"Look at what I did! Look at what I did!"
"I see, honey! I knew you could do it!"
"But I didn't know I could!"
This was not a child screeching to its parent with excitement. This was me screeching in excitement to my husband. I haven't grown up...much.
I've been illustrating "Christmas Spirit" since May. Life, and all its many obstacles, obstructions, Netflix shows, and sleep schedules made it necessary to go slowly.
"Slowly" has had its benefits.
Once I gave myself a stern talking to (No, Nate, you won't be done with this book in eight days), I settled in to giving each illustration singular attention. Since I had the freedom from restrictive deadline, I didn't gloss over imperfections. This gave my need for perfection free reign.
I failed up.
Erasing, focusing, deleting, and re-drawing taught me so many new techniques. I've long said that I learned most of my problem-solving skills after accidently destroying something. I still haven't told my father that it was me who irreversibly converted all the file types to "un-findable" that fateful day in 1997. I definitely figured out how to circumvent that in the future. That's how you learn. *side-eye*
Who gained extremely reliable bookkeeping skills resulting in gained trust and admiration from her boss after creating a non-circumnavigable maze of debits and credits for one customer that time I worked the graveyard shift at a hotel? This gal.
I'll be honest: the trust and admiration from my boss came a looooooonnnnng time later. Like...a year. But...that's how you learn.
The befores and afters of a few of my illustrations show such evidence of the increase of my efforts that I think I must have been drunk for the first drafts. I've grown enough emotionally to know that this is just my first round of illustrations. I may undoubtedly improve so much years later that these current images will bring such cringe to my mind, however, I can still smile and screech with excitement when I look at them.
Quote: "But I didn't know I could!"
There is so much to unpack in this declaration. My husband has told me for years that I could do this and I could do that with my art (he meant it in the encouraging way--not the insulting way). I always said "No I can't! My art isn't good enough to sell (or whatever)."
There is something amazing that comes after believing you can. And I truly believe that today I have made the best art I have ever made.
And I believe equally that on a day ten years in the future--after improving even more and learning more new techniques--I'll know that on that day, I'll have made the best art I'll have ever made. But not only that. My art will be in books that people I didn't have to bribe will see it.
Thank goodness, because the bribes I'm paying now are getting expensive.