MATS My Year of Art (LIVE*)

This blog post is not sponsored by MATS and reflects my personal and humble opinion, only.

Last year, I realised that I needed to push my art to the next level. That is why I decided to take the online class MATS My Year of Art (LIVE).

The first time I took a MATS class was back in 2017. I booked MATS Bootcamp, a four-month-long online creative course. Each month starts with a mini assignment as a warm-up for the big one. Also, you get to work to a deadline. Well, the deadline serves as a reference point. It is a window of opportunity where you can upload what you created to the gallery. You do not have to share but are welcome to do so.

I remembered how these four months of Bootcamp gave structure to my creative process. To see all the assignment results displayed in the gallery is very inspiring. Not in the sense of copying others, but seeing how varied the results of a single assignment can be. The level of skills and professionalism of some (seasoned) MATS students is high. It drives me to work harder on my style and work. The MATS community is always one of kindness and support and great advice.

When Covid-19 happened in 2020, my plan to visit the Bologna Children’s Book Fair did not pan out. Initially, I was disappointed. Retrospective, I feel it was a blessing in disguise. With all the extra time on my hands, I took the opportunity to book a MATS MBA, MATS IBC and MATS MKBP class! I was so busy! I learned so much and feel that—this year—I will be going way better prepared to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair than I had been had I gone in 2020.

So now I am working harder than ever on creating a stronger portfolio of new works. Being enrolled in this MATS My Year of Art helps me focus on my creative goals and inspires me to develop my skills further.

If you are an artist and been wondering whether to book a class with MATS, I can highly recommend it. MATS offers many different online courses like Editorial, Illustrating Children’s Books, My Kid Book Pitch (writing for kids), Bootcamp, to name but a few. Each class comes with plenty of up-to-date market-trends, insights and career advice.

*includes LIVE Zoom sessions.

Example of what I made for the MATS ICB 2020

Picture Book Cover Design for MATS ICB 2020
Picture Book Cover Design for MATS ICB 2020
Design a full spread illustration for a selected picture book manuscript offered during the MATS ICB.
Full-spread Picture Book Illustration for MATS ICB 2020
Character Development for MATS ICB 2020
Character Development for MATS ICB 2020

For more info on upcoming classes MATS ICB follow this link here.

To know more, in general about MATS courses, click here.

Moonstruck

One full-moon night, wolves howl in concert when one bloats like a balloon!

“Woah?!”

Amazed, they watch the wolf float by.

“Help!”

One wolf jumps. “Too high!”

Some stack. “Can’t balance!”

Cowboy wolf swings his lasso!

Paw attached.

Wolf floats safely.

“No worries! He will deflate as the moon wanes.”

This story was written for #50presciouswords 2021

Moonstruck 

The idea for this story was born from participating in #animaloonie’s art challenge #wolfloonday over on Twitter just this past February. At the time, I was also participating in the MATS Editorial class. We were encouraged to create gifs of our assigned illustration. After figuring out how that works, I felt the wolf’s ballooned state was another great gif-creating opportunity.
After posting my ballooned wolf, someone asked me whether I planned on writing a picture book story to this one. Not really, but I was intrigued. These wolves could be my content for the #50preciouswords challenge! As a picture-book writer, you do your best to keep the word count down to around 500. Telling an entire story in 500 words can be very challenging as it is. Now try to limit it to 50! What a welcomed exercise for concise writing. And so I wrote. It took me seven drafts before I reached the above final one. While there is always room for improvement, I am grateful for deadlines! Otherwise, I still would be drafting! 50 words still leave you with countless possibilities in directions you could take your story.

If you would like to know more or even participate in this fun writing challenge hop over to Vivian Kirkfield’s blog for guide- and deadlines.

There is still time to submit your precious 50 words and there are so many fabulous prices to win!

Good luck!

One Week into Storystorm

30 Picture Book ideas in 31 days. It sounds rather easy. Some days those ideas just flow, other days, nothing worthwhile pops into my head. Thankfully on the Storystorm blog, we get daily inspirations on where to find those story treasures. Sometimes we just need to take a whole different angle on things. Today this and that technique may work, tomorrow a different technique will bear more fruits.

