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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Pulling Up Roots Builds Creativity: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

July 26, 2018By jayart, Blog, Encouragement, giveaway, inking, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Writing

“Doubt sucks the soul dry, and creativity is a muscle.” That’s what Jay said when I asked him what he had learned this past year since he had last written to you all here.

We thought it might take a month or so to get resettled after our move west. That was a year ago. Sometimes we are a little overly optimistic.

A lot has changed in that year. We now live in Washington State, and Jay works for HP as a Interaction Experience Designer. He never stopped creating but taking the time to write about it has been a different story. So, I’ve decided to help — because I think he is really good at it.

One of my favorites of Jay’s recent sketches, contrasting peacefulness and fierceness.

After he told me that doubt sucks the soul dry, I asked him to tell me more. Wanna listen in? Here’s my notes from our conversation:

This is really an issue of humility verses self-doubt. Doubt makes everything tedious. You lose love and want-to. Whereas, true humility develops perseverance and overcomes the doubts.

Two pitfalls, that at first appear opposite, are actually entirely similar:

  1. The problem of doubting ourselves to the point of paralyzing inaction.
  2. The problem of our identity being wrapped up in being an artist, illustrator, or anything else we do.

Both feed off each other because neither are humble, and both will suck you dry. Your greatest, most satisfying, and fullest potential as a creative soul waits outside the gates of this self-imposed prison — called, “pride”.

Recent sketchbook page

We have been reading through The Chronicles of Narnia out-loud as a family this year. Before you get a cozy picture of all of us sitting peacefully around the fire, we’ll be the first to remind you that life is real at our house too.

Sometimes before we begin reading or midway through there are squabbles and tensions that need to be worked out, etc. But, that’s part of why we pick the books we do, the ones that broaden all of our imaginations, beyond ourselves.

As we talked on about these hard-fought-for lessons concerning self-doubt, we remembered Bree from The Horse and His Boy. Bree had encountered fear and failed in the face of it. Afterward, he felt fit for nothing better than slavery, unworthy of the company of the free horses of Narnia. (Pride in the wrong form kills delight and steals joy.)

Jay’s rendition of Bree and the Hermit of the Southern March

Though he had traveled far already, to get to Narnia, he told his companions it was only right for him to turn back, when the Hermit of the Southern March, “…had approached them unnoticed because his bare feet made so little noise on that sweet, dewy grass.”

“My good Horse, you’ve lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don’t put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You’re not quite the great Horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn’t follow that you’ll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you’re nobody special, you’ll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole.”
-The Hermit’s words to Bree in chapter ten of The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

Have you noticed the way self-doubt and warped identity issues come from the same root (being strangled by the work we do, rather than nourished)? We’ve all spent time here, the important thing is to pull up doubt and pride by their roots and in true humility persevere.

What is true humility? It is the heart of a student: a willingness to learn from anyone, anywhere, without thinking everyone is better than you. Remember, creativity is a muscle, exercise it. Don’t give up.


Storyteller:

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


Breath of Wind

When my eyes cracked opened
And I saw all worlds become one
In fear…
I hid my spirit and hid my soul
And hid my form.

It was in this infinite infancy
In this monumental moment
In this tangling of time and space
That I heard the wind
As it breathed out my name.

It flowed down through the valleys
It floated upon the streams
Weaved through the meadows
And danced upon the leaves

My ears caught its words
But my eyes couldn’t see it
For now the wind was hidden.
As it came to dance with me.

The perilous morsel
Was pleasant and true
Though my soul became aghast
And my mind became aflame
And my vision became blurry
As the wind called my name.


The Goods:

Because we know everyone needs a Back-to-School Bigfoot Tee-shirt (parent’s included):

When you click the link above.

  • Choose design you’d like on your tee. Here’s some examples: one, two, or three below.
  • Choose department: men’s, women’s, children’s, accessories (you can even get a beach towel?!)
  • Choose the style of shirt you want, t-shirt, tank, long-sleeve, tri-blend, scoop neck etc.
  • Choose size

Also, Commissions Available For a Limited Time:

A current commission in progress.

