Be You (In Process): Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

September 27, 2018By jayart, Blog, Encouragement, Faerie-tales, process, story, Writing

Hey Friends,

I don’t need to tell you the inner gymnastics we all often go through to figure out what it means to be ourself. But I do want to write to encourage you to persevere. The days, weeks, months, and for some, years, have exhausted you on so many levels. You need a break. Yeah, I mean some literal time, but I also mean for you to not be hard on yourself as well. Don’t be hard on yourself for what has been hoped for so long but isn’t here. You are on your way, you are here.

Until we all value that—being the people we were born to be—dreams and hopes coming true will do little for us. Goals attained and items checked off will only be another superficial fix until we actually accept ourselves, like ourselves.

Cast of Stones cover image by Jay, (coming soon!)

We are surrounded by a message in creative culture that we can attain all of our goals with enough hard work, we can “live the life we dream”. Even Christian culture talks much of this, as though the one we call Author didn’t first publish, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19: 21)

It’s a tension, to be sure, to stand in the two realities of one, the necessity of hard work and two, that the unfathomable possibilities life holds is not a bad thing. But, it is a tension you are not alone in. The creative life, along with all of its hopes, dreams, and visions is an untidy, grubby thing. Don’t get stars in your eyes over anyone ever telling you anything different.

We will feel lost sometimes. We’ll have highs and lows. Expect this and don’t be frightened when it comes. Walk with these feelings in one hand and hold value of yourself in the other, because both can be true without tearing down the other. You have been created in the image of a Creator. Respect that and let yourself rest there when the waves of doubt, comparison, discouragement, and general griminess arise.

There is a whole way to let these processes work their way through us without it bringing about destruction and more than that, even letting it teach us. First, we have got to let go of the fear that often attaches itself to these feelings of insecurity, then we can see what’s really there—and not for some magical end goal but for the process—it’s good. It’s excavating us, who we are designed to be.

Funny ways, little and big, we can notice and learn from these things. Here’s one example from Jay, he’s learned about himself. He is drawn to loose lines but often when he works his lines get tight. Listening to this cumbersome and often disappointing process he realized there was a reason. He has been concerned about his abilities, having more exactness, and so he would lean more toward tight lines because it was “safe”. This got to the point to where not only was this an issue in finished pieces, he realized, in his words, he was “not even practicing freedom”.

So, the next time those lost, untidy, grubby feelings about creating begin to overcome, stop and remember: we are co-creating, man makes plans, the Lord orders the steps, and all those feeling are normal. Listen to them, learn from them, but don’t let them tear you down, let them build you up. Seriously, it doesn’t matter how cliche’ it sounds, it’s true—there’s only one you, and you are needed. Let’s get after it.


Follow Jay on the gram @MrJayMyers

Each week I always ask Jay what he’s learning. A lot of what I wrote above unearthed through our conversations lately. It’s been encouraging, even in the midst of struggle, but also I got a treat in my inbox this week! A note from Jay and he said I could share here. Enjoy—

The difficulty those of us living in the outer veil face is that this veil seems to define our thoughts and expectations for all reality. It is those of us who attempt to reach back into the inner veil that begin to see the outer veil as a mystery to be enjoyed as well.
 
The tree of life teaches us that without it, there would be no eternity for us. It teaches that until we partake of life we are temporary. So, humanity was driven from the inner veil from the wonders of the fae into the wilds and waste places where we must muster courage and seek for a way back in.
 
But too often rather than search for the inner veil we get caught up in the wilds and waste and live out our days without a hope that one day someone will deliver us to the inner veil to the kingdom of light and let us once taste the fruit of life.
 
The inner veil beckons us but we don’t hear it. It pleads but we don’t want to seek it. The outer is our home we hate but never enough to escape it by searching for the way back to the tree. It is now that we find ourselves in the predicament of reality. It is now that we find if we would love the life we have and search for the inner path that we, in the outer veil, could find the way toward the inner and expose ourselves to life that we would live out here and now.
 
To express this in a more blunt manner, the only way into the inner veil is through life delighted upon in the outer veil not escapism through death.


Storyteller:

Teaser from a long-term writing project of Jay’s called,
Consider the Ravens, a compilation of  poems & stories:


Poetical

The paths are blue down the alleyway
Where streets grow acorns and beans.
The stoplight flickers red, yellow, and pink
As the traffic animals pour through the light,
Like butter on ice cream or toast on gin.

Arrrg

A poets life for me.

Jay Myers, Consider the Ravens

 


So, tell us about you, are you delighting or drudging through right now? What are you learning through your processes? Thank you for being a part of our community! 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.

Raynna hangs out most on IG: @raynnamyers

Check out Jay’s free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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The Harder Thing: Artist Kindling from MrJayMyers

August 10, 2018By jayart, Design, Encouragement, inking, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, process

Every week I (Raynna) ask Jay, “What are you learning? What do you want to share?”

