Wheels in motion . . .

Musings

Remember last week when I shared a photo of some pretty amazing ink cartridges? Well the printer that uses those pretty amazing ink cartridges arrived late last week! With the arrival of this incredibly professional and expensive printer (Parental payment plans are great – NO INTEREST!) my anxiety levels and self-doubt went through the roof. What if I wasted all this money for nothing? What if no one buys my prints? WHAT IF I CANT FIGURE OUT HOW TO WORK THE DARN THING?! The only thing for it was to set it up and test it out but of course life isn’t that simple, EVER! The printer arrived in the middle of a rather painful bout of gastritis and so I could do nothing but stare across the room at my glorious new machine for a few days before I was well enough to tackle it. Eventually I did tackle it and nailed it! It took a whole day, an anxiety filled, terror-driven day but in the end I had something to show for it. It produced the most amazingly, stunning Giclee  print that I have ever seen! The colour was so rich and the details of my drawings were so fastidiously rendered . . . Seriously, the quality is insane!

(Below: Check it out! 12 inks baby! YEAH!)

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As for my anxieties and doubts, I’m not convinced that they will ever go away, especially where money is concerned but as I am writing this I’m feeling a little better. I sat down this morning and broke down all the costs of selling my own prints in order to determine the prices I’ll place on them and I feel sure that in time, If people buy my art this little venture will subsidise itself. (Once I’ve paid my ‘loan’ off of course – I don’t want people to think I sponge off my parents. If I need a substantial amount I sit down with them, lay out all the facts and we come up with a payment plan. A plan that I stick to.) Of course it would be nice to think that one day I may actually make some ‘pocket money’ out of it but for now I’d just be stoked if it paid for itself.

What I’ve been working on . . . 

At the begining of the year the womens group at my church hold a breakfast for all the women of the church. Its called the ‘Womens encouragement breakfast’ and it is a great way to start the year and catch up with a bunch of great ladies after the Christmas break. Last year I was asked to design the brochure and the booklet and this year I have been asked to do it again. Due to my health issues it hasn’t been possible for me, over the last few years, to contribute much of my time or ‘talents’ to our church’s various ministries and outreach (a constant source of frustration!) so I relish the opportunity to contribute my abilities in this way. This year they also asked me to change the logo for the event which excited me probably a little to much as it allowed me to apply some of the things I have learnt in my Graphic Design course. I’ll be getting started on the booklet this week and i am a little excited about doing it again. I don’t get much of an opportunity to put my graphic design skills into practice.

(Below: Logo/ Brochure / A bookmark that will go in the booklet)

 

For the foreseeable future I will be getting ready to open my Etsy store. I wanna do it right and I wanna do it well ( and I don’t want to borrow any more money from my parents) so I’ll slowly be accumulating postage supplies, designing and getting my business cards printed and reading up on Etsy over the next month or two. My goal is to be ‘up and running’ by March. I don’t want to rush this thing. Rush=stress and stress=relapse so there ain’t gonna to be none of that rushin’ business over here, no sir!

I think I’m gonna go and print something . . .

Naomi xoxo

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Count your blessings . . .

Musings

On this deliciously perfect summer Monday morning I find myself musing on the blessings that surround me. 

I had the pleasure this weekend of travelling to a place I absolutely ADORE to join in the celebrations of a dear old friends 30th birthday. It was wonderful to catch up with extended family (We stayed with cousins) and more dear friends (at the party) as though no time had passed since our last meeting = Blessing #1 – being with people around whom you feel you can be your genuine self.

I knew that I wanted to give Morgan something special so on the Monday before the party I decided to start brainstorming something that I had been wanting to do FOR YEARS!

