Burning the candle at both ends.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here! Well, lots of great things happening in my life. For a while I was freelancing from company to company, taking on projects here and there in the last year. Jumping around really! You do what you can as projects come up as a means to a living!

This new year really was off to a great start. I was freelancing with a small digital web/marketing company in El Segundo for three months and then one of the recruiters that I work with called me with a small freelance project at Skechers! I hopped onto their small animation project they were creating as a promo video for a new shoe that’s coming out. They had hired me on to design and create the character and the visual development of the animated commercial. And then my first day there, Hasbro contacted me! So now I freelance there in-house as a Product Designer at Hasbro. All of this happened the second week of March. I finally feel like my life is going in the direction that I want! I couldn’t be more happier.

But my other freelance gigs had to be tied up. I was finishing a web design project on the side with the small company in El Segundo I’ve been freelancing with. I had to come in on one weekend to finish it out after the first week working at Hasbro. And then come in two hours after work on a Monday night to finish it out. That last week in March, I was super burnt out finishing work after work. I was burning the candle at both ends.

How many times have we burnt ourselves out? For those of you who have full time jobs, you probably know what I’m talking about. When you’re used to taking so much on, you don’t realize that in the midst of doing it all, you suddenly get exhausted. And the only person hurting is you. We don’t realize that taking time out for self care should be number one. And by doing too much can be hazardous to your health and overall well being.

I actually treated myself to a yoga class after work today and it was the most enlightening class. Yoga really is good for balancing the mind, body, and spirit. Not only do you get to stretch and feel like you’re in your body, but its also a good way to re examine the present moment. Our instructor was very good and he mentioned something about the yoga poses that clicked and it also kind of served as a metaphor for what I was going through. He said that when you move through the yoga poses, its ok that you don’t give your absolute 100% as you transition, and that we need to take our time to move through things. Otherwise you’d burnout the candle at both ends. And it all just made sense.

I was burning the candle at both ends. Saying yes to too many outside freelance work after work and I was starting to burnout. I realize as I get older that more rest and relaxation is needed and that I can’t just power through things like I used to in the past. I’ve been very used to this lifestyle in the last couple years of holding down a full time job and also studying online after work for grad school for two years. I need to change.

I want the quality of my life to change and to not be filled with so much work that I can’t enjoy my life. I really don’t need to take on extra freelance work and I realized I wasn’t respecting and valuing my own free time and energy. This also goes the same for family and friends asking for too much of your time and energy when you don’t even have time for yourself. The most important thing is you. If you aren’t taking care of you, then who is? Respect yourself enough to rest, to make time to relax, and move through the transitions in life more gracefully. Take on extra projects only when you do have a little bit of free time. So many lessons to learn, this is by far a very important one that couldn’t have come at the right time.

 

Discipline, Routine, and Following Through.

Many artists and creative people fantasize about creating a project that they have a great passion for. But the reality is that these projects remain a fantasy and never get brought out and shared into the real world. This is the one thing that I think artists and creatives have trouble with. They often ask themselves, “How do I get my ideas out into the real world? How can I go from fantasy or fantasizing about my passion project and set some realistic goals? You can and you will. You need DISCIPLINE, ORGANIZATION, and ROUTINE.

Quite recently, a good friend inquired about the creative process and how I managed to finish my Graphic Novel “Dreamwalker” that I self-published back in 2011. Looking back in reflection now, I have to confess that it was not an easy process. Often times I wondered whether I would make any monetary gain or if people actually would be interested enough to read it. And there were many reasons I almost didn’t create it, and those reasons were just outside noise and distraction. And I realized that none of those things mattered. What mattered was that I was passionate about creating this project for my very own self satisfaction and at the time I was creating it – there were months where I had a burst of creative energy running through me. This burst of creative energy kept me up at night.  Almost every night! When inspiration hits, you have to go with it – let it flow through you, let it come out the way it wants to come out with no judgement. Over thinking these amazing creative projects won’t help it from being born. Its like a baby that you need to constantly nurture, be patient with, and there will be struggles and challenges – but that’s part of the process.

