Working on a hispanic mermaid at the moment! DOnig beadwork, and ansewring any and all questions.
So here I am, having popped quite a few pain killers that make me very sleepy but seem to remove the filters on my brain, with my fingers to the keyboard. This won't end badly at all.
Why am I not drawing? She's asked me that a few times. How do I tell her that I draw every night? That my head is so full of so many thoughts, so many concepts, that I spent hours simply sifting through the ideas? That every night I go through page after page after page of scrap and thought... and have nothing to show for it, because it is all in my mind.
It sounds daft, even to me, to have rough draft and revision, to sit there gazing blankly at my drafting table and let my mind simply fill in the drawings. I've mentioned in the past that I hallucinate quite clearly, how do I describe the way the blank paper is not blank to me? That color floods it, pencil lines dance across the page and tease me with their almost perfect placement. I truly know that it is a thing of madness, and yet I cannot seem to be able to stop. When I finally come up for air, it's never with a completed piece. It's always with one so close.. so close to that perfect moment, that I can't bear to put pencil to paper and make it a reality. If I just give it a little more time, if I just wait, my mind will work through the puzzle and the pieces will finally fall into place, and then! Then I can give it life.
The reality is that nothing will come of that blank board, if I do not begin. No moment will ever be perfect, no line exquisitely unflawed. At the end of the day, I know that until I begin to draw I may as well discard those beautiful images that fill my days, because what use are they just fluttering about in my head?
So I sit here, rambling to you all in the night, and staring at a board I have just put a line to. The line is not perfect. Already my mind moves it, my thoughts show me how it would look better here, or perhaps there... my hand clenches on the pencil to keep myself from grabbing the eraser and starting over again. It's so wonderful to have an untouched board, no line to show my mistakes, only the beautiful images in my mind.
I am drunk on my imagination, and lost in it's depths. I know that I have to come out eventually. But give me a little time. Just a few more minutes of bliss. I have so much to show you. Just give me a few more minutes.
A long time ago, when I was in college, I took beginning figure drawing. I hadn't drawn people before, and to be honest, I was very out of my depth. I struggled the entire class, as the anatomy lessons just weren't clicking with me. One day, the teacher assigned us homework, to go home and do several sketches of the people around us. I went to one of my friends at the time and drew her portrait. Her reaction is something that has been burned in my head from that point on.
Why did you draw me like that? Is that how you really see me?
She hated it.
I was devastated, and avoided drawing the human figure for several years after that. The thing is? It put a HUGE damper in my education. I excelled in other areas, while my grasp of anatomy remained intensely flawed and deeply avoided. Even when I began to draw people again, I still stumbled when it came to faces. To this day, it is one of the areas I struggle with the most, as that fear of 'what if they hate it' rises up.
One day I asked all of you to give me an honest critique of my body of work. What you liked, what you disliked, what you felt I had a good grasp on and what you felt I should improve on. One person said a comment, that I don't remember precisely, but the gist of it was "I like your work, but when I reach the faces, I fall out of the image".
It hurt to read that, and felt like I was back in that day when my friend was upset at what I'd drawn. The difference is? I was a grown woman, and just plain tired of running away from things like that. So when I read that statement and felt the twinge of hurt, I picked myself up, cracked my knuckles.. and started drawing faces, like the stubborn ox that I am sometimes. All the time.
I still struggle, I'm not gonna lie. My ability to draw faces is not where I want it to be, and I do not have the spread of skill in facial designs that I would like to have. But they have improved and they are growing each time I squish the doubts that rise up, and just keep going.
At the end of the day, you will not improve if you do not try. It takes thousands and thousands of bad arts, to make a good piece of art, so you need to face that fear and make bad art. Then keep going, and keep going and make art until the bad days start to be outnumbered by the good.
I'd like to announce that I will be part of an exhibit at the Springville Museum of Art, in Utah, this year. The exhibit is Spiritual and Religious art of Utah, so I was a bit nervous that they would not wish to have my work in the show (seeing as I am an atheist and that's generally frowned upon in this state). But I passed the jury and I am so excited!
The exhibit opens Wednesday, November 19th, an will run until Sunday, January 18th.
