I chose some theme music and did my first interview! Click “Read more” to check out a teaser audio clip.
This week was the scary part…well it’s all scary part. But the start is always the hardest part of any big project. I announced my plan to start a podcast before I had done anything required to start a podcast, and that I would be documenting the whole process.
Have you ever been listening to a particular type of music for ages only to find out that it’s a very niche genre that actually has a name?
Ever since the Baz Luhrmann version of The Great Gatsby (and probably before this too, but I can’t quite remember) I’ve been jamming to something called electro swing. Only I didn’t know it was called electro swing.
One day while I was working on something I had a live stream going in the background. A French man was cooking while listening to great music. When someone asked him about it he said something about “electro swing”.
I had an instant image in my mind of a vintage poster, with a swing dancing robot woman and a neon sign like the one above.
I started looking up 1920s style reference photos and sketching out poses to try to match the design in my head. I also almost immediately looked on Creative Market for a set of brushes that I could use to make a neon sign. The ones I found were incredibly affordable and came with detailed instructions on how to get the best results with them.
I played with the idea of having two dancing characters vs a single character, and then I moved to Procreate to start trying to flesh out the sketches.
But I didn’t end up going anywhere with this idea because I got stuck. I’m hung up on how to incorporate a more realistic neon sign with super cartoonish characters. I don’t normally go for realism, but those neon sign brushes are SO cool and I really want to incorporate them into the poster, but then I need to up my realism game for the dancing robot(s) and that terrifies me, because I know it will be a huge challenge for me and honestly I don’t think I can do my idea justice.
I still think of this poster from time to time even though I stopped actively working on this weeks ago. I think that means I have to work on it…
If you’re curious about electro swing, here’s a great playlist!
I’ve been feeling lost since around September. When it came to my art, I had business goals, I had a vision of what I wanted to be doing as an artist, I had motivation, but something was missing.
I think I was lacking any sort of direction. What I mean is, I knew I wanted to create art that could be put onto products and to be sold as prints, but I didn’t actually know what that art should look like. I was stuck behind an art block.
I thought Inktober would help me find my way out of it, and while I didn’t finish it, Inktober helped me in two ways:
I learned that I really don’t like prompt lists. I get why some people find that putting constraints on their work can help, but it’s not for me. I’ve even tried coming up with my own prompt lists and still struggled to create.
I realizd that the work I’ve been making up to this point wasn’t fully authentic. It was missing a certain weirdness. I’m a little weird! And that 100% needs to show up in my work. The #glamzombiehand series I did for Inktober allowed me to explore and lean into my weird side a little bit and I was happy with the results.
I’ve spent the last couple of months really paying attention to what resonates with me, and here’s what stood out:
Blue Planet 2
Watching Blue Planet 2 really sparked my imagination. I had already had an interest in alien worlds and had been wanting to find a way to express that. This series of documentaries made me want to explore that idea.
Zeke’s Lunchbox (Julia) is an artist after my own heart. She uses all of my favourite colours, and her subject matter is right up my alley.
Shanna Van Maurik @nogobed
Shanna’s work kept showing up in my Pinterest feed and I’m so glad. Not only am I in love with her colour choices, but the looseness of her technique is something I’m always trying to strive for.
Ban.do is a brand that I’ve been a huge fan of for a while. Not only are they fun, quirky, and inspiring, but they feature a lot of great artists in their planners and on their products, and it might just be a secret bucket list item for me to get my work into one of their planners. :)
In March of this year we were lucky to have the Murakami show The Octopus Eats its Own Leg come to the Vancouver Art Gallery. I left that show feeling incredibly happy and inspired. I love Murakami’s views about the line between fine art and “low art” or commercial art, and it showed me that just because I put cute faces on things and use a lot of pink, doesn’t mean I’m any less serious of an artist. I can be serious about my art without focusing on serious subject matter.
Ultimately these points of interest have given me a list of things to inject into my work:
Colour, nothing new there.
Weirdness, I’m letting my freak out.
Playfulness, let’s not take life too seriously, okay?
Fine Art can be cute. It can be funny, too. See above about not taking things seriously. And I shouldn't be self conscious about my work being “cute”.
Exploring alien/unusual landscapes, creatures, and vegetation. I’m ready to leave this plant and dream up my own.
Loosen up! Perfection is a creativity killer.
Finally, I feel liberated from the block, and I’m ready to start making like crazy again!
deep sigh of relief
Regular sketchbook practice is how artists learn and develop, and I’m guilty of treating my sketchbooks like places to collect my finished work rather than a place to play and experiment, or a place to practice the fundamentals.
It’s time to change that, because I know that it’s the only way I’m going to grow as an artist.
Enter the first episode of chill + chatty sketchbook sessions, where I get on camera with my sketchbook and a cup of coffee and catch up with you.
The first episode, like any new endeavour, wasn’t perfect. But by the end of if I knew what I wanted it to be going forward.
And I did learn some things about my art process, and picked up some new techniques that I want to continue to work into my future pieces.
One big takeaway for me was that I need to stop expecting that my piece will look amazing with the first layer of paint. I need to be ok with the ugly beginning and work it out with more layers until it becomes closer to what I imagined when I started.
Check out the first episode! Grab yourself a snack because it’s a long one, and why not sketch along with me while you’re at it?