ImagiNation with Becca Cunningham


Becca Cunningham

Founder & Owner, Cunning Co

Occupation: Watercolor Illustrator at Cunning Co.

Favorite Productivity Tool: Netflix playing in the background (the only way I get through paintings!). It keeps my mind alert and makes time go by quickly.

Most Recommended App: Adobe Scan

Last Thing You Read: Commonwealth by Anne Patchett


Instagram handle: @cunning_co

Tell us about your journey? Cunning Co. started with a a single pet portrait. An acquaintance of mine asked me to paint her dog, which spiraled into LOTS of other dogs, which led to me leaving my full-time job to start illustrating custom portraits, stationery and textiles.

What your favorite part of your day? The mornings. I love waking up, making a cup of coffee and writing down and prioritizing my to do list for the day.

When do you feel most successful? I feel the most successful when I get paid for projects that I connect to on a personal level. Getting to paint people’s dogs is such a personal thing to me because I am a huge animal lover.

What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained? About 6 months ago, I adopted my precious pup Louise! Whenever I’m in a rut I love to take her on walk on the Atlanta BeltLine with her to recharge and get some headspace.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? It’s okay to go through slumps; it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Any business has its busy times and its slower times and it’s not a reflection of your success or work ethic.

How do you optimize your day? While freelancing, I like to get all of my errands and chores done in the afternoons. This avoids long lines at grocery stores, time spent trying to figure out what’s for dinner and a looming sense of “I need to get this done later” out of mind. By working in the morning and in the evenings, it leaves me feeling like I accomplished everything that revolves on a more traditional schedule while I had the opportunity and now I can just focus on creating.

Who is the person/people who allowed you to imagine more? My coworker, Caitlin Cremer, who I worked with at West Elm in Brooklyn. Although we were both working great jobs in sourcing, we would talk everyday about how we wanted to transition into creative fields. She wanted to be a florist and I wanted to do something surrounding watercolor. We really made chasing our side hustles full time a goal and kept each other accountable about next steps over our weekly sushi lunches.

The second person would have to be Nick Staab. He’s an incredible illustrator and always encouraged me to push my limits as an illustrator (even if it meant starting over on a project) and explore new ways to share my talents.

What does imagining more mean to you and your story? Imagining more to me means opening your mind to opportunities when they are put in your path and saying “yes” to the universe. I’m a planner and like to map out the future in advance, but by opening my eyes to what is in the moment has led to so many opportunities I could have never dreamed of.

If you could do more of one thing every day what would it be? Kiss Louise. Never too much.