Weekly Blog 4/15/19: Work During Work, Planner Love, and Weekly Video Digest

Image description: A close-up shot of part of an April 2019 calendar page. Someone has written “in office 7:30” on the first line.

Hey guys, it’s Taylor! Today I am talking about how I manage a “work/work balance,” how much I love planners (and why), while also going over the videos I posted this week.

I’ve been trying to manage what I’m calling a “work-work balance.” NOw that I work full time as an artist, I have to find a way to manage that work with my work as an independent artist. Basically, finding a way to paint at work and then still have energy and time to paint at home.

It’s not been easy. I gave myself a couple weeks of just day-job work, actually, to let myself get used to it. As I’ve never worked full-time before, this was a big transition for me, and I’m still adjusting. However, yesterday (Sunday) I was able to start painting some of my own stuff again. It felt really good to just work on something unrelated to my day job and just enjoy painting for painting’s sake.

One thing that’s been helping me a lot during this time has been planners and notebooks. Stationery may seem an obsolete or redundant product, in the day of endless planning/organization software and website options – but for many of us, having an “offline” or “analog” planning system is not only preferable but essential.

Personally, I don’t always have access to a computer, and my phone runs out of battery very easily. So having a notebook is important for that reason. And…well, I just enjoy pretty stationery. So yeah, notebooks are an important part of my life – and they have been instrumental in me figuring out how to balance the various aspects of my life and still Get Shit Done.

I honestly am not sure how much longer I can keep up 3 videos a week – that’s a LOT to do while working full time, running an Etsy shop, and so on – but I’ll keep trying for now. 🙂 For now my update schedule is videos Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and a blog post every Monday. The first and 15th of each month also have card reading videos – though, this month, those aligned with Monday video days.

Without further ado, here are the videos from this week:

WHAT PLANNER SHOULD I USE? | Comparing Different Styles of Planner

I realized I’ve used and accumulated a lot of planners of different styles over the years, so I thought I’d give examples and demonstrations of each here. I go over Bullet Journals, premade planners, ring planners, and more.
Rose Gold Personal Wide Rings Setup | Recollections Creative Year 6-Ring Planner

This is just a setup video of my latest planner. I actually wound up using this one for my spiritual journaling. I love setup videos so I thought it would be really fun to show my process too. 🙂

Grimoire With Me | Ep. 2 | Bitter Old Witches, Gen Hex, and Witchy Drama!

It’s here! Grimoire With Me is here!! I’m chatting about some tea-spilling topics this week, such as “bitter old witches” (myself included), Gen Hex, and general witchy drama. Get some tea and enjoy the good stuff.

Anyway, that’s my week in brief. I hope your April is going well. If you like this content and want to help support this whole operation, please do head over to my Etsy shop. Don’t forget to follow this blog so you’ll get notified when I post! I don’t do anything with your personal info, promise. Link is on the sidebar. Join! 🙂

All the best,
~Taylor

Weekly Blog 4/10/19: Adjusting to Full Time Work + Weekly Digest

Hey guys! It’s Taylor.

Today I’ve got the first blog since I made that change at the beginning of April, and I do apologize for it being a couple of days late. Working full-time has been a little crazy, and apparently I’ve still yet to learn to leave my weekends clear so that I can rest up properly – and take care of things like blog posts.

To be totally honest, I have barely painted at all, all this week. It’s been my first week of real full-time work, and I haven’t made time. I won’t say I haven’t HAD time, because clearly I’ve found time to do things like go shopping, set up new ring-planners, and make YouTube videos; but I wish I could have spent some time on painting. I’ll be getting back to that shortly, perhaps even this week.

I also have been thinking hard about getting back to comics. I always said that comics are what I really dream of doing, but after the debacle of trying to create Beauty for Ashes without any editors, beta readers, or even letting anyone else LOOK at it, I felt so defeated and so much a failure that I had to take a month or two off. However, a new story is tugging at my drawing hand, so to speak, and I feel moved to get to work on it again.

