Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Mini Prints from Printstagram

A friend of mine told me about Printstagram ( a site where you can get your instagram photos printed in several formats. I had some cards made using some photos and photos of a few illustrations of mine. 

I'll be selling them at my mom's shop, Sherrie's Stuff, in Warrenton, VA. I'm working out price, but I will use half of what I make from these cards to buy food for the Fauquier Community Food Bank! 

I'll update you on this in a month or so and document my trip to the store and to the food bank. Yay!

Finally taking the leap

I've taken the leap.

I think I made this image back in 2010 or 2011. Around that time a gallery owner who had this print up in his shop asked me, "What's the story behind this 'Alois' print? Everybody loves it." I don't think I had an explanation. I actually created this image after going to church one day and saw a light reflecting on a wall that looked like a bird. I thought it looked neat and decided I was going to go home and draw this bird.

What was a reflection on a wall became an illustration, and then a poem, and then a story. And now I can say that the story told through this illustration is a part of my own. 

This entire summer I've been doing lots of praying, trying to figure out the next best step for me. I was thinking maybe it was finally time to start my own business. But fear and logic had me feeling like maybe I should consider my other options. Like:

1) Pursue web design. I had taken a year of web and interactive design classes thinking it was something I'd pursue next. As great and exciting as this sounded, I felt like I was still on a path of going after everything BUT what I actually wanted to do. Illustrate.

2) Quit my full-time and find a part-time job so that I could spend more time creating. This didn't make much sense to me because I like my current job, I enjoy my coworkers and people that I'm able to help and work with, it doesn't stress me out at all, and I learn a lot of things that help me as a designer/illustrator/entrepreneur.

3) Try and find another job doing illustration. This sounded fine but I felt like I could enter a place where I'm creating things with no purpose. I love art that has heart behind it. And although making something beautiful and sexy and having a happy client can be enough, for me personally its not always as fulfilling as knowing that what you're creating is effecting someones life in small or big, positive ways. (This is something I will continue to pursue in life because I'm still not where I want to be.)

4) Just be a full-time freelance illustrator and designer. Honestly, I'm just not ready. Not yet.

I took a trip to Paris and Barcelona at the end of August. Traveling does something in me. I think exploring new places, seeing how others live, hearing other languages, and the sometimes freedom, sometimes anxiety of getting lost and finding your way is all humbling, encouraging, exciting. I love being tested and forced to step out of my comfort zone. But thats the thing: It's so hard to force ourselves to do something without the help of outside influences. And while overseas I realized that I have to force myself to step out of my comfort zone. And I couldn't wait for other things to happen to see if it would force something to happen in the way that I hoped. I had to take the step I was afraid to take. It was time.
So I decided that when I got back I would ask to cut a few hours so that I could begin to work on my business on the side.

But would they allow it? Would they know that I'm still serious about what I do? Was it an act of selfishness doing something like this? Could I still pay my bills? Was reducing hours enough? Would God desire that I took a bigger leap and have greater faith? Should I let them know about this business I'm hoping to start? Questions and fears still whirred in my mind.

But I had to do it. I had to do SOMETHING. Take one step. Realize that the rest would come. Stop thinking. Start doing. It's ok if its not the right or most perfect step. I'll learn and adapt (if my mind is open to it).

So I'm also the type of person that pays attention to signs. And some people may think I'm crazy, but I truly do believe, as the quote from "The Alchemist" says: When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it."

My Signs:

- At work, I thought that maybe I could use Thursdays and Fridays as "my day." We weren't so busy these days so I figured I could come for half the day and get my personal work done the other half of the day.

- My roommate was about to get married and would soon be moving out of the house. Her rent was $140 dollars less than mine. If I moved into her room I could save on rent with my reduced income. Yes, the room was much smaller, but it was worth the sacrifice. I think we HAVE to make sacrifices to get something we really want and make it work. Short term pain for long term gain. Or long term pain for future gain. However you want to look at it, I had to do it. I believe God desires we make sacrifices if we want to evolve.

- I received 3 new projects within a month from new clients.

- My mom invited me to go to the NY Now trade show. When I saw what some of the vendors were doing I gained a new confidence in myself. She didn't have to invite me, but she did. (Thanks, Mom!)

- I kept hearing from family, friends and acquaintances that they really had faith in what I do.

This is all God. And some would say, "No, it's coincidence." And maybe it is. But to me, they're signs that motivate and encourage me to stick with God and trust in Him.

Determined that I could make things work I decided to just ask. And be completely honest and transparent. And my boss said yes :)

- - - -

I remember lying in bed a few months back while praying and just thinking, when I decided that I was no longer going to pursue my dreams using logic alone. For some reason, logical reasoning by itself brews fear in me, and I knew I'd only continue in circles going after everything but what was on my heart and in the end still feel like something was missing. Heart things can't be pursued by logic. Only by faith (and trust in God).

Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose
for him that will stand. - Proverbs 19:21

I just want to share this to encourage you to:

- Figure out what makes you, or what you do, unique
- Don't be afraid to stand out and look or think differently.
- Find a way to help and serve others through what you do.
- Wait. Meditate.
- Don't allow fear to cripple you. We are the ones that give life to fear.
- There aren't many that take the extra time and effort to get better at something, to be better, to be the best, etc. Take that extra time and effort.
- Trust your gut. Follow your heart. Watch for signs (big and small).
- Acknowledge your blessings. The smallest blessings are your fuel to keep pushing.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Romans 12:2 AMP)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!
(Psalm 62:5-7 AMP)

From a message by Charles Stanley: Definition of Waiting: Pausing for further instruction. Waiting is not passive. It is directed instruction. Being still is an act of submission and trust in God. 

Wait Patiently. Trusting Him. Expectingly. Steadfast (staying strong in the storm). Courageously (having no reason to fear). Silently. 

The simple things: Inspiring things all around

My Yogi Tea

My Grandparents house in the country

This garden in my neighborhood. 

Sexy pieces I've collected over the years that I can't get rid of. 

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