It’s Almost Spring!

If you know me, you know I like the beginnings of things: start of the new year, start of the month, beginning some new fitness endeavor…hell, the start of each week even. Spring is happening soon, so I’m kind of hoping to piggy back on the start of a new season to start a new season of art for me.

If you know me, you also know that I really struggle with trying to fit in my illustration with the day job, graphic design. I’ve been slowly shifting my view of it as not a hobby that I cram in when I have spare time (of which I increasingly don’t have), but as something I need to develop more and become better at in order to produce stuff. My friends who own a bagel shop have been giving me a great opportunity to showcase my stuff to a different audience, one that is not based online and who is also their audience: bagel-eating, pet-loving, generally enthusiastic customers of their store. I have a little corner in their shop where I have some prints set up and I also put some art in frames on the wall above the coffee.

I want to make better user of this great opportunity. And somehow,  I still need to figure out how illustration is going to fit more into my already too-packed days and schedule.

So that’s where I’m at. Hoping to figure out how to make more, create more…spend the time. Because that seems to be when the cool stuff happens.

Here are some spring dogs I have in the bagel shop, The Bagelry.

Advertisements

Inktober: moving right along!

InktoberUpdates-01

Well it’s about to be day 9 of Inktober, and I feel I’m still going strong. I’ve ran out of my ‘”Sketchtember” sketches for the planned prompt list drawings, so now it’s getting a little bit hairy to fit it all in. But so far, I’ve still been able to make it happen. I like separating sketch days from the inking days, or at least on different items. I like just thinking about the one thing or the other.

I’m looking forward to some time to put these into a book format. Little weird stories about these odd people of Bricklefield. Maybe do some additional illustrations for other things about the town, like a town map, or some of the buildings perhaps? It looks like I’m going to make an art book – woohoo!

I can thank my patrons on my Patreon page whole-heartedly for this opportunity. (Check it out…pledges start at $1 a month ;))  I am trying to think about how I can produce more cool stuff throughout the year. Maybe not as big as a book, but other cool stuff. It’d be really awesome if I could come up with a regular product that people would want to throw a patronage in for. Still trying to figure that out…

On to work and then drawing and inking tomorrow’s prompt: flowing.

 

People!

I’ve gotten some commissions over the years to do people. At first it always seemed strange to me, because I’ve never thought of myself as a people-drawer…even though I do enjoy drawing people. My cartoon-like, simple style was attractive to some, for some reason. Ok, I’ll take it!

The chain reaction from these has been interesting. It started with a group…which lead to some personal drawings for people within that group. Then to other people outside of that group that saw other drawings. That’s how things work, I guess! Which just emphasizes to me how important word of mouth is, and sharing what you do so people see it and think, “hey, I’d like something like that.”

Here are some of the drawings. I kind of want to go through my elementary school year book and draw my class from a good year. It’d be good practice!

I’m hoping to really get things under control and carve out time for drawing more soon. It’s not going to happen unless I make a big change with work, but I think it’s what I want to do.

Drawing Distractions.

I have some new ideas for 2018 that I’m really excited about. I started a Patreon page, which I think will be fun and help shape my art process better. I am really hoping to try to increase the time I spend illustrating. I have been planning and planning, thinking and thinking…and after a bit, I keep finding myself so frustrated. I’ve been here before. In fact, it appears to be a cycle of sorts.

Tonight I think I figured out why I only get frustrated when I have time to draw – by time and what little I can crank out. But I think it’s because of all the time I spend looking at other people’s art on Instagram.

I love Instagram. I am following so many amazing artists – showcasing all kinds of different styles, subjects and tools. There is soooo much talent and inspiration out there. I always thought by immersing myself in that world, I’d be more inspired for my own creative endeavors. Maybe I’d even absorb some talent through osmosis. 😉 But here’s what I think is actually happening. I’m seeing finished art. Amazing finished art. And I want to also post amazing finished art. So I get busy, quickly making something so that I can finish it and have it to share. And by doing that – working that way – I think that I’m completely ruining my own connection to my creativity.

I look back at older stuff I did (pre social media) and sometimes am pretty amazed by what I came up with sometimes. My execution may have been a little rough, but quirky, really, Steph ideas. Now I don’t seem to have any good ideas. So then I get on Instagram to get inspired…and …well, it’s a viscous cycle, I’m afraid.

So, I think I need to unplug from Instagram a bit. Most people are addicted to Facebook, but I’m addicted to the art stream I guess. I think it’s overwhelming me to see so many ideas and end products. I need to reconnect with my own quirky brain if I’m going to write and illustrate a children’s book this year. I need more time with process and changing things. Sketching and redrawing.

Yep. This is going to be hard. I love looking at all of these artists’ work! But I’m going to try to disconnect for a little bit and see if that helps my own creativity come back to me.

SmithMail!

I’m thinking about making a subscription envelope of my art for 2018. This would be to help keep me focused on creation of a children’s book, and hopefully just have a lot of fun creating and interacting with “fans”!  🙂

Here’s a first sketch of what would be inside:

  • 5″ x 7″ print of one of my favorites – current work and work from over the years.
  • Stickers!
  • Monthly coloring page design – for you, your kids, your friends’ kids: everyone!
  • Mystery item! This could be a little story about one of my characters, a poem, another drawing, or an original sketch.

SmithMail_Examples-01.png

I’m not sure how much people would be interested in spending. Maybe I’ll ask some people who I may think would be even slightly interested in this.