Moment of Truth

So after a week of scribbling, splashing, sketching & scanning (enough words beginning with ‘s’? I think so), I wrote my cover letter with the link to my new online portfolio, typed the publisher’s address and pressed send. [insert massive sigh of relief here]

I’d eventually got to this: (and a few others)

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After lots of this:

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I did it!
I submitted something.
I actually put something out there for the publishing powers to see.
Don’t know if anything will come of it. They’ll only get in touch if they’re interested. But hey, it was a great exercise in getting something organised, and crossing that threshold of will I/won’t I. I’d been meaning to do something like that for a while (by a ‘while’ I mean weeks… ok maybe months… alright, yes – years!) and this deadline finally got me looking lively about it.

Here follows an insight into the past couple of weeks, by way of an ‘Artist Heart Rate Monitor’ diagram, or emotional scale, with reference to causal factors. (Lab coat on for that sentence)

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It was indeed a little stressful.
The good news is, I survived. Not just survived, I came out of the experience with a realisation: I was doing what I love. It wasn’t just an idea any more, that I wanted to illustrate or at least make art. (All very romantic in one’s mind.) I was living it for a few days – essentially giving it a go, trying it on. And I liked it.

There’s always the chance that dream and reality don’t line up. What seems perfect in your head – what you imagine doing, feeling & being, with that lovely soft-focus lens of an ideal, may not translate to the mess, the tests of will and patience, and the frustrations of actual practice. But in this instance it felt right.

So now, in order to support concurrent addictions to chocolate, books, and art supplies (really, Kel, you need to stop – when you see that Sale sign just walk away, just say no! You can do it!) …oh, and other vital living expenses, I need to find ways of getting paid for said art.

A recent FB post from a well-known fantasy artist offered some encouragement about this very thing. She mentioned that artists/creatives today have the best opportunities to make a living off their work. Now, more than ever, with the internet, creative sites, online galleries, printers etc, we can get ourselves out there and sell directly to those who are interested, anywhere in the world. Pretty darn cool, right?

So that’s next on my list (it already was, actually, but I think it was bumped back when this other thing popped up). My new challenge: to not let this one slip from weeks to months to years. To get an online market stall up and running by… the end of the month (at the latest).
I think mentioning it here is giving me a sense of accountability, which I need. (A shout out to those who read/follow – thank yous! You’re keeping me honest) 😀

Back to last week’s big step though, I’m just proud of the fact I followed through. There were a few times when I questioned myself – am I ready? Is my work good enough? Is it cheating to use some older works? Will it matter that most of the ones I’m using are trading card size?

Then a flash of insight came through that told me: it’s not about what you do, it’s about you just doing it. Your lesson is in conquering your doubts and fears for this round (there will be many rounds throughout your lifetime). Knowing that you stepped up, stuck with, and succeeded where you otherwise might’ve chickened out. (I nearly did, during one particular fight with the watercolours, as time ticked down like it was riding a trolley downhill with no brakes.)

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I realised in the end I was doing it for me first, and for them second.
Of course, I would love to hear from them, and be accepted, and dive into the world of being published. It’d be an amazing bonus. But I say bonus because I guess I’ve already had a win. I’m happy with what I achieved in a short space of time.

So it’s done.
It’s gone.
And it’s here if you would like to see what I threw together 🙂
It’s a work in progress, as no artist is ever done, and I have much room to improve and expand.

One last little story I want to share, for anyone who is interested in ‘everyday magics’ (synchronicity, coincidence, and other fun things)…
This happened last night.
It was getting towards midnight, I was lying up on my pillow reading, when I notice a big mama house spider has joined me – on my shoulder!! Being Australian, of course these guys are dangerous, they’re on the second tier: ‘toxic’ rather than the first: ‘deadly’ (which is where dear little Arbie the Red Back sits). I tend to forget that though, and think of them as low risk, coz I like them. They set up camp on the edge of a window and catch flies and things (and toss the discarded bodies all over the windowsill when they’re done – I must have a word to them about that.)
Anyway, I see this big hairy ‘friend’ and have to think quick – a flick of the shirt gets her onto the bedcover, where she proceeds to crawl onto my open training bag. I grab a container and hold it in front of her, half expecting her to scuttle away, and ask her if she would please step in (yes, I talk to spiders). She obliged, without hesitation. (Spider-whispering is just another skill I offer.) Relocated outside, everybody’s happy.

Aussie black house spider; every home should have one.

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Afterwards, my thoughts went as follows: why might that happen? Creatures are messengers. Why a spider?

