Just a quick note to send you some encouragement this weekend as well as to announce the winner of the giveaway for the Original MrJayMyers Procreate Brush pack. Congratulations to Will Nieves! Jay has sent you a link to the brushes over DM in Instagram. Thanks to everyone who commented and shared the link. Jay is still finishing up the entire pack, hopeful it will be complete and available in May.
Keep practicing your creativity everyone. We know sometimes it feels like it takes forever to become the kind of capable artists we want to be. Remember that practice leads to capability. Capability leads to confidence. Confidence leads to consistency. Consistency helps you define your style and helps you to create flexibility. This is worth the fight.
If you are new around these parts and have not yet downloaded our free one page PDF: Fourteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration, please do. We want you to feel supported in an easily accessible way, we have packed it full and quick to digest even at a glance.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.“ -Thomas Merton
An artist who has inspired us with his continual growth is our friend Joe Sutphin. You can follow him on Instagram and see regular warm-up sketches and progress on the official graphic novelization of Watership Down! His work is also featured in the recently re-released Wingfeather Saga book’s interior illustrations. Beautiful work.
Happy April Fool’s Day! It’s Jay’s birthday today as well and we’re celebrating with a digital giveaway of his Procreate Brush Pack that he’s been assembling the last 2 months. No joke. I’ll tell you more below (Raynna here).
I asked Jay to share some words with me that have inspired him lately and he shared this quote with me from legendary Disney animator, Glen Keane:
“I find that you’re drawn to certain stories, and there’s something about fairytales that have deep roots. They connect really deeply to you, and those are the stories that I find myself drawn to. I love characters that believe the impossible is possible.” -Glen Keane
On Jay’s Instagram and Twitter feed he’s been returning to taking some time to share encouraging words. One of his topics of late, story:
Jay: “The world around us is alive with story. Each of us has exposition and inciting incidents everyday. We are the main characters. We have a life story that is a longer story arc but we also have a daily one. At the end of our daily story, if we learn the lesson of the day, we can become better humans —better souls.
Look around at your day capture the story, figure out your inciting incident, discover the climax, and at the end determine the denouement (resolution). Most people call this journaling. For those of you struggling with artist’s block, choose some part of your daily story and “journal” it with fearlessness.”
This next quote may feel harsh, but I found it as I was looking a bit deeper into Glen Keane’s legacy and it’s a truth that can take us far if we’ll take it to heart.
“If you are drawing a blank, or are having a hard time drawing a certain thing, then it is because you have not studied it enough.” -Glen Keane
Jay’s journey has been like so many creators, struggling to find that balance between not being too harsh on ourselves but also pressing ourselves to lean into the hard work of becoming the best we can.
Jay: “Don’t fall into the trap of trash-talking your art. Also, don’t hate on your work. There are two traps: thinking better about your skills than they are and thinking worse about them than they are.
If you practice, your work deserves respect—so give it. This is hard when you are feeling down on your skills, but you can hold onto respect AND critique your skills to grow stronger. This is why we have two hands. It teaches us to hold onto one thing without letting go of the other.
I struggle with self deprecation too. I know few artist who don’t. But, don’t let that drive you. Push for skill and practice. And, if you are struggling reach out to other artists. Don’t hate them if they don’t respond, they likely aren’t arrogant, they’re likely trying to figure out what they can offer you. So, help them by giving them examples of their work and what you’re struggling with.”
Jay loves stories that are real, down-to-earth, but fictional and set in myth as well, where the end isn’t “happy” (as in American folklore stories). They have a grit and parable like quality, where real life consequences play out, yet in fantastical settings that mesmerize. One of the storytellers he is drawn to for these reasons is Sergio Toppi.
Click on any of the images below to view Toppi’s volumes at Amazon.
What about you? What kind of stories are you drawn to? What do you learn about yourself from taking time to recognize this?
If you have some trouble identifying this for yourself, consider asking someone who knows you. It’s often helpful and amazingly easier for others to see us in ways we cannot see ourselves. Also, if this feels like a “selfish” question to ask someone, remind yourself that growing out-loud, in front of others, is often a potent encouragement, and many other kinds of blessings we tend not to suspect.
One of the areas Jay struggled for years with was drawing women. It limited him, in what he could create, in very real ways. So frustrating. After forcing himself to stick with it, he can finally draw women closer to the way he wants. He used to get too focused, too detailed, too static when he would try, but he’s finally seeing that change.
Lately he’s been drawing scenes that, as he describes, “have strength in the ordinary and include women. It’s been a great breakthrough.” Below is his recent collection of “warrior women”. This has been neat for me too, as his wife, he’s been communicating things to me that are sometimes hard for him in words alone. I’m grateful for his long fight in the same direction, on so many levels.
Tomorrow we celebrate 21 years of marriage, thanks for being a part of our story—listening, and sharing your own. We hope to be an encouragement to you in all the ways you find yourself creating or struggling to create right now. It’s a worthwhile fight, enjoy it.
The great Mud-Maker needed to create First He pulled from within Himself the wild frothy fury of spirit and made it visible and sweet. Then He pulled again from within the substance of His love. He gathered these into a vial and shook it until it was inseparable. He poured it out and it became all we see.
–Teaser from a long-term writing project of Jay’s called, Consider the Ravens, a compilation of poems & stories.
Here’s how the giveaway for the Original MrJayMyers Procreate Brushes works:
Make sure you are subscribed to MrJayMyers’ Artist Kindling Newsletter (subscribe here)
Comment here or on any of Jay’s or Raynna’s social media posts for this giveaway/blog post.
Tag one friend who would also like this package. We’ll treat you both!
Looking forward to picking a winner next week!
From our home to yours, we are praying for each of your wellbeing and are hopeful to write you again next month.
Until then, Create. Be Happy. Create More.
Jay & Raynna
Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thank you!
Other ways to connect: Jay is no longer on Facebook, but he is on Instagram and Twitter
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