Weekly Blog 7/1/19: Returning from Hiatus, the #hbnotebookchallenge, and #onebookjuly2019 !

Hey guys! It’s Taylor.

I’m back from my “burnout hiatus” and am feeling way better. I actually did spend part of this last week, the end of June, working on filming videos – but only because I had started to feel like it again, and I’m doing well enough with my full time work that I think I can begin to add my usual content-creation processes back into my life.

As I’d said in a previous video and maybe some blog posts, whenever I’ve increased the amount that I work at day-job stuff, I’ve gone through a couple months of “OGOD I HAVE NO FREE TIME LEFT, ALL MY FREE TIME IS GONE, ALL I DO IS WORK, I CAN NEVER DO A PERSONAL PROJECT AGAIN.” I felt this when I started part time work, and again when I increased to half time, and again when I increased to full time.

However, even with FT work, I DO still have free time – it just doesn’t feel like it, and I have to use it more wisely. And now that I’ve had a couple months to adjust to full time work, I feel once more like “OK, yeah, I’m busier than I was – but I can manage this. I can still work on my personal things. This is doable.”

So, yeah. I’m back.

me at event

The past month has actually been…great. I launched my first Tarot deck (buy it here), I had my 30th birthday, and I had a business trip (day-job related) to LA. I can’t say much publicly but gosh, it was cool as hell. I had a lot of great opportunities to attend an ACLU event and then a Women In Media event. As for the logistics side, I hate flying but I love travel, so, mixed feelings about the trip – but TSA wasn’t too awful and I did come through okay, so I guess it was a win.

I’ve been painting a lot for the next deck, the Sacred Storyteller Oracle, and I am thrilled with the cards so far.

That deck is coming out for Christmas/Yule/Solstice 2020, but you can follow the progress on this blog or on the deck’s Instagram, @sacredstorytelleroracle.

I’m also participating in a couple of challenges! One is a yearlong one, the #hbnotebookchallenge by Sarra Cannon of Heart Breathings. This challenge is basically to use up a notebook a month, and was inspired by Sarra’s realization that she had…kind of a lot of notebooks. Stacks and stacks of beautiful…blank notebooks. I have the same problem with mine, so I was really inspired when Sarra posted a video challenging everyone to use up a notebook every month of 2019!

For some people, their focus in doing the challenge is to write more – some people are hand-drafting novels, others are journaling, still others are memory-keeping, and so on. For others, it’s about decluttering and changing how we think about the perpetual acquisition of notebooks. And for some it’s just a fun challenge!

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A lot of us have found that a whole notebook every month, though, is a LOT more writing than we want to be doing; so, many people (including myself) have chosen to alter the challenge slightly for ourselves. My adjustment is that I’m using traveler’s notebook inserts instead of actual notebooks for my 12, but I still plan to fill 12 of them. I started with three Standard size inserts, but just finished a half-letter size one. I’m not being super strict about what size I use….just making sure I actually do all that writing.

The other challenge I’m joining this year is just this month, and it’s the #onebookjuly2019 challenge. Basically, the challenge is (loosely) to use a single book for your planning or journaling for all of July. Me, I had to alter this too, of course; I’m basically using just two notebooks: a traveler’s notebook system and a spiral-bound planner. I would have tried to keep it all in the TN, but I’ve been planning for months on moving into a Recollections “Creative Year” planner from Michaels, so I really had to alter the challenge to allow myself to use both. So, notes and journaling and to-do lists go in the TN, and all the rest of my planning goes in the spiral planner.

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I don’t have a video digest for you for this blog; that will come next week once I’m back to posting videos. I’ve actually pre-recorded and scheduled out videos for most of July, so never fear, content is coming. I just had to take June off. It was a good thing, though, and I don’t regret the choice.