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. 

 


Give-Aways!

One of the fun ways Jay has kept himself creating within the constraints of full-time work and full-time family life has been to take on or even give himself challenges. One of those fun challenges every year is Inktober. In 2017 Jay and good friend and fellow artist, Therst, persevered through the entire month by focusing on one theme: Bigfoot!

If you’d like to enter for a give-away of some of Jay’s Big Foot Illustrations, we’ve got TWO going right now until Sunday at noon Pacific Time. Don’t miss out, the odds are in your favor. Here are the links for both: Give-Away One & Give-Away Two

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

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.
image

 

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:

* indicates required



Email Format


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.

The Full Color Collector’s Edition of The Chronicles of Narnia is currently deeply discounted at 58% off!

Where Do Stories Come From: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

July 10, 2017By jayart, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, News, story, Writing

Hey folks,

Where do stories come from? Little children often ask the question: where do babies come from? Depending on our comfort level we either squirm or just tell how it works. I like to just tell it how it is:

“There’s this invisible giant who walks around and plucks angels out of the clouds squishes them down into tinier angels, blows off their wings, and then gently places them on the doorstoop of the mum and da who wants them most.”

“What? Why does mum’s belly get so big?”

“Oh! That’s because she’s holding her breath hoping the giant will drop the wee one on our stoop rather than our neighbor’s.”

That’s how you all explain it, right? I kid. BUT, in all seriousness, stories are a lot like babies. They take two special ingredients (which are actually made up of many more): seed and water. A person must live a life to have a story—that’s the seed. A person must interact with others—that’s the water.

Personally, life around here has gotten even more interesting than normal over the last few months. I am in the midst of a job transition that has yet to fully unfold. As I venture deeper into this particular story, I need to press pause on my regular posting here on the blog.

My intention is to take a month away, but if you want to stay in touch in the mean time, Instagram will be the best place to find me. Some of you have asked how you can help our family out during this time, thank you! If you’d like some new art for your walls, there are some recent additions to the store, see more info below.


Storyteller:

Here is another short “story”—I am writing a compilation of stories called, “Consider the Ravens”:

Vale

A faerie wind
sweeps in from
eternity’s glen.

It carries
the Creator’s breath.

It blows magic upon all
who hear.

 

 


New in the Store: 

Woodland Wanderers Prints, Framed or Matted
Limited number of prints: 42

I’ve really enjoyed capturing some outdoor moments with my family, I’m calling the growing collection “Woodland Wanderers”. We’ve got matted or framed option in the dropdown menu in the store:

8×10 Matted: $25, 8×10 Framed: $50, 11×14 Matted: $40, 11×14 Framed: $90

Each print is numbered, signed, and contains a certificate of authenticity.

Each Giclée print adheres to archival quality (acid free) inks and paper (150lb Springhill Uncoated Bristol—SFI® certified) to ensure a lasting quality and unfading print. Shipping is included for the US.

 


Commissions Available:

Think comic con opportunity here, without the travel. For $100 you can get an 8×10 watercolor of your favorite all-age character as a watercolor.

Or you can get 11×14 inked only (black & white) piece for $65.

If interested place your commission order on my store. We can email from there about which character you choose.

Thanks for all your support, in all the ways it is given and felt!

 


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

Jay

P.S.  Raynna and I are STILL concocting. Albeit there have been more pauses than we hoped, we have something that we’re hoping to announce soon. 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

 

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:

* indicates required



Email Format


Great Storytellers are Great Story-listeners: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

July 3, 2017By jayart, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, love, story, Writing

When we become storytellers then we, by needs must become story-listeners. These two go hand in hand by necessity—to truly heal the world, we live in, we have to become listener and teller.

Listen to the preachers, the politicians, the teachers, musicians, the writers, the beggars, the fighters… the best of each has a story that compels us to want to hear more. They frame their tales in ways that create heroes and villains—sometimes they are the hero and sometimes they make us one—whatever they do, listen to how they do it. Listen and grow in the art of storytelling.

