2017 Here We Come! 

Artwork credit: Adele K Thomas
So for me personally,  2016 was not a drag. A lot has happened and it has been mostly positive. I mean I’m alive… barely thanks to yet another goddamn cold. 

Speaking of, this year may be my record for the most amount of illnesses I’ve sustained in twelve whole months. Silver lining. 

I’ve also improved dramatically in my art and my ability to organise stuff. Still working on both but yay. 

And I’m getting my workout game on. It’s been on and off. Mostly off, but the realisation that shit has to change has really changed my mindset this year. I even do yoga in the morning. And I get up EARLIER to do that. Never have I done that before. 

So what do I want to bring to 2017? Keeping my kids happy and alive is obviously the first most important thing. 

Then there’s the art. I want to do more. Practice more. Digital art more. Fan art more. Art concept and vis dev more. Just more. I want to learn and get better. I’m hoping I’ll be ready to try out animation at some point, but I’m not naïve when it comes to the amount of time and energy that will require. Both of which I currently lack. But it’s a goal I have set for the future so that’s something. 

Then there’s the languages. *Facepalm*. I’ve been around Farsi for like ten years and I still have the vocabulary of a five year old. That’s probably being kind. So I plan to spend a lot more time learning and sticking to it. Apps are tedious for the fact that I’m not a beginner, but neither am I advanced. So I have to sorta suck it up and sift through the words I do know in the hopes I’ll make it to the ones I don’t. I’ll be sharing my favourite apps/learning sources for those of you who are interested in learning Farsi/Persian and aren’t sure where to go. The language doesn’t have as many sources out there as say, Spanish. So we need all the help we can get.

And writing. More of that. More blogging. Neither is a requirement. It’s merely one of those ‘I want to do while I can’ things. But they’re on the back burner for the other more important stuff. 

And lastly, books. Readinggggg. I love reading  though I consider myself a sporadic bookworm. So I’ll spend a whole month devouring books like an obsessive addict, and then nothing for another month or MONTHS. That’s normal for me. I intend to keep it more regular as my TBR pile is ridiculously mountainous. I’ve even made yet MORE Pinterest boards for my love of reading. Seasonal reads especially.

So here’s to a new year. With most probably disappointment, but when there’s so much to do, the best thing I’ve learnt is to prioritise! 

Enjoy the rest of your holidays, folks. 

See you in the new year with yet more confusing mixed content. But whatever,  it’s my blog and I’ll cry/write random crap if I want to. 

*struts away*

*hums* Cry if I want to, cryyyy if I want too. You would cry too if it happened to you…

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Inktober, au revoir!

Awwwww,  it came, it went. T’was fun while it lasted. A sweet romance, a hot night of passion, a–okay enough of the similies,  metaphors, whatevzez. 

So a few bits of newsy bites for those who are dumb enough kind enough to read my blog vomit. 

This post will be about my Inktober experience, for the most part. But I also wanted to announce that I plan very much so to annoy you all with an increase in blog vomit. I have much to talk about and many topics I have accumulated in my odd, old noggin, during my last few months of mostly radio silence. So don’t think I’ve forgotten about this blog or have left it to waste away and die like that bloke in my basement. 

Did I say that out loud?

Moving on! 

On another unexpected note, I have rekindled my desire for writing. Yes! Books that is. Of the fictional variety. You may not be aware of this but before I had this blog and rekindled (this has become my new favourite word)  my artsy ways, I had been writing quite seriously for two or three years. 

Then I went on a break around the time I was pregnant with my baby son (now eleven months old). I guess I gave up for a while because I was fed up. The problem with a passion is reality can poison your enjoyment of it. Whether that reality be people, arguments, disappointment, unmet expectations or just emotional, mental, physical tiredness. 

So for many reasons,  I gave it a holiday and without meaning to, I filled that creative hole with art. And now I’m hoping to do both simultaneously. Kinda exciting but I’m not setting myself deadlines and doing both several hours a day. I have kids and responsibilities. Sigh. 

So, expect some more writing related bloggings.

Back to Inktober! 

Did you do it? Did you stick to it? 

Did I?  Ha, did I heck. Stick to it,  that is. 

