They are my favorites, dang it! The message of being true

bestnine

There is a program on Instagram that will pick out your best posts of 2017. I fiddled around with it and it worked once. The second time it looped over and over saying my images were very large and to wait a moment. After waiting too many moments, I took the hint and walked away from it, thinking, there must be a message for me here. The application picks out your most liked posts, which brought me to the creative’s age old question. Do I create what others want or what comes through me and makes me happy?

I have picked out MY Best Nine of Instagram and a thoughtful analysis of why I picked these out.

  1. The Googly with an egg.

I really enjoyed making these creatures inspired by a visit to the Phoenix Museum and Alexander Calder’s bird exhibit. I’ve been learning animation the past year and I wanted to experiment. My friend Britt suggested the Googly rock the egg to sleep. I took that and ran with it and fumbled with the animation. It needs a few tweeks, but I like it.

2. Balloon Animals Visiting the Bakery

After watching the Thanksgiving Parade and meeting a woman who made Balloon Animals at Ihop that same week, I was enamored with Balloon Animals. I wrote an entire list of Balloon-related themes for a lesson/curriculum, which I LOVE doing, by the way. What if Balloon Animals visited the Bakery? What would they eat? Well, ice cream sodas, of course.

3. The Googlys in the Invention Room

My first foray into digital illustration meets hand-drawn illustration. I had this image in my mind of the Googlys surrounding the Invention Room waiting for their eggs to hatch. The Invention Room is this place of inventive chaos. There’s so much activity and creatures bouncing about among the vials of experiments and it seems like the creature who runs the place is always out to lunch and doesn’t notice a thing or prefers the chaos.

4. Underwater Lollipop

I love all the inventions made in the Idea Emporium’s Bakery, but this one is my favorite.

5. Flight

I had fun experimenting with drawing butterflies to animate across the page. I tried one such experiment and it didn’t impress me. Time to play more with it. But I did dig the gray/halftones next to the yellow.

6. The Panda Train

My nod to my stepson whose pandas all have fun names, including Medium Panda. I believe the stories of the mall are already out there. We just need to discover them. And his pandas must have come from the mall. They needed a train to deliver the mail, of course.

7. Imagination Quote

I love Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way. It was life-changing for me, forcing myself to look at my creative life and make it a priority. We need the imagination to come up with solutions to every day problems, to give us hope and delight.

8. The Escaping Monster

I have no idea how the monsters under the bed became a part of the Invention Room, but I loved the story and I loved my very first animation attempts. Now that little purple monster can be found floating around most of the mall. He just won’t be contained, the little adventurer. (Check out the web pages here, he’s everywhere).

9. Fairy Real Estate

Being a designing fairy, I had to have fairy influence in this world. Playing around with fairy houses I fell in love with the crooked ones. What if the fairies who lived in them were just a little cockeyed or lopsided? Wouldn’t they need something a little different to live in? The Nursery department has an specific order to it, opposite of the Invention Room, or the occasional chaos of the Bakery.

My conclusion or realization (big lightbulb over my head) for my Favorite Best Nine are when my posts were purposeful and focused on the story of the Mall emerging I was happy, and hopefully, the viewers were too. I brought forth energy*spark*magic forward to share. I lost my way when I thought, this is what the readers want, this is what they like, these have the numbers, but then I am not true to my mall that is emerging and taking life. And I’m abandoning the tiny blue monsters, the Googlies, and the bouncing cakes, who want to be discovered.

It’s a fine line to balance between running a business, catering to your audience, and being true to what is being born. It can easily swing in the wrong direction. Something to think about this Tuesday.

Oh, and big big realization. Through my sharing on Instagram in the past year, I created the activity book! A big thank you for those who visit over there. Of course, there will be tweeking and fixing and editing, but the illos and pieces are done. The story book has just started.

Until next time. And Happy Hannukah to my Hannukah friends! Be sure to visit the Mall’s departments. And if you are on Facebook, be sure to join the Group.

ronnidesigningfairy

I’m not allowed to look at other artists, Being Authentic Part two

comparingpostI’m blocked. I’m looking at Chapter 3 and it’s coming to the home stretch of being able to submit it as a sample chapter, and the ideas aren’t flowing.

The irony of this is I just wrote about what to do to unblock in last week’s post. But that’s how it always works, whatever I am meant to teach or share, that lesson will be full-fledged in my face. Welcome lesson.

