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Weekly Blog 11/19/18 | Fountain Pen Collections, Notebook Management, and My Thoughts on “Noveling”

Hey everyone!

It’s Thanksgiving week here in America, so to anyone involved in this holiday, I hope your Thanksgiving week is going very well. Whether you are engaging in a huge Thanksgiving meal, warming up your credit card for Black Friday, or fasting in protest of the entire holiday’s bloody, genocidal history, I wish you the best in you ventures.

If you are in the rest of the world, I hope you benefit from Cyber Monday.

I have spent the past few days writing, writing, and writing more. I have been a novelist far longer than I have been an artist or blogger or painter; my novel-writing actually goes back to age eleven, if you can count a 12,000 word document as a “novel.” (Hey, it was a children’s chapter book! I was aiming for a realistic goal for the time.)

I wish i could say I never stopped or looked back, but I did falter, in 2010 or so, when my health was getting bad. I just couldn’t write, for years, even after getting into recovery. I had written off writing (no pun intended) as something lost to the Crazy Years, something that wasn’t ever coming back. I made my peace and started drawing more instead.

And then, very recently, I just picked up a notebook and a fountain pen and started writing a novella based on an old idea I’d had as a teenager. A story of love, losing touch, and letting go; a story about risking reality for something better; a story about a girl who existed only in a reflection, and the boy who knew she was no mere mirage.

The result so far? 30 pages and about 2ml of fountain pen ink used up in two days. I’m so excited to see how this develops.

I’ve changed my notebook system. For a year, I was doing all of my journaling, to-do’s, and planning in one place – a Traveler’s Notebook. It worked great for the past year, but I’ve gotten so damn busy that I can’t really fit it all in a standard TN. So I’ve switched into…a bullet journal!

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. I never saw myself as a bujo person, but here we are. I don’t do the super fancy style that a lot of people do, but I do use some of the standard features, mixed with my own planning systems, and it’s in what many people refer to as a bullet journal – a hardcover, dot-gridded, A5 notebook with a vertical elastic closure.

It’s helped me a ton, especially the habit tracking. I use a “Calendex” style habit tracker, and it has helped me a lot in the effort to track both my work and my self-care, because it lets me see at a glance how I’m doing in a certain day/week, and also lets me see which habits seem to be falling by the wayside more often than they should.

As for my other writing, I’m mostly using the same notebook in different copies/versions: my diary is housed in an A5 lined notebook with a soft cover, and my novella – the one I’m currently working on, anyway – lives in a bullet-journal style A5 hardback lined notebook.

My creative writing has always been on the computer, typed, but honestly, I think that the sheer novelty of hand-writing a story is challenging my mind to be more creative. I’m writing in fountain pen, and the romance of that alone helps me to get into a daring mood. Some people, when writing in pen, think “It’s ink, I can’t erase it…I can’t write at all.” Me, I think more along the lines of “It’s ink, I can’t erase it…might as well just go for it!”

It’s November, which means NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo, if you didn’t know, is National Novel Writing Month, a project intended to challenge people to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. It (or its surrounding community) is also pretty much, as far as I can tell, the source of the term “noveling,” a much-reviled word meaning, in rough terms, “to write a novel without really being a novelist.”

Now, I’m the first to admit that I used to hate the term “noveling.” I thought it implied that literally anyone could scribble down any 50,000 words and call it a novel and call themself a novelist. I still don’t agree with that ideology – but I don’t hate “noveling” anymore.

Honestly, my feeling is that any creative effort, however half-assed, is valid and valuable. So if someone wants to casually pen a 50,000-word YA romance, not let anyone else proof or edit it, publish it on Wattpad with poor formatting, and call it a day, that’s their right. In fact, I applaud it. Because the next novel – or the fifth one, or the tenth, or the twentieth – after their debut might be amazing. And if the pressure of being a “proper novelist” would otherwise keep them from writing at all, then maybe “noveling” is a saving grace, not an atrocity against the art of the novel.

So there are my thoughts on my latest novella, notebooks, and noveling. I’m going to close out and get writing. 🙂

~Taylor

Weekly Blog November 5, 2018 | Looking Ahead: What’s In The Works

Greetings all! It is now the first Monday in November, and now that I’m not quite as absurdly busy, I’m going to *try* to do weekly blogs again. I’m working on getting back into my social media game (loud snort, raucous laughter), and I do want this blog to grow, so I’m going to be at least trying to blog weekly here on Mondays.

