Hope 

I realized yesterday a big part of my hesitation about presenting concepts is that a NO kills hope, and with little going well the narcotic effect of hope is not something easily given up. But I’ve adjusted my thinking – rejection is only the death of that particular hope, and my experience has been that in the process of pitching a concept it is often improved by critique and questions. So I’m making a game of this, trying to hear NO as many times as possible this week. Replace dread with eager anticipation.

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Be Kind

Ruminating on this difficult chapter that just drags on and on I compared it to being seasick – knowing the boat will be back in the marina at 3:00 and that by morning you’ll feel fine brings no comfort at 11:00. Some day, and please may that day come soon, I’ll see this chapter for what it was – a chapter. The daily pain will fade, the valuable lessons will be appreciated, and a chance to live life can be implemented. 

Meanwhile another day of faking it awaits. 
We all have friends who we know are in similar situations, having to slug it out daily with no end in sight. The issues might be financial, medical, emotional, a relationship crisis – doesn’t matter – the effect is the same. And this part is important: we all also have friends whose struggle is hidden. 
Today I’ll try to be kind and encouraging, without judging if a recipient needs that or not. It’ll be good for me.

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Illustration

Illustration. 
If you tossed a safety pin into a large crowd most of those people would wonder why, and one person would be glad for the safety pin they needed, never imagining one would show up.

So, similarly, a few remarks about illustration, and maybe one person will find some value in this.

While there are amazing illustrators whose work and approach are quite different from mine, who surpass me in every way, I’ll go to bat here and share my personal agenda.
I’m experimenting with line work for illustration, both in color and BW, and the issues for me are: 

1) It has to be fast. There are numerous assignments with modest budgets, and if your style requires a full day to execute, meticulous photo reference and accurate perspective, drying time, the need for a photo to reproduce from rather than a scan (oils, for example), you’ll have to pass on a ton of work. 

2) Process. I learned many years ago to not reinvent the wheel with each assignment. Get clear in your head that (in my case) you first do a primitive thumbnail to establish composition, then do A, then B, then C. Know fully what you will focus on, what you will let go, what is the least amount of work required to dazzle.

3) In my case portability is paramount. I hate where I live, and to have a style requiring no infrastructure is important – I want to be able to work at full capacity in the truck, at a coffee shop, in a tent.

4) Understand your strengths, which may be different from your curiosity and interest. (Important distinction!). An old friend, Bob, recently pointed out my strength in capturing gesture, and it hit me like a brick. Distracted by my interest in other things I’d forgotten this natural strength, and applying it to illustration samples is extremely important. (Thanks, Bob.)
In these two samples both are entirely invented. No photo reference required. (Time/labor/money considerations). The BW piece is strengthened by strong graphic blacks, and in the color piece the detail parts are identical to the BW piece, but I allowed for color; just enough to carry the load but without getting into the tedium of making a full-blown painting, letting the line do the job of making sense of everything.
Bedtime. Hoping one person finds some inspiration in this.


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Abstracted Landscape Process 

Nightstand junk (left) redrawn as landscape (right).

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My Groaning Child 

Waking D I asked if she knew what day it is, then held up my hand and did this. She pulled the covers over her head and said I’m fired. 

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Cutting Losses 

Dropped by a Pho joint nearby to look at a menu. The owner’s English was absolutely impossible to understand – I could not catch a single word, and his frustrated effort was obvious. I wanted to suggest he go ahead and speak Vietnamese, as it would make zero difference to our communication and reduce our joint struggle by half.

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Reset

Ugh.. WAY too much thinking today, so just now parked the truck mid errand run and took a few minutes to be still, breathe, let go of everything that is not the present moment. A soft reset. 

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