Okay I drew throughout the month, doodling much more than I ever have since starting drawing back up last year. But I didn’t stick to following the prompts given by the official Inktober page. Or the Medtober prompts created by Ahmed Aldoori. To be fair,  he only did about four of his own prompts (less than I did) and was barely active on instagram or anywhere else. And it was HIS list. So I think you can let me off for that. 

I did about ten or fifteen of the Inktober prompts and plenty of my own doodles, all of which got a favourable response. 

It was never about doing the prompts, all of them and on time. No,  it was about DRAWING. Drawing to practice, to improve, to learn something. And I did. Plenty. 

The most important thing I think that was achieved from October doodling was that I learned what I like and what I don’t. 

I like my backgrounds white, my doodles bold, clear and crisp. I like to use colour but I didn’t use much colour during this time,  and discovered I enjoy the black and white sketching just as much. 

I got comfy on my shading and hatching style. 

I also didn’t rely so much on reference and found myself braver, which allowed me more freedom to express myself, without fear of making errors. Usually with proportions or anatomy. It didn’t matter, I’d just draw it again,  and if I still struggled,  THEN I’d look for a reference. I’d practice with it a few times and then I’d sketch again freely. And it dramatically improved my artwork. 

I found that the drawings I did using a reference seemed stiffer and less vibrant than the one I did after without the reference. That taught me to be more confident in my skills. That despite my inexperience and errors, I am actually quite good at breathing life into my drawings when left freely to do so. 

I also learnt a lot more about photography. My learning curve has gone up significantly thanks to all the blogs and lessons I’ve read about taking photos, filters, lighting, techniques etc. And this month it has improved more so as I now know how to best display my artwork. Especially my doodles that are all clumped together in my sketchbook. 

Basically, I took a picture of a girl like this… 

And edited it so that it looked like this… 

It’s cleaner and neater and it’s a style I really like. It also means that I can sketch doodles close together in my sketchbook and just remove the unwanted bits later using Snapseed–which is becoming one of my favourite and most needed editing app. I’ll do a post about how I edit my photos in the future. 

So, not only did I discover how I like to display artwork and how to achieve that with simple editing apps, I’ve also discovered more about my style and where I want to take it.  

I like clear, bold, simple, bright. Of course, when it comes to full page art, whether that be digital or traditional, there won’t be that white background and obvious focal point, but I know at least how I’d like to display such images in my feed to keep my desired clean theme. 

I’ve learnt more on both my art page (@amylouillustrations)  and my book, food and calligraphy page (@amylounaturiful)–I’ll talk more about the latter in another post–when it comes to feed themes. What kind of theme I want to have for my gallery. Tone, filters, colours etc. It took some time to decide as I like so many different styles. I’m indecisive by nature and change my style more than the seasons change in England but if I do change my mind later, I have an idea of how to transition from one theme (bright, bold, lots of white) to another (warm,  hazy,  orange tones). 

All in all, Inktober for me this year was a success. I did gain a lot more followers. And a lot of picture likes and comments too. I met some new, awesome people and it was truly fun. I also picked up positive habits and harnessed my inner style. I feel like I’m getting there. 

And whilst I’m currently drawing for the hell of it, because I enjoy it and not for my audience so that I’m stressing about what they’ll think, but still being mindful of them–this entire journey is to get me prepared for using my skills professionally. Whatever job that may be and wherever that may take me. I have plans and hopes of where to go, but right now, I’m just along for the ride. And it’s so much more fun when you let your fears go and stop caring so much about others. 

It’s nice to just be me. 

*swings from trees*

*laughs*

*crack*

*falls*

AGHHHH! 

*CRASH*

Oof! 

I’m okay. That last branch was cracked already. Nothing to see here. Move along. 

*waves*

*rubs bruised bottom*

Inktober is here! 


Woohoooooooooo *drags into spooky ghost noise*
Last year was the first time I’d done Inktober (well DONE is an exaggeration as I barely managed a couple of drawings and enjoyed seeing other artists work over doing my own) –before last year,  I’d never even heard of it and had no clue what it was. 

If you don’t know, Inktober is an event for artists in October to get out their ink pens and draw a doodle a day. It has to be in ink, though colour is allowed as long as it is also using ink. 

This year, I’ve been using my trusty Faber Castell artist pens and following prompts from both Inktober’s official Instagram page and artist Ahmed Aldoori’s page. You can draw whatever you like,  there’s no rules on that. Just some people like to use prompts that are given. I like it because I can really get creative and do things I wouldn’t normally do. 

