So its been a couple of weeks since I finished my course with the Lilla Rogers Studio School. It was an amazing 5 weeks full of crazy pumping art out in response to brief & connecting with like-minded souls all over the globe. I loved every minute of it.
I've since had school holidays with the kids home for a couple of weeks & now my 2 big girls have gone back to school with my 2 little girls also off to school but starting for the very first time. Big milestone. Its now just me & Buddy at home in the daytime & I've felt a little lost I think. There's only one child. There's no brief to work on. I'm trying to sort out what I'll do next. Geez I am busy doing all sorts, building in new routines for exercise, planning some travel, keeping house, working & making.... And I have more eCourses coming up too but I still feel a bit light headed. A bit fuzzy. Maybe because the house is quiet. I don't know. In any case, I need to get cracking on future plans.
I've written a few times how I decided to invest a little in myself this year & do a bunch of eCourses to play, evolve my style, work on future direction & make regular art dates like I'm working as fulltime artist already. I took Lilla's course in particular because I wanted to work on my style & find out how to make what I do, more interesting & more attractive to the public. Afterall, I am pursuing a career in illustration.
Throughout the course, I learned ALOT of valuable information about the industry - the merchandising & licensing industry. When I am ready with a future portfolio that I am happy & proud of, I will certainly [muster up the courage and] go knocking on all the right doors. I look forward to that.
I learned how to present my work more professionally. I worked to brief that I didn't really like to start with but just kept working & sketching & incubating ideas & eventually coming up with ideas that I was happy with. I handed in pieces I was proud of. And then afterward I thought of a million different things I could of, should of done differently.
On the course I also connected with amazing people at all levels of the industry. A wealth of information is still being shared in that group & I love to pop in & see what is happening. I only wish I could spend more time connecting. But at this stage of life if I am online too much, I'm not creating. Yes sure I can borrow time to create, but then the kids aren't getting enough atttention or the house is neglected....
Right now, for me & my family, I'm trying to concetrate on pursuing illustration. That means working away on my style & learning about the profession. And to be honest, my creative incubator [brain] is overwhelmed or sensory overloaded with what to focus on next. I did obtain alot of information about how to make art pop so that its attractive. How to use colour, about composition etc. All fabulous stuff. However the vast majority of it was in relation to digital art made in illustrator or photoshop. Different kinds of work to mine. Its what appears to have alot of the marketshare. Regardless I think I can translate most of the tips & inside info to my mixed media work, I think, but I'm still having some internal spinning about whether any of my art is good enough & what bits should stay, what bits should go. I can make lots of improvements here & there but I'm wary of taking it all on board & changing things completely.
I think I am actually more confused about what my own style is or what to do with it, than before I took the course. And I feel somewhat that I've taken a step back from what I've been doing pre-course & where I wanted to go. Maybe thats a good thing, one step back, two steps forward maybe? I guess I'm unsure of precisely what I want to do or what I should be doing to improve my paintings. I suppose I will just feel my way through one painting at a time. I definitely want to be more generous in terms of the amount of stuff that gets onto canvas but that doesn't necessarily mean more busy. In many ways, I want to simplify what I am doing & make less busy, but put more into each item. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone but anyway, its something I'm working on. Its a process. I will try to not overthink it too much. The Penny may drop for me tonight, tomorrow, next week. I'm confident & I trust my brain. It always sorts things out for me.
Meanwhile, I have been sketching out lots more characters & girls too & trying to draw more joy in their faces but technically I am finding I'm not loving it. I like the brooding, wistful, thoughtful girls. The ones that aren't cheesily smiling but have big fat thinking brains that they can't switch off, are actually my kind of peeps. So although I have to & should & will take on board lots of what I have learned, I do have to stay true to what comes naturally pouring out of me. Because if I try to change that too much, it won't be my style, it'll be somebody else's. And frankly, regardless of popularity, straight Illustrator art without my passion, without my messy imperfection, without me in it, isn't what I like/enjoy/want forever. Some, even lots, but not all. I like getting my hands dirty too much. And I just love it when people connect with me through my art - through my brush strokes, through the collage, through my scribbly words, through the eyes of my girls & characters. I suppose I am aiming for boutique popularity, not mainstream saturation. But if someone offered me alot of money.... ha! I suppose we can all be bought. LOL
Anyway, the course was great value for money, the information was fabulous in a general sense. No doubt about that. I loved it all. Lilla & Beth are awesome. In a specific sense - to me - to my art evolution - I wasn't floundering before, I am now. But thats ok. The course stirred the pot & turned things on its head for me. That has to be good. Eventually. For growth. I do recognise that. I guess I'll keep making art, keep scribbling away, let my trusty incubator dream about it, sort through the information & let me know what I'm doing next. Once I have figured it out, I'll be sure to share + the gazillion plans & ideas that I have dreamed up.
Last shares for my course....
The piece up above was my entry into a contest for licensing. The other entries I have seen have been just amazing & I'm quite certain mine doesn't tick all the right boxes but I'm very happy with the time I devoted to the piece & I know I worked very hard putting it all together & trying to work to the brief. Its a combo of watercolour paintings, mixed media on canvas & then all brought together digitally. It is fun to work in a hybrid way. Almost the best of both worlds. I can actually see myself doing that more & more into the future. My first love is mixed media & I love that I can make art that way & then just manipulate where needed digitally to make potential client/customer work look even better or reach more audience, or be printed on so many different surfaces. Fun!
As for the picture below, its a showcase of all the artwork I made during the course for bolt fabric, home decor, childrens book cover, wall art & gift market. Looking over those pieces now, I still enjoy them. Although I want to do more, do new things & keep moving forward. Or sideways, and then forward again.
I'm on a train that can't stop & although my brain is a bit hungover [overload! non-drinker!], I'm still enjoying the ride on the wiggly track.