Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures

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I don’t remember how I actually discovered this site, but one day I came upon www.crappypictures.com, created by Amber Dusik, and I have been a loyal follower ever since.  It’s a hilarious blog about day to day experiences all of us parents can relate to, and it’s illustrated with her “crappy pictures.”  

It makes me laugh, and many times gives me relief that I am not alone in some of the crazy things that I deal with as a parent. Dusik has a book coming out March 16th 2013 called, “Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures,” and I was excited to interview her and find out how this all started!

What inspired you to start your blog?

I was so frustrated by my oldest son screaming at me while I changed my youngest son’s diaper that I wanted to share the story. To vent. I drew crappy pictures as a joke and posted it on my personal blog that I’ve had for many years. People liked it but at that point I had no intention of doing more. It wasn’t until my second illustrated post  a month later that I started a dedicated blog at crappypictures.com because the response was so huge.  

How did you come up with the name?

‘Crappy pictures’ is how I described my first illustrated post. It stuck.

You are known for your “crappy pictures” – do you have a background in art?

Yes, I have a degree in art therapy. Which is really an accurate description of what my blog is. It IS my therapy via art.

How did you choose the outfits that you all three are always wearing?  Your signature purple dress, Crappy Boy’s signature blue outfit, and Crappy Babies signature yellow diaper.

Because that is what we were all actually wearing when I illustrated the first one. I kept going with it so the characters would be recognizable. Also, I’m lazy.

What were you doing before you started this blog?

I had a natural wooden toy shop called woodmouse on Etsy. I also run a number of websites, like Make Baby Stuff and Do It Yourself Weddings and DIY Home Decorating Ideas and In & Around Los Angeles and a few others that I’ve sold. I also did ceramics and sewed clothes. I did a number of things that I rarely have time for now.

Has your blog become a full time job, or how much of your time do you need to dedicate to it?

Between writing a book and keeping up the blog, yes it is a full time job. I’m still a stay at home mom along with my full time job though so the hours I keep are pretty odd. I mostly work in the wee hours of the night.

You have a great following – did this happen organically or did you actively pursue readers?  If so, how did you do this?

It all grew organically. My second ever post was very popular and that gave me an incredible jumpstart for a new blog. From there, my readership continued to expand. By far the biggest traffic comes from readers sharing my posts with others.  

What are some of the strangest responses or reactions you have received from readers?

The strange responses come from the people who email me saying things like “don’t beat yourself up, your drawings really aren’t that bad” and send me links to how to draw books which would be funny except they aren’t being funny. They are serious.

Are your boys aware of your blog?  If so, what do they think about it?

They know that I draw and write stories about our family and that lots of people see them. My eldest likes to illustrate his own stories though they usually involve spaceships. He has asked me to post one on my blog and maybe that will happen some day.

Which other websites do you write for as a guest blogger, and how did those partnerships happen?

I write for The Huffington Post which started when their parenting editor asked me if I was interested in writing for them. I have guest posted here and there but I don’t write for any other blogs regularly. I’ve been invited to post on all of them but I rarely do it these days because I need to focus on writing content for my own blog.

A lot of moms start blogs as a way to hopefully make an income from home.  Has your blog become lucrative and if so, in what ways?  Was this one of your intentions?

It has been lucrative in terms of exposure and getting a book deal but the blog itself doesn’t make much money. I have sponsors and the monthly income from that covers my hosting costs and assorted technical support expenses that always come up. I basically break even. Then again, I don’t use an ad network and I don’t do product reviews or sponsored posts. I’m sure I could make more money if I went that route but I’m not there yet.

It’s very exciting that you have a book coming out.  Did you actively seek a book deal, or did it come looking for you?

Agents and publishers did start to approach me about doing a book. In the end though, I got a deal the traditional way by writing a book proposal and having my agent send it out to potential publishers.

How many years do you see writing your blog and what is your overall vision for it?

I won’t have young kids forever but I definitely have plans to keep the blog around. Like many parenting focused blogs it will eventually evolve into talking about marriage and food and travel and hobbies and getting older and well, life.  

How else do you want to expand your blog into other business ventures?

My biggest dream would be an animated TV show. I’d also like to license my images to be on more products. Like greeting cards, calendars and coffee and wine. I basically want an entire Crappy empire. Or not. If that doesn’t happen I’ll still have fun.

What are your favorite blogs?

I rarely have time to read blogs anymore. Isn’t that horrible? But I’d say Jason Good and Beth Woolsey and Jill Smokler and not a blog but where I go for a laugh is The Oatmeal.

Do you have any advice for fellow moms hoping to start their own blog?

Starting a blog is so easy now there is no reason not to give it a try. If you find that you love it then just keep writing. Connect with other bloggers and eventually your people will find you. If you find that you don’t love it, well, then find something you do love. Simple.  

Where can we buy your book?

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures comes out March 16th, 2013 and it is available now for pre-order from all of the online retailers linked to here: http://crappypictures.com/parenting-illustrated-with-crappy-pictures/

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