So. This is unedited.

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Some days I just want to write down thoughts, and hope that the world cares. So, here we go. Unedited thoughts of a wanna be artist on a Tuesday morning to keep you entertained.

Because who hasn’t tried? Who hasn’t put their foot forward and tried? To relax, to chill, under the window sill, looking out into the fields of grey air and yellow sky.

So I walked, out into the fields of knowledge and emptiness. Listening to the Taylor Swift that was bashed by many, just because she did something? She did something that I can’t quite know what it is, because no one quite explains it, because no one quite understands it themselves do they?

It’s like the formless grey air in the morning. Sure, scientists can probably tell you it’s a combination of humidity and temperature levels creating this air we call fog. But really, that explains it? Is it not for the clouded of mind that fog happens? So that environment reflects soul? Is fog not for the soothing effects on the soul? For the beauty of breath? And is it not beautiful? Can you please tell me why it is so? I’d like to know, so I can recreate it in a painting, in a poem or in a phrase. Grey air made by an artist.

I also wanted to tell you this:

Give yourself some love. Call yourself sexy and then do a chicken dance. The fog will hide you away in its embrace.

Orange Unicorn – Remember This 10

Orange Unicorn

Orange Unicorn - Getting out of your comfort zone

Sometimes you need friends to help you out. Sometimes you need friends to get you out of your comfort zone. I hope you have friends like that. ❤


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Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog – button for follow is off to the side!

You can also follow my Facebook Art page, Instagram (@jandrewgilbert), and Twitter (@jandrewgil), for updates.

The Friends You Need For Making Art

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I wrote this blog post midway through summer. I think it still relates, and seeing how the main theme surrounding Orange Unicorn is friendship, I thought I’d share this one.


It can be your mom. It can be your kid. It can be the close friend that you’ve only met two years ago and that you lived with in their basement for two weeks. Whoever it is, you need people to push you to be productive. People that push you to make art.

I have had many different people encourage me as well as push me to make art. I cannot emphasize enough how important they have been to my success. I’ve identified three types of people you should try and have in your life to help move your art forward.

“The Strategizer”

This was my mom. She has always been good at mapping out my dreams in accomplishable ways. She had an ability to bring to the present whatever was hidden in the future. What did I have to go through to get where I wanted? What could I do today that would be one step closer to where I want to be? What is working, what isn’t?

“The Motivator and the Muse”

I’ve always had someone in my life that I wanted to make art for. It’s that one person that I want to show whatever I’ve been doing and see the sparkles in their eyes, the hidden smile on their lips. This type of person is a great source of motivation and inspiration. Wanting to make them happy can be a healthy way of pushing yourself to do art. Although be sure to also listen to yourself, and not only the motivators. They’ll encourage you again and again to get going. These have usually been my close friends.

“The Mentor”

This might be one of the hardest to find. They have a similar purpose to the Strategizer, but different. This is the one who sees the whole battle field, they’re by your side in the trenches. They’re there with you, teaching and instructing you. New tricks, advice and insights. Like the Motivator they are also constantly pushing you to keep going. I have usually found a Mentor in my art teachers, but also in youtubers, and podcasts like Chris Oatley’s. Online classes have also been an area that I found this even if momentarily, like through CGMA classes.

 

I sincerely believe that making conscious decisions in pursuit of these types of people can be helpful in your journey as an artist. In a Mentor you might find a Motivator or a Strategizer. Or maybe your Stratetigizer is also your Motivator.

But I think identifying people that help you in different areas is helpful to you. Invest in those relationships. And honestly, at times you’ll have to jump in for that position, you will have to become your own Strategizer, Motivator or even your own Mentor.

So when you see yourself lacking in one of those relationships, seek one out, or build it within yourself. Read a book, listen to a podcast. Make it happen.

 

Orange Unicorn – Breaaaaaathe 03

Orange Unicorn

Orange Unicorn - Webcomic - Meditation and MindfulnessOrange-Unicorn_003BOrange-Unicorn_003C

I’ve been needing presence of mind. With the first week of classes of my junior year under my belt, all I wanted this past week was rest and to be present. To learn as much as I can, but also to enjoy it, and find pleasure in the small things. This is also how I survived my freshman year.


