Illustration = 25% of my work day

As many of my friends know, I’m really trying to make a go at this illustration stuff. I’d love to have it be a bigger part of my career, and I’m happy to say that I feel I have some momentum heading in that direction.

This fall, I’ve been doing some work with my first official illustration client. It’s some children’s-book-art-like drawings for a paper that will be published in the education field. It’s been super fun to work on so far! Fun subjects and a fantastic client. I’m drawing things I’ve never drawn, and it’s certainly pushed me creatively. It has also been great to see how the process has unfolded, and how similar it has been to my professional graphic design processes with clients. There’s a schedule, deadlines, meetings, feedback…beautiful! I am thankful that I already have all of this experience down thanks to my independent graphic designer career.

I’ve also had quite a few commissions recently. Some baby room art…and some more baby room art. Each one has been different: from creating a unique scene from the ground up, to a simple request of just drawing something however I’d like to, to taking existing pieces I’ve done and customizing them in color and size and adding another piece to fit into them. Commissions are challenging. I’ve struggled with timing and my estimates have been pretty far off, but I’m learning. I’m also learning how to incorporate this type of work into my day. (And then there are some additional ones to start next year: a motorcycle rally t-shirt design, laundry room art mural for my mom, spirit animal drawings for a friend…talk about diverse!)

Due to all of this work, as well as some other illustration initiatives I’ve made for myself, I believe a shift is happening – from illustration being just a hobby and something I cram in on the weekends or at night to part of my career. Hence this blog title – “Illustration = 25% of my work day.” I am starting to carve out part of my days for dedicated illustration work, and I think it’s going to be good.

I have no intentions of leaving graphic design as my main career, but I’m curious to see what I can make of illustration along with it. I’m expanding my creative brush stroke, I suppose. It’s going to continue to take a lot of extra hours, exploration, and patience. But I’m having a great time so far, so I feel pretty good about it.

Some things that I plan to work on and develop more:

  1. My Etsy shop. It’s a slow build…but I’m continuing to focus on it.
  2. Twitch Art Stream. I’ve been streaming for a couple months now on Twitch, and it has helped so much with project discipline and immersing myself in a creative environment. I’ve never drawn so much, so frequently!
  3. Patreon. I’m beginning to create a Patreon for myself, to launch in 2018. I think it partners well with Twitch and Etsy creations. I’m still working on what it would all mean for products, rewards, content, etc. Quite a shift from my graphic design business head, but I think it’s a pretty cool business model.
  4. HUGE personal project: creating some sort of children’s book. I have so many notes of different children’s story ideas, and I’m itching to create characters soooooo badly. I think it’s high time I focus on the creation, even if it only means self-publishing. I want to create.
  5. Create for the Cincinnati Comic Expo. I had so much fun at the Library Con I went to…and can see the potential for a super fun time at a Comic Expo. It’s something I’d like to try out.

In the meantime, the beagle still watches me work, waits for me to drop a piece of whatever snack I’m eating while at my desk, and asks for dinner at 3:00 every afternoon.

As always, I appreciate all of the support everyone gives me. I’d love for you all to continue to follow along to see what I can create next. I’m going to start blogging more. And I’m still instagramming a bunch. And goodness…get on Twitch and come hang out with me in my channel!

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LibraryCon Invite!

So…I’m going to be in a LibraryCon this November in Erlanger, Kentucky.

!!!!!!

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The Adult Programming Librarian at the Kenton County Public Library in Kentucky apparently found my Stranger Things work on Etsy. She said she loved it and asked if I wanted to be a vendor at the LibraryCon they hold in November, which includes vendors, panel discussions, cosplay, various gaming tournaments, as well as artists and authors of scifi, fantasy and graphic novels. It sounds so cool!

Today I received the Terms and Conditions contract to be a vendor. Basically I just show up with anything I have, and I have to have my own setup (chairs, tables, etc.). Everything is free.

So, this will be fun! Who knows if anyone would buy anything, but it will probably be a fun experience! The flyer is here. I’ll be promoting it like crazy later.

Also – I need to get busy on some more Stranger Things art!

 

10 More Days of Pawgust

The struggle continues with daily production of stuff. Some days I feel like I’m getting this. Other days I think I’m wasting my time. While I think every creative person probably goes through these feelings at some point, I don’t remember a time when the flip-flopping happened so rapidly for me. But if I know anything, it’s that I just have to keep at it. I’m going to try not to analyze anything over the next 10 days and just keep my head down and produce. There’s an odd vulnerability I feel. I don’t want to share anything anymore because I feel like I’m forcing people to look at crappy drawings. How strange.

