Elmer Day 2018

When I was a little girl I had an Elmer book which was one of my favourite books in the whole world. Elmer is colourful. Elmer is fun. Elmer is kind…

Elmer taught me that it was okay to be different, something that I only really understood much, much later.

So Elmer is one of my all-time heroes even after all this time.

This is why when I heard that Elmer Day was coming, I HAD TO draw and paint him.

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Happy Elmer Day everyone!

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There Is No One Else On Earth Like You

I remember how not that long ago I was obsessing over finding my style as an artist. It was always at the back of my head. Not only that but I was seeing so much great artwork online that I wanted to be like those artists that I felt were more successful than me (note the contradiction here: I wanted to find my style / I wanted to be like other artists).

I spent a lot of time looking at every piece of artwork I was creating and asking myself ‘Is this my style? Is this unique? Is this innovative?’

These questions were putting me under quite a lot of self-inflicted stress and often I felt like I didn’t know who I was as an artist.

In my personal life something similar was happening. When I became a freelance illustrator I was faced with the fact that I didn’t have to dress according to a specific dress code and where I should have felt freedom I felt confusion instead. I had been dressing for other people for so long that I didn’t know how to dress like me anymore. In fact I didn’t know what ‘me’ would wear.

So I didn’t know who I was as an artist and I didn’t know who I was as a person.

In a way this could have been overcome fairly quickly if I hadn’t been so darn stubborn about focusing on what I felt I should do instead of focusing on what I wanted to do.

One baby step at a time I progressively let go of the shoulds, both in my art career and in my personal life. I opened up to what I liked, what was making me happy, what was making me laugh and little by little I started doing more of that until it snowballed.

My art started becoming more like me when I started becoming more like me.

Recently I read that “all art is autobiographical” and I believe it is true.

About being unique and having a unique style, the title for today’s post is borrowed from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. In that book (which I really recommend reading by the way) I read a quote that really struck me. It said: “[…] let’s not waste a second worrying because we are not like other people. You are something new in the world. Never before since the beginning of time, has there ever been anybody like you; and never again throughout all the ages to come will there ever be anybody exactly like you again.”

Man, this quote feels good every time I read it!

So much time spent worrying about wanting to have a unique style and here it is, and it had been there all along:

“You are something new in the world.”

So if you ever wonder what your artistic style is and how to find it, my advice to you is: make lots of art, draw the things that you want to draw, be yourself and it will soon become obvious to you what your style is.

Same if you wonder who you are as a person. Do things that make you happy, do things that make you laugh, do things that make you feel excited and you will soon find out who you are.

As long as you are not imitating somebody else and that you are being you, then you are unique and so is your artistic voice – yes I said voice. Because your style might be similar to someone else’s (and as long as you are not copying that’s okay by the way!) but your voice, well your voice is your own take on whatever you’re doing.

I will leave you with two things:

1) A quote from Kung Fu Panda 3 (this film franchise is full of pearls of wisdom!) where Po says: “Your real strength comes from being the best you you can be. Who are you? What are you good at? What makes you, you?”

2) I made this ‘What makes me me’ illustration a few months ago and I thought that it would be fun to fill in the boxes again every year or so to see what changes and what stays the same. 

© Camille Medina 2017

You can download and print a version of this illustration with empty boxes here.

(For personal use only, no commercial use. If you’d like to use this for commercial/non-personal use, contact me here.)

Have a lovely day and enjoy being yourself in life and in your art!


Notes

CARNEGIE, D.,  ‘Find Yourself and Be Yourself: Remember There Is No One Else on Earth Like You’, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. London: Vermilion – an imprint of Ebury Publishing, 1998, pp.168-176.

Things Change, And It’s Okay

Hi everyone!

Here is an early May update on my 100 day project.

All in all, things went okay-ish until roughly day 16. What happened is that little by little drawing for the challenge started to feel like a chore and it started feeling like a lot of the things I had been drawing were all over the place and like it was going nowhere (or at least not somewhere I want to take my art right now).

I was clear from the start that the challenge wasn’t so much about what I drew or how well I drew than it was about pushing through and moving forward.

But when you feel unhappy, stressed, frustrated and you’re not enjoying what you’re doing anymore then it’s not really good, is it?

So I reassessed what I wanted to get out of this challenge and the best way to get there.

I’m not quitting the 100 day project just yet. But I would rather take my time and come up with a hundred illustrations that I like rather than ending up with a hundred illustrations that make me feel bitter.

Things change, and it’s okay.

These first 18 illustrations weren’t all bad though. They helped me figure some things out, like the style I am going to work in for my next ‘big’ personal project (it’s still a secret for now) for example. I also really enjoyed working with Posca pens and adding pencil texture to some of my illustrations. So probably things that we will see again at some point in future illustrations.

While I slowly get back to it, here are illustration 7 to 18!

Posca Faces

Hi everyone!

Here is the first recap of the 2018 edition of the 100 Day Project (you can read more about the 100 Day Project and my plans for it in my previous post).

