Battle Strategies Against S.A.D.

Winter is not my favorite season. It is so grey outside and gloomy. I’ve been posting pictures in social media, but I wanted to share a bit here too.

This is how I feel a lot in the winter. It’s really hard to get going and every year I promise myself, NOT THIS YEAR, but it comes back. S.A.D. is real and ferocious. And I noticed a lot of people are struggling this year.

So while I don’t have a cure for SAD, here are some things that help me:

Warm colors and spring themes are absolutely essential for me. Flowers, greens, yellows oinks*, I mean pinks, oranges..I have plants that are still alive somehow, and I usually draw something just to focus on the colors until I feel a sense of peace and contentment.

Warm beverages. Hot cocoa, coffee, tea are all wonderful. They warm up my hands and the steam from the mug just lifts the gentle scent and I imagine the heaviness of winter breaks away from me and is carried away with the steam to a magical place where goblins will eat it and enjoy its gloomy textures.

Sometimes when it’s really bad, I go back to bed. I dont need to sleep, I just close the curtains, turn on my lamps, and just appreciate the warm fluffiness of my pillows and comforter. Sometimes I read a book, but mostly, I just focus on the warm lamplight, and pretend my bedroom is a springtime fairy garden and everything is going to be okay. Sometimes I do fall asleep for a little while, and when that happens, it feels like hitting a reset button on the day.

I embrace the trendiest of winter fashions. Comforter chic is all the rage this season. Dont forget your fluffy slippers!

Things I havent drawn yet but are really helpful in the winter are

  1. Vitamin D3 supplements. I noticed a marked mood improvement when I take these.
  2. Exercise. My favorite is Fitness Boxing on the nintendo switch. Punching works out a lot of frustration and I find myself laughing by the end of it.
  3. Terrible jokes. The ones that are so bad, they’re good. My dad texted me one he heard recently: “A tyrannosaurus rex was arrested for selling handguns to the locals here. Apparently, he was a small arms dealer”
  4. Keeping up with friends and family. You need someone to share those terrible jokes with, and good company can be an excellent remedy for seasonal depression.
  5. Peppy music. When I feel really sad, I pay upbeat tunes. When its an emergency, I play this Song

*some typos are worth keeping

New Year, New Goals!

Are you making resolutions for the new year? This year I have two goals, and some steps to help me get there.

 

  1.  To get ready to query:
    1. Draw every day – Even on bad days, and sometimes especially on bad days. I want to push outside my “Aw, that’s really pleasant” comfort zone.
    2. Finish 3 pictures books WIPs- I have the ideas. I just need to finish them! I’m using an action planner workbook to focus on a task a week to get this done.
    3.  Submit to agents! I have a small list of agents I’d love to work with based on personal and online interactions. Once my WIPs are finished, I’m going to start contacting agents (and of course, following their submission guidelines)
  2. Get Travel Ready:
    1. Build strength, endurance, and flexibility for dream hiking, with exercise and hiking local trails 5 times a week.
    2.  Practice languages for places I’m visiting 10 minutes a day. Most people speak English, but I prefer knowing some of the language because it’s a languages are fun and a great way to connect to people.

 

Cecilia Yung had an amazing session at an SCBWI conference about goal-setting, and she stressed multiple times the importance of not setting goals that weren’t in your control. To say “I’m going to get an agent and get published this year” is a terrible goal, because I have NO control over whether I’ll get a “yes!” from someone else. But I DO have control over the work I do and submitting it. I still have a note from that session reminding me of this; it is wonderful advice.

 

This Fluff and Flowers was drawn with Copic Markers and color pencils. Copics are colorful and fun, but not my favorite tool to use. I’m not SURE what my favorite is, maybe by the end of the year I’ll have an answer for you 🙂

Fluff and Flowers

Birthday Fun

Today is my birthday! Woo! I’m in a really great mood today, because it’s a super relaxing wonderful kind of day and I have no appointments, deadlines, or general worrying to fret over.

