Practice leads to Mastery: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

June 5, 2017By jayart, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, Faerie-tales, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Recommended Tools, story, Writing

Hey there. I hope your week is off to a great start. Below you will find encouragement, a story, art, and a personal update.

Everyone knows the unreasonable phrase: practice makes perfect. I call it unreasonable—because it is untrue. Practice creates passion, it leads to betterment, it grows mastery, but it never, ever, makes perfect. Perfection as we know it is a lie.

I’m sure you’ve heard the fingernails-on-chalkboard-scratching-question/comment: “How did you get so good? I bet you were born with it.” (or some form of these misguided ideas—they normally run in pairs). It’s true some people were born with a certain inclination to see, hear, understand, or remember things that makes it easier (I’m thinking about the Mozarts of the world), but none were born with the skills to do their inclination masterfully (draw, maths, write, sing, account, etc) without practice. Practice just simply means doing it.

Each of us must practice within our chosen fields. Yes, we might have inclinations toward science, coding, managing, whatever, but without the passion that it takes to apply ourselves these skills will languish and will never develop.

Practice makes better and passionate practice leads to mastery. The opposite of this is also true: never better and never masterful.
Practice often. But most important: create, then be happy, and create more. This will lead you toward a life of humble growth and enjoyment in your work. If you hate what you do, if you disparage it, if you slander your work, then you can’t be happy with it—even if it is masterful. You will never know it. Practice, Be Happy, Practice more—you’ll grow.


Storyteller:

Keeping with my suggestion that you share to grow. I will be adding a short “story” (in various forms of drafts) to each of my new posts. I would love to hear what you think.


Warning

The giants were forming their battle lines,
A lone warrior stepped out to meet them.
Stepped out to defeat them,
“I warn you. You shall not survive today.
I warn you. I warn: Flee stinking giants, flee in dismay.
I will confound you—astound you.
Step off you miserable beasts.
You face defeat.
I warn you.”

photo by Raynna Myers

 

 


Personal Update:

Last week I had a surprise waiting for me in the morning. My contract job ended. I hadn’t done anything wrong, there was a miscommunication between my contract agent and my work. So, I have found myself without a job a month earlier than expected.

In this in-between while I look for my next steps I am opening up commissions.
Here is what you will get:
An 8×10 watercolor on watercolor paper (cold press 140lb)
Your choice of:

  • Woodland Wanderers (seen above)
  • Homemade Heroes (you send a photo of your child in their homemade hero outfit and I will capture their essence, not portrait. I will email you for a photo.)
  • An all-age character of your choosing (I will email you regarding which character)

Each painting will be bagged, protected, and shipped as soon as it’s complete.
If you follow my any of my networks, you will see process shots of the project.

All of this will only cost $100 for Woodland Wanderers and $75 for Homemade Heroes & Character of your choice, shipping, in the USA, is included.
I need 10 or more commissions.
I have set up a commission spot on my store and it is available immediately.

 


Don’t fear practice. No matter how something looks keep creating.

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

Jay

P.S. As I mentioned before, Raynna and I have been concocting something that we’re hoping to announce soon, if you like free encouragement. Thanks for being here everyone!

Also, get the free one page PDF: Fourteen 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.

Story is better than perfection: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

May 22, 2017By jayart, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Recommended Tools, story, Writing

Perfection is a hard bargain. To draw without flaw is impossible—because we will fail in one of two ways: we will either capture the subject inaccurately or we will accurately capture details losing the spirit and energy of the things we draw.

On the flip side, if we focus on story (in every work, job, or event) we will capture the timelessness of the tale. Let me illuminate this a bit: if I perfectly describe an event in a list: there were people, they ate, they drank, there was music, there was a weird incident, etc—I will most definitely lose the intensity, the passion, and likely the scope of the event. Contrariwise, if I try to capture all of the intensity, passion, and scope I will most definitely not deliver a perfect recital of everything that occurred.

Because I will definitely get something wrong, it is better to capture the story in all of its glory than to deliver an event with visceral defect trying to make it perfect. Shoot for story. Capture the guts of the idea, the event, the work—it will grab the imagination and give truer presentation of life.

Let’s take this one step further—show don’t tell: A good tale requires a protagonist, an antagonist, a plot, a conflict, a crisis, a personal evolution, a resolution, and a satisfactory accomplishment. How boring the list (unless I am trying to understand story structure—the list has its place). Alternatively, if I said, a story records a being fighting for its right to live against its own desire to die, in the throws of a civil war among its people and only after watching the death of those around it does the being rise from its cowering turmoil and march out to meet the warring factions head on—armed only with a flag of truce and will to love…

I will have given you most of the list, but, I am sure one of those was much more captivating—even though it was incomplete and we haven’t a clue if the thing is human or what its name is. We captivated. Grab them with a tale and make them gasp.

Let’s understand one more thing about story: it is the reason why we talk to one another. Story is why communication is so valued. Some are afraid of our own stories, some are not—but we all have stories to be heard. Story not perfection creates community. Tell us the tale of how we failed a class, broke our phone, singed our eyebrows before our weddings—whatever it is, share. Look perfection in the face and say, “I will not be bullied by you” and then share art, life, work, in all of its glorious imperfections—freely.

 


Latest Sketches:

Here is a video of my April 8 – May 19th sketchbook: 130 pages of truly imperfect sketches.