It’s been fun so far. It encourages the daily doodle where possible. And I’m also learning more as I go. 

If you haven’t started and would like to, it’s not too late. You don’t have to draw every day either. But getting involved makes you feel like you’re part of something awesome. You feel the community spirit and it also increases chances of getting more traffic to your page. 

Check me out over at @amylouillustrations. And jump on the Inktober train!  

*choo chooooooo*

Instagram: Why the f#ck is my lifestyle account doing better than my art account? 

What mockery is this? 

Fuck the injustice of this. 

Fuck how unfair it is that I work much harder per artwork than I do per photo. 

Fuck. All of it. 

Okay so it’s not a big deal.  I’m not angry. *eye twitch *

No really, it’s cool. I think the problem is that I sometimes try too hard on my art account. And when you try hard to create something beautiful, spending an average of two hours on a piece including all the fiddly uploading, editing, hash tags and posting–and then on the other end, you barely spend five minutes snapping a pic, editing,  hash tagging and then posting, it does seem a bit unfair. Unbalanced in the work to follower ratio. 

I’ve posted about fifteen pics on my lifestyle/health/food/fitness/mum life account and I’ve increased from the 119 followers I had from two years ago (before putting the account on hold) to 134. And yes that may sound like nothing but considering the short time frame and the number of posts,  I’m almost getting a follower per post and a high like count per post too.  
Yet,  it takes me much longer to increase followers on my art account. I swear I’ve been in the 240s for–like–ever. 

Okay,  I haven’t been that active these past few weeks but does that really mean I should still be so low? And even worse DECREASING? Considerably. Why do people follow me if they unfollow me a few days later? I’m not going to follow you for a follow.  I know you’ll unfollow me later on,  and frankly,  I only follow profiles I actually LIKE. Fuck. Off.  

More on that in a later post. I think it needs a whole post to hold my ranting on that subject. 

This Instagram experience has been enlightening and fun.  I started the art account with no idea where I would take it,  and it seems that I’m still not quite in my element. It’s a place where I bare all. My practices, studies, failures and successes as I learn about my craft. I do understand that a page is meant to grab the audience and encourage people to follow you because you have something to offer. Despite the fact I’m learning as I go and I have a lot more to learn, I can at least say that I’m naturally talented thanks to my Dad and Granddad. My skills just need polishing up. And my niche will come. 

With that in mind, I’m able to allow myself more and more to post without fear and with full freedom. It sounds silly doesn’t it? But it is pretty common for people to not do or post something because they’re afraid of what their followers will think. 

I’m going to go with the same mindset as I have with my lifestyle account. I’ll treat it like a photo storage. A place to dump my favourite, high quality pics for my own enjoyment. If people like it, or follow me for more,  who cares? I think I spend too much time caring what others think-despite knowing it is wrong and I shouldn’t. Of course I value opinions when it helps me to better understand what works and what doesn’t,  but at the end of the day,  this is my page,  my learning journey, and I should post what feels right, what helps me progress and if I’m enjoying it then sooner or later,  others will too. 

It is really wonderful to gain a following and know that they love your work and it hurts when you aren’t getting that, well, not as much as you’d like anyway. I’m not pretending I don’t care, otherwise why would I post this? But, in truth,  it SHOULDN’T matter. And when you have that mindset that it’d be nice but you don’t really care either way,  you suddenly find you’re getting followers and likes. I guess the low expectations help to increase the surprise you feel when your page picks up. This is how I need to be and I recommend it to all. Even those with tons of followers. Because that is also daunting, more so than not having many followers to please. 

You can check me out on both my accounts at:

@amylounaturiful -lifestyle account

@amylouillustrations -art account

Enjoy your week, folks. I’ll be back soon. Until next time…  

*salutes*

*adjusts goggles*

*jumps out of plane*

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! 

Do we need someone to tell us the truth, or just be supportive? 

When a best friend or family member is doing something you know and feel in your heart isn’t right, do you tell them?

Or what if it’s something less deep than that, like your friend is wearing something very unflattering and asks your opinion. And you want to tell them the truth but don’t know if they’ll really want to hear it.

Nobody likes to be told they’re fat.

Nobody likes to be told they’re doing something wrong or potentially hurtful to themselves or others.

