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And then I was thinking, why not?

I really wanna fax my daily, and then I get all distracted by the time I get home.

Right now, I work, I eat/shower/clean up food stuff, I doodle for a little bit and then it’s time for sleep!  Like, way past time for sleep.  I was thinking, ‘oh man I finally have a bunch of graphics to fax for the last couple of days!’

And then Jen comes on, and she’s all “It’s Yurio’s Birthday (it was yesterday) we should do art for our angry fave!”  And I love Yuri On Ice.  And I love Yurio.

And I’m thinking, ok, I’ll make a chibi really quick and get right back to what I was doing.  Then suddenly it’s 3am, and I need to hurry up and get some sleep.  And I want to just post ALL THE THINGS, but seriously, it’s past bed time.

I’ve been good about bed time.  I want to stay good about bed time.  So this is today’s fax.  But there is sooo much more.  I really really gotta find my rhythm.

Let’s work hard again tomorrow!

P.S. WIP stands for Work In Progress.  Not just the sound that time makes as it’s flying by.

 

What is this for?

It’s hard to believe it’s already Sunday again!  Time really flies when you’re trying to get things done.  I had an excellent discussion/brainstorm today on what these faxes were my friend had a ton of good input.  I now feel a sense of anticipation for making these rather than worry.  Whatever I fax, it only has to be true and Joyful, and it will be perfect as is.  I’m down to ship true and joyful everyday!

I keep really wanting to do things on the weekend, and the whole backlog of things that needs to get done tends to take over.  I’m really grateful that I was able to spend some excellent quality time with friends this time though.

Also, this is the first weekend where I started to implement the Productivity Habits class I took on SkillShare.  I’ve been needing to clean the craft room in my house for a year and it just wasn’t getting done.  I decided to use Mike Vardy’s “time chunking” framework, and chunked some time on Saturdays to deal with it.  I worked for four hours and when the time was up, I let the rest get shuffled to next Saturday.  I can’t tell you what a huge relief it was to do that.  All my anxiety about cleaning is starting to lift right off my shoulders.

I’m plugging away on the zine for Jen, going from line to flat colors in a few days. I was also proud of the brushes I made for the project, making my life a lot easier.  I think part of the reason I am going a bit slower on this piece is I’m experimenting with a new workflow.  More or less, I’m labeling all the layers and keeping the file clean as I go.  This is completely new for me, since I’m the type of artist who has Layer 23 copy copy2 usually somewhere in my lineup by the end of the piece.  I have so far had zero meltdowns over wrong layer stuff for this illustration.

And finally, I discovered I can make an egg McMuffin in 10 minutes for less than half the cost of McDonalds and use only one pan.  Was super excited about that one.

Procrastination runs away when you’re working with friends.

Daily Fax #2

Jen and I are working on pieces for her idol zine “To make you Smile.”  I have been having a hard time with making this illustration even though we had a lot of time to get it done.  But just buckling down with her and working helps me remember how to make things.

It’s a lot easier for me to sketch without plans for finish.  When I start thinking making a piece for finish it tends to pressure the illustration.  I mean, in reality you can’t put “ALL THE THINGS” in any illustration.  You have to make choices, and I went to school to understand which choices to make.

Sometimes knowing that can be stifling too.  Do we need more movement?  Should I push the angle?  Is this getting too busy, too sparse, or am I overthinking the art to death?  Usually the answer to the last question is yes.  The thing that can creep on a picture is trying to fit too many “tricks” into it.

Working with Jen reminds me that ideas for illustrations have limits.  This isn’t a bad thing.  I think my favorite thing about Jen is she is able to clearly get that one emotion the picture is supposed to convey and stick to it.  Not tucking too many hints at other meanings, her pieces resonate clearly.

Working side by side also reminds me I have to stay on point.  I can’t fall too far behind her, or she’ll finish her piece way ahead of me.  (She usually does.)  But this went from a rough thumb to a final sketch pass in a few hours.  It’s not lightning fast, but it’s good progress!

So let’s work hard together tomorrow too!

It’s a pretty tough thing…

I really want to make things happen this year.  I meant it from the bottom of my heart as last year was winding down, and I mean it now.

A daily post.

A weekly video.

An illustration every couple of weeks.

They seem like reasonable goals when I set them down on paper.  They seem like very reasonable goals when I compare them with the people I admire.  I hang hopes and dreams on goals like these.

Therefore, falling on my face when attempting to keep these goals is a bit depressing.  Do it month after month and year after year, and the cycle gets old and worn.  What I had forgotten until recently, is that all this time I’ve been learning as well as “failing”.  I think I’ve been walking into the pitfall while knowing it’s there for a while now.  I might be ready to walk around it soon.

On that glimmer of hope, I want to present to you the Daily Fax.  This is a post that I “fax” to myself that is a snapshot of whatever I am doing that day.  In my experience, simple things like graphics and posts are some of the hardest things for me to do.  Writing takes up a huge chunk of my time, even for the small amount of words I end up churning out.