Our own story barrel will only be so deep, on our own, but when we begin to understand what others have gone through, whether tragedy, mediocrity or extreme bliss we expand our empathy and we are taught. We are enlarged.

Gaining the experiences, even troubles, of others and learning beyond our own story, will broaden our barrels. It will help us write, draw, explain—villains, heroes, visions of grandeur, depictions of poverty, and all the colors and places in-between.

I’d like to preface the next point I’ll make by telling you that I am the kind of person who often enjoys simply being alone, and quiet, with my own thoughts. Maybe that’s why I needed to write this and why it has become a part of my story.

I’ve noticed that as artists, sometimes we get the wrong thinking and operating going—that in order to be unique or original, means we have to be alone or lonely. I won’t deny that choosing to live true is difficult or lonely—at times.  But the reality is: we need each other.

We need each other’s imperfections and quirks, we need the rub of shoulders. In this daily wonder of living and breathing, next to each other, that is where sparks of insight and thought fly. Together is where the wild wind has a place to whip around and through, to slow and spin us and our tales. The tales we need to tell, the epics we need to listen for, they’re right where we are.

Find someone’s story to listen to this week. A great question to start, “So, what’s your story?”. Everyone has one. Feel free to come back and tell me about your experience in the comments, I’d enjoy hearing.

 


Storyteller:

Here is another short “story”—I am writing a compilation of stories called, “Consider the Ravens”:

Poise

World has grown

All the seas are known

I heard you crying

From the cliffs at night

There’s no denying

You’re poised for flight.

So laugh as you fall

For the love of All.

 


New in the Store: 

Woodland Wanderers Prints, Framed or Matted

 


Commissions Available:

Here is what you will get:
An 8×10 watercolor on watercolor paper (cold press 140lb)

You can place your commission order on my store immediately.

 

 


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. 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

 

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:

* indicates required



Email Format


You’re a Storyteller, Live True: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

June 27, 2017By jayart, Blog, Children's tales, Encouragement, Faerie-tales, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, story, Writing

Storytelling is an inescapable way of life. It is in the conversations we share, in the work that we do, when we are at the bank and need to explain our frustrations—we want, we need, others to hear and understand our stories. Story is the primal driver of life—when denied, it creates a chasm of confusion, disorder, and dysfunction. However, when we embrace this part—this primal necessity of story—we bring clarity, order, and healing to ourselves and those around us.

How do we deny story? That’s the easy part. Here’s the hard part:

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, day and night, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” —E. E. CUMMINGS

Because living our true stories, the ones we are created for is, “the hardest battle which any human being can fight”, it is easier to live the broken, counterfeit version of ourselves, our stories. I’ve done this. Most notably as a child with the most fantastic (to me) “stories”, I was always amazed how others could tell I was lying.

But when I used to live behind the excuses of my art, “not being good enough” to share and kept it all to myself, I was doing this too. Likewise, when I said, “I’m a dad now, there’s no time”, I did it. I have to and will need to continually fight to not do this in some form. Here’s what I know: we’ll never escape being storytellers, but will we be truth-tellers or liars? We get to choose this, everyday anew. These choices will either be our inciting incidents: that lead us in new adventures/misadventures or they will be part of overcoming our crisis which leads us toward our climax.

Our world started, with “In the beginning” and since we have seen the rise and fall of many. We live in the conflicts and crisis, and the rising action of our world’s story. That’s good news. But we each need to share our part of the story.

Your story matters. You need to believe this—we all need to.

We have no idea the miraculous power held in our seed sized actions toward believing the importance of our part, but I can tell you it is transforming. When we walk in our true stories with freedom, we give others permission to do so as well. The great news here is this is not a pressure on us, the miracle is in the seed.  Plant well this week. Have faith that we are living and breathing in a design that has us each here for a reason.

Find someone to share your art, your story, with this week.


