Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Friday, April 22, 2016
During lunch my friend Tanya, who is also a freelance designer and illustrator, was lamenting her lack of down time. “You know how it is,” she said, “if you’re not working on a project you’re thinking about your next project, or where you’re going to get your next project, or marketing on social media, or prepping a mailing to art directors, or meeting with clients, or doing your accounting, or any one of the myriad tasks that you, as the master of your own artistic ship, must complete daily.”
I understood completely – Tanya could have been talking about me. Don’t get me wrong – I love being a freelancer – but it isn’t always an easy life. There is no guaranteed income – and no income at all unless you hustle. You can get so caught up in the circus act of your life – juggling various jobs and deadlines and marketing – that you forget the most basic thing.
You forget to live.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we think that we can go and go and keep on going without a break and still be effective? We don’t expect our cars to run without fuel, or our bodies to work without food, or the lights to turn on if we don’t pay the electric bill. Yet we expect to be able to access our creativity at will – to call on it any time of the day or night – when we’ve done nothing to replenish it.
Sometimes we truly do need to step away from it all and take the time to gather inspiration and strength. Even if it feels counter-productive, we must make the effort to connect with friends, to take a walk, to go to a gallery, museum, a concert – or even just stare at the wall – so we can fill up our imaginations with new experiences, new sensations, new ideas that will replenish our creative wells.
I can hear you now – “But I don’t have time – I have deadlines!” I know, I know. But just try it. Even if you’re skeptical – even if you resist with all your might – just try it. I think you’ll be surprised to find that you’ll function more effectively, your ideas will be fresher, and you'll look at your work once again as a source of joy instead of a burden that you must endure if you’re going to survive.
A balanced life is a full life - and one worth living!
Friday, January 22, 2016
There's a wonderful website for authors and illustrators called the Sub It Club. In its pages you'll find a compendium of practical advice about the (often overwhelming) submission and (frankly terrifying) querying process. The site is loaded with scads of articles about agents, editors, query letters, pitching, social media, and even ways to cope with rejection.
The Sub It Club is curated by Heather Ayris Burnell, Dana Carey, Lisha Cauthen, and Amy Dixon.
Saturday, January 2, 2016
My secret is out: for years I've had two large plastic bags stuffed with paper, canvases, and art supplies stashed behind my couch. I kept all this stuff because I had a giant case of the "Somedays"; someday I'll use that watercolor paper; someday I'll need that foam core; someday I'm going to experiment with that sanded paper.
Well, guess what. Someday is here.
I spent two hours on New Year's eve (I even got a jump start on my resolution!) sorting through the papers and supplies and putting them into some sort of order. And no - I didn't just put everything back behind the couch - even if it all was so nicely sorted and neatly packed up.
Instead, I left the paper out in plain sight. It's right where I can quickly get my hands on it - so I can't use the "out of sight, out of mind" excuse. I'm going to use all of this "free" paper and all these supplies to experiment. Every day I'm going to make something new - even if it's just a quick doodle or a sketch. This year I want to stretch and grow as an artist. I'm going to play like I haven't played in years. I plan on having some serious fun. I'm going to draw and paint and paste and tear up paper and generally make a mess - I'll try anything!
I'm telling you this so you can hold me accountable. I'll post my daubs and my masterpieces throughout the year so I can measure my progress. Part of the point of this experiment is to feel comfortable sharing my failures as well as my successes.
Let me know if you've made any resolutions this year regarding your art. And if you need any paper - I have plenty!
Monday, November 30, 2015
When I was growing up the Christmas tree wasn't just a decoration sitting in the corner; it was the main event. While my sisters and I slept on Christmas Eve, Santa decorated the tree with cherished ornaments, iced sugar cookies, candy canes, ribbon candy, and popcorn balls in colorful cellophane wrappers. We saw the tree for the first time when we woke on Christmas morning and it was often difficult to decide where to look first: at the shimmering tree or at the gifts clustered beneath it's spreading branches. Once we had opened all the presents and the excitement was over for another year, the perfect tree continued to offer little gifts of sweets and treats during the entire twelve days of Christmas.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Our recent "Alice" exhibit at Century Books is like a lovely gift that keeps on giving. On the opening night of the exhibit my friend (and writer extraordinaire) Joe Taylor bought my little graphite drawing, "Alice Meets the Cheshire Cat". He found the perfect place to hang it in his home - on a wall with a framed Peanuts comic strip signed by Charles Schulz himself! I couldn't be more thrilled to be in such august company. Thank you, Joe!