The Millennial Mystic Tarot is going through final edits and will be printed soon, and is still on schedule to go out in June.

And now for the video digest!

April 1: April 2019 Card Reading and Energy Forecast

In this video I did the first of April’s card readings (I do two – first of the month and halfway through) and used several decks of angel cards to deliver intuitive messages from the Universe to you and everyone else watching.

 

April 3: Cheap Art Supply Celebration, Episode 4 | Crayola Colored Pencils

In this video, the fourth in my series celebrating inexpensive art supplies, I colored a piece I did a while ago, of Instagram model Canniny, and chatted about my love of Crayola colored pencils. Inexpensive as they may be, I do love them!

 

Also April 3: Planner Lineup April 2019 – Plus A Rings Setup!

I’m not sure how this video ended up posted the same day as my Crayola colored pencil video, but it did. I show you the planners I’m using in April 2019, and also the rings setup I currently plan in.

 

April 5: 10 Tips for Breaking Back Into Your Grimoire

This video has had an awesome response and I’m so glad, because it’s a topic that I am struggling with currently myself: that feeling of “I can’t get back into my grimoire/spellbook/Book of Shadows, even though it’s right there waiting to be worked in!” In this video I share 10 tips that have helped me (truly) to get back into a routine of working in my grimoire and adding to it.

So yeah, that’s this week. I’ll be back next Monday with a written summary with the week of the 8th, as well as any updates I have on my various projects. Stay tuned!…

-Taylor

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 3-25-19 | Life Changes, Tarot Challenges, and a Kitten!

Hey guys! Taylor here. I’m sorry for not posting last week, I was preparing for a sort of last-minute business trip. I was actually in LA – here are a few photos:

It was crazy and good and awesome and I’m really really excited, and absolutely cannot tell you anything, about what I’m working on. (Darn!) All I can tell you is, my life is changing in ways I never thought possible – and I am about to be VERY busy.

But. I can tell about you what I’m working on personally:

My Tarot deck: Yes, the Millennial Mystic Tarot is moving ahead. I’m finalizing some design details and then will be sending it off to the printers this week. Reviewers, watch your email accounts for updates! I will be emailing each of you a tracking number when I ship your sample deck.

A Tarot challenge: The #AprilFoolsJourney on Instagram is a 30-day challenge that walks you through the Tarot and offers divination prompts for each day. The actual list of prompts is in the following images (feel free to save, refer to, and/or share):

A kitten: I rescued a kitten from a tree. It was a really surreal experience – I’ve rarely held kittens (I always had adult cats as pets) and this one is TEENY, maybe 9 weeks old. We are searching for her original family and are hopeful that we can locate them soon. The poor thing was being bullied by three bluejays and a crow, so we have humorously nicknamed her Birdie.

Well, that’s about all I have time to write before heading off to work. If you’d like to support this whole operation, please do feel free to head over to the Etsy shop, or subscribe to this blog. Thank you to everyone who’s been reading along!

All the best,
Taylor

Weekly Blog 3-11-19 | Dealing With The End of a Big Project and Post-Project Blues!

(IMAGE: A pile of watercolor paintings (actually the actual paintings from the Millennial Mystic Tarot), face down, with the date shown in the corner of each. The dates range from August 2018 to February 2019.)

Hey guys, it’s Taylor!

(But you knew that.)

I’d like to talk a little bit today about how to come off of a long-term (months or a year plus) project, how to practice self-care in the wake of an overwhelming amount of work, and dealing with what I like to call “project postpartum.”

Since I referenced a type of depression there, though, I have to preface this blog post with the following disclaimer: I am not a doctor, I am not a counselor, I am not a therapist, and neither this post nor any other part of this blog is intended to treat, manage, or cure any psychiatric illness. I’m just sharing my own experience, in the hopes that hearing from a peer will help someone to help themself.