Sometimes you’ll doubt yourself or become completely over joyed, but regardless of what you think the outcome should be – you must enjoy the process and follow through with it.

Being able to do what you love is sometimes the reward itself. Our passions fuel us.

Well its easier said than done right? How do we even begin or start the process of creating these amazing projects? Whether it be a graphic novel, a novel, a short film or a painting/drawing, whatever it is you have to put pen to paper. Write that shit down. Record it. Track it. The process of writing something out by hand does some amazing things to the brain. It helps us remember so much more than merely tapping a few buttons on your phone or even typing out words onto your laptop. I’m not going to go into this in detail, but here is a cool article I found online explaining this. Click here

Think of working on this passion project as part of your routine everyday, setting aside a few minutes to an hour everyday to your passion project can lead you closer to finishing it. Routine makes for good building, in order to build something amazing, you have to do the work. If you’re on the verge of finishing a page, a drawing, and its 2 o’clock in the morning – that’s probably a sign to quit and save the rest for the next day. Balance is what helps us, if we don’t get adequate sleep and rest – how can you put your all and your 100% best into something you love? The only way to get real world results is to constantly work on this project, whatever the amount of time you can dedicate to seeing it through – Do it. No excuse. Got back to back work meetings all day? Go to a cafe right after work and give yourself 20 minutes to work on it. You’ll get more done in those 20 minutes than trying to think about it during work.

Every artist has their own special and unique process of creating things. Some of us struggle with many different excuses or procrastination. How did I finish my “Dreamwalker” Graphic Novel? Well for one, I had a constant obsession with a story that was stuck in my mind for about two years before I even produced it. And let me tell you, it was a never ending process! When I went about planning my pages and how best to convey the story, I had thumbnails upon thumbnails of stick drawings with dialogue notes on the side! ( I work in 1×2 in thumbnail boxes) I ended up re-drawing and editing a page more than twice, I’d mess up, I’d spill ink everywhere or realize I totally missed a drawing that I wanted to include. I’d have other friends that I trusted to help revise my work or give me ideas at different points of the project. Art is such a collaborative process that I relied on the good advice that my friends generously gave to me, even if you want to do your own thing – constructive criticism is very valuable. It took me about 6-8 months to finish my graphic novel. the first three months was just solely working on story ideas and research. The next 3-4 months was spent drawing and inking. I think by the end of it all, I developed a system for myself in managing the drawings that I ended up cranking things out in April and May of 2011. Most of the things that I did in the last month was scanning, designing the layout for the pages and color correcting jpegs in photoshop. Make a list from start to finish and you can determine what needs to get done when it needs to be done. If you don’t, you can burn out and waste time.

The most important element to be able to finish a project is COMMITMENT. Commitment to yourself, to the project, and commitment to following through to finish. You decide what’s more important to you.

Do something about it. We all have a a very special way of looking at the world – and to have something born out of you leaves a very special energy pattern on the world. And that should be enough motivation for you to finish your work. You are important.

The very thing that you choose to do now can positively alter your future. No pain, no gain.

I’ve made a list of things that I do to get myself going and whether you find it useful or not – it will serve as a good reminder of getting yourself organized. The key here is ORGANIZATION. Organizing your thoughts, ideas, notes is the first step really. If you can’t do that – I don’t know what else to tell you. Learning to discipline yourself is a good lesson to go through, if you don’t have discipline than you can’t focus. If you can’t focus on one thing at a time or that moment you set aside to work on your passion – then it will remain just a potential. Who wants to spend their life just being a potential? Set the bar high for yourself and you’ll succeed even if you think you’ve failed. Do what you believe is great work.

Keep track of you. Some ideas to get you started.  

Get a journal, write in it 10 minutes a day or more to record tasks, make lists. Jot down notes on research or things you want to accomplish for the week.

