Welcome to my updated website! It's been 10 months since my last blog post. I haven't been active on social media beyond the occasional favoriting a tweet or a facebook post. I've been busy and I've been trying to find balance. A lot has happened in my life in those months:
- We have purchased a house. Since it is a fixer-upper, we've been spending MANY hours working on the house trying to get it into a livable state that will eventually become a house just the way we want it.
- I now have a designated art studio! This was a joy for me--and one of the deciding factors of the house. It's the smallest room, but it has the best light and one of the largest windows in the house that looks out on the backyard trees. AND it's all mine to keep messy with ongoing projects, books and tools. (and theoretically, keep the rest of the house clean)
- I began an ongoing mentorship with E.B. Lewis. Thanks to talking with him at the SCBWI Summer Conferences, we've now had many conversations about style, voice, and technique--all of which are subtly different.
- I've taken block printing workshops. I've always admired block printing and the workshops have shown me how fun it is to physically carve out the images. For now this is just a fun exploration, but since this strongly ties the graphic designer side of me to the illustration side of me, I hope to find a way to blend all the techniques I love into my distinct style.
- I'm finding stories I want to tell. They're still far from ready to release into the wider world, but taking this journey has been a necessary step in finding the next layer of depth to my own artwork.
The first two changes in my life have caused me to rethink how I mentally find my work-life balance. I only have so much time every week, but even if I make the smallest increment of progress, it's better than my work standing still. I'm getting better at allowing myself quiet time to let my wander, think, explore, and restore my equilibrium for those days when I need to go full-throttle.
The latter changes have lead to an evolution in my style. While I know there are people who have given me nothing but positive feedback on my old colored pencil style and might prefer it over my new work, I was frustrated and unhappy with the final illustrations. I was not achieving the level of work that I wanted to. The newer style feels freeing, rather than restricting and allows for (relatively) easy editing and revising until I'm happy with the end result. Additionally, having positive feelings towards my artwork leads towards me being excited to sit down at my art desk instead of finding every avenue for procrastination.
I know that I am still far from where I want my work to be, but I'm getting closer. And I'm having more fun than ever. I hope you will enjoy this journey with me.