Every week our conversation gets vulnerable and he jokes that perhaps we should stop before he starts weeping and wanting to sing Kumbaya.

Because we often break out into Kumbaya. 

Hashtag, not quite.

But it’s true, looking at soul stuff is dangerous, it’s challenging. It almost always involves facing thresholds, obstacles even, that we can’t see the other side of from where we are currently standing. And that invites all the what ifs. And, honestly, it’s easier to laugh and move on than feel like your head might explode.

So what were we talking about? The harder thing — harder than learning how to be an artist, how to draw well, how to paint well, write well, make music well etc. The harder thing is learning how to be who you are. Not your style, not your stories — you.

Your style as a creative person comes out of this. Your style is an expression of who you are, but it is not the core. You could even call your style your skin. It’s close, very close, and it’s so connected, but the deeper thing is you. Who are you?

It’s worthy of our time to ask ourselves what do we want to be known for and to let that work us backwards to the question, “Who am I?”. This allows us to be present and intentional about our creativity. This will translate. But sometimes we have to start even closer to the surface. Good questions to start with:

What do I like?

What do the things I create and like the most tell me about me?

What do I find continually resonating with me?

What do I do or create that finds resonance in others?

That last one, any of these really, can feel painful if you feel that there is no answer, but we don’t have to be afraid of it, because that is an answer. It’s a place to begin. It’s a place to ask, “Why?”.

Why am I not finding resonance (don’t read likes or popularity here, that’s a separate issue).

Am I really bringing myself to the table?

Am I bringing my fears and listening to what they are telling me?

Am I allowing myself to enjoy?

Am I bringing honesty, willingness to be wrong, or imperfect?

Fascinating to me is to watch Jay be continually drawn to and create “unfinished” looking finished pieces of art. He likes to see the scratches, the splatters, the process. To him, this feels alive, immediate, present. Makes sense right? But what he has told me many times is that this has often felt like a fault in him.

However, it makes me smile as I realize how clearly this shines a light on and mirrors who he is. He is a person who needs to be ok with his own imperfections and unfinished places if he’s going to keep creating. He needs to know he is in a process, that he is growing, to know he is alive and to keep going. If he were to be too harsh or ungraceful with himself, he would quit.

He is hungry for growth so he looks for evidence of it, that everything isn’t staying the same. This is also part of why he teaches and encourages others to grow. He needs to know nothing is in its final form, not even him.

Without fully thinking of it he even created a story wherein the hero (Klausen) sees through the hardened outer shell and calls out to the truth of the inner being, showing the way to transformation. In a sense you could say his own struggles, bring out his best strengths. I’m glad for it too.

In truth, this is true for all of us. But we need to engage these questions about ourselves with kindness, a gentle light not a harsh one to see how this is playing out inside of us, and how it makes each of us tick in our own unique ways.

If that’s hard to do, ask a friend to help. (There’s worse things than getting teary, holding hands, and singing Kumbaya ya’ll.) Worse things like your own sphere of people missing out on who you really are. You are needed and important — struggles, strengths, and all. True story.

We’re not saying anything new, but every once in a while it’s good to be reminded that if it starts to feel like your head might explode — it won’t. It might let out a little steam though, and that’s actually not a terrible thing.


Do you know about our 14 Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration?

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Remember creativity is a muscle. Create, be happy, create more.

Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you!

Have a great weekend everyone,

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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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.
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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.
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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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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 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

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On Art Challenges: A MrJayMyers Week in Review

September 2, 2016By jayart, Blog, Encouragement, process

Hello all,

I’m running about a week and a half behind on this post, but I hope you’ll find it worth the wait. I won’t spend much time writing as I have a video post for you this week. The focus of this post is challenge.

Image disclaimer the featured image for this post is not the same as the one from the video. I did a second 15minartchallenge drawing later in the day, because I really didn’t like the face of the one from the video. 


On Tools:

This week’s tool is another art challenge. I recently discovered this one introduced by Jake Parker on his Youtube channel. I haven’t done this one yet, but it looks to be a great one that I plan on doing soon. Check out the video and you’ll understand why.


On Questions
dansbycomics asks:
“I was wondering how you got started in art, who your influences were/are, and what tips you would give to an aspiring artist.”

Hi Dansby, (I know that’s not your real name, but I liked responding to you by it. 😄 ) thanks for writing. I decided to answer you on my blog because this way others, who might have the same questions, will be able to read it as well.

How [I] got started in art:
Probably much the same way you did. Very early on I was doodling. I wasn’t totally serious about it until later in life. I’ve read stories about people who were making comics when they were four or five. I don’t remember ever making my own stories until I was 12 or 13. I remember my original dream was to do animation. I never pursued that. I didn’t want the debt. I remember later becoming very enamored with comics and picture books. I still am.