The wonderful thing about this event is that this knowledge of an entire community brainstorming helps keep focus maintained. Even on days where those ideas j u s t d o n ‘ t w a n t t o c o m e. But you keep at it because you know you are not alone.

SO FAR
My first two story ideas ended up being ones that I found published already, duh. Taken aback, my mind went blank page for a day to pour out five story ideas the next. The following day, silence in the story idea section of my brain. Then, alas, a story showed up while I was busy illustrating in Procreate. So, eight days and six story ideas so far. . . although, today is not done yet and there is still hope.

A SURPRISE
While I searched through my notebook for something entirely different, I stumbled over my Storystorm 2020 ideas. I actually did come up with 30 story ideas—two which I developed further. Honestly, I forgot about the rest and I will definitely need to keep those on hold, too. After all, that is the point of Storystorm. It would be sad to work up ideas and then let them dust away. There might be a gold nugget amongst the forgotten one. Who knows!

If you are a Storystorm participant, I am wishing you loads success with coming up with story ideas. If you are not a Storystorm participant but a storyteller and writer I am wishing you, too, fruitful mining of story ideas. If you are a writer and illustrator, too!


While working hard at your craft, remember to take breaks and also to play!

Happy 2021!

2020

Well, if 2020 wasn’t a bizarre year. . . what more to say. For me, many plans were postponed. Also, I took a year’s break from social media altogether. Time to reflect. Time to learn. Time to practice. All in all, I am grateful for 2020 as it also brought some good moments and opportunities. Counting my blessings.

2021

Officially, we’ve arrived in a new year and things are about to change. Wait a minute, are they? Maybe not right now but, eventually, after rain follows sunshine.

In challenging times introspection, patience, and a positive mindset are our best options to navigate successfully through stormy waters. While it may seem hard—especially when times are challenging— it is always good to keep our minds focused on our goals (at least one particular goal we are most passionate about) as well as a positive mindset. Whatever this may look like and whatever we can realistically do to meet that goal, let us do it. Time passes relentlessly, in any case. Let’s make the best use of it.

Upcoming

For me, 2021 will be dedicated to my creative pursuits.

I’ve signed up for Storystorm 2021: 30 story ideas in 31 days.

meet Earl: and Pearl:

the StoryStorm 2021 mascots illustrated by Mike Ciccotello.

Also, after taking the courses MATS MBA, ICB, MKBP in 2020, I decided to sign up for MATS My Year of Art School LIVE, which begins mid-January 2021.

Last but not least, I have booked my stay in Bologna for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in June this year again, hoping that this time it will actually take place.

May 2021 be the best year we’ve all ever experienced!


May your year be full of positive surprises!

12 x 12 Challenge – Writing 12 PB drafts in 12 months

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but I did not vanish into thin air

I’ve been busy with writing and with editing as well as posting my illustration efforts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Writing for children

Writing children’s picture books may sound easy. But don’t be fooled! I’ve worked many years as an editor for IT, finance and research content and can say this much: children’s books are just as complex if not more complex to bring to perfection!

Ready to submit? Not so fast!

I thought I was ready to submit my children’s picture book manuscript ‘Miah and the Moon’. Approximately last August I realised I really wasn’t!

Be prepared

This means, should I be in the lucky position that a literary agent or publisher expresses their interest in ‘Miah and the Moon’ I would need to have at least two additional polished manuscripts ready. Unfortunately, I don’t.

Decompress and get back in the game

After a moment of anxiety followed by long walks in nature, various yoga routines and silent meditations, I realised the moment to act is ‘now’. Now is the time to act on whatever I felt was missing for me to submit my work and fill the gaps. And so I did.

Go for it in whichever way suits you best. But go for it!

After searching for the right solution to my problem I nailed it down to two options: Either becoming an SCWBI member or a 12 x 12 member.

Becoming a 12 x 12 member

Because the main factor for my despair last August 2017 was that I needed more written material to show for, I went and subscribed to the 12 x 12 challenge membership. If you’re unfamiliar with 12 x 12, it’s a one year challenge with the goal to produce 12 picture book manuscript (drafts) in 12 months.

