Monday Series: Sometimes You Need to Paint Rainbow Cats


Things are happening very quickly now. It's strange to watch it all unfold. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a vacuum of time and space. Other times, it's like life is fast-forwarding.

Here are three small but pivotal moments from the last week-ish:

I Finally Let Myself Design a Pattern

This is something I've wanted to do since at least last winter. I have a distinct memory of sitting in the coffee shop across the street from my old office (remember when we used to work in offices, DC?) watching youtube videos about how to create repeating patterns in Adobe Illustrator because I thought that would be really fun to do. Honestly, it may have been as early as last fall because one of the Inktober 2019 prompts was "pattern." I added "look into pattern design" to my Trello board and there it stayed. For over a year.

Over the last few weeks, I started getting serious about wanting to pursue it so I did what I always do at the start of every project: I embarked on a very long and thorough research phase that included watching no less than 4 skillshare classes end to end. After tiring myself out in that regard, it was time to begin.

Last week, I designed my first three patterns. Honestly? It's was pretty effing fun.

I Stopped Caring About Doing Something "Productive" for a Second and Made Something Really Fun and Unexpected

I had a Zoom hangout with one of my closest friends on Thursday. She's an amazing watercolor painter and one of the calmest, least anxious people I know—which is a great foil for my overactive anxiety. We get together (virtually now) to make art approximately once a month. Sometimes we work on bigger projects, sometimes we just kind of draw or paint whatever the hell we want. Well—let me clarify. Erika always paints whatever the hell she wants because she is very in tune with that and knows exactly what makes her happy. Generally, I stare at a blank page and chat with her for [insert # of hours] and end the night with like 4 lines drawn.

NOT THIS TIME.

I decided to use this session to test out some new watercolor supplies I'd gotten from my latest Sketchbox (excellent anniversary gift :D). After the obligatory page or two of lines and blobs, I decided to practice the wet on wet watercolor technique by painting a rainbow cat face. Usually that would have been the end; but NO SIR. I'm a pattern designer now. So I proceeded to scan that rainbow cat face and use it to experiment with repeating pattern creation via Photoshop. The result is an absolutely bonkers rainbow cat print that I put on 1000 different items in my Society6 shop. I've already sold two things. All because I said "screw it" to productivity for a night and painted a rainbow cat.

I've Been Listening to The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

This book is changing my life. I'm not even finished yet. Another close friend sent it to me as a gift a few months ago and, as she predicted, it's everything I need to hear at this point in my life and my career. It's one of those books whose message hits you at exactly the right moment and while you tell the whole world to read it because you want them to experience it too, you sort of know that the reason you love it so much has more to do with its place in your life than with its place in the world.

Aka, art. 

I still recommend it, though. Get the audio book. I can't imagine reading it without her voice or her songs.

I thought it wasn't possible to love a creator as much as I love Neil Gaiman until I met his wife. Now I am equally in love with this perfect pair of creative humans.

I don't know. I don't feel like I have any more answers than I did last week. I just... finally feel a small breeze rolling through. Something a little crisp and cool suggesting that maybe things will be ok. At least a few things. At least for a while.


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