People like to think they know what they’re doing,  that they’re capable mature adults who don’t need advice or interventions or other people’s opinions. And that anyone laying that on them is a meddling bastard. That ‘said’ meddling bastard needs to be shut out and away from their special perfect bubble of perfection. Because they can do no wrong and how dare someone tell them otherwise.
*Edit *

So without meaning to I, just yesterday, was in situation just like this. I advised and discussed with a friend something that I knew would be unpleasant to say,  let alone hear.

And whilst, at first, after the initial shock from my friend had subsided,  they seemed to take it well and even thanked me for speaking up.  I felt scared that I’d hurt them and crossed a line, but they stilled my fears. We had a great day out. They went home and then a few hours later, I got a message on Facebook that made me sick to my stomach.  They’d changed their mind completely and instead of saying that I’d done the right thing,  that they were grateful and glad I’d said it,  in the message they said that they felt I was judging them and that I shouldn’t have said it. That I was very direct and insensitive. It was a complete flip on its ass and I almost flipped on my own ass from the shock.
What had happened?

And to add insult to injury, I was told by those close to me that there was truth in what my friend had said.  That I am direct and I am insensitive.

That kept me up all night wondering why I don’t see it myself,  and don’t know when I’m talking that way. Because my intentions were good and out of love. But what difference does that make when all it does is hurt people? Why bother?

I said something that people don’t say to others and instead of it being viewed as what it was–genuine concern for a friend and confusion as to why things they do now,  they didn’t and wouldn’t do before–my words have been taken as insensitive, direct, holier than thou (not all of those were just from my friend).

It hurts more because I have been told more than once that I have a knack for giving advice and support. That I’m caring and a great friend.  That my honesty is considerate and needed. That they like how I don’t say things just to please them. Because that’s not me.  I mean sure,  fine,  I do say things just to be polite and big someone up, but when it would do the opposite of helping that person, maybe even cause them harm if I kept silent or lied and spilled pleasantries out through my teeth,  then I can’t resist. I feel compelled to say something as a loyal friend, companion, relative.

Even if they don’t want to hear it.

Even if no one else would say it.  Because they don’t have the balls to, or they’re just smarter than I am.

I’m thinking now that it’s probably the latter.

Giving advice when asked is something else entirely and if someone needs me,  I’m there. If I can help someone,  I will try my damned hardest. But for things that aren’t asked for,  whether it is true or not,  whether it may help them or not… Eh. It’s not worth it.

I’ve lost a friendship because of it.

This post when first writing it was to almost glorify the ability to speak up, in aid of someone you care about. To not talk behind their back between other people,  but to tell them directly and with care. Without tattling on others too.

But now,  after accidentally doing what this post was about, Ive decided that unless you’re renowned for being tactful, sensitive and a god of words,  don’t bother talking to people about awkward subjects. Don’t tell them they’re doing something wrong, no matter how you dress it,  no matter what your intentions or whether they, deep down,  know you’re right. Even if you do the right thing and say the right thing in the right way,  many people will still lash out at you. If they feel guilty, angry, hurt,  they’ll take it out on you. You may have done your bit, however badly and directly,  but it’ll probably cost you. And you need to ask yourself,  is it really worth it?

Well,  I have to say in my case? Nope. Wasn’t worth it. I made them feel shitty and myself, even shittier.

It’s up to you now.  Don’t ask me. I’m the worst person to give advice on this. Obviously.

*rips open tub of icecream*

There goes my fitness regime.

*gobble gobble*

Colour Challenge: I’m behind this month

post

 

So it’s already August, and I don’t have any indigo artwork for you. Oops. Life happened. I’ve been up to my arse in housework. Barely had chance to draw, and when I have, I couldn’t get the indigo done. Here’s some of the work I’ve done anyway…

This whole post has taken me three days to write and upload. That’s how busy I’ve been.

But on the plus side, I NOW HAVE A WORKSPACE. Woohoo! I’ll share pics on my Instagram soon. It’s not quite finished yet. But I now have a bookshelf with all my books in one place, instead of crammed into several cabinets, shelves, drawers. And I have a table that folds down from the wall so I can basically ‘unpack’ my table and get to work! And I have shelves and drawers to store all my pens, paints, crafts, niknaks. It’s all good.

