There are a lot of emotional ups and downs that come with claiming "artist" as an occupation - in any sort of creative endeavor really. Trying to grow as an artist and as a business can be really fun, but also can get pretty discouraging. It's easy to start taking myself too seriously.
I find myself putting too much weight on my art -- I expect it to be beautiful, unique, to define me, and to make me some cash. My drawings just can't hold all that weight. It's not fair to them or to me to ask that of them. Some of them will be lovely gems that I sell again and again, and some of them wont leave the pages of my sketchbook. I never know which will be which when I'm in the process. And I shouldn't worry them about it.
I've been encouraged a bit recently by Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic. I'm in the middle of it right now (it's my current bathroom book, if you must know). In one part, the "Permission" section, she talks about the freedom that can come from realizing that making art is really not that important. There are no art emergencies. The desire to create is definitely something that is innate in every human. It's a fulfilling and enjoyable endeavor, but the fate of the nations -- or even my future -- doesn't hang in the balance.
"Pure creativity is something better than a necessity; it's a gift. It's the frosting. Our creativity is a wild and unexpected bonus from the universe . . . It doesn't discourage me in the least, in other words, to know that my life's work is arguably useless. All it does is make me want to play." - Gilbert
I believe we were created by a god who can be known and named. He created us not because he needed to, but because he was delighted to do so. He's put that in all of us as well.
So let's play.
As many of you know, I published a bug coloring book last year. Well, now I have the bug. This year I hope to publish two new books. The first I've already mentioned. It's a children's book written by one of my dear friends about a nerdy turtle named Finnegan, and his unlikely friendship with a rabbit named Rackle. A solar eclipse is involved.
Right now I'm working on sketching all the pages on my iPad.
I also would like to publish a second coloring book. I've decided the theme: the ocean. I already have quite a few nautical designs, so I like the idea that I won't be starting from scratch. For instance, my newest printable coloring page is this lighthouse.
And now I'm working on turning my mermaid drawing into a coloring page as well.
I have quite a few other designs I can adapt into coloring pages before having so start drawing from scratch again.
In fact, I think that next month I'm going to send the mermaid coloring page as a free download to all my newsletter subscribers. Make sure you get in on that!
A place to share the process. A space to be honest about the triumphs and trials of my daily life as an artist and mama. Writing motivates and refreshes me.