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Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. Going. Going. So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog!

You can also follow my Facebook Art page, Instagram (@jandrewgilbert), or Twitter (@jandrewgil), for updates.

I Care About Things

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So. Second episode is up for Orange Unicorn! Go check it out. Now. It’s an order. Or, maybe, just a suggestion? Up to you.

On a similar topic, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep the webcomic going. I’ve just had my first week of classes back to college. I’m involved in a lot of things, a lot more than I have ever been in college. Last Thursday I just sat in my bed and cried, tired, worried, anxious and everything in between. I ended up watching Hotel Transylvania 2, which I don’t recommend – not the greatest movie, didn’t even offer that many laughs.

I’m going crazy. College reminds me of how much I want to do, how much I need to do and how much incapable I am of doing everything. The funny thing is that, in high school? Well. I slept a lot. And did very little, and just didn’t care. I think the only thing that has changed is that now I care about things.

I care about my grades. I care that I’m making art and making work. I care that I’m putting stuff out there. That I’m working on growing my audience. That I’m working on becoming a paid artist by the time I’m out of college. (Even if it’s part-time.)

I care about things. I care about this webcomic even though it’s just a baby – maybe it’s because it is such a baby that I care so much. It’s so young and fragile; without me will it survive it’s childhood?  So I will stick with it. I will stick with it. I will do it. Because what can be more encouraging than to do something you believed impossible?

I think these Tuesday posts are going to end up being just me reflecting on my webcomic making. Hope you can bear with me.


Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. Going. Going. So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog!

You can also follow my Facebook Art page, Instagram (@jandrewgilbert), or Twitter (@jandrewgil), for updates.

 

How To Avoid Interruptions

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I was in Brazil for a week this summer. Much of our extended family had gathered in one house down there for my sister’s Brazilian equivalent of a quinceñera. But I still needed to make art. And, while I think artists need to be able to show their art to others, solitude is a necessary ingredient for the creative process. With all the family back together I just needed to find the right time to get the least amount of interruptions.

That’s where the Night comes in, and by Night, I mean whenever everyone in your house is already asleep. The Night is very special because it offers you time to work on your art piece without any interruptions. This has become crucial to my creative process. And that’s because during the day interruptions seem to lurk around every corner.

Interruptions can be anything. People asking about your day, what you’re working on; or the need to pick up your little sister from downtown, or getting groceries. And one of the easiest ways I’ve found to avoid these is to either: find a place where you can’t be interrupted, i.e. a studio, or do it at Night in your house office, kitchen table, or basement.

But why even bother? At least for me, I’ve found that interruptions really hinder my speed. They don’t allow me to get in Flow, to reference ideas exposed in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book. And Flow makes for good art.

The creation and development of art takes a lot of focus. The more focused you are, the more space you have in your brain to come up with ideas. Art takes a lot of thought and ingenuity – the free association of ideas – to be well made.

Flow, the Creative Process, and Interruptions

Also without interruptions you can better focus on each individual tiny leaf, each one of the eyelashes, the variations of shadow and color. Once you’re done you’ll realize how much time has passed. How much better the piece has turned out. Fewer interruptions equals better art.

So, I found out that doing art at Night worked for me because there was no one to stop me. No one to interrupt or distract. It has worked for me most of the time – like when I don’t need to get up the next day at 6AM for an extra work shift (these are joy-killers let me tell you).

But what works for you? How do you avoid interruptions?

I've Done Enough

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It’s one of those days where I just don’t want to do anything. Just lie in bed and rest. Relax. I did a lot yesterday; I deserve it right? Well, it’s just Tuesday. Work still needs to get done.

Another pit. Another excuse.
When making art, it feels like there’s never an end to those. Everything seems to be an excuse to just not work that day.

I mean. I’m sitting right now in front of my computer trying to find motivation to do something. Just anything, really. To lift my pencil and make a mark. To open Photoshop and let it out. Whoever said being an artist was easy, didn’t try being one.

