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,