I wanted to sketch some puppies, and you know, a lot of puppies look really sad, and tired, and just like “just lemme take a nap already!” And so I was delighted to sketch some of these pups and draw them PARTY HATS!

Omg this puppies are ready for a party! Maybe a pity party. Anyway, HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND, and since its my birthday, go ahead and celebrate with me by ordering dessert!

Color Palettes

I’ve been trying to post on wordpress for a while, but at one point, wordpress kept eating all my posts, and THEN my internet was down (sobbing noises). Then I thought “Maybe the universe is trying to keep me from writing something to you! And since I’ve long forgotten what I was going to write last week, I figure that must be the case. In the meantime, here is a leafy drawing I did in the Procreate app.

I have really liked using limited color palettes lately. It really takes a lot of the anxiety out of illustrating for me. I find it influences my sketches as well as how I paint it all in. Too many choices was stressful, but saying this is the image I want, this is the mood, here is my small box of crayons to work with. I love it.

Highlights Foundation: Your Guide to Graphic Novels Workshop 2019

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending “Your Guide to Graphic Novels” workshop at Highlights Foundation. This was my second Highlights workshop, and both times were restorative experiences.

We had some amazing faculty/guest speakers. Merrill Rainey, Nidhi Chanani, Lila Weaver, and Colleen Af Venable. They were so informative, honest, and friendly. Everything you would hope for in an educational setting. We learned about how the process of graphic novels works, how to write a script, and how panels work. Each participant had an opportunity to bring a favorite graphic novel and after we introduced our favorite books, they went on a table for a weekend library. It was a wonderful ice breaker, and a great way to connect with other participants (“I read the book you brought! that was great!”)

If you’ve never been to Highlights Foundation, it’s a pretty remarkable experience. They have a very kind and industrious kitchen staff that will cater to your specific dietary needs. As much food as possible is sourced locally, and prepared with pride. The grounds are easy to walk around with gravel paths leading everywhere. You can stay in the farmhouse, the lodge or small individual cabins. I’ve stayed in a cabin both times, and they are quite comfortable, private and ideally suited for introverts. You’ll hear scary stories about ticks, but there is bug repellant available in the rooms and even in the Barn so if you stick to the mowed spaces and paths, you can avoid any icky bugs. It’s a lovely landscape, but the staff are really the ones to make the place feel welcoming and friendly.

I’m glad for the time I spent at Highlights. It really gave me a sense of purpose and direction. I came home feeling rested and ready to go for the first time in a few months, and I recommend going there for any artist who would like to meet new people, recharge their batteries, and learn something new.

Back from a short break

I went away to Florida for a week, and it was really lovely. The weather was warm, sunny, and full of warm breezes. Did I mention it was warm? I’ve sorely missed feeling warm. Even my toes felt warm!

I’ve been doing some unofficial polling, and the general feedback seems to be that weekly posting would be enjoyable, so I will endeavor to fulfill those wishes, kind followers.

You may have noticed some updates to the website! I’m working on making it user friendly. If you encounter something frustrating or have a suggestion to make, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

The kidlit community is proud to support students around the globe who are on school strikes to voice their concern for our planet’s future. The above image is my contribution- to find out how you can get involved, check out this website

Bears for #kidlitart28

For the month of February you can follow me and a lot of other illustrators by searching for #kidlitart28. It’s a drawing challenge to keep you drawing every day and for the dreary winter days, I was pretty excited for it. The theme this year is “Draw what you love” After some consideration, I chose bears to be my “what I love” I don’t have a bear for each day, because I often went back to finish up a bear or add things here and there. This past weekend was the SCBWI* Winter Conference, or #Ny19SCBWI so that also took away from my daily drawing time ( but totally worth it! More on that to come)

This panda was funny. I enjoyed sketching him so much. He is the absolute picture of relaxation. So I wanted to draw him on vacation. Rough sketches, colors, and I still like the first sketch the best. I may need to revisit this one with traditional materials since it’s not working at all for me digitally.

Well, I am really tired from my trip, and I want to review my notes from the conference so I can share some highlights with you! Have a great day everyone!

*SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators