27 November 2013

Where the heck is that sketch?

Do you often find yourself searching for that sketch you did a while back?
Do you get frustrated looking through piles of paper for that exact sketch you know would be perfect?
Do you have a system?
If you don't, read on and hoepfully I can give you a great tip I am using to organize my drawings.

If you are like me, you sketch on paper, in pads, or whatever flat material that lies around.  And in my opinion nothing replaces the sketching on paper. I can sketch in bed, in a waiting room, looking at tv, talking on the phone... etc. 
I often sketch on the backs of paper too, because I can go through a lot of paper and isn't it often the case where that drawing that you were scribbling about comes out spectacular and it is, of course behind another drawing.  That also hinders my search of drawings and sketches. 

Do you also stuff your drawings in filing cabinets, drawers, piles on top of your drawing table, on shelves, in between books and pads... I hope I am not the only one ;-).

Anyhow in between working as a graphic designer and illustrating and trying to write, I search for my stuff alot!  I've tried different systems of organization... does organization and artist go in the same sentence?  Not for me, I'm a little disorganized.  But that really frustrated me and so I had to find my things quickly and I was really fed up at not being able to find them when I need them.  I mean I do not want to look everywhere, through the piles of paper to find what I need and it only gets worse when I am working on more than one project.  Needless to say, the more I would search for that " special " drawing the more disorganized my papers would get.  Filing was tedious and I did not like going through file folders.  So I just wanted to share with you what I do now to find that sketch, thumbnail or comp etc... and now when I am coming up with story ideas.  It's not that long and it hardly costs anything!

What you will need is binders, different colored ones. 
Indexes (you can also use your file folders cut in half and three hole punch them.
Then write on the tab of the file folder.
I separate them by theme such as :
manuscript, thumbnails, comps, character sketches, environment, stories etc...
When I work on a specific story, I put the manuscript I am working on in the front section, 
I keep a double spaced print.   I also make dummies and what I do is I use the plastic transparent sheets and stuff them in there.  There are binders that have pockets and you can put your dummies in there.
I gather all my papers and try to work as much as possible in a 8.5 x 11 format for sketching and that way it is easy to just three hole punch.  If you don't want to three hole punch your drawings, you can buy those plastic protective sleeves that you can insert in binders with a space that is already allocated for the three holes.  That way you see both sides of the paper and keep your drawing intact.
If your working on more than one project, use a couple of binders.  So the red is one thing and the blue another.  If you have more projects and you need more binders just write on the spine of the binder what the project is.
This way, I find you can quickly spot the binder, open the section 
and quickly flip through the pages and find what you need.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other way to find that little thumbnail, comp or drawing!

Keep drawing or writing... just keep being creative!

19 November 2013


Do you work out of your home?  Is your studio in your house? I've moved my office back home and I have the distinct feeling, some people don't think I actually work.

I have a print shop and a graphic studio.  When I am at the print shop people think I work because I am at an "official" work place.  A couple of months ago, I developed an allergy to the fumes that were emanating from the machines when they were being washed.  I found out that you can develop allergies at any age.  But now I had a dilemma, I had to continue to work but how would I manage it.  I decided to move my office the graphic part at home.  By the same token, I would have more time to devote to my illustrating, since everything for illustrating was already at home.  Research books, light table, drawing table, paints, pencil crayons etc... So I merged both together.

So since I've been "home" in my studio working.  I find that certain people around me don't really think that I am working.  At one point over supper a family member was jokingly saying that I had an easy job, I just played all day and drew.  Hmmmm. It's funny how people perceive things.  In my reality, I am not playing... drawing takes alot of time and technique and planning.  To have a good drawing, I need to think it through, doodle, thumbnail then make a comp... then add a bit of color, try out different colors schemes and then get down to finalizing the actual drawing.   But the drawing is a product.  A finished item.  An item that I can sell and make money with.  That's what I think people that are not in a creative job don't see.  They don't see how much work is involved.  When they do have a chance to see a glimpse of the process it looks easy.  They didn't spend the whole time it took for us to come to this point.  If we make it look easy it's probably because we are good at it.

