I'm temporarily pulling this blog out of hibernation to show you a few new things I've done recently... and then I'm putting it right back to sleep.
I've been feeling like I'm in a bit of a slump lately, so I've been trying new things to try to work through it. Behold:
In April, I did a quick Easter Bunny sketch. It ended up working for both the SCBWI Draw This! prompt (bloom) and Colour Collective (lemon yellow) as well as the holiday... triple dipping! I challenged myself to only use 4 colors in this--pink, yellow, purple, and green. The grey of the bunny's fur is just the green and pink layered over each other... cool, eh?
I also played around with some mermaid pictures for Mermay! This first one was another limited palette experiment (limited palettes are FUN!) I think it has only... 6 colors? Anyway, I just wanted to see what would happen if I treated a piece a bit more like a cross between a painting and a reduction print. Some bits I like and some I don't. If I really liked where it was going I would spend some time getting that last 20% just right, but... I don't, so I moved on to other experiments. It was an interesting exercise, anyway.
I got an iPad Pro for mothers day (well, mostly just because I said It's Time Now I Need This) and played around in Procreate a bit as well. I kinda just let myself try things and do whatever I felt like, which ended up being in a VERY different style than I usually use. It was fun, but... uncomfortable. I'm headed right back to my comfort zone after this, thank you very much.
Last but not least... I actually made a VIDEO. 😲 (<- the face you should be making at that news.)
Well, sort of. I just drew in Procreate, and procreate made the video. BUT I recorded audio to go with it, and put it all together, AND uploaded it to Youtube! Which probably seems really basic to a lot of people, but it was a HUGE DEAL to me. Take a look below if you're curious!
That's it for what I've been working on recently.
I also added a links section to the bottom of my "about" page, so you can find pages showing contests, interviews, and challenges I've participated in. Take a look if you're interested.
My final piece of news is that I am now the Illustration Coordinator for my SCBWI Region, Eastern (Upstate) NY. I'm excited and nervous, but I think it will be a great experience so I'm looking forward to it.
And that's it for now--this blog is going back to sleep!
This is... kinda surreal.
I have a lot of different podcasts/channels/music I listen to while drawing and I basically just skip around to what I feel like listening to on a given day, so I don't really hear ALL of any given channel or podcast. (Note to self: do a post where I talk about all the cool illustration related channels/podcasts I listen to and ask for recommendations.)
I was just catching up on some recent Will Terry videos since I haven't listened for awhile. This title caught my eye.
I thought, "Hey, thats a legit concern, I wonder what he has to say about that..."
Then he mentions the tweet that prompted these thoughts and I'm like, "Hmm, that sounds familiar... wait a second... that sounds REALLY familiar..."
So I scroll back several months in MY OWN twitter feed and... there it is. My pessimistic tweets from late last year. And only now am I finding this direct response to them. Life is funny sometimes.
The good news is, I'm not feeling quite so pessimistic of late. My feeling recently has been--if you love the work and you learn and improve, that should be the most important success. It sounds lame but that's how it is.
Like the whole "Shoot for the moon: even if you miss, you'll land among the starts" quote, as cliche as it might sound. Maybe I will never ever succeed at the specific things that I want to. But If I'm working on something I enjoy, and learning and improving and doing good things with it, I will get SOMEWHERE worthwhile. It may or may not be what my current ideal version of success looks like, but I will get SOMEWHERE good if I do good work.
Finding the time to work is my current problem. Anyone want to borrow a toddler and a really cute baby?
You guys, I made a thing! A short comic, that is. And the campaign to fund it on Kickstarter opens TODAY!
Take a look:
SERVED comic on Kickstarter
I've been wanting to do more with comics for awhile now and this is the first time I'm really doing something "official" with it.
Comics and me took awhile to come together. Growing up, I read and read and read novels, then drew fanart of the characters. I, like many, mistook the MEDIUM of comics for a GENRE--comics were stories about superheroes, with lots of punching and fighting and science experiments gone wrong. I had no particular interest in that type of story. (Still don't.) And Manga? Well, without getting too much into it, in middle school the group of kids who were into Manga were really mean to me, so I became unwilling to try Manga just by association.
I always wanted to work in SOMETHING to do with stories, words, and pictures. I wanted to be an "artist" for the longest time, until in eigth grade when I read School Story by Andrew Clemens and realized, not only that those names on covers were actual PEOPLE, but that I could be one of them. Up to that point I was so focused on reading the books I hadn't stopped to really consider how they came to be.
So, for awhile I wanted to be a writer... until I found that I had a hard time expressing just what I wanted with words. Reading went fine, but words were so much harder than pictures. So, I decided I wanted to be.... wait for it... a LITERARY AGENT.
Yeah, I eventually realized that that was the wrong dream too. I loved reading, but I always came back to pictures. So when it came time to pick majors, I skipped English and went straight for the visual arts.
On my application to BYU Visual Arts department, I was asked to rank my interest in the different areas. I put Drawing and Painting first on my list. I wasnt sure what to put second... but illustration sounded cool. Besides, I might only be accepted to one and then my decision would be made.
Well, I was accepted to both. So now I had to choose one... to start, I looked at the list of required classes. Drawing and Painting included several I wanted to take, many I was less excited about, and some that sounded straight-up boring. Illustration, on the other hand, required only classes that sounded AWESOME. I went to talk to the department heads to learn more, and Brother Barrett was incredibly kind and knowledgable.
So, Illustration it is.
Wait a minute. Youre telling me illustration is making pictures that go with stories? This is what I've wanted to do my whole life! Why fidn't you say thats what it was called?!?
I mean, I knew that, but I never really internalized it until then.
So, illustration. There were a lot of kindred spirits in that major with me. One day in the studio we were chatting about books we liked, and the topic of comics came up. Oh, I don't really read comics, I said. I'm just not that into super hero stories.