Clear? Good. Liability is a funny thing.

Anyway, I’m just finishing up my Millennial Mystic Tarot and getting ready to send it off to the printers, and while I am super excited and happy to have finished it, I’ve definitely got a case of what I call “project postpartum.” Though it’s certainly not as severe as postpartum depression – which is a real illness and should be respectfully treated as such! – I do get sort of “end-of-project blues,” the way we get post-holiday blues.

I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but here in the US, most people have some kind of holiday – Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, etc – in late December, and it’s followed by some of the worst weather we get all year. Days are short (winter solstice = shortest day/longest night, after all). Weather is overcast, cold, and snow/rain/sleet are common in many places, so you can’t really go outside to get sunshine even when it IS daytime. And you’ve just had this months-long buildup to your holiday of choice, and then…nothing. Nothing to celebrate, nothing to buy, and nothing to do except weep over the ruins of your finances, if you participate in gift-giving.

As I write this, it’s March, so we’re mostly out of the woods with the winter blues – but I’m experiencing some definite post-project blues. I find I often don’t know what to do with myself when I’ve just finished a huge project. Most times, I expect to feel some huge feelings, like pride, accomplishment, or just being happy about the project being done…but setting up those expectations makes it all the more empty when I just feel tired after the project is complete. In addition, I am so damn tired that I can feel down, sometimes severely, just from lack of energy. And with many projects, I’m stressing about how it’ll be received.

In the end, adding it all up, what I’ve got amounts to emptiness, disappointment, exhaustion, and stress. Great recipe for feeling low.

“So what do I do?” you might ask. “Sure, I get project postpartum, but how do I deal with it?”

Beyond the basic suggestions of “get plenty of sleep, eat properly, stat hydrated, take your meds, and don’t get MORE exhausted,” I have some suggestions and actionables on the more mental side, so keep reading. I’m bullet-pointing them in no particular order, so that you can pick and choose what appeals to you, or try them all – I’m leaving that in your hands.

  • Congratulate yourself, with help if possible. Throw a little party, or a big one. Get a couple of supportive friends together and make it very clear that this party is to honor your project’s completion. If your project has an online following (think webcomics and other online works), celebrate with its fans. Or just take yourself out to dinner or a movie or whatever YOU like to do to celebrate.
  • Recount what you’ve learned. This is a great way to honor the project’s effects on your life: Get some paper and write down everything this project taught you. Get creative with this: Did the project teach you time management? Did you start any new habits due to this project? Did you gain skills? Did you forge relationships, professional or personal? Is it going to be a great portfolio piece? Or did you maybe learn some of your limitations or weak spots? Be grateful for what you’ve learned, regardless.
  • Self-critique (not criticize) the work. Especially if it’s an artistic and/or creative project, look over what you have and critique it in a balanced way. Don’t be too vicious but also don’t be too self-indulgent. Look at it from an outside perspective, as much as possible. Think about what aspects you want to continue and bring along to future projects, and which things you’d like to avoid in the future.
  • Publish or present the work in some way. If it’s not already, show your work in some public way, online or off. Is there a coffee shop that might show your work for a week? Is there a company where you can self-publish a few copies of your work? Does your project have/need/deserve a website? Could you share it with friends on your Facebook or Instagram? What about sharing copies with a few supportive people in your offline friend group? Sometimes this helps to feel like the project is “really done” and helps boost your morale.
  • Post your feelings somewhere. Be it a private group on Facebook for people who do the kind of work you do, or your private blog, or a one-off YouTube video to share with friends, sometimes honoring the project (as well as your exhaustion and mixed feelings) can be therapeutic.
  • Mourn the process of working on this project. This might be a weird one, and it’s not for everyone, and I’m not suggesting you go into mourning – just do some work to deal with the fact that you don’t get to work on this thing anymore, this project that has been a huge part of your life for possibly years. Honor the sadness you may feel, if that’s something that’s coming up for your. Thank the project for being part of your life.

