have some dignity

i agree with every little bit of this: http://99u.com/articles/32757/the-craftsmans-guide-to-working-with-dignity

Curiosity prevents “this worked in the past” from becoming, “this is all I know how to do.”

“You are who you are when nobody is watching.”

Without humility our own egos often fill the void that should be filled by learning and development.

Dignity means associating your self-worth with the effort placed in your work.

that last one is the hard one.
associating your self worth with the effort placed in your work.
a lot of people associate their self worth with the outcome: the perceived success or failure.
the fan base for it.

put self worth in a job done intently, focused, passionately, with care, with craftsmanship, with curiosity, with effort, with humility. these are the hard and necessary and much-more-fulfilling, authentic, and lasting things.

this helps me answer a lot of recent questions i've been asking myself about what i am doing here on this earth.

Blueberry To-Do List Notepad by Susie Ghahremani / boygirlparty.com


well, there hasn't been much to report these past few weeks. i went back to chicago, to my hometown, met the newborn baby of my best friend from high school. saw billy corgan in a teahouse where my first p.o. box used to be. walked on a trail in a prairie that i've walked a hundred times before. went to the wedding of a dear friend, and drank all the cocktails. went to a play (30 actually, the neo-futurists). saw some other friends. came home and tried to catch up on work. got sick. got super sick. got the sickest i've been in a decade. missed seeing my parents. went to see the breeders. went to see sebadoh. really want to go see the aislers set in los angeles, but think i might still be too sick to. saw kinky boots, the play. lola was something. read a lot. slept a lot. watched a lot of bojack horseman with my husband. coughed a lot. fell behind on work. perfected a syllabus. pet the cat. joined ello. thought about my future, thought about my past. you know, same ol'.

just a few of the many reasons i love the library.

one of the best things i've been doing lately is making regular trips to our new central library. i've been there a lot because i'm volunteering to plan a craft show / market there on december 13th (yep, me with the volunteering again!) but also because i just love it as a building.

i feel like the quality of a city is directly reflected in their quality of library, and san diego just got a big upgrade last year.

i feel like my every visit to the library is like an artists' residency, if i look at it the right way and use my time wisely. and it's free, which always makes me feel so fortunate and lucky to have such a resource in my life. much of my artwork is informed by things i've read or thought while spending my life in museums, parks and libraries.

absolutely zero of my artwork is informed by pinterest, which is another in a long list of reasons of why i believe artists should not be drawing inspiration from pinterest. there is some irony in that i actually use pinterest a lot, but i don't use it as an influence or reference for my artwork. i don't want my artwork to become a facsimile of things that are trendy; i want it originate from my viewpoint alone. that is the point of art, and as i have written many times before, the focus is not to only "make art that sells." /end of my ongoing crusade to make artists aspire to be artists and not internet celebrities again.

i digress.

today, i sketched photos of plant life from reference materials, used the pencil sharpener of a neighborly stranger, shared my lunch with someone who needed it more than me, met a woodworker from craigslist whom i handed some plywood off to, and spent hours in a meeting to plan the aforementioned craft show. but here are other things i've enjoyed recently while at my local library:


art. this one by local artist josh eggleton spoke to me for obvious reasons. from the incredible gallery on the 9th floor, each time i've visited, it's been curated beautifully. among my favorite galleries in this city, high on the list.


old, weird library stuff. i love card catalog cards, and well-loved (at least, once upon a time) checkout cards like this.


old, weird, random stuff. once i found a runaway's note on a post it in a book about whales. today i found this treasure trove of old photos, returned it to the lost and found as i can only imagine the heartache of the person who lost it.


weirdo endpapers. secretly, or maybe not so secretly, i'm a connoisseur. i spend a lot of time thinking about how to best use end papers, and so i appreciate when others have used theirs wisely.
related: look at the weirdly long format of this book!


research. look at these peepers! (my favorite part is the paw on the bottom left) i love learning about what i'm drawing, and drawing as i'm learning. the library is like an unlimited artist's residency in this way.


discovering books i've never heard of. this one is entirely block printed. "Swan Sky" by Tejima. just Tejima, like Madonna or Cher.


finding books i've heard of but hadn't gotten the chance to leaf through. (this one's "along a long road" by frank viva)


revisiting old favorites. this one's "the frog in the well" - illustrated by longtime favorite illustrator / legend roger duvoisin


so is this one. (from "hi, mister robin!", also illustrated by roger duvoisin + power author alvin tresselt -- they did a few books together)


discovering new favorites. check out this weird bear/pear poem excerpt. sometimes i think i am just not weird enough to be an artist, which is saying a lot because i am a weird ass person.


the outdoor spaces at my library are pretty wonderful, too.


and so is the neighborhood surrounding. this is a "pocket park" made of palettes, repurposed as a neighborhood space and installation.


i am a pretty big fan of the library.
support mine with a donation or go support yours.

mine needs all the help it can get.

so it can stay awesome.

good article

from Real Simple:

“Often, people with depression will seem despondent despite the love and encouragement received from others. It may even seem as if it doesn't register or is unwelcome,” he says. “However, this isn't true. This level of support is one of the main reasons that keeps a severely depressed person going from one day to the next.”

fifty fifty updates

well, i have a lot to catch up on. because we're nearly 3/4 into the year and i'm only at 36 movies, 24 books, 34 paintings and 15 tangible skills.

