Now that I’ve spent a whole weekend with this motto and listened to two talks (by Jennifer K. Mann and Kirby Larson), I want to share some of my notes and thoughts with you on this topic.
Acknowledge that your Art = Work.
Your Work matters.
Harvest “hidden pockets of time” (Mann), for example, while you’re commuting, at night, when your kids take a nap, …
Try to find useful things (like information/ inspiration/ people/ material/…) everywhere you go
Make your art/work portable so you can work everywhere! I try to carry a sketch pad with me at all times, and most of us are never without their smartphone, with which you can take pictures, take notes, do research,…
Be aware of your needs, self-care is important!
Keep a journal (whatever works best for you, a notepad, sketchpad, a digital note file on your smartphone, even Instagram is a journal!)
Look for memories and experiences in your life that are worth being told and shared
Engage friends and family to get some fresh ideas/ inspiration/help you get the time you need
Establish (good) habits/rituals/routines, that help you start the day/your work (like making tea or taking a deep breath, easy things. If you already have a habit you can try to add a new one to that)
Enter competitions and take classes, be brave and learn! I submit to “draw this!” by the SCBWI every month and I’m always looking for opportunities.
Disregard advise that doesn’t feel right or that doesn’t work for you.
Life happens, be attentive! Everything has its time.
Find someone that supports you (this can be family & friends, but it can also be a critique group/partner, fellow artists, …)
Make it easy on yourself, let go of a clean house – it’s not worth it if it stops you from creating
Build connections! Go to conferences, workshops, events, … talk to people and stay in touch
“Don’t be afraid to make crap!” (Larson), in art quantity makes quality, you will always learn something (even if you draw the same apple a 100 times)
Be a “Flaneur”, that is “a part of this world, but apart” (Larson), observe your surroundings, take notes of things you see without analyzing them
Stop thinking, start creating
DON’T QUIT !
In short: be good to yourself and others and never give up.
Today I got up a bit early and headed to the Seattle Public Library in Downtown Seattle.
Every time I get there it takes me a bit to orientate and focus, as the architecture is just so intense – I love it there. After a few minutes I went to the Auditorium to check in and get a good seat. The different organizers of the SCBWI monthly meeting talked about their agenda and future events (like the “weekend on the water” in November) and then Jolie Stekly came up to the podium and talked about the publishing world and some basics when it comes to publishing children’s books (& young adult literature) and included a little get-to-know-your-seatneighbor activity.
I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot, I also took lots of notes of books to read, things to research and ideas how to become better in my art and what to do with it.
I can only recommend the SCBWI to everybody that wants to write or/and illustrate children’s books.
I was at a BBQ last year and I met a woman who told me about the Society and I was intrigued. But I didn’t feel comfortable enough to sign up, but today’s the day! I signed up and I will upload some images to my gallery there and I hope that they will be liked by others. I’m also looking forward to getting some critique so I can develop and improve my work as an artist.
I just love children’s books and my wish is to illustrate children’s books in the future. I think books, in general, are important for every person, but even more for children who have a different view of the world and are growing and discovering every day. I want to give children the opportunity to have a fun experience with books so they keep on reading when they become grown-ups and share their love for stories and pictures with their children and grandchildren. I remember when I learned how to read that it opened a door for me into fantastic worlds I could have never imagined. With the help of my precious library card I went on adventures, discovered new things and I was always learning something new that fascinated me. When I grew older I switched from the more positive centered world of children’s books to literature for teens and I learned to cope with cruel characters and stories that don’t always have a happy ending. I even started to pick topics (like psychology, biology, drugs, cults, …) I tried to read as much about as I could find in our small local library. And I always enjoyed coming back to picture books and children’s books when I read them to my smaller siblings, my cousins or the children I was taking care at a summer camp I volunteered at.
So here I am, painting pictures, hoping that a child out there finds themselves in the adventures of the story. And I hope the SCBWI will help me get discovered by them.