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‘It’s all a part of this daily reflection’: Local author Wade Forbes publishes illustrative journal to spread hope, self-care

Wade Forbes signs copies of his published journal, "90 Days to Write Your Way to Spring: The Winter Journal," from his home.

Wade Forbes has been spreading his own brand of positivity through illustrations of quotes he designs and shares for quite some time.

In his first publication, “90 Days to Write Your Way to Spring: The Winter Journal,” readers are treated to a collection of Forbes’ illustrations to use as a guide to dream, doodle, draw, and get in touch with their souls a little more each day, according to a news release from RedTale Communications.


Forbes, a Sykesville native, worked in cybersecurity and consulting with the Department of Defense for 16 years and used to frequent a small coffee shop close to work. During those visits, he saw how unhappy some of the workers were, especially when patrons were not so friendly. He started to draw daily quotes of inspiration to give to the baristas, along with his empty travel mug.

The baristas would stop, read the quotes, smile and talk about their personal aspirations with Forbes, who said he noticed a significant change in their moods during the daily grind of the morning coffee rush.


“After they filled up the back office area with all of my quotes, they started putting them on the outsides of machines,” Forbes said. “It changed the mood of the whole coffee shop because the stressed out and cranky patrons started to read the quotes and feel better, too.”

Forbes has illustrated hope for himself and his family since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to cut down on his own personal stress. He counted each day as he drew quotes, shared them to his social media channels, and watched as the posts gained online traction between family, friends and strangers.

His quotes can be found in classrooms, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, churches, conference rooms, hospitals and more, according to the release.

Forbes connected with a publisher in Chicago, hoping to share his drawings on a wider scale and they decided to create a seasonal journal. Rich Austin, Forbes’ friend and co-owner of Trembling Giant Marketing in Sykesville, designed the journal’s layout with one quote on each page for 90 days.

“It’s just been really exciting to see people getting hope and joy in their hearts during a time where our minds kind of gravitate toward all the ways things could go wrong instead of all the ways it could go right,” Forbes said.

An excerpt from Wade Forbes' published journal, "90 Days to Write Your Way to Spring: The Winter Journal."

Forbes said he had always loved to draw but was too afraid to make a living doing it, so he chose a career path in cybersecurity and teaching. Once the pandemic hit, he regrouped and looked for alternative ways to make money since he could no longer return to work.

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Forbes and his wife, Megan, started their illustration business, RedTale Communications, while quarantined at home. She is a voice-over artist, public speaker, facilitator and content specialist with 20 years of combined experience. The husband and wife duo work together to make clients’ stories come to life with voice-overs and illustrations.

Wade Forbes’ illustrative quotes are on the left side of every page in the journal and the right side is blank, designed for readers to doodle, draw, or write what they’re thinking.


“If you look for something bad, you’ll find it,” Forbes said. “If you look for something good, you’ll find it. I think what’s coming to us are these alerts and other things on our devices that are typically not always uplifting. The idea is when you see one of these quotes, that’s supposed to give you a dose of hope, courage, positivity and joy to take you out of a spiral.”

The journal, published earlier this month, is designed to get readers thinking about how they choose to reflect on themselves instead of on the negativity in the world. Forbes said spending his days doing this while quarantined helped him develop the idea to make this journal seasonal, so people can reflect every season.

Forbes is halfway through creating the spring journal and said he hopes people use them as a reminder to never give up instead of referring to mobile devices and social media for inspiration and validation.

“Self-care, I think, is supposed to reveal things about us that we didn’t know were there,” Forbes said. “Sometimes it’s healthy habits, strength, and other things. My self-care led me to a path that I actually love and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I get more sleep than I’ve ever gotten.

“It’s all a part of this daily reflection,” Forbes said. “It’s helped me and I hope it helps other people, too.”