This week has been awesome. I’ve had a great time working and posting with you guys with the #15minartchallenge. It is quickly taking on a life of its own and that has made me smile big. Great job everyone!
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I’ve got a challenge for you. A challenge to make the most out of your sparest of time to do something to grow your skills.
If you find your time to be constrained then use what little you have and join in The 15 Minute Art Challenge.
It’s simple: Time yourself drawing for 15 minutes.
You can add color, but no more “drawing”. Tag #15minartchallenge on your social media accounts. Share and encourage others to join and use their “spare” time to create something.
Trust me, doing so you’ll get: faster and better. It was my main source of drawing for almost five years.
Constraints concentrates creativity.
A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark. —Dante (Alighieri)
If you add a little to a little and do this often, soon the little will become great.—Hesiod
The nuts and bolts of how I came up with what to draw this week had everything to do with daily life. My kids and I are totally absorbed in reading The Wingfeather Saga books by Andrew Peterson right now. Inspiration—check! Also, we celebrated two birthdays in our family this week and pulled out a favorite movie in the celebrating, The Hobbit. Oh yeah—I always love to draw bigfoot.
With a full-time (non-illustrating) job and a family of seven (besides me) this has been a necessary and significant shift in perspective. Instead of using my constraints as excuses, I now see them as strengths.
Tomy and Jon’s on-going adventure heated up on Wednesday. I worked for months ahead before I ever launched my webcomic so I didn’t work on it this week. It posts on a schedule now.
This is my best example to date of choosing a personal project (as far as art goes) and sticking with it. It’s really helped me grow my skills and put myself out there, and definitely within constraints. I can’t recommend this enough.
If you do not have natural constraints there are things you can do to enforce some on yourself. Even with natural ones, this helps.
The main limitation I put on myself is choosing to work in 5, 10, or 15 minute time allotments. Set a timer if you need to—I used my phone’s.
How to Find Your Creative Sweet Spot: Find the most effective constraint for yourself by asking yourself what you believe is your biggest limitation. Then begin the process of choosing to believe it could actually be exactly what you need.
After several years of working in this way, I doubted that I’d have much art to show for between 75 hours of non-illustration work on my plate this week. I was wrong. It proves to me again how true it is, creativity really does thrive on constraint.
Here’s my week in review:
(This doesn’t even count the nights I was just worn down and sketched a bunch of stuff that never saw the light of day.)
Not having my own studio has been another hidden aid that has worked to help me stay mobile and make due with space limits. I gather many of you are in the same position. So here’s a trick for the trade: modified brush pens.
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
Instead of an elaborate set up, I use six Pentel Fude Brushpens that I modify with scissors or needle nose pliers.
You can get them with a medium or extra fine point. Find out more by clicking the highlighted words. If you decide it’s a good fit for you (or gift for another artist in your life) at no extra cost to you, it will also benefit my family, so THANK YOU!
As it’s original intent is for pencils, I ended up modifying mine. I cut a few of the threads to open up the width of some of the elastic. It took me less than five minutes to customize just the way I need it. Fold, roll and go.
If this looks like a good fit for you or an artist in your life, you can see more about it HERE, and at no extra cost to you, clicking my link will also benefit my family, so THANK YOU!
If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
Here’s my imagining of Pete the Sock Man, from aforementioned family read aloud: The Wingfeather Saga: —our family laughs pretty hard over these books.
The change in frequency of posts recently has a purpose.
Rather than send all my art that posts to social media, I’m sending fewer and more personal updates along with thoughts/ideas I hope will be resourceful and encouraging to you in your own creative journey.
What do you think of the change? What kind of things would you like to hear or see from me here?
Keep creating, and have a great weekend,
P.S. Please share this with anyone else you think may be interested in these kind of updates. Thanks!
Subscribe for these updates to come directly to your inbox HERE.
Thank you to everyone who supported The Wingfeather Saga animated series Kickstarter Campaign. They met and went beyond the goals. So, a film and much more is happening!
I am thoroughly excited to take part and have the opportunity to illustrate the rooftop capers of The Florid Sword / Shadowblade comic written by Andrew Peterson.
This week I’ve been exploring one of the main characters.
Also, I recently began sharing an art prompt on Saturday evenings where I am posting a short story idea for any one looking for some outside inspiration for their drawing. It’s been a good time seeing what others come up with. I am picking several to share each week. If you are interested in joining:
Every Saturday I post a prompt,
During the upcoming week you and I draw something based on it and, prior to following Saturday,
We post & tag our work. Tag me @mrjaymyers and also #mjmartprompt (I’ll share several each week)
Here’s one more in my march toward ten thousand from this week:
Every once-in-awhile in life we get the opportunity to connect with like-minded, like-hearted people and projects, beyond ourselves. So, right now, I am extremely thrilled to have recently been invited to do just that and I want to invite you to as well.
Have you heard of, the vast and perilous like “Lord of the Rings” meets the whimsy of “The Princess Bride”, fantasy tale called, The Wingfeather Saga? Our family just discovered this four part fiction series this past summer. It is wonderful.
If you’ve been tracking with me long, you know I love whimsy and fairytales, because it’s fun and because there can often be immense truth within them. The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson, has both. It’s the kind of tale you want your kids to read and they want to read too.
Actually our whole family is hooked. Before finishing book one our kids wanted to see if it had been made into a movie yet. It was already playing strong across the landscapes of their imaginations.
Would you consider joining me and watch this massive and meaningful endeavor unfold? They’ve already made KickStarter history and surpassed the largest fiction campaign goals and are now into stretch goals.
This is where I get to come in. If they reach their next stretch goal of $230,000 in the next 23 hours they will unlock a new level of rewards, including a comic I will get to work on with Andrew Peterson. Here’s the amazing part: they’re already 84% funded.
Let’s beat some dragons guys. I’m writing today to ask you to back this campaign with me, the purpose is strong and the rewards are completely awesome too. Here’s the link to learn more: rndm.us/wf
And here’s some of the fun I’ve already been having: (nothing official here, just playing with the characters!)
Thanks for all your support!
I, Jay Myers, am a husband, father, and storyteller. I write/illustrate short stories, myths, and adventures.
From @andrewpetersonmusic: “I’m SO excited to announce that if we hit $230K, @mrjaymyers will illustrate a Florid Sword/Shadowblade comic! Let’s do this! I badly want to see them riding the rooftops of Dugtown…”
And I badly want to illustrate this comic! @wingfeathersaga Check out and back this @kickstarter http://rndm.us/wf (also in IG bio)
Jim Dragon Hunter This week’s #mjmartprompt Jim never loved horses. But now he’d become one and if that weren’t bad enough, he had to defeat a dragon too. #weeklydraw #dragon #centaur #warrior #traditionalart #pentel #brushwork #modmypentel #friesian