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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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.
image

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



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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.

Perfection Kills Love: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

May 12, 2017By jayart, Blog, Encouragement, inking, stories, children's tales, comics, children's books,, love, Writing

Perfection kills, that’s it. I could stop and make that the entire post, but I won’t. There is so much more to understand about this disease that we have gained. It comes down from the ancients and has embedded itself in our psyche to the point that we are demoralizing, demonizing, and destroying ourselves (and others) because we don’t reach it.

Idealizing the goals that we have, whether as artists, writers, scientists, roofers, whatevers, will destroy our ability to enjoy and better ourselves. It is the very act of striving for perfection that keeps us from becoming truly perfected. The only true “perfection” we can achieve is to love deeply.

Now that’s the summary. Are you interested enough to read more?


Well, first let me remind you that Raynna and I are working on a project that we hope to release soon. We hope to have it within the next few months, but we might still tease it here and there.

Also, if you haven’t caught up on our 14 (yes, it used to be 13) Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration here are the links: Wonder, Purposefulness, Friendship, Listening, Honesty, Studying, Rest, Encouraging, Doing the Work, Sketchbooking, Scribbling, Shipping, and Challenges,

I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen (Fourteen) Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here. (Note: I will be updating all sections to reflect the, now, Fourteen Commitments.)


Back to our topic at hand: our current culture is deeply influenced by the ancient Greeks, it’s in our governments, it’s in our obsession with body fitness, selfies, philosophies, religion, it’s everywhere. Now, I could spend the rest of this post telling you all about how we got here, but that’s not the purpose, and just researching a little will yield a lot. One of the unfortunate passings down to us is the concept of perfection. A lot of people will tell you it is religion’s (namely Christianity’s) fault. In part this is true, but that’s only once Christianity became influenced by the Greek culture.

At its core, Christianity (when you peel the onion of tradition) has Jewish ideals of “perfection”. These ideals are expressed in completion. Better said, it is the idea that we are growing into what we are supposed to become. It is like bread that, when all ingredients are combined, grows and becomes a loaf. It is complete, perfect, not without dent or dip, rather it has become itself. Here’s where this really came alive for me—the passages below, a discourse on love. One discourse, two different accounts of it. I think they explain each other.

Here’s the first account:

“…’I say to you, Love your enemies … so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven … For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? …  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? … You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43–48 ESV)

Here’s the second:

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? … And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? … But love your enemies, … and you will be sons of the Most High … Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:32–36 ESV)

So, in a discourse on love, Jesus speaks about perfection. In the same discourse in a different book of the Bible he speaks about mercy (compassion). So according to Jesus, perfection and mercy are the same thing.

In his famous love chapter in the Bible Paul writes about the perfect coming (it’s a journey, a growing, a recipe). Each of these things are dealing with being complete—whole. Love is the ideal of a true Bible-based perfection—it isn’t shimmery oiled up bodies, perfect hair or status.

Now to connect all of this: it isn’t art without wrinkle, writing without hole, equations without typo, roofs without leaks. It is passion working together with the journey toward wholeness.

When we remove the pristine perfection concept from our measuring instruments, not only will we become more forgiving of others—we will be able to do the harder part of forgiving and accepting ourselves.

Now, I haven’t perfected this removal (wink wink)… I am on a journey to better accept my weaknesses and mistakes. Not only that, but I am finding that these things often make me who I am.

Don’t let perfection rob your joy, your passion, your love. Let love inform and mold your journey toward becoming better. We become better in the journey so we can become whole. We work to gather in all of the ingredients of this life and grow toward who we were created to be. So that we can pour out that wholeness, perfection, on others—for others. This is why Biblical perfection will always make us humble, true, and loving.

 


Latest Sketches:

To fight against my own perfectionism I challenged myself to 30 days of ink only drawing. It’s been awful. I have two days left.

The guidelines I put on myself are: I can use watercolor and any other form of non-erasable media. These are my attempts at arting without a safety net.

 


RECOMMENDED TOOL:


Handbook Sketch Book

At first I didn’t like this book, but it is the one I am using for the 30 days of no pencil and it has grown on me. The main difference between the HandBook and Moleskine is the waxy pages. This has a subtle but pleasant texture and I think I might be hooked.

“Hand-book Trav-e-logue Drawing Book 8-1/4-Inch by 5-1/2-Inch, Large Portrait in Ivory Black contains 128 acid-free pages of heavyweight buff drawing paper. The paper has a good tooth which makes it an excellent choice for drawing and sketching work. The hand-bound cover has just the right flexibility. Great for pen and ink, pencil and markers. It accepts light watercolor washes without buckling. It has a durable elastic closure and a very useful clear envelope tucked inside the back cover. The perfect journal for artists on the go.”

 


RECENT GOOD READ:

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.”

 

 


I didn’t mean for there to be so long between my last post and this one, but I’m trying to follow my own advice and jump in where I left off.

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.