[A bit of backstory – When I was little (primary school) I had a wonderful tight-nit group of friends in western sydney (around the Hawksbury area). My Father was in the RAAF and so inevitably we were ‘posted’ north to Ipswich, QLD when I was 10 and so I had to leave the only friends I had ever known behind. I remember putting on a pretty brave face, but deep down it was brutal. For a few years we all consistently wrote letters back and forth and I would spend my nights in bed scheming of ways to ‘escape’ from Ipswich so I could get back to where I believed I belonged. Over time though, one must grow up and so I did. The letters gradually stopped as everyone moved on with their lives, but I NEVER once stopped thinking about those girls and how much I missed them. Fast-forward to the age of Facebook and suddenly we were all able to reconnect as young adults and I was OVER THE MOON! Since I finally moved back to Gods own country (NSW) nearly five years ago we have all made the effort to keep up with each other at least once a year (I always try to tone down just how completely and utterly neurotically excited I am anytime I see them – I still can’t believe that I got them all back . . .That sounded REALLY neurotic didn’t it? lol) and every time we see each other it is like no time has passed. I feel so blessed that it was a part of God’s plan to bring us all back together in the way He has, in His perfect timing = Blessing #2 – God’s plans for us far exceeding anything we can plan for ourselves.]

So you can probably see where this is going now . . . For years the only photos that I had of any of us where the professional school photos and I always wished I had something more. Id dream of what those photos would look like and every now and then toy with the idea of just drawing some but I wanted them to be perfect and so I never started.

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Blessing #3 – How amazingly blessed am I that I now have the ability to create and draw that I always wanted!

I had a very clear picture in mind and set to work on my trusty IpadPro.

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Once I had the outlines the way I wanted them I set to work on the tartan uniform pattern = Blessing #4 – Technology . . . It would have been extremely arduous and no doubt exhausting if I had to try to paint the tartan the old fashioned way, instead, I used procreate on my iPad (one word – LAYERS! Sooooooo gooooood) and it took an hour. Once the tartan was done I added colour and shading and though I was so pleased with how it looked at this point I felt like it was missing something. The graphic designer in me wasn’t quite satisfied with these adorable girls floating in space.

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[above: The finished piece]

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I just had to show you a picture of it in the frame, I’m so proud of how it turned out. Seriously folks, you have NO IDEA the amount of emotion, love and joy went into drawing this piece, it is so special to me.

On the journey home, at the end of this wonderful weekend I found myself feeling so satisfied, so happy and I started counting my blessings so here are some more :

Blessing #5 – That we live in a country that offers such amazing healthcare (One of my friends has a son who is profoundly deaf but with the aid of cochlear implants is thriving.)

Blessing #6 – Family – We stayed with mum’s cousins family over the weekend and they are seriously one of the most loving, hilarious and God-centered familys you’ll ever meet.

Blessing #7 – Those who have gone before – I was marvelling at the roads through the blue mountains and the foresight and engineering that went into the blasting of the rock and the building of the roads that allow us to travel so effortlessly though them in safety.

Blessing #8 – That we have roads at all! Roads that are maintained, roads that are safe, roads that don’t have bomb craters in them . . .

Blessing #9 – Mum – That I have an amazing mother who is willing to drive me the three hours east to see my friends so I can conserve my energy. My mum, who is willing to drive me to a party and come and pick me up a few hours later (thats 2 x a 40minute round trip), my mum, who is so proactive when it comes to my health has figured out and currently in the process of brewing Kombucha for me . . . I could go on and on and on and on . . .

I could go on and on and on and on . . . As I sit here and start listing them like this I keep coming up with more and more  . . . The point is folks that it is so easy to sit back and complain about every little thing in life that goes wrong and annoys you, believe me, i know! But you have a choice to not let those things get to you, to consciously look around you for the good. To look around and see all of the things you have to be grateful for. Trust me, its a good habit to get into. Thats what this weekend has taught me.

Until next time nerds, try looking on the bright side . . .

Naomi.

 

 

 

W.I.P Wednesday: Digital Painting

WIP Wednesday

I have been struggling to get out of bed all week and this morning wasn’t any different. Once up and about I realised that my mood wasn’t going to improve on it’s own so I took a ‘mental health day’. In other words, instead of sitting at my desk working on the few projects I have at the moment, I sat outside in a beautiful cane rocking chair with my Marley-puppy on my lap and drank large cups of tea.

I scanned Instagram every now and then ’cause somedays it helps just to sit back and look at pretty things. I came across the work of Australian artist Sandra Eterovic (whom I ADORE – Her artwork is gracing my banner for this post) and found myself scrolling through her work on pinterest and then . . .

WHAMMO!

INSPIRATION!

For the first time in DAYS I found myself actually wanting to create something, to try something, to learn something . . . So I got right onto it!

