Hey guys,

Wow. I thought I’d be back in a couple weeks, not a month. But, I suppose moving eight people a few states to the west takes a toll. It’s been an interesting and full time. Definitely I have struggled with feeling dry, struggled to draw well in the midst of the exhaustion, continued drawing, and continued to struggle.

What should we do at these times? What should we do when we are dry inspirationally?

Focus on growing our skills.

When all our inspiration is gone, in my experience, the next thing that happens is that we begin to feel bad about our abilities. Which leads to lesser quality work. It’s the domino effect. Kill that cycle early on and focus on improving skills.

Let inspiration take a break. We need to grow those skills. Choose one thing that you just can’t get right and don’t stop drawing it. Gotta draw a head a hundred times? Do it. Bad at architecture? Draw the same building from a hundred different directions.


This is diligence, not a quick-fix. It separates us from the hobbyist and from the emotionalist (“I can’t draw unless I feeeel it”). This doesn’t work if we only have our eyes on the instant, it works if we have our eyes on the big picture.

Diligence is a choice to not sit and feel bad about ourself, but rather an opportunity to realize an area of lack and do something about it with a drive and purpose.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a time, an essential time, when vacation is absolutely the right answer—take that break if you need it. Rest is a vital part of my family’s survival on a weekly basis, but it can’t be my go-to-every-time-I-get-stuck routine.

Diligence isn’t always a party, but it does and will lead us to new inspiration. Count on it.

In real life, I’ve been drawing heads allll week, for a particular character design (The Wingfeather Saga‘s Florid Sword) I haven’t been able to nail it yet, but in the process some of my most fun ideas (I will be sharing some of these in a week or so) in a while have been coming quicker than I can keep up with. Trust me, this works. My sketchbook, once laid bare for weeks, is filling up in days.


Samples of this week’s art:

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Tools In Review:

Proven winning tools that have kept me mobile, ready, practical and economical:

While I’ve been living out of a suitcase, moving states, jobs, and house, staying mobile with my supplies has been essential. I know many of you need the same.

At the beginning of my recent move, I mentioned this art tool wrap. I love this thing, I took it to the zoo and it worked just as it should—not only that, it’s on sale! MORE so than it was before. It is currently more than 80% less than it’s original price.

If you already got one the last time I mentioned this, grab one for a friend. It’s seriously the bomb.

Get it here: The IPOW Canvas Pencil Wrap, 72 Pencil Case Roll Multi-Purpose Pouch

(Read how I modified mine to work for more than just pencils, in less than five minutes.)

One (well three) more for you today:

Bestest White Pen Ever:

For years, I have SEARCHED for the right white pen. So many of them had lines that kind of disappeared after it was drawn; plus they were watery. So, I have a three step white/”correction” pen suggestion: Here is the first:

Presto: Years ago I used this one then couldn’t ever find it locally, and it faded from memory. Recently, I rediscovered it and love it. You can pick it up at Amazon (links below help support my art and family at no extra cost to you):

It’s the best for three reasons:

  1. Coverage. Solid lines thick and clear.
  2. Tilt. Tilt gives you a less weighty line but still solid.
  3. Squeeze. I can squeeze much or let it run a little dry.

Get it here: Pentel Presto Jumbo Correction Pen, Fine Point, 12 ml, 2 Pack.

I don’t have pictures for the other two, but check them out:

  1. Uni-Ball Signo Broad Point Gel Impact Pen White Ink, 3 pens per Pack
    1. Next best to Presto
    2. Thinner line
  2. Uni-ball Signo Angelic UM-120AC Gel Ink Pen 0.7 mm, White Ink
    1. Next best to the one above
    2. Much thinner line

I know. I know. Yes, I will be your new best friend now. :)

What I’m Reading:

To be honest, I’ve mostly been listening to books lately to keep up with my kids, but one book I have just recently started physically reading:

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How To Make Sense Of Any Mess.
by Abby Covert

I picked it up to keep growing in my day job as a UX designer because I operate on the premise of seeing this type of work as storytelling.

As I tend to think of all of life in the same way, I see this book being helpful in just about any area of life, including art.

I just began it and like it a lot so far. I’ll update more later.


I am grateful to be in this new job and new location with my family and figuring out the new swing of things. It has definitely had it’s challenges, but altogether, change is one of the greatest things. Thanks for hanging around with me in this journey.

What changes or challenges have you experienced this last month?  How are you staying creative through it?

Have a great and safe Independence Day (my US friends) weekend everyone, keep creating,

Jay

P.S. Please share this with anyone else you think may be interested in these kind of updates. Thanks!

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Other ways to connect: Twitter or FaceBook .
Check out my free western fairytale webcomic if you missed it this week: The Adventures of Tomy and Jon.
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2 Comments

  • Glad you’re enjoying “How to Make Sense of Any Mess”. It’s currently making the rounds at our office, and you’re right — the lessons in this book can apply to any number of disciplines, not just UX.

    • Hey Bob,
      It’s a good read. I also like the shortness of the lessons and explanations. Thank you for introducing me to it!

      j

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