My family life has been hectic, more on that in another post. So, this is just a quick, hi I’m alive but sorry no indigo artwork for you.

I’ll try to return to my usual post number level once my life settles down. Might not be for another month. I will try to draw some indigo artwork this month instead. Wish me luck!

*dives into pile of responsibilities*

Colour Challenge Update: June – Blue

ocean

Sorry for the delay! Life grabbed hold of me like a crocodile’s jaws and pulled me under the water, rolling me over and over. But I escaped!

So, where were we? Ah BLUE. We were doing a colour challenge for every month, weren’t we? Yes, well, I’ve been sticking to it. Totally by accident. I just like using blue a lot. I rarely even thought about it this month, just got stuck in.

What have I achieved or learned this month? Well, I did a variety of things actually. A lot of my stuff was testing my abilities and my style. Seeing what looked good, what needed work. I didn’t get to do much digital as my laptop broke and I didn’t get a new battery charger until near the end of the month. I’ve also been doing a lot of construction work in and out of the house, which took up a lot of my time. I didn’t get to do as much drawing in general again this month. But that’s not to say the work I have done has been little. Most of the work has been in here *points to head*, in my noggin’.

I decided that I’d like to set up a YouTube channel for my art and organic healthy living. Maybe combine the two as I’m too lazy to do two channels. I’ll probably just put the videos in two separate playlists. I also went back to an old Instagram account I started way before my art, which focused on a mishmash of healthy eating, fashion and makeup. I did it with a friend and the page dwindled to a halt over a year ago. I was busy, she moved on to her own makeup account. But I left it because my lifestyle hasn’t changed, in fact it’s become even more entwined in organic, chemical-free living. But I just didn’t have the time to keep it up on the Instagram page.

I still don’t right now if I’m honest. Though once I get a new phone–with a working camera–I can snap pics and post them. Pictures of food, new products, linking to my YouTube channel. It’s something I know a lot about, and I’m passionate about, so why not? But it’s something for the future, not necessarily right now.

And as for art videos, that’ll have to wait too. As well as the house construction and busy lifestyle that comes with having a six month old in need of breastmilk, and a daughter in need of love and attention, and a husband in need of all that too–save the breastmilk–I don’t have the right equipment right now. My daughter will also be off for six weeks for the summer, then she’ll be back in September in year 1. Gosh, time flies.

And I currently have a tablet that has an okayish camera, no workspace, no stand or tripod for it, and I’m still learning a new app. FYI, I spent over a week, on and off, searching for a decent video editing app. Bloody turns out I had one on my tablet from ages ago, which works perfectly alongside YouTube.

It’s Videoshop for Android.  Windows is shit for apps, and I don’t like my phone because of that reason–it’s not Wins 10 so I can’t compare the difference). So far, so good. I’ll get there.

As well as discovering my desire for making videos, reviewing products, doing speedpaints and reviving an old Instagram account, I’ve discovered a newfound love for calligraphy. Not calligraphy itself–as that’s an old and deep love I’ve had for as long as I can remember–I’m talking about actually writing calligraphy myself.

I’ve been practising a few days now and I’m already getting the hang of it, though it will take a long time before I can create professional, beautiful work. I’ve tried using my beloved Faber Castell Artist Pitt pens (which I would like to do a video review of as soon as I can) and also thick Crayola pens. Next, I’ll be using a thick Sharpie pen with the slanted nib and watercolour using a paintbrush or maybe even a Pentel aquash pen–should anyone ever buy me one…

And maybe I could do a video showing the difference between the pens.

Eventually, I’d love to get a dip pen with those nibs. They’re so pretty, and create wonderful lines. Which is why my previous amount of calligraphy accounts I followed has probably doubled this past week.

Remember what I said in a previous post about how erratic my attentions span is? How easily distracted I am? Yup. That’s me.

On another note, I recently bought some art supplies! YAAAAAAY! So, I now have a notebook (kinda like a Moleskine, but very cheap–by Nu Elite), some watercolour pads and sketchpads, ballpoint pens/biros in loads of colours, and some fine line pens that were super cheap, and when I tried them just to scribble a few lines to see what it was like, I gasped with delight. They’re super thin and scratchy, just how I like, but smooth too. I’m looking forward to trying that out. And also my watercolour pad, as I have watercolour pencils that haven’t even been used yet. And watercolour paint that will get used just as soon as I have my workspace set up.