I went to my iPad and brought up an illustration I did last week. I love the line work and the placement but after I tried (and failed) to add colour with my polychromos (I wasn’t happy with the saturation of colour or the texture) I decided to tackle it digitally in the style of Eterovic. She uses actual paints for her artworks and I would eventually like to be able to achieve what she does with paints also so as I worked on this piece today I tried to layer and use colours as though I were painting on paper.

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I made sure the ‘outline’ layer was at the top so I could see where I needed to be working but I also wanted to be able to take away the line work and still see a well formed, familiar face. I thoroughly enjoyed the process, It was soothing . . .

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I’ll hopefully finish the rest of the ‘painting’ over the next few days, but I am so happy with it so far.

People around me tell me I should be happy with the illustrations and art that I create digitally, and I am, but there always seems to be this part of me that wants to prove to the world that I can do ‘real’ art too. That’s crazy . . . Right? Maybe I feel this way because doing art digitally comes so naturally to me (its downright easy sometimes) and isn’t art meant to be hard? Or maybe its because I’m a sucker for a good challenge, I love to challenge myself . . . Or maybe its my ‘inner critic’ telling me I can do more, spurring me on to greater things . . . 

I’m waiting on some water-soluble oil paints to arrive by post so I guess once I have them I’ll give this oil painting caper a go.

Until next time nerds xoxo

Naomi.

 

 

 

Monday Musings: Comparisons

Musings

I was going to touch on this topic in my last post but decided it warranted a post of its own.  I have been comparing myself to others for as long as I can remember, and in every aspect of my life. I’m only an expert on myself but I’m pretty sure everyone else has the same problem. If you don’t, please let me know, I’d like to pull your brain apart and figure out how you function . . .

Notice how I called it a problem? It’s a big problem! In a world where we are all unique, how can it possibly make sense for us to be constantly comparing ourselves to the people around us. This just doesn’t compute. Not only does it not compute, it is detrimental because OF COURSE we are not going to compare (to someone we are not meant to compare to!) and therefore our little insecurities (I KNOW we all have those, right?) have a field day and leave us feeling that there might be something wrong with ourselves.

Am I the only one who is frustrated by the lack of sense in this scenario?!

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Right on Theo!

Everyone takes pride in something, whether it is a job well done, a parenting win, a finished artwork or composition. I am no different. When I finish an illustration and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to, I am super proud and happy and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I have a GREAT example of this. For those of you who have read some my previous blog posts you will know that I am entering an illustration competition. I put a lot of thought into my illustration, into the process and the final piece and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I absolutely loved my little illustration and was going to send it off straight away but I made a mistake, not one that I can’t come back from, but a mistake none the less. I decided to search Instagram for some of the other entrants as I was curious to see what they had come up with and how our various works compared. I instantly regretted my decision. Some of the other entries were AMAZING and I felt like a failure. I began to question whether I should bother entering mine at all, what was the point? I wasn’t going to win anyway . . .

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In some situations, comparisons (similarly to your inner critic) can spur you on to do a better job, but what if you have already put your heart and soul into a drawing and  you know you have done the best you can do on this particular project?

Nothings kills your motivation to create faster than comparing yourself to others. I look on Instagram usually a couple of times a day and most of the time it is a source of great inspiration. However, if I’m having an ‘off’ day or I’ve drawn something that I’m not satisfied with I’m more prone to start comparing my work to the work on Instagram as opposed to just enjoying it and learning from it. On these bad days I have learnt to avoid all social media.

Some helpful things to think about when comparing your work to others. 

How long have they been drawing/illustrating/painting for? How long have you been at it? It is unrealistic to compare the work of a master artist to your own if you are only new to the game! If you want to compare something, compare something you have drawn recently to something you drew a year or two ago. If you have been working hard at your craft you should notice a significant improvement.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we are all individuals. We all have different structures, different strengths, different personalities therefore I think it should be obvious that we will all have different brush/pen/pencil strokes, we all use mediums differently and we all have different imaginations. One of the most powerful things we have going for us as artists is that each of us is different. We lose that the second we try to be like someone else. Please don’t try to be like someone else, you have a unique ‘voice’ and the world was meant to hear it . . . Otherwise, what is the freakin’ point of being unique?!