It’s just been Samhain (Halloween) and is about to be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s…and then it is TWENTY NINETEEN. So this month and next month, I’m working on composing lists of what I’m going to be making for you guys in the next year (2019). I am forever coming up with ideas for art, comics, decks, books, video series, etc, and while not all of them end up seeing the light of day or being published or made available, I love that idea-birthing process. It’s so much fun to just write down ideas and brainstorm and try to figure out what’s going to work, what’s plausible, and how I can get more things out there.

The biggest thing I’d like to make happen in the new year is a video course on reading Tarot cards. I have been reading and studying the cards since 2002 and I am feeling finally ready to share what I’ve learned – and I do see some major gaps in what’s available in terms of free online courses. So I’m going to be providing a course by the end of 2019 that will go over EVERY CARD IN THE DECK in a balanced way – not focusing 90% of the “Card Meanings” section on the Majors and then mostly skipping over the Minors. It will also go over basic things like spreads, combinations, and reversals – but also detail some more advanced things like creating your own spreads, using different systems of interpretation, and even ethical and legal issues around card reading for pay.

Whether the course will be free or not is going to depend largely on how my finances are looking as we go into 2019. As previously mentioned, I quit one of my jobs, and so while some things are a lot easier, financially things could be quite tight for a while. So, I apologize for not being able to promise right from the beginning, for sure, that it will be 100% free, but I just can’t make that promise at the moment. However, I will do my utmost to make sure that it is FAR more affordable than most (I’m thinking $50 or less for unlimited access to the entire course).

I’m also preparing to do a Christmas/Yule themed Tarot/divination challenge, over on Instagram, called #SimpleGiftsChallenge. It contains 31 prompts for the 31 days of December, and you can do it with Tarot, oracle, Lenormand, or angel cards; Oghams, runes, or geomancy; stones, bones, sticks, what have you – even a pendulum reading of some sort would be awesome. I would adore hearing from you, so tag me (@taylorjohnson.art) and hashtag #SimpleGiftsChallenge and I’ll check out everyone’s posts each day! I will personally be using the Moonchild Tarot, which is my new fave, but you’re not required to even limit yourself to one form of divination, let alone one particular deck. Use whatever feels right for each day.

These are, for reference, the actual questions, in image style:

Okay guys, I have to get this blog out so I’m going to go ahead and post, instead of writing more and more and more ad nauseum. If you’d like to support this whole operation, please do head over to my Etsy shop (http://artbytaylorjohnson.etsy.com); to contact me, please use the contact page.

Until next time…

~Taylor

Monthly Update November 2018 | New Name, New Site, New Day Job

Hey all, it’s me…Taylor.

That’s right, I am changing not only my URL (the main one is now taylorjohnson.art), and my social media usernames – but I am changing the very name I go by online. Julian Jaymes has been a fun name, but it’s high time I started to blog as myself – as Taylor Johnson. No fancy fake name, just my boring real one, but I think that going by one’s own name online shows not only a level of professionalism, but also a certain level of integrity. And integrity is something I value above almost all else.

I realize there was no blog for October, and I do apologize for that. Things have been absurdly busy over here. I got the job I mentioned in my last blog, and subsequently realized that having two jobs plus all my freelancing and Etsy work was just way too much. So I spent most of October just giving proper notice and easing out of that previous job, and finishing up some freelance projects, while trying to manage the new job as well.

I am, at this point, entirely employed as an artist. My day job is art; my personal work is art; my Etsy is, indeed, a kind of art. But the kind of art, the medium as well as the creations, vary widely.

In my day job work…well, I can’t talk much about the end product, but I can tell you that I am learning to be a texture artist for 3D and VR design. It’s pretty crazy to be learning HOW to do a job as I am DOING the job, but really, trial-by-fire is sometimes the best way to learn. So I am enjoying it.

In my personal work, I am still going strong painting the watercolor illustrations for the Millennial Mystic Tarot. I’ve also been doing some songwriting to cope with the absurdity of living in the world that somehow exists right now. I don’t know if any of these songs will ever see the light of day, or in what form they would be shared – but they’re certainly therapeutic to write.

And in my Etsy shop, I’m continuing to sell traveler’s notebook supplies and inserts, Tarot and oracle deck bags, and now actually some handmade jewelry and prayer beads!

So really, not a whole lot is different. I just don’t have to go to a receptionist job 4 days a week anymore. 🙂 As much as I appreciate that job and the opportunities it afforded me, I’m really, really excited to be moving on into my full-time-art life.