I did professional commercial illustration for several years and eventually gave it up. I became a web designer, Flash designer/developer, User Experience (UX) consultant, and a UX designer. About 10 years after quitting illustration, I bought some brush pens and sketchbooks and began teaching myself all over again. Six years later, I feel like I have a better understanding of art and am working on finding an agent so I can tell my stories.

Who your influences were/are:
My first inspiration was my older brother. Later it was Schulz, Sienkiewicz, Edlund, Waterson, then Kieth, Jae Lee, and Wiley.

The first time I remember really connecting with comics was Sienkiewicz’s New Mutants. That floored me. I didn’t want to be a traditional comic artist. Bill showed me I didn’t have to be. Later, I was inspired by The Tick and TNMT (specifically Michael Zulli’s take) basically put these together with Waterson, and Keith and you have my primary inspiration list. Nowadays, there are people like Parker, Archer, Galloway, Brown, and about 400 more amazing artists on my IG feed who amaze me on a daily basis.

What tips you would give to an aspiring artist:
Draw. Draw everywhere. Draw all the time. Draw everything. That’s number one.

Two: No one else will help you become good. You won’t just wake up one day and be good. You have to make yourself become good.

Also, remember, we have, no matter how good that “we” is, all been at the beginning. We have all come through the hobbyist phase and grown into the artist phase. We have all had our paths that look successful or not. No one was born good. It’s a fight for everyone—some just forget they were beginners so you will run into jerks—don’t let them dissuade you.

Three: be fearless. Don’t treasure your style or your current skill. Be thankful for them, honor them, but don’t treasure them or you’ll never grow.

And lastly, don’t be afraid to learn from others. Seeing how they draw, redrawing their work, tracing, etc isn’t bad. Just figure out what they are doing so you can build your art your way—not their way. Learn and they will help you understand art better. (One of the ways I do this is to IG surf and sketch gestures based on what other artists have drawn. I use those gestures to help expand my visual database.)

I hope this was helpful.


One Last Thing:
I was recently reviewed and thought that it was an extremely graceful review of my storytelling and artistic abilities. Plus, I was reviewed along side two other VERY talented artists. Check it out: http://computerpaperproject.weebly.com/blog/article-15-3-artists-you-need-to-follow

Alright guys, have a great week and keep creating.
Jay

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

 

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: The Adventures of Tomy and Jon.
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On Process: A MrJayMyers Week in Review

August 12, 2016By jayart, Blog, Encouragement, process

Hey everyone,

Here is a process for an illustration I did recently. The original vision I had for this piece didn’t pan out the way I wanted. Here is what I wrote in my Instagram post when I posted the final:

This isn’t what I saw in my head. I almost scrapped it last night, but I pushed forward. Sometimes you have to throw it away and start over, sometimes you just need to push it a bit and test yourself. I chose to push.

I’m glad I did. It still isn’t what I wanted, but I have grown through it. I gained understanding about why this didn’t work. I was afraid. I allowed fear to create too much caution about how I mixed the colors and allowed them to blend. Overall, I am very happy with this take on Ant-Man.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Step one:

I first began by doodling and looking up different Ant-Man designs. This was a third or forth attempt at sketching him and by this point I felt I knew him well enough to really do my own take on him.

IMG_6744

Step Two:

Initial sketch and composition. I roughed out a few more sketches in my gestures thinking about the character and his attitude. He isn’t dark like Batman nor regal like Superman. He’s much more, bug references aside, like Spider-Man. So, I captured this gesture and then sketched it larger and began designing.

IMG_6766

Step Three:

Clean up the initial sketch and design.

IMG_6772

Step Four:

After taping the edges, I wet the page around the figure and started putting in the background color.

IMG_6749

Close-up

IMG_6771

Step Five:

Initial color for the figure. I knew I wanted to have an underlying red all over the character. I also, I began laying down the shadow areas at this stage.

IMG_6765

Step Six:

At this point, I was still very happy with how it was working out. This was the point I became nervous about what I was doing. I started laying in a red/blue that wasn’t totally mixed into a purple.

IMG_6769

Step Seven:

This was the stage I almost stopped on. I wanted the dark areas to be a warm grey-more tinted red. However, my watercolors don’t have a black and I tried using an ink wash brush I have to make that and it didn’t mix well.

IMG_6768

Step Eight:

I let it dry and began darkening the shadow areas better and started pulling out the reds more. I used color pencil to define the reds and add them to the grey areas. I then used my white pen with a brush and defined some small highlights. I then added direct whites and used my modded Pentel to add some texture. I still wasn’t satisfied with the shadows—so, I had just heard about a trick from Jake Parker about using purple to add texture and depth to the shadows. This was a last ditch effort to really like it and it paid off.

 

IMG_6761


Thanks for being great readers I hope you all have a great weekend.

Also, I’d love to hear what would you like to see me share here? or if you have any questions I could address?

 

Jay

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 the finale of chapter one this week: The Adventures of Tomy and Jon.
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