I’d like to leave a word of encouragement. I don’t know. Some nugget of positivism. Something that makes it worth your while reading this. But I feel like admitting the truth is sometimes the only thing we can do.BlogQuote05_A

I don’t always want to do art. A lot of times it just feels like another job, another task to get done. Another routine, another cycle.

How do you break that? How do you see art with new eyes, when art is all you see? Maybe go look at some engineering equations, or at the periodic table and memorize a couple elements. Maybe that will do it.

Here it is. A post, a tribute, to that wicked lazy side of life – the one that wants to hold you in your bed and never lift you out of there.

But now I’m off to make some art. Even if it’s horrible. Or repetitive. Or the same and unoriginal. I don’t have any motivation, but I’mma go do it.

You can follow my art page on Facebook or Instagram (@jandrewgilbert) to see my art and get notifications on blog updates!

The Discipline to Create Art

To Keep On Dreaming

This is something every artist struggles with. At least I do. It’s something I want to improve, to get better at: the discipline to make myself do art. The discipline to be my own boss. Why not write about it? Maybe it’ll make me more disciplined. And let’s be honest, I’m always writing for myself. So, whatever you get out of this, it’s a bonus.

How to be disciplined? Take one step at a time

If you read, watch, or follow other artists online, you’ll find out that, for someone pursuing a career in the field of creativity, “just surviving” college isn’t enough. School can only teach you so much. You need to spend time pursuing your own projects and your own dreams. One step at a time.

In fact, one of Jason Brubaker’s main pieces of advice from his book, Unnatural Talent, is to work on your personal project. Develop it, nourish it and make it grow. Something personal, that you feel passionate about.

So how do you do that? How do you discipline yourself to get your own projects done? I’m not sure, if I’m honest. I haven’t gotten to a point where I’m satisfied with my discipline. But I have made a couple of attempts at improving and learned some things from those. Here’s a list of suggestions and tips for you to try out:

 

Blog_Numbers1Choose a specific topic or style and stick with it for a week. See how you can say or show the same subject in a different way.

This can be a fun challenge to see how creative you can get within certain boundaries – like using a tool you’ve never had. Or making a series of 4 in. sized paintings. How creative can you be with the limitations you have?

 

Blog_Numbers2Get other people involved. Tell them you’ll work on a project for 7 straight days. Or let them have a sneak peek of your work in progress – put your honor on the line somehow.

This one is tricky, because if you don’t do what you promised you might feel bad about yourself and do even less. But it works great if it motivates to just sit down and do it. I usually tell one person about one project I want to work on, and to another person a different project. I’ll probably not do all of them, but at least one of those I’ll feel I need to get done, and indeed get it done.

 

Blog_Numbers3Set aside a time and place to work.

This is one of the most often-repeated-that-no-one-follows pieces of advice given. And hearing it again and again doesn’t make it easier. My tip is for you to find a special place where you can be by yourself, and spread out your materials and art. In that space that you have set aside eliminate as many distractions as you can. Turn off your cellphone, close all other tabs that are not-art-you’re-making-right-now-related. You might be amazed by how much you can do without technology distracting you.

Also, don’t be afraid to have a day in the week where you don’t do art. You need to rest from your art and just enjoy life! I consider it part of my self-care of the week. Making sure you don’t do art for a day will recharge you to come in super excited for the coming week!

 

Blog_Numbers4Look at yourself in the mirror. Stare deep into your eyes. Find your soul. Punch it a couple times until it realizes that making art is a necessity, not a commodity. And get to work.

Sometimes you just have to get to it. Stop making excuses and make art.

As I said. There’s no easy way to get discipline, or to keep yourself motivated. I’m still figuring it out for myself. But I think the last part of the trick is to never give up on being disciplined. Don’t stop trying to be disciplined just because you didn’t do art that one day, or that one week.

Never give up on being disciplined

Discipline can only come with a clear vision for what you want from your talent, natural or not. There will be days or weeks when you’ll be disciplined, and there’ll be days you’ll struggle with it. But just keep trying, for if you give up—there’s nothing we can do to help you out.