By Definition

mima jewellery drawing

When can I call myself an illustrator?

I know I don’t need to wait until I’ve done the (un)necessary training, have a certificate, or passed a test.  So, must I have a pre-specified number of followers on Instagram?  Or an extensive online portfolio (which I’m sure is very helpful indeed, but I’m new here).

So, what if I don’t?

When two completely disconnected people* raised this question, it got me thinking.  I well and truly dread being asked what I do for a job, as mine isn’t a straightforward answer.  I feel I have to justify my own situation with an abridged version of my awkward journey through life and work so far.  Concluding with “but I want to be an illustrator”.  This alone isn’t self-explanatory.  And I feel I have to justify what I’m doing to get there (although I’m continually fighting self-doubt that I could ever be so lucky as to live the life I always dreamed of).

So, having given this some thought, I’m choosing to call myself an illustrator right now, despite not having much stuff “out there” to prove it.

[Audible intake of breath]

Well, where has being a hopeful illustrator gotten me so far?

If you’re also fed-up of self-doubt and the niggling, irritating voices that accompany this, try calling yourself an artist, illustrator, or whatever you hope to be, and listen to the new thoughts that start popping into your head.

*Hat’s off to Jessica Abel and my Canadian friend J for raising this.

The post By Definition first appeared on Filbert & Smudge.

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Fly or Flow?

Apple sketch

Did I mention my resolution for this year was to Simplify?

My attempts haven’t quite gone as expected these past few weeks as I have more commitments rather than less.  So I’ve been asking myself: “Is it better to spend a few good hours on a project, seeking flow?  Or is a quick sprint better for productivity?”

I’m currently practicing quick sprints, setting my timer so I jump from one activity to another, and rushing to finish before the buzzer.  I also gave myself permission to complete even the simplest sketches over several consecutive days, rather than putting them off because I have a heap of other priorities.  I’m not sure this was the best strategy as a drawing that should take 30 minutes is dragging on.  But I’m drawing daily, and that’s a good (re)start.

Footnote ~ I can recommend this apple drawing tutorial which I found on the Will Kemp Art School website; it’s part 2 of 3.  Part 1 explains the theory of shadows, and part 3 is an acrylic painting tutorial.

The post Fly or Flow? first appeared on Filbert & Smudge.

Keeping it Simple

I believe in fate, and sometimes things happen because the timing is just right; things are just meant to be.

With my life feeling more like an ongoing game of Tetris, I’ve decided I need to simplify.  I feel like I’m at that point in the game where you’re a few levels in and you’re just about managing to maintain some control, but those blocks keep appearing and stacking up around you.  Imagine those little blocks are the things you want to spend time doing, and the longer you go on the more they stack up and although those stacks keep going up and down you never quite clear all of them.

Over the past two years my (almost) weekly blog posts have helped me identify my real and imagined obstacles, and led me to make some remarkable changes.  But catching up with my resolutions last week, I realised I’ve spent more time writing blog posts than I have being prolifically creative.  So, in order to simplify things I’ll be posting here on a monthly basis.  For now anyway.

The post Keeping it Simple first appeared on Filbert & Smudge.

Finding the Words

Character-brief.jpg

If this was an illustration or drawing brief I’d be distracting myself with time fillers.  But it’s not, and (despite my lack of experience) it doesn’t seem at all scary.

I’ve just started a creative writing course – a free Open University one on FutureLearn.com, and this exercise appears halfway through Week One.  So, what is it about writing that feels just slightly daunting but doable, yet if we were tasked with drawing the very same we’d make our excuses not to (or in my case, keep putting off until I’d plucked up enough courage just to open my sketchbook, then spend longer criticising the results than I spent crafting my sketch).

But that’s the point of a beginners’ course, isn’t it?  To have a go, make mistakes as we learn something new, accepting every stumble and fall as a necessary part of the learning curve.  Yet, with drawing, whether we’re starting out, starting over or beginning to find our feet it’s harder to accept the very same stumbles and falls.

The post Finding the Words first appeared on Filbert & Smudge.

Creative Space

Studio-chaos1

Chaos in my mind (before feng shui, 2017).

When was the last time you showed your creative space some TLC?

Since rearranging my own studio last year, I took it for granted that all would be well in my creative world. And it was for a few months.  With it almost tidy and organised it felt like a breath of fresh air, and inspiration had room to play.

At the moment, my own messy studio is a reflection of me – a chaos of ideas I want to cling onto, just in case. Fabric and yarn donations that I’ve welcomed with open arms, just in case.  They’re stored on the floor because I haven’t found space for them.  And boxes.  Good sturdy cardboard boxes, just in case.

But, as much as we should take care of ourselves, we should take care of our creative space. Show we appreciate it supporting us through peaks and troughs, and it will continue to provide the breathing space for our crazy ideas and inspired thoughts.  If we keep the path clear we might even get to see the next stage of our journey, too.

WordPress prompt: Messy

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