Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's great about doodling for a whole month?

This past October, I decided to participate the drawing event called Inktober for the first time. Normally, I sketch my own ideas but on a smaller and often a slower scale. The last time I participated in a group was during Illustration Friday's early days. Then life got busy, kids came along and that included many schedule changes. 

As illustrators, we want to sketch randomly and produce self-directed work every day. Between client work and self promotion we can't always fit it into our already busy lives. 

So, what's great about cutting loose and sketching for a whole month? 

• It created momentum to keep sketching more and more. I'm addicted!

• I received great feedback and many new followers mainly on my blog, twitter and Instagram

• Speaking of blogs, it's a great thing to post about each day. 

• It feels like progress because its designed to be done on a regular basis. 

• It gave me something to look foreword to. 

• It broke up my schedule but in a good way. 

• I got to sketch things I've put off for years or ideas I've always wanted to pursue. 

• I got to stretch my noggin' while working on improving my concepts. 

• It let me tackle problem areas in my drawing.

• I enjoyed planning out each drawing. 

• I found it relaxing. 

• It lightened my mood because I added humour to my ideas and the occasional play on words. 

•  I got to just enjoy getting back to basics- the freedom to just mess around with good ol' paper, pencils, pens, and erasers. Drawing with no pressure or deadlines felt great. It felt like childhood and that was the best part of all! 

Happy creating! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Momentum is a momentous thing!

"Sometimes being pushed to the wall gives you the momentum necessary to get over it!" -Peter de Jager

Isn't it amazing how momentum can feel like a momentous occasion?  

We all have huge hopes for each new day. We wake up with a fresh head. We gather ourselves together in the morning and eventually make our way to our desk. Upon sitting down, our ideas should just come naturally, shouldn't they? You'd think so! We have all the equipment, tools and our creative brains on alert. So what's missing? 

Momentum isn't about a kick ass studio space with stuff or the romantic notions we have about what our careers should look like. It's a process. It's a schedule mixed with ideas, doodles, messes, piles of paper, sticky notes and many good and not so good habits. 

It's the secret spice to getting it all done. When we get momentum, we don't want it to stop. We want to bottle it and a do a dance around it. It feels that rare! 

When we lose it, well... I don't need to remind you how bad that feels. 

I've lost my momentum numerous times in the past 5 years. Being an adult comes with hiccups and earth shaking changes. I took some of it in stride and other times I just felt like being quiet. Those frustrating times were the moments that counted. These times forced me to make decisions and evaluate everything. Now I know momentum comes at certain times and in spurts. 

"If you have the guts to keep making mistakes, your wisdom and intelligence leap forward with huge momentum." -Holly Near

One of the many concerns illustrators have is the worry of not being able to keep it all going. Freelancing is slippery state. Burnout, boredom and mistakes can be motivation killers. We dislike being derailed and we dislike the uncertainty it causes even more. People might notice that we are not a 100%! We could be found out ...because of course, we all need to appear that we are working 14 hours a day as illustrators. We worry so much about so many freelancing things. 

"One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals." 
-Michael Korda

Often we need to trick ourselves into momentum. It needs a reason and a purpose...and some cases, a theme! For me, I start small. I start with one thing. I start by creating a series of ideas. I sit down and do something...anything! By going against the grain, it often starts a new habit. 

To me, this habit is defiance. On the bad days, I twist the mood a bit. I do the opposite or I just deliberately make a mess. That's fine with me as long as it's something. 

I've learned momentum requires movement. Momentum needs to be coffee fueled, nudged and given a purpose. Momentum cannot be put off. It needs to be given the attention it deserves when it comes to visit. When life changes your plans (and it will) your brain will still force some ideas to come out. It's best to take advantage of that time even when excuses are easier to make than actually working. 

Momentum requires belief and commitment. You need to believe it's all worth it and that you can produce great things. Commitment is the glue of momentum. I may have ups and downs as an adult, but the commitment remains as a reminder that I'm on a good path however skewed and rough it may be feel sometimes. 

Happy making! And as a reminder: it's nablopomo or as many like to call it, national blog posting month. Happy blogging!