Be Brave. Cultivate Creative Community: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

August 2, 2018By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, Design, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Writing

When you have six kids and work full-time, it’s easy to let dreams and desires slip away. Scratch that, kids or not, full-time work or not, reaching for what we really want in life takes effort and it just is easier, not to.

Add to that any kind of challenge or hurdle and you’ve got what we call life. And life is hard. It’s easy to let —you — slip away. We all want to feast on life, drink it in, laugh and be merry. Yet, the intention and resourcefulness we end up finding it takes to do so, to take agency, no matter the passion we feel in our hearts, is a painful reminder of our humanity.

So this post is from Jay and I to you, creative souls, who feel a little lost right now. Those of you who feel with certainty, deep in your bones, you were meant to create but for the love might cry or scream or otherwise go into a deep funk if someone glibly were to suggest you take some time to for it.

We get it. The inertia felt profoundly. And you know what one of the. biggest. game changers for us in this has been? Community. Another thing that can feel hard. Hard to find and/or find time for, right?

Jay’s been developing his Chronicles of Klausen in his off season. Even Klausen needs community.

Not terribly long ago, our sister traveled several hours, after work, one night to get to our home and take care of our tribe while we traveled another six hours to simply be with, soak up, some community. It felt like home. But it wasn’t.

It was the kind of environment where we were surrounded by veritable strangers, yet we had all come together because there was a common dialogue stirring inside of us, a starting place, a common ground to brave together—it’s why we were all there. It was wonderful.

A few days later as we drove home, Jay and I dreamed out loud at how we could cultivate that same sense, in our home, for our family, for others. Then the costs, the work, the sacrifices, the fears and all the questions came too. It was easier, not to.

The following passage of time has found us practicing different things. Little things. Almost could feel entirely insignificant things. We’re not writing you because we’ve got this all figured out. We’re writing you because we want to take the hard path with you.

Just because someone has a blog and writes to you about hard things doesn’t mean they don’t encounter the hard, in fact it’s usually exactly the opposite. Here are some things we’re learning along the way to braving-the-hard.

Remember this:

  1. It’s true, anything we create comes from a seed. This has been important for us to recognize and appreciate, we benefit from community whether we know it, remember it, understand it, or not.
  2. A very few but significant others, have spoken into our lives and have kept us going, sometimes when we have been hanging only by a string. This gives us hope that maybe we could be that for someone else. We matter, the words we speak matter. We should live like it.
  3. We don’t have to wait for the stars to align, nor have a combined family travel of 20 hours to have community. What is true community? It is where two or more are gathered with a common and unified purpose. That includes our children, random stranger at the art store looking at the same pencils we are, etc. Everybody needs people, everywhere.
  4. We don’t even have to travel to a conference. About six years ago we began our own annual family art show where the kids can all sell their art to each other as well as invite family and neighbors over to. (This includes home-made brownies. Totally art.)
    We even recently began a family tradition of a yearly artist’s retreat, at our house. in. our. living room. This is not hard. Food. Inspirational YouTube videos. Honest conversation. More food. Workshop, teach what we know because we know something. Ask someone else to teach what they know. Be where we are, it turns out there’s a lot of joy there.

    Jay’s Klausen sketches are done in his favorite Moleskine sketchbooks.
  5. Don’t be afraid to go first. Going first does not mean going perfect, it means going as we are, and that is incredibly brave. Remember what we already know in our bones, don’t we dare forget it: we were born to create.
  6. Community changes everything. It brings us out of the dark where the only voice we hear is our own, there’s no one there to tell us the truth, remind us of goodness, nourish us with beauty. We need each other.

This month we’re taking a new step and beginning an artist’s circle at our house. So, in many ways we are truly writing to ourselves here. Thanks for being with us!


Storyteller:

Here’s an excerpt from a long-term writing project of Jay’s, a compilation of stories called,
Consider the Ravens :

King of Strings

The world we see is only one,
One of hundreds of thousands,
Strung together in the lap of the infinite.
You and I are within each world,
Within, we are whomever,
Whomever we’ve wished and feared
we would be.

Do you feel that shudder?
Giants are roaming the country side.
Roaming free. Cage free giants
Are chasing you, not the you here—there.

