Consistency in creativity is something I value, something I believe in. I trust consistent effort. It works for me. While some artists do their best work in brief, intense sessions – “binge writing,” say, or “painting marathons,” or twelve-hour-a-day weekend retreats – I feel that I do my best work when I am steady, consistent, and simply put a little time in on a regular basis. My Muse is most likely to show up when we have a scheduled date. And I, myself, am most likely to create if I have been creating recently.
Over the past two years, consistency has become a past luxury, something I never learned to appreciate until these chaotic years turned it into a mere memory. I remember times when I could simply work every morning at the same time and get work done regularly. Those times disappeared. Between COVID and the absolute uproar across the nation I live in, 2020 was a blur of panic. 2021 was somehow more chaotic, at least for me personally. I was working a legitimately abusive, minimum-wage retail job. And at home, my apartment had become an incredibly dangerous place to be. It took months leading up to the actual event, but then I moved and changed jobs within a single week, and boxed up and moved my entire life inside of 72 hours. Then I spent the end of 2021 and the first half of 2022 unpacking (literally and figuratively) after that desperate move and getting used to the new job.
I tried not to rush. I gave myself space to just be, just breathe, and process. It took time. Some aspects of creativity returned more quickly than others. The evening of the day I quit my retail job, I found myself able to sketch again. By January I was able to at least toy with new creative ideas and write down ideas. Over winter, I sketched out a comic; I wrote a little; I did a lot of sewing. By the end of the summer, I’d finished my first graphic novella, plus a separate mini comic. And in the past few months, I wrote the guidebook and illustrated the first twenty-five cards in my new oracle deck.
But I didn’t blog. The thing is, I had told myself “I’ll start blogging again once I start creating again.” And…I totally didn’t start again, not instantly. I gradually restarted most of my creative efforts, but somehow, in my list of things to revive in my creative life, the blog fell by the wayside. Until today.
It’s going to take a while to catch you up on everything I’ve been doing, but for now, here are just a few highlights of what I’ve worked on since the last time I did any regular blogging.
I wrote and illustrated two comics in 2022 – The Feline Guide to Grief and CORVIDAE.
The Feline Guide to Grief is the tangible product of a grieving process I went through in May. On a Wednesday at 12:45 in the morning, our family’s beloved black cat became violently ill. Everyone else was away, and despite my best efforts and veterinary intervention, he died that night. The following days were a blur of shock for me. I processed the loss by writing and illustrating this ten-page comic. It was deeply healing for me – and, to my surprise, has also been healing for others. You can read The Feline Guide to Grief online, here on this website.
CORVIDAE is one part horror comic, one part revenge fairytale, and one part manifesto on the collective experience of harassment and sexual violence on public transportation. I took the bus for seven long years and part of what drove me to get a loan (that I didn’t want) and a car (that I didn’t feel I logistically needed) was the constant harassment and the underlying fear of sexual assault. I am all for reducing car emissions and I feel that public transit could be a great solution. But it will not be a fair solution until women (and nonbinary, gender-non-conforming, and trans people) can take the bus as safely as men do. (If you’re curious about the statistics, there aren’t many studies out there, but this article is a great summary of this study from 2020. Both are excellent.)
My current divination deck project is the Path of the Magdalene Oracle. I’ve fully illustrated 25 of the 44 cards, and I am so excited about this one. I’ve previously authored and illustrated two divination decks, the Millennial Mystic Tarot and the Hekate Oracle, but the Path of the Magdalene is the first one I’m doing entirely digitally. The Path of the Magdalene is scheduled to be published in summer 2023, on Mary Magdalene’s feast day, which is July 22. The guidebook is already written, and with that and more than half the cards done, I feel confident saying that (at least for right now) I am on schedule.
Game development and 3D modeling are two things I really love – and rarely make time for. It saddens me when I don’t make time for them, though, so the past quarter (Q3 2022) and this one upcoming (Q4), I’m making a really concerted effort to carve out time for it. My partner and I are working on a game now that we are really excited about, so I’ll hopefully be able to share more about that soon.
I’ve never posted much about my novel writing on TaylorJohnson.art, mostly because there isn’t much overlap between the years of my life when I was writing much, and the years I’ve had this blog. So, for those of you who aren’t aware: I have actually been a novelist since my teenage years. I used to write novels pretty much constantly, and then self-doubt and fear of success put the whole writing part of my life on pause. Now, however, I’ve decided to stop wasting the years and get back to noveling. I’m only working in spare moments right now, since I already have so much on my plate; however, once the Path of the Magdalene Oracle is complete, I intend to take the time I’ve been using for that and devote it to a novel. I’ve already settled on which novel, and it even has a working title, but all that is staying under wraps for now.
Another detail I’ll share at some point, and another reason I haven’t posted about my novels here on this site, is that I’m seriously considering using a pen name for when I do publish my novels and/or graphic novels and comics. Again, I pretty much have it picked out, but I’m not quite ready to announce it yet. Subscribe to this blog to be notified when I do!
There is more to update you all on, but since this single blog is now well over 1000 words, I’m going to close up for now. If you’d like to keep following my creative journey, feel free to sign up for notifications so you can know when I post new blogs (only one or two a month, I promise!). And, until next time, be safe. Be well.
And go make some art today!