One of my earliest creative memories is of filling blank notebooks as a kid. My family would spend nearly all of our summers up at our cabin and I would pack for myself a sweet pack of Crayola markers and a bunch of wide-ruled, spiral bound notebooks in various colors. I would fill these up with stories and drawings of whatever was around me or on my mind (topics range from erasers, cows, my hamster, cereal, my dad, mermaids, and many others). My parents still have all the notebooks and they are hilarious. I feel like the coolest thing about them is seeing myself get better at spelling from notebook to notebook.
Right now I work full time at another job during the day, so five days a week I go downtown for 8 hours, then come home and about half the time I work on projects or draw, and the other half I procrastinate and make bread or a more-elaborate-than-it-should-be dinner. I’m lucky that my day job is relatively flexible and I can often do some of my own design work there, but right now I’m slowly transitioning out of it, so soon my typical workday is going to shift entirely.
In September I’ll be releasing the final issue of a monthly zine I have put together for the last three years called “The Pendulum.” Each issue had a piece of writing about “time” and a small risograph print by an illustrator, also about “time.” It was great fun to work on all these years and introduced me to many other illustrators and writers I might not have had the opportunity to work with otherwise. I feel like I learned a lot about how to talk to people and how to approach them/how I like to be approached about projects. I’m sad to not have more years of the zine under my belt but it felt like the right time to wrap it up. I’m eager to figure out a new iteration of it sometime down the road.
I feel like I’m always figuring out my style, in a way. I’ve been hooked on these seven colored pencils for a while now, and at this point my brain interprets and categorizes the world based on these seven colors. I also look at a lot of art at my day job, which has definitely had an influence on me, for better or for worse. It might sound simple or silly, but I truly think the best advice is to draw all the time. It’s so easy these days to spend a lot of time on instagram or tumblr looking at other people’s work and comparing yours to theirs, or trying to mimic theirs, and I sometimes feel like the access we have to everyone’s work can be really inhibiting. Social media is so great to support each other and to get our work into the world, but it’s so much more important to make drawings that you feel confident in, not that you saw someone else make, or that you think will get the most likes/responses. Your work won’t grow if you’re constantly worrying about those things.
I would tell my 16 year old self to cool it with the snarky cynicism. It was funny and charming and it made all your high school teachers laugh whenever they asked you questions or you turned in papers, but it’s too easy to be sarcastic! Everything in the world is a lot lovelier if you can be kind and open hearted. Keep the keen eye and ear that often comes with cynicism and sarcasm, but approach the world in an effort to make it better, not to constantly point out its flaws. Also, stop touching your face, you’re giving yourself acne!
Well, obviously I need to figure out what I’m doing in general––figure out exactly how to refocus my brain now that I won’t have a full time job to be at every day. Hopefully this means more projects with other people and less time on the train in the morning. Maybe I’ll open a bagel cart? But for right now I’ve got a new zine coming out with Tan & Loose Press next month, the final issue of “The Pendulum,” a few drawings in a couple group shows and then a million weddings to attend.