Which, speaking of, may be happening sooner than I thought! I just bought wall tables (the kind that folds down) and they’re so cool. I’m waiting on their delivery as of today (it’s the 4th July as I’m writing–happy holidays by the way to my ‘Merican friends). As soon as the house is cleared of crap, boxes, tools, rubble, dust and more crap, we can hang them up and start using. And I can do that highly coveted workspace photo. Yayyyyyy.

So, as you can see. This last month of blue was full of inspiration, new stuff, new beginnings. And plans for the future. I’m happy where I am, and looking forward to moving forward. I’m not doing as well as others in terms of gaining followers at a great speed, but I’m not as good as them. And that’s cool. I’m here to learn, to enjoy, and only when I’ve achieved a certain level, will I feel comfortable in pursuing a professional career. Sure, I’m doing freelance work, but I’m not confident in my skills to approach companies for a job.

I’d say to those of you who aren’t certain about whether they’re ready to approach a company–it’s something you feel in your gut. Let’s be honest–artists, writers, musicians, all those who pursue a creative art, are never content with what they do and achieve. They always think they can do better and constantly compare their skill level with others. It can be a very soul-destroying lifestyle, and it makes it hard to judge your work.

My advice, based on what I’ve seen and what I know myself, is to focus on your portfolio. They say a portfolio should have a max of around sixteen pieces of art. And each one should display clearly what you can do, and what you WANT to do. It should be relevant to the job you’re applying for, it should be striking and scream YOU, whilst also showing a good variation of what you can create. And it should be your BEST work, not just what you have.

I’m not there yet. I haven’t created a portfolio as yet, but I know what I want to do with it, and that’s a start. Once that is done, I can say that I’m ready to show off my stuff, and aside from practising, sketching daily, focusing on weaknesses and improving there, I don’t see what more I can do to be ready. If the time is right, and you have that portfolio behind you, take the leap. Send that company an email, post your portfolio on places like ArtStation and Behance.

If you’re denied the jobs you apply for, it’s not always because your art isn’t good, it’s just not what they’re looking for, not right now anyway. One day, your art will be perfect for the right client at the right time. Hang in there, and keep drawing. I plan to, and I plan to enjoy it.

Here’s my blue collection. I cheated a little as I did some of these in May as well. Next month and onwards is a little confusing for me, I’m not sure why I did it like this…

colour palette months

I’m not sure if July is dark blue or indigo, and then August and September look like different shades of purple. So, I’m going to alter that slightly and go with:

July – Indigo

August – Purple

Sep – Magenta

That should work. Hopefully.

And here you go.

 

Mum Life: Going to the bathroom in peace? Hahaha. Right.

It’s actually quite spooky how my favourite blog just so happened to post about the top ten things to watch out for when you have kids. And it was–as usual–hilarious and also so very, very true. Whilst Chuck Wendig sums up life with a tiny human so well in just one–albeit rather lengthy–post, I’m gonna do it in separate ones.

For those of you who can go to the toilet, close the door, release your bowels in peace–and by peace, I mean to be able to think about life for a few minutes, stare at the tiles or out the window depending on your shit collector’s positioning, in undisturbed, blissful silence–YOU LUCKY BASTARDS.

Say what? you ask.

You don’t know how lucky you are.

For example.

I have put on a film for my five year old. Or I’ve got the paints out. They have food and water and entertainment enough to stave their jabbering and questioning for a good half hour–I hope–and with that in mind, I realise I need to pop to the loo.

Now there are two techniques to doing this. I’ve tried both. And neither work.

I either announce to the child that I’m off to the loo and I’ll be right back, with which she’ll nod, say OKAY MUMMY, and I’ll run upstairs.

OR,

I’ll quietly sneak out of the room knowing that she is fully distracted and even if she realises I’m gone, she’s too preoccupied to care.

OR…NOT.

I’ll be on the toilet, and I’ll hear it. The sound of demonic feet thundering up the stairs with the sole purpose of breaking down the bathroom door to demand a glass of water, or lamb’s blood, or to tell me about something completely unimportant that it takes all my self control not to throw the toilet brush at the door in an attempt to barricade myself in.

Yes, I’ve told her not to come upstairs. Yes, I’ve done all of the above to stave her thirst for my moments of peace.

