New Year’s Blog 2018-2019: Glancing Back, Gazing Forward

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

2018 was far and away the best year of my life thus far, and I’m not afraid to say that. (After all, the year is over, I can’t jinx it now.) It brought into my life hope, empowerment, courage, confidence, and a level of creativity that I had not experienced ever before. I don’t just mean that I got better at drawing, at anatomy or perspective or style; I mean I got better at art, the War of Art, the Art-Life, the Artist’s Way, whatever you want to call it – the very process of being creative grew in my life far more than it ever has before.

I made and published comics and zines, designed and inked an entire tarot deck (and have painted half the cards!), honed my skills, developed a paper planning system that works for me, and generally got better at being an artist. Morning Pages and a regular meditation practice have helped me to calm my mind on a daily basis, enough that I can concentrate much better and just generally get a lot more done. Having my mind clear is like having my paints well-organized: it doesn’t make the art happen, but it makes the process far more streamlined and eliminates some of the delays involved with disarray.

My online presence went from occasional blog posts, even-more-occasional videos, and a tiny, quiet Instagram, to…well, perhaps not massive success, but certainly enough popularity that my Etsy shop was able to grow by 900% (that is, making nearly 10x as much revenue as the previous year). It’s still not a huge amount – not nearly enough to quit my day job – but enough that I managed to invest in some supplies I needed, and enough that my shop has become a profitable side gig rather than a

I also grew spiritually, becoming more secure in my identity (nonidentity?) as a “spiritual seeker not otherwise specified.” I don’t identify as Pagan or Christian or New Age (though all those apply in their own ways) – I just identify as a spiritual seeker who loves Tarot and oracle cards, is fascinated by angels, and may very well be an old soul, but doesn’t claim to be any kind of guru.

I started offering card readings on my Etsy shop, something I’d wanted to do for years upon years, and am still offering about a dozen different spreads at reasonable rates. (If you’d like a reading with me, please click here to browse them.) I am thrilled to be able to offer these readings. I didn’t do it lightly: I’ve been considering for about a year and practicing and preparing, and have been reading for over 15 years, but didn’t list them until near the New Year…and I’m glad I waited until it was truly the right time.

I also started working in the conventional workplace this year, first as a receptionist, and then shifting into the world of 3D models and virtual reality design, with a focus on artistic environment creation and model texturing. My journey there has been wild. As someone who was on disability and did not work in a conventional workplace (even part-time) for 5 years, going from no job to dream job in under 12 months is nothing short of miraculous. I worked hard for it, yes, but I am very fortunate to be where I am today, in such a short period of time.

Of course, there have been challenges. Depression and anxiety plagued me for months at a time, and nearly drove me into the hospital in August. I managed to pull through without needing hospitalization, though, and other than that, I haven’t had many mental health “blips.” Most of my real struggles have centered around money management (difficult thing, when shifting from fully on disability to working part time) and time management. However, having a paper planning system that really works for me has been an absolute lifesaver: I got into bullet journaling this year, and while I do not do the incredibly elaborate beautiful stuff you see on Instagram, my bullet journal has been very helpful.

Before I close, I do want to take a moment to thank all of YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for being with me on this journey, for following my work, for clicking all those Like and Subscribe and Favorite buttons, and for allowing me to do what I do and share my interests with you. You have my eternal gratitude, and I wish you all an incredible, nurturing, creative 2019.

All the best,

Taylor

Weekly Blog 12/24/18: Writing Scripts, Drawing Manga, and Reading Tarot Cards

Hello everyone!

I’m very excited to announce that I am working on not one, but two manga comics right now – one in the drawing phase and one still in the scripting phase.

The one that I’m currently drawing is Chapter One of My Life On The Sidelines. “But that already came out!” you might say. Well, that’s sort of true. I wrote, illustrated, printed, and published MLOTS’s Prologue, but chapter 1 is what I’m drawing right now. I’ve had the script done for a while, but it’s only now being actually drawn and inked. I’ll be bringing this chapter to you sometime in January.

