Hey guys,

Welcome to Friday! It’s been a week of discovery around here. I’ve discovered something about myself the last several weeks that I finally have words for. Maybe you’ll relate:

For awhile now I have been hiding too much of myself. Specifically with my art, I’ve hidden beneath splatters and grunge inks. Lately, has been different in that I have been finding joy in drawing and not caring if Sienkiewicz, Parker, Brown, Waterson, et al would do it that way. I’ve just been drawing.

I’ve been drawing and letting Superman look weak, Batman look old and unattractive, Spiderman look spindly, and generally just delighting in art as it comes out of “me”.

Each of us has a story. We each have a tale that we express through our art. But sometimes, somewhere, we can often lose track of our own tale and begin to tell someone else’s. That happens when, whether from admiration or insecurities, we begin to let their style overshadow how we draw, color, write, etc.

Each of us needs to find that “you” we were created to be. That certain expression that isn’t being bound into someone else’s way, but still learns from others. You have that. You have a uniqueness that unleashed will make what you are doing delightful and inspiring.

Find that You and hold onto it. Don’t let it go, but do make it grow. This isn’t a one time static “moment”. If we look at it that way then years could pass without any real changes/ progress. Your true “you” needs to expand and become better. It needs to be challenged to do things better, but it must never let go of its own story.

The goal of an artist is story. Some people disagree with this notion, and believe that the artist’s goal is expression. However, expression is itself story. When we look at an artist’s work, of splashes and dots, and we are inspired to read into the work, that artist has been the vehicle for story.

Find you and help that tale grow from a three word tale into an epic. How? Books are written on this, and to say what I believe may sound over simplistic, but it has been my path: let go, just be you, one step at a time.

One of my personal steps is wrapping up this next week: The Adventures of Tomy ‘n’ Jon. This has been a great experience, I really appreciate those of you who have joined me thus far! There’s a few physical copies left if you want to grab one.

Recent Art:

This Week’s Recommended Tool:

When I considered a tool I could recommend to you all this week, the one that came to mind is my travel water color set. This is specifically because I’ve been using it a lot lately, and I love it. The fourth, sixth and seventh images above were all painted with my Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Field Box —a treasured gift my wife gave me several years ago.

I hesitated, on one hand, to recommend it because it is a more costly tool than I usually bring up, so head’s up on that. But, if you love water color, love to be mobile, and can afford it or want to give a VERY special and enjoyable gift to someone else, this comes highly recommended. Get it here.

The link above is from Amazon, however, sometimes Hobby Lobby has these in stock and there is always a 40% off coupon available weekly there. (If you have a smartphone, you can get their app for coupon.)


Current Good Read:
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

If you do interface design at all this book is for you. If you do product design at all this book is for you. If you work on a project for any customer this… well, you get the idea. Some projects can take forever to figure out. What if you could get a great baseline for your project in just one week? Would you be interested? You should.

This is a fantastic play-by-play of a one week design sprint intended to help you get to the bottom of a problem and find a solution in one week. Check it out.

Alright guys, have a great weekend and keep creating. Here’s some words that hit the mark, to carry with you:

“Our freedom to be creators is far less limited than some people would think.” -Madeleine L’engle


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.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.


  • Hi Jay,

    Another great post that resonates with where I feel I am as an artist.

    In trying to create work that’s “me” and not how others do it – how do I know it’s any good?

    • Hi Gav,

      Thank you. You won’t at first. But, if you push and push, learning from others—but not defining yourself by them, then you will get better and good—when you put in the time. A drawing here and there half-hearted will still teaching you things, but they won’t challenge you. Pushing, with your whole heart on a terrible piece will gain you insight and will challenge you which will build memory for the next drawing. If you put in the time and truly fight for it, you will get good.

      I like this quote by Wallace Tripp:
      “The experienced illustrator subscribes to the principle of the application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. Should inspiration whisk down your chimney, be at your table. The first ten thousand drawings are the hardest. Put another way, you have ten thousand bad drawings within and should expel them as quickly as possible.”

      In other words, don’t worry about if it’s any good, draw. Draw often, draw out all the bad art and the good stuff will show.

      I hope this helps.

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