You, the you reading this,
You never see them.
You only ever feel the shudder.
The shudder as they pass by unseen,
Unseen in our string.

Strings, that once in a while connect,
Connect by the will of the Almighty.


So, we are wondering…

What do you think of this design with Jay’s motto, Create. Be Happy. Create More ? Do you think it would be fun on a tee-shirt, a sticker, or a bag? What are your thoughts?

These are simple words, but they’ve really carried Jay through some soul-deep struggles. They’ve become a commitment to him not to quit when he doesn’t like what he has created or feels it needs to be better. He’s made a decision to create, be happy with where he is at, even if it’s not the final destination he is hoping for, and finally to keep going. Create more. Don’t stop.


Commissions Available For a Limited Time:

A current commission Jay is working on. Know who it is?

Here’s what is possible:
An 8×10 watercolor or inked illustration of a favorite scene or (all-age) character. Think storybook or film character.

It will be signed, protected, and shipped as soon as it’s complete. And when you follow any of Jay’s social networks, (MrJayMyers: Twitter , FaceBook , Instagram) you will see process shots of the project.

Costs: Watercolor: $100 or Ink: $35 See more info here. 


Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you! And we love to hear from you too, tell us in the comments what you have found the biggest challenge to cultivating creative community in your life?

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

Jay & Raynna

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.
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Want a free downloadable encouragement tool? Fill out the info below and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

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We always want to disclose to you that we do use affiliate links on the products we recommend or share but never at any extra cost to you. Also, we’ll only recommend products we believe in. Thanks for your trust. Our full disclosure policy is here if interested.

Jay’s favorite sketchbook: See more of his favorite tools here.

On Fearlessness: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

April 9, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, children's books, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Recommended Tools, Writing

Hi all, welcome to your new week. (I skipped last week because it was our 18th year anniversary.)

When we began this road toward commitments, my wife and I discussed different types of inspirations, we took inspiration from those who inspire us, and we pulled these together. Overtime, we came to realize there was something we kept touching on, alluding to, and continually thought about, but we hadn’t devoted a whole section to: #14 Fearlessness. The opposite of which will rob us every time. It will rob us of trying new things; it will rob us of strength when we try new things; and will rob us of hope to continue.

Here’s how this works out; we set out to create and the questions of why come. Why am I doing this? Is this even worth it? Who is this going to matter to?

Why is not a bad question—but when asked in fear—that’s when it steals what’s at stake. How do we meet these questions with fearlessness? Let’s ask a different question. Does what you are setting out to create matter to you? Does it make a difference in you? Is it worth it to you? If the answer is yes, then it’s worth it. You are worth it. Valuing ourselves, what we need, isn’t wrong or selfish, it’s an integral part of moving forward and sharing what we have with the rest of the world.

This is why facing our fears is so deeply essential. What’s at stake if you don’t pay attention to what you need as a person, to your values? If we want to get right to it, let’s just say it: an earlier than needed death. We could spend time talking about the potentials of frustrations and the way those play out, but they all lead back to one thing. This is about living and dying. Live fully, that is what you have been created to do. The more you do, in a healthy work/life balance, the more you will bless others. That’s the truth.

Fear is a blessing when it is used appropriately, but it’s a curse when we let it limit our exploration. Fearlessness is a skill we need to build. The worst thing that can happen if we become fearless in art and in life is a bit of pain. (By the way—Fearlessness doesn’t equate to stupidity; Fearlessness doesn’t remove responsibility; and Fearlessness doesn’t decrease risk.) If you try something new fearlessly and it fails, it will hurt a bit, but we can gain wisdom from the pain. Try again. This IS worth it, because you and your life are worth it.

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down. ― Kurt Vonnegut

I know that fearlessness is hard, but if we are going to allow the other commitments to work in our lives—we must work on this. It is the grand initiator as well as the glue that makes the rest stick. When we practice Wonder, Purposefulness, Friendship, Listening, Honesty, Studying, Rest, Encouraging, Doing the Work, Sketchbooking, Scribbling, Shipping, and Challenges, we are stretching our current fearless muscles and making room for them to expand. With the expansion of our fearless muscles, we’ll be aided to continue in the other commitments in more boldness and thus we create a cycle, each feeding off of and into the others.

