On Challenges: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

March 26, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Design, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, process, Recommended Tools

Hey guys, welcome to the new week!

Some people have been known to say, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” They may have their own ideas about this, however, I think there is something true here. The truth is, times of crisis: health, faith, work, family, artistic goals, etc., are times when we can grow—like no other. The days and hours of challenge encase the opportunity which inspires a change, that we were not previously convinced was in our reach. More often, before the pressure of need arrives on the scene, we simply are not motivated to even try to accomplish what, at first glance, seems to be unreachable.

On a personal level, about two weeks ago I found out I need to look for a new job, due to budgetary constraints. I’m not sharing this as a complaint, but to express that the subject of challenges is close to home.

So, I’m in the job market again. It’s been about nine months since my last job transition, moving my family cross country. It’s been a really good move and change. There have been times, in my past, when I was more discouraged over this kind of news, and I do feel the weight of this process, but I also know that each change—that upheaval brings— really has been for the better. So, challenges. I get it. Deep breath here.

I get the cramped feeling of “no time” for art. In addition to my role as a husband and father of six beautiful kids, whom my wife and I get to homeschool, my full time job and other roles—I am now revamping my portfolio, updating my résumé, and corresponding with headhunters daily. The sense of not enough time has been all the more keenly felt in the day-to-day.

I know this is also the case for many of you and it can be downright painful; like a sense of being a backed-up sink pipe, so many ideas and desires with no time, space, way, to unclog the passage ways. When I tell you it is currently hard to find even 15 minutes to sketch, I’m serious. I don’t sit around and watch t.v. (sometimes, I’ll play a movie in the background while I’m working). I don’t do video games. The majority of my time is in the daily tasks and so time with my kids recently has become more structured than relaxed—as we’d all prefer.

Lately, I’m trying to get time with them in while we’re making sketchbooks together, as I am their art (and Hebrew) teacher in our homeschool. Their trying to get time in too…a common scene: last night I went to sit down on the couch with my sketchbook and I’d barely sat before I was surrounded, with, “Hey Daddy, look at this.” and “Oh, I wanted to ask you…”. I’m not complaining that my kids want to be with or talk to me at all, I’m very thankful for that, rather I am recognizing the reality of what it looks like in real time.

My wife and I have a date every week to reconnect and that’s a lifeline but we also work together on this blog as a way to flesh out ideas and share our dreams together. If we didn’t do this together I know I wouldn’t be doing it, at all. I just wouldn’t. I’d want to be around her instead—so this is one way we push forward, together.

Madeleine L’engle talks about writing, creating under pressure, she says we must, and I believe this. Yet what does that look like in these seasons, years, of extreme days without paying a price that would never be worth it? Many of you know about my #15minart challenge and just pressing through for 15 minutes at a time. Lately, I have even found that to be too long. Jake Parker has his eight minute challenge. Writers keep their notebooks close by for the quick jot or notes open on their phones/devices. These really can carry us to and through to those more desired segments of time where we can actually relax and focus more deeply.

It’s easy at these times to doubt that it even matters. It does matter. Your story and the art of your life whichever medium, matters deeply. Crisis, in your case, may look like life as you know it coming to a complete halt. Health challenges, family issues, etc.—these are the times it is not only most easy to doubt and subsequently give up, these are also the times it’s most important to stay the course, even if only mentally—don’t give up. Some things cannot be rushed. The slow evolution is often our last desire, but also often a path of quality we wouldn’t choose for ourselves—given the option.

Know that this isn’t the end, even if everything looks different later, it’s still an essential part of your story. Embracing this can change everything. It holds the power to transform what formerly felt like a backed-up pipe to a realized bank of ideas and goodness, not wasted, not lost, or forgotten. Maybe those individual ideas may never express themselves, that’s true. But we can trust that they are part of the bigger picture of what you and I have to offer, at the right time.

We can trust the limits, we are given, are not there by mistake, but rather by a design with a wisdom higher than our own. We do what we can, we breathe and let the rest be.