So far so good

January

I polished the ‘Miah and the Moon’ manuscript and got familiar with the 12 x 12 forum and how things work. It’s a lot of information to take in and takes time to learn it all. The community is supportive and kind. One of the many benefits of being a member: I did not miss out on the picture book pitch events over on Twitter this year!

February

I’ve written a second picture book draft called ‘Mikkie and Molly’. It’s still unpolished but has taken a satisfying shape already. I’m eager to sketch a few illustration and storyboard samples, already.

March

Last but not least, while illustrating a cow, I was kissed by a muse to write a picture book draft titled ‘Matilda flies with Birds’. In this example, a simple sketch led to a picture book story.

Epilogue

I love to draw and to tell stories. It gives me immense pleasure to combine illustrating and writing. Before joining 12 x 12, I thought I may have to give up one or the other. But now I’ve discovered it is more than okay to do both. I’m not alone.

12 x 12

The registration deadline for 12 x 12 is closed to new members. But if you follow the link: 12 x 12 Membership you can opt to be alerted when registration for 2019 opens. Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding the 12 x 12 challenge in the comments below. I’ll try my best to answer them.Until then, I’ll be posting my 12 x 12  journey on this blog. Maybe it’ll help you decide whether it’s as good fit for you as it is for me.

Ellis Island June Assignment – making of

I haven’t posted for a while, because I needed to digest last month’s MATS Bootcamp assignment as the theme was quite controversial and got me a bit down. ‘A bit’ is probably an underestimation of how I felt last month. I felt downright depressed about the topic. And here’s why:

The Mini for June

The mini for the June assignment was Ellis Island. We were not given a particular focus. Rather, we were to research, observe, and create.

My online research resulted in me finding many portrait photographs of people who passed through Ellis Island between 1892 until 1954.

They looked exhausted, sad, annoyed or uncertain.

I did notice some interesting images of boats, ships, architecture and suitcases the passengers carried with them, but the intensity of the people’s faces did not let me go.

Deciding upon an approach

I decided to work on my portrait sketching skills:

Left: pencil sketch of an Italian immigrant on Ellis Island. Right: a modern-day refugee

I don’t sketch portraits very often (next to never, actually) and thought it to be a good opportunity practice.

But the week passed with a heavy feeling in my heart. I was thinking about the lives back then and the lives today being forced by circumstances to leave their current homes to venture out to new lands in hope of a better life.

The thing is, ‘Ellis Island’ still exists, just under different names and in various locations of the world. And all nice-talking aside, for some, Ellis Island was but a prison stop before they were sent back to where they came from.

This assignment reminded me too much of the current plight of people being forced to leave their home countries with their future in the hands of the judgment of officials and authorities.

From pencil sketch to line drawing with ink pen and gouache poster-style painting.

Some get through the human sieve others don’t. Who get’s to decide where we may or may not lay our hats? To me, it’s a painful topic.

In modern-day, plain and simple travelling of mine, I can say that I really dislike going through customs. Not because I’ve got anything to hide, but because from 7 out of 10 times, I’ll be stopped and will need to undergo additional screening. I keep blaming it my ‘nose’. Whatever the reason for the holdup, I detest this kind of invasion of my privacy.

Cutting to a chase, admittedly, this topic struck a chord with me and I was left hoping the main June assignment would depart from Ellis Island and we’d be assigned something on a lighter note.

The June Assignment

As the second Monday of June arrived, it was clear, we were stuck with Ellis Island. But this time it was worse (at least to me)! The topic was hair or hairstyles of Ellis Island and all this needed to be designed for a mug. What?! And while many in the Bootcamp community saw the lace, and shoes, and bags, and fashion, and embroidery, but I could only see the people (luckily, I was not entirely alone and did have some empathisers).

Giving up?

In addition, the people in the photographs passing through Ellis Island were wearing either scarves or hats. Not much hair to see! At this point, I was toying the idea of passing the June assignment entirely.

