A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME

Kristen Schwartz photo

Kristen Schwartz • she/her

“I believe kind, clear communication is a gift that ripples out. When we communicate as supportive human beings, we come together openly, with curiosity—ready to find solutions that benefit the greater good.”

These words are at the heart of everything I do. However, in college, it astonished me that I chose to focus on communication at all. As an introverted, highly sensitive person (HSP) who was, at times, painfully shy—communicating nuanced ideas and emotions through my work was often a struggle. And yet, if I was going to be heard and understood, I needed to stick with it. So I did—constantly improving, shedding my shyness, and developing a career spanning over 30 years. My HSP traits (empathy, compassion, noticing subtleties, being deeply moved by art, music, and story, etc.) were exactly the skills I needed to become a better communicator.

Distilling concepts to their essence with carefully chosen words and images has become a joyful process for me. I love bringing ideas to life beautifully on an uncluttered page. Collaborating with my clients to do this in a way that is true to who they are, is a phenomenal way to share my skills. In addition, empowering them to connect with their audiences—without resorting to manipulative tactics—is profoundly fulfilling.

My focus is on websites and online presence, but I've done many other projects I'm very passionate about. Some include illustrating, designing, and writing engaging educational exhibits, designing and illustrating books for all ages, and creating illustrated multi-audience public interest stories aimed at protecting nature.

Over three decades ago, I worked for a graphics imprinting company, a newspaper, and an ad agency before setting out on my own. So much has changed, yet we need kind, clear, engaging communication more than ever.

If my work and mindset seem like a fit, contact me for a consultation or bid. Requesting a bid is the best way to learn how to bring your vision to life within your budget.


Always an artist. Images of Kristen painting at 5 at an easel wearing a smock and setting off to art school with her portfolio

Painting at five (left) and off to art school (right).

I grew up in an art gallery. (Yes, I did.)

I got into business early. For one venture, when I was 12, I made little creatures called “Nice Mice” and sold them at the India Street Art Colony Jazz Festival.

I have been using Apple computers since 1980.

In the 80s, I worked for a software company called Beagle Bros. that made games and utilities for Apple computers.

Image of the Beagle Bros staff from a 1983 article in SoftTalk magazine

1983 SoftTalk magazine article with the Beagle Bros. crew.
That's me (aka Minnie Assembler), second from the left.

I have been living, working, and playing in South Lake Tahoe, CA, for over 30 years.

In the early 2000s, I developed a method for printing on raw silk and was featured in a Rochester, New York, art show with fellow art printing innovators.

I had the tremendous honor of being chosen to work with author/illustrator Yuyi Morales in the 2009 Nevada Mentor Program through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

I wasn't aware of how much I use my hands when talking until I animatedly described some illustrations during a live radio interview. I managed to unplug all the sound equipment with one enthusiastic gesture.

I wear many hats in my life, many of which are helmets.

Our grown child, a computer scientist/linguist, is a Ph.D. student studying fairness and privacy in natural language processing. (We don't understand everything, but we try!)

Photo of our black kelpie dog

Our brave dog.

When we rescued our dog, she was afraid of trash cans, tree stumps, people, other dogs, and shadows. She is currently only scared of our houseguest—a cat named Wren.

The most validating thing a publishing house art director ever said to me:
“You can obviously draw the hell out of anything.”


A decorative font glyph for the number 3 from the font Stringfellows Ornaments.

IN RANDOM ORDER:

BioSpirit Day Spa
Artful Leather
Maverick Carving
Nikki Shannon Smith
Tahoe: Lost and Found
Kathy Harmon-Luber
Tahoe Art League
Trudy Levy Arts
The Tallahassee Ballet
Tahoe Distinctive Video
Sierra Nevada Snow Removal
Society of Young Inklings
The NoGlobe Alliance
Tahoe Writers Works
Millicent Meng
Bona Fide Books
Thorough Web Press
Range of Light Publishing
Mountain Girl Mysteries
Good Dog Press
Makoto Press
Behind the Seams Publishing
Dream Weight Blankets
Rearview Miracles
The Studio Lake Tahoe
Grass Roots Natural Foods
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Lake Tahoe Acupunture and Wellness
Jim Stamates Wildlife Photography
Kimball Chatfield LAc., OMD
Alpensong Healing Arts
Kalena Associates
Dr. Annette Childs
Attorney George Keller
Strategic Marketing Group
Tahoe Summers