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)

20140306-151019.jpg

After lots of this:

20140306-142719.jpg

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)

20140306-141034.jpg

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.)

20140306-141136.jpg

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.

20140306-141221.jpg

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.'”

20140306-145341.jpg

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!

Given The Chance

Strey creativity has taken an interesting turn in the past couple of weeks. This could be put down to astrology, numerology, or the new cookies & cream Kit Kat – which has nothin on the dark chocolate Kit Kat they recently discontinued (bring it back, please!!)
Whatever the case, there’s been a lot more arty-experimenting and a lot less writing.

Alright, so the real reason is that I spotted a long-held dream on the horizon.
It’s one of those dreams I thought had run so far away that I’d never catch it. You know the kind, an idea or intention you might secretly hold because it’s unimpressive to those around you? Or you feel it’s unreachable because you’ve built barriers out of as many excuses as you can find, over many years of telling yourself you can’t/shouldn’t/better not.
You both go into hiding – the dream scampers off into hills and valleys far away, while you stay in the city of distraction.
Time passes.

Then one day, somehow, life conspires to reintroduce dream and dreamer once more.

And so it was with me recently. A friend who I hadn’t talked to in ages sent me a link for a publisher that’s opening up for new illustrators and writers until the end of Feb. She knew about my illustrator dream from a few years back, and thought she’d pass the info along in case I was interested.

I picture my expression as something like this:

20140220-155017.jpg

Something encompassing surprise, joy, excitement, fear, and doubt. (While surrounded by the mess of everything else.)
I’d already started considering other little artsy opportunities here and there, and subsequently started experimenting.

20140220-162414.jpg

But this suggested a whole new level – a style, a professional finish, and a portfolio of work.

Am I ready for this?
Where do I start?
Is there enough time?

The questions tease me while I launch into a new round of scribbling and pushing myself to expand in style and experience. I’m still very much in the thick of this space now. It’s that age-old wrestle with self about worthiness, avoiding comparing yourself with others and, at the heart of it, just taking that courageous step and saying Yes to your dream. There’s that feeling that if I don’t try, I’ll regret it. Even if it goes nowhere for now.
So my awareness of time is a little more heightened while I decide just what I’ll do (while squeezing in as many creative hours as I can!) What’s the minimum I’ll need to submit? What skills will I showcase? Does it matter that I’m self-taught?
And can I fit in this chance for Dream Career #1 while I’m living and getting deeper into Dream Career #2 (which is veeeeery different)?

Can you live 2 Dreams at once?
I sure hope so.

A thought came to me while scribbling the other night, kind of in response to a lot of the motivational quotes you see talking about ‘chasing’ your dreams.

20140220-155108.jpg

Maybe the ‘chase’ is what makes it run away.
What if we simply relaxed & had fun along the way? Took the pressure off ourselves? We might find that one day, much sooner than we’d ever thought, we not only ‘catch’ our dream, but we’re already living and enjoying it.

Well, for now, I have a week. We’ll see what happens 😉