Storyteller:

Keeping with my assertion that in sharing we will grow: Here is another short “story”—I am writing a compilation of stories called, “Consider the Ravens”:

 

Kings

The winter treats us all

Like kings

It paints a carpet

of glittering gems

And waits for us to fall.

 

 

 


Commissions Available:

Recently Finished Commission

Here is what you will get:
An 8×10 watercolor on watercolor paper (cold press 140lb)

Examples of commission ideas:

  • Characters from your favorite films
  • Scenes from your favorite book
  • A Woodland Wanderers, Homemade Heroes, Handcrafted Hooligans, or any all-age character of your choosing (this could be a superhero, a film character, etc. I will email you regarding which character)

Each painting will be bagged, protected, and shipped as soon as it’s complete.
If you follow any of my networks, you will see process shots of the project (ex. I just wrapped up the Hagrid above.)

All of this will only cost $100. Shipping, in the USA, is included.

Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of my community to sharing these posts.  As for the commissions, I have set up a commission spot on my store and it is available immediately.


 

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. 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

 

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:

* 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.

Sharing Grows Us: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

June 19, 2017By jayart, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, story, Writing

Last week, I began answering some objections and questions to sharing. I am going to continue with this direction—if you have any other questions/objections please feel free to ask/share them in the comments below.

Can’t I become masterful without sharing?

Yes. But how will we ever know we’ve gained it? What will measure our growth by?

The reality is that without sharing neither we, nor anyone else will know how good we are, we will never achieve the much needed, critical, critique, and our growth will only be self-defined—which as I mentioned last week leads to two possible outcomes.

Sharing frees us from self defeat and false pride.

Why does it matter what others think?

It doesn’t—it doesn’t if we are only bettering our skills for ourselves. In other words, if our skills goal isn’t professional (full-time or on-the-side) use, then none of this sharing stuff matters. If, however, we are working toward a profession then sharing matters—because it will prepare us to confidently show our clients the work they’ve paid for. (An added benefit is that when we share openly we can learn to take critique—all clients freely give this—in order to produce something better.)

Sharing—communication—is the main reason we are on this earth. Sharing causes us to grow naturally and in a healthy way.

I don’t want to share subpar art, writing, music.

I get this. I’ve had the feelings myself. As I shared before, this isn’t about putting out cheap, lame, work—it’s about putting out our best possible work. Because we are practicing this will constantly change. What was good for us three months ago likely won’t be now. But, if we let that stop us from sharing, then we could be dead before we ever believe that we are good enough to.

If, as I mentioned before, we treat our art form/skill as a day job, we’d be learning on the job and we’d have to share what we’ve done—no matter how good or bad it was.

Do you feel you’re where you want to be as an artist?

I don’t have the opinion that my art has arrived. I have a healthy discontent. I am studying and working hard to become better. Sometimes, I get that much needed feedback and other times—I get crickets. But, my confidence in sharing has grown and I am no longer afraid I am not good enough. I am as good as I can be—now. I have just decided that no good will come from me hoarding my art until I am “good enough”.

Create. Be happy (today with the art you make) and share it. Then, aim to create something better the next time. Create. Be Happy. Create More.


 

Storyteller:

Keeping with my assertion that in sharing we will grow: Here is another short “story”—I am going through a compilation of stories called, “Consider the Ravens”:

 

Spindle

Round and round the world turns on the spindle of God’s kindness.

The yarn He spins is a tale that’s true.

 

 

 

 


Commissions Available:

 

Here’s more info on the commissions I am opening up.

Here is what you will get:
An 8×10 watercolor on watercolor paper (cold press 140lb)
Examples of commission ideas:

  • Characters from your favorite films
  • Scenes from your favorite book
  • A Woodland Wanderers, Homemade Heroes, Handcrafted Hooligans, or any all-age character of your choosing (this could be a superhero, a film character, etc. 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 (ex. I am currently working on the Hagrid above.)

All of this will only cost $100 shipping, in the USA, is included.
It would be great to get 5 commissions. Thank you everyone for your support!
I have set up a commission spot on my store and it is available immediately.


