Weekly Blog 4/1/19: No Pranks, Just A New Approach

(CC: Image: The edge of a stack of planners. The top planner has a holographic cover, and is stuffed with many pages.)

Hey guys! It’s Taylor. (Yes, really.)

As fun as April Fool’s jokes are, I need to use today’s blog to let you guys know about some changes that are coming to this blog. I apologize for not having any fun pranks for you, and I hope you’ll believe me when I say that the changes mentioned in this blog post really are for real!

I’ve been trying for months to do written blogs here, and the facts come down to this: I am not much of a blogger. I’ve been spending much more time and energy on videos, and have actually enjoyed them a lot. I’ve always said that I love film and hate Hollywood – and I stand by that, in that I don’t like a lot of the stuff that goes along with traditional/conventional film, but I love the medium. I really enjoy making videos, and so far as I can tell, some people really are enjoying watching them.

So what I’ve decided to do is to convert my weekly blogs here into weekly recaps of, among other things, my video posts. These blogs will now contain embedded videos, among other things, and will basically be a “digest” of my activity during the prior week. And so, without further ado, here’s the posts from this past week!

March 22, 2019: Watercolor Palette Tour

This was a fun little video in which I walk you through my various watercolor palettes, and talk a little about how each of them works (or doesn’t work) for me.

March 25, 2019: Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking about 2 years ago and wanted to share what worked (or didn’t) as I was going through the process of releasing this toxin from my life. Videos like this helped me a TON when I was quitting, so I hope this one helps some people too!

March 28, 2019: Three Color Watercolor Challenge

This one was especially cool because the art piece was actually featured by M Graham themselves on their Instagram! I am so honored to have my watercolor brand of choice feature my art. 

Coming this week, I’ll be posting about planners, planning, and choosing the best planner for you. As with many things, I don’t believe there is a “perfect planner” that works for everyone – different ones work for different people with different needs and priorities…but hopefully my videos will help you choose what planner might be best for you!

All that being said…I hope you’re having a truly excellent day, I hope nobody pranked you too bad, and I wish you all the best.

-Taylor

Weekly Blog 2/18/19: Beauty for Ashes: Receiving Negative Feedback, Processing Failure, and Starting A Period Of Study

Hey guys! It’s Taylor. I’m here with a bit of a difficult blog, on a bit of a difficult topic: some difficult feedback I’ve gotten, and the process I’ve gone through in integrating that information and figuring out “if I suck at the one thing I really want to do, where do I go from here?”

So, basically, a few days back I showed my latest creation, the comic Beauty for Ashes, issue 1, to a friend. He complimented the art and printing, but said finally: “I can’t follow the story. Like, at all.” It was a punch to the gut. I hadn’t realized that with all the corners I cut – reading lots of comics (but not drawing much), only practicing drawing females (to the detriment of learning to draw males), spending years practicing making comics but never really learning the theory behind it – I realized, after this difficult conversation, that my slacking and freeform study had not resulted in me being able to draw comics. It had resulted in being essentially a writer who can’t plot a novel, or a screenplay author who can’t format. I had the passion and the practice and NONE of the study.

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For a few days I languished in despair (intentionally using dramatic language there – I was being dramatic). My whole world felt jumbled. I had spent the past 15 years or so actively trying to become a comic artist, and, to my mind, had failed. Then a thought came to me – one of my favorite quotes:

“If you need a tree, the best time to plant one was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

Meaning that yes, we may waste time, and yes, it may be too late for some things in some senses – but that doesn’t mean you give up. You still plant that tree, and you water it and make the best of what you can.

So I got thinking: What did I do with other art forms that I have gotten good at (novel-writing, painting, etc)? “Practice,” “study,” and “start small” came to mind immediately. With novels, I studied the craft (taking classes and reading how-to books), I practiced (I’ve written 8 or 10 fiction books depending on whether you count picture books), and I started small (the picture books were my first foray into fiction). With watercolor, it’s been a similar path.