Well, I was set straight pretty quickly, and was lent a comic to read then and there--Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. I was fascinated.
And SO BEHIND.
Here was this story telling medium that felt SO PERFECT for ME and I was just barely being introduced to it! My classmates had been reading and making these things for ages, and I barely knew what was possible!
Fortunately they gave me some good recommendations. I was hooked! This was my thing!
And then I left on my mission and lost some steam... but not all of it. I made several short fun little comics about funny things that happened to me and sent them home. They weren't great, (actually, they were pretty bad, I'll be honest) but they were lots of fun to make.
I wasn't sure where to go from there after coming home, though. I made a couple little comics for myself, but still felt really intimidated by the medium and kind of steered clear for awhile.
But when I was invited to create a short comic for the Served anthology, I was excited to say yes. I've read most of the stories in it and am really excited to be part of such a fun project--and humbled, because some really awesome and experienced comics creators have contributed. My little story feels shabby next to their polished work, but I'm proud to have done it. I think its a really fun collection and am excited for people to read it.
Take a look.
Please forgive any typos... this post was created one-handed while nursing a baby. Because I'm awesome like that.
Well, I finally got around to finalizing one of my other sketches of this character.
Keeping a character and style consistent is harder than it might seem! Especially since there were months between when I did these. I am catching tiny things to tweak even as I post this... so there will probably be updated versions of these in the future, when I get the last one done and I can edit all three side-by side. I hope to get the third image done soon... ish. Because life with a newborn makes getting things done... slow. And unpredictable. But very very satisfying.
Seeing that it's been over a month since I've managed to post here, this won't be a surprise to anyone reading this: I'm taking a break.
Why? Well, this morning we bought a house. Our first! We're so excited. It's a beautiful little cottage built in 1900 (no joke!) and now it's ours. And its time to move. And I have a toddler, and other things going on.
This doesn't change the fact that I've started work on a dummy that I think will be my best story yet (I always think THIS one will be the best yet, but its true!) And that I still plan to meet my goal of 3 postcards out this year, and also the need to update my portfolio (always, always, always. Sigh.) But, these things arent' going to happen in June, or even in July. I am taking a break, to (hopefully) come back with renewed focus and creativity.
I have posted this before, but I still love this quote so here it is again:
So, I'm embarking on a mini-creative-winter this summer. I will still read, and doodle, and imagine, but I won't push myself to get art done. Moving+toddler is enough.
See you in August.
I said I'd do it, and I did. Earlier today, I submitted the dummy of my story FINN'S FEET to the Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award. Thanks to all who commented on my last entry to help me find a title. Now my little story is going off into the world...
It was a big project, and the housework definitely got neglected as the deadline got closer, but it's done. It feels so good!
I only saved progress images of one of the illustrations, though. I was just trying to get them done as quickly as I could, so saving out periodically as I usually do just didn't happen.
This is a good start for my goals this year of pushing forward with my writing and illustrating this year, and actually submitting my work as well. Before doing this project I thought I mostly wanted to illustrate other people's stories, but putting this together helped me to realize that I actually really like creating my own stories too. I will definitely be doing more!
Hello! I am still alive. And still very pregnant. Just about as pregnant as you can get, actually. Sometime in the next month, this little person is going to emerge and life will never be the same! In the meantime, we are trying to get everything ready AND get enough sleep. That whole thing about sleeping now because you won't when the baby comes? You all forgot or never experienced a huge stomach that kicks you and randomly contracts (sometimes quite painfully) and crowds your bladder. The short of sleep thing has already started, my friends. But this being baby #1, there is nothing to keep me from taking naps, so there is that. I make sure to get one most days now, and it is keeping me sane.
So, I've been doing Yoga and Naps and Breathing Exercises and Reading About Birth and Breast Feeding and Organizing Everything.... I have significantly cut back on my art for the last month or so, though. As in, I've barely even gotten my sketchbook out. I look at all the art from the people I follow on social media, and I certainly still THINK about it, but.... haven't really done any.
Now and then I start to feel a bit guilty about this. Does this mean that I don't REALLY want to be an illustrator? That I am stopping as soon as the going gets rough?
Maybe, but I don't think so.
For the last year and a half, I have really focused a LOT on my art and portfolio. Kind of the culmination of that were the two SCBWI conferences I went to this year--the National Conference in NYC this February, then the Greenleaves Regional Conference up at Lake George in April. Oh, and getting shortlisted for the Bologna Illustrators Showcase--so unexpected, and so encouraging! I am so glad I entered that contest went to both conferences, I have been really inspired and received great feedback. Mostly really positive feedback, too. Basically most of what I heard could be summarized thusly: "Your portfolio looks really great. You have a distinct look and obvious drawing skill. There are a couple things you have to work on, but once you fill those gaps in your portfolio you can compete with the pros."
So intimidating and encouraging at the same time. "You're almost there, just keep working just as crazy-hard as you have been for the last year!"
But, I can't. I don't make this as a lame excuse, but really and truly--I am pregnant and exhausted, and excited and a little bit scared, and really do have other more important things going on right now. That is just how the timing has worked out. I worked really hard for over a year, and its time for a break.
With this going on, I have been thinking a lot about this quote I came across on tumblr awhile back:
I read that and I think--yes. That is where I am right now. I need a time of dormancy for my art. My creative tree needs a winter, to just sit under the snow and not worry about growing or making leaves and fruit for awhile. (Ok, weird image, moving on.) I really do feel that when I come back to my art in a few months, while I expect to be a bit rusty in many ways, that it will ultimately be the better for it, and I will be able to fill those gaps in my portfolio better than I would if I just kept trying to push myself through them now.
This isn't artist's block. Its just a time of dormancy.
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