Welcome, I’m very pleased to have you here! :)
Hello, I’m Ana and I’m a creative entrepreneur. I’m also an avid reader, an obsessed book lover, and an artist.
Three years ago my life looked very different from what it looks like now. I was just finishing my master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and was thinking I will have a career as a psychologist. But things didn’t quite work out like that. I did work for a short while in the field and I really, really liked it, but I soon realized that for the long-term that wasn’t the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
You see, ever since I was a child I had this vision, this image in my head, of me standing in front of a canvas and creating these wonderful pieces of art. You probably think that sounds crazy and I understand, because for a long time I thought so too. Where I grew up, a career in a creative field wasn’t seen as a viable thing to do. The myth of the suffering and starving artist was and still is very much alive.
So I did what many of us would do. I pursued a more “serious” career path and I tried to convince myself that that was what I really wanted to do. Even though, somewhere deep down inside, I knew it wasn’t and I was just fooling myself.
Fast-forward to 2017 when I decided it’s time to do something about it. So I began to study drawing, illustration, and graphic design on my own, and later also took some private drawing classes.
A year and a half has now passed since that moment and presently I got to this point where I feel ready to take the world by storm (joking :)). I now feel ready to take myself and my work out into the open. There’s still very much to do and very much to learn, but I am confident I can make things work, while also doing some good and bringing people a little bit of joy and maybe some inspiration.
That’s why I created AnaReads, which is not only my Instagram handle and the name of this blog, but also my creative studio where I seek to bring beauty and a feeling of childlike wonder and curiosity to mundane objects.
My work is heavily inspired by the extraordinary world of books and the joy I get from them. I believe books have the power to change the world and I believe in achieving personal growth through reading.
All my designs and illustrations are joyfully created in my home studio in Transylvania-Romania, while the physical products are carefully crafted and printed on premium materials by my manufacturers in the USA and Europe.
I believe in kindness, things well-done and always putting your best work forward. On top of that, I’m guided by the following principles and values, both in my personal life and my professional one (which, really, aren’t that separated now).
GROWTH THROUGH READING
I believe reading books is one of the fundamental things we must do if we want to grow as a human being. Whether is fiction or non-fiction work, there’s something special in accessing someone else’s wisdom, be it someone from centuries ago or someone who is closer to our present day. Through reading, we embark on a journey of perpetual self-discovery, and with every book we finish we get to know a little more about ourselves.
Marcel Proust said it best: “Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book”.
JOY THROUGH READING
How many times when we were growing up have we not seen reading as a chore? Teachers or parents or other authority figures made us read books that, well, were not a good fit for us. And maybe some of us, for many years to come, were left with the impression that reading is a difficult and painful thing to do. But, really, reading shouldn’t be like that.
Reading should be a life-giving and joyful experience, it should be something that ignites our souls and makes us squeal with joy, it should leave us feeling awe and admiration. It should lift our spirits, not bring us down. It should inspire us and give us hope. And when reading doesn’t make us feel like that, well, most likely we’re not reading the books that are right for us.
BOOKS ARE UNIVERSAL
No matter who we are, where we’re from and when we are in the world, there will always exist at least one book written by someone who either lived in another period of the history, or at the other side of the globe in a very different culture from ours, whose words will seem they were written just for us. Books have this power. And if you stop and think about it it’s quite an amazing thing. When we feel alone and feel like we don’t belong anywhere and the weight of the world becomes unbearable, books will give us comfort and bring joy and brighter days to our lives. We just have to allow them to do that.
And when we find ourselves in a hard place, let us remember James Baldwin’s words: "You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive."
CHILDLIKE WONDER & CURIOSITY
As an adult, I believe having a sense of childlike wonder is vital. We grow up and many of us transform into cynical adults. And then gone are the times when we would look at the world with fresh eyes and from a place of curiosity and we would think that every little thing is so, so wonderful.
But the thing is, the world in itself doesn’t just stop from being wonderful after we grow up. So why not let ourselves be awed? Life is tough, yes, but it’s fascinating too. And being curious about things is fun. Not only that, but it’s also necessary. Curiosity is the catalyst for progress and growth. And remember, “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back!” ;).
LESS NOISE & QUIETER TIME
We live in a very noisy world, both online and offline. We keep ourselves busy all the freaking time. We don’t allow our brains to rest. It’s true we now live in times of immediacy and, well, we can’t really change that. But we can choose to slow down. We can take the time and simply observe things. We can choose to slowly and willfully enjoy that book we’re reading, that cup of coffee or tea we’re drinking, that walk we’re taking, that time we’re spending with our family, that film we’re watching. I believe doing things in this manner, it’s not only refreshing, but it’s also important for our well-being.
So next time we catch ourselves in a state of unjustified hurry and feel overwhelmed by all the noise around us, let’s take a break and simply breathe.
YOU WON’T CATCH FISH IF YOU’RE AFRAID OF THE WATER
This is what my mom says to me whenever I feel scared at the thought of the things that I want to accomplish, whenever I feel like I’m not good enough or worthy enough for the things I would love to have in my life, whenever I’m being paralyzed by the fear of “what will people say?”.
This saying has become my mantra and I repeat it to myself every single day. We cannot let other’s people hypothetical opinions about us and the work we do, dictate what we can do or who we can become.
We cannot let fear win either. Baby steps will get us to where we want to arrive. And even catching a small fish is better than catching none.