Creative Block

But, I never cut and run without giving something at least a try. So, I rationalised: I like drawing lines. Hence, I like drawing hair, waves, tree structures and any kind of structure in which I can incorporate lines. But hair on a mug? I was still stuck.

Finding inspiration

For inspiration, I decided to learn more about Ellis Island and watched a documentary on YouTube. But upon watching the documentary only meant the second week of June left me with a heavy heart, too.

After watching the documentary, and as I intuitively guessed, a fraction of people arriving at Ellis Island got to pass with no health checks, no screenings, no nothing. All the rest were held back and scrutinised with medical and lice checks, x-rayed, they even had to undergo questionable intelligence checks!

The methods used to judge over these people reminded me all too much of the methods the Nazi Germans used in the second world war.

People were judged by their looks and facial features and deemed ‘stupid’, ‘imbeciles’, ‘idiots’ for the shape of their eyes, eyebrows, noses and mouths.

However, while watching the documentary, I did notice afterall a couple of people who stood out for their beauty despite the overall sadness that emanated from the photos and the documentary.

Coming up with the Design

And so I decided to portrait these particular people and to use them in my mug design:

First Design

One of them was a woman undergoing a health check. To me, she was so graceful in this uncomfortable situation and she had these beautiful two, long, dark braids, graceful hands and classical facial features:

Second Design

The second person I noticed was a woman posing in a group photo of nurses who worked on Ellis Island. She kind of had a Mona Lisa smile and a voluptuous figure. I liked how her hair got a bit messed up by the wind during the photo shoot:

Third Design

The third (two) person(s) who caught my attention was a man and a woman. Obviously, they had just met after a long time of no see. They could have been related or a couple, that was not clear. But they were immensely happy to see each other. Their embrace was so heartwarming and emotionally intense:

Fourth Design

Lastly, I noticed a couple of children on Ellis Island for their expression of curiosity, fear, and annoyance and the overall innocence they radiated:

The Mood Board

I had already designed the mugs before the mood board was published.

Colour palette

The colour palette I had chosen for my design was luckily pretty much in tune with the mood board suggestion.

Lettering

Another feature that was added to the assignment was the need to include lettering in form of quotes of strong women.

This did not fit so well with my design and so with no time to redesign, I decided to add some tuned-down lettering with phrases around having or getting together for tea.

Are you still with me? Thank you, I feel honoured and hope you will not be disappointed if sticking with me to the end. So far, you’ve probably also noticed that the June assignment really got me brooding and thinking. And, believe me, you’ve just read a fraction of the controversy happening in my head.

Overall design and symbolism

Despite the turmoil in my mind and the many open questions and concerns I had, I wanted to keep the design timeless, clean, clear and simple so that it could be enjoyed out of context, too.

The golden circle:

Can be the moon and – at the same time – the sun. Standing for activity and passivity. There are times in life we can take action to improve our situation, and other times we need to let go and move with the flow even if it means to sit still and take action by non-action.
Gold symbolises warmth and abundance.
It can stand for the wealth of our personality shaped and moulded over time and linked to a certain culture and its traditions.
At the same time, it can stand for our hopeful vision for a better and abundant future.

The waves:

Water stands for emotion,
while waves stand for the turbulence of our thoughts, the noise in our minds as well as outer circumstances.
Water and waves also stand for long-distance travel, adventure and discovery.
Blue stands for our ability to be in tune with our intuition and our ability to communicate.

Lettering – all about connecting:

I kept the content really light and simple and chose a layout making the lettering only noticeable upon a second glance.
I’m a tea person, and to me, tea is a culture, a way of living.
Good tea cannot be rushed neither in the brewing nor in the enjoying part of tea. Sharing tea moments with others is a wonderful way to connect.
I also kept thinking of the beautiful tea ceremonies of Japan (I’m quite fond of the simplicity of Japanese art and graphic design) and tried to incorporate this into the design.

 

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A Garden is a Grand Teacher – making of:

The final version of the May assignment for MATS Bootcamp using the suggested roses, a quote from Gertrud Jekyll and the given trend colours.

