September 9th, 2014
A few months ago I bought Creative Block by Danielle Krysa a.k.a. The Jealous Curator and
I’m very glad I did! First I had my doubts. Again and again I would go to the American Book
Center, stare at the book and wonder: ’Was this just another self-help book or…’ I was flipping
through the book once more when my eye caught a sentence that made the buy a sure thing:
‘Do you ever equate your self-worth with your artistic successes?’
Guilty! My self-worth has been entwined with my art since a very early age. Not a smart thing
to do but hey, what do you do?
Danielle Krysa interviewed 50 successful artists and asked them about the way they work, why
they make art, where they find inspiration but also:
- Which artist’s work / life/ career are you most jealous of and why?
- Does your inner critic ever get to you?
- What do you do when you’re feeling blocked?
Every interview consists of more or less the same questions with very different answers.
At times recognisable and at times not at all. Funny and good to know there are so many
ways to look at this art-thing. All 50 interviews end with a creative unblock project by the
Another word that stuck was ‘process’. Different artists would say process is what
drives them to continue making art, not the end-product or the success. This made me re-think
my own process and I concluded that I skip some very important steps.
This book is a fun read, good questions, funny and helpful answers. Next to that it’s filled with
really beautiful pictures of the artists artwork.
Buy this book!
Please don’t forget to check www.thejealouscurator.com and learn why Danielle Krysa calls herself that.
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September 2nd, 2014
Okay, I haven’t been doing things like I promised or set out to do. For one I haven’t
written in 2,5 months and I planned to write at least once a week! What upsets me most is that
I wasn’t able to continue writing when things (artwise) sort of fell apart.
I meant to share these things on my blog but when things got rough I couldn’t. The last few
months I had some really important insights but alas, they didn’t come with a handy how to-
guide. Two words that had great impact were ‘process’ and ‘ego’.
My process is, or hopefully was, almost non-existing, probably the reason why I lose interest
and fun in a subject so quickly. It’s been a rough period and I hope that’s finished now.
Upcoming weeks I will let you know more about my findings from the past months and my start
of a new chapter in art.
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June 16th, 2014
A few weeks ago Lemniscaat pronounced the winners of the illustration contest and I wasn’t
among them. I anticipated this so no worries. I’m happy I found out so much about myself
during the (creative) process.
The whole experience left me with one more very practical surprise. Even after working such
long hours at the time I was still able to draw. My hand did not hurt like it would have in the past!
In 2008 I injured my hand (mostly my thumb) after a rush job and I neglected to give my hand
a good rest. For about a year I couldn’t do anything. Writing, drawing, even holding a book
during reading was a challenge.
Over time things got better but I still couldn’t work long hours, I had to stop all printing
activities and I switched from pencil and pastels to drawing inks. While I was working on
the illustrations my hand would hurt after a long day in the studio but then I would give my hand
a rest for a day and it was fine again!
So now new ideas are bubbling up in my head, I will be able to mix inks with pastels, pick up my
pencils again! Yay! I worked with this mix before but at the time it was too soon and sure I
have to be careful not to overdo it again but this prospect makes me very happy.
Last week I went to Van Beek, my local art supply shop and I found a pencil extender by Derwent.
I’m not going to use it to extend my pencils but to broaden my pencils. A broad grip lessens the
chance of injury because it is more relaxed to hold. Thursday is studio-day, I can’t wait!
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May 20th, 2014
After my previous blog I got two questions about some of the content.
First was, what those hurdles were that I was talking about. Next people wondered whether I
truly meant it when I wrote: ‘Winning or losing, I’m very happy I participated!’ Wasn’t this just
a way to hide the fear/ chance of upcoming disappointment?
I’ll start with the hurdles, I think explaining those will also answer the second question.
Like I mentioned before, as a child I dreamed of illustrating books but I never made any serious
attempts to pursue this dream. Now I was finally doing it! Exiting but scary.
Instead of illustrating I went to the Academy of Fine Art in Education. Still I can hear the
teacher’s voices echoing in my head: my taste in art was poor, not to mention cliché and so
was my artwork. Even now tiny parts of my brain objected to me illustrating: ‘this wasn’t art
with a capital A!!’
I decided not to care, I was enjoying myself and that’s what matters, right?!
Working on my art I got stuck often. I got scared to continue, scared to ruin things,
scared of expectations. This made me re-think everything. Illustrating for the contest there was
no time for such nonsense. All 3 illustrations needed to be finished well before the 1st of May. So I had to just ‘do’.
I rediscovered how much I like storytelling, my way. Now when I draw I just ‘do’ and don’t get
stuck that easily. I got closer to what I like doing without being embarrassed about it.
I found new solutions, new materials, new combinations.
During the 20 days of working on my illustrations I had a week of vacation and I caught myself thinking:
‘Oh, I hope I won’t spend my whole vacation drawing!’ And then I thought, wait a minute, I
remember a time when I couldn’t wait for the (school-) vacation to start so I could draw all
week! The moment I realized that, something changed, I couldn’t wait to get to my studio and start drawing.
Doing these 3 illustrations has brought me so much. So when I say that even when I'm losing
I'm winning, I truly mean it.
Below an unfinished detail of the 2nd illustration I did for the Lemniscaat contest.
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May 12th, 2014
Again I’ve been too quiet for my own (blogging-) good. Last month I was totally occupied by
the Lemniscaat illustration contest. Literally every moment I could spend drawing, I did.
As a child I always dreamed of illustrating children’s- and mostly fairytale books but I
never actually made any attempts to do so.
Illustrators were asked by publisher Lemniscaat to send in three illustrations that go with a
story of their own choice. It was clear to me it had to be a fairytale but which one? I chose a
story from ‘Persian Fairytales’ by Arthur Christensen (original title: Persische Märchen).
My dad used to read from them when I was little and after all the stories by Grimm and
ndersen they were amazingly refreshing. These stories had all this different creatures and
different magic and lots of blood and gore! My choice fell upon ‘Mohammed the shepherd and
the three Peri princesses’.
From beginning to end it took me almost 20 days to finish all three illustrations and I was
just in time for the (Dutch) closing date on May 1st! It took me this long because I had to take
some really hard hurdles that housed in my brain. Now that I have returned to my ‘regular’
drawings I can feel a difference in the way I work. I just DO because when working on the
illustrations there was no time to ponder every brushstroke, they had to be finished and soon!
So I’m very happy with this change and much happier to go to my studio.
Sure I would like to win the contest, sure I would like to be among the 10 best and attend a
master class by an internationally recognized illustrator. I would like having my work
promoted during the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Have my work exhibited in library ‘The
Hive’, in Worcester, England, in the Shanghai Library, China and also in the Centrale
Bibliotheek Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
I would like all these things very much but taking these personal hurdles was very important to me.
Winning or losing I’m very happy I participated!
Below details from the three illustrations I did for the Lemniscaat contest.
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