The tangible skills resolution is probably the toughest to quantify. For example, I learned how to set up my husband's P.A. for a wedding the other day, but I wouldn't count that. And half the time, I'm learning things and not even registering them as new skills unless it's something I sought out i.e. in a class.

But boy, I have some reading to catch up on. goodreads tells me i'm only 6 books behind schedule but the holidays are coming and I know that now's the time to soak it in, while work is slow. Too slow if you ask me.

Bests so far:

Movie: Zombieland
Book: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Painting: Tiger, or Night Forest, both below.
Skill: Copperplate calligraphy



I should probably paint larger more often.

I like the subtleties in the tiger painting. Minor shadowing. Colors that reflect a drier landscape. Things probably only I notice but were careful decisions.

Night Forest I like for almost the exact opposite reason. It was very loosely planned and painted and just kind of made up as I went along. And it's big, for me.

robin williams

i just read about the death of robin williams.

how heartbreaking that robin williams brought the world together with his creativity, but suffered alone.

i've been thinking a lot about depression, as i've recently written. re-reading that post, mostly written through tears, i wonder if he had all the same thoughts.

i have been noticing the increasingly bleak parallel between creation/innovation and depression.
Collapse )
i don't know if this is what was happening with him, but i feel like it's possible.
and then maybe robin decided to outcast himself permanently. who knows the magnitude of how he felt or what led him to take that heartbreakingly painful final step. depression can have nothing to do with how loved you actually are, how much you "used to" mean to people, how much people "used to love" things you created. if you feel that important piece of yourself, the best part of yourself, surgically separated from your spirit, i'm not sure where else you go from there.

the world is cruel to creatives.

if you know anyone suffering from severe depression, don't stop loving them and don't stop showing up.

to dos and tidying

i'm tidying up my studio and figured i'd make a couple announcements on products and things:


it's my last one of these guys.
when i look at my whole magnet collection, it's worth noting that this was my first of the series, I think created something like 7 yrs ago. and now it's retired. but it's made way for newer designs + what i feel is a much more developed style. same stylizations, years of practice later:


why did live journal turn this image on its side?

anyway, if you want the very last blue owl magnet, grab it here

on a related note, i have 3 very slightly flawed travel journals on hand (certainly imperceptible to anyone but me, but i have high standards and would feel awful shipping anything to anybody that i knew was flawed), if you want one - take 25% off with coupon code TRAVELJOURNAL over here

just the act of writing

just the act of writing and keeping a journal can make big problems seem smaller. thanks for bearing with me through those last couple - and thanks labrujah and pastels_badge for your insightful comments.

i took a nap and a bath and ate some soup from a can like a hobo and did some more thinking and here are those thoughts:

1. I think I am really run down post-ICON and it is skewing my perspective
I feel like I've been fighting off sickness ever since I got back. And exhibiting at ArtExpo was probably not the right idea. (Though signing at Comic Con definitely was! That was super fun!)
I already have an existing condition (thyroid tumor) that makes me feel tired all the time, and now getting daily reminders to nominate my replacement for ICON has left me a little bit feeling even more depleted and under appreciated.

This is probably coloring the whole way i am looking at my life in general, as i expected nothing but warm and fuzzy feelings and friendship and a sense of community after two years of volunteering and all the friends i included and all the opportunities I created for attendees.

That's not what happened but I'll get over it.

2. Art is powerful and affects people
It's why we make it. But, I recently read the very powerful graphic memoir Hospital Suite by John Porcellino and it affected me a lot and probably has contributed to my feelings of isolation and sadness because his were so relatable and reflective. He wrote/drew an incredible book I recommend to everyone, and I am probably carrying it with me a bit in my emotions which is a testament to its beauty.

But, like, when you're battling depression, be careful with the pyrotechnics of art and music.

3. Some of these problems are real and that's scary.
I honestly don't know what my future will look like. I didn't get into illustration or DIY thinking it would ever become my career, but now that it is, I am worried. I don't think I have a good role model for what a freelance illustration career looks like in 20 years, and that's scary to me, because where does that mean I'm headed? A lot of my predecessors work as hard as I do, if not harder. They promote a lot better than I do. They have dedicated collectors. Their work is better, too! But it basically looks like 20 yrs from now, they're up for the same opportunities I am and they're as uncertain about their futures as me, too.

So basically, although this is my dream life and career, I am a bit down on myself and my work and my future.

But I have to remember that there wasn't a role model for me when I started my career either. I just did it and created my own path.

I need to figure out the answers to these big questions, or at least find a way to be happy with the abyss, the unknown and the possibilities - the way I used to be.

That said: I did mean what I said, about just wanting to be able to enjoy stationery stores again.