If you feel yourself beginning to fall into the trap of comparing your work to others, SHUT IT DOWN! Unplug, disconnect and walk away. Listen to some music, get out of the house, do something, ANYTHING to get your mind out of that trap. Yes, I’m sure their work is great and your’s may not be up to the same standard, but you created it and if you can own it and say it is 100% yours than you should be proud of creating something completely unique. If you wanna be as good as that other artist one day then you know what you’ve gotta do. WORK FOR IT. You aren’t going to get any better by looking at Instagram and feeling impatient and sorry for yourself. Start drawing something, ANYTHING, draw everyday, practice and you might just get to where you wanna be.

Just make sure that when you get ‘there’ your work is your own. Don’t compromise and meld your work to fit in with what you think the world wants to see. Create what is in you to create and the world will love it, because just like you, it will be unique and genuine, one of a kind.

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What about my illustration? 

Well, it’s taken me a few days, but I’m pretty sure that I am pretty close to being pretty satisfied with it again. But my joy for it was destroyed the moment I started comparing it. I’m going to send it off today and pray that the judges like it, but if they don’t that’ll be fine too. I know I put everything into it that I had at the time and I can be proud of that.

I’m gonna get a fresh cup of tea, I’ve had to reheat this one too many times already . . .

Stay classy nerds xoxo

Naomi.

 

 

Muddled Musings . . .

Musings

I really need to plan out these blog posts better . . . Today was an ‘off’ day and as a result I completely forgot about this blog until about, oh, an hour ago. I did remember, however, and that is what matters most.

In order to explain why today was ‘off’ I need to fill in a bit of backstory involving the rollercoaster that is my health. Consider yourselves forewarned.

This time last year I was at a steady healthy weight of around 66 kg. Despite my severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I was feeling pretty good about everything. At the educated suggestion of my ‘Shrink’ I had reduced some medications and completely ended with another. For those of you playing along at home, it was Lithium. After around 6 (ish) years I finally dumped the Lithium and I felt GREAT about it.

Fast forward a few months, maybe 6, and I decided to go hardcore paleo for the sake of my health (despite what comes next it was the BEST decision I have EVER made for my health). This involved cutting out sugar and carbohydrates and eating food high in fat and low in carbs. After a little while I noticed some weight loss, a few kilos or so, and put it down to the lack of sugar (its always caused a little weight gain in me). I had some complications with the paleo diet initially, mainly due to me eating more dairy/lactose than my poor gut could tolerate and making a mild leaky gut A LOT worse, but I managed to figure this out and adjust my diet accordingly. Again, despite my various other complaints I was feeling the best I had felt in years.

And the weight kept ‘falling off’ . . . 

‘Falling off’ makes it sound like I’ve lost tens of kilos, it sounds like a gross exaggeration. But for someone like me, who is nearly 6 feet tall and on the slim side, a few kilos is a lot. I noticed that at first I was loosing about a kilo a month so I started eating three full meals a day (this has always been difficult due to nausea). Rather than stop, the weight fell to just below 60 kilos. So, I enlarged my meal sizes and added  increased my snacks in between meals. I have a VERY healthy VERY strict paleo diet with foods full of nutritional value and yet, for the past few weeks I have been walking the very thin thread between 58 and 59 kilos. Every few days I weigh in and pray that I haven’t fallen to 57, the magic number where I will have to admit defeat and seek some medical/nutritional help.

[Before I went on the lithium back in my early 20’s I was a steady 59 despite my mothers best efforts to ‘fatten’ me up. This wasn’t a huge concern, however as I never dipped below this magic number. Over the years my weight gradually increased, I thought it was just normal weight gain but I have come to the conclusion now that it was a side effect of the lithium. It was so gradual that it didn’t even occur to me that it was connected to the medication and so didn’t even factor into my thinking when I dropped it.]

I have lost two dress sizes. As we have finally transitioned into some warmer weather I realised in horror that I could now pull all of my shorts down over my hips with the BUTTONS AND ZIPS DONE UP. I had already spent most of my money on some new tops so I didn’t look like I was swimming in everything, now I had to go and buy new shorts and skirts so my pants didn’t fall down in public . . .

So, now that you are fully apprised of the situation. 