I’ll keep you posted, as always, on what I’m doing and how you can follow what I’m up to online. Thank you all for your support and understanding as I redesign my logos and website.

~Taylor

Monthly Update September 2018 | Tarot Reading, Angelic Divination, Day Job Advancement, and Enjoying Writing Again

Hey everyone, it’s Julian! Have I got updates for you…not much tangible, not much I can post, but lots of news.

First off, since everyone’s going to ask, here’s the latest Tarot cards I’ve painted:

Aside from that project, which yes, is ongoing, I do have several things going on…

Tarot Reading: I’m going to be doing professional tarot reading! Yes, that’s right, I will be offering tarot readings (as pre-recorded video sessions) on my Etsy shop, starting next month (or possibly a little later this month). Watch this space, as there will be a half off coupon posted on this blog when I do start doing them.

I’ve wanted to be a Tarot reader since I knew what a Tarot reader was, and since then, I’ve branched off into oracle cards, angel cards, and even channeling. I’m a certified card reader and I feel that after 16 years of study, it’s time to share my gifts with the world. So yes, if you’re interested in a Tarot reading, follow this blog to get notified when I do post that announcement and coupon.

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Angelic Divination: This is a side project I’ve been working on lately, and while it has its own YouTube channel already, I’m not sure yet whether it will be part of this site or have its own. I feel really moved to give it its own platform, but this project doesn’t really have a budget yet, so I’m not sure a site for it is in the cards. I suspect that once I’ve established it as a brand on its own, then I can invest in a site.

But what is Angelic Divination? It’s an approach to Tarot, oracle, and angel cards that uses the energy of the Archangels, and while it started out as just my own approach to such, it’s grown into so much more. I intend to make at least a few courses on this divinatory approach, and I’ll be posting them over on that channel.

Day Job Advancement: I have been selected for an art fellowship, so I guess you could say I’m going pro as an artist. It’s a little weird in that it doesn’t feel weird or scary at all, just…right. Which probably means I’ve been ready for a while and just haven’t had an opportunity/the courage to go for it! I’m very grateful for the opportunity, though, and don’t worry, this won’t change anything here…I’ll still be my same old weird comic-drawing, blogging, cardslinging self. Wild horses couldn’t drag that out of me.

But it’s very exciting to be essentially doing a mix of a day job and a long-term commission. I’ll be working at home, designing elements for 3D virtual environments, painting, as a part time job. I’ll…actually probably make more from this job than I do from my current day job. Which is appropriate, but still feels wild.

Enjoying Writing Again: I honestly didn’t grow up as an artist – I spent the first 15 or so years of my life intending to be a writer. Art was a hobby; writing was my vocation. Over the years, I got more and more interested in art, and sort of burned myself out with writing by authoring several novels while struggling with bipolar disorder.

I associated writing with my illness for a long, long time. I had concluded that since I wrote a lot when I was ill, writing must be encouraging my hypomania – an error of confusing correlation with causation – and so I stopped almost altogether. There is a gap of a few years when aside from journaling, I just didn’t write much. I was kind of afraid to, and it felt exhausting to even think about the amount of work it took to write a novel.

But this month I had to write a pitch for that day job thing, and when I let friends and family read just the handout for the pitch, I got some really positive feedback. People were surprised by how well-written and clear and elegant it was. I’m doing well right now, no hypomania, so clearly the writing was good but was also not the product of illness. Who knew I could write while in my right mind, too?

So I’m thinking I’ll just get my toes wet at first, and write some more frequent blog posts for this site. I have 2 or 3 more blogs written that are just waiting to be queued/scheduled, and I’m excited to share them with you. I’m writing more about Starseed/Lightworker stuff, as well as Tarot and art.

Also, it’s been a year that this site has been up, and I could not be more proud and pleased with the interactions I’ve had and just the pride I feel from having maintained a website all year. Feels good to have accomplished something like that.

Year 2’s goal: Get to 200 followers!

All the best,

~Julian

Monthly Update August 2018 | Re-Prioritizing, Final Stages of my Tarot Deck, and Why I’m Staying With Etsy

Hey guys! It’s Julian!

I have a lot of updates to post in this one, so let’s just get to it.

Re-Prioritizing

Last month (July) I attempted to do World Watercolor Month. I did not, in fact, succeed in doing World Watercolor Month – in that I didn’t complete it. I do feel that it was a success in that I quit for the right reasons: Three – no, now four commissions came in during July, and so I really had to let WWM go.

