Weekly Blog 11-26-18: Morning Pages, Sweater Weather, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Other November Things

Hey guys, it’s Taylor! And it is the last week of November. As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk, wearing a cozy warm sweater, with my therapy light next to me. Yes, it is definitely the last week of November.


Morning Pages

I’ve started to do Morning Pages, a journaling practice presented by Julia Cameron in the classic The Artist’s Way. The idea, put generally, is to write three full pages, longhand (that is, handwritten, not typed), without really editing or curating what you write about. You don’t have to make sense, spell things conventionally, or have good handwriting – hell, you can burn the pages after if you want.

The trick with Morning Pages is that you devote some time every single day, without skipping unless absolutely necessary, to centering yourself and getting in a creative headspace; it also gives you a chance to pour out whatever needs to get OUT of the creative part of your brain, so that you can function better as an artist. I’ve been doing them for about 10 days without missing any, and they are helping me a lot. I seem to be more effective in my creative efforts, more creative in my thinking, and more productive in general. More boxes are getting checked than not, and that’s an improvement.


Etsy Changes

So recently, Etsy changed their search algorithm. Again. They now almost entirely direct traffic to “the shop that people are statistically most likely to buy from” – which is really sad, because they override things like relevancy and good tags, and just direct people to the most popular shops. Which is fine if you’re the most popular shop in a given tag…but if you’re not, you’re kind of SOL. I am not a huge shop by Etsy standards – I’ve had about 90 sales in 2018 – so I’m really being screwed over by this issue.

Now, I had closed up shop on Etsy after the latest algorithm change; I don’t usually mind the changes they make, but this one killed my sales off entirely, so I had no reason to stay. I was disappointed; I liked selling things and helping people. But like I said…no sales, no reason to stick around on there.

However, my mom and I recently had a cool idea for some health and wellness-related stationery items, and they would be more of a charity project than anything else; this is a product that would help people, not just something I’d sell. So, after just 2 weeks closed down, I am reopening my shop. I’m also having a massive Cyber Monday sale, with many items 30% off or better, and this is actually going to run all week.

Plan2Heal Stationery will be launched soon, so stay tuned for that. It does have its own page here on my website, so you can bookmark that if you’d like to be able to come back and look at what’s going on there!


Seasonal Affective Disorder

I have one last announcement: For many of us, November to February are not just the winter of our calendars, but also Winters of our Discontent. Seasonal affective disorder (“seasonal depression”) is incredibly common, but because it is so often confused with the “winter blues,” it often goes undiagnosed. I’m certainly not advocating for everyone who feels “down” in the winter months to diagnose themselves with SAD, but I am advocating for those people who find that a lowered mood during the winter months is interfering with their daily life or making them consider harming themselves or others, to seek help.

This is just your yearly reminder that SAD, while a challenging disorder, is like any other illness in at least three ways: 1) it is not a moral failing or personal weakness; 2) it is a valid disorder, never to be minimized because it’s “not real depression” or “not a severe illness”; and 3) it can be treated. You deserve to experience the best life possible, and that means you deserve help if you need and want it.

In closing, I would like to express appreciation for everyone’s support through my name change, and apologize for any broken links. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for your support. Whether I am Julian Jaymes or Taylor Johnson, I’m me, and I appreciate you so, so much.

~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 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

MONTHLY Update June 2018 – Changes to Site Format + Art Updates

Hey guys. It’s Julian. And let me tell you, having two jobs – running my online presence, and working a day job – is EXHAUSTING.

I don’t mean to complain though – quite the opposite; I am grateful for these opportunities. I just wanted to explain my reasons for posting less lately. While I have kept up with Instagram to an extent, and my YouTube has been relatively active, I’ve not been able to blog here much, because I’ve been doing my best to manage my wellness. Health has to be my #1 priority, and with chronic health conditions, it can require some tough decisions – like “do I blog, or do I get the rest I need today?” Rest usually wins out.

So I’ve decided that for now on, I’ll just do a monthly update, plus random non-update blogs. I think a weekly update is not really that necessary, and it would be more useful for you – and more convenient for me – to just put out 2 or 3 non-scheduled posts of a more functional variety (tutorials, product reviews, etc) for the rest of the month.

My hope is that by taking off the pressure of “I haven’t done my Weekly Update yet!” I’ll make working on my blog a bit more appealing for me; and by adding more useful posts like “check out this tip/item/tutorial I made for you!” I’ll make reading my blog more appealing for you.

Win-win.

So, this is going to be your very late June update, the first of the Monthly Updates.

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7 of Swords.