Silence? Uninterrupted toilet breaks? What are these strange things?

And no, locking myself in, or sticking something heavy in front of the door doesn’t work. Believe me. I’ve tried.

On the serious side, I know that the day I realise she doesn’t do that anymore, I’ll miss it.

Why is it that the irritating shit someone does, particularly our children, later on becomes the things we miss the most? We don’t appreciate it when it’s there and we miss it when it’s gone.

Having kids makes me so bloody emotional. I can’t even watch movies with graphic content anymore. More on that another time.

Any parents reading my posts? I’ve noticed I get a lot of likes on my artsy and writesy posts. And that’s cool. If my parenting posts are not your thing, tough titties.

*DEATH GLARE*

Just kidding.

Or am I?

But seriously, anyone experiencing what I’m going through? Let me know. I’d love to read about it.

And laugh at your misery.

*evil cackle*

Stop Trying to be Like Other artists. Be you.

Art by Tea for JBASS (Julie Benbassat)

Why do I need to say this? Again.

Isn’t it obvious?

Yes, okay, I’ve been secretly–now, not so secretly–coveting other artists’ styles and wishing I could create lickable art as well as they do. It’s so tempting to draw like them, just to see if I like it. Just to see if I CAN.

And what’s wrong with that?

Well, much more than you think. Probably. I don’t know. It’s one of those things that pops into my head quite a lot thanks to the lack of drawing on my part because of annoying things such as life and family responsiblities. Some days, I’d much rather lock myself in my room and draw for a few hours than clean and cook. Alright, alright–MOST days. You got me.

Why is it that we see art we love, obsess over it, resent/covet it in startling degrees and then try to copy it? Why can’t we just get out a piece of paper, paintbrush/pen–whatever your preferred medium is and NOT WHAT YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST’S IS–and JUST DRAW?

I absolutely want to smack myself in the head when I start to question myself instead of just picking up a pen and bloody getting on with it. My problem is a ‘restless, poor attention span’ one. I like to draw different things and while that is difficult in itself because I don’t want my Instagram page or website to look like a mishmash of topics, I still want to draw what interests me. And these interests are usually influenced by the artists I follow. When I see what they’re doing, I want to try it out, but–and here’s the important bit–IN MY OWN WAY.

So, where do we draw the line between trying out different things and sticking to what makes our style unique?

Well, I believe that regardless of what you draw, your style will shine through. It may take a while as you develop your skills, but there’s nothing wrong with trying new things out. You won’t know if you like it, until you try it. And using your favourite artists as inspiration is fine, just as long as you are not outright copying their work.

For example, my artist flavour of the week is Tea for JBass (above art is hers).

 

She’s a wiz at ballpoint pen art, and is known for drawing in a moleskine, which always looks pretty. I love sketchbooks that open flat so you can draw on both sides. Picolo does the same thing. I mentioned him in a previous post.

Chocolate #art #throwback #tea #Teadle #drawing #doodle #illustration #design #chocolate #girl #latina #instaart #artist

A post shared by (JBASS) Julie Benbassat (@tea_for_jbass) on

 

JBass a.k.a Julie–loves tea, like myself, and in 2015 she did a daily challenge of drawing a tea doodle or ‘Teadle’ and as of last week, has been posting vids of her going through all those sketchbooks she completed in that year. Her artwork is very creative, imaginative, fantastical, unique, quirky. Everything I love. It reminds me of the unusual, thoughtful style of Studio Ghibli.

So from this, it’s inspired me to finally get a threadbound sketchbook. I love the style and I want to do it. I also love tea and that vintage/fantasy style. So, I’m going to incorporate that. I also use biro pens/ballpoint pens a lot, like she does, and after seeing her draw in brown/red colours, I decided I want to get some too. I want loads of colours!

Does anyone see anything wrong with that? Is it copying? Is it cheating? Absolutely not.

I tell you what’s bloody cheating, is when some prick thinks it’s okay to steal an artist’s work and then sell them on an online print store. True story, and sadly happens way to often. I’ve seen it at least five times in my short time on Instagram where someone has posted artwork on their account taking credit for it, when it isn’t theirs.

GET A LIFE.

Back to JBass: I’m taking inspiration from her, based on my own interests and passions and rolling with it to add to my own repertoire.

