Growth: December 7th, 2022
I’ve wrangled with this blog post for so long, wondering about the perfect time to start writing. Maybe five years. Five years is such a nice, unthreatening timeframe. It’s not today, or tomorrow, or even this month. Maybe I’ll forget about it by then, and get away from my idea scot free.
It’s so easy to rationalize away our dreams, and I’m terrified of that! So here we go.
My husband and I are currently living in Cambridgeshire, England as I pursue a masters in children’s book illustration at Anglia Ruskin University. The course is hard work. I can honestly say I’ve never made more art in my entire life. Sometimes it’s frustrating and I feel like I’m constantly butting up against my absolute creative limit. It’s good.
A little note on that: it’s great to work hard at your passion. But I desperately need a side hustle. In my life, this is fitness. I don’t do it to “help my art,” or “get ideas.” I might as well be a different person at the gym. I don’t think about art, I don’t talk about art, and honestly I don’t even consider myself an artist. It’s really fun, and ironically does improve my art.
Anyways, I’m coming up on my first big hand-in day (scary!) which means I’m spending a lot of time skimming through my recent work and writing my thoughts (like this!).
If anything’s changed between September 1st (start of term), and December 7th (nearly end of term!), it’s this: I am so done with flat illustrations (AKA some of my past work).
Seriously. Looking through my client work and BFA project (from March, mind you) is slightly painful. I can see the beginnings of a personal style tentatively taking root. I’m winning little battles. Things are starting to feel authentic to me. And I’m making my best stuff yet. But wow, it’s just not great.
But it is. Or rather, was. It’s amazing how fast we change. At this moment last year, I was a flimsy little girl trying to put on some muscle. I couldn’t do a strict push-up. Couldn’t do a single pull-up. Couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t. Though with time and purposeful practice, I started getting better. The improvements were so slow often I wouldn’t even notice. But one year later, I can do things my past self could only dream of (mainly way more pull-ups, haha).
Anyways, trust the process. My past art hasn’t really changed since I made it. The only thing that’s changed is me. I am a better, different artist, and that’s okay.
We should all be a little embarrassed of our month-ago self. Or year-ago self. Even our yesterday self. That’s how you know you’re growing.
Now go make something!