I am trying to think of it as reprioritizing rather than quitting. Really, making a speedpaint video for every day, on the day, AND painting every day, was ridiculous. But I managed it until the 17th – when a few BIG commissions came in. Not just “draw my OC” or “can you vectorize my logo” stuff. No, I’m talking “part-time jobs for the next few months” type things. I can’t tell you about most of them yet, but gosh I am BUSY.

The one I’m able to tell you about is that I’m now going to be handling all the social media and blogging for OgreWare. I’ve been working in partnership with them for some time now on their Calling All Heroes app game, and now I’m their social media manager! It’s pretty darn fun, I gotta say. I’m honestly not much a social media guru, but I’m learning, and it’s…like I said, pretty fun. You can check out ogreware.net and facebook.com/ogreware to see what I’m up to with them. Please do go follow their accounts, by the way, because you’ll get to see some of my art there that won’t be seen anywhere else.


 

BIG Tarot Deck Update

So here’s the most exciting thing I have today: I HAVE FINISHED INKING MY TAROT DECK. As of July 31, all the cards are inked. All 79 of ‘em. Fully inked. Ready to paint.

Holy carp.

It’s taken four months, which is actually just about what I expected. I intend to have all the cards painted in another four months, and will then take the second half of December off to recuperate. Then in the first couple months of 2019, I’ll sort out printing – and then my Tarot deck will be on sale in spring 2019!! So damn excited about that.

I will be using Mijello Mission Gold watercolor paints to paint this deck. To be entirely honest, I am not super super crazy about them; I much prefer the M Graham paints, of which I admittedly only have one, but which I’ve seen many reviews of and which I’m fairly sure I would prefer. But I wanted to buy a big set of moderately nice paints, to figure out which pigments and hues I like – then I could buy those individual pigments in a nicer brand. That was the plan from day 1. So I’ve figured out my sort of “12 color dream palette” list, and I’ll be purchasing the M Graham versions of those from Blick in a year or so.

I wasn’t a painter until this year. I’m a newb, and I still don’t feel ready to do this project, but it’s here, it’s time, and I need to just DO it. I can always do pieces over if I absolutely have to. This project already taught me so much about inking – I can’t wait to see what it teaches me about watercolor. 🙂


 

Shop Expansion

I’m looking into expanding my Etsy shop, and I actually wanted to talk a bit about Etsy. In defense of Etsy, actually. Most people these days are going “oh!! Etsy!! They increased their fees for no reason!! They’re awful!! Boycott!!!1!1” But honestly, Etsy is still the cheapest handmade goods salesplace around for smaller shops – most other platforms for online storefronts have a subscription fee or take exorbitant “commission fees” out of your profits. And Etsy has a massive marketplace following to boot. Most people who buy handmade goods and art turn not to Shopify or Amazon Artistans, but instead head straight to Etsy.

And no, Etsy has not paid me to say any of this. It’s based on my own research, and my own experience, which has been, overall, very good. I’m happy with Etsy for now. Someday, yes, I’d love to have a storefront on my own website and only sell through there. But for right now, considering the size of my shop and the amount of traffic I get, Etsy is ideal for me.

Anyways. About expansion: I’m going to be offering more new items soon, like stickers, a wider variety of traveler’s notebooks, and original paintings. To make room, I’ll be putting some items on clearance that either haven’t sold or that I just want to move along a little faster. So please check out the shop frequently – I’ll be updating it with new items and new sales soon! You can find it at http://julianjaymesart.etsy.com.


Well, that’s about all I’ve got for today. Until next time, guys, I hope that YOU are HAVING a REALLY EXCELLENT day, and I’ll talk to you again very very soon. Bye!

~Julian

Monthly Update July 2018 | World Watercolor Month, Video Creation, and Art Coming Naturally

Hey guys, it’s Julian and it has taken me AGES to get this update out, but here it is. 🙂

Things are looking better. Long story short, things are not nearly as dire as I’d thought, and while I am still likely going to lose my insurance and part of my income, the repercussions are not going to be (quite) as drastic as I’d thought. I’m still going to have my housing, my medication, and the treatments I need. I’m just going to have to work very hard to make ends meet.