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything good. ― William Faulkner

If you feel fearful, dig in. God has created us with fearlessness as well. Dig in, find that spark of bravery you need and face the act of creating: writing, drawing, relationship, whatever the fear is—grapple with it, ask your hard questions, find your why and fly. That’s the best thing that could happen.

When you feel like quitting, think about why you started. —Anonymous 

If the answer is you, that’s enough.

Here’s how we put it Thirteen (Fourteen) Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to fearlessness, believing that behind every fear is a new possibility for growth.” Subscribe for your free copy.

By the way, I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen (Fourteen) Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here. (Note: I will be updating all sections to reflect the, now, Fourteen Commitments.)


Latest Sketches:

A post shared by Jay Myers (@mrjaymyers) on


RECOMMENDED TOOL:

Moleskine Sketch Book

Moleskine makes quality compact sketchbooks. The kind I got has a bit of waxiness to it and helps decrease bleed through. I like that a lot.

“The Moleskine Art Plus Large Sketchbook is made with top quality heavy paper and is perfect for on the go drawings, sketches and tempera colors. Every Moleskine product is thread bound and has a cardboard cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, a bookmark, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history.”

 


RECENT GOOD READ:

Raynna and a few of the kids just started reading this out loud, under covers with flashlights. So far they love it.
Thanks to Laure Hittle for the recommendation!

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic: Jennifer Trafton

Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge lives a boring life on the Island in the Middle of Everything, but she longs for adventure. And she soon gets it when she overhears a life-altering secret and suddenly finds herself in the middle of an amazing journey. It turns out that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain in the center of the island, is not really a mountain – it’s the belly of a sleeping giant! It’s up to Persimmony and her friend Worvil to convince the island’s quarreling inhabitants that a giant is sleeping in their midst and must not be awakened. The question is, will she be able to do it?

Still a bedtime fave: What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
When we asked our five year old what was inside the problem, he told us it was blue and yellow and opportunity.

 

 


What have you found that helps you become more fearless? 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 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.
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On Doing The Work: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

February 27, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, process, Recommended Tools

Welcome to a new week of creating: create, be happy, and create more. Drawing can be extremely difficult. It’s easy to get into a slump and think it will just go away. Or that you have a to have a muse to get you out of it. It’s easy to think doing the thing you always do will break the slump.

But, we mustn’t wait to be inspired. The world is swirling about us with inspiration. Now given the fact that we’ve already talked about the need for rest, there are times when you just need to show up.

“Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.” Madeleine L’Engle

So, given that we’ve done other things, remember to show up. That’s what professionals do. Just by showing up to do the work we open up the doors for inspiration. Just put pen to paper/tablet/whatever and start.

Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out [run] after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it. Jack London

I remember there was a time I thought I had to be angry to draw. “I can’t draw unless I am angry.” I would say—so, I would put myself in a bad mood. That creates a habit of anger which in the end doesn’t make beauty. The cool thing about being alive is that we can grow and learn. I don’t have to be angry anymore. I likely never did, but that is all part of the learning process.

These days I have my family, my faith, and my storehouse of ideas which inspire new ideas and because of them I can sit down at a page and have a thousand different ideas to create. Those ideas spawn other ideas and truly all I need to do is show up. But, somedays I feel like there’s kryptonite sitting at my desk or that the sky is made of iron or that there is a fog overlying my brain.

On the tough days we still need to show up and start the process toward inspiration. If we can get the scariest part of those days out of the way: a blank page, then we can move on. I have a fix that I use for that: Make a mark—any mark—then another, and so on and so forth. Even if those marks you made don’t make something great, you’ve begun the process toward inspiration. You are no longer the inspirationless “victim”, you’ve lit the fuse of your muse.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to doing the work, believing, “Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.” Madeleine L’Engle 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.


Recent Art:

5 points many poses: 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


Drawing Ideas: A Hand-Drawn Approach for Better Design

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 concepts to create compelling products, communications, and services.

BTW, I am really digging this book so far.


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



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On Encouraging: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

February 20, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, Encouragement

Hello and welcome to the week.
How are you all doing? Are you courageously doing your art and growing your skills? Do you have someone who encourages you to daily attack your art and stick to your goals? Are you that for someone else? 
How many times have you said, “I give up”?