Otherwise I will be listing this week and will do a big post about what's up and what comes with things for freeeee afterwards.
Remember, if you're shy about answering? I would not ask if I did not want to know. There is no wrong answer, in fact I don't know the answer t othese questions myself! There is no offending me or anything like that. I'm just curious about your thoughts.
So the first question is an easy one.
What is my artistic style? How would you describe it?
They made the announcement so I feel okay making it too. I'm the artist guest of honor at Conduit 25. I'm so excited. I would be incredibly honored if any of you could make it. Please if you're planning on attending, let me know so that we can make a really great event!
I'm thinking of fun group art jams, maybe some fun movie watching as a group thing... art gallery stroll... I just want to have a blast and spend time with all of you.
Can we set something up? It's in May! Can we make this a thing?
1. Every piece I do has a working title, but never actually receives it's real title until literally the MINUTE I post it online. For example, the title of my last sculpture was "FIT DAMN YOU". The title of Light and Shadow was 'please please let sely like it'. The Kohaku dragon was titled 'doot doot doot' (on hindsight doot doot doot was a more enjoyable title). And speaking of kohaku, The Kohaku was originally titled "please let these boobs look realistic."
2. I have been unable to walk more than about ten feet for the past two weeks, so everything is being done iwthin a ten foot radius of myself. I'm on medications that require me to be away from anyone who might possibly be sick (they shut down my immune system), so it's been interesting! But all in all I'm doing pretty good.
3. I have a rabbit who is more dominant than my dogs. No really. The dogs are scared of the bunny.
4. I have terrible luck with glue, and I keep getting myself glued to everything when I work on new projects. not sure what's up with that.
5. I don't actually have a favorite color. I fluxuate between deeply loathing pretty much every color, and rather liking every color. It changes constantly so I've stopped trying to have a favorite color.
6. I don't have a favorite food either. I just have lots of good things I enjoy eating.
7. I bake an awesome pumpkin pie thanks to my amazing Dad, and today is his birthday. So I will bake a pumpkin pie in his honor.
8. Hope is an amazing thing.
THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE! I AM SO EXCITED! THE GEM FAIR IS TOMORROW! EEE!
Also all art has been shipped, I should have emailed you each separately, but in case you did'nt get your message, purchases within the states take about 3 days to get to you, and out of the country take about 2-3 weeks (depending a lot on what the postal service is like where you are!).
Thank you so much! omg! I will do a big update later with what all I got and what all I'm making with it! EEE!
Also I will have major holiday announcements soon!
And major convention announcements!
EEEEEEEEEEEE! OMG I LOVE YOU GUYS!
*flings love at everyone*
What if I fail. What if I am not good enough.
I think one of the hardest things for me as an artist, is handling failure. We all handle it in different ways, and what constitutes as 'fail' depends on who you're talking to. But one of the big things I notice a lot of us seem to do, is see a part of our art that we want to improve on, and instantly label it a failure. That one error becomes big as life sometimes, to the point that I used to say 'it's not very good ... please I know the hand is terrible, I'm so sorry'. Yes that's right, I would apologize for failing at rendering a hand in a pleasing way.
It took a while for me to realize that not being able to draw a hand right.. was okay. It wasn't me hitting a devastating end of 'well they like her art but she's the artist who can't draw hands', and thus rang the end of my career. I had to learn that as an artist, we are always growing. And sure, my hands may be super gimpy NOW, but hiding them isn't going to help. This is the point where you raise your hand if you're one of those artists who picked poses to hide hands so that you didn't have to draw them, and thus didn't have to face failure again.