Journal/notebook mock up and partial design close-up.

Journal/notebook and more in this design available in my Society6 store here (lined and blank paper options)

The first design: line work scanned from inkpen on paper and edited in Photoshop

Before we were given a mood board with a suggested trend colour palette, our initial assignment was to play with and study roses in as much detail as possible (see previous post: In the Name of Roses).

For the mini assignment, the main working colour was still pink. That is why my first colour experiment was with pink.

First completed journal/notebook design.

But with the mood board, this changed drastically, as the colours were darker, bolder, and more adventurous. In the beginning, I hesitated to follow my first hunch to use the nearly black colour as background and opted first for the greyish-blue:

But the next day, upon looking at it again, I just felt that it was too flat for my taste and tried the nearly black background, which is the one I ended up posting to the online gallery, too.

But looking at all three colours, I find they all work well in their own way. I guess, colour choice can depend a lot on current colour trends and then on personal likes and dislikes.

The final design with no quote:

Notebook/journal design, no quote

I’ve noticed that colour trends can inspire me to try new colour combinations I might not have considered.

With clothes, I know the colours that suit me well. All the powdery colours make me look like an old chewing gum that was stuck under a table ages ago.

I like stronger, brighter colour on me like grass green and a juicy yellow. The non-colours black and white go well, too. Brown, depends. I’ll always run away from grey.

As far as blue is concerned, I’ve become overly saturated with it as blue has become too uniform and corporate for me. At one point, I suddenly noticed, I had mainly blue clothes and an occasional red, white or black something to combine it with. Kind of as if I’d been affiliated with Tommy Hilfiger, which I’m not. That is why I think the blue journal design just did not work for me.

Also, I do not wear flower prints. I do not decorate my place with flower prints, either. I hardly illustrate or paint flowers.

initial pencil sketch, scanned and edited in Photoshop

So, drawing roses turned out to be a challenge. I feel, for not being a very ‘flowery’ kind of person,  I’ve managed to find just the right amount of flowers I can handle in this design (I will put a flower in my hair if I find a nice one that fell off a tree, though. Flowers on a balcony and garden, lovely, too. A bunch of flowers for inside the home, also: fine).

wild rose sketched, scanned, photohopped

I think, if I were to design patterns with flowers, I’d go more abstract with the flower design with bolder shapes and colours and then soften it with line work as in the yogini’s hair. Then, I may even consider wearing a flower pattern.

This is what MATS Bootcamp is doing to me. I am suddenly thinking of design, patterns, textiles, fabrics and clothes. It’s been a while since I had these thoughts…

As for the next MATS Bootcamp assignment: next Monday we will get our June mini assignment. Can’t wait.


Until we meet next: have a lovely weekend!


 

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In the Name of Roses

Hi there!

How is life treating you lately? I hope all is well on your side of the world.

Today was a really dreary and cold day. The kind of day where all I’d want to do is stay in bed with a hot cuppa chai or a hot almond cinnamon chocolate drink and a good book.

But there were enough tasks to do, and so I got out of bed, took a hot shower, did my daily yoga and meditation and was off to work.

 

Appreciating the small things in life: roses. Digital sketch made with Ps and Ai.

 

One thing I got done today was to colour in my roses sketch I did on the weekend as part of the MATS Bootcamp roses study.

Roses are really tricky to draw. It’s like you see something and then when you put it down on paper, that what you had in mind looks nothing like what you executed on paper!

So, I tried again, and again, and again… until, after many failed attempts, I kind of got the hang of it. Or let’s say, I am not as intimidated by drawing them anymore.

In the following are the results of my weekend rose exercise sketches I dare to share:

Wild Roses: Pencil and black ink pen

 

Rosa Bourboniana: Pencil and black ink pen

 

And finally, the above shown digital sketch in pencil and black ink pen straight from my sketchbook. I made this one as a compilation of my rose exercise:

Appreciating the small things in life: roses!

 

I think this weekend and for the moment, wild roses turned out to be my favourite roses.