I truly used to do it daily. I’d go on Instagram and see Parker, Brown, Creature Box, my brother, and so many others doing stuff I thought was impossible.

<Enter wife> in the messy puddle of discouragement I was wallowing in. She’d enter pick me up and help me have the strength to push on. I am so glad she did. I needed encouragement.

We need encouragement. So, because I had it and know what it feels like to be discouraged, I choose to do it for others. I do it even if they’ve never done it for me. You should too. Why? Because they need it and  giving what you need helps you as well. One day, someone will return that favor. But, besides what you might get in the future, give it, because it’s what you need. Because you know how it feels when it’s absent.

When you encourage, be specific. “Great looking hands” goes a long way for someone struggling to draw hands. “Your inking is incredible” goes a long way when the self talk in most artists is: “I suck at this”. We all do it sometimes. Speak the opposite to those around you.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to encouraging others, believing we need each other in order to fulfill the potential we are born with. “…whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Prov. 11:25)”Get your free copy 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.


Recent Art:

 


I have been looking for a mobile dip pen solution for a while now. The Jinhoa x750 paired together with the Zebra Comic G Nib is my favorite solution so far. I also discovered Platinum Carbon Ink  which works wonderfully. Once dry it doesn’t lose richness when erased over. Also, you can use water on it with minimal washout. My biggest struggle is learning to use dip pen again. One warning: The pen will need plenty of cleaning and you’ll sometimes need to tap the nib to get it flowing again. For me this is a small small price to pay for a great mobile dip pen solution.

 


What’s the best encouragement you’ve received?

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:

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On Rest: : Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

February 13, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, inking

Hello and welcome to the week.
I hope you’ve had a restful weekend and are ready to dig deep and pull out incredible art. I know a lot of us freelance artists view our work week as Monday through Monday. But there is a time and place for rest. It gives us strength and helps us to reflect. That reflection is part of where new inspiration comes from. When we are drudging from one day to the next, without end, we don’t get time to recapture thoughts and understand experiences. Inspiration thrives on these thoughts and experiences.

Epiphanies may seem to come out of nowhere, but they are often the product of unconscious mental activity during downtime. (Scientific American)

My family and I have a rhythm of keeping a day of rest each week. Being at rest causes all the work you’ve been putting in to ferment and grow. So, rest. The greatest Artist I know created a day for rest and I figure if it is good enough for the Master artist then it’s good enough for me as well. (Have you see the trees? He’s my top favorite artist.)

What does this rest look like? Well, for me, as a 9-5ish UX designer, it means that all projects cease—I have personal projects I am working on, besides my full-time job, and for our time of rest, I don’t work on them. That doesn’t mean I don’t doodle or jot ideas down. I use my sketchbook as a journal and usually not far from it. As a person with a typically non-illustration job (though I do sometimes work on Beat Boards), I view non-current-project doodling as restful.

We’ve had to fight to get to this rest. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth the fight.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to keeping a day of rest each week, believing God is the greatest Artist and He created a day of rest as a gift—I want to be like Him.” Get your free copy 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.


Recent Art:

 

 

 


How do you overcome the hindrances to rest and creativity?

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

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On Studying: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

February 5, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, Children's tales, inking, story, Writing

Hey all, welcome to a new week!

When I was younger,  I wouldn’t draw something—perspective or cars for example—because I thought that one day something would just “click” in my brain and I’d be able to draw whatever I wanted. It never clicked and it stunted my imagination as well as my skills.

I realize how silly that was now. I didn’t then.

Now, I know if I want to do well at something I have to study, I have to work, I have to show up and put pencil to paper, I have to learn from those who do it, whatever I am studying, well. This practice helps even when I am dry artistically.

One of the main ways I study, and get inspiration, is by following and in some cases mimicking great artists. One of the exercises I do, when I am feeling particularly dry or am challenging myself to learn something new or better (like perspective), is to go to Instagram and look at the artwork of others. Then I’ll sketch their composition, forms, or poses using my own characters or simple shapes. The effect—I am making myself be creative (it is my hand and head that is doing the work after all), I am learning, and I am leaning on those better than I for support—sometimes, this is all we need to have that “click” for our own ideas.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to studying the artwork of others, believing this is part of the importance and purpose of art: to be inspired and to inspire others—passing the torch.” Get your free copy here.


Recent 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