But really, the future is looking brighter already. I’m working through the details of a really exciting collaboration – with my sewing, of all things! – and my Etsy shop is doing well. I’m really grateful to everyone who’s been shopping with me. It truly helps a lot. 🙂

I’m doing World Watercolor Month this month, which is…exhaustion. No, seriously, it’s an awesome project in which people paint 31 watercolor paintings in 31 days, and I’m doing it despite also having all this craziness going on…I’m really proud of myself, I’ve got 11 done so far and it’s the 10th. (I have to work ahead some days because I’m working so much at my day job that some days I can’t paint at all.) I hope to make it to 31 paintings by the end of the month. Here are the ones I’ve done so far…

That’s not why I’m exhausted though. I’m exhausted because I’ve been filming all of these AND editing them AND doing voiceovers AND posting them on my YouTube channel!

I must be delusional, to think I can keep this up for a month.

The worst part is that after this, I’ll be expected to do a video every day…or at least three times a week…because people think it’s that easy…I seriously don’t know how I’ve been able to put all of these together so far.

But really, it’s going to be okay. And after this I may be able to get more videos out, because I’m definitely learning a lot about videos and video editing in addition to learning about watercolor!

My art is flowing in a way it never has in my life. I just…churn out art. More, even, than what’s filmed and posted on my sites. It’s like I used to be a little inkjet printer that struggles to print a single page, and now I’m a high-capacity color laser multifunction that doesn’t bat an eye at 600-page documents.

Yeah. I’m feeling pretty good about my art lately. 🙂

Anyway, I had better finish this up. I’ll note that there is now a subpage on this site for my World Watercolor Month posts, and I’ve updated the Materials I Use page. I’m trying to keep active online, but that’s mostly happening on Instagram and YouTube. I’m hopeful that after WWM ends, I’ll be able to do more on this site – maybe posts some reviews or something – but for now, it’s acting as my portfolio and housing links to the places where I’m actually active. I apologize for the inactivity, but with any luck I’ll soon be back in business here. 🙂

If you have any questions or inquiries, you can contact me using the contact form. If you’d like to support this whole operation, please head over to the shop. Thanks for all your support, and have a great day!

~Julian

Life Hits The Fan | Finances, Insurance, Day Jobs, and The Future Of My Art :(

Hey guys. It’s Julian.

Things ain’t good.

flatwash_cube_paint
“Cube.” 9×12″, ink and watercolor.

I’m likely losing my insurance and most of my income in September, and now it’s looking like my day job is in danger, too. My disability kept me out of work for 5 years; I’ve only been working again for 5 months.

I’m frustrated, but I’m beginning to realize that I may not be able to keep up this “conventional work” thing. It’s terrifying, though, because my disability benefits are disappearing in two months, and without them, I’d have NO income – which is not a good situation, for a single young person who can barely afford rent and bills as it is.

The answer that seems obvious is for me to go full time with my art – the one thing that’s really working in my life, the one thing I’m good at – but I just don’t have that kind of popularity/platform yet. I would LOVE to live off of commissions and Patreon, but it’s actually REALLY difficult to get that kind of thing started. I’m not well-known enough to be able to sell my art for what it’s actually worth. And I can barely afford my supplies as it is.

flatwash_flower_paint
“Chicory.” 9×12″, ink and watercolor.

But for right now, at least, I do have a pretty good supplementary income from my Etsy shop – mostly from my traveler’s notebooks – and that provides about $50-$100 a month to fund my art habit. It doesn’t sound like much, but I go through a sketchbook every couple of months, notebooks require supplies, and I use at least a pad of watercolor paper every month…that adds up.

So I really, really appreciate everyone who has been supporting me. If you want to support me further, please remember, you DON’T have to spend money – just favoriting items from my shop, subscribing to my social media accounts, or just reading this blog, pushes me higher in search results, and that in turn results in more hits and sales on my shop.

flatwash_crystals_paint
“Crystals.” 9×12″, ink and watercolor.

But if you do have a few bucks, there’s a lot of fun stuff on my Etsy shop – including my comic My Life On The Sidelines, notebooks and notebook supplies, and even some prints. Items range from $2 to $60-ish and there’s usually a sale going on.

Again, thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting me through this time. I have noticed a spike in Etsy orders, which is wonderful, and I hope this will continue. I’m just dreaming of the day that I won’t need a day job and can just draw and paint and make things for you guys all day. 🙂

I hope this wasn’t too much of a bummer. I just wanted to keep y’all updated. The reality is hitting me – that this is a Tower card moment, this is one of those moments of massive upheaval that throws everything off course. This, my friends, is a Saturn Return. (I turned 29 in June; this is normal, astrologically.)

I’m uploading more and more on my YouTube channel, so check it out if you’d like to hear me ramble about art, Tarot, and more. 🙂

All the best,

~Julian