The Friends You Need For Making Art

I wrote this blog post midway through summer. I think it still relates, and seeing how the main theme surrounding Orange Unicorn is friendship, I thought I’d share this one.


It can be your mom. It can be your kid. It can be the close friend that you’ve only met two years ago and that you lived with in their basement for two weeks. Whoever it is, you need people to push you to be productive. People that push you to make art.

I have had many different people encourage me as well as push me to make art. I cannot emphasize enough how important they have been to my success. I’ve identified three types of people you should try and have in your life to help move your art forward.

“The Strategizer”

This was my mom. She has always been good at mapping out my dreams in accomplishable ways. She had an ability to bring to the present whatever was hidden in the future. What did I have to go through to get where I wanted? What could I do today that would be one step closer to where I want to be? What is working, what isn’t?

“The Motivator and the Muse”

I’ve always had someone in my life that I wanted to make art for. It’s that one person that I want to show whatever I’ve been doing and see the sparkles in their eyes, the hidden smile on their lips. This type of person is a great source of motivation and inspiration. Wanting to make them happy can be a healthy way of pushing yourself to do art. Although be sure to also listen to yourself, and not only the motivators. They’ll encourage you again and again to get going. These have usually been my close friends.

“The Mentor”

This might be one of the hardest to find. They have a similar purpose to the Strategizer, but different. This is the one who sees the whole battle field, they’re by your side in the trenches. They’re there with you, teaching and instructing you. New tricks, advice and insights. Like the Motivator they are also constantly pushing you to keep going. I have usually found a Mentor in my art teachers, but also in youtubers, and podcasts like Chris Oatley’s. Online classes have also been an area that I found this even if momentarily, like through CGMA classes.

 

I sincerely believe that making conscious decisions in pursuit of these types of people can be helpful in your journey as an artist. In a Mentor you might find a Motivator or a Strategizer. Or maybe your Stratetigizer is also your Motivator.

But I think identifying people that help you in different areas is helpful to you. Invest in those relationships. And honestly, at times you’ll have to jump in for that position, you will have to become your own Strategizer, Motivator or even your own Mentor.

So when you see yourself lacking in one of those relationships, seek one out, or build it within yourself. Read a book, listen to a podcast. Make it happen.

 

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To Be a Flower

To be tender. To be frail. To be a flower: vulnerable and open.

That’s what I tried doing for most of this summer. To write blog posts and make art that mattered to me. That showed you parts and facets – of me. In the hope that, for some reason, those images, those pieces of me, also mattered to you.

A lot of the time it felt like I was just ignored. Writing into this void of the internet, where there’s already too much going on. Posting pictures and images that got few likes. After all that’s what it’s about, right? You liking my writing. You liking my paintings. My drawings. You liking… me. Right?To be a vulnerable flower - creativity

Every now and then I have to hide in a hole. When around people I’m constantly trying to please, to make them feel better, to add something of value to them, to offer something up – even if it’s some of my weirdness at times. So, every now and then, I must hide in a whole to just please myself, and not be constantly evaluating: Do they like me? Was that good? Was that worth their time?

Every now and then I need to hide my art in a hole. To make it only for myself. To bury the piece amidst all the files in my hard drive. To bury it within all the other papers. It’s art that doesn’t ask you to look at it. It’s just asking to exist for a second, only to be hidden and forgotten – it grows best in the dark confines of the earth.

Flower Hope

This is very hard, because in the end, the only way I can survive – to bring in the bread – is if I show my art to you. If I’m tender, frail, vulnerable and open like a flower. And trying to find that balance, between the art that I make for others, and the art that I make for myself, is a complicated one. The art that sprouts out in colorful petals and the art that hides under earth – gathering the nutrients.

 

Right now, I feel drained. My creativity has been flowing over this summer, and it’s running out. I know it can replenish itself, but it needs time. It needs time to allow the water to evaporate, condensate and to come back again. In that soft refreshing drizzle, that smells like summer and nourishes the earth.

If you’d like to get updates when blog posts come out, you can follow my Facebook page, or sign up for the mailing list that WordPress has set up — it’s on the bar to the side I believe!

Hope to see you soon! Or next week more precisely, at 10AM!

 

The First Blog Post – Embracing the Uncertain Future

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Well here we go.

The first blog post.

So I wanted to let you guys know what I’m planning, and I’ll just say it upfront: plans will change. This is just the beginning and as it is with any start, the path ahead is uncertain, things may change.

As far as I know, there’s no true map for when it comes to blogging. It can go well, it can go not so well. I may die tomorrow, or maybe I’ll live and write lots of posts. Who knows. That’s life. But as I wander about, I’ll keep telling myself: “Not all those who wander are lost” (J.R.R. Tolkien).

But the plans. I need to tell you the plans.

I want this blog to be mainly about my journey to become an artist. I have thus far dedicated 8 years out of my 21 to art. Dedication in the serious way, actual commitment – even if I wasn’t always the most productive.

I began drawing classes when I was in 4th grade, and then continued with more drawing classes. I journeyed through YouTube, and DeviantArt, looked at tutorials, interviews, and anything else I could get my hands on. I’ve done a couple of online classes and listened to podcasts. And now I’m halfway through college, and still feel like I only know the tip of the iceberg.

Through this journey I have started to make some small money. This past year through prints and commissions I’ve been able to make more than $500, and I have a goal of making $1000 by the end of one full year. That’s not taking into account freelance jobs done for small companies, or my oil paintings (I couldn’t keep track of the money on those).

I’m still in college, working part-time and dealing with all the drama my emotions bring about. The emotional drama really is the biggest time taker from those. So dedicating myself to art and selling has been hard. And I recognize that it’s a small start, but it’s just that. A start. Life can grow and flow from here on out.

As I move forward I hope to be able to share what I learned and what I’m learning. So I’ll share how I try to stay creative and how I take care of my creative self. I’ll also share some art and artists that inspire me and keep me going. Lastly, I might, if I find the time, share, as well, some techniques I discover along the way, be it in digital or traditional media.

Blog posts will happen mostly every Tuesday and if I have extra posts for the week it’ll happen on Thursdays. You may also notice, for example above on the Tolkien quote, that I have links to products on Amazon. This is a small way I’m hoping to generate some extra income – if you buy something, it’ll give me a small commission. I’m sure you’ve seen this with some YouTubers or Bloggers.

If you’re considering buying something I recommend, please consider doing it through the link I provide. That’ll help me out to keep this Blog going, and to just pay my bills. I hope that whatever I link to can be a welcome addition to your book, art, or music collection!

To end:

For this blog to work well I need your participation, your engagement. It’d be great if you follow my blog – the button is to the side – or my art page for updates.

I want to learn from you: what do you like to read about, what matters to you? And so as I write and post, please share or like something when you feel a connection to it. That’ll let me know to write more on that topic; to dig deeper.

And even more important: comment and let me know what you think. If you feel I’m missing something, forgetting something—throw it in the discussion! I want you to be a part of this newborn blog.

I welcome you to: “I Keep On Dreaming.”