I too, love looking at illustrators draw on youtube.  The speed painting videos are amazing and inspiring.  The talent pool out there is stunning.  Yeah, they make it look easy and it looks like fun, doesn't it.  When you see someone draw, it's rather rare that you see someone painstakingly frown and cry and be in an frustrated state... they usually are happy or content when they draw.  That's probably because it brings us in that "creative" space and to me, any kind of creating is good.

So if people around you think you play all day and you "just" draw.  Take it as a compliment, and maybe, just maybe you are inspiring them by having the audacity to follow your path, your dreams.
Maybe, just maybe a part of them wishes they had that type of courage.

Keep drawing!

1 November 2013


Are you one of "those" people that wake up at a specific hour each night?  Or around the same time each night, or every so often?  Are you one of "those" people that have an incredible idea in the dark, in the middle of the night, when everything is silent around you?  But in your head is a whirlwind of ideas just boiling with excitement and just crying to come out?  What do you do about it?
If you let it go and try to shut your mind off, you are shutting your inspiration.  If you are trying to ignore it and are just mad at yourself for waking up at such hours, for no good reason, you are shutting your creativity down.  If you are rolling around in your bed, tired, aggravated over the fact that you are not sleeping and trying to force yourself to get back to sleep after all you only have a few hours left and you have a big day tomorrow...you are blessed and don't even know it.  

Yes, I am one of "those" people.  At first, I would talk to myself, yes in my head... don't you?  "Come on Annie, go back to sleep.  Why am I not sleeping, too much caffeine, to many worries, financial problems, family problems, what is keeping me awake?  Or is it the list of things to do that is so long and that you might have forgotten something that had to be done and you blew it?  

However, one night I decided to just sit up and just write everything that was in my mind.  My company was the thing that was waking me up, I had to do this or that the next day.  Or I had to give marching orders for such and such a project.  But I soon found out, that my mind was bombarded with all sorts of things... not only work.  Then I started listening to ideas and then it gets interesting.

As I was preparing for bed, sitting at the edge of my bed, I would give myself my marching orders.  I wanted to get ideas.  It can be for anything.  At first it was for fashion designing outfits.  What I would do is lay down in bed and just close my eyes and try to see different things.  If I wanted to be inspired by nature, I would imagine nature elements and eventually fall to sleep on it.  It didn't take long that I would wake up with an incredible idea.  At this point.... VERY IMPORTANT... do not think you will remember the next day.  Chances are you probably won't.  Or worse, you will remember you had this amazing idea and it will be sooo close to remembering, but again, the chances are you won't. 

So you MUST at this point open the light and take your notebook and draw it out or write it out.
If you are not alone, at that moment and you want to have peace and not be disturbed and this becomes a habit... I would invest into a small light, flashlight any kind of little light that won't wake up the person next to you.

I find these nightly episodes a treasure trove.  This is the best time, where the best ideas come out.  What do I attribute this to?  Probably the silence of the night, the lessen activity around us and meaning all around us even outside our home.  A time where our brain sorts things out and finds the answers to our questions.  A higher self in tune with what we need and what we are open to hear, listen or receive.
I believe it is a place where we can tap into ideas, creative sources and is a higher state than what we deal with on a daily basis.  

You will be on a natural high even if you might feel somewhat tired.  The exhilaration of the great idea, invention, poem, story, illustration or whatever idea you had, will well be worth it.

Notes:  Look at the time you wake up and see if you always wake up around the same time... I wake up around 3 or 3h30...
Always have a pen, pencil and notebook, sketch pad
Write, draw just grab that idea!

Are you one of "those" people?  Let me know.  If you are on FB, just like if you are... i want to know how many of "those" people are out there.