A post shared by Jay Myers (@mrjaymyers) on

 


RECOMMENDED TOOL:


Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Color Pocket PLUS Set of 24 Half Pans

I have always liked Winsor & newton watercolors. I have tried a few others, but I tend to comeback to them. I recently wanted a larger travel set (my last one had 8 colors) and got a Koi brand. It was ok. It worked. Some of the ones above were painted with the Koi brand, but I just didn’t like it. I wanted a better mixable watercolor. The Koi tended to have particles and it mixed way too easy. I like to touch colors into colors and then paint that on—without making a new color. The Koi didn’t allow for this.

To explain how the Winsor & Newton work: imagine having a watery blue on your mixing palette and then touching a bright red in and scooping up unmixed blue with unmixed red and then painting it on and mixing and not mixing while you brush—some of the red just seeps into the blue and vice verse. The Koi immediately mixed and was flaky.

 


RECENT GOOD READ:

I’m sharing this one again, because it is a good one—just in case you missed it, or need to be reminded of it, or just liked it that much. :)

Stolen off of RabbitRoom’s blog

Comparison is the Thief of Joy (a Tattoo)
by Gina Sutphin

“The following year I attended my second Hutchmoot. I found myself in a session by Jeffrey Overstreet.  He began by saying “I have a friend who has a tattoo. It reads “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That is exactly what I had allowed. I have to work at things that are seemingly effortless for Joe, so I had stopped seeing my talents as valuable in comparison to his. I had let my own attitude defeat myself. This was a reality check I needed. I’m sure there are others out there that need it as well, so I’m opening up our world for a little glimpse inside to show you that you are not alone.”

 


Thanks for joining me here again. What do you think? I know sharpening skill is necessary, but how important is story to you?

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

Jay

P.S. As I mentioned earlier, Raynna and I have been concocting something 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: Fourteen 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 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.
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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.
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On Wonder: A MrJayMyers Week in Review

October 30, 2016By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, children's books, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Recommended Tools

Hello All, 

On this blog, where I am sharing my recent art, tips, tools, etc. I am also writing about the foundations beneath all the work we do as artists. My wife and I have long conversations and consider where we are, where we’ve been, and where we want to go. We recently gathered our thoughts and made it into a list of commitments I hope you picked up for free last week. If not, you can still get it here.

Over time, I’m looking forward to unfolding our ideas behind the list. Beginning with…

WONDER

“I commit to wonder, believing without it I will no longer be the explorer I need to be, to tell the stories I need to tell, or to create the art I need to create.”
—Jay & Raynna Myers,
Thirteen Commitments For Artists to Cultivate Inspiration

Here is where we are coming from with this: without wonder we’ll lack the drive and curiosity to look around and that curiosity grows into ideas and imaginations. Without wonder we are no longer explorers, no longer fully alive. Without wonder our imagination will be stifled and bland, and that’s a problem.

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” —Albert Einstein

Wonder happens when you remember how you felt as a child and don’t dismiss the awe as you experience something new or previously unknown. Fear will often block us from wonder, it causes us not to explore, not to take our shoes off, not to…

Here’s how this can work out practically in life: Commit to being a student of the world around us, to science, to being outdoors, to being interrupted, to feeling the wind and letting some things fly away in that wind, looking up at the stars, reading, going barefoot, looking into and through our children’s eyes, and most of all not being afraid to love fully.

Love in my marriage has been my biggest resource of inspiration and instruction as an artist. Wonder has everything to do with love, because it’s true, love is the finest art. Love teaches us the way to our best art, because it’s where we learn to give of ourselves, completely and honestly.

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. —Vincent VanGogh


Exploring stories and especially the ones inside us, waiting to be found, can lead us and be lead by us. There’s so much to all of this, the depths are unable to be explored, the vastness baffling.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” —Albert Einstein

I used to think because I had a wife and many children I needed to not pursue art, but the truth: the deeper we get into loving each other, the more fully we become ourselves. My family needs me to be myself fully, in doing so I give them freedom to do the same. Learning this needs to express itself in many ways, through myriad mediums. It’s how the world will heal.

 



This commitment to wonder is number one on my list but it’s inextricably connected to number nine, “doing the work”. Every single next step in art that we take gets us closer to wonder and every single choice to put it off takes us further away from it. The first steps we take are not always the final word on the kind of work we will do, but it gets us closer.

You’ve probably experienced this, the way doors of thought or insight will open up once you begin. We must begin and keep taking one step at a time. A book could be written on this alone, but I hope this brings some practical, doable thoughts and encouragement to you this week.

Commit to wonder and then do it again. Inspiration will not run low.


More Recent Art:

This quick sketch was a precursor to the above, inspired by Tom Booth @tomwilltell

Here’s a new tale I woke up thinking about the other morning and have been sharing with my kids this week.

Got to see my nephew perform and hear my niece play cello in The Fiddler on the Roof recently, definitely inspiring. I love Tevye. Sketchboooking:
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Recent Good Reads:

The Green Ember by S. D. Smith, really enjoying beginning this with my family. Definitely one where they do not want to stop listening.

 


This Week’s Recommended Tools:

This week was a fun week of giveaways, on the blog and Instagram.

If you didn’t get your free pdf on cultivating inspiration, do so here.  I sincerely appreciate the feedback I’ve gotten on it. Would love to hear more!

On Instagram, I gave away some original art and two Pentel Pigment Ink Brushes-Extra Fine. If you didn’t win, and want your own you can find both on my store or tools page.

Have a great week and keep creating,

Jay

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

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 JonOr buy your own copy here.
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Sky photograph compliments of Raynna Myers

 

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