fat Girl, Living.

Art supplies, design programs, web hosting, and video recording are all super expensive. That’s why I’ve set up a Patreon account, where I can use what I earn to attain resources that allow me to share more creations more regularly with more people.

When you become a Fat Girl Patron, you’ll gain access to some pretty cool stuff:

  • Sneak peeks at what I’m working on, before I tell anyone else
  • Insight into my creative process, from start to finish
  • Surprise free digital downloads of some of my work
  • The opportunity to shape the future of all Fat Girl offerings

Starting in June, patrons will be charged a flat monthly fee, starting at as little as $1/​month. What can $1/​month do? On its own, perhaps not much. But if a lot of you chip in, it’ll really add up, and you’ll enable me to give you even more of the content you want.

Fat Girl goals.

Right now, I have 4 goals set:

  1. $60/​month. $60/​month covers the very bare-​bones basics of my business-​related monthly expenses, freeing me up to focus more on creating cool things.
  2. $150/​month. With this, I’ll start saving to invest in better equipment to do things like: 
    • Record professional-​quality tutorials for my physical artwork
    • Attain better lighting for makeup tutorials, spoken-​word poetry, and any other videos that require you to see my face
    • Pick up a better video camera than my smartphone
  3. $300/​month. I’ll join professional associations and organizations for writers, artists, designers, and teachers. This lets me submit my work for various awards in those organizations. These sorts of memberships give me the opportunity to be more involved in my communities and establish myself as an accomplished professional in my fields.
  4. $500/​month. With the memberships I’ll have attained above and the extra income here, I’ll be able to start traveling to events to educate myself, educate others, sell my artwork, and network with artists and designers more.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Patreon and follow me a little more closely on this creative expedition I like to call my life. I’m a Fat Girl, Living. And I have a lot to offer.

Pssst. Check out the email signup in the sidebar, too. You can choose what kind of content you want to get from me, which will be awesome once things are up and running a little more smoothly!

Posted in Fat Girl,