Remember, find someone to share with.

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. 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

 

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:

* 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.

Why is Sharing In Public Important: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

June 12, 2017By jayart, Blog, children's books, Children's tales, Encouragement, Faerie-tales, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, News, story, Writing

Hello world. This is the first code that most people will produce when they begin to learn coding. There are a lot of technical reasons for “Hello World”, but let’s look at the emotional impact—there is a successful sharing with everyone (who can see it). You succeeded.

“Hello World”—is the coder’s refrigerator art. It’s the, “Hey! Look at what I’ve done”. This gets more difficult the older we get. As children, we share freely. We grow (or we are stunted) by the response to our art, but we continue to share. That child-like sharing becomes discombobulated over time and we lose boldness to share our art and our heart.

Yet, this discombobulation is only in our head. Our definitions of good or bad are being made in the dark. We can’t know how well we progress once we quit sharing out loud because we have cut off all critical feedback. Forcing ourselves to refrigerate our art again opens us up to input and insight. This then allows us to grow a thicker skin around our heart (in a good way) and grow with foresight into our weaknesses.

This week I want to address a question I have had or have been asked, but first…


Personal update:

I’m opening up five more commission spots! Due to a reorg and a miscommunication between my last employer and the recruiter, I was working for, my contract job ended. I ‘m leaving on good terms but I have found myself without a job a month earlier than expected. I am thankful to have found some freelance in the meantime, and I am opening up commissions in this in-between.

More about that below.

 


The question:

You say I should keep putting my work out there, but I only want to share my best. So, why share if I’m not fully satisfied with it?

I get it. I want to put my best out there too.  But how do we know what our best is without sharing? When we don’t have a critique group the only voice we have is our own. This creates one of two problems: thinking too highly of our skills or not thinking highly enough.

On the first note: The failure of perfectionism is that it keeps us out of the “spotlight” and light in general and that keeps us from needed course corrections and a humble evaluation of our current skills. Our tendency in this situation is that we are better, in our head, than anyone else. The “I could have done that better” bug litters our brains and we never strive toward true betterment—because somehow we already are great.

This was my attitude through much of my youth. It tried to plague me when I returned to art, after a 10 year hiatus, 2010. I remember seeing children’s book illustrators and thinking, “I could do that better”.  Maybe I could have, but I wasn’t. I was afraid to share—and I knew it.

The people who were doing children’s books—were doing children’s books. They were doing it and sharing their art—in whatever state they found themselves in. They were going to grow. I determined that the “I could” bug was not how I would live. (Honest insight here—yes, sometimes it still hits me. I’m sorry.)

On the second note: productive feedback, which we get from putting our work out there, frees us from the fear of imperfection. It builds us in confidence and leads us toward clarity of voice.

When we are stuck with only our own voice our work, skills, understanding—nothing will ever be good enough. We get trapped in revision and reevaluation with a tendency to never put anything out because we are afraid that we aren’t good enough—whatever that means. It’s a lie.

This fear isn’t healthy. When we enter into our first job as working adults, we don’t know it all. We learn openly and make mistakes openly. Sometimes, those mistakes affect the world, sometimes they affect no one. But we learn publicly and become better for it. This is our refrigerator and our successes and failures are on display. If we are humble, we become better for it.

If this feels hard to you, I get it, you are not alone. Check out last week’s post: Practice Leads to Mastery.

Create. Be happy today with the art you make and share it. Then, aim to create something better tomorrow.

 


Storyteller:

Keeping with my hypothesis that in sharing we will grow: Here is another (I have shared this one before, but I am going through a compilation of stories called, “Consider the Ravens”) short “story”:

Hunter Child

The day grew long as the hunter came upon his prey: the last dragon of the valley.

He made taut his string and nocked the arrow. Everyone believed this thing should be killed and in doing so they would rid the valley of evil forever.

The hunter paused.

With the last dragon gone who would they blame if evil persisted?

The dragon woke.
The arrow flew.