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As you can no doubt surmise from the above cartoon I rendered this afternoon, I went shopping this morning for a pair of shorts. I began by trying on size 10, hoping that I could get away with it. No such luck. I am officially a size 8. (on a side note, I realised today that I have NEVER been a size eight. As a teen I went straight from kids clothes to size 10 womens . . .) As if I didn’t already feel self-conscious enough at the sight of my pin-legs out in the open (it was too warm to hide them under my jeans), the lady in the clothing store was WAY too open in her astonishment at my size and ‘lack of curves’. I think she thought I was having fun and giggling along with her when, in truth, all I wanted to do was hide and cry. I’m not usually so sensitive. I am a tall, red-headed freckle faced, socially awkward chronically ill woman, I have a pretty thick skin. But today was different. After eating like a horse all week (some meals it feels forced, I still get slightly nauseous after a full meal) I weighed myself this morning feeling positive. No such luck, It said 58. Not 58.5, or even 58.1, just a straight 58. So I went shopping feeling deflated and, quite frankly, a little emaciated. 

I am fully aware that most people passing me by probably don’t notice, or even care about my weight. But I notice and I care. People really need to watch what they say to those around them. Seriously, We have no idea what anyone else is going through so when in doubt keep your opinions and ‘jokes’ to yourselves.

MOVING ON . . . 

Do you like the comic/cartoon I drew of the whole experience? I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I’m finding more and more that as ‘moments’ happen in my day I picture them in my mind as cute little cartoons or comic strips and this is the first one I’ve actually drawn out. I’ll have to make a habit of it, todays was quite therapeutic. 

I suppose this is kind of a disclaimer . . . I know there are people out there who aren’t as open about their ‘struggles’ as I am and they may feel that perhaps I shouldn’t be as open as I am. It’s just who I am. I have always been VERY open about every aspect of my struggles and I regret nothing. I don’t do it for pity, I do it because I believe I am who I am for a reason and If I hide it in any way then whats the point of it all? Life isn’t perfect, too many people try to pretend it is, i’m just trying to be genuine.

Until next time nerds, live long and prosper.

Naomi.

Competitions and Commissions. . .

WIP Wednesday

I opened up my email this morning to find this . . .

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Usually I ignore competitions, mainly because of a crippling case of self-doubt, but this time they got me, hook, line and sinker. I would LOVE a spot in Lilla Rogers class! Seriously, this ‘illustrating children books’ course would be UNBELIEVABLY HELPFUL and just an all round fabulous experience so competition here I come!

The sugar-plum fairy’s adventure.

It had to be fairies didn’t it!? . . . The competition requires me to design a book cover for this particular fairy’s adventure, it can be whatever I dream up, ha! Fairies are one topic that never EVER interested me. Also, the sugar plum fairy is the fictional ruler of the KINGDOM OF SWEETS. For those of you who don’t understand this cruel irony, I have recently GIVEN UP SUGAR for health reasons. This whole fairy’s existence is based around sugar! 

Take a deep breath . . . . and exhale slowly . . . 

Its okay, I’m not giving up so easily. I already have a solid idea (i think) and have already laid out a few thumbnail sketches. This idea however will remain a tightly kept secret until the end of November so keep your fingers crossed for me folks, and heres to hoping that I don’t fall ‘off the wagon’ when it comes to sugar.

daniellegallaghercommAs well as trying to get into the mindset of a pre-diabetic fairy, today I started planning a commission for a friend. It was pretty simple, very sweet and totally inspiring (if I do say so myself) and I had a lot of fun planning it out. Whats not to love about two little cuties reading and imagining together ?(above is a cropped look at the rough)

Money is the root of all anxiety . . . 

The planning was so easy compared to what comes next . . . I had to send off the rough for approval and what I would be charging for the artwork. I spent all afternoon trying to determine a way to fairly and accurately price my work and this is the conclusion that I came to; if this is to be my living I should at least be charging the minimum wage. I multiplied that by how many hours it will take me to finish the piece and left off any costs for materials as i already had everything i needed and couldn’t be bothered figuring out how many cents to charge per drop of ink used. The amount I ended up with sounded reasonable to me, as someone fairly ‘green’ in the industry. As I put all of this in a message to my friend all i could think was “is it too much?” . . . “will they think I’m ripping them off?” . . . “Am I being greedy?” . . . I hate money!

