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.

annie-ruygt-art-childrens-illustration

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

The Homemade Illustrator- Taking time off to reboot!

I'm heading out for a bit to recharge and have some fun! Line dancing! Sandy beaches! Good books and fluffy pillows!!!

Freelancing makes me worry. I'm getting better, but it involves a lot of thinking and planning, and often...worrying. I'm glad I notice this so I can work on chainging that mindset.

Here's another episode of "The Homemade Illustrator". I hope you enjoy, and always feel like you can share your thoughts and experiences with me.

-Annie

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.

Creating a "Relationship List" of Agents, Art Directors, Clients, and Friends

I don't like the word, "marketing" even though I know that's my weirdness. But I get to choose what words to use for my mission. That's another word- mission instead of "business". So, I'm showing you, today, how I'll be creating a relationship list" for my "mission".

scbwi-the-book-illustration-childrensbook

I start with an amazingly helpful book called..."The Book" by SCBWI.org. what a great name- so simple! It's the Essential Guide to Publishing for Children. I like it because it's updated every year and it has people's actual names so you can address your mailers to humans and not titles. I have 50 postcards to send every month, so I'm dedicating 35 to my special folks in the industry, 10 or so to my clients that I work with often, and 5 to some friends who continuously comission me. If I could, I would send a postcard to EVERYONE, but I can't.

Let's begin.

Do Your Research

Create a spreadsheet of:

  • Agents
  • Art Directors
  • Editors Who work with artists like you. It's important that you try and think like these folks and imagine what they're drawn to based on the artists and authors they use. If someone is publishing books about cute cupcakes and princesses, you might not want to send them moody Tim Burton like art. Or....if they seem to like contrast, maybe you do. Just feel them out.

Check people out on Twitter and get a grasp for their personality.

Look at some of your favorite books and see who worked on them. That'll tell you right there if you're work is appropriate.

Ask your fellow writers and illustrators if they have suggestions or even a list they use. If your work is similar, you can share lists. Woohoo!

Set up a plan to contact them often.

It's said that sending some postcards or mailers out 2-4 times a year is enough. I think even doing something every other month is great, especially if you're starting out. Get your work out there! Share what you do! You can make the most exciting and hilarious postcards. These are little gifts you are giving to the world.

Consistency is key (with everything you do). I am the queen of inconsistency, so I'm talking to my stubborn and doubtful self here, but it's important you make a plan and stick to it. It's also said it takes seven times for someone to see your ad, illustration, name, in order to remember you. So try and touch base with these folks 7 + times before you give up.

But please, don't give up. If you love the work you're doing, just think of all of this stuff as necessary push ups. You do push ups because you know you need to to gain strength, and they suck at first, but you'll appreciate you did them once they get easier and YOU get buff-tastic.

Find a Great Printer

This step kind of comes before the rest, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. Make sure you print with a company that can help your artwork shine. Moo.com is great. So it whcc.com is also fab.

Make a fun evening/morning out of it!

You get to enjoy this process if you want to. Ask some friends to come over and do a little co-working session together. Or treat yourself to a special coffee while you compile your list. This is the beginning of some great relationships! And you're celebrating the meaningful work you're doing by sharing it with protential new clients.

This is how I'm celebrating this process... my bestie Brianna works about 15 feet away (she's a kickass photographer) and she just wrote a post about working from home with energetic music, good people, and coffee. The key here: make it fun.

post-card-mailers-kidlit

How do you connect with people and establish relationships? I have found some great friends on social media, but I feel like a noob when it comes to reaching clients on those platforms. What's worked for you? Not worked for you?

EXTRA EXTRA! I'll be launching a little campaign very soon! ...A One day sale of a special item, when all proceeds will be supporting creation and artistic expression. News about this soon, but please stay connected so you can hear about this announcement and help support the cause: @annieruygt on Twitter and Instagram.

Lots of LOVE!

Annie

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If you find spelling errors here, please let me know via the contact page. I'd love to make sure my content is useful to folks, and I don't have an editor right now! Thanks!

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.

Extra! Extra! The Homemade Illustrator

I'm starting a series, friends. This is so I can share what I've learned, as well as start a community and encourage each other as artists, humans, and working folks. If you know me, I LOVE talking about the messy parts of life. I love what they teach us. So this series won't hold back, but I aim to make it fun. Fun and messy!

Please share with any creatives who might be interested. I'm also very open to topics such as "how to's" or discussing the freelance business, and also the emotional stuff that comes along with the freelance path. Oh goodness, I can talk about that forevah!!

TLDR: Let's start yappin' n' sharin'! I'm excited to take this journey with you.

Love, Annie

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.