For some reason, I guess I’d thought that my years of striving with comics would result automatically in learning. Turns out practice makes progress, but it works a heck of a lot better if it’s combined with academic study (or at least learning from experts) and starting super-micro.

Thus I’ve been coming up with a sort of course of study for myself, going so far as to also learn about “how to teach yourself stuff in general,” involving books and courses on how to make comics. It includes some of Eisner’s instructional works on sequential art, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Making Comics, Hirohiko Araki’s Manga in Theory and Practice, and other resources.

The important thing is…I’m going to study. I’m going to do the homework. I’m sad that it’s taken me this long to be ready to do it, but it takes what it takes. For me it took four comics that didn’t make sense – and some incredibly helpful but very painful feedback – to figure out that I need to do the homework, have beta readers, and study – the same as everyone else.

In the next year or so, I don’t plan to release much in terms of comics, but I’ll definitely still be making art, the Tarot deck, and my blog and YouTube content. It will be a year of practice and study, and that’s okay. I’m excited to tackle this, and I’m excited to see where I end up in 2020.

If you’d like to support this whole operation, please head over to my Etsy shop. You can purchase art, prints, even stationery and Tarot accessories, all handmade by me. And if you’re enjoying my site, please hit the follow button on the right to get notified whenever I post a new blog (about once a week).

Wishing you all the best,

Taylor

Midweek Update 1/18/18 | ANNOUNCING THE SECRET PROJECT! | Getting a Day Job | Midori Notebook Inserts On Sale

Hey y’all! It’s the first of (hopefully many) Midweek Updates. I do my main updates on Mondays but I intend to also have Midweek Updates on occasion. I am probably usually going to be too busy to do midweek updates, but I will definitely do them when I can!

The first and best item on today’s agenda is that I can FINALLY tell you about the Secret Project!!! Holy crap!! It’s the BIGGEST REVEAL EVER!!

So, I’ve been working with Ogreware (http://www.ogreware.net) over the past several months, and I…have illustrated their first game. It’s a fantastically addictive little app called Calling All Heroes, and if you’re interested, you can play it online. I have been working on the illustrations a lot over the past…oh gosh, over six months now. Here are some of the illustrations I did for them:

It’s honestly one of the most fun projects I’ve ever gotten to work on. I’ve been interested in concept art since I was a kid, and I love that I finally got to work on a game. There may even be more in the future, who knows!

In other news, I have gotten…a day job. I decided to get a day job so that money would work a little better, so that I could possibly move out of my current situation soon (ie with my current roommate). It’s not that my situation is bad or that I’m in danger or anything, it’s just really, really annoying and frustrating. I have a possible opportunity to move out this year, though, with a much better cohabitation situation, so I want to be able to save up money for down payments and such.

I don’t want to out myself OR the employer for our Real Identities, so I’ll simply say that I am working with a small business in the medical field, and that though it’s just a day job, I am very much looking forward to it.

Finally, I have restocked my Etsy shop with a bunch of new items, including a CRAPTON of Traveler’s Notebook inserts:

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Plus, I have 10% off EVERYTHING on my shop this month, so you can get these for just a couple dollars! Here’s the link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/julianjaymesart

Incidentally, I am ALSO selling off my old BJD (ball jointed doll), a Kid Delf Litchi from LUTS:

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She’s available here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/LUTS-Kid-Delf-Litchi-Female-BJD-MSD-Size-45CM-Punk-Dressed-Ball-Jointed-Doll/183023373604?hash=item2a9d0b0d24:g:vFcAAOSw8-FaX5-P (on eBay)

Well, this has been an extensive update. Thanks for sticking with it! Please use the Follow option on the left to get notifications whenever I post (once or twice a week). If you’re not comfortable with that, though, you can like me on Facebook and you’ll get the same notifications!

Thanks for your support! 🙂

~Julian