This afternoons activities have left me so anxious that, on a particularly warm and sunny day,  I got ‘a chill’ and needed to put a jumper on . . . I really need to learn how to do yoga.

No doubt these feelings will all abate once I have received a reply but until then I expect i’ll be needing a sedative.

Naomi.

Monday Musings: I love my Ipadpro.

digital illustration

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My name is Naomi . . . (“hello Naomi”) and I am a digital illustrator.

There, I said it. Somehow I feel like I’m less of an artist for admitting I use digital mediums for most of my illustrations. I KNOW I’m not, but I’m still stuck in that old school mindset . . . Don’t worry, its something I’m working on. Positive reinforcement (mostly in the form of peoples comments) is helping this process, though its taking a long time. I can’t shake the feeling that I am somehow fraudulent for using an IPadpro and an apple pencil to draw instead of a pencil and piece of paper. Of course, once again I KNOW this is all in my head (There is A LOT of stuff floating around up there . . . ).

The absurd thing is that I owe my continued development and creativity to this machine that the ‘authentic artist’ in me is determined to hate! As anyone who has tried to draw knows there is generally a lot of drawing and then erasing while you try to communicate to the page what you see in your mind. Have you ever stopped to wonder how much paper you have gone through for your drafts? When you don’t have a lot of money to spend you become very conscious of how much individual pieces of paper cost. Have you ever stopped to wonder exactly how much energy it takes to erase the same line over and over and over again until you get it right? When you have no energy to expend you become keenly aware of how laborious this process can be. Add to this the doubt and lack of confidence that comes with having convinced yourself years ago that you have no talent and you have some concept of what it was like for me less than one year ago. Fighting all of these things was exhausting and I felt like I was getting no where. I would look on instagram at all of the beautiful drawings and despair at all the exhausting hours I knew were ahead of me drawing and erasing, as I practiced and developed my skill. None of this is conducive to a creative mindset. I began wracking my brain for a way to streamline and make the whole process less exhausting (as i do with all areas of my life). I can’t remember exactly how I settled on it but eventually I happened upon the Ipadpro and the newly developed apple pencil. I watched youtube videos, read reviews and then took the leap.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .”

My illustrations have improved out of sight over the last six months and I put it down to two things in particular:

  • PROCREATE APP – All of the digital illustrations I do are created in this app. SO MANY AWESOME TOOLS! With just my apple pencil I can mimic a 6B pencil, or a watercolour brush. I can create pattens, textures, use layers like in Photoshop and I can export images easily. Erasing is so easy with a tonne of different sizes and opacities but the best part is that all I have to do to undo previous actions is to tap the screen with two fingers. YOU HAVE NO IDEA how much time and effort this saves me. All of these tools, but most of all the ‘undo’ feature meant that I could go in with NO FEAR and just draw knowing it was so easy to undo. I grew bolder with line choices, colour choices and my illustrations in general because that ever constant fear of stuffing it up no longer held any weight. I could practice techniques over and over and not worry about all the paper I would be using up/ wasting. (picture below – a screen shot taken from the Procreate app.)

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  • PORTABILITY – When attempting drawings with pen/pencil and paper it is preferable to be sitting upright, at a desk/table so you have the utmost control over your mediums. More often then not I would end up ditching the table, curl up in my recliner (Chronic fatigue and fybromyalgia don’t just cause fatigue but quite a lot of pain so sitting upright for long periods of time isn’t often possible) and attempt to draw in my sketchbook. Although it was still possible to draw this way, the drawings were usually less than sub-par and wholly unsatisfying. The Ipadpro is small, fairly lightweight. I can manipulate images on the screen, rotate them, zoom in and out and get the line quality that I want. Most of the digital illustrations I have completed began in some form or another while I have been curled up on a recliner or on my bed. This has meant that I no longer have to wait for a ‘good day’ to draw what I’m feeling or get an image out of my head that has been stuck in there for days. I don’t have to ‘set up’ my drawing area or clear a spot on my desk (EVERYTHING takes energy, every little bit saved is a WIN) I can just pick up my iPad, find a comfy spot on the couch and start drawing. I refine my drawings in procreate and sometimes finish them there. Other times I take the line work and print it out in order to turn it into a painting but all the planning, drawing and erasing is done digitally and this has made all the difference to me.