I had a new deck of oracle cards sitting on the bed which I hadn’t yet opened. They’re called ‘Animal Magic’, and come from Transference Healing. I’ve worked with them before but this was a deck I bought for myself recently.
‘Look up Spider,’ a thought urged.
I started working my way thought the plastic wrappers.
‘Wouldn’t it be funny if Spider was the card sitting on top,’ another thought added. I was already getting a funny feeling.
Finally inside, the bottom card was Unicorn, and the top card was… Spider. (!!)
So I turn to the book that gives info about the card, the meanings, etc. what I found was:
Spider = Creator
Reading through, the last line of the first page jumps out, “…she calls you to ‘create, create, create.'”

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Have I any right to doubt myself when things like that come through? Haha.
Life has some interesting ways of getting messages across 😉

Till next time, may some everyday magic brighten your day too!

2014, eh? Crack on!

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I think my New Year is still in its wrapping.
You know how you get something new and you just want to admire it for a while in all its shiny newness? Crisp, clean, free of any sticky mitts…

I’m not kidding anyone with the fact I’m dawdling, am I?

Ok, time to break open the packaging and get into 2014!

I’m not really one for New Year’s ‘resolutions’ (who wants those judgmental undertones to start the year?) but there’s a bunch of stuff I intend to do this year (I figure ‘intentions’ give me a bit of leeway – I can approach them whenever I damn well feel like it!) So here they are in pictures:

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And in words: do another market, set up an online market stall, develop my sketches and characters, practice Quenya & calligraphy…

I’ll be honest, some of it’s kind of scary for me. I still feel like a bit of a tech n00b with online things and that I’m gonna stuff things up big time! Dunno why. I grew up with computers, then shied away a bit when the internet really got booming. Now I’m playing catch up with just a teeny weeny streak of self consciousness…

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It’s funny, I’ll take artistic risks all the time. I’ll work on something important, or something where I only get one shot. I get the idea, ponder it, then – rather than do test runs and perfect it elsewhere first – I’ll pretty much launch in and see what happens. Maybe not the best way to do it. I’ve screwed up, I’ve problem-solved, I’ve rescued. But it works for me. And I’m cool with that.
Yet something like setting up a thing online, that your average 3 year old has probably mastered these days… nup.
I get intimidated.
I procrastinate.
I hide.
Weird, huh?

So yeah, time to push past all that and embrace 2014 by expanding further on the interwebs. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Who knows, maybe it’ll help someone who’s in the same boat (even if it’s just a rather loose sense of moral support where they can think, Yay, I’m not the only one!) For others of you it might prove anywhere from entertaining to cringeworthy (I still don’t know wtf this hash tag thing is all about. No, really. #WTF?)
Suggestions and support are always welcome, however! 😉

Right, well, one of my first destinations along this year’s path is an inn called ‘Learning to Photograph One’s Stock’. (Goodness, I think I’ve just fallen into describing my life as a big fantasy adventure where there are inns and forests and magic coins and things… haha. Awesome.) But yeah, learning to photograph the stuff I make and want to sell. This is an art in itself if you want to present things in an appealing and inspiring way. Think magazine presentation vs DIY classifieds you see here and there. = Magical vision of the thing in context vs lazy snap of the thing tossed on a kitchen bench. Hmmm.
Because I’m an earthy kind of person (who is prone to medieval and fantasy references, as you now know) and some of the themes of what I create are earthy, I wanted to incorporate that in my photos. This means choosing a certain background, ‘setting’, colours, textures, and props like leaves and bark. Having access to heaps of magazines has been great for picking up ideas and inspirations that I can start to experiment with.

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Already I’ve learnt that flat = boring (box 1), the protective cello bag needs to be ditched (box 4), but the bark and branch elements are quite good (boxes 2&3). These kind of complete the vision I had when making the charms themselves.
It’s a start.
So now I’ve flitted over to the stage of defining what my online stall will be (title, themes, maybe even logo) and also making the things specifically for it. Along with that then, when ready, I’ll look at creating a good set up for photographing them. (All the while telling myself, ‘You can dooo it’ in my best Rob Schneider impression, to keep the doubt & discouragement demons at bay) Hey, whatever works, right?

Something I have got rolling already is a second blog dedicated to Nut & Arbie.

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Yeah, I know, I’ve only just started this one! But they threatened to invade it if I didn’t give them their own space! And I do rather like the excitement of starting something new (see last post).
So if the adventures of a well-endowed bully dog and a cheeky, overgrown spider appeal to you, please check out their blog: Nut & Arbie
They’ll be overjoyed.

Now to find a slab of meat and a mug of ale! (…Or a sushi and hot chocolate.)
Till next time!