I also work with markers and ink, in a style that is similar to Sir Pangur a.k.a Nina V, another artist I adore. She has a very free, loose, scratchy, flowy style and I also have that style. She works with indian ink too, and thanks to her pictures and vids of her process, I really want to try painting in ink.

Batgirl commission done!😙 #batgirl

A post shared by sirpangur (@sirpangur) on

Brian Kesinger, another favourite, does tea painting and sells a lot of tea prints on Etsy. So, that has inspired me to paint with tea and coffee in the future.

Sure, I'll play! #artvsartist

A post shared by briankesinger (@briankesinger) on

Gabriel Picolo, who draws beautiful fantasy/comic style artwork using a mix of ink pens, watercolour and digital enhancement has encouraged me to spend hours searching for the appropriate materials–mostly a sketchbook that is cheaper than a rather bloated-priced Moleskine–so I can try my own creations using his technique/medium.

I follow at least ten calligraphy accounts such as Crooked Calligraphy, One Artsy Mama and Ian Barnard.

I now want to practice calligraphy, which I’ve always loved both from Chinese and Japanese culture using rice paper or sand, and also from the beautiful Arabic calligraphy seen in the Qur’an, which I’m fairly familiar with.

They’ve all inspired me to do more and learn more and there’s nothing wrong with that. They’ve flared old passions and new and I plan to experiment, have fun, use them in my own way. And try to do all these different things whilst still letting my style shine through and retaining a certain level of order and unity in the artwork I produce.

In a future post, I’d like to share my thoughts on creating an intriguing Instagram feed. Tips I’ve picked up by trial and error, which I personally favour and you may or may not like how I do it.

All I can say is that when you sit idly as I have been (not by my own choice) and you’re thumbing through posts of your favourite artists on Instagram or wherever, it can make you question yourself. It can make you restless and chomping at the bit. Should I do this? Should I do that? And that nasty bastard in your head that whispers self doubt until you start to believe him, has a field day.

I see too many budding artists asking their idols “What brushes to you use?”, “What program is that?”, “What sketchbook is that?”, “What pen is that?”, “Where do you get your inspiration from?” and YES, I AM GUILTY OF DOING THAT. But rather than sitting on your arse, asking people how they do it. Why not get up off that arse, grab your pens, your brushes, your paper that YOU HAVE IN YOUR POSSESSION RIGHT NOW, and DRAW.

Go with it. Have fun.

Make something up. Draw from life.

Ask yourself, what do YOU feel like drawing today. Not what someone else is doing.

And a voice might say, “Today, I want to draw some cacti.”

Then you ask yourself, what do I use to draw it?

And that same voice might say, “Well, you saw so-and-so using watercolour this week and you liked how it looked. Why not try it out?”

And that’s cool because you’re not trying to COPY that artist, you just like what they did and want to try it out yourself.

When you’ve finished, you discover you’ve learnt something new. It could be how to blend the colours, what colours work well together, what colours to use for shadows or highlights, how to make that cactus super prickly looking, or it could simply be that you discover you really like drawing cacti.

That’s how an artist is born. And that’s how they get good. They study from life, they do what inspires them and what they’re passionate about and they do it over and OVER again. Each time getting better and better. Because they’re always learning something new.

On a side note, I’ve seen loads–and there’s probably hundreds of thousands out there–of accounts that are dedicated to manga/anime artwork. They’re amateurs for the most part and all they’re doing is trying to copy the artwork of an anime they love. And that’s cool, but it’s clear that they don’t understand anatomy, structure, proportions because they’re too busy trying to make their drawing look like that anime. If they just took some time to draw from life and study the anatomy and proportions, they could stylize their drawings later on.

Stop sitting back and pining over the art of those who’ve worked hard to get as good as they have. They all were where you are now. They may still be there in their own mind–constantly doubting, questioning, totally insecure. They could have a million followers and still feel as insecure as when they started. But what makes them gain those followers is because they bring something new and different to the art world. Because IT’S THEIR OWN STYLE THAT IS THEIRS AND THEIRS ALONE.

You draw, sing, write in your own way, without fear, without worrying what others will think and yet at the same time being savvy and aware of what others think, what is out there, how things are done, and choosing what to incorporate into your craft, and you’ll get there. I know it.

 

Now, go away, I’m painting.

*throws dirty paint brushes at you*

*kicks door shut*