On Being You: A MrJayMyers Week in Review

July 29, 2016By jayart, Blog, children's books, Design, Encouragement, review, story, Writing

Hey guys,

Welcome to Friday! It’s been a week of discovery around here. I’ve discovered something about myself the last several weeks that I finally have words for. Maybe you’ll relate:

For awhile now I have been hiding too much of myself. Specifically with my art, I’ve hidden beneath splatters and grunge inks. Lately, has been different in that I have been finding joy in drawing and not caring if Sienkiewicz, Parker, Brown, Waterson, et al would do it that way. I’ve just been drawing.

I’ve been drawing and letting Superman look weak, Batman look old and unattractive, Spiderman look spindly, and generally just delighting in art as it comes out of “me”.

Each of us has a story. We each have a tale that we express through our art. But sometimes, somewhere, we can often lose track of our own tale and begin to tell someone else’s. That happens when, whether from admiration or insecurities, we begin to let their style overshadow how we draw, color, write, etc.

Each of us needs to find that “you” we were created to be. That certain expression that isn’t being bound into someone else’s way, but still learns from others. You have that. You have a uniqueness that unleashed will make what you are doing delightful and inspiring.

Find that You and hold onto it. Don’t let it go, but do make it grow. This isn’t a one time static “moment”. If we look at it that way then years could pass without any real changes/ progress. Your true “you” needs to expand and become better. It needs to be challenged to do things better, but it must never let go of its own story.

The goal of an artist is story. Some people disagree with this notion, and believe that the artist’s goal is expression. However, expression is itself story. When we look at an artist’s work, of splashes and dots, and we are inspired to read into the work, that artist has been the vehicle for story.

Find you and help that tale grow from a three word tale into an epic. How? Books are written on this, and to say what I believe may sound over simplistic, but it has been my path: let go, just be you, one step at a time.

One of my personal steps is wrapping up this next week: The Adventures of Tomy ‘n’ Jon. This has been a great experience, I really appreciate those of you who have joined me thus far! There’s a few physical copies left if you want to grab one.


Recent Art:









This Week’s Recommended Tool:

When I considered a tool I could recommend to you all this week, the one that came to mind is my travel water color set. This is specifically because I’ve been using it a lot lately, and I love it. The fourth, sixth and seventh images above were all painted with my Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Field Box —a treasured gift my wife gave me several years ago.

I hesitated, on one hand, to recommend it because it is a more costly tool than I usually bring up, so head’s up on that. But, if you love water color, love to be mobile, and can afford it or want to give a VERY special and enjoyable gift to someone else, this comes highly recommended. Get it here.
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The link above is from Amazon, however, sometimes Hobby Lobby has these in stock and there is always a 40% off coupon available weekly there. (If you have a smartphone, you can get their app for coupon.)

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Current Good Read:
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days


If you do interface design at all this book is for you. If you do product design at all this book is for you. If you work on a project for any customer this… well, you get the idea. Some projects can take forever to figure out. What if you could get a great baseline for your project in just one week? Would you be interested? You should.

This is a fantastic play-by-play of a one week design sprint intended to help you get to the bottom of a problem and find a solution in one week. Check it out.


Alright guys, have a great weekend and keep creating. Here’s some words that hit the mark, to carry with you:

“Our freedom to be creators is far less limited than some people would think.” -Madeleine L’engle

Jay

P.S. Please share this with anyone else you think may be interested in these kind of updates. Thanks!Subscribe for these updates to come directly to your inbox HERE.Other ways to connect: Twitter or FaceBook .Check out my free western fairytale webcomic if you missed it this week: The Adventures of Tomy and Jon.
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Why ask Why: A MrJayMyers Week in Review

July 15, 2016By jayart, Blog, children's books, Faerie-tales, Writing

Hey guys,

It’s been a quiet kind of week around here. That disturbing kind that also allows for reflection. The kind of quiet where sense can begin to be made, because there is space for questions to be asked and thoughts room to breathe. 

It’s been awhile.

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Curious Giant, cover of my Color Me book

I chuckled a bit when I read this, this week:

“Nowadays silence is looked on as odd and most of my race has forgotten the beauty of meaning much by saying little. Now tongues work all day by themselves with no help from the mind.” —Toni Morrison

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I’m guilty of this too.

A book I am reading, particularly for my work as a UX Designer, has been good food for thought all the way around recently. Here’s a quote I like,

“If we’re going to sort out the messes around us, we need to ask difficult questions and go deeper than how something looks to determine if it’s good or not.” —Abby Covert, How to Make Sense of Any Mess

We all want to create something epic, be a part of something epic,  just be epic. The hard work of mastering our crafts to get there definitely needs space for asking questions.

Make Me King

One particular question that keeps coming up in conversations at work and home this week is,  “Why?”.