The one that I’m scripting, I’m almost more excited about. It’s a “dark hero” story, a vigilante hero who defends a town and finally captures his arch-enemy…only to find that disposing of the evildoer is not always as simple as one thinks. It’s a story of redemption and forgiveness, and while it’s not going to be an easy one, I really think it will be an important story to write and tell, both for me to create, and for others to read and experience.

Finally, I wanted to let you all know – and I’m a bit nervous to share this – that I’m now offering Tarot/oracle/angel card readings on my Etsy shop! Yes, you can finally have a reading from me. The readings will be pre-recorded videos that I’ll film of me doing your reading. I’m offering one card and four card readings right now, and on top of that, they’re on sale! So check out the listings for the one card and four card readings. I think people will really like them. 🙂

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Four decks I’m really enjoying: Oracle of the Angels (Blue Angel), Work Your Light Oracle (Hay House), Moonchild Tarot (Starseed Designs), and the Isis Oracle (Blue Angel).

That’s about all. Things have been a lot less crazy lately, or maybe I’m just managing my time better. Regardless, I’m relieved to say that I don’t feel very stressed this week. 🙂

I want to send a special shoutout to the people who shopped at my Etsy shop this week. It really, really helps to have that extra income, however small it may be some months. I’m offering free shipping through the end of December, so if you’d like to order something, now would be a good time. 🙂

Until next week,

Taylor

Image: The Three of Cups card from the Moonchild Tarot. Available at https://themoonchildtarot.com

Monthly Update December 2018 | Many, Many, Many Projects!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the December update blog!

I’ve been hard at work both at my day job (3D model design and texture painting), and my Tarot deck at home. The amount of work is heavy, but not unbearable, and I’m enjoying it, so I guess it’s a good deal. 🙂 I enjoy both jobs very much.

I’m itching to draw comics again, though, and I’ve got an idea in mind. Unlike my previous works, it’s not a gift for anyone – it’s a comic I’ve wanted to draw for some time, a story that aches to burst out into the world. It’s got the working title Paisley and Patch, and it’s the story of a rock star and a roadie. In one form or another, I’ve been writing this story since I was 15 or so, and I’m very hopeful about finally drawing it.

It’s a bit of a self-indulgence, but those often are the best stories. 😉 I’ll be reading lots of romance and drama manga to get inspired, and yeah, I’m just very excited about this very dear-to-my-heart story coming to light and to life.

But first things first, and that means that before I can seriously work on manga, I need to finish up my Tarot deck. There are about 48 images left to paint, and only 2 of them need to be inked (the rest are already ready to paint), so it’s just a lot of painting. I’m still on schedule to start test printing in March and have the proposed Kickstarter in June. I’m very excited about this whole thing. It’s going to be awesome. 🙂

I’ve been managing weekly videos over on my YouTube channel, which is pretty good by my standards. I was always a very sporadic YouTuber, but I’ve learned to build up a stack of videos so that I don’t actually have to do it every week, but rather have a bit of a buffer in case I get busy or things come up. Basically I work ahead of time and schedule videos, so that if I can’t manage to record anything, I can at least have those scheduled videos automatically posting for a few weeks while I get myself back together. 🙂 I’m currently about a month ahead of schedule – that is, most of December’s videos are already recorded, edited, and uploaded. It’s just a matter of YouTube posting them for me each week. Pretty handy!

Also, I’ve re-opened my Etsy shop, and I really appreciate the people who are shopping there. I don’t know how you’re finding my shop, considering that Etsy’s search algorithm has become really difficult to deal with, but you have, and I love you for it! I am so happy to be selling again, not even so much from a financial perspective (though it does help), but from the perspective of wanting to be of service and share my craft (notebooks, sewing, and art).

This is all a lot, but it’s helpful to be paper planning. I’m enjoying and having a lot of good results with my bullet journal, and have also been doing “daily diary” journaling to process thoughts and experiences. All in all, paper planning is helping me to keep it all together.

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I hope this blog finds you well, and that everything is going well for you. And until next time, as always…I hope you are having a really excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very very soon!

-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 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 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