2018 Year in Review


I kicked off 2018 in Chiang Mai, Thailand and am ending the year in the exact same place. Despite the consistent bookends, I spent the time in between racing around the world, growing my business, and living life to the absolute fullest.


In 2018, I:

  • visited seventeen countries

  • boarded 54 flights

  • published 300 new pieces of artwork

  • taught five new online courses

  • hiked up two volcanoes

  • spoke at five events in five states

Needless to say, it’s been a busy year.


The (Personal + Professional) Highlight Reel


In a step towards worldwide art domination, my artwork is officially now sold at Target!

CatCoq Classes

I launched five online classes, all geared at helping creatives and entrepreneurs grow their skills and ventures.


I collaborated with Society6 to design the cover artwork for the Storytellers Art Quarterly. I was also interviewed by their curatorial team, which manifested as a four-page spread within the publication.


I was invited to lead hand-lettering workshops in Minneapolis and Cleveland over the summer. Audience soared to more than 100 students each day.


One of my personal goals this year was to travel to more countries than the years I’d been alive. I started 2018 with 25 countries under my belt and ended the year at 32. Mission accomplished.


I had the opportunity to speak on the Creator Nation Panel at the Create & Cultivate Desert Pop-Up. The conference drew a massive crowd of aspiring women entrepreneurs who gathered to share ideas, network, and grow.

Transformative Business Breakthroughs of 2018

1. I’ve taken the next big step in my career and signed on with an art agency, Jewel Licensing & Branding. This is by far the biggest decision I’ve made in my business.

Prior to this year, I’d never actively sought out opportunities to license my artwork; instead, I’d take a passive approach and let brands find me. Thanks to my social media presence, this has worked out surprisingly well (Target, Urban Outfitters, Modcloth, Home Goods), but it was ultimately limiting my potential reach in the long-run.

With representation, the JBL team is actively seeking out new partnerships on my behalf. My client list has begun to explode and I’ve begun signing new licensing agreements on a near weekly basis.

It was daunting to apportion control of my company, but ultimately it came down to trust. I know I’m in good hands and this is the best move forward in terms of brand expansion.

2. I finally began offering the option of exclusive licensing with my artwork, which opened up the doors with Target, Home Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other massive retailers.

Prior to this year, I was only focused on licensing my work on a nonexclusive basis, which meant I could license the exact same artwork with an infinite number of companies. I justified this by telling myself this stance was keeping me from getting pigeonholed, but the truth is that I just didn’t have the organizational capacity to manage a variety of contracts with potentially conflicting language.

By moving forward with representation and getting a better grasp on my partnerships and contracts, I overcame this hurdle.

3. I opened up about my business challenges –and goals– to a group of nine fellow entrepreneurs during a Founder’s Retreat in Italy.

I’ve participated in several “masterminds” AKA business brainstorming sessions in the past, but this was the most impactful, as it provided me with a mindset shift from “solopreneur” thinking to bigger picture. My current focus is balancing my desire to scale up while still retaining autonomy over my work and life.

As an entrepreneur, I make daily decisions that impact the trajectory of my career, for better or worse. Because I carry full responsibility, missteps can feel like crushing blows. Failure is one of my deepest fears. I believe that embracing vulnerability can be a powerful catalyst for personal growth. It invites authentic conversations, deeper connections, and creative problem solving. The resulting breakthroughs are icing on the cake.

During my hour in the “hot seat” at the retreat, I laid it all on the table and asked for insight. My founder friends asked questions, offered feedback, and challenged me to consider all the possibilities of expanding my brand and strategically moving forward.

4. I’ve begun prioritizing speaking events. Public speaking is something that’s always been on the edge of my comfort zone, so it’s not something I’d been actively seeking out. But in 2018, I was presented with a handful of speaking opportunities that were too good to pass up.

The result? I’m more confident on stage, I’ve been able to share my story with a much wider audience, and I have more conferences on the books for 2019.

Top Travel Experiences:


Rome, Italy: When I was 17, I tossed a coin in the Trevi Fountain, ensuring a trip back to Rome in the future. Fourteen years later, I returned. Legend checks out. ✓ I joined an art history tour of the Vatican, enrolled in a pasta-making class, painted in my hotel room, and ordered the same prosciutto + buffalo cheese panini for lunch every day. (Washed down with a generous pour of Chianti.)


Cozumel, Mexico: I spotted my first sea turtle while drift diving off a shelf drop. (Like where Nemo got lost.) When I got back to the boat, I puked my guts out. I was either really excited or really seasick. While in the Yucatán, I also embarked on cenote diving for the first time. (Similar to cave diving.) Gliding through stalactites and looking up to see my air bubbles cluster together on the cavern ceiling above me was unreal.


Stromboli, Italy: I hiked up an active volcano during the Founder’s Retreat: ten entrepreneurs + ten days of masterminds and business growth. Plus hot lava. Another unexpected treat on Stromboli island: First bioluminescent plankton experience! I swam through a cloud of them at midnight. When I emerged from the water, my hair and bracelets were pulsing with pinpricks of light.


Dubrovnik, Croatia: I intended to take a bus from Bosnia to Montenegro, but fate had other ideas. I wound up 57 miles north of my destination, in the city where Game of Thrones was filmed. I found a last-minute place to stay, joined a walking tour, and stumbled upon bonus castle kittens. (Probably Tommen’s Lady Whiskers and Ser Pounce.)


