Thursday, March 19, 2015

No, you didn't already do this.

Have you ever found yourself tasked with a project that you feel you've already done? An assignment that you think, 'this is old hat! I can do this'...but then when you start working on it, you feel like a complete greenhorn? Perspective is funny like that - one minute you're an expert, the next, an absolute beginner. I try to keep in mind the work I've done to get to today, so I don't totally lose my footing, but I think there is something wonderful about finding your novice-self even on a project you have the tools to tackle. Why? Well...the learner perspective allows you to learn new lessons. If every project was in the vein of your expertise, where's the fun in that?

This week I've found myself learning a great deal as I tackle a fast-turnaround on a book cover illustration. The story is an old one, but my take on it is new, different and a bit silly. Seeking my joy, finding my humor, allowing for failure on my creative journey.

New adventure in hand-lettering...

 Dancing Billy sketches...

A little workspace snapshot:

Adding color...

And below is the first mock-up! I'll follow up at the end of the week with my completed book cover.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Time and the Creative Process

Sometimes when you're learning a lesson, it will knock and knock and then finally you'll open the door and see it standing there. This lesson for me has been the realization that time spent doing what you love is a gift to yourself, and a gift that gives back. I began scratching at the surface of this lesson when I was working on the series of children's books I did with a friend (seen here), because I began to feel this tug at myself - when I would hurry through an illustration, I wanted MORE. I wanted to go back and spend more time with each drawing. Now, when I review the three books, I see that with each one, I allowed myself more time on each illustration and it shows. I experienced this same tug when I began taking Lilla Roger's bootcamp. I wanted to spend more time with each piece. I realized in a true lightbulb moment that the majority of my work over the years has been production-based. When you work in production, even creative production, there is someone pushing you to produce as much as possible, as quickly as possible. That doesn't mean they want sloppy work, but it does mean they want a FAST turnaround. As I allow myself to re-connect with the creative me, the girl who went to Art School back in the 1990's, I am rediscovering my processes, my creativity, my thoughtfulness and my joy. And truly, this is not something to be rushed. I am not a slow worker by any means, but working at a production-pace on passionate projects simply doesn't work.

I now can recognize that the survivalist in me has done well to adapt to a production-paced work in order to keep paying my bills, taking care of my responsibilities, and making ends meet as a solo parent who survives on an unpredictable freelance workload - but that at the same time, the next step in my career is very clearly to give myself time to create, develop and refine my creative processes.