Working on your thing

It's a constant challenge, but that's because all practices are about balance. Our art practice is no different, but it's worth the time regardless of the frustration that ensues. In fact, I'm getting use to this idea of struggle. Life is no cruise, ok? Sometimes we get to board a pretty ship and eat the breakfast buffet, other times we have to work in the kitchen and wait tables. I think it's good for us to have healthy dose of both.

Dr. Jordan Peterson- a brilliant mind- said, "Responsibility gives us purpose, and purpose gives us meaning." Ok, I'm paraphrasing this a bit, but the guts are in that notion. When I focus on the fact that my work is done in order to contribute to my peers, to children, and even support other's persuits, then I have more gumption and energy to do the work well. I am so grateful I even have the opportunity to dink around with paints and photoshop and make things! How cool is that?

And when it comes to our personal art practice, we won't have ALL the time, but we have some time, and usually some time is enough time. And sharing our own ideas is such a gift to everyone around us. It's a way of sharing our story, or true selves, and it empowers others to see parts of themselves they hadn't before.

Here's what I'm working on: The picture book is moving along and wowzas I am happy with where it's landing.

New revised spread for “Sometimes it’s Bright”.

New revised spread for “Sometimes it’s Bright”.

The middle grade novel is in its final editing stages before I submit it to my agent. I am LOVING working in black and white. That is all.

Concept art for “Dream Walker”.

Concept art for “Dream Walker”.

On another note, 2019 is the year I do scary things. One of those things was performing in a sketch show at Upright Citizen's Brigade, Lod Angeles, last weekend. The sketches were hilarious! Yes, I was nervous, but in the end, I did my best, and it was really about supporting the ensemble. Their skills helped me play my part, and my efforts and energy fed them.

What's next? Not exactly sure, but I'm thinking a writing class?!

-Annie

Thanksgiving Vibes

Howdy friends. Happy almost Thanksiving, which is the holiday that grows on me more and more every year! This time around, I'm going to order vegan Thanksgiving dinner, because although I love cooking, I'm feeling like letting the holiday work for ME, instead of work for the holiday. Thank you Kelly for the idea What about you? Do you have major family plans? Major napping plans?

I started off this month with an education in our United States voting process. As a poll worker, I got to see the whole shindig come together. My favorite part was seeing neighbors recognize each other, and kids go ga ga over "I voted" stickers. They're like gold to them.

Then a sweet and talented friend sent along a gorgeous print to me last week. I love her style and I love spooky things, so this was extra delicious. Thank you Zhen!!

annie-ruygt-oc-illustration-zhen

My desk is a bit all over the place as I try to stay grounded with personal projects (still working on the picture book ideas with agent!) and my client work. To help me remember, I purchased some goodies like oat flower essence for recognizing my "calling", and a journal with motivational quotes about being our gosh darn SELVES. They have added a lot to my morning. Just having a ritual in place to work on very specific things that need my attention makes all the difference.

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I'm so grateful for the support of my friends, family, and clients, as well as for the opportunity to make art for a living and for pleasure. This life truly is precious, and I hope you go forward through this holiday season recognizing how special our time is with loved ones- heck! even with strangers. All we have are moments, pieces of time. Opportunities to appreciate being alive. Here's to mounds of this. Happy Thanksgiving and lots of love,

Annie

Fire Magic

I'm a super geek for life's metaphores. I want to draw them, talk about them, and write and write and write about them! So that's what you get today ;)

My dad up and all around Napa Valley and he mentioned to me that on his most recent trek up Mt. George in Napa, there was a fire poppy.

"They only surface after a fire. It's been 52 years since the last ones bloomed."

"Wow," I gawked at the photos of this lovely apple red flower.

Napa took a beating with the fires last Fall. 60 + homes were detroyed, and every month I find out more and more people, I know personally, lost theirs. So many folks have been trying to scramble and find places to live in the valley, so rent prices are high (higher than the normal high) and even more limited options than before. The community has been so supportive, however, and what could have been so traumatic of a situation, showed all of Napa how loving, strong, and ready natives are to take care of each other. I was amazed, and grateful I could be in Napa and witness this.

Now, after all that destruction, a beautiful, rare wildflower has sprung up, reminding us of our strength in the face of fire, and also the beauty and opportunities on the other side.

"Fire Poppy" in Napa Valley, 2018

"Fire Poppy" in Napa Valley, 2018

Recently, I've been in a weird, up-and-down place. When I saw this fire poppy I felt my heart soften, and I realized that I'd been through my own little fire: a breakup from New York, a break up from a man I loved, and just before I left, a break up from old friends and coworkers at a company I'd invested all of myself into. Lots of fire, lots of destruction, lots of change. But see I have a hard time letting go. I hold everthing in my body. I resisted allowing the fires to burn and clear proper space for new opportunities, for new wildflowers. I resisted the fact that things hurt, and I needed time to heal.

