I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what direction I want to go in professionally with my art. I’ve spent a great deal of my life feeling confused about that. I went to school for illustration, but, after I graduated, barely attempted to become an illustrator of any kind. The only kind of illustrator I put some effort into becoming was a children’s book illustrator, which professors and colleagues often suggested I be. While I agreed with them and decided to try my hand at it, I struggled to accept it wasn’t actually what I wanted for myself. I went to SCBWI conferences, made lists of agents and publishing houses, wrote drafts of children’s stories and created accompanying illustrations. I did these things, but all while feeling heavy and hollow. There was nothing exciting to me about being a children’s book illustrator, no matter how hard I tried to convinced myself there was.
Since realizing that, I haven’t had much an idea about what direction to go in. I feel like some kind of artist peripheral, hugging the walls of every room in the art world, unsure if I can access, or am even allowed in, those rooms’ centers. There are some things I know I love. I love to frame and display my art. I love to share my art with others. I love to be around other artists and have them share their art with me. For this reason, I’ve felt excited when exhibiting my art in galleries and art fairs. I wonder, then, if galleries and art fairs are the right places for me. I wonder, if they are, if I can commit to them, like reallycommit to them. There was something safe about trying to become a children’s book illustrator. I didn’t care if I failed. Because I just didn’t care at all. But when I pursue something that brings me real excitement, jerk-me gets all riled up. Jerk-me starts telling me I don’t belong in those places, ’cause my art’s too illustrative, ’cause I’m too quiet, ’cause I’m not enough. Jerk-me tries to protect me, might even say, “why don’t you try being a children’s book illustrator again?” Because it’s so much safer than possibly failing at something you care about.
So, I don’t know. Or maybe I do know what I want, but I’m just struggling to think I deserve it.
Anyway, here’s a progress shot of the next drawing I’m working on…
Well I’m happy to write that 5 months since I contracted COVID-19, I’m at last feeling 100% recovered. For about a month now, I’ve been absent of what had been a solid 4 months of chest pain and intermittent bouts of shortness of breath. Last weekend, I decided to see if I really am totally recovered and put my body to the test with a walk. Had no issues . =) And this week I returned to my full work schedule, also with no issues.
I don’t think I am ever going to forget what it felt like to be physically ill like that. In my 31 years of life, that was the first time I had ever had such an experience. And I am aware how incredibly privileged I am to say that, that for the vast majority of my chilhood and young adulthood, I had been what one would call “healthy”, at least physically. (My mental health was a whole different story, ha!) While struggling to move around and walk for 2 months, and feeling generally unwell for another 2 months, was a frustrating and scary experience, I’m certainly going to value it for the things it taught me, because it taught me a lot.
So here’s the fifth graphite drawing. Finally all done. It’s what I’ve decided will be the last deer drawing in this series I’m doing. I’m currently in the process of planning the next batch of drawings for this series, which are going to depict lynx. I’m excited!
I’m just about done with my current drawing. I predict it will take a week at most, a few days at least, to finish. As I’ve been finishing it up, I’ve been wondering what I’d like to draw next and have decided it will be an animal other than the deer, particularly an animal that resides in the taiga biome. (This series is ultimately going to depict a variety of animals from this biome.)
I’ve been thinking maybe the lynx. Then, I went to the Minnesota Zoo today, saw the lynx in person, and immediately decided… yes, the lynx is next.
Here are a couple photos I took of the one at the zoo. They are such a beautiful animal. Ugh. Kills me.
I’ll be back soon!
I apologize for the temporary absence. The spaciness I’ve been experiencing lately has made working on my current drawing difficult. Instead of drawing, I’ve often found myself curling up on the couch and binge watching movies and television shows. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all the various movies and television shows I have watched, I’m also feeling a little guilty. I have not made much progress with my drawing.
I’m doing my best to stick with this series. I can visualize it finished in my mind and, when I do, I get all those warm stomach fuzzies that remind me this series is worth completing. I sometimes think this recent spaciness is simply my becoming resistant to the labor required to complete this series. It’s easy to dream up what something will look like, to feel good about just that. But actually doing the work? So much harder. So much longer. Something I can struggle with.
So here’s where I’m at with my current drawing. There is still so much left to do. Particularly, I need to work out the value scheme and find a way to better integrate the deer into the scene.
Random, but here’s also a picture of my adorable 7 month old kitten, Marcel. Every time I see this face, I just melt. Such a cutie.
