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Tree in bloom in Spring 2020; it doesn’t know.

The world hasn’t been this different and changeable in known times. With the AI of internet advertising changing how we look at each other and the divisions that all are facing…little should be taken for granted.

In these times I find myself reading books, drawing, and working remotely in every aspect of life but more noticeable in tasks that used to be interactive or collaborative. I’ve become introspective and even more introverted to keep my family safe and myself sane.

Watercolor play; Early in the midst of shutdown March of 2020 with two young children and both of us on work-from-home. Amazing I found time to do this.

I’ve always journaled, if not on a daily basis, in a frequency that kept me in touch with my inner dialogue. When I married, then moved and had children, this tendency to write dropped off quite a bit. It took a bit of time to find myself and shape myself into the new person I’d become. The stages we find ourselves in can hinder us in ways that we don’t even see until they have evolved into a new stage in life.

As a Mom-who-hikes, walking outdoors helped me stay in a good frame of mind.

So here I am again. Frustratingly in stasis yet working. Even my art website stands in mid-construction abandonment – I had started the year hoping to finally figure out how to tile images and share them in a non-social media way, and as a curated look at the types of drawings that I do. Now it stands like an abandoned hotel project; The construction-yellow tape worn by age, twirling in the odd breeze, an unfinished and slab-constructed shell. Now I wonder if there’s even a reason to have an old-school website anymore. Dare I use instagram as my main site with a linktree in the profile like everyone else seems to be doing?

Procreate, Adobe, and paper.

There’s a thing I miss when I draw on an iPad (I am fortunate and happy to have one), and that’s the tactile feel of the pen or brush against the grain of the paper. I do enjoy the freedoms of drawing digitally and just posting without waiting on paint to dry or happy little errors that aren’t so easy to fix. But there’s also little to no chance that years from now I’ll get the joy of flipping though them as I do when I find an old sketchbook (well worn on the edges from stowing it away quickly in a purse) to see my drawings. I’m working on using Procreate (learning it, testing brushes and styles) and paper together. While I miss getting to play in photoshop and illustrator out of work, there is a bit of freedom in just drawing without having to do anything on a desktop.

Classes

Skillshare has given me a great source of guidance in writing and practicing my art skills. You never really finish learning, and I do enjoy the teachers and classes they put up.

Early in the year, I signed up for an illustration workshop (Make Art that Sells) with Lilla Rogers that helped free up my block and got me through the thick of the shutdown. I had reachable goals even when I felt anxiety of world-events. I am happy to also have access to their MATs MBA class – tho I haven’t quite made my way through it completely because it is so packed with goodness and everything you might need to know.

Print-on-demand sites have been started (Society6 and Redbubble)and all I draw is in consideration of what I might do with it now. Will I make a pattern today? Or possibly an illustration that would work better as a character in a book? Is this just for me for fun? The classes have mainly made me start to look at all avenues that art is consumed in these days. Its never really one thing anymore, is it?

Continuing on in life – to draw, grow, attempt balance, and adapt.

Its been a while since I’ve posted here – but I had to share this awesome book that Will Terry is putting out there. This book is chock full of guidance on the business side of being a working artist.

Writing and Illustrating

Today we have a real treat and opportunity. Illustrator, Will Terry, has published an illustrator’s guide to making money and developing a successful career illustrating. The book is titled, WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH IN ART SCHOOL.

Will has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about the book on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Even if you are not an illustrator, you can still share on Facebook, Twitter, or reblog. This really helps spread the word and you can always gift the book to one of your illustrator friends. Thanks for helping Will!…

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Ever feel like you’re in a drawing/creative rut? I’ve been in a seriously unproductive rut for the better part of a year (or so it feels like).

Life got pretty busy.

I got into doing less self-care, less sleep, and then my output dropped. There’s a mentality that as soon as you free up time, you should fill it back up again with things that need to get done. And then the things you enjoy doing get put on the back burner.

Speaking of which, I recently read a post about the 4 burner’s theory. Basically, there are four burners:

Family, Friends, Work, and Health.

You can only focus on 3 to be generally successful at balancing. But to really succeed, you need to trim it down to 2.

And that got me thinking as to what two had I landed up focusing on lately. For me the answers were Family & Work. But work for me is the 9-5 life+ version of work. Where we don’t really stop working. That really edges out heath and friends. And where does self-care fit into that equation?

Back to the whole RUT.

Self-care is essential to getting creative in my world. I have to find time to refresh myself via a walk, or time drawing/painting, or writing. I’ve found new appreciation for waking up early to do something I enjoy – journaling. Journaling for 30 minutes in the early morning has helped center me and let me focus on what exactly I’m feeling at that moment and where my worries lay. Five years ago me would have scoffed at the idea that I wake up at 4:45 am to find time to write in a journal for 30 minutes even before I get ready for work.

As an illustrator I find that when I’m in a creative rut, it helps to do something else. And since I can’t go on a hike without it being a whole circus, then it’s good to have another way to jog that creative muscle. Writing helps me in that I don’t have the same pressure as creating a drawing that will be judged when I share it. Writing in a journal frees me to tune into my subconcious and my concious in ways that I cannot by illustrating.

Sketchbook revamp.

I also took to creating art that nobody will ever see. Ever since AP art class I’ve had a bit of anxiety and burnout when it comes to sharing my art. It all leads back to fear. Fear that the art isn’t good. I’m still working on it and ran across a great article by Christine Nishimaya of Might Could Studios that pointed out several things that I need to face and work on.

Anyway here’s a bit of art I doodled recently that I’m proud of:

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What a great little post and cover reveal!

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

I’m thrilled to host the cover reveal for a story I have longed to see in print. The lovely Marcie Colleen is here to show it to you and tell the tale of her own literary love triangle…on Valentine’s Day no less!!!

by Marcie Colleen

When I first set out to write a picture book titled LOVE, TRIANGLE (see the origin of the idea for the book here) I just wanted to tell a punny story that hopefully someone would want to publish someday. But my meager expectations were highly exceeded. In fact, the entire journey of this book has been unlike anything I could have ever imagined and I have my very own “triangle of amazing-ness” to thank.

First, my agent, Susan Hawk, who first realized the potential in this story when it was simply a concept pitched to her during our courting phase. And although it took me almost…

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I’m joining in again this year!

Oh, Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore… That’s right, Picture Book Idea Month has been blown away by STORYSTORM! Need to know why? Check here. STORYSTORM is a mont…

Source: STORYSTORM 2017 Registration is Open!

Day 3 of inktober, mouse starts decorating with a mini pumpkin 

An illustration of a picnic basket for an upcoming scbwi event in my area:

  
And here it is before I retouched it:

  
I think my husband’s advice to fix the crosshatch was helpful.

I also framed one of my Chicago watercolors over the weekend, love how it looks in its frame!

 

boat floats in harbor and planetarium fades in the distance

twilight looking out at the lake

 

  

I only know some of David Bowie’s songs- but they are ageless crafted and artsy and fun. Here’s my doodle for today.  

 

 rosa parks work in progress sketch