Experimentation continues. I’m just going to post a few favorites for now.

Time-lapses are fun.

People seem to be fans of time-lapse videos! It makes sense, when I think about it. When else do you get to see such insights of the creation process? If you’re watching real time, you don’t see the way things develop in the same manner. The sped up timing makes things appear a bit differently. It’s good stuff.

Here is a link to my time-lapse of today’s Pawgust drawing:

I am pretty happy with this one. I could also see a series of fun dogs in space drawings, in different space suits, maybe with some planets or other space stuff. This may be my first Pawgust drawing I feel could lead somewhere!

 

Pawgust is Coming…

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What have I been working on besides the gifts/commissions? (Shhh! you know who you are…I’m working on them…) More drawing. It’s simple. Just more of that grand act of picking up the pen, pencil, Apple pencil, or even occasional crayon.

Aside from just the discipline to do this, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to do another drawing challenge, à la Inktober. I always get some cool stuff out of Inktober, from exploring styles to just a nice creative flow that results from setting aside time every day to create the piece. The Disney animator Tom Bancroft started a drawing challenge back in May that he called “Mermay.” The challenge (as you can probably guess) invited people to “post a new mermaid drawing every day in May.” It looked fun. Some people did creepy zombie mermaids, others did robot-mechanical ones. Good stuff.

These challenges, along with the knowledge that they always lead to good stuff for my craft, inspired me to think of something for August. There needed to be a play on the name, of course…because that’s what you do. I posted about it on Facebook and got so many responses from friends. A big thank you to everyone, for playing along and having fun with the ideas!! I had only come up with about 4 names myself: Dogust, Frogust, Hogust, and Drawgust. But everyone else collectively? Twenty-five…though some overlapped and some were just plain silly. I suppose this is why people crowd-source ideas.

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I’ve decided to go with Pawgust! After some quick googling, I found that Pawgust did exist on the Discovery Family Channel in 2015, where it was a month-long event of animal-themed series, specials, and movies hosted by animal-lover Betty White. Other people have used it too: retailers for animal-themed sales and events, photographers for photo sessions of pets during August. It’s not a terribly original idea. I just wanted to make sure it didn’t have some other cultural meaning that I didn’t know about. Like, “Pawgust: learn how to be an excellent thief! Get your sneaky paws on loot!” Or something.

So starting next Tuesday, August 1, the August Drawing Challenge, Pawgust, begins! A challenge to draw anything with any kind of paws. Maybe there could even be some sort of tie to helping out some local animal charities or something too. I need to contact some other minds for this kind of thing. More details soon!

Back to Blogging…

Hello, hello! It’s been awhile. Things have been changing in the office, and I’m excited to start creating more again.

I have some goals, as well as just some general thoughts…which look something like this when I’m thinking about them:

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That’s a big question mark on a big piece of paper as I ponder at my desk. I have been listening to podcasts about art and illustration, reading online, and have a ton of ideas that I need to pare down. But the main and first goal is to make this illustration thing a bigger part of my life. Then I will see where I can go with that.

How might I be starting that, you ask?

1. Draw every day. No, really. Something…anything. Draw! Instead of picking up my phone to look through reddit or facebook, I should pick up a pencil and draw.

2. Blog. I miss writing, and I feel like it’s a pretty important ingredient of my creative soup, so I want to revisit that practice. Plus, it’s fun.

3. Take advantage of getting more space in the office (!!!) Greg (my husband and business partner) and I have been sharing about 120 square feet for a while now. It’s crampy when you’re trying to make prints and package things for an Etsy shop. It’s tough to make the space work for your graphic design business as well as a space to draw, without constantly spilling out into other parts of the house. To solve that problem, we are building an amazing office space in the separate garage that will be all his, which also means I get this room to be all mine again. Woohoo for being able to spread out the arms! Goal is by August. We seem to be on track for that date.

Starting there. And look, I just did number 1 and 2. And I’m going to go outside to mud some more walls in the office, so there’s some work toward number 3 for the day as well. High five!

 

12 Days of Christmas project

I decided to give myself a little project, kind of like a mini Inktober: illustrating the 12 days of Christmas from the song.

Objectives for this (yes there are objectives, other than have fun drawing) are to explore the new Kuretake brush pen I got recently and to make something that maybe I could use part of next year for Christmas. For example, maybe I could make cards out of some of the drawings, or put them all on some kind of Christmasy product.

I have sketched out ideas for most of them. Some will be sillier than others. Here are the first three! These are drawn in ink (the Kuretake pen) and then colored in Procreate…and then brought back to Photoshop for final color adjustment and addition of the border and text at the bottom.

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