It may be too late to get Jay’s Yeti calendar in time for Christmas (without expedited shipping) but if you want to get it in time for the New Year, now is the perfect tiiime! Get your calendar here: Yeti ‘Nother 2019 Calendar
We know this is a full time of year for everyone, so this month’s Artist Kindling Letter is a little shorter than usual. Read on though, because we have a gift for you below.
I have loved watching Jay relax with and just enjoy his art lately. When I asked where his focus has been he simply said, chillin’. It shows.
Here is another teaser from a long-term writing project of Jay’s called, Consider the Ravens, a compilation of poems & stories:
Power Lazy people are powerful They fight to keep things the same.
Jay Myers, Consider the Ravens
Thank you so much for all of your support this year! We have a gift for you!
It has been deeply satisfying to finally get to offer part of Jay’s Sasquatch collection as a calendar. This has been a long-term project that feels amazing to release. Your encouragement through sharing his work, buying his art, commenting on his social media, all of it, has and does mean an immense amount. Thank YOU.
To celebrate we are giving away twenty 3×3 vinyl stickers of Jay’s motto with logo shown below and one free calendar! Who loves stickers?! Let us know by commenting on this post because we’re gonna send out twenty first edition Create, Be Happy, Create Morestickers, and one of our subscribers will be getting a free calendar as well!
It could be you. Start commenting :) We’ll be sharing this on his social media accounts too but you all get first dibs!
“Invite us. Interrupt us. Be with us.” That’s some of what our kids said when we asked them what we could tell others about involving and coming alongside their own tribe in the creative life.
We have a solid twenty to thirty minute drive to just about everywhere we go, now that we live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. This gives us a lot of good space for conversation as a family (when Jay and I feel up to facilitating anyways). But this day our conversation took on a life of its own the entire car ride.
Jay and I asked a few questions and they were all over it. All we had to do was ask more questions and listen, and I took some notes to share with you all while Jay drove. More below…
If you are just catching up with us in this space, my husband Jay is on a bit of a writing hiatus, so in the mean time I am essentially interviewing him (or our kids apparently ;) ) and together we are sharing our creative journey to serve and inspire fellow creative souls to not give up and to keep our eyes on the right things to help us all persevere.
We believe community is essential to the process and growth that can come from living the creative life, whether that’s how we are raising our families, setting our tables, writing songs, painting, drawing, writing, etc. Individually, Jay is a storyteller/illustrator and I am a writer/photographer. Together, we’re aiming for our best work to be evident in our crew of six, because they are definitely our most important. So, we thought we’d let you hear from them this week:
In all honestly, it felt like they were all saying the same thing over and over in different ways, but it was fun and insightful to listen close to the differences. It was mostly our teens (we have three right now) and pre-teen who chimed in the most. Here’s what they gave us:
“TALK, it’s important to ask if we want to spend some time creating together. Even if it appears like an interruption. Kids are sometimes too afraid or stubborn to ask for what they really want.”
“BE WITH US, just give us attention, every kid wants it. Kids like to be with and do what their parents are doing more than you know.”
“BE PATIENT, results may not be immediate — teens especially can be stubborn, be available. Just choose a table, or couch, any place without devices and screens and just be with us. Bring your sketchbook or project you are working on. Just your being where we can come be with you feels like an invitation.”
“KEEP SHOWING UP, put it on your calendar if you need to. We like to know you’re going to keep coming back.”
“GIVE US REAL ART TOOLS. Parents give their toddlers imitation power tools, lawn mowers, etc. try giving teenagers some ‘tools’ you like to use to get creative with too. We still like to try to be like you, we’re just less outward about it sometimes. Initiate.”
“Help us CONNECT with others in creative ways, it inspires us and gets the creative juices going.”
We hope listening in to the things the kids said spark some ideas inside of you the way it did us. They make it sound pretty easy and simple, right? It felt like the Nike slogan “Just Do It” became the theme of the night. Of course, the doing is another story. We’re a little ways in now, but still in the experimental stages honestly. Our oldest is seventeen and our youngest is six, but we think it’s going to be a story worth writing.
If you have found it challenging to cultivate and come alongside your kids in creative ways, you are not alone. What have you found most challenging and most effective in these goals? We’d love to hear.
What We’ve Been Reading:
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.
We are currently on Prince Caspian, and our six year old is a little less interested than he was when it was all about Poly and Digory, but I have noticed him experimenting with a British accent more often, and [insert my own British accent] we find that brilliant.
Here’s an excerpt from a long-term writing project of Jay’s, a compilation of stories called, Consider the Ravens :
Writing for children must never sink.
Children are filled with wonder.
Writing for children
Must ascend to the heights,
To the heights of those who float
Who float and swim in the infinite.
Jay Myers, Consider the Ravens
Newest Bigfoot Tee-shirt design is in the shop! B.F.F. — Bigfoot Forever
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. But MANY more options available, including hoodies for Fall.
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.
Commissions: Closed for now. Thank you to everyone who ordered! We’re hoping to open up some spots again before end of year.
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.
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…
“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:
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.
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Upon Raven Back In the beginning, God created everything upon the back of the Raven. Its feathers were contained all the colors that God could imagine and it shimmered in the sun. Every creature lived within the safety of its wings and they lived and they built there. They had peace as the breath of God would flow between the Raven’s wings as it carried out its charge with dignity and joy. (From a short creation myth) # Today is Webcomic Wednesday! 2pm EST # http://rndm.us/tj # # #usa #drawordie #drawventure #drawdaily #kidlitart #comics #childrensillustration #webcomic #childrensbook #comic #story #children #allage #scbwi #childrenstory #artist #artistofinstagram #artistoninstagram #art #mrjaymyers #pentel #pentelsecrets #modmypentel #readaloud #readaloudrevival #western #fairytale #myths #creation
Procreate Apple Pencil So, a friend loaned me his Apple Pencil while I wait for mine. I drew this start to finish in @procreateapp on an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I really like it. I would prefer procreate’s watercolor to behave like the @Adobe #sketch app—which could be a good app if it had layers. # Tomorrow is Webcomic Wednesday. http://rndm.us/tj # # #usa #drawordie #drawventure #drawdaily #kidlitart #comics #childrensillustration #childrensbook #comic #story #children #allage #scbwi #childrenstory #artist #artistofinstagram #artistoninstagram #art #mrjaymyers #pentel #pentelsecrets #modmypentel #readaloud #readaloudrevival
Another cool down From last night. #blackbolt I was just scribbling. # Original art for sale at: http://rndm.us/jms # # #usa #drawordie #drawventure #drawdaily #kidlitart #comics #childrensillustration #childrensbook #comic #story #children #allage #scbwi #childrenstory #artist #artistofinstagram #artistoninstagram #art #mrjaymyers #pentel #pentelsecrets #modmypentel #readaloud #readaloudrevival
Big Cool Down Sketching before bed. Welcome to all my new followers! #bigfoot #sasquatch #yeti #skunkape # Don’t forget Webcomic Wednesday sign up if you like coloring pages. http://rndm.us/tj # # #usa #drawordie #drawventure #drawdaily #kidlitart #comics #childrensillustration #childrensbook #comic #story #children #allage #scbwi #childrenstory #artist #artistofinstagram #artistoninstagram #art #mrjaymyers #pentel #pentelsecrets #modmypentel #readaloud #readaloudrevival