Creating a More Sustainable World, One Coloring Book at a Time

Creating a More Sustainable World, One Coloring Book at a Time
Credit: Michelle DeMarco, llamaGoose Studios.

Michelle DeMarco of llamaGoose Studios aims to create a more sustainable future through her art. The entrepreneur creates artisanal coloring books and donates a hefty portion of proceeds to non-profit conservation organizations, including The Conservation Foundation and Ocean Conservancy.

An author and illustrator, Michelle was named a finalist for American Book Fest’s 2022 Best Book Awards for “A Year of Wildflowers: SUMMER: A Coloring Book and Journal for Identifying New England’s Wildflowers.” Meet Michelle and learn more about her work in her interview below. 

Can you share the origin story of your creative business?

I opted to leave my corporate job to pursue my passion. While it meant stepping away from the security of a steady paycheck and venturing into the unknown, I knew my time was now. The experience has given me a deep sense of excitement and fulfillment. Still, it’s a little scary, and following my heart and doing work that genuinely inspires me has been my dream for about five years. Creating better products for a better world is my passion. I assembled my recent drawings and ideas, and the books began to evolve, and llamaGoose Studios emerged.

Credit: Michelle DeMarco, llamaGoose Studios.

At what point did you realize that llamaGoose could be a full-fledged business?

I had previous experience as a successful fine artist and enjoyed that creative expression. Still, I wanted to give back, to offer something to help others, fuel my passion, and make a difference. Once I began drawing the world around me, I knew I had discovered something I could share.

How do you define success for your creative business?

For llamaGoose Studios, success can be defined as the achievement of our mission to create a more sustainable future. This success entails not only producing high-quality artisanal coloring books but also actively contributing to the preservation of nature and the well-being of people, animals, and insects. And, it’s about making a positive impact on environmental sustainability, fostering a deep connection to the natural world, and inspiring others to join in our mission. It’s about creating a meaningful and lasting difference in the world while running a thriving and women-owned business rooted in these values.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find most of my inspiration from my daily walks in nature. Each day, I find tremendous creativity, awe, and a sense of responsibility. After my walks, I return home with a deep and enduring connection to the environment and the world we inhabit.

What advice would you give someone wanting to begin selling their art or creative product?

Persevere, because it’s never too late, and don’t be afraid to look inside and follow your inspiration regardless of what’s trending or what others are doing. Sure, gather data and metrics to give you a direction for outlets, but in the end, have faith in you and your creative projects.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I am a certified yoga and meditation teacher.

As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

Perfectionism gets in the way. A more blessed idea is to find comfort in your process. Having an idea of how a piece of art is going to unfold is the antithesis of making art. It’s about faith and trust. And over time, that process becomes instinctual.

Credit: Michelle DeMarco, llamaGoose Studios.

What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?

One surprising thing I’ve learned about running a creative business is the weird blend of art and commerce. Yes, it’s a business, but it involves a personal and emotional connection to my work than I imagine more traditional enterprises do. This leads to unique challenges and rewards. I feel today that the more authentic I can express my art-making process, the less I have to “market” and the more easily I find success.

What advice would you give to someone about handling the highs and lows of running a business?

Focus on the next logical step; do not let emotional highs or lows deter you. Worrying and anxiety steal your creative energy. Trust in yourself and your work. See the big picture and know that everyone was in your shoes at one time.

Has someone ever criticized your work? How did you handle it?

All the time. I only accept criticism if I ask someone I trust for feedback. Everyone has opinions, and I don’t necessarily need to listen to them. I trust my gut and instincts. And conversely, I try to have fewer opinions about others, so it helps. Sometimes, the JOMO (joy of missing out) can be a blessing. So basically, feed and nurture your feelings of contentment and happiness that come from disconnecting from social activities, events, or digital distractions. 

Can you share the name of a supplier or vendor that you use for your business that you just love—one that makes running your business a bit easier? 

I have been a Mac user from day one, so I use my iPhone, iPad and MacBook seamlessly to create. Adobe Creative Suite also has my go-to tools. 

What brings you joy?

What I think more about now is that joy finds me. Usually, it’s when I am engrossed by the beauty of a moment, whether that is making art, walking in nature, or listening to music. That’s when joy sneaks up and engulfs me.

Thanks, Michelle! You can learn more about the artist’s studio at

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length, grammar and clarity.

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