Not just because they are relatively simple to draw; because they are. But, their simple shape and pink colour tossed around haphazardly in a juicy green bush is so beautifully chaotic and charming. A bit like an abstract painting.

I guess it’s kind of in my nature as a Sagittarius to like all things wild. 😉

The other thing I noticed is, I must have quite a vivid imagination because while sketching, drawing, inking and working digitally on all roses, I had the feeling I could actually make out the scent of the roses as if I were sniffling in a bunch of roses as depicted in the above sketch.

Now where many artists and designers participating in MATS Bootcamp mentioned having had this on their mind ‘Roses are red, violets…’, I couldn’t help having the song: ‘I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden,…’ on my mind.

After a while, it felt a bit like a broken record, I must admit, and I am glad that I was able to knock it out of my mind.

But as for roses, what more can I say than: they are simply beautiful.


May your week be beautiful!


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How time flies!

I know, I haven’t been blogging for a while.

However, behind the scenes, there has been a lot going on since I last wrote. Let me sum things up a bit:

Writing a children’s book

Since last September, I’ve been working on a children’s book titled:

‘Miah & the Moon’

The story is about an intergalactic moon hopper named Miah. Her main purpose of existence is to keep all the moons in the Milky Way galaxy happy. All is well, until one day Earth’s Moon turns terribly unhappy.

I conceived this story while brooding over what to draw for Inktober 2016. In 2014 and 2015, I participated with rather random inkings. Last year, I wanted my inkings to follow a storyline.

A day after the full moon eclipse (I believe it was September 1?) a back spasm* hit me unexpectedly and I was forced away from my ongoing canvas work and into bed. Sitting, standing and walking for more than ten minutes in a row was pure torture for about two to three weeks. It was so frustrating having to interrupt painting on my Paradigm Shift series. Up to then, I had been advancing so well.

Then again, taking a different perspective, it was also a blessing in disguise. I had more than enough time to plot my story for Inktober 2016! Laying in bed on my back like a turned over turtle with only pencil and paper, I roughly plotted ‘Miah and the Moon’. I also worked on rough sketches of Miah’s character.

By the time it was October, my back was feeling better and I was able to sit long enough at a table to create my inked illustrations for Inktober following the rough plot of Miah and the Moon.

Now, good eight months later and after a lot of editing, having the story edited, getting feedback on it, reading it out loud to a varied audience and having it read out loud by others to me, I feel almost ready to consider sending ‘Miah and the Moon’ out to publishers.

I find this step scary. So scary, that I am procrastinating it away. But, I am hoping that the MATS Bootcamp (next paragraph) will help me boost confidence to prepare myself well enough to take me to that next big step.

Advice on best practice on how to get a children’s book as author/illustrator newbie published is very much welcomed and appreciated.

* In case you were wondering: I fully recovered from the back spasm. Actually, it was also a blessing in disguise as I became accustomed to jogging again. Yoga, jogging and enough back rest, too, did the trick. Now I am stronger and fitter than before the spasm. All is well that ends well. 🙂

MATS Bootcamp

Past March, I registered for ‘MATS Bootcamp’; an online course. This course runs for five months. Each month, we are given a creative assignment. Apart from me looking for an opportunity to build confidence regarding the design of a mock up for ‘Miah and the Moon’, for some time, I’ve been also browsing the internet for a while in search of a simple online course that could help me work on style development, consistency of style, discovery of new fields like surface pattern design, experiment with new techniques and mediums, etc.

Initial pattern design & colour palette

Although, MATS offers an ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’ online course it is the bigger financial investment compared to MATS Bootcamp. Not certain how well the courses of MATS will suit me, I thought it’s better to start with MATS Bootcamp and see how I like the process, structure, content and classroom. Then, I can estimate how comfy I’d feel with the ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’ online course.

So far, I am happy with MATS Bootcamp. It began in March. Creating a surface pattern design for a backpack was our first assignment.

This was a first at surface pattern design and mock-up creation for me. Despite initial challenges, I completed the assignment in time to upload it to the online gallery. I was quite happy with the result. But not just with the result being a backpack mockup with my surface pattern design on it, but also happy with how much I’ve learned, was able to experiment, and practice in the process. It was really fun.