The thing is? Every single failure really IS an opportunity to learn something new. It's a lesson, and while that is a horrible cliche, it's a cliche precisely because it is very true. What you have before you when you draw that twisted, blocky, clumsy appendage is a working blueprint to begin seeing exactly where your errors are. You have a rare chance to study anatomy and to compare it and see where the corrections can be made to improve. It's only through trying that you get this chance, though. So you have to stop, take a deep breath, and not be afraid that you won't get it right the first time. There's always the second, or third, or fifteenth. It doesn't matter because there is literally always another chance to improve
I would like to issue a challenge
If you are feeling like a failure, I would like you to stop and look at your latest piece. This time write down your thoughts on it, but I want you to focus on the things you did RIGHT. What you've improved on since the last time you painted, where you feel that you really shone with it. Even if it's just that you pressed the pencil to get just the right width of line in this area, whatever. And from now on when you post your art, every time you want to say 'it's not very good...' instead I want you to post about that thing you did right. No 'I know ti's not good' or 'my anatomy sucks'. I want to see 'man I really like the shade of purple here' or 'I am really proud of how I got her hair to tumble just right'.
Show people the good things in your art. Art is expressing passion and what you love, feel, dream, think.. so show people that. Don't worry so much about making sure that you're humble enough about your skill level.
Unanswered Messages My messages are full right now. I've got around.. 40+ messages sitting in my inbox and 500+ comments sitting in my inbox that haven't been answered, and sadly won't be for at least two weeks. I'm so sorry but I'm a little backed up at the moment so I hope nothing is life or death! When I'm back from Comic Con I'll sit down and clear everything out, but at the moment I just don't have time to.
Livestream A few people have asked when I will do stable hours for livestreaming. The answer is.. not right now? Readying for comic con means that I'm super unpredictable in my hours at the moment. If you've signed up to follow my feed, it will email you when I randomly pop on. I'll settle into hours as soon as I can!
The stream is: www.picarto.tv/live/channel.ph…
Patreon The free prints are up for my Patrons over on Patreon (for those that don't know, once a month I give a free highres file of various artwork for you to be able to print up your own piece at home. It's one of the ways I say thank you to those who are supporting me).
My Patreon is: www.patreon.com/Jessi
Etsy The shop is closed down while the convention is going on. I'll be reopening it once I'm back, with all new listings!
Etsy is: www.etsy.com/shop/Vestaka
Personal Website I need to upgrade my personal website. I don't have any clue how to do this, so I will be looking into pricing having an expert set it up for me. Expect some random sales once I know how much I'm looking at spending, in order to raise the funds. And I do mean really random sales.
Terrible personal site is: jessicamdouglas.com/
Also LIVESTREAMING IS NOW. I'll be streaming the beaded dragon this time, so it'll be slow going. But please please swing by here: www.picarto.tv/live/channel.ph…;
Sign up, talk to me! I love chatting while I art! Ask questions! I love questions!
Also if you become a follower of the page it emails you every time I start streaming, which is awesome for those random 'I feel like streaming now' moments.
Today won't be much streaming of art, the art is there but I'm setting up the channel so I'll only be drawing off and on for a bit so it might be boring at first, but bookmark, feel free to ask questions, etc!
Okay so... the conventions were awesome and a great deal of fun. If you're going to be attending a con (or have a local con you alawys attend) and would like to see my work there, please let me know! I'm back to mailing out to conventions regularly now!
I have a webcam! Thank you to all my Patrons over at PATREON! It's very highquality and beautiful, however my internet is a bit poopy so I will not be able to start livestreaming until monday. BUT I will begin regular livestream sessons, so if there is a particular question/technique/etc that you REALLY want some live/visual demonstrations of start letting me know now so I can plan on having the right materials available!
What is coming up artwise:
Butterfly Tree in a Jar commission, this one won't be for sale guys, she's already sold. But I'm excited to share it!
Plague of Darkness: I've returned to my deification of the 10 plagues of egypt series! I'm starting with darkness and i'm super, super, super excited to show you all! In theory this will be painted live, I'm hoping!
Gemstone Dragon: You all liked Vance's Dragon and Bronzed so much tha tI am working on a series of dragons with *actual gemstones*, pearls, opals, rubies, etc. etc. etc. I'm so excited I cannot wait to show you all!
ANYWAY EXCITING TIMES SO GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS!
Friday: I can be found at SLC steamfest in the morning, in the art show. I'll be there probably until about 1 or 2.
Then I can be found all the way across the city at ToshoCon, doing a panel on anatomy and wings at 6 pm.
Saturday I will be back over at SLC steamfest, once again found over in the art show.