In closing…Thank you all so much for your support. If you’d like to financially support this operation, please do head over to my Etsy shop; if you’d like to see the videos I make, check out my YouTube; if you’re at all on Instagram, follow me there; and don’t forget to subscribe here for more updates on all my projects.

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

-Taylor

Weekly Blog 4/22/19: Overwhelm, Falling Behind, Catching Up, & Video Digest

Main image caption: Photograph of a rainbow-striped Tarot deck bag, surrounded by various witchy items, including a candle, a mini grimoire, a crystal, and an oracle deck. The image is from Taylor’s Etsy shop.

Hey all! Taylor here, with the weekly blog and some updates and info on how things are going.

I just completed my 3rd week working full time, and it still feels totally crazy to be doing this. At times I think “What was I thinking? This is nuts, I can’t do this.” I sometimes wonder what delusional state I was in to even apply for, interview for, accept, AND start a full time job.

Then again, I’ve done a lot of other “crazy” things in life, and the Universe has yet to let me fall on my ass (at least in a bad way). So I keep going, following the signs that tell me yes, even though this is crazy, you’re doing the right thing. I know that what I’m doing is what I need to be doing right now. Even if it doesn’t pan out long-term, it’s important that I do it, for now. I feel that very strongly.

And really, work isn’t bad. Work, in my case and in this particular job, is actually amazing. I can’t tell you about half the stuff because it’s secret, and the other half is actually ALSO secret but more in the “we haven’t signed a contract yet so don’t publicize it before we sign, please.” But it’s all interesting, and I work for and with awesome people, in an awesome company, so personally I’m okay with the required/requested secrecy.

So there’s really no issue with work…the issue is work plus Etsy plus Youtube plus blog plus having a social life. All of that doesn’t add up – not easily, at least. But…I don’t want to jinx it, but I feel like I can manage most of it, in some way, on a continuing basis. I mean, hell, I took yesterday (Sunday) and just sat down and recorded a 2hr workshop on angel cards, AND edited it, AND am uploading it now…and this is all DURING the craziness of my first month working FT. (And yes, I am okay and stable…I just had time and felt like it was time to make that angel card workshop!)

I guess what I mean is this: There’s nothing stopping me from managing to continue all of this stuff, even if it has to be somewhat streamlined, other than me. It’s just me telling myself I can’t do it. I truly believe, though, especially after this week of struggle but ultimately success, that I AM capable of managing it all.

I don’t have to choose. I can have my life and my work too. Being multipassionate doesn’t have to mean none of it gets done, in the end. Just means I have to be a bit more vigilant and a bit more inventive in my time management. 🙂

With that being said, and without further ado, here are the videos from this week.

April 15: Mid-April 2019 Check-In Card Reading

I’ve been doing monthly “first of the month” card readings all year, but I also do one on the 15th of each month – sort of a “check-in” to sit down and chat about how the month is going. This is that video, for April.

April 17: Sketchbook Tour 3 | Sketches and Designs from September 2018 to April 2019

I have done sketchbook flips (tours) for my past few sketchbooks; this is the third one in this loose series. It’s been a while since the last one but I wanted to share this one regardless. It’s amazing, to me at least, to see how my art has changed and improved over time. Keeps me hopeful about future improvement.

April 19 – no, wait, 20th: Grimoire With Me | Making My Book of Mirrors

This was a fun one, because it’s a Grimoire With Me meets Plan With Me: Two of my favorite things mashed together! It’s basically a grimoire in a six-ring binder/planner cover, and it contains my Book of Mirrors (sort of a spiritual/magickal journal, as opposed to a spellbook). During the voiceover I didn’t have much of a topic, just chatted about Books of Mirrors and this one’s particular purpose.

So that’s the video digest, and with that I’m going to sign off and post this blog before I end up posting things late again. Next week I’ve got a very special video workshop coming, assuming I can get a 2hr video successfully uploaded on my tired little MacBook and my weak Internet. I’ll keep you posted, as always, so stay tuned.