No wonder I've been in this up-and-down place!

But when I saw that fire poppy...

They say the first step to healing a habit is awareness. So thank you, Dad, for sharing your pictures and interests with me. Thank you Mom for reminding me what I need is important, and helping me let go in your own way.

And for all the flowers in my life; my family, friends, and new projects.

One of these was a mural in Napa that came up the last couple months as I made my way back to California, and the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, both of which were such great learning experiences, and well enjoyed breaks from the computer.

annie-ruygt-orange-county-mural

Letting go takes time and work. It's the kind of work you do on the yoga mat, or in the confidence of a friend. It's beautiful time spent and never has an agenda.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Meary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom. Let it be. -The Beatles

And let it be I shall. I'm excited for the new things coming into my life, grateful for the past and its lessons and experiences, and ready for whatever life throws at me next. Who knows? Maybe it'll be a rare opportunity that can only come after loads and loads of frustration and heartache? Cool. I'm good with that. :)

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

Welcome, Dreamwalker

The most suprising thing I've done is write an entire novel. I grew up writing consistenly in my journal about feelings, sometimes short stories, sometimes rotten things about neighbors. But I also grew up thinking I was a shit writer, until I realized that it doesn't matter what people say. And practice can also fill most of the holes you have in your skills anyway.

But I'm notorious for bad spelling. And that will always be a struggle.

One night I was walking home from the Library in Sunnyvale and I thought I'd play a bit. I started telling myself a story amidst the moonlight and frangrant honeysuckle bushes as I strolled through the neighborhood. I walked slower. I tuned in. I became something else.

Dreamwalker is the story that was birthed that night, and has been a part of my path for the last couple years. I've worked with an amazing writing group and two editors. It's out there, finding the last few people who can help me share it in a large way with all of you. Soon.

Some concept artwork from the book:

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dreamwalker-middlegrade-novel-annieruygt-kidlit

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

Wins and new goals.

Maybe it's a bit premature to talk about 2018, but 2017 is almost over so what the heck.

I celebrated the release of a new picture book with Larisa Stephenson tonight, and it had me thinking about this whole year and what I would like to work on next year....which is in a few days. Although I'm proud to release this book, I look back on the past year as I created it, and more stuggle than I'd hoped to see.

I'm over all very happy with the work I've created in 2017. My clients and my author pals are a joy, and they gave me a lot of purpose. But taht purpose is dampened because I feel very unhealthy in my body. Even though I love making art, I resent sitting and doing it. My body screams back at me- elbow is janky, my tummy has been accumilating a couple of flat tires, and my brain can only focus for 30 minutes at a time.

Burnout? Yeah, a little of that. Diet and exercise regimen lacking? Most likely. Mental fog making it harder to see what needs to be shifted. For sure.

I have considered myself a healthy eater and an active individual, but this year has proven to me that something is not working. Even though I eat vegan, I've gained 15-20 lbs in 2017, lost a lot of muscle, and feel more mentally foggy that ever. I though vegan was good for the animals AND for me. But I'm suffering.

Tonight I read a little PDF by Arnold Ehret called, "Rational Fasting". It's free and full of wisdom, personal anecdotes, and research. Maybe it's a bit extreme, but it helped me uncover something that I needed to see.

He talks of "vegetarian gluttony" and the idea that moderation- true moderation- of animal foods and even processed [real] foods, are healther than the overeating of a vegetarian diet.

Ok. I do this. When I went vegan 2 years ago, I started eating like a horse. I am an emotional eater, and would eat to the point of discomfort when we went out to restaurants. I don't know why or where I learned this habit but I've done it for so long, and the new found freedom to gorge myself on "healthy vegan" foods enabled this addictive tendency. Even now, I don't really know what a healthy portion size is.

So here I am, eating fairly healthy, whole, real foods, and gaining weight. Feeling miseral, and not enjoying my art, my free time, my travel, because my body is uncomfortable. And all because I've tricked myself to thinking that because I eat nourishing foods, I can eat myself silly and still be ok. Maybe if I was running 4+ miles every day I would be ok. But I'm sitting at a desk drawing all day... because that's how you draw!

There are cultures all over the world that talk about health and longevity. They mention that eating small amounts is key to living longer and maintaining health. There is no vegetarian gluttony in recommended daily diet.

So 2018, I'm going to reclaim my wellbeing and give myself a chance to feel good again. I'm going to try a different approach to eating meals, and thinking about how much I actually need. Maybe I'll find that the space allows for more freedom, more comfort, and more ease- more focus to provide the best art I can, and tell the most truth I have inside of me!

Here here and happy new year!

I'll keep ya posted!

annie-i-lincoln-ruygt

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.