What’s the fallout of all this—if we don’t embrace the challenges we meet? Are backed-up sink pipes a good thing? Nope. The fallout friends, if we don’t figure out how to manage these challenges, even in mental shifts, is a very unwell us. This stuff matters, and recognizing it alone, can take us far.

This is a patient and refining work. So let it happen; but not by ignoring your passions, or the fire in your belly. Don’t ignore the things that make you happy and make you feel alive, there’s a good reason for those things. Proceed gently.

Making a commitment to see and appreciate this has helped my family through some trying times. I hope it helps you too.

Here’s how we put it Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to embracing challenges as the opportunity that they are, believing God wants to use them as a way to help me grow and live inspired.” Subscribe for your free copy.

By the way, I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here.


Sketchbook Makings:

 


RECOMMENDED TOOL:

Here’s the watercolor paper we used for our sketchbooks.

Canson Watercolor Paper Bulk Pack, 9″X12″
Good for combining wet and dry media
Suitable for light washes and easy to re-work
Bulk packs are great for art demos, events, and classes
Each pack contains 100 sheets
90lb / 185g acid free 9″X12″ paper


RECENT GOOD READ:

New bedtime fave: What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom

 

 


What’s your best advice for embracing challenge? Share in the comments below?

Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay

P.S. Raynna and I have been dreaming up something exciting for awhile now that we’re hoping to announce soon, make sure you’re subscribed if you want to hear first. Thanks for being here everyone!

Also, Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

 

Subscribe below to my email newsletter and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required



Email Format


I always want to disclose to you that I do use affiliate links on the products I recommend but never at any extra cost to you and never just to make money. I’ll only recommend products I believe in. Thanks for your trust. My full disclosure policy is here if interested.

On Shipping: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

March 19, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, children's books, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, miscelany, process, Recommended Tools

Greetings world. Welcome to your new week. Learn from the unsuccesses of last week. It’s time to create, be happy, create some more.

I know my art lacks perfection. My goal is: done, not perfect. Doing my best and shipping it is what I am striving for. I believe in this. Some days are harder than others. I do believe it, but then I want something just right. Which isn’t wrong—occasionally. It’s when I get caught up in a never-ending cycle of self-inflicted revision, that I need to reign myself in. If I use done as my learning meter and choose to be happy with what I’ve made, then I can move on and create more—which actually gets me closer to a more perfected skill set.

“Finishing a thing is way more important than having something that is perfect but not finished” — Jake Parker

What have I shipped? Well, on a semi-daily basis I am sharing my art to Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. I have also published my Tomy and Jon comic. As well as created a Color Me Book from my daily arts. And, weekly I am publishing a blog post about inspiration. I am working on a short comic which I plan on making available digitally and in print. The dailies are my way of keeping my skills sharp, learning new things, and seeing what resonates and what doesn’t.

There can be different definitions of “shipped” as we grow. I often am simply shooting for: done, choose to be happy, and share. I believe that we should ship/share in order to grow. When we are wrapped up in our own model of done—where no one sees/hears what we are working on—we don’t get valuable feedback. Shipping gives us that so we can grow forward and create more. Keep in mind this feedback shouldn’t define our happiness, but it should help us understand the strengths and weaknesses we have.

#8 Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done. — Done Manifesto

In the long-term my definition of shipped will mean published. I am working on projects that are in process/progress, but aren’t my daily shippings. Every step of the way, I am giving it my best and then having to remind myself; be done, be happy, create more.

So, let’s commit to shipping and throwing out the fear that often keeps us in a loop of revision. Ship, then ship some more.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to shipping my work out into the world, believing that the time is now. I will do my best, not trying to perfect it for so long that no one gains from it.” Get your free copy of our one page PDF Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration here.

By the way, I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here.


Sketchbook Art

 


Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay

Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

 

Subscribe below to my email newsletter and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required



Email Format


On Scribbling: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

March 13, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Recommended Tools, Writing

Welcome to your new week. It’s time to get ready to sketch a lot, but…

If you’ve been having trouble with inspiration, if nothing seems to gel just right, if your tired and can’t make the ideas happen, I have the cure for you and it only costs $19.95. Act now, and I will throw in a complete set of inspiration goggles and socks (for a limited time only).