Coming up with snappy graphics to accompany my writing is easier for me, but still more time than I give myself.  What I have learned is I don’t want lack of completion during a work session to result in an automatic “fail”.  I want to celebrate all the work I do, so that working becomes fun and natural.

The above picture is a snapshot of a graphic in progress for a post about the classes I’m working on with Skillshare.  I eventually want to do a post, or a series of posts about classes, projects, and how I feel about them.

I’m dying to share my Skillshare addiction, but I find myself discouraged when I can’t get my ideas done in the small amount of free time I have.  So I resolve to do at least “one thing” everyday, and share it and why I’m doing it.  To give myself the credit, and to keep me rolling on this year long project.

I intend to free myself to make draft posts, jot down notes from articles online, and do my dishes without having the crippling fear I won’t get project time.  These daily faxes are my micro bites.  They are proof of respect for my time, my health and my dreams.

Let’s work hard again tomorrow!

A letter to myself: advice for a younger artist.

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I wonder if the great artists had old fan-art characters tucked in their sketchbooks…

   What do you suppose these two pictures have in common?  Would you be surprised they came from the same artist?  That they share a birth month in July?  That each took about 10 hours worth of work?  Amazing right?

The first picture is all there was to it. 10 hours, sketching, correcting, lines and colors. I was insanely proud of it too.  The second picture is cropped from a much larger picture I did for a friend’s birthday.  I can say the sketch phase was much faster.  The agonizing over line and color was probably the same amount of time.  The first was 7×7 inches and the second is 5×13 inches.

I had intended to start the year with a letter to myself.  In that letter, I had meant to walk myself through 10 years of mishaps and wrong turns.  To point out where I could have studied more, and how I could have become “successful” where I ended up failing.

When I first went to draft it, all the images that came to mind were the lessons and friends I had gained taking this long and winding path.  The things I would never have done, if I had done nothing wrong.  I struggled to put it to words.

Then a few days ago, stumbled over the picture on the left.  From July 2006, staring at me like a ghost of an artist’s dark past.  My heart fell, when I recognised it.  Some account somewhere (it was deviantart, btw), had survived my paranoid purge of 2010. And then, as I perused the gallery thinking of a way to cleanse it, I realised something. If I had handed the me in 2006 this picture from 2016…  That I would be able to draw whole/huge/complex/soft drawings for my friends… I would have cried.

So if I have any “advice” for the younger artist, it would be that your efforts will bear fruit in time.  As for the letter to myself in 2006 who decided to take this unsure journey?  There’s a different title for that one.

A letter to myself ten years ago: thank you for your hard work.

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A quick word before bed

This weekend was really full of little tasks getting done, and it would feel odd not to post something about it.  While it was a sort of sleepy weekend (getting up after noon, yay!) it didn’t lack for tasks done.  I guess the biggest change is the return to the work journal, my on again off again friend since August of this year.

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Lists and journals are two hard things for me to keep consistently, but every time I do manage to get a few pages down I am left amazed.  I don’t have a great memory for small tasks, and I tend to forget how they all add up in the end.

The work journal saves me from feeling sad when my ambition for the weekend overreach my resources to get it all done.  Instead of seeing failure in all the tasks that are left hanging, I see where my energy and time meet the massive backlog of tasks.  Most importantly I see that by chipping away at those backlogs of tasks, I will steadily overcome them.

The second notable victory was over my workspace.  My room is also my studio of the moment, so projects and chores overlap each other everyday.  Without my list journal I tend to get lost in which tasks I should be paying attention to.  Invariably working on chores makes me feel bad about art, and vice versa.  However with the help of my list, I was able to carve a path through the chores and get art done and enjoy a little chill time.

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With the desk and floor not over crowded with projects and laundry, I was able to set up my webcam for recording my art as well!  I’ve been looking forward to doing some videos for months but I guess was a little intimidated.

I really wanted to tackle some more Skillshare tasks for the blog class by diving into and studying blogs I like.  Task by task, there always seemed to be something more urgent than wandering through blogs looking for inspiration.  I’m not sad for clean cloths, a more flexible workspace, some tidied up digital footprints and more pages of art.  I just feel so flattened out, and I’m super grateful I’m not running at a college pace.

Speaking of art, I tripped over one of my old habits this weekend without really thinking about it.  I kind of fantasize about a weekend/48 hour art jam, and that fantasy turns into an expectation in my brain.  And if I can’t achieve the fantasy I will ignore doing any art.  I didn’t notice I was doing this until I got home Sunday night, and had a wave of regret for not getting my impossible 48 hours of pure artistic bliss.

Logically I know it wasn’t possible to get huge blocks of art time, but looking back there were little joyful chunks I could have taken.  I’m happy I did get a couple of hours in before the night was over, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for this imaginary expectation from now on.

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I’m looking forward to having the same habit for art on the weekend as I give myself during the week.  Whenever I get a little downtime, just sketch a bit more.

Thanks again to Adobe Spark for being and awesome and quick way to get my photos into the blog.

Let’s work hard again tomorrow!