 

Colour-adjusted pattern design and backpack mockup. I submitted this to the MATS online gallery.

This April, we need to create a mind map for the editorial (magazine) market. I am also fond of this assignment. Not that it will be any lesser challenging. April is a busy month for me though, so I hope I will be able to bring the assignment to completion. Mid April now, it doesn’t look good. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in some night shifts. If you’re interested, you can read more about MATS here.

My ‘500 Words a Day’ for 30 days challenge (Feb/March)

In short: it did not last 30 days.
But true is, although I did not write 500 words a day for thirty days, I was immersed in tweaking ‘Miah and the Moon’s’ word count as close to 500 as possible. Not easy at all! But, I am now at 750 from 900+ and feel I can let the word count tweaking rest for the moment.

As for now, I’ll be more occupied with the illustrations, the mockup of the picture book, being on the lookout for potential agents, publishers, etc.. Basically doing all kinds of research and familiarising myself with the current children’s book marketplace for author/illustrator submission process.

My personal sketchbook challenge

The 60 pages are not full yet. But I am up to 45 pages (I usually stop a sketchbook at about one-third of its capacity). So in 2017, I’ve broke a personal record and got further than I expected to with this sketchbook.

The thing is, I have the habit of drawing on scraps of paper. Of course, this is a rather messy approach of mine and my sketches end up scattered all over the

place.

You might be familiar with the scrap paper habit: I am terrified of wasting a sketchbook with ‘shitty’ drawings, sketches, inkings or paintings. Especially, when I see all the fancy sketchbooks on Pinterest or Youtube!

One

I’ve always got some at hand ready to grab when ideas race through my mind. Also, I feel freer on random paper. Just one shitty sketch can spoil my wanting to continue using the same sketchbook altogether. Even with just turning the page and heading to the next one, I know there is a page I don’t like in the sketchbook and I am irritated. Sounds stupid, I totally agree.

True, I could tear the (in my opinion) ruined page out, but I am not comfortable with this approach either. I could stick another blank page over the ruined one, but I never came around to doing this. To me, it is time-consuming to repair what has gone wrong compared to just starting new altogether.

It’s easier to just grab yet another loose piece of paper to sketch an idea before the creative moment is lost. Using scrap paper just seems more efficient than trying to fix a sketchbook. I don’t know how it is with you, but things I’ve made in the past that I detest, I just want to rid myself of it as quickly as possible.

Comforting the Inner Child

This time, however, things were kind of different. I really wanted a space to keep my creative experiments together before I approached the canvas (to me ‘ruining’ a canvas is worse than ‘ruining’ a sketchbook). And it worked really well for me! This method (change of thinking?) supported me with my ‘Paradigm Shift’ art series advancement and allowed for creative experimentations outside my comfort zone.

I do not like every page in the current sketchbook. But I am not bothered by the ones I don’t like so much. Some of the sketches (the ones I deemed as passable), I’ve posted on my Insta feed and on Facebook.

Luckily enough, some of the creative experiments inspired two more painting series. One being: ‘Spirit Animals’ with a limited colour palette (main colours: Gold/Pearl/White/Black) and the other being: ‘Micro Cosmos’, ‘One’, ‘Comforting the Inner Child’, ‘While You Slept with Eyes Open, I travelled with Eyes Closed’, ‘Peacock Dance’. For the latter, I am also envisioning a limited colour palette, but this idea has not fully ripened.

Selfie at my desk

But before beginning with any new painting series, I wish to finish the ‘Paradigm Shift’ series. Three down, two to go. I am so relieved because at one point I had the feeling I’ll never see the completion of the ‘Paradigm Shift’ series.

Although, having said that, ‘Paradigm Shift’ is last on my list of things to do, as I am giving ‘Miah and the Moon’ and MATS Bootcamp priority.

It is in times like this I would love to have clones of myself. Or maybe just a five pairs of arms would suffice too, so I could do it all at once. so Just being ‘humble’. 😉

Hope you are all doing well and wishing you a great second half of April!

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