which brings me to showing up. There’s going to be lots of bad art. I get that now. Show up anyway.
Nothing more than showing up has given me the courage to play and embrace ideas. To once and for all, listen. Big Magic is an amazing read.
I came into this year seeking to improve my drawing skills. I did that with each of the books I wrote. I drew every single picture for Ana & George.
I discovered an awesome palette. I love my drawings. Oh and I’m much better at drawing that which I love. Yes.
I spent a whole year putting this book aside. In a matter of days, long eight hour days sketching and coloring, I finished. Had I not shown up for days all year on other projects, I never could have done this in a matter of days.
My book is here. Did I just upload the file and hit submit? Yup. Now I wait, until I receive confirmation that everything is ready for printing and press. Thank you amazon. Thank you wonderful person.
Funny how the tables turned. Yesterday I felt this nudge in my heart. It yelled, I knew you couldn’t do it. I saw all of the books I am working on. All of the deadlines I committed to and the hope and love poured out on every single page. I knew I could do it.
I took a break. I had some chocolate, tea and painted for my next book. Oh and I asked for help. Today I came home and in minutes finished my book.
Oh shoot now its on to other projects. I’m scared. I’m excited.
Oh my goodness resistance almost won today but I am still here. I uploaded the files for my book. I was already to do it. Today is the day. That’s it, no more holding on to this project. The deadline is TO-DAY. I was nauseous, nervous and scared. That’s when I new I had to do it.
I had it all planned out. Copy and pasted my awesome book description. The listing was ready to go. I planned on giving the book away for free. It was my holiday gift to the world .I checked spelling and grammar, read the book out loud. Everything felt good. I got this, I told myself. Then I uploaded the file and previewed the e-book…
in that moment resistance showed up. The formatting was all wrong. I kept fixing it, hours went by and I just couldn’t get it right. I came close to desperately whining. OK I did. I have been working on this book for a year. Well, maybe 8 months. I went back and forth with the editing, the images, layout, font and every single detail. I still need to fix it but I needed a break.
It’s weird because I feel like this feels like a PROJECT. I mean launching something is hard. There’s sweat and tears. I certainly felt that today. If things had gone smooth, I would have just stayed in my comfort zone. I need exactly the opposite to succeed. Right? How many times have I published a book. Never. How many books do I need to publish to now what I’m doing? Who knows but I’ll keep working.
I’m so glad I know who Seth Godin is. I want to be a Linchpin. I am a linchpin. A few days ago I was having this conversation, a conversation that I come back to a lot. A father can’t play legos with his son because the father has to build the right way? I did the very same thing creating with the notion of doing it the right way? What’s worse I taught others to do the same.
I’ve seen teachers insist that students paint a tree with green and brown. That is the “right way to paint a tree” isn’t it? What does the right way mean anyway? I feel terrible about this. Truth be told I didn’t know why I did this. It’s not like I am this controlling person. I’m not. You see at a a young age we are taught to “do it right”. We are taught to color within the lines. That Jesus is white not black. That pink is for boys and blue is for girls.
The other day I walked in a classroom and I saw all of these cool projects hanging on the wall. They were awesome and the teacher is amazing BUT THEY WERE ALL THE SAME. Oh but the kids who made calaveras, well these were awesome. I couldn’t believe my eyes and my heart when I saw what they made with the mere scraps I gave them. I say scraps because they were scraps from other projects. Sure I gave them my sample and showed them pictures but wow WOW magic happened before my eyes.
The students had and felt complete control. Each was wrong. I was curious and interested as to how and why they chose color and design. I say room 8 taught me a VERY IMPORTANT ART LESSON THAT DAY, a lesson that I think on as I read Linchpin, a lesson that I will probably never forget.
I will repaint this today. Should have kept with the first one I made.
Sadly I repainted it several times because I had to do it right. not sure I’ll be able to capture the same magic. The others might look right but there boring. I’ll never make that mistake…
Talk about repainting and repainting trees. Last night I felt this tree needed more contrast.
I keep going over the story and paintings. This is my first book and I want to get it right.
I spent hours editing my Ana and George book. I realize that I I’ve been working on it way too long. I’m at the point where I, well it feels like an awesome song you keep singing and playing and then you lay it to rest.
I have other books I want to write. I started the nitty-gritty details like book size and how to include my author name.
I have decided to use my full name. Wait will I? Sometimes this indecisiveness irks me.
I’m almost done with the pictures for my second book…so many thoughts…I think I like the original one better.
So I am painting all these objects for my next book. It’s funny how I don’t fret about the mistakes I make. I remember the days when I’d get upset, throw it out and start over. I don’t do that anymore.
Something happens to me. I go into a, fix it or make it work mode. Now I paint over my mistakes or use the eraser tool in Affinity Photo. I think of Jon Contino’s words. You could do tons of revisions but the first one is always the best. It’s so true. I’ll get perfect color, layout or just the overall design feels good. Then perfection takes over. I dip the brush in a wrong color and doubt creeps in along with the ugly splatters that ruined my art.
How many times have I done that? PLENTY, I checked. I kept painting and repainting trees but then I realized, no I refuse to do this.
I recognize when I second guess myself. I have deadlines to meet. Oh my goodness I realize that I’ve always looked at mistakes as, what if my art is misunderstood because of a wrong color or maybe I should do this instead of that. But what if my art loses its magic the more I think and think about what I did wrong.
Yes I gotta let the kid play. She has great ideas. I trust her. Did I just write that? OK I can see why I had to repaint some of the trees. Practice helps me find that sweet balance.
I’m not an illustrator. I am not a hand letterer. Wait a minute, did I just write that? Yeah I did and its forever on the last page of my journal entry. Something feels wrong about this. I feel limited.
So then I go and listen to an awesome The Nose Knows Podcast. Jon Contino answers the question, when can you call yourself an illustrator. “It’s all in your head he says. You don’t need for someone to tell you, a degree or instagram likes…”
Not exactly his words but yeah that’s what he said. He’s right.
I don’t need a contest on instagram to tell me. For some reason I did look to this contest as a way to prove myself in a sense. I don’t need to do that. It was awesome to be part of this project. It was awesome to share my project. I am happy for all the winners! I’m happy that I was able to put this poster together. I am growing and working on amazing projects. Yes every now and then it is awesome to have a MOMA artist like my work. I’ll take that.
THERE YOU GO. I am an illustrator. Sure my are isn’t like the cool illustrations in a Curious George book. Nor do they have to be. That’s the point. I am an illustrator and a hand letterer. There are different styles and mine IS MY STYLE. I mean its my voice. Lots of people draw letters, with quotes, about life BUT ITS HOW YOU SAY IT. Shouldn’t I be telling my story? Yes.
All this goes back to the movie A STAR IS BORN and the phrase I learned from a character who when the world shouts impossible she says
…there are no impossibilities. She says it a smile.