I adore the work of other artists. They inspire me with their imagination and their original voices. Watching my Pinterest feed, I am in awe! But too much looking at other artists blocks me, especially when I am creating my own project.

I looked to the masters for advice. I took out the book, Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I sought out the book after finding it in Barnes and Noble, my church of books. Here I was, sitting on the floor cross-legged and tears of knowing were flowing down my cheek after skimming on a chapter and finding the one on Sewer Rats and Shame. I pushed them away before my stepdaughter could see it. Brown was writing about Comparing, my biggest vice.

“Another one of shame’s sidekicks is comparison…comparison sucks the creativity and joy right out of life. If our story includes shame, perfectionism, or comparison and we’re left feeling isolated or “less than,” we need to employ two completely counterintuitive strategies.”

Her advice is basically to tell your story to someone else, (would this work?), and to talk more lovingly to ourselves. I have a running dialogue in my head that isn’t pretty and was accumulated since I grew boobs. It is definitely the voice of shame and shame is mean and tells you how you suck. This piece of information was big for me. It was shame that was giving me headaches! Shame that was blocking my creative flow! It had a name and comparing was the disguise.

One of the hardest things about making this book has been asking myself, What makes this book special? Is it special enough? Which is a crap-load of old stuff to hit me with. What makes you special? How are you different then the person over there? Are you good enough?

I wrote last week about being Authentic. I think the antidote to the not enough’s, and comparisons, is being Authentic as possible. It’s the truest to you as possible.

Last week I talked about The Lab, that great hip hop dance group on World of Dance. Last week was the elimination rounds on the show and I hate the format. They are taking several dancers that in their own right that are wonderful and unique and pitting them up against each other. The Lab lost against a lithe little dancer who could bend like Gumby. We as the audience were forced to watch apples vs. oranges and the judges decide “who was better.” Isn’t that subjective? And why aren’t we honoring both styles? I am sure The Lab will recuperate and have now gained even more exposure for their dancing skills (they seem already pretty successful.)

So comparison has to have a winner, and that’s why it doesn’t work. Having to prove yourself or your work that it’s special? That’s a trap too and an evil one. My question would be, why aren’t they seeing what is special?

Now I do have a handicap against me — I’m Jewish and our culture pretty much was raised comparing. “Oh, look at so and so’s son. He’s went to Yale and is a Doctor. Isn’t that impressive?” Never mind that he’s a secret drug addict who cheats on his wife the first Friday of the month. Most folks are judged it seems on their education (because it is so valued in our culture), and on your job.

I come back to the creating part. You are working on a project. THE worse thing is to judge it in process. I share a story in my Help I’m Sensitive book. I took a NIA class and we were challenged with balancing poses. When I looked at yoga girl standing next to me in her perfect pose and matching yoga outfit, I fell right over. Pretty embarassing. But when I focused on my own core, my own body in straight line and how that felt, I had some amazing balance! I could stand like that for quite awhile. When we create we need to be enjoying the creating. Watch a kid draw or paint. They are messy, full of life and in the moment drawing or painting what they draw or paint. The worst thing would be to tell them to paint orange instead of red. You just cut off their flow, people!

And that’s essentially what I did by focusing on all the other “successful” artist’s accounts. I was watching yoga girl and telling myself how my orange should be red. And I wondered why no ideas would flow in there. I need to be that little kid again who has no knowledge of the world and what others are doing while painting their stuff animals blue and making an outfit of a tutu paired with a striped soccer shirt. It’s more of a protective mode I need to be in. To be able to shield her while she creates. 

Brene Brown was right. I do need to talk more lovingly to myself. If had a child in front of me creating, I would see all that was beautiful and raw and magical in her/his art. I would not parent her with discounting and tell her it was not enough. Our expression needs self appreciation!

Until next Blog Tuesday, how are you going to stop your habit of comparing and focus more on the work? I give you great appreciation for what is raw and beautiful for what you are making. It is more than enough, in fact, it is SPECIAL.

ronnidesigningfairy

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The Goal is to be as Authentic as Possible, Part One

regtipstrengths

As I was writing in my Brain the other day (what I call my sketchbook notebook), I noticed that the underlying theme I was writing was about staying authentic, having that true voice in my creative work. The artists I admire so greatly all have such a unique style. (Think the late Dr. Seuss). They are true to themselves. I’m sure they weren’t overnight successes and somewhere along the way someone might have told them they were “doing it wrong,” or “too different,” or even told, “Why are you drawing in crayons, when the “in” thing right now is pen and ink?” And yet, they persisted, staying true to whatever was streaming out of them.