The theme here, of course, is closure – because honestly that’s usually what I most need at the end of a project. Not in that I have trouble with going back and “fixing” parts, but because I don’t usually actually feel that excited about finishing a project. And that’s okay. But I still want and deserve to have some closure, and the joy that comes with really feeling, deep down, that the project is complete.

So, I hope some of these tips will help you. If any of them do, or if you just identified with the feelings expressed, let me know in the comments! And if you need to talk to someone further about this, feel free to reach out to me via the contact form. If you’d like to support my whole operation and the content I create, please head over to my Etsy shop – there are all kinds of things, from art to Tarot readings, that you can purchase to help support me.

With that being said…until next time.

-Taylor

Weekly Blog 3/4/19: The Millennial Mystic Tarot is COMPLETE!

Hey everyone!

I’ve been working for the past year on creating the illustrations for my first Tarot deck. I am so thrilled to tell you, that that task is complete.

However, there is a lot to do before the actual deck goes on sale. This week, in addition to my day job and my ongoing work with OgreWare, I’ll be working on formatting the illustrations into something I can send to the printer. On-demand printers demand (ok, request) that the images that creators send be in a certain format, and that varies from printer to printer.

Fortunately, the printer I’m using has a relatively simple system and offers .psd (Photoshop format) templates to download and use as guides for formatting your card images. So once I get all the images scanned and stitched and color-corrected, I should be pretty much ready to start formatting them.

I am thrilled and excited and nervous about getting the first print back from the printer. When I do get it, I’m going to do my first reading with my deck and will probably film it. (I’ll also probably cry.)

Some people might think that I’m being a bit dramatic with the language and enthusiasm I express when discussing the Millennial Mystic Tarot, but really, there is something special about your first big artistic creation. It’s truly indescribable. Whether it’s a novel, gallery show, music album, or card deck, crossing that finish line quite often results in a feeling of “Wait, what? Did I actually do it?!” Followed by, well, ALL the emotions.

I’ll be sharing videos on the printing process once I actually have things to report, so stay tuned for that. If you’d like to help support this whole operation, please do head over to my Etsy shop. And as always, I hope you’re having a truly excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very soon.

Bye!!
-Taylor

 

Weekly Blog 2/25/19: I Illustrated A Video Game (And Can Finally Tell You About It!)

Hey guys! Taylor here. I’m very, very excited to be able to finally talk in depth about this cool project I’ve been doing.

So, as some of you know, I’m an illustrator not just by passion and hobby and self-employment, but in my day job and on a freelance basis as well. In English: I paint on my own time, but my day job is also painting, and ALSO when friends or clients outside of work ask me to do some art, I can sometimes pitch in and do it.

A while ago, I was approached by a friend, whose game development label, OgreWare, was coming up with a cool little smartphone idle game. They needed an illustrator, and I needed grocery money. It worked out well for both parties: We put out Calling All Heroes this week.

CAH has been a huge part of my “behind the scenes work,” stuff that I haven’t been able to tell you much about, for a while – and now, the game is out and I finally can tell you about it!

For more about this project (and a little speedpaint of some art I did for the loading screen), check out the video below.

To those who heard about this on my Instagram or YouTube and have followed up and played the game, thank you! And if you haven’t played the game yet, you can click here to get it on Google Play. You can also check out OgreWare at their website, OgreWare.net.

That’s the update for this week. I know it’s short, but I am already a day behind on this post, so it’s going up on Tuesday rather than Monday…I apologize! I really try to post daily, but yesterday just ran away with me. All good stuff, just VERY busy.

I have more content coming in the next few weeks and beyond, so stay tuned. Also, how do you like the “embedded video” format? Do you prefer when I stick to just text here on the blog? Or does the video enhance the experience? Let me know!

Talk to you soon!
Taylor