Some weeks this is what we hope for—some easy, inexpensive, quick cure all to our inspiration blues. Unfortunately, (and fortunately) it doesn’t happen that way. Just like inspiration will often strike after we show up, open our sketchbooks, and start the work, so too, scribbling can force our hands and minds to open idea doors we wouldn’t have thought to try.

Scribbles are at times the best way to overcome a deep lack of inspiration. While these can be done in a sketchbook they don’t need to be. The difference between just sketching and scribbles is that we haven’t a clue what we’re doing. We’re doodling with no forethought and often just letting our hand run across the page or all over the page. The action is that we’re just scribbling, on a page, and keep watching until something emerges (Ignore the duck, the duck always appears in the scribble, scribble past the duck—there’s something like four ducks in the scribble above, ignore them :) ).

These days, I don’t scribble often, but when I am at the bottom of the inspiration food chain and nothing is moving me, I am committed to scribbling. Why? Because when I was still getting back into drawing and couldn’t always “see” these were a life source. Even now they have helped me out more times than not. Scribble, discover. Turn the page sideways, look at it upside down, then scribble, discover. These musings typically won’t be things we finish nor our finest work, that’s not their purpose. They will, however, cause us to see things. (Things we wouldn’t have seen before. In the scribble above, see how many things you can find. I’ve found a few.)

The scribblings of any… child clearly indicates how thoroughly immersed he is in the sensation of moving his hand and crayon aimlessly over a surface, depositing a line in his path. There must be some quality of magic in this alone.  — Edward Hill

Scribbling isn’t beneath us. It’s how we learned to draw in the first place. Scribbling pulls us back to those creative times before we had an inkling of what we were doing. So, commit to scribbling with pride and look for the hidden things in your art. It’ll be worth it.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to scribbling, believing creating something important will not always begin with me knowing or understanding it, but rather simply with beginning.” Get your free copy of our one page PDF Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration here.

By the way, I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here.


Sketchbook Art

 

 


Sketchbooks

Last week, I shared the book: Drawing Ideas: A Hand-Drawn Approach for Better Design and shared how it has a section on making sketchbooks. Here’s me and mine beginning their sketchbooks. It’s an easy process that will aid them in the years to come.

 

 

 


Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay

Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

 

Subscribe below to my email newsletter and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required



Email Format


On Sketchbooking: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

March 6, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, process, story, Writing

Hey all, welcome to a new week and the next installment of “Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration”. You can catch up on the others here.

Sketchbooks (and Journals)
Some people like them, some people are “all digital”, and some don’t like them at all. History shows that sketchbooks are the playground and idea banks for the creative artist. Just look at the cave paintings—ok, yeah, I’m stretching it a bit there. Actually, where would we be without the sketchbooks of Leonardo? They are a wealth of studies, concepts, and wacky ideas: boat shoes.

But beyond the auspices of the great Leo, there are a myriad of artists from Van Gogh to Frank Lloyd Wright. Just a simple Google search will supply a ton of famous artists sketchbooks. I’ve read that Picasso filled more than 170 sketchbooks in his life. Historians keep discovering new sketchbooks from great artists which continue to give us insights into their thought processes. These are valuable finds.

Why
I believe a physical sketchbook is important. I know there are “all digital” people out there, but they are missing out of two benefits of sketchbooks: daily physical product and posterity.

“Sketchbooks and journals are the street lamps that illuminate the artist’s journey.” ― Neil Waldman

Daily Physical Product
I get digital. I like digital, but in the end it doesn’t have the ease nor the unexpected surprise of flipping back through an old sketchbook. Also, digital tends to push us to a final complete piece. Exploration and spontaneity are possible with digital and are likely, but the finality that comes of media on paper pushes us to turn the page and begin again. With digital it is all too easy to erase and start over—with no evidence that the other even existed. To keep a digital sketchbook the artist must be intentional about storing and saving. With a physical sketchbook it’s built in.

