Yeti to Welcome 2019? Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

December 14, 2018By Raynna Myersart, Blog, Encouragement, giveaway

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.


storyteller:

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:

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 More stickers, 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!


the goods:

A Year’s Worth of New Art on Your Walls: MrJayMyers’ Yeti ‘Nother 2019 Calendar

(See a larger version of the smaller images below by clicking on them )

Also, if you didn’t know that Jay has a t-shirt shop—you know now.
Check it out: MrJayMyers’ Threadless Shop.


We hope you each have a Merry Christmas and meaningful New Year. 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. Thank you! Don’t forget to comment below to let us know you’d like a free sticker.

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter, FaceBook, and Instagram.

Raynna on IG: @raynnamyers

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

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

Hey Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Follow Jay on the gram @MrJayMyers


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

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


Storyteller:

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


Poetical

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

Arrrg

A poets life for me.

Jay Myers, Consider the Ravens

 


So, tell us about you, are you delighting or drudging through right now? What are you learning through your processes? Thank you for being a part of our community! Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay & Raynna

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Raynna hangs out most on IG: @raynnamyers

Check out Jay’s free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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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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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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Be Brave. Cultivate Creative Community: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember this:

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

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

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


Storyteller:

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

King of Strings

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

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

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

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


So, we are wondering…

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

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


Commissions Available For a Limited Time:

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

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

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

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


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

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

Jay & Raynna

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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Want a free downloadable encouragement tool? Fill out the info below and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* 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.

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

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

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On Encouraging: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to encouraging others, believing we need each other in order to fulfill the potential we are born with. “…whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Prov. 11:25)”Get your free copy here.
By the way, I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here.


Recent Art:

 


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

 


What’s the best encouragement you’ve received?

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

Jay

Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

 

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

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On Honesty: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

January 28, 2017By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, Encouragement

Hey all! I’ve been absent for a month or so. I hope you all had great holidays and New Year beginnings. Most of us, if we’re honest, try to do some kind of resolution—and then fail it, and then feel bad about it, and then give ourselves a hard time about it.

However, honesty isn’t telling ourselves that we suck—as artists or people. Honesty happens when we take a true look at our place in this world and seeing how far we’ve come—as well as how far we have yet to go.

If we are honest, we can admit to some point of pain (or a lot), that we have had to face and get through in order to move closer to the best version of ourselves—and not just give in to the compromised one. This has everything to do with who we are as artists.

Our lives feed our art. Our art feeds our lives. It is the burning in our chests of the stories we have to tell. Life is hard, but the good news (kind of) is that it’s meant to be—it’s the sharpening of the pencil to a point. Honesty in the midst of the challenges we face is the quickest and least destructive path to the other side. Honesty enables us to move forward in our truest purposes, even if at first it looks, feels, and tastes like a set back, usually it’s not, usually it’s a huge leap forward—that we can’t see until we look back. What’s tough and hard for us will in turn out to be a blessing to those who are watching our lives as well. We need to be honest, face our fears, live humble.

Here’s how we put it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration: “I commit to honesty, believing it will be the quickest, least destructive and most inspiring path to the other side of fears, challenges, and lies—for myself and those I love. A true life will foster my most impactful art.” Get your free copy here.


Recent Art:


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

Jay

Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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Listen to Grow: Artist Kindling from MrJayMyers

December 11, 2016By jay13 Commitments, art, Blog, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,

Hey guys,

Welcome to a new week. Are you ready to delve into part two of: making a commitment to listen as a way to cultivate inspiration as artists? If you missed part one, read it here.

First of all, this is hard at anytime. But especially during busier times in our lives, listening takes incredible amounts of intention. Whether it’s our schedules or simply the things coming at us (advertisements, cultural noise, etc.), listening is not for the faint of heart.

But—listen we must, if we want to grow. Here’s the focus this week: listening to the voices and work (others have produced) that has gone before you.  There is no shame in this. In fact, it’s more shameful not to listen to those who have created before us. This is like any conversation we want to enter in life, it’s best to listen before we just start talking. Because, if we want others to listen to our tales, to our inspiration, to our art then we must become listeners—it will show if we aren’t.

Don’t be afraid of this. A common refrain among artists is “I don’t want to study (others) because I am afraid I will lose my own voice.” There is only one you in the entire universe, the more you work in applying yourself to your craft, including knowing the arena you enter, the less you have to fear. Believe more in the purposefulness of who you have been created to be than in the possibility that can be lost. It will be lost quicker by our lack of intention and attention than it will by careful listening. The more you apply the knowledge of others in your art, the more you are able to express yourself.

