Even though you may not have watched my (Hungarian) vlog about a day in the life of an illustrator, (in which I meet clients and try on wedding rings in the middle of a Thursday) you might wonder how all this work fits into my days while also maintaining a dayjob. After all, it has never been a secret that besides my blog, illustration and graphic design I work full time. Well, this is the thing that changed a few months ago.
Why? – or some background info in a nutshell
I studied Architecture at university and after graduating I started working as a 3D engineer at a multinational company. However, it had been clear since before graduating that I would never really become an architect, and even if I start working in this field, it would only be a temporary job. The way grand companies work is actually in complete opposition with my lifestyle, but to start one’s own business one needs a bit of backup, and this job gave me the opportunity to save up the money (for which I am grateful!)
You might have big dreams and plans, but still it is very comfortable to swim around in a safe, luke-warm swamp, however it might stink. Slowly, I found myself working for this company for 1, and then 2 years, constantly putting off handing in my notice.
It is still snowing round here, but I am soon confident in announcing that winter is over, spring is coming. I had planned Januray to be a slow month after the hustle and bustle of December, but – just as it often happens with plans – things turned out differently. Winter became such a busy season that I have decided to share it with you.
21 days, 13 paintings
To tell the truth I am no good at challenges (even though I can manage a week-long one) but now I have landed myself in a situation very much like an art challenge. I had wanted to document the moments of our relationship with my SO but it was only in December that I came up with the idea of the Exercisebook of love. Obviously I had no chance to do anything about it in the Christmas rush but Valentine’s Day seemed a good chosen deadline (have I said I like working to a deadline?). At that time it had seemed that 1,5 months would be a comfortable time to finish the project but during the process of creating, ideas started generating themselves. I had more and more pages pop into my head, so I worked on the Exercisebook nearly every day. You might have seen the inside pages on Facebook or Instagram.
I’m ill. Again. During December there was only one week when my nose was not running and yet this was the most intense month of the year (in close competition with October). I didn’t leave time for myself to rest, thinking that if I had taken a break I would have fallen behind even more and become even more stressed. I could hardly keep my head above water. The time has come that had I been asked what I wanted for Christmas I would have answered: time, plenty of time, please!
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.