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I’ve been having a bad week 

Physically speaking, the last week has been a bit of write-off. You know I’m tired when it seems like an effort to draw something even on the iPad. It’s probably my own fault. I’ve eaten a few things I probably shouldn’t have and so my body has gone on strike in protest. Anyway, yesterday afternoon I’d had enough. If i don’t draw a little everyday it starts effecting my mental health so I got comfy in my trusty recliner, put some Sci-Fi on the telly and started browsing pinterest for inspiration. After forming a picture in my head of what I wanted to draw I just started drawing, the result is the rocking elephant you see above you. Drawn completely in procreate.

 

I still draw with paper, I’m still developing my skills with watercolours, gouache and coloured pencils (LOVE my coloured pencils) but the hardest part for me, physically and emotionally, has always been just getting started with a concept. Using the ipadpro has effectively eliminated this stress and completely reinvigorated my creative journey. You have to do whatever feels right and whatever works for you and this absolutely feels right for me.

Naomi.

 

 

W.I.P Wednesday: My first foray into gouache.

WIP Wednesday

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My first ‘commission’ . . . 

Back in the first half of this year, sometime . . . I don’t really remember when . . . A lovely friend of mine approached me to do an illustration for her baby’s nursery. I nervously agreed, completely blown away that someone would want anything of mine hanging on their wall. I immediately knew what I wanted to do and ran it past Emily, who loved my ideas and gave me the go ahead. I decided on gouache because of its forgiving nature (unlike watercolours . . . DON’T get me started on watercolours) and also because I have this terrible habit of jumping straight in with mediums I haven’t used before in order to prove to myself that I can do it.

Who influenced my work?

There were two illustrators from whom I drew my inspiration, my two favourite illustrators OF ALL TIME; Freya Blackwood and Rebecca Green (make sure you check out their work, you will be absolutely enchanted!). I absolutely love the gestural lines used by Freya and the adorable way that Rebecca paint’s animals. . . Well actually, the adorable way she paints EVERYTHING . . . That actually goes for Freya too, I basically love everything these talented ladies do.

The process . . . 

So, never having EVER done anything this involved or this detailed before I had NO IDEA what I was doing, so I just began (a lot harder than it sounds folks especially when factoring in high anxiety levels and a body that does not cope with stress) . . .

I began, as I always seem to do, by searching the wonderful world wide web for reference photos. I then began to sketch out animals on my trusty Ipadpro with my AWESOME Apple pencil. I was able to work and rework the animals and the background until I was satisfyed and then it was time to transfer the image onto the paper. My transferral process is pretty archaic I think. I print out the images in the sizes I want and back the front to what I want them to appear on the final (a lot of trial and error) and traced them on tracing paper with a 3B pencil. I then flip the tracing paper, place it on the paper in the position I want it to sit within the artwork and then with a hard pencil I shade over the traced lines in order to transfer the lead onto the papers surface. It works for me.

Once I had all the line work down in VERY light pencil, I drew over it with a brown pencil. I did this because lead pencil smudges and it disappears with the paint. I did not want my line disappearing, I was already freaking out enough.

Courage and watercolour paper . . . 

I was so paranoid that the painting would buckle and get wavy if i didn’t use the right paper so I researched for the best paper to use and came up with Arches Hot press watercolour paper. Through my research I began to see the same phrase come up again and again . . . ‘Stretch your paper’ . . . WHAT THE WHAT? Upon further research I learned that in order to prevent buckling the best thing to do is to ‘stretch’ the paper by placing it inn a bath (literally A BATH) of water and soak it for 10-15 minutes, depending on paper thickness among other things. Well, I think I went white. The internet was telling me to take this perfect drawing that I had just created and SOAK IT IN WATER. . . So I did it . . haha . . . It felt so wrong! Anyway, once I pulled it out of the bath with the pencil lines still intact and I laid it flat on my drawing board, taped it down with artists tape and watched it dry completely flat, I breathed a sigh of relief.

You may be wondering why this freaked me out so much? Firstly, I suffer from anxiety and lets face it, anxiety NEVER makes sense. Secondly, I’m on a disability pension and that paper cost me $14, trust me, you would be freaking out too! Thirdly, I spent 3 hours the previous evening drawing that perfect image on that paper and for someone with severe chronic fatigue syndrome that is quite an effort. I did not want to see my effort washed down the drain, literally!

