2020

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2020 has been a strange year so far.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who had great plans for the year and nothing went according to plan. We've had to respond the best way we can to constantly changing situations. 

One of the plans I had was to not only create more consistently but also put out more content. 6 months into the year, I'm writing my first blog post and I have no idea if I'll be able to do it on a regular basis, but all I can do is create the first post and see where things go. 

A lot has happened since the last time I posted. I moved to a new area of the city, I'm now closer to the lake and we're loving being close to the water. The pace is different and it's great for creative inspirations. I'm obviously not doing live paintings to earn a living, and have switched to creating social media posts for clients as well as managing their accounts, amongst other things.  

Still I've been painting as well on a semi-regular basis. More before I moved, but now that I'm more settled in my new place,  I plan to pick up where I left off and ideally post about them here on a more consistent basis. 

One positive outcome of the events this year for me is that I've been reading and listening to audiobooks a lot more. I challenged myself to read 30 books for the year and I'm currently reading book No 27! That's on making the most of the situation. 

I'm back here because I can't help it. I guess writing, however novice I feel I am at it, is something I need to do. So here it is. I have no idea who's going to read this, but it doesn't matter. It just needs to come out. 

So if you're reading this, thank you for stoping by. I hope it brings you something positive in your life. Say hello in the comments if you like. It's always nice to know that it's reaching people somewhere on the planet. Hope you're able to make the most out of 2020 despite the challenges that have been put to help us grow and do better. 

Till next time, take care. 
MJ  

Sketchtember


A couple of months ago, I bought a sketchbook with the intention of participating to the Inktober challenge this year. It seems like challenges are a great way for me to get things done and keep me focused on the task at hand. 

I haven't been sketching for a while (Too long!), and this is a great opportunity to get back at it and stick with it (fingers crossed). I don't want to wait till October because coming up with a concept, sketching and inking takes time, especially doing every day. And if there's too much to do, it easy to give up. Fortunately, the prompts for the year have recently been posted, so I took it upon myself to start sketching now September and leave the inking for next month in October. 

I have no idea how they are going to end up but let's see where they take me. At least I now have a plan to sketch and draw daily for the next two months. Maybe I'll even colour in November. But let's not get too ahead of ourselves! I even put another constraint on this project for me to stay focused: I need to practice sketching people, so I decided to restrict my subject to people with the prompts. 

Above are my interpretation of the three first prompts: Ring, Mindless and Bait. I'm also posting the thinking behind my illustrations on Instagram: @illustrationsbymj. Feel free to follow along, like and comment.  

Updates






After years of going back and forth, thinking about what's the best way to update my website, I finally stopped thinking and started doing. You'll see some changes throughout the process, as I organize my content. For now there are two new pages: One for my paintings and another one for my illustrations and client work (currently under construction). More soon! 

The book behind the cards

I finally received hard copies of my book and created a short video showing where the visual meditation cards idea came from. It started with original paintings, then a book about them, and now the cards. The great thing about the cards is that they are also a great way to collect artwork without taking a huge amount of space. The campaign is currently going on Kickstarter until March 29, 2019. My goal is to raise $5555 (Canadian) to cover the printing, shipping, and also make a bit of profit along the way to create more things in the future. 


In terms of advertising for the campaign, I have some catching up to do. So far, I've been posting about it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and created updates directly on Kickstarter and sent it to my mailing list as well as added links to my email signature. I'll keep you posted on the results from the various marketing experiments I do. This is what I'm starting with at the moment. $197 out of $5,555 raised thus far and 37 days to go. Challenge accepted! 


IKEA Illustrated


I added another challenge to my list of things to create this year. Since I'd like to improve my digital drawing skills and make good use of my iPad and Apple pencil,  I challenged myself to recreate illustrations from images found in an IKEA catalog. It contains a lot of illustration options so I won't need to spend too much time searching for reference images. I don't have any set number of illustrations to create this year. My goal is to keep producing them and ideally go through the entire catalog. 

These are the first three illustrations I made earlier this year. I'll be posting them on my other Instagram account @illustrationsbymj as they get completed. I noticed that these types of challenges tends to bring new ideas, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of this one.