The Midwest. It’s not for the meak…Well, that’s a bit dramatic. It’s not for people who like consistency, how about that? I went out on Mother’s Day with my boys deciding what to plants to get, where to put them and it was cold, sunny, cold, windy and cold. I think it will be the last time our older son doesn’t bother with a coat when we suggest it. The Midwest is unpredictable, but when they forecast 50 and windy for the day, ya need a coat, some things, are non-negotiable.
Last week I also celebrated turning another year older, which at my age is always good news! ; ) I love birthdays, and while I don’t like some of the wrinkles and grey locks that come with birthdays now, they’re still pretty awesome (the birthdays, that is). My birthday is Cinco de Mayo, so we celebrate every year with Mexican food and, one day, I’ll be able to make empanadas just for me, any time I want. Turning another year older reminds me of wanting to learn that, and all the things I still have to accomplish. I don’t mean I ‘have to’, I mean, I have them to accomplish. I should say “I get to accomplish” because I look forward to being able to do these things. There are classes I wants to take, videos and such I wants to make and treats I wants to bake. Again, I wasn’t able to do the Career Fair at the middle school this year. I was really bummed about it. I know it comes every year, but I’m never ready…So this year, when I sent my ‘regretfully decline’ email, I got started on notes for the presentation I WILL finish for next year. I don’t even have a child in middle school yet, but I think it’s important as an illustrator, to not flake out, and show the kids (um, and educators) that creativity, innovation and awesome design are what we need for their (and our) future (esp. in a district which crowdsourced its logo, bleh)…We need lots of creative thinkers and doers! Some things, are non-negotiable.
Speaking of creative doing and thinking, I’m now working with Lamont White of Graphiq Trafiq Studio and I’m a bit of a mad woman at the moment and have not been on Twitter or FB as much as usual (although I still try to update my PR page with interesting, creative posts from around the web). I was only able to send about 12 prints to him right before Surtex (which is this week) but I’m continuing to work on Fall/Halloween/BTS and have finished another four patterns. I haven’t worked like this in a long time: where I’m driving the work. And he really likes my work! I get the same response when I work with Klutz. It never gets old, ever. Positive feedback is so crucial. It keeps the artist fueled, and just as important as getting paid.
Usually I have an assignment (or three) that drives my schedule, then fatigue creeps in and lets me know when it’s a good time to stop. That part hasn’t been the challenge, the challenge now comes when I want to skip dinner, workouts, whatever in order to work. I want to work. I hate that I have to stop. But, having three other people relying on me, I can’t not stop…It’s frustrating when you’re in a groove (which used to be called my rut, remember?) and you have to stop, and change gears…Then it’s hard to go back to what you were doing. I’m going to chalk this in the win column though, because it feels great to want to keep going, to be excited about projects that I have control of regarding how the art is executed! I just need to work on it faster! I can only get art in front of buyers when it’s done, so it’s in my best interest to finish as much as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I love assignments, but they’re half figured out by the time they get to me. There’s still creative challenge, but creating your own work is even more rewarding because you’re forced to work withing your own parameters. That takes a lot of skill and discipline. You create the deadline, the color palette, how and when it’s executed. I can’t work until 1 or 2 in the am. I know there are some single or dink (dual income, no kids) illustrators out there that have no problem continuing to work late nights into their middle age. Primary caregivers on the other hand, I would be surprised to hear that they are unless their spouse is taking care of the kids and dinner and whatnot. I cannot. I never will be able to again, more than likely. I have to be up at 5:30 to light a fire under two boys for school and then I work out. I have to do what I can to stay healthy. Non-negotiable.
So now, with two weeks left of school (our district starts and ends very early), we’re all excited for a new routine. We are BURNED OUT. I’ve got our boys all signed up for programs and camps (I’ll actually be going to public places and actually drawing in an actual book with an actual graphite stylus) and swim and we’ll go to the drive in and the zoo and mini golf and I’ll harp on them to do something other than play games on devices. I’m looking forward to being able to work for long stretches during the day and not feeling guilty later when I’m not producing something and the boys (incl Dad) want to get out of the house even if it’s just to hang and get some ice cream… Ice cream is definitely non-negotiable, except what flavah and how much!
Today, it’s 82 and sunny. Yes, I do believe it’s Summer! Hope all you creatives get out of the house too! : )