“Understanding the why behind what you’re making allows you to uncover your intent and potential.” —Abby Covert, How to Make Sense of Any Mess

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King Is Born

Currently, as I write this, it’s about ten o’clock at night, my kids are asleep and I have a neighbor who is cutting up his dining room chairs with a chainsaw. This too begs the question, “Why!?”. Just kidding, he did just rip out his chainsaw, but he’s moving in two days and that explains everything. Right? Well, not really.

In actual seriousness though, this month the significant Elie Wiesel passed on, leaving a very clear “why” behind. He was a teacher and a writer, a creator, whose work I admired. Here’s some of his wisdom to close up this week,

“There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning, and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don’t see them.” Elie Wiesel

Cloud Girl

 


Recent Art

For several years now, I’ve been using single sheets of paper for my sketches. This past month, starting a new job, I wanted something easier to carry, so I picked up an old Moleskine sketchbook.

This thing was already about a third complete when I started it. I restarted it the third week of June and completed it this week—that felt great.

So, I picked up another uncompleted one with only about 10 pages finished. I taped them closed and now I’ve been doing a lot of extremely loose head shots. I wasn’t trying to get to the epic hero, but the common one. The one that anyone of us would be if we were to don a cape and cowl.

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Have you taken the #15minartchallenge lately? Encouraging you all to do it has kept me active as well. I definitely filled that sketchbook quicker than I used to. Thanks guys. Keep posting and sharing, it will keep you going too.

Hey, let me know what your “why” is behind your art in the comments? I’d enjoy reading.

Have a great weekend everyone, keep creating,

Jay

P.S. Please share this with anyone else you think may be interested in these kind of updates. Thanks!

Subscribe for these updates to come directly to your inbox HERE.

Other ways to connect: Twitter or FaceBook .

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic if you missed it this week: The Adventures of Tomy and Jon.
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The Bigger Picture: A MrJayMyers Two Weeks in Review

May 13, 2016By jayart, Blog, humor, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,

Hey Everyone,

The last two weeks have been an intense challenge. You have seriously been inspiring me with your #15minartchallenge participation. Keep up the great work!

Last week my family and I made a huge decision. We are going west! Well, more west than we are currently east. By the end of this month we will have moved eight people and all their belongings 350 miles away from their current geographical position. Crazy.

All that to say, the last two weeks, the rubber met the road. I definitely met resistance. Is 15 minutes of creativity worth the effort when you are dog tired? YES.

I struggled with drawing this week, but the years of working fifteen minutes at a time has paid off. Here’s a recent piece I didn’t show on any social media.

Tomy & Jon from my western fairytale webcomic. 

 

Tribute to Mike Kunkel’s Herobear

Is using the sparest of your spare time a worthy endeavor? It really is, but not because it always works out perfectly. It’s worth it because it’s more than about that one drawing we are working on at the time. It’s about a shift in our thinking. It’s a shift that says, in 15 minutes or even less, I can and get to do something meaningful.

This exercise molds our habits and our priorities into pursuers of purpose, and trains us to be less wasteful of the time we have.

Concept Sketch of Artham Wingfeather from Andrew Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga

Recently, for me, 15 minutes was hard to find without falling asleep first. Then when I tried, I was unsatisfied with most of what came out. Some of the times I realized, OK, I tried and now I really do need to fall asleep. Other times, I decided to stick with it awhile longer. Both were good when seen through the lens of the bigger picture.

What’s the bigger picture? Training our habits and mindsets through discipline and perseverance, a little bit at a time. So much to gain.

 

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Limited Edition Signed Prints Available Here of Star Wars/Peanuts Mashup. Thanks Mr. Lucas & Mr. Schulz!

I love these words:

“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

Great job again everyone. I am encouraged by you. Check out the #15minartchallenge tag on Instagram and be encouraged by each other, feel the momentum, and create on.

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By the way, for those of you who still have any questions about the #15minartchallenge, I am creating a FAQ page. If you have questions or answers you think need better clarifying, please hit me up with your input here because you are probably not the only one wondering. So, if you ask and bring it to my attention, it will help me bring clarity for everyone. Thanks in advance!

Also, here’s this week’s Adventures of Tomy and Jon free western fairytale webcomic strip: Subscribe to join the adventure here and have it come to your inbox.

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(Click image to enlarge.)

Have a great weekend & Keep Creating!

Jay

The 15 Minute Art Challenge: MrJayMyers Week in Review

April 29, 2016By jayart, Blog, Faerie-tales, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, review, Writing


Little by little does the trick. —Aesop

This week has been awesome. I’ve had a great time working and posting with you guys with the #15minartchallenge. It is quickly taking on a life of its own and that has made me smile big. Great job everyone!

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I’ve got a challenge for you. A challenge to make the most out of your sparest of time to do something to grow your skills.

If you find your time to be constrained then use what little you have and join in The 15 Minute Art Challenge.

It’s simple: Time yourself drawing for 15 minutes.