Tarot Updates:

  • I’ve completed the sketching for my Tarot deck, and I’ve inked 56 of 79 cards. There’s still a lot of inking to do, and then painting every one of them – but yeah, I have the actual design done for every card.
  • I had a birthday and acquired a wonderful array of watercolor supplies. I have a few more items coming in the mail, thanks to a gift card, but as soon as those are in, I’ll be doing a “Birthday Haul” video, as well as a Watercolor Supplies video.
  • I’ve realized that I can’t just start painting the color into my Tarot cards without any prep work. It will require color compositions, a lot of planning, and also, y’know, learning watercolor. To be honest, I’m a bit nervous about just starting. I feel like I shouldn’t start until I’ve had years of practice painting! Then again, I haven’t had years of practice inking with a dip pen, but I did my Tarot cards in dip pen anyway. Maybe, like with that, this project will be a learning experience.
  • I AM on track to finish the Tarot deck illustrations by the end of the year, and i should be able to have them for sale by spring next year!

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Illustration Updates:

  • In an effort to learn watercolors, I’m doing a bunch of random illustrations as practice. I’ve got maybe 6 or 8 inked and ready to do right now, and all of them, once complete, will be available for sale on my shop! If you’ve ever wanted to own one of my pieces, or just want to support me somehow, they’ll all be priced around the $50 to $100 range. Some will benefit charity, especially my Pride pieces (half of the proceeds will go to the Human Rights Campaign).
  • Speaking of, I’m doing Pride pieces for Pride. Fun stuff. I’m glad I have bright colors for painting a ton of rainbows. 🙂
  • I did a portrait of Molly Roberts and she loved and shared it. I can die happy now.

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Comic Updates:

  • I honestly haven’t worked much on actually drawing comics lately, due to the Tarot deck and watercolor practice taking up so much of my work time. But I’ve definitely been writing, and I have the script for My Life On The Sidelines #1 done, as well as a general plan for another series called Beauty For Ashes. It’s a bit of a triggery topic, and a bit of an anti-hero story. It’s going to be pretty interesting.
  • I sent off a few copies of my comics to a zine distro. I’m super nervous about having done so, but I’m also super excited. 🙂 Worst they can do is not write back, right? Or write back that it’s terrible? I mean, even that might be useful, if they give good critique. We’ll see.

Well, that’s about the extent of my updates, reports, and such. I’ve not been doing much other than working, painting, and trying to manage my health in the meantime. Things have gotten rather distressing and dramatic with my disability pay AND insurance being taken away – yes, they’re trying to pull that out from under me – but I’m doing my best to just keep coping. If you’d like to help with that process, please do head over to my shop and just…buy anything you like, hah. It all helps. 🙂

As always, I want to thank everyone who has been watching, reading, liking, sharing, commenting, and most of all just offering support to me and my work. Today someone posted on my Youtube “This is such an underrated channel.” I didn’t realize I was rated badly, lol, but it made my day to hear that people think it’s Actual Quality Content. *big smile* You guys are THE best.

~Julian

Weekly Update 3/26/18 – Arteza Brush Pens, The Wheel of Fortune, and a Speedpaint!

Hey everyone!

I’ve been puzzling over the ongoing issue of what watercolor to use for my in-progress Tarot deck project, and I’ve settled on yet another option.

I’m not using watercolors.

Yep, found an alternative. But it’s still what a lot of people call “watermedia” – like watercolor pencils or diluted inks, this option requires a brush and water, but comes in…pens!

Meet the Arteza Real Brush Pens.

They’re essentially brush-tipped watercolor markers, and I love them. If you want to see how they work, check out the video below!

(If the thumbnail is a darn My Little Pony toy, don’t mind it, YouTube is wonkier than usual today. It’s a speed-paint of me coloring The Wheel from my Tarot deck, in Arteza brush pens!)

I did a sort of review of the pens in the video, so you can get an idea of how I use them and what they’re like while you watch. I actually really love them. Arteza is no joke, guys – at least with these items, they are surprisingly good quality for a newer company. And that makes me super happy! I love supporting newer art companies WHEN the art supplies are worth it, and Arteza’s (at least what I’ve used) certainly are.

I’m hoping to get that 96-color set for my birthday in June, so I may try some other items too when I make that order! I’ve heard good things about their waterbrushes and watercolors so maybe I can try those. 🙂

It’s been a very productive week, and I’m looking forward to more of the same. I had a medication change about a week ago, and I’m feeling much more clear-headed and creative. I’m excited to show you what’s coming up! Until then, please enjoy this mini gallery of what I did this week:

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Ten of Swords
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The Wheel of Fortune
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Six of Pentacles
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The World
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Two of Cups
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The Hierophant

Thank you so much to everyone who has been commenting, liking, and even ordering from my shop. This is the most active month I’ve had since I started the whole Julian Jaymes thing, and it feels awesome. But none of it would have been possible without you, the readers, the watchers, the clients, the shoppers. From the bottom of my artsy little heart, thank you.

~Julian