It's Wednesday, so here I am writing a blog post.
I made this commitment back in March -- to post weekly -- and it's still going strong. I'm going to go ahead pat myself on the back for that. I think I skipped a week once since then, but that's actually way better than I thought I'd be doing.
Today -- since I'm not sure what else to bring you -- I thought I'd share a few artists I really dig. I've pulled these images from their social media feeds and linked back so you can check it out for yourself as well.
First is Sandra Dieckmann. I've been following her for awhile, even before I really feel I found my own artistic "voice". You can see how she has influenced me a bit, with her fun patterning and playful animals. (see her on Facebook and Instagram)
I also really enjoy following Michiko on Instagram. She has such fun geometric patterns.
Also, I love the art of Yardia. She's also based in the Great Pacific Northwest. Her work is so charming and inviting. (Here's her Instagram)
So there is some eye candy for ya. There are many other artists who inspire me, but I'll save those for another week.
I thought I'd pop in and give you a progress report on my bug coloring book. I feel like I have enough bugs drawn now - 12 - and so I'm working on editing my drawings. I've scanned them and am going through the pain-staking process of cleaning them up. For instance, right now I'm in the middle of combing through my dragonfly drawing. See this leaf....
And now it's a bit less messy (still working on it).
I'm not going for perfection. Like I mentioned in my last post, I kind of like the human-element of a little bit of imperfection in my art. My goal is just less messy. Even so, I can see myself dragging my feet on this step and taking forever just because the next steps are more intimidating...
Those are the next few steps, after I finish the editing bit. Then I am self-publishing this book through CreateSpace (not sure if I've mentioned that yet).
Someone asked me the other day which bug was my favorite. I was stumped in the moment, but I think now it's either the moth or the spider
One thing I've learned about myself in the past year is that I can be a perfectionist. I've never been a neat-freak and have always thought of myself as pretty laid back, so this came to me as a surprise, but I am also a very harsh critic of myself, and I love structure and routine (and that was a very long sentence, speaking of being a self-critic...). Even though I am not a neat-freak, there are certain things in my life that I want do the right way and will beat myself up internally if I don't.
There are a couple of ways I've noticed this show up in my art process and artistic style.
I've mentioned this before, but I used to take for-ev-or to complete a drawing. Part of that is because it was so detailed, but I believe another large part of it is that I wanted to keep working until it felt just right -- something I could be super proud of. I put a lot of pressure on each artwork.
There definitely is a time for that -- to take your time and be thorough and thoughtful -- but I don't want that to be my default, or to feel trapped by my expectations.
Challenging myself to draw quickly, like in the 100 Day Project, has really helped me shake free of that. Now, since I know that I don't have to take months to complete a drawing, each project feels like less pressure. Every work of art isn't a masterpiece that I'm going to sell countless prints of. That's ok. It's ok to just be ok sometimes. What's important is to keep moving.
As far as my style, my love of structure shows up in that I like to create rules for myself within an artwork, such as in choosing shapes and colors. You can see that in my most recent zendala.
I settled on a few keys shapes when I was drawing and then repeated them in different sizes and combinations. Then I settled on a color scheme and stuck to it.
I've found creating some sort of structure for myself frees me up. I'm not so overwhelmed by all the possibilities. It's also fun because then it becomes something of a challenge -- to create a design that's interesting with limited elements. Constraints that enable (that was the title of an article that I read in grad school).
(You'd think I'd also obsess over having straight lines and perfect symmetry, but nope. I actually perfect the wobbly and human-ness of impercision)
I've never really had the typical fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants artist personality. I'm all about schedules and being on time (by that I mean 5 minutes early) and following the instruction manual.
There are lots of ways to be an artist.
I'm a big fan of process pics. I've taken quite a few recently while drawing my animals for the 100 Day Project and have held them back from social media. Let's dump them all onto this post, shall we?
Many of these pictures I took at the point of thinking "This one really isn't turning out well..." But I kept going and by the end was moderately pleased with the drawings. I've thought that enough times to know that I just need to keep pushing forward and things often (not always) turn out better than I think they will.
So I'll post the process pic(s) followed by the finished sketch. (Click on the thumbnails to view bigger.) Here we go!
That was fun, huh?
You can see sometimes I start with pencil, other times I go straight to ink. It depends on my mood -- if I feel confident and/or pressed for time I forego the pencil sketch.
I'm really enjoying the 100 Day Project this year (unlike last year). I hope to turn some of these sketches into bigger, more polished drawings at some point.
Ransom and I got a zoo membership. so I have a never-ending source of inspiration.
What's your favorite animal to see at the zoo? Mine currently are the seals and mountain goats.
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.