Week 1 and 2 of MATS

process4So already 2 weeks have passed in the "Make Art That Sells" E-course. I have been very busy since the first day and haven't had much down time at all, but I do feel extremely motivated and excited about everything I have been working on so far. I haven't regretted the course investment for a single moment! On top of the assignments we have each week, it's been filled to the brim with advice and information about getting work, the different industries, trends, being a full-time freelancer, working with agents, and interviews with illustrators who do this kind of stuff for a living. Which makes me extra excited and motivated because I most definitely want that to be my living. I can't even describe how refreshing and comforting it is to hear about other designers and illustrators who make a living doing exactly what I kind of do/want to keep doing. I think that in my head there has been this unrealistic image of what it's like to be successful, or even that maybe it wasn't possible to be successful staying in this career path. Now I'm seeing that it all actually can be real, and that ups and downs and unsteady income are all part of it (two major things that discourage me the most). So to summarize my thoughts so far, each day that I wake up and work on things for this E-course, I'm like "adlfka;dlfkjad;lkhad;glkajdf;lkadfj;k CAN I DO THIS FOREVER PLEASE?!".

There have been many times where I procrastinated my "real" work to do these illustration assignments. The first week was for the "Paper Industry", and our assignment was to create a holiday card with a gingerbread theme. I was particularly happy because paper is what I do, but also felt pretty excited to focus on actual illustrations, rather than just lettering. I'm pretty much intimidated by all illustration and don't have a lot of confidence in it because my formal background is in design, not drawing stuff in my handdrawn style. But I am surprising myself. I can see my style in everything I draw now, so I try to embrace it as I challenge myself with these new assignments.

So the week started with a "mini" where we start sketches and drawings to warm up. Then later in the week we get the main assignment with all the specs and details. It builds upon whatever we worked on in the mini. IMG_3692 IMG_3702

It took a lot of work to draw the details and then color everything in Illustrator, but I'm quite pleased with how they turned out! They involve much more detail than I thought I'd be capable of! I turned in the wonky three-story house, but worked on two during the week simultaneously.IMG_3719

The second week's theme was for Baby and Children's Industry, mainly clothing. That industry is definitely out of my comfort zone and I didn't even know much about it. After just turning in my assignment an hour ago, I think there is still a lot I have to learn about, but I enjoyed it a lot. There's an emphasis on drawing sweet, charming things, and that's fun for me. I decided to incorporate birds into the theme, because I've always wanted to draw them but have been intimidated. I'm actually intimidated to draw anything with a face. It's probably mostly all in my head though and I think I just need to give myself a chance, like with these birds. Because they were ridiculously fun to draw, especially with eye patches and pirate hats. I was totally entertained looking at them all week, and figured at the least I got a kick out of it.




I also learned how to do "repeats" for this assignment (seen in the three boxes along the bottom). Those are shown as ideas for coordinates for how the design can be used on different fabrics or clothing items. I actually want all of these for myself, perhaps as bedsheets or even a shower curtain.

Getting ready for the Lilla Rogers "Make Art That Sells" E-course!

Lilla Rogers School I'm going to try something new and get a little personal in this blog. I've been struggling lately with feeling like I'm in a creative rut. I'm pretty sure that this extremely long and cold winter has something to do with it, but I've turned a little grumpy and negative. I'm overdue for sunshine and inspiration for sure.

A major thing to blame I think is that I often let my work and personal life intertwine, which I know I should be better at, but it's really hard sometimes because my work is basically the biggest thing in my life now. Especially since I work for myself, doing freelance work and managing my stationery products on Etsy. I love everything about those things, and I feel like I really put my heart into them. But every so often, I start to doubt myself, my path, my abilities. It puts a damper on everything and I definitely let it get me down. I also have a serious issue with comparing myself to those around me. Particularly on Facebook. You probably know how that goes. You see your newsfeed full of baby pictures, wedding photos, big promotions, announcements about fancy houses recently purchased, and blah blah blah. Now don't get me wrong, those are all fantastic things that I want someday, and I'm actually very content with not having them right now, but it's very easy for me to feel a little behind in the game. My journey is a little different I guess, but I've chosen it to be that way, and sometimes I doubt that choice.

There are definitely moments where I feel very inspired and thankful that I'm going down this path, like hearing some good reviews from customers who have bought my cards on Etsy, or talking with people at craft fairs, or even seeing my design work in "real life" (like when it's finally printed and out in the world or on a finished website that other people will see). I feel so alive when I make things with my hands that turn into something that brings happiness to other people. Then, there are plenty of times when I'm totally ready to throw in the towel and settle down with a more "normal" 9-5 job. I've actually been trying to do that over the last few months. See, I also live at home with my mom. There were a lot of reasons why I moved home two years ago after grad school. Mostly it was because I had no idea what to do next after leaving Germany, but there were a lot of other personal, family reasons too. And then, freelance work and my Etsy shop grew into something I've been doing full-time since then. It's work, but it's one of those things that barely feels like work. I'd be happy doing this every single day, forever actually.

My goal is to grow with hand drawn lettering and illustration, to get more projects that would let me use those, and to expand my stationery line into more products and into more shops. In a wildest dream, I'd be represented by an illustration agency. Oh and also live someplace sunnier :) It's a goal I can see so clearly and dream about so easily. As of right now in my life, I'm positive about wanting that fully. The tricky part that messes things up for me is that it's still in the future. I think I work very, very hard, and yet it's still looking far away from where I am. On one hand, I could be a little less whiny because I've only been doing this for two years, which in the big picture is maybe not much time at all. But there is also a part of me that's afraid I'll never reach that goal, and perhaps I'm just wasting time. It's also my goal to make a living off of above said dream, and so far it's quite difficult to do that. Which is why I still live at home.

Anyways, back to what I mentioned before, I have been applying to some "normal" jobs. It would be pretty damn amazing to have the stability of a 9-5 schedule, in addition to an adult paycheck and health benefits. I don't want to undermine how valuable those things are, but I often feel myself wanting it mainly when I'm discouraged or ashamed at the lack of "adult" things I have compared to the rest of my peers.

So since I have been applying to more normal "design" jobs, I haven't heard much back other than that my info will be saved for future openings or freelance projects. It's primarily because this area is quite limited with creative opportunities, but it's still pretty disheartening. I do want stability and little more financial freedom, but I am still in love with my work. It's a torn feeling that makes for some good days and some tough days trying to figure out that perfect balance.

Back to the main point of this post... I am actively attempting to get out of this rut. I'm taking a chance and investing in an e-course by Lilla Rogers, who runs one of the best illustration agencies in the industry. I found out about the agency when I discovered that an illustrator I really admire is represented by them, but blew off the idea of even dreaming of getting represented someday. After feeling very down and discouraged lately, I decided rather quickly that this e-course could be something to make a big change in my happiness and in my work. Maybe it will end up being very influential towards my goals. At the least, I already feel like it's refreshed my motivation.

The course, which starts this coming Monday, will be 5 weeks filled to the brim with advice and information on getting represented and licensing my work. It's also going to be 5 weeks of intense illustration assignments. I want to be inspired and pushed outside of my comfort zone. I want to refresh my creativity and wake up those sleepy little dreams that have got to still be inside me somewhere. I plan on writing each week on this blog to keep track of my feelings and my work to share with anybody else interested in a similar path or experiencing similar ups and downs like I have. I'm really looking forward to seeing how much things can change in these 5 weeks.