‘Courage, dear heart’ I whispered to myself . . . And it paid off.

Paint and patience . . . 

This painting was a huge learning process from start to finish. I feel like I wasted so much paint while trying to mix the colours I wanted, and once I had mixed said colours I never seemed to mix enough. Thankfully gouache is a forgiving medium. It could have been dry for a week but I could go back in to specific parts of the painting and rework it simply by adding moisture. I did this A LOT. I learnt a lot about the different uses of lots of different kinds of paint brushes and now long for the day when I can justify spending $50 on a well made, single paintbrush. I learnt to ‘listen’ to the painting and let it guide me. This sounds all airy-fairy and wishy-washy but it’s kinda true. I went in directions with this painting that were contrary to what I had planned and it worked out well. Most of all I learned to have patience, to not freak out over every little stuff up and to believe in my own God-given ability.

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I still have my moments of doubt when I look at the finished painting. I can see my mistakes, I can pick out all the things I wish I did differently and I can list of every little thing I don’t like, but I won’t. I will tell my inner critic in this instance to ‘please shut up’ as I try and enjoy this unique whimsical artwork that I painted . . . ME . . . having no training and no experience with gouache. I learnt SO much and my confidence in my own abilities has grown. What an experience.

On Friday I will give this painting to its new owner and it will grace the wall of her new baby boy’s nursery. I am so grateful to Emily for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.

Embrace the challenge folks, don’t let a fear of your own inadequacies hold you back.

Naomi.

 

 

Welcome to my blog . . .

Introduction

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Welcome to my blog! My name is Naomi but online I’m known as ‘The Chronic Illustrator.’

What is in a name?

Chronic (Adjective): ¹ (of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly reoccurring. ²Of a very poor quality; ‘that film was absolutely chronic’. . . Let’s stick with the first definition shall we?

Illustrator (noun): A person who creates or draws pictures . . . yadda yadda yadda etc etc etc . . .

Well, as a chronically ill (more on that later) aspiring freelance illustrator I think the name fits quite nicely. I suppose it could also be taken to mean that I am chronically obsessed with drawing, which also works for me.

I’ve been drawing and creating for as long as I can remember, it was the activity I would default to when there was nothing else to do. I never seriously thought of art as a serious career and after a rather negative high school art experience I gave up on it all together. It was only after nearly a decade of chronic illness and the sudden loss of my big brother to brain cancer that I turned back to art as a source of therapy.

In the last 4 ½ years I have made a few transitions :

Art as therapy ⇒ ‘I really love this’/ ‘You’re not too bad at this!’ ⇒ Starting a graphic design diploma (VERY part time and by distance) ⇒ Launching an illustration-based Instagram, Facebook page and blog with the aspiration of being a freelance illustrator.

So you would be correct in saying i have come a long way . . . You would also be correct in suggesting that I have a very long way still to go.

What is my goal?

My goal is to be a successful freelance illustrator. This is going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of research and a lot of self-discipline. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing and it is extremely nerve-wracking. Despite the gut wrenching fear I am keeping my eyes fixed on my goal in the hope that one day I will see my illustrations in books, in magazines, online . . . EVERYWHERE! I want to make this dreary old world a little brighter, to make my mark in a way that only I can. Hopefully this blog with help me do all of that . . . Or maybe i’ll just use this platform to vent my frustration . . . I’m sure i’ll have my moments.

As for the ‘Chronic’ part of my title, that is a VERY long story that has been unfolding since my diagnosis with severe Chronic fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia over ten years ago (11 ½ for those of you playing along at home). I will no doubt share the pitfalls, the ‘wins’ and all that living with a chronic illness involves throughout this blog. in other words don’t be at all surprised by gross oversharing and humorous anecdotes about various bodily functions that will probably have you screaming ‘too much information!’ . . . I apologise in advance.

Sooooooo, basically . . . 

I hope to post at least twice a week to begin with (I’m just testing the waters here folks, I’m still not entirely sure that I know how this whole blogging/wordpress thingy works) so make sure you tune in for that . . . I’m really making all of this up as I go along folks so prepare for odd happenings and stranger things . . .

Naomi.