Then stop.

You can add color, but no more “drawing”. Tag #15minartchallenge on your social media accounts. Share and encourage others to join and use their “spare” time to create something.

Trust me, doing so you’ll get: faster and better. It was my main source of drawing for almost five years.

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Constraints concentrates creativity. 

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A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark. —Dante (Alighieri)

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If you add a little to a little and do this often, soon the little will become great.—Hesiod

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The nuts and bolts of how I came up with what to draw this week had everything to do with daily life. My kids and I are totally absorbed in reading The Wingfeather Saga books by Andrew Peterson right now. Inspiration—check! Also, we celebrated two birthdays in our family this week and pulled out a favorite movie in the celebrating, The Hobbit. Oh yeah—I always love to draw bigfoot.

How do you decide what you are drawing?

Keep Creating Everyone. Have a great weekend!

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Jay

 

 

 

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Check out my free western fairytale webcomic if you missed it this week: The Adventures of Tomy and Jon.

Find Your Creative Sweet Spot & Tools to Help: MrJayMyers Week in Review

April 22, 2016By jayart, Blog, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, review, Writing

It’s been a time constrained week around here, more than usualI used to think that was negative and even a legit reason not to make or meet creative goals. Now I think differently.

I like how Jake said it,

“Creativity thrives on constraint.” — Jake Parker

With a full-time (non-illustrating) job and a family of seven (besides me) this has been a necessary and significant shift in perspective. Instead of using my constraints as excuses, I now see them as strengths.


Tomy and Jon’s on-going adventure heated up on Wednesday. I worked for months ahead before I ever launched my webcomic so I didn’t work on it this week. It posts on a schedule now.

This is my best example to date of choosing a personal project (as far as art goes) and sticking with it. It’s really helped me grow my skills and put myself out there, and definitely within constraints. I can’t recommend this enough.

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If you do not have natural constraints there are things you can do to enforce some on yourself. Even with natural ones, this helps.

The main limitation I put on myself is choosing to work in 5, 10, or 15 minute time allotments. Set a timer if you need to—I used my phone’s.

How to Find Your Creative Sweet Spot:
Find the most effective constraint for yourself by asking yourself what you believe is your biggest limitation. Then begin the process of choosing to believe it could actually be exactly what you need.

After several years of working in this way, I doubted that I’d have much art to show for between 75 hours of non-illustration work on my plate this week.  I was wrong. It proves to me again how true it is, creativity really does thrive on constraint.

Here’s my week in review:

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(This doesn’t even count the nights I was just worn down and sketched a bunch of stuff that never saw the light of day.)


Not having my own studio has been another hidden aid that has worked to help me stay mobile and make due with space limits. I gather many of you are in the same position.  So here’s a trick for the trade: modified brush pens.

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Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

Instead of an elaborate set up, I use six Pentel Fude Brushpens that I modify with scissors or needle nose pliers.

You can get them with a medium or extra fine point. Find out more by clicking the highlighted words. If you decide it’s a good fit for you (or gift for another artist in your life) at no extra cost to you, it will also benefit my family, so THANK YOU!

If you’ve already got some, or after your new ones arrive, here’s a 15 second video to show you how I modify mine.

Huge thanks to everyone who purchased through my link last week on The IPOW Canvas Pencil Wrap. I’d love to hear how it’s going for you.

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The IPOW Canvas Pencil Wrap

 


With all this talk about constraint and limitation, rest has a place in this too. My family and I skipped some stones over the weekend. Photo by my wife, Raynna.

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How have you found working within limits helps you? Care to share any examples or tips below? I’d love to hear.

Have a great weekend everyone, keep creating,

Jay

P.S. Please share this with anyone else you think may be interested in these kind of updates. Thanks!

Subscribe for these updates to come directly to your inbox HERE.

Pencils and Inks

March 2, 2016By jayBlog


Pencils and Inks i'm going to be @lex_con March 11-13 and I am working on a cover for the first chapter of the Tomy and Jon comic that I will be selling there as well as a coloring book. I am at table 1003.
Pencils and Inks i’m going to be @lex_con March 11-13 and I am working on a cover for the first chapter of the Tomy and Jon comic that I will be selling there as well as a coloring book. I am at table 1003. #comic #comiccon #lctc #western #fairytale

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2min Gorgon Doodle

February 25, 2016By jayBlog


2min Gorgon Doodle This is rough and quick. Enjoy. Yesterday was Webcomic Wednesday. http://tomyandjon.com @tomyandjon we are heading into a story arc. Somethings abrewin. Gorgon penciled in with
2min Gorgon Doodle This is rough and quick. Enjoy. Yesterday was Webcomic Wednesday. http://tomyandjon.com @tomyandjon we are heading into a story arc. Somethings abrewin. #western #fairytale #WebComic #wednesday #mrjaymyers Gorgon penciled in #procreateapp with #applepencil

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