Before I go, though, I want to thank all the people who have been shopping at my Etsy shop lately. It honestly helps a huge amount; it may not be a huge dollar amount to most people, but actually, a large portion of my spending money (and a pretty huge portion of my funds for my art) comes from that shop. Starting next month I’ll have a bit more day-job income, but really, for right now I am able to do art largely because of my Etsy shoppers. I so appreciate you, and I have some new items coming soon, so keep visiting that shop and keep visiting here. 🙂

Thanks so much for reading. Have an awesome day!

-Taylor

PS – if you’re interested in the Tarot/oracle deck bag pictured above, check out the listing here!

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

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!

DecorativeAtBest

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.

mlots_ch0cover

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 1/29/18 | Zine Influences, Comic Inking, and Self-Publishing Rebellion!

[Pictured: An assortment of the zines and self-published publications I’ve collected over the years.]

Hey y’all! It’s Julian. I’m in the midst of a comic-inking marathon, but I’m taking a few minutes to write up an update. 🙂

I’ve been really inspired by zines, zine culture, zine discussion, and zine documentaries this week – and self-publishing in general is becoming even more appealing to me than before. I’m really excited and, in fact, proud to be self-publishing. I honestly think that self-publishing is the future of art, rather than a dying concept. I see more and more young artists self-publishing zines, books, and comics, and more and more big companies going down…in a way, it makes me happy. We are still here.

I’m currently working hard on My Life On The Sidelines, my current comic project. I’m on the Prologue right now and am about 2/3 done with those 24-ish pages. I’m looking into formatting and printing it, and it’s going to be more zine-sized than my previous (8.5×11″) comics. Every day I’m learning more about what my technology can do and how I can print them without going to a bigger printing service. It’s awesome!

(If you’d like to read Sidelines now, please click here.)

The whole idea of self-publishing appeals to me partly because it’s an act of rebellion. Not just if you make an explicit, politically drive riot grrl zine – I mean that self-publishing itself is an act of rebellion.

How so?

Well, first of all, it rejects the very idea of needing permission: permission to speak, permission to share your ideas, permission to promote your art. It rejects the idea of needing validation; anyone can self-publish, so it doesn’t matter whether your art is “good enough” or “high quality.” And perhaps best of all, self-publishing is no respecter of persons. Rich, poor, POC, white, male, female, nonbinary – anyone can make a zine, and for the most part, no one can stop you.

Of course, I realize I’m speaking from a place of privilege in that I’m in a country and area where if I say (or self-publish) something outlandish, I’m not likely to be killed for it. But really, in most places, anyone can self-publish. You can even be anonymous or use a pseudonym if you’re really uncomfortable about it. I do.

But really, I believe that self-publishing is an act of rebellion, a show of courage, and a practice of self-worth and love. Self-publishing your work shows that you are unafraid and unabashed and unashamed.  And so I’ll keep running off photocopies.

Until the next time we speak, I hope you’re having an excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very very soon!

~Julian

Weekly Update 1/22/18 | New Materials for Old Artists; Choosing Proper Paper; and Creating Consistent Content

Hey y’all! It’s Julian, and this is the weekly update for January 22, 2018. I’m going to be talking today about being an experienced artist with new materials, the value of using appropriate paper for whatever medium you’re working in, and also my main New Year’s resolution.

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First off, I don’t pretend to be a highly experienced artist – I just mean that I’ve been drawing for about 15 years, and seriously studying since 2016, and so I’ve tried a lot of things and failed at a lot of things. (“The beginner artist has ruined dozens of pieces; the expert artist has ruined thousands.”) So I kind of know what I’m doing…with a few things. Ink pens, I’m good at. Markers, I’m pretty good at.

But dip pens with bottles of ink and watercolor painting?!

Nope. Nope nope nope. I know NOTHING.

And yet I am trying those things right now!

