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 3/4/19: 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 2/18/19: 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

Weekly Blog 2/11/19: My Writing Journey, the Art of the Novel, and Future Plans

Hey guys, it’s Taylor and today I’m writing a blog all about novels and my love of them – and how that love figures into my plans for my creative life, going forward.

So, the story so far: I’ve been reading since beyond memory, which means either that I don’t remember as far back as most people or I learned to read before most people, or maybe both. According to my parents I was picking out word at 3 and reading at 4, but I honestly don’t remember much before I was 5 or 6, so it’s kind of all conjecture and “he-said-she-read” at this point. The important thing, though, is that I’ve been reading for about 25 years at this point, and that it started early.

I’ve always loved books, but novels are really my sort of cozy, happy place. You know that awesome commercial where Nick Jonas paired with Cigna to recommend talking to your doctor about your mental/emotional health? Well, if Nick’s happy place is a cozy little living room with a fireplace, music, and a puppy, then mine is just about anywhere as long as I’ve got a novel.

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(A few of my favorites. Image: a stack of paperback novels, including Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Half Life by Shelley Jackson, An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle, DUNE by Frank Herbert, and Book One of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.)

But at some point there was a big shift in how I viewed novels and what I thought of them – and that was the moment that I realized oh, there are people who actually write novels, for a living. The awareness of the existence of novelists changed me. I suddenly decided (at age 8 or 9) that I was going to be a novelist.

Over the subsequent 20 years, I got into art, comics, and illustration – and I do love those things, don’t get me wrong – but see, I’m not one of those people who believes you can’t do all your passions, that you have to limit yourself, and that even some things you truly love have to fall by the wayside for one or two to succeed. I do believe in prioritizing and working on a limited number of things at a time; but I also really believe in following all of your deep passions.

For me, art and comics and Tarot are a big part of my heart, but another big part – that hasn’t seen the light of day much lately – is writing novels. And that part of me is starting to come to light again.

I was on a trip recently that involved a lot of plane trips and airport layovers, and I am not exactly a comfortable flyer. I often half-joke “I like flying – I just don’t like airports, security, takeoff, landing, or turbulence!” So, despite it being a business trip (not much time to write), I brought a traveler’s notebook and pens and wrote pretty much constantly on my travel days.

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(I didn’t bring ALL of these notebooks – just the traveler’s notebook on top. Image: a pile of varied notebooks, planners, and journals, topped with an overstuffed, over-decorated traveler’s notebook.)

Now, I hadn’t made plans on what I was going to write, so I kind of just wrote whatever. Part of it was journaling, but a bunch of what came out was scenes for a rewrite of a story I’ve had in my head for several years. It was originally called Prysm and was going to be a straight romance, and it’s somehow morphed into more than just a romance, and definitely not straight. It’s also taken on the working title Freefall – or, as a friend of mine has nicknamed it, “Lesbians In Space.” (Hey, my friends are awesome, what can I say?)

So, honestly, I have to acknowledge that I have a lot of projects right now, and I’m shuffling them around a little. Some things are being back-burnered, some things are being shelved, but so far as I can tell, nothing that I’ve promised “coming soon!” is getting put on pause. I promise that the Millennial Mystic Tarot is very much still coming out – I’m actually working steadily on that; it’s just a big project that takes a long time to do regardless. The stuff that I’m shuffling around is mostly behind-the-scenes, in-the-works projects that I haven’t made public yet.

I have mixed feelings about shelving anything, and I’m not doing it without serious consideration. My experience with the Millennial Mystic Tarot has taught me that the key to completing a big project is to stick with it and not allow distractions to drag you away. But at the same time, I can’t deny that being a writer is still one of my dearest dreams.

So I’ll keep you posted – about the Tarot deck, the novel, and all other future plans. If you’d like to stay informed on them, please hit the follow button on the sidebar.

And until next time, I hope you’re having a fantastic day.

-Taylor

Weekly(ish) Blog 12/7/18 – Poetry, Prose, and Project Management

Hey everyone!

Taylor here. I’m blogging today very late in the week, and this is the weekly blog that should have gone up on the 3rd; however, I was going through a lot of mental crap in the early part of this week, and really felt I couldn’t come up with a good blog that I wanted to share. So in the interest of “the right message late than the wrong message on time,” here is the blog, late as heck but it’s here!

I’ve been really enjoying writing lately. I posted about this recently and shared my experience of the joy of the written word; I should really do a video about it, and I’ll make a note of that now, so keep an eye out for a discussion of my writing history!

For now, though, I’ll tell you that I’m writing poetry for the first time in 10 years. I’d been a poet from age 13 or so (who isn’t, really, in those teenage years?), and had written prolifically, but had not written any for most of my 20s. Most of my 20s were spent dealing with my mental health crises and getting myself into recovery, and I had all but given up on my writing, thinking that the brain damage and trauma had somehow removed that part of my brain, the part that’s always been in love with the written word.

But that part has been resurrected, and I’m writing. I’ll share here my first recent poem; it came to me while I was in the library, actually, picking up (what else?) a book on poetry, and the poem came into my mind so suddenly and so clearly that I had to hurry to pull my laptop out of my bag and type it up at lightning speed. It’s called Pomade:

This is not the man I faced
as a child,
yet even still
he smells of pomade.

He does not have the slicked-back slick black hair
of my attacker;
he does not have
his smile,
full of teeth that were
all the better to bite me with.

He does not have those cruel hands;
that cruel mouth
which demanded an apology
for his own sins; he does not have
that cruel mouth.

He does not have the raging beast within him
beating against ribcage-bars;
trying to get out
to roar, to rage, to rape
virgin lambs like I was.

No, this one is not him;
and yet
even
still –

he smells of pomade.

It’s not a literal story, but it’s close enough to give me shivers. It just came to me and I had to write it down. (If you’ve seen The Kindergarten Teacher, a fantastic Netflix film about poetry, among other things, I would have been saying “I have a poem.”)

I cannot express my gratitude at getting my poetry back. I’ve always journaled, even during my difficult years, and I’m still doing that and am very glad that I kept that up, because I think that’s what allows me to write my poetry – I never stopped writing, it just changed to a form that is (for me) easier to maintain even during bad times.

I plan to put together a zine of my poetry at some point next year. I don’t know when; it could be February, could be July, could be November – depends on when I accumulate enough poems to put together a good-size (60-page, hopefully) zine. So stay tuned for that. 🙂

Before I go, I wanted to say that I am so grateful for everyone who has been shopping at my Etsy shop since my return! It’s fantastic to have people ordering things, it makes it all worth it for me (and the money helps more than you probably realize). I appreciate you all so, so much.

Also, yes, I am still painting my Tarot deck. Slowly. It’ll still be out in June!

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Until next time, guys, I hope that you are having a truly excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very very soon.

~Taylor