3 years ago today I published the first post on the blog Imelda Green’s. Of course not under this domain and not in the same form as these days, but I am still very proud to say that I’ve been posting more or less consistently ever since.
I had originally intended this blog to motivate me to create art regularly – just like some challenge. During those first months of planning however, I had no idea that I would meet blogger buddies who would later become friends or that I’d learn so much about social media marketing, but I knew from the first moment on that maintaining a quality blog beside a day-job would mean lot of extra work.
I attended a blogger event in Budapest this October, where one of the guests asked: how is it actually possible to create high-end material while doing a day-job, if it takes so much effort (as it was enphasized how much work it takes to create good quality content).
So today I’m celebrating my blog’s 3rd birthday by giving you a little insight into how a week looks like in the life of a blogger (& illustrator). October was a rather busy month round here, so I chose to describe the last week of that month, as it gives you a fairly good idea of how these busy periods look like. You’ll see that I’m the type of blogger who likes to plan everything at least a month in advance (preferably more), so no unexpected event can interfere with my posting schedule.
There’s no point in pretending things to be more glamorous than they are: October was a complete amuck. Not only because of the excessive amount of work that I’ve been doing – even though that aspect was also present – but also because I’ve been doing so many different things that I haven’t had time to process all my new (and lovely) experiences. This is partly why I decided to write this post, on a slightly therapeutic note.
I’ll become a graphic designer – officially
Some might know that I’m not exactly a fan of institutional design classes but it’s been annoying me for a while that even though I do graphic work all the time, I cannot ‘officially’ call myself a graphic designer. By last spring it had been annoying me so much that I decided to start yearly course in graphic design (while maintaining my day job). After some research my decision fell on Corvin Art School (Budapest), so since the end of September, I spend every Wednesday and Friday evening at their graphic design classes. Even though I’m planning to write a longer post on my experiences, I can already say that the heavy workload gives me both a hard and very enjoyable time. The extreme amount of work has a very good impact on my creativity, and it is out of the question that a day could pass by without actually drawing – or at least thinking about how to execute a certain design. At the moment it is fairly hard to grasp that this pace of life will continue until next June, but I sincerely hope that I will get used to it at some point.
I’m looking at my to-do list: I should paint, try new techniques so I have things to write blog posts about and take pictures of. But I should also cook, clean my apartment, and I haven’t met my best friend in ages. Plus my cat can’t wait for me to play with him a bit.
This is more or less what my inner monologues sound like when I procrastinate. There’s an endless number of excuses why I can’t sit down to my desk and draw the first line, but of course it’s not these – indeed important but not crucial – tasks that stop me from painting. What stops me is fear.
The most frequent answer to the question “How to be an illustrator?” is: practice every day – and you can believe me, I have typed this question into Google gazillion times. But what happens when you just can’t?
The past couple of weeks have been rather difficult for me due to some personal changes in my life and even though I’m a really active, productive person, often I just spent my time doing passive things like reading or watching something instead of painting or writing. And I am neither a lazy, nor undisciplined.
So what is it like when you just can’t ?
Professional creatives actually deny that there is such a thing as ‘inspiration’ and I tend to think along the same line: if I stimulate my brain the right way, then ideas generate themselves. However, I can’t say that I don’t know the feeling of being ‘uninspired’, but in my case this ‘uninspiration’ mainly refers to the slightly depressed state when I don’t even have strength to trigger my creative radar.
Those few who have seen my illustrations in real life know that most of them are A5-A6 size images. This habit of painting small is not based on an academically supported decision, but on an observation of the mere fact: it is simply good to paint watercolours in small size. What’s more, it is liberating, satisfying, and certainly makes life easier.
I must admit that April wasn’t my best month this year. You might have noticed I wrote less blog posts and apart from some therapeutic painting my main source of peace came from gardening. I don’t mean gardening literally of course: it would be fairly difficult in a tiny apartment in Budapest even if I had some talent with plants, but since I have none, it is absolutely out of the question. No, what I mean is some alternative gardening, and I’m just about to tell you how I did that.
These past weeks I have been a little lost, blog-wise. I had planned blog posts, which I never wrote, never photographed and never published, as March has decided to fool me a bit with a couple of surprises. Some of them were positive, others negative, and some of them were not even surprises, but to sum it all up, here is a review of my past month.
Yes, we all know that life starts out of your comfort zone and if you are not willing to step out of it, then you can only blame yourself, etc. If you catch yourself enthusiastically nodding to these statements, you might as well close the tab, because this post is written in defence of the comfort zone.
Of course I also jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to this popular statement. In the last couple of months I took a machete a slashed my comfort zone into pieces – both in my professional and private life. As a result (or not) I am writing this post slightly drugged by antifebrile and having a damp cloth wrapped around my aching head. (more…)
To put it simple, I am not a great fan of art classes in institutional circumstances. I have had some really bad experiences at university and during those years I was simply incapable of creating any form of art, it all started once I was left well alone and I could paint at home whatever I liked and with whatever technique I chose.
This is one reason why it is such a great step for me that I took part in an illustration workshop last November at a local art school in Budapest. Around here there are not many opportunities to learn illustration specifically, so when I came across the ad I just knew I had to put aside my worries and join. So, from the middle of November, a group of us got together every Wednesday for 4 weeks to learn a bit more about illustration.
What’s happening in the witch’s brew?
Probably the best thing that happened to me during these 4 weeks was that I could put aside my prjudice: art classes do not exist for the sole reason to ruin your confidence. Our instructor, Réka Holló-Szabó has been working tirelessly to figure out which technique suited us best and gave us encouragement in that precise field.
I have tried writing a “2016 summary” post for several days now, until I realised it is just not going to work. However, going through my personal notes I have found several post-its with some advice for myself. I liked some of them so much that I’ve decided to share it with you guys. 2016 has been an illuminating year for me in both painting and blogging, but I think that these lessons might be useful for people working in other creative fields. So here are 16 lessons that 2016 taught me.
“I don’t feel like it” is a matter of choice. Thomas Frank pointed it out in this video that chanting “I don’t feel like it” will not actually stop you doing the work, it just gives you an excuse not to do it. Only amateurs keep waiting for inspiration, professionals work for a deadline.
It’s only paper. What’s the worst that can happen? I am also one of those who easily get stuck by the sight of a blank paper, then after drawing the first line, things start to work like charm. But in truth this fear is all rubbish. If you screw it up, you only ruin a piece of paper, nothing else.
An art school is not there to ruin your confidence. Yes, bad teachers actually exist, but it doesn’t mean it’s pointless to take advice from a professional.
Stealing ideas is not a crime. We know it since Austin Kleon that all ideas are actually copied. However, if you do it for the sake of learning and don’t present it as your own piece it is not only acceptable but can help you learn a great deal.