It’s been a spacy week. Maybe it’s the sub zero temperatures (it’s cold here) or just simply the affects of prolonged isolation, but I’ve been all kinds of everywhere lately. Last weekend, I sprained my middle toe by walking into a ladder. And this morning, when I went to grab a cup from my cupboard, I noticed a bag of carrots had been stuffed in between all the cups, lol. In other words, at some point yesterday, I took my carrots out of the fridge, snacked on them, and then casually stored them with the cups as if that was where they belonged.
Definitely more clumsy and distracted than usual.
Thankfully, despite that, I was still able to get started on the next drawing for the series, which I posted a progress shot of below.
Not a lot to see so far, but it seems to be coming along quickly, especially in comparison to my last drawing. Hopefully I can manage to get it done in the way I want to.
Here’s #4 in the series of graphite drawings I’m doing. I don’t feel as happy with this one as I do the others, but that’s alright. It still ties in well enough with the others stylistically and thematically.
I don’t have much else to share. I’m just excited to start the next piece!
Progress has still been so slow with this one. It hurts. Particularly, the tree branches have been taking a long time to render. I believe once I finish those, I will be able to finish everything else pretty quickly. I hope so. I keep thinking of other things I want to draw and it really, really makes me wanna get started on a new piece!
I’m also noticing I have a long ways to go with getting the value scheme of this one right. There’s too much dark on the bottom, not enough dark on the top, so I will need to find a way to better balance the values.
Rendering tree branches is boring. So having good music to make it less boring is a necessity! I was on a mission all last weekend to find some new music, as what I’d been playing just wasn’t really motivating me. I wound up finding this incredible song that is so strange and beautiful, almost poetic… I shared it below. I love that feeling when you find a song that really blows you away and you can listen to it on repeat for 2,000 hours without going mad. I’ll be sad when my addiction to this fades, but at least there’s all sorts of other stuff by this artist to enjoy once that happens.
Here’s a progress shot of where I’m at with the next drawing of the series. It’s a close up – there’s more to the piece, but I haven’t started those parts yet.
I’m trying my best to hunker down and put my everything into making art. I’ve been feeling an undercurrent of anxiety about getting infected again, especially now with the U.K. variant being present in the U.S., and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen before the vaccinations reach the general public. This means around 3-8 months of isolation, I guess.
The important thing is I find some sense of purpose in these next months. I can’t spend too much time idle because that’s when isolating becomes painful. When I’m working towards the completion of something, such as a series of graphite drawings, I’m less likely to dwell on how much I miss being able to leave my house for reasons other than going to my job or the grocery store.
If I wanted to, I could take away the positives from my current predicament. While living alone during this pandemic has been hard sometimes, there is something to be said about my home always being safe. It’s my haven right now, a place where no virus can reach me. And for that reason, when I’m here by myself, I can relax, I can make art with no distractions.
Soon life will be closer to what I once knew it to be.
Another graphite drawing of a deer.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about what direction to go in with the deer art and have landed on the idea of doing a series of graphite drawings. Or at least I think. I change my mind a lot. I’ve just been longing to put something together that feels cohesive and comprehensive. I want to do at least 10 graphite drawings, but ideally 15 or more, just to feel the sheer satisfaction of having that many and being able to see them all together side by side.
The last time I did a series of 10 drawings, I had to yell at myself a lot, be bossy at myself. Because otherwise I wouldn’t have ever finished them. I suppose I’m ready to yell at myself again! I’m already 3 drawings in, so why not try 7 more?
As for whether they’ll all be deer, I’m not sure. I know I have at least 1 more deer drawing in me, perhaps 2. But I might start depicting other animals too.
I guess I’ll see if this idea sticks.
Well 2020 is gone, but I don’t think I’ll quite feel a sense of a year having gone by until it’s March 13th, 2021 a.k.a 365 days since the lockdown in my state began. I think back to my life before that date and I have to say I lived a very charmed life. I was healthy, content, and overwhelmed by all the different avenues I could take in my life. I had freedoms I now realize were privileges, and I’m coming into 2021 with a much deeper appreciation for the things I can do. I can breathe, I can walk, I can make art, I can drive a car… There’s so much I have that I could lose, that I actually almost lost.
I’m looking forward to when the vaccinations bring some sense of normalcy to daily life. Until then, I have no reason to think 2020 has turned me into the person I am currently: a humbled version of myself who is literally just trying to get by. Not until I can safely venture out of my house and see friends, meet new people, and work towards personal and professional goals will I really know how 2020 has changed me. Until then, I’m all white knuckles… just going forward, just managing.
Hope everyone had a happy new year. I spent mine working on the drawing above. I’m getting close! Almost done.