Finding that creative style all your own can take years. I know when I started out, my pen and ink drawings were wobbly at best. After lots of training at college, my drawings got more rigid or detailed. My illustration teacher, Dennis Corrigan, taught me how to fine-tune my pen and ink skills and include background places in the drawing for the eyes to rest. I would consider these drawings more realistic in style. This is one of my favorites of Lilibeth and Emily, my first beagles.

Lilscolor300

Where I am now in what I create is more of who I am, many years later, with a looser feel. My style is more clear and true to my voice, with a mix of precision from before, with whimsical loose. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how in the world I ever drew that many detailed lines. I lack the patience now and, ahem, cough, the eyesight. I know when I started I lamented I couldn’t be loose and free like some artists. Today, I embrace what I got.

Finding that authentic voice is a lot about being trueest to yourself, and folks can feel it. I’ve seen a lot of Potions out there lately on how to have a successful business. It looks like Fancy Seminars online to sign up for free this or that. It looks like pop in your photo here and take pics of your breakfast. It’s like the girl in high school who loses her identity so THAT boy will like her. All of a sudden, she loves basketball and hiking and wears tight jeans, when everyone knows she prefers soap operas, the mall, and the preppy urban look. If there is no PASSION underneath it, there’s no voice. It’s an empty voice. It should look like this:

The Lab

These kids have a strong, clear voice with their own sense of style. This is fierce passion in action. (SOURCE: NBC World of Dance on Youtube).

Creative folks out there that have such a distinct voice take us into their worlds. We can feel that energy bubbling all over. We feel that expression is coming from a deep source. I rummage through folks on Instagram that copy the mixed media crayon style like Teesha Moore or Jane Davenport. They are just starting in their quest. I am thinking down the line they will find that voice too after putting on someone else’s. Check out artist Claudia Six, who I found yesterday. Her distinctive imaginary friends and dark yet spooky style has a voice all its own. Check out her Alice in Wonderland series while you are there; theatrical yet whimsical. Would love to visit her studio.

Claudia Six

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SOURCE: Claudiasix.com

More scouting around Instagram I look for the voices that can’t be duplicated. I found this artist from California.

Lissa Herschleb

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SOURCE: Instagram, copyright Lissa Herschleb

Her style is funky yet distorted with a bit of whimsy thrown in. Her site. She credits “indigenous peoples and the spirit world” as her influence, and that voice is clear, raw and dramatic. You rock, Lissa.

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A Fanciful Twist – Vanessa Valencia

SOURCE: http://afancifultwist.typepad.com; copyright Vanessa Valencia

And on the other side of the spectrum, Vanessa takes you into her world of glitter and colors and golden retrievers with hats, and you want to get lost there in her imagination. This is a world I bet unicorns live. Each year she sponsors Madhatter and Halloween blog parties that have been fun and entertaining. Her positive and uplifting style bursts through photos on her blog. And through her parties, many try to replicate her, capturing that magic, but that’s impossible. Which brings me to…

The problem with all this admiring is you can envy their style and end up taking on a little of it and muddy up your own. Glitter on my photos? Yes, let’s add that. Black somber seems to work, I will recreate that for my Instagram photos. You are now so far south of who you are and meant to be. Be inspired by their work. Use that inspiration to propel you forward to your authentic path. If they can do it, so can you. As I create my Idea Emporium book, I am constantly reminded of this. With my research I see in other books, my book develops, but I am probably best creating far from the computer or the bookstore so the book can talk how it wants to be. After all, the point of my design activity book is finding YOUR style and voice, not drawing the same cupcake I draw. I want to see your style, your design. 

Grappling and pushing for your style doesn’t work either. You have to get there with experimentation, discovery, and even a few accidents. It can take years or a month. It all depends on how far you can deep-sea dive into yourself, and how much you can bypass the quicksand — all those “not enough” voices in your head.

The advice I keep getting is to STAY AUTHENTIC, whenever I am thrown off course. Be true to what I do best, stick by it, don’t judge it, and that applies to you also. From the examples I shared, the most successful creative people seem to do just that.

pandatrain

from IDEA EMPORIUM book

Until next Blog Tuesday, find what floats your boat and calls to you the most… hey, that has a catchy feel to it. Could be a song. With lots of hugs,

ronnidesigningfairy

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