Peggy Dean of The Pigeon Letters

Peggy Dean is a published artist, best-selling author, and award-winning educator. As a self-taught artist born into creativity through her struggle with mental health, she promotes embracing imperfections, living out loud, and believes that anyone with a passion should feel empowered to create. Now, that's something I can get behind! 
Amandine Thomas
Peggy Dean sitting at a low table, painting.
I first met Peggy in 2020 (dark times!), as she mentored me through Find Your Creative Style, a class whose underlying message of joyous empowerment she embraces in everything she does. Her contagious energy, effortless authenticity and strong commitment to what she believes in shone through, even behind a computer screen. Three years later, a stint in The Pigeon Letter Design Team and a few more classes under my belt, I sat down with her to unpack what makes The Pigeon Letters so special.

Illustration, hand-lettering, books, art supplies, courses, you do it all! This is a bit of a chicken and egg question, but... what came first?

I was super drawn to modern calligraphy and wanted to learn, but there were very limited resources at the time. I started teaching myself (terribly!) and eventually formed a system that I was able to share with others through online courses. After that kicked off, I decided a book on brush lettering must be made! It was a real delight tacking new mediums, techniques, and styles onto lettering, and a lot of the things I dabbled in, from line drawing to watercolor and more, ended up elevating my calligraphy. I'm all about letting a process unfold organically, and that's exactly how I kicked off. I have curiosity that I'll never deny.

And how did you build that initial practice into what The Pigeon Letters is today?

Ultimately, my mission is to provide a platform that encourages and supports creativity for anyone with a passion to create.

I believe that everyone has the potential to be a great artist, and it's my goal to help individuals unlock that potential and share their unique perspective with the world.

Whether it's through my courses, resources, or community, I aim to create a space that empowers and guides individuals to express themselves through their work, no matter who they are or where they come from.

One thing you and I share is a strong commitment to our values, in life and at work. Was that always there for you?

100% yes. I come from a humble upbringing. My mom was the warmest soul with arms wide open. Creativity allows you to embrace your individuality and express your unique perspective. In a world that often values conformity, art offers a space where you can be unapologetically yourself. This can be a liberating and empowering experience that allows you to fully embrace who you are, and share that with the world. Everyone should get to feel this way. If I can make a positive impact on one person each day, I've succeeded.

Your convictions are pretty front and centre, like your cruelty-free brushes, or the fact that you don't use non-vegan supplies in any of your videos. Are there any other ways you have built your beliefs into your business?

Indeed! I do deep research on nonprofits working toward the rehabilitation, restoration, and protection of wildlife and its habitats, and The Pigeon Letters donates proceeds to them each month. It's wonderful to share what I've learned through this process and point people toward some of my favorite nonprofits.

Sometimes, standing up for what we believe can be a bit scary: we have to be vulnerable, and share more about ourselves that is sometimes comfortable. But I have noticed you are really good at putting your whole self out there. Any tips for those who might aspire to do the same?

To be honest, I think it's scarier NOT to. The idea of being suffocated with anxiety about doing or saying the 'right" thing makes me feel like I'd rather not do it at all.

We need humanity, and creativity through art is a wonderful place to spark connection. We share a passion that is unique to us, and that's pretty special.

Find more from Peggy on The Pigeon Letters, on Skillshare, or on Instagram!


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