    • Schedule. Use your Google Calendar to sync to your mobile phone calendar. Even if it is a small increment of time such as 10-25 mins, schedule it into your workday –  you’ll benefit from working on one small thing every day and soon you’ll start to see those little things adding up. Schedule in anything that has to be done that day, whether its sending an email or doing the laundry – you’ll be able to track your time better and see whether you are making progress or just wasting time. ( But time is never wasted in my opinion, things you may never use as part of the research and development process can teach you a lot.)
    • Setting realistic goals. They could be short and long term goals, you can make separate lists for yourself and re-evaluate on a weekly or monthly basis.
    • Give yourself a deadline. If you want to put something out there into the world then you must give yourself a reasonable deadline and mark it on your calendar. Having a deadline will help you get things done.
    • Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this project?” Is it monetary? Is it my passion? Regardless of your reason, giving yourself a specific outcome will help you in finishing this project. Maybe you want to get your work ready for a festival, workshop, submission to a publisher, etc.
    • Tune into your inner self. How? Well, get quiet and find a comfortable space and let yourself DAYDREAM. This is the only way great ideas can come in – is when you are open and receptive to that universal flow of energy. Einstein was said to have “thought experiments” when he scheduled in a period of time in the afternoon to let his thoughts wander and lead him into some amazing insights. In one year he published a collection of essays on the theory of relativity. Go ahead Google it.
    • Get Visual. Do some image research online – find things that inspire you – it could be about the story’s location, a character outfit, etc. Use your imagination! Print your images out and create a Vision Board for your project. You can also create a mood board on color, places and environment, character drawings and ideas, this is your world – Create it and let it fuel your imagination! Better yet, find images on Pinterest! This is a great way to create some digital boards – if you wish!
    • Listen to Music. Create a playlist in your computer, ipad, mobile device, etc. Or get on Pandora, spotify, or any of those awesome music sites.
    • Watch some Movies for inspiration. Feeling stuck or hindered by your project? Watch some Princess Bride, or the Matrix, or whatever suits your fancy.

Questions, comments, or a simple hello? I’d be happy to hear them!

Venice

Omg! I went to Venice with my school and classmates for the very first time last weekend. I’m sad we were only there for 3 days, but we did a lot of exploring and walking around. Shopping at San Marco, going to the Biennale and the Ca’Pesaro museum to see an original Klimt and Sorolla painting. And seeing Peggy Guggenheim’s amazing collection of paintings and sculptures. Wow. It is breathtakingly beautiful! And the city feels very peaceful and quiet without cars and vespas! Its a fairly small city that you can mainly get around by walking or taking a water bus or water taxi. Or a Gondola ride! It is their tradition passed down from generation to the next. But damn, imagine a city surrounded by water– it is absolutely calming. I’m still in awe, what a magical place. I hope you enjoy my photos!

Get Lucky.


http://youtu.be/zV2GA63HEGk

I can’t even describe to you how I’ve been feeling this whole week except for feeling really Lucky!

Lucky to be:

1) ALIVE.

2) IN GOOD HEALTH.

3) MY LIFE IN PERFECT HARMONY.

4) STUDYING ABROAD IN FLORENCE, ITALY FOR THE NEXT 7 WEEKS.

5) I’M YOUNG, SINGLE, AND FREE.

6) FOUND SOMETHING THAT I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT: ART AND ANIMATION.

I’ve been hearing this song everywhere for the last week traveling in Dublin last weekend, at the airport, at stores in Florence, in cabs around Florence. It’s so happy, I’m really happy!

I hope you are happy and well! I hope this song inspires you too! So catchy!

xoxo

Diane

Welcome to my blog!

Hello and welcome to my new blog! I have a few different blogs out there on the interwebs, one for my concept art portfolio and another for dreams and interpreting them. However I wanted to create another blog for the process of creativity, different things pertaining to my other interests in books, movies, shows, different forms of art, and all things related to story and animation. I also want to find things that inspire people and talk about other things in culture, as well as insights and deep thoughts. It can be a bit intimidating to start your own blog and actually write about things that may or may not interest other people. But who knows, I’m doing this for a small minority who may be interested in what I have to say. Thanks for visiting and I hope to hear about what you have to say, comments, questions, things we can explore together!

xo

Diane