Here’s how Raynna and I state it in Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration:
I commit to listening to the work, the conversation I join, and to those who know me, believing there’s a bigger purpose as an artist than I might know on my own.” It was a challenge to compact so many big ideas into one sentence, the most important however is the underlying reason: we are born for a purpose—I’ve dismissed this truth in the past, but that just resulted in a loss of time. So let’s do the hard work of believing it now until it’s not so hard anymore. Anyone up for taking that challenge—believing your importance enough to listen to others?


Recent Art:


Have a great weekend everyone. Create, be happy, keep creating,

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 Listening, Part I: A MrJayMyers’ Artist Kindling Letter

December 5, 2016By jay13 Commitments, Blog, Encouragement, giveaway, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,

Hey Everyone, welcome to a new week.

In Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration I talk about three specific areas we need to have our ears turned on: 

1) Listening to the work,

2) Listening to the work of the genre you want to join. Think of it like a conversation already in process at a gathering. When you walk up to join you shouldn’t just start talking without first listening. And last, but definitely not least,

3) Listening to those who know you, and by that I mean, care about you as well.

All three of these needs have one big truth they rest firmly atop and that is this; there’s a bigger purpose to being an artist than we know on our own.

You Shall Not Pass!

 As I come into another work week I’m turning my thoughts towards the first kind of listening I note above, the work of listening to the work. What does it mean to listen to the work?

Listening to the work is what happens when you are no longer an artist or a writer or an anything because it’s “cool” but rather because you were created to do it, for a purpose that’s bigger than yourself. In many ways, this work goes on behind the scenes of the work of the everyday.


”We must work everyday, whether we feel like it or not, otherwise when it comes time to get out of the way and listen to the work, we will not be able to heed it.” —Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

Listening to the work is more than a singular, isolated event, it’s a continual cultivation/action. In the same way a farmer can’t harvest his field without the prior work of ground preparation and sowing seeds, neither can we as artists listen to our work, if there is no body of work to listen to. I don’t mean published, polished or completed works, I simply mean work, practice, actual doing-ness in physical reality, not only our “one days”.

We have all wanted inspiration to come down out of the sky and, it does, regularly. Think of it like rain. How much better is it for rain to fall on ground turned, prepared and with seeds in it, than unturned and unprepared? Growing as an artist means understanding our own part in this process, grasping the reality that inspiration can be cultivated. I’m not speaking of manufacturing something—that would be the opposite of listening/receiving. I’m speaking of preparing yourself to be inspired. I’m speaking of being found ready and faithful. When the rain comes, make sure your ground is ready.

I shared these words last week from Diana Pavlac Glyer, “…creativity itself is a messy business. We want to think of it as linear and efficient, but in actuality, it is full of false starts, dead ends, long hours, setbacks, discouragement, and frustrations. Knowing that it works this way can help us be more patient with our own untidy processes.” I believe it can also strengthen our perseverance knowing that all of these challenges, common to artists of every flavor, eventually lead us to a place of being able to listen to the work. It helps me.

What do you do if you can’t hear anything? Don’t give up. Don’t give in to self-hate. The hard fought battles are the worthy ones, right? Right.

Huh?…I’m here to rescue you.

 


Giveaway time! Thanks to everyone who jumped on board with me this week! If you haven’t got your copy of my one page PDF, Thirteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration, subscribe to my blog here and it’s yours. I’ll be unpacking it here for the next few months, and I hope it will be a big encouragement to you.

As for the giveaway of the first chapter of my western fairytale comic Adventures of Tomy and Jon book and a MrJayMyers Color Me coloring book, here are the winners:

  1. John P.
  2. Lauren N.
  3. Max

 

If I haven’t contacted you personally yet, I’ll be in touch soon to get those to you. Thanks everyone! I enjoyed that.
coloringbook


More Recent Art:

 

Sometimes we need to amaze ourselves.

 

Rabbi Judah Loew Bezalel of Prague and his Golem.
Rabbi Judah Loew Bezalel of Prague and his Golem.

“Going somewhere, Solo?” (I forgot his ears) create, be happy, create more :)



RECOMMENDED TOOLS:

a1rzr-plyql-_sl1500_I’ve been continuously using my new Derwent Watercolor Colored Pencils this week, and really, really like them. You can use them dry, but mixing them with water results in a highly blendable, vibrant ink. There’s 36 in this set for $23.76, from Amazon, which I wanted to tell you about because it ended up being the best deal at the end of a hunt for me including going to Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon as well as Dick Blick’s .

In my search, however, I also came across these other Derwent Colored Pencils (not watercolor) and a 24 pack this time, but marked down by 61% it’s regular price. I have always found Derwent to make a quality tool, so I wanted to mention these to any of you who use colored pencils as a medium of choice or if you know someone else who does. Colored pencils get expensive but these are going for more than half off right now.
Normally $51.99, they are currently only $20.30, and Prime if you’ve got that. Good deal on good pencils.

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.


Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, keep creating,

Jay

Don’t forget to 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 interested in 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

 

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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

 

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

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