Kotor, Montenegro: I came here knowing absolutely nothing about the country except for that my friend, Kate, was here. I came for girls wine nights, and stayed for the bayside hikes, fresh olives + cherries at the morning market, and medieval town vibes. Side note: Those rakı hangovers are killer.


Transylvania, Romania: I celebrated my birthday in my dream destination, Transylvania! My BF & I explored Vlad the Impaler’s castle, hiked in the Carpathian Mountains, and even saw a dead body. (We accidentally walked into a churchyard during a funeral.) Probably a vampire.


New Orleans, USA: I flew 6,000 miles to spend a weekend with my BFF in the Deep South. We drank gin & tonics on the street, visited cemeteries, ate beignets, experimented with voodoo, and only took off our masquerade masks to shower.


Pai, Thailand: I’ve been listening to my friends rave about this place for years, and finally I understand why. Pai is a small hippie town in northern Thailand. I left my laptop at home and spent a long weekend in nature with good friends. And elephants.


Cayo Jungle, Belize: I love any chance I get to spend time with family, especially if we’re doing something extraordinary. My parents, Aunt Claud, and I rendezvoused in Central America to trek through jungle, Mayan ruins, and caves. Muy bien!


Cities Visited in 2018

Chiang Mai, Thailand • Rome, Italy • Florence, Italy • Zurich, Switzerland • New York, USA • Kansas City, USA • Playa del Carmen, Mexico • Palm Springs, USA • Mexico City, Mexico • Tulum, Mexico • San Francisco, USA • Gatwick, England • Naples, Italy • Split, Croatia • Mostar, Bosnia • Dubrovnik, Croatia • Kotor, Montenegro • Bucharest, Romania • Brasov, Romania • Budapest, Hungary • Bratislava, Slovakia • Vienna, Austria • Belgrade, Serbia • New Orleans, USA • Minneapolis, USA • Cleveland, USA • San Ignacio, Belize • Tikal, Guatemala • Los Angeles, USA • Bangkok, Thailand • Hội An, Vietnam

Classes Published this Year

In 2018, Skillshare awarded me as a “Top Teacher”, which means I rank among the top 1% for student engagement and represent the platform’s most active and engaged teachers.

Three of my classes were labeled “Staff Picks” and featured prominently throughout the website, promoted in marketing campaigns, and bundled into Skillshare workshops.

All of this has combined to make 2018 my most successful year as an educator.

I couldn’t be more grateful to all 47,742 students who have enrolled in my courses and encourage me to continue along this path.

Teaching is an incredibly empowering role and has provided me with a deeper sense of purpose.

Modern Brush-Lettering & Calligraphy: From Sketch to Screen

Explore modern hand-lettering skills and learn how to bring your lettering artwork onto the computer to edit digitally.

Social Media Marketing: Top Tips for Growing Your Followers & Going Viral

Whether you’re promoting a side-hustle or an established brand, you can use social media marketing to your advantage.


Stylizing Lettering in Photoshop

Learn how to overlay hand-lettering or fonts with photography in Photoshop.

Learn Photoshop: Graphic Design Basics & Beyond

Get a basic understanding of Photoshop in this 90-minute intro to today’s most powerful visual editing program.

Modern Watercolor Techniques: Explore Skills to Create On-Trend Paintings

Explore your creativity and learn watercolor skills with this step-by-step watercolor class.


One Second Everyday

I filmed one second of video nearly every day of 2018 and compiled everything together to capture the essence of the year.



New Artwork of 2018

It was a fruitful year for art– I published roughly 300 new pieces of artwork. Here are my 36 favorite designs.


Select Collaborations


CatCoq Furniture Line Now Available Through Society6 // I’ve partnered up with S6 to bring you my designs on credenzas, coffee tables, side tables, benches, bar stools and counter stools, which will add a bit of your personal vibe to every space.

My Artwork is Now Sold at Target // I hit a massive licensing milestone in 2018: CatCoq is officially one of Target's retail brands! I have a selection of art prints and framed artwork available through their home decor category.


The Art Group // A selection of my designs were developed into a range of metallic prints, sold exclusively through The Art Group. A metallic gold finish is applied to select areas within each artwork, resulting in an ultra modern touch.

Art Murals and Hand-Lettering Workshops with GGP // In conjunction with my lettering workshops, GGP created giant wall murals out of my artwork. The murals are displayed within their properties across the United States.


Skillshare • Digital Nomad Cat Coquillette On Scaling A Side Hustle Into A Business

Brit+Co • Creative Crushin': How This Designer Quit Her Day Job and Became a Nomad

Society6 • Quarterly 3.4 Cover Artist Cat Coquillette on Hustling Hard and Traveling Solo Around the World

Celebrity Mentions

Queer Eye • Imagine my surprise when I was watching my favorite Netflix show and noticed something familiar– my Eat Well, Travel Often artwork was incorporated into the interior redesign of an episode in the newest season! My elation can be summed up in my favorite Jonathan Van Ness catchphrase: "CAN YOU BELIEVE?"


Lauren Conrad • Most people know Lauren Conrad as the star of MTV's hits "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills" but she is also an accomplished designer, lifestyle blogger, New York Times best-selling author, and incredibly successful businesswoman. I’m so honored that she chose my words of business advice to share with her audience. I originally spoke these words during an interview with Brit+Co.


Time to Wrap This Up

In a nutshell, 2018 was a year of world exploration, career growth, strengthened relationships, and mindset shifts. Business, travel, and personal time often overlap, but this sometimes-chaotic lifestyle is always incredibly fulfilling. You’re one for the books, 2018.


Want a deeper dive?

Check out my previous Year in Review for 2017.