Being open are two simple words that have had a huge impact on my life.
In 2010, I created Illustrating My Life during a time that I consider my “rebirth.” After decades of suppressing my feelings, I rediscovered my love for writing and music. Those outlets of expression gave me joy I never expected.
At this time in my life, I freely share my heart but I was not always that way. Sadly, I can recall two instances in my past where I was influenced by competitiveness.
I lost a special friendship with a fellow artist/mentor when I discouraged her from contacting my agent (she asked me if it was okay). I thought she might compete with me for assignments and told her so.
And even though I freely shared my techniques as an art instructor, when one of my students appeared to be a clone of mine, I told him that his work was too similar.
There was nothing about those two examples that benefitted me. I was actually heartsick for years and filled with regret. But I moved on and learned from it.
During the time I created this blog, I truly thought my art career was over. Work had been slow for a long time. I really couldn’t work much either, because I was a caregiver for my parents and also had three challenging teenagers. I was overwhelmed.
Whenever I had time, writing for my blog became my therapy. I meticulously scanned almost every one of my original paintings, as well as attachments and marker layouts from past assignments.
In order to clean up those scans, I taught myself how to use Photoshop and gradually became a digital artist. Being open to learning the computer was an important step for me.
Shortly after I began this blog, I remember when my elderly father came into my art studio. I was working on one of my illustration blog posts and he asked me why I was working so hard on something that had no monetary compensation. My former husband repeatedly said the same thing and suggested that my artwork would simply be downloaded and stolen.
At that time, I had no answer for such closed up thinking. I did know that what I was sharing was valuable to me personally. I loved how I felt when I wrote because it gave me such an expansive feeling.
Later on, the answer did come back to me.
My blog went high up in the search engines because it had substantial views. In turn, this enabled many art directors to discover me, which led to new assignments. My career took off again and it wasn’t over after all.
Beyond receiving income as an artist, the connections I made with people who found my blog were so inspiring.
For me, that was priceless!
This is my first post in 18 months and I’ve missed writing for “Illustrating My Life.” I plan to write another new post following this one soon, it will be filled with a lot of information and images.
I would love to share stories about my recent jobs but more and more clients have required me to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Just last week, I was wondering when I would receive another illustration assignment because I hadn’t worked for several months.
I turned my thoughts and energy into being open – that was my alternative to feeling worry or pressure. I took a deep breath and gently told myself I was very open to receiving an illustration assignment.
The next day, I awoke to find a lovely message from an artist in Barcelona. She told me how helpful my blog was to her and then a few hours later, I received a large assignment from Tillamook (one of my favorite clients).
I’m going to share a link to my new artist friend’s website and our exchange. I think it’s very inspiring!
My name is Miriam and I am an illustrator from Barcelona, Spain. I have a passion for food and my style is realistic. Somehow, browsing through the Internet looking for new ways to improve and contact clients, I found your website.
I was really impressed by your work and approach. I also found all your explanation about the business at your blog Illustrating My Life so illuminating, especially about your style and approaching clients. I am at the beginning of my journey as an illustrator after 10 years of working as a graphic designer so I really appreciate any tips I read on the subject.
That is why I wanted to thank you and send some appreciation from Barcelona!
All the best,
Miriam Figueras, Graphic Artist & Illustrator
I’ve been thinking about what you wrote to me all morning. I just don’t know how to thank you! I am honored to think that I influenced you all the way in Barcelona. Wow!
When I wrote my blog, I thought like my career was over. It felt so good to share everything I’d learned. And then it was such a nice surprise when work came pouring in. It seemed that sharing brought me a lot of new clients and was helpful for people to find me.
I’m also very passionate about music and songwriting – so that is what I spend most of my time doing.
I wish you much luck! I looked at your website and from what I saw, you are heading in a wonderful direction. 🙂
Have a great day!
Hello again Judy,
I was so happy to read your response! It warms my heart to see such a positive effect of an appreciative message from another continent 🙂 Also, your story and journey with your blog is really inspiring, as I said, and full of hope so it is me who really feels grateful.
I understand the current client situation but I believe there are a lot of great posts for me to read still 🙂 I listened to your music, which I hadn’t yet appreciated and I find it very soulful. That is a great passion! I love music, too.
Thank you also for checking and following my FB page! I still have a lot to work but I will remember and treasure your words of encouragement.
All the best, Miriam
Your message had me smiling all day. Thank you for listening to my music – I am honored. That’s wonderful that you love music, too.
Yesterday was really a special day that brought me back to art. I received your message and then my favorite client that I haven’t worked with for almost a year called me. I am receiving an assignment with 6 illustrations starting next week!
I just had to share that with a fellow artist. It is so nice to get work and perhaps you brought me luck with your lovely message.
Keep going and you are going to go far, Miriam!
Just saw this on Facebook – wow, you are so remarkable, Judy. I have been having a low and you always lift me up somehow. Loveya xx
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Thanks, Julie – I care about you and am sorry for what you are going through. Always ready to be there for you, even though we’re continents apart – I feel close to you. Thank you for your lovely comment!
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Am seeing a wonderful psychologist to help me struggle through … sigh. You are an inspiration to me xxx
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Judy, this is so beautiful! Truly honored for your words of encouragement and for sharing this, too. It has been a remarkable experience and I hope it inspires many people. I really wish you all the best, Miriam.
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