I’m very new at watercolor. I reeeaaaally do not know what I’m doing. I’m screwing up a LOT. And yet…I’m having a blast!! It is actually really fun to not know what you’re doing, and to make mistakes, when you have the right approach and the right mental attitude towards it. Personally, I love trying new mediums and screwing up. I don’t always love screwing up (it’s really annoying when I accidentally plop ink in the middle of a beautiful painting!), but I really love the overall experience of trying a medium I’m not good at.

I think it’s because I love the challenge. I love that each medium has pros and cons and that each tool solves some problems and causes others. I love figuring out how the heck to work with each medium.

I’ve gotten to the point in my artistic life, I think, where I can just try new things and it doesn’t emotionally destroy me when I fail, or mess up, or whatever you want to call it – when things don’t go the way I’d imagined. The thing is, I’ve accepted that art will NEVER go exactly how I imagine it. I never will be able to pull that perfect image directly out of my head. Ever. It’s just not going to happen.

But once you let go of that pipe dream of perfection… gosh it’s fun to try!

Jimin Watercolor

Now about paper. Paper is so, so important. I think my latest piece (the boy in blue, aka Jimin Park from Kpop band BTS, pictured above) is proof of this.

I used a bit of watercolor from tubes that I got in a set of 12 for $5 from Michael’s. These watercolors are probably a nightmare to a pro, and yet even in my hands, on decent paper, I got pretty darn good results (well, I’m happy with it!). But crummy paper, even with nice watercolors, would have turned out super messy. Maybe, when I have some really much nicer watercolors, I’ll do a video discussing/demonstrating this.

My excuse for a long time was “I’ll ruin the good paper! It’s not worth it to invest in good paper! My art doesn’t deserve good paper!” That was BS. It is, to me, the same as saying “Well, I’m investing in the red and orange pencils, yes, but if I buy nice blue and green pencils, I’ll ruin them. Never mind that I’m using the reds and oranges. Nope, can’t invest in blue or green.” See? The paper is as much a tool as the paint/pencil/marker.

My point is this: Invest in paper. Doesn’t have to be Arches. Just at least buy the right kind of paper. So if you’re learning watercolors, invest in basic watercolor paper (Canson XL is great and very cheap!). If it’s uncomfortable to use fancy paper, remind yourself: Someday you will be working on fancy paper anyway, so you might as well get used to it now!

Get comfortable with the “fancy” paper as much as you get comfortable with the pen or brush. You can always have a “messy page,” a spare piece of that paper that you JUST use to test colors/paints/brushes/etc. Or doodle on a page or two. Just get your brush wet and get something on that freakin’ paper!!

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Finally, I want to talk about my biggest New Year’s resolution, which was actually just the choice of a Phrase of Intention for the year. Many people choose a “word of the year,” but I chose a phrase: Create Consistent Content. It’s my aim, my goal, my guidance for the year. When I don’t know what to do with myself, I intend to turn to this phrase and remind myself that the key to building a brand, and also the key to building a creative practice and improving on one’s work, is Creating Consistent Content!

Yeah. Yeah, I know it’s cheesy. But it’s helping me so far.

I had to find a way to quantify this, though – how to know whether I am indeed creating consistent content. Thus, here are my goals:

  • Create one color illustration (9×12″ or larger) every week in 2018. (Bonus points: Make 55 total so that it’s a bit more than once a week.)
  • Release a comic issue every other month in 2018, for a total of 6 issues. (Bonus Points: Release an offset-printed collection, containing the first 5 chapters plus the prologue, at the end of the year.)
  • Make a net profit of [number I won’t share] off of my art.

Basically these goals are to keep me accountable to that idea of Creating Consistent Content. I wanted to share them so that you can help keep me accountable too.

Well, this post is already late, so I’m going to send it off to y’all. Thank you again for all your support, and please do check out http://www.etsy.com/shop/julianjaymesart if you’d like to purchase anything and help me towards my goals!

~Julian