A deadly stroke
The hunter knew.

photo by Raynna Myers

 


Personal Update:

As I said above, here’s more info on the commissions I am opening up, due to a reorg and a miscommunication between my last employer and the recruiter, I was working for, I have found myself without a job a month earlier than expected. As I  look for my next steps I am thankful to have freelance and I am opening up commissions in this in-between.


Here is what you will get:
An 8×10 watercolor on watercolor paper (cold press 140lb)
Your choice of:

  • Woodland Wanderers (any scene of one or more characters in a woodland setting)
  • 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 (this could be a superhero, a film character, etc. 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 (ex. I am currently working on the one above.)

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.
It would be great to get 5 commissions. Thank you everyone for your support!
I have set up a commission spot on my store and it is available immediately.

 


Even if you choose not to share widely, share with someone. Don’t let your voice and eyes be the only ones who see your work.

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. 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

 

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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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.

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.

Mastery not Perfection: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

May 29, 2017By jayart, Blog, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, Writing

Hey there, welcome to a new week of creation, happiness, and creating more. I hope your Memorial day is/was memorable as we remember those who served and died to protect us and ensure our freedoms—we might not always agree with why they’ve been sent, but we shouldn’t ever turn our backs on them.

I’m going to keep on with the perfection topic.

Don’t Be Mean and Demean

While I am on this anti-perfectionist kick, I must explain that this isn’t about pushing out crap, championing slop, or less than stellar work. It’s about building ourselves (hopefully, others too) up as artists—in whatever stage we’re in, now, growing and learning to be happy with who we are and where we are.

This is important because it’s so easy to compare and see ourselves as subpar. It’s easy to bemoan our current abilities and groan over our lack rather than hone and grow—with sincere happiness.

There is truth to being discontented with where we are, but we mustn’t confuse discontent with destructive critique. If we are dissatisfied, for example, with how we draw hands practicing drawing hands will produce far better results than destructive self-talk about how terrible we draw hands. Creating, being happy, and creating more will produce more with better results while moving us toward mastery and satisfaction. It’s a choice we get to make and need to make.

This is all so very obvious, I know. But, knowing and doing are often miles apart. Practice is a practical application of our discontent. Belittling and berating ourselves will only demean and destroy our drive for betterment.

What is Mastery?

I remember hearing a teacher, who thought they knew a lot about art and beauty, say that unless your skills are similar to that of John Singer Sargent then you are doing it wrong. Drawing like Sargent, however much I would love to every once in awhile, isn’t the goal of our lives. Mastery of the abilities that we have as artists, the ones that are our core, the ones that express themselves when we are naturally trying to do work we enjoy and are relaxed doing, are the goals we must attain. These are the creative sparks that flow out of us. We must do these and do them to the best of our ability—in each stage we enter—whether beginning, in journey/growth, or in mastery.

Delight 

As artists this will be to our betterment when we are happily discontented rather than the alternative nagging, belittling, discontent. We must find delight in our now so our art will grow to be just right.

 


Latest Sketches:

 


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:

Delilah Dirk

Good troublemakers are hard to find. I mean well written troublemakers are hard to find. My kids and I enjoy this story because it’s kid friendly, clean, and adventurous. I like the tale because Delilah, unlike her namesake, is much more heroic than traitorous. She is much more like warrior Deborah, with a spunk and a glint in her eyes, than Delilah the liar.

“Globetrotting troublemaker Delilah Dirk and her loyal friend Selim are just minding their own business, peacefully raiding castles and traipsing across enemy lines, when they attract the unwanted attention of the English Army. Before they know it, Delilah and Selim have gotten themselves accused of espionage against the British crown!

Delilah will do whatever it takes to clear her good name, be it sneaking, skirmishing, or even sword fighting… But can she bring herself to wear a pretty dress and have a nice cup of tea with her mother? Delilah Dirk may be defeated at last. By tulle…in Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling.”

 


Thanks for joining me here once more. How do you keep yourself from belittling your abilities. What do you say to yourself about where you are?

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.

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.