Also, at the end of a day of sketching you have something that you can hold in your hands, flip through, and quickly notate or share. (Yes, I know about sharing online, but it’s not the same.) Plus, aside from those who are carrying tablets, sketchbooks are easy to pack and require no power.

This physical product doesn’t just apply to illustrators or designers, it also applies to writers. My wife has completed writing a book that was born within her journal. This wasn’t a book that she set out to write, initially she was capturing thoughts and ideas which she began to share and the ideas grew into a book. She could have done this digitally, but again flipping through files and flipping through journals are typically different intentions.

“My sketchbook is a witness of what I am experiencing, scribbling things whenever they happen.” —Vincent Van Gogh

Posterity
Imagine years from now, someone saying we recently found all of <<Insert Your Name>>’s files and wow there was a plethora of sketches that never saw the light of day. That’s a cool idea. With a sketchbook or journal this happens. I’m sure it will happen with files and computer documents in the future, (in 2014 there was an article about some deteriorating floppy disks of Andy Warhol) but the chances are fewer. Be ready to leave surprises for the future. I realize not everyone is going to be Leo or Warhol, but we definitely won’t be if we don’t leave proof behind.

Practically Speaking

Keep a dailyish sketchbook. This is how I handle my sketchbooks. Sometimes, there’s a grid of boxes where I scribble in ideas. There are some days when I am particularly inspired, where I will scribble these boxes for a few pages, and later when unspiration strikes, I will return to them and select the one I like best or feel like will work best and will work on it.

A bank of ideas often restarts my imagination/inspiration and I can build more boxes. This bank of ideas helps me have consistency. What’s nice is that sometimes when one sketchbook finishes, I have some of these boxes left undone and will pull them over into my new sketchbook. So, when I start a new one, instead of beginning with no idea where to start, I have ideas.

These same principles apply to writers: jot down thoughts then come back to them and expound on them. Carry ideas over and never start a new book with a scary blank page.

If however, you are starting your first sketchbook follow my suggestion from last week: make a mark, any mark, and then do more.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to keeping a sketchbook, believing this is where I get to play, and it will serve me on days I feel all played out.” Get your free copy of our one page PDF Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration here.

By the way, I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here.


Sketchbook Art

 


5 points many poses

I shared this last week but since we are talking about sketchbooks, I thought it would be a good idea to post this again. This is a gestural process that I have been thinking through for a while now. It allows me to rough out ideas very quickly and not have to worry about what I am going to draw. Process:

  1. place 5 points on the page
  2. choose one point to be the head
  3. place the body “tube” (I use a cylinder so that I can tell which way the body will face)
  4. determine which dots are the hands and which are the feet
  5. connect the arm “tubes” to the body and hands*
  6. connect the leg “tubes” to the body and feet*

*note step 5 & 6 are interchangeable

This is an easy process once you get the hang of it and will allow for some great gestures using the same five points. All of the gestures in the video above are from the same exact 5 points. I just used marker rag paper to do an overlay.

If you use this process tag me on IG @mrjaymyers I’d love to see what you do. #5pointgesture


Great Reads

Drawing Ideas: A Hand-Drawn Approach for Better Design

This is a great book that I mentioned but did not tell you much about from my personal experience. I’m excited about it as I have already used it to build a sketchbook for my daughter. It has many ideas about storytelling and because sketchbooks are a designer’s friend they have an easy step by step process to make your own. It took me an hour for the first one—you know learning the steps. I think now I could do two to three in an hour. The upside I can create these books to whatever size and page count I want and they aren’t going to cost an arm and a leg. So, if I want to study a particular subject: perspective, I can make a perspective sketchbook that has as few or many pages as I decide.

Book Description:

Award-winning designers and workshop leaders Mark Baskinger and William Bardel bring us this thorough course in drawing to create better graphic layouts, diagrams, human forms, products, systems, and more. Their drawing bootcamp provides essential instruction on thinking, reasoning, and visually exploring…


Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay

Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

 

Subscribe below to my email newsletter and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required



Email Format