Exciting News

Friends. I am proud to announce my collaboration with Netflix on their fall mailer! As they explain on the dvd.com blog:

My contribution to your Netflix viewing experience

"A few months ago, we held a very special contest – the chance to design the fall mailers. You guys blew us away; we were inundated with thousands of submissions. From the many piles of paper and pixels of digital illustrations, four creative designs stood out. Now, you'll start to see their wonderful artwork pop up in your mailboxes."

The real deal! Image courtesy of the Netflix team.

I have had such a great time collaborating with the folks at Netflix. They have been nothing but appreciative of my work, and have made sure that I was happy with how it was being presented. They also have been great about making sure my voice as an artist is represented, and will even be doing a blog post about me, so stay tuned...

Thanks so much for all of your support! As they say, I couldn't have done it without you.

Business

Last night, I read a great blog post by the talented and successful artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon. I was searching for advice on self-promotion. Not in the how-to-do-it sense (although there is always lots to learn there) but rather on how to feel less queasy about doing it. Cogdon has a lot of experience with this subject, and I highly recommend her book Art, Inc. for all those interested in making a living through art.

In her post On Doing the Work, Cogdon offers some pointed thoughts on selling art:

 1) this could take awhile so get started now (ie: don’t wait!)

2) show up and do the work every day

3) be patient.

She goes on to quote Twitter founder Biz Stone:  “Timing, perseverance and 10 years of really hard work will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”

Condon's conversational voice is both inviting and confident. She is honest and she doesn't bother with the blushing self-consciousness that I realize is often my security blanket.

I'm not going to say anything else about this piece. Go read it. And in the spirit of 1, 2, and 3, please vote for my latest Treadless design. You can do so here:

https://www.threadless.com/designs/hairworld?utm_source=notification&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Design-Approved-Shared

 Thank you. As Lisa says with the title of her blog, "Today is Going to be Awesome."

My latest Threadless entry, Hairworld

Something to Vote About

Time to dive into the vibrant world of campaigning! True, my tiny platform today has nothing to do with Trump (or headlice). Old-fashioned pen and ink drawing will not change the world, catastrophically or otherwise. But keeping this medium alive matters to me, and I'm happy to lobby on its behalf.

So...vote for nibs! You'll have to go to Threadless.com where my Things Are Happening design is up for review for the next 9 days. Yes, you will have to register to vote, but it is free and speedy and your vote really does count!

Click here: https://www.threadless.com/designs/things-are-happening

I've always wanted to submit to Threadless, and I'm pleased that my little line drawing made it in with the digital big kids. And while you are there, why not vote for a few more designs as well? I'm fairly positive every artist you support will appreciate it in a big way.

Thanks, friends.

Flight

I'm lucky that I don't deal with a real fear of flying. My lower-grade discomfort squirms with antsy legs and flat air and the inescapable truth that I must sit with myself for hours on end.* But the unique confinement of an airplane has granted me permission to be unproductive when little else could. This was a safe space, full of vapid magazines, endless podcasts, and the most legitimate excuse I could find to avoid the drearies of being responsible.

Tales from the tray table

Recently though, something has changed. I've found drawing again, and suddenly a day of traveling sails by.  

In the past few years, a growing need to have my art legitimized by the world became inversely proportional to the amount of time I spent creating. The self-imposed pressure to be Great kicked drawing right into my gaggle of "shoulds" and right out of the de-pressurized main cabin of economy class. Luckily, art knows its place in my life, and yesterday I spent a good deal of my seven hours in the air with pen in hand.

The easy metaphor for this small triumph would be that I was a plane, soaring through the cloudy turbulence of life and mind to reach my final destination. Really though, this was much more about being grounded. True, I didn't like most of my drawings and spent hours chasing one character to completion. I wasn't accomplishing great feats of genius, but I was moving forward. Like my surroundings, this caused me some mild discomfort. But I got where I was going, and that, I think, counts for quite a lot.

* I realize these complaints are petty at best. The brilliant Louis CK captures this fact perfectly.

En route

I must note the visual inspiration I recently garnered from the notebooks of Mattias Adolfsson. I can't say enough about this staggeringly prolific illustrator, and I encourage you to delve into his work whenever you need a reminder of where pen and ink can take you. 

I think I've landed

Anything Worth Doing

As the title of this blog suggests, I do not have a great relationship with perfectionism.

Somehow, I have always thought that real perfectionists have their shit together. If you are one of these unicorns, your house is immaculate. Your mind is fraught but your drive for excellence always wins. You are fastidious and meticulous and as a result, everything you do is AWESOME. 

If this is you, congratulations. I salute you from the shadow of my towering (clean!) laundry mountain and the many things I am going to accomplish. 

My personal perfectionism feeds on all-or-nothing thinking and a mix of equal parts indecisiveness, shame, and delusions that I am special. It is familiar. It snuggles me when I am trying to get things of substance done.

Yesterday I was thinking about the quote: "Anything worth doing is worth doing well." It kind of pissed me off. So I drew.

It turns out I didn't get the quote quite right. Drat. The real one goes: "Anything worth doing is worth doing right." Apologies to Hunter S. Thompson both for the error and for thinking that this quote is bullshit.

Just to be sure my opinion wasn't wrong (there's that indecision!) I went a-googling. I was rewarded with a most satisfying article on the subject from Psychology Today. In it, Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., tells us about Joel Salatin, a podcasting farmer who posits that "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing poorly first." He explains that the kind of thinking exemplified in the original quote "stigmatizes us from innovating in our own lives. We're scared to death to try new things, because we think we have to get it right the first time." Dr. Pychyl goes on to explore–and champion–this subject from a psychological (and very accessible) perspective. Writes Pychyl: "When we learn to see that it is through admitting our ignorance and trying even though it won't be perfect or even "right" the first time, we really start living."

That is an outlook I can snuggle.

Hair

At some point in my career as an in-the-margins doodler, I fell into hair. Those of us in the anxious camp find ways to self-medicate, and repetitive pattern-making has come to my rescue many a time. Perhaps in my avoidance to figure out faces and bodies or perhaps in an effort to translate my love of linocut to a more portable medium, I started to find looping manes and striped mops on every page. 

My older brother Joe had golden curls.* A halo that earned him what felt to me then like endless opportunities.  Magician's assistant. Free sample recipient. My corn silk bowl cut didn't stand a chance. 

*They have since mellowed a bit in both color and shape.

Maybe this is relevant? Perhaps it plays a part in this friendly hair-obsession of mine? Probably not. 

In any case, here's to hair! Wild and weird. Expect more.

Starting Somewhere

Welcome to the space where I share sketches, thoughts, and who knows what. I've procrastinated long enough. My resident what-ifs are already sending me loads of suggestions, but it is about time to do as my dear friend Paul has urged: "Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good." Tally-ho!