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 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

Self-Care For Creatives in the Month of Love

Hey all! It is February and I’m back!

I realize it’s been a couple weeks since my last blog, and I do apologize for that. I was on a business trip and it’s taken me longer to bounce back from the jet lag and altitude sickness than I expected…So, apologies. But honestly, it was worth it – check out where I went….

That’s right, Park City, Utah – for Sundance Film Festival, through work. It was an incredible experience and I am SO grateful. However, it was exhausting. I am anything but fit, and actually rather overweight and out of shape, so combine jet lag with that and being at 7,000 feet, and you get one very exhausted Taylor.

But I’m back now and settled and ready to get back to the blogging. I actually do have a specific topic today – I’m talking about self-care and self-love in the “month of love.” In the Western world especially, we celebrate love and Valentine’s Day in February, and it’s generally focused on romantic love, partner-love, soulmate love, things like that. I feel, however, that it can be a great opportunity to celebrate and invest in the most important relationship any of us will ever have in this life: our relationship with our own self.

It’s difficult, in our world today, to feel love for ourselves. Even when we focus in on it, it’s a challenge to love our whole self, or even any part of it. We are constantly told that we’re not good enough. And I don’t just mean the billboards telling us that we are too short, too fat, too dark, too whatever – I mean the pressure on us to “live up to the standards” for financial wellbeing, career path, academic achievement, possessions, and so on.

  • Massive student debt? We’re told we should have worked our way through college (despite the fact that no college kid can get a job that will fully pay tuition semester by semester).
  • Not in our dream career? We’re told that we shouldn’t be settling for a retail job. (The phrase “didn’t you get a degree in _____, though?” comes to mind.)
  • Didn’t make it through college? We are immediately questioned about our academic performance. (Never mind that some of us couldn’t afford it or don’t have the stability, health, or temperament for college. It’s truly not for everyone.)
  • Don’t have a car? People just stare and laugh. (I’ve taken the bus for the past seven years and it works fine for me for now, thanks.)

It’s sad, really, that we are, all of us, all ages and generations, so insecure that we have to trash people for the paths their lives have taken. But what can we do it?

Know thyself. And then love thyself anyway.

It’s not easy. It’s a big task. But it can start small: Spend a dollar more to get the body wash you actually like. Pull that one really comfy, soft T-shirt out of the closet, and wear it when you’re at home (or, hell, out and about). Replace some of your super-processed candy bar snacks with fruit. (I’m not being judgemental – this is just one thing that really helps me feel like I’m properly caring for myself.)

Then try bigger things. Treat yo self. Take yourself on a micro-vacation to a local park or lake. Sit with your favorite book, even if you’ve read it a hundred times, and read. Spend a little time every day journaling. Be gentle with yourself when you screw up at work. Clean up your act when appropriate, but don’t join the crowd of people who will beat you up about it. “The world is going to be hard enough on you; they don’t need you to volunteer to help with the task.”

In the past years, I’ve worked my way up to daring to do really big things for myself – daring to have a long-term relationship, learning to travel on my own, getting my dental repairs done, and, perhaps most dramatically, shifting into a more risky but incredibly more rewarding career as an artist.

But honestly, it started small. It started with body wash. It started with soft T-shirts. And before that, it started with deciding maybe I was worth good things. Maybe I deserved body wash and T-shirts and vacations and love. It wasn’t certain; I was not sure at all that i deserved anything good. I just was willing to consider that maybe, maybe I deserved better.

I started low. When I started my self-care journey, people had to teach me that you ought to shower every day (my parents had taught me, of course, but I had forgotten). I was lucky to have people around me to teach me. Since I know many of you don’t, here are 12 small ways to take care of yourself, that are actually good ideas:

  1. Drink 3 bottles of water a day.
  2. Brush your teeth regularly.
  3. Take a shower every day.
  4. Journal often. Yes, it’s worth your time, even if you’re not a writer, even if you never read them again.
  5. Wear what you like. I mean it. Screw the haters.
  6. Listen to music that makes you feel like you can rule the world. A few of my songs are “Jump” by Van Halen, “Shooting Star” by Owl City, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, “I Love It” by Icona Pop, and “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera
  7. Read a few good books on the creative life. I’m personally a big fan of “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron.
  8. Take selfies. You don’t have to post them. They’re for your, not the public.
  9. Do your creative work. Are you secretly a writer? Write. Are you secretly an artist? Make art. Again, you don’t have to share it with the world. It’s for you.
  10. Celebrate your birthday, or some other day that is special to you and which allows you and those close to you to celebrate the fact that you’re here in this world. It is definitely worth celebrating.
  11. Be gentle with yourself when you’re sick. Pushing yourself past the edge doesn’t help anyone. I know it’s not always possible to get out of work and such, especially when you have low income, but at least minimize the other extra stuff while you’re ill.
  12. A final note about more serious and/or specific health stuff: Make whatever health adjustments are appropriate for you (and okay with your doctors). For some of us, that means diet and exercise. For others, it means definitely NOT diet and exercise. And for some, it’s more about reconstructive work, or gender transition, or mental health management, or even reconciliation with parts of our bodies with which we have complicated relationships (hello to my fellow assault survivors – Me Too). Heck, for some of us, it’s just getting back to yoga, therapy, or support groups. Or going for the first time.

Sometimes self-care is difficult. I know for sure that I fight some days just to treat my body and myself with the very base level of respect that I deserve. The important thing is not whether I manage that every day. The important thing is that I try, and I believe I do deserve it.

Like anything worthwhile, self-care takes work. It is difficult but not complicated.

I love the old movie, Field of Dreams, that coined the phrase “If you build it, they will come.” The protagonist in that movie was given a task that seemed absurd, seemed illogical, seemed like a waste of energy. Who was going to use that baseball field? What magic was going to happen?

Well, go see the movie. And then remember that if you build the framework for self-respect and self-care, the self-love will follow.

It all starts with a belief that maybe the magic can happen.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for today. Thank you for reading this (very long) blog post, and thank you for being part of my little world here.

Go forth and love yourself.

-Taylor