 

 

 

The 100 Day Project (2018)

Hi everyone!

I seem to be busy all the time these days and yet it wouldn’t be as ‘fun’ if I didn’t add an extra project to my plate, right?

Last Tuesday (3rd of April) saw the kick-off of the 2018 edition of the 100 Day Project, a challenge created by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. In their own words, the 100 Day Project is “a free, global art project that anyone can participate in”. The purpose of this challenge – because yes, it is a challenge after all – is to choose an action, to repeat it every day for 100 days, and to post it on Instagram. It is okay to miss a day. The goal is to keep going.

To be honest I don’t feel comfortable posting too much unfinished work on my Instagram grid anymore. I know, it may seem silly. But I am worried that it would ruin my efforts to try to create a more cohesive feel on there (it is still work in progress). And not only that. I also want to use this challenge as a way to have fun and experiment with different materials and possibly techniques too, and I don’t really want to include art that doesn’t look like me as it could send the wrong message.

After thinking about the pros and cons of taking on an extra project for a hundred days (it’s quite a long time!) and considering what I would do and where I would show it, I decided the following:

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Really, I wanted to draw characters but I was worried – I do worry a lot! – that I wouldn’t always have the time. A face take a lot less time to draw than a full character so I decided that I would draw at the very least a face a day for a hundred days and a full character whenever I have time.

As for where I am going to show my work, well, I am going to post some of it on my Instagram account and what ‘doesn’t fit’ will be posted as an Instagram story. I will also post all my drawings on Facebook and Twitter so make sure to follow me there is you want a daily update, and will have a recap here on a regular basis (I haven’t decided yet whether that will be every week, every other week or monthly).

Wish me luck!

My Most Northern Holiday

Hi everyone,

How are you today?

A few weeks ago I mentioned a big holiday that my boyfriend and I had been planning for a while. Well, I can’t believe it’s over now! If I’m being honest I’m even feeling a bit blue, which is an appropriate colour since we went on a cruise to the very top of Norway in the hope of seeing the Northern lights, so lots of blue skies, very deep blue waters and snowy mountains and fjords. (*sigh*)

MY TRAVEL SKETCHBOOK

When we were away I kept a travel sketchbook in order to immortalise some of the key moments of our holiday.

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I won’t write down everything we did because that would take ages, but you will find some comments below.

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On the first night we unexpectedly won the pub quiz. Our prize: a bottle of wine!

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We attended all of the talks about space that were given over the course of the cruise: we’re like that, we like to learn things even when we are on holidays. (Side note: we didn’t do too well in the later pub quizzes.)

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We visited an igloo hotel, went on a husky sledge ride, and went hunting for the Northern lights! Did we see them? You will have to wait until the end of this post or read my sketchbook entries to find out.

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We saw orca whales from the ship and won a bottle of champagne in a raffle! Yep, we don’t normally drink much at all but we won booze twice.

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We spotted E.T. on the upper deck! Just kidding. We went to the last talk on space which was about searching for extra terrestrial intelligent life. It was a really cool talk!

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It took us nearly 8 hours (instead of the 5 hours and a bit on the way down to Southampton) to get back home. A bit of a looonnnnng coach journey.

FUN & RANDOM FACTS FROM MY HOLIDAY

Because a holiday of this calibre wouldn’t be the same without a few stories, here are a few fun and random facts from our holiday that I thought I would share with you.

1) Snowflakes do have pretty shapes

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It might be a bit naive of me but although I have seen snow before, I had never seen the ‘star’ shapes of snowflakes in real life. Seeing the different shapes and how pretty they were got me all excited. All of a sudden I was 6 years old again.

2) Wrap up warm and feel supid – errrm, I meant epic

When you go this far north you want to make sure that you can survive in negative temperatures. This means wearing LOTS of layers of clothes and to put them all on, it’s a whole process. Apparently space suits take 45 minutes to put on. Snow gear won’t take you as long but when it’s not something you’re used to it will make you feel just the same: partly ridiculous, mostly badass (imagine yourself walking in slow-mo with the Armageddon music playing in the background).

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Source: Giphy

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See? Just the same! (Almost.)

On this photo I’m wearing 6 layers of clothes on my upper body and 3 layers around my legs (not counting underwear). At the same time you kind of have to when you go out by  -15°C to -25°C and you’re not from the area!

3) When you go on a husky sledge ride…

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Beautiful, isn’t it? It truly was. One thing we weren’t prepared for though is that the dogs do their business (you know what I’m talking about) while running. No ‘accidents’ to report, just a big surprise.

4) When you can’t use your fingers, use your nose

Okay, this is a bit of a weird one. After I nearly cried – okay, I cried – because of my painful fingers in the first port we visited my boyfriend and I came up with some ground rules. Rule number 1 was: “Camille will keep her gloves on at all times when outside.” But the thing is: how are you supposed to take photos with bulky ski gloves on? Well… I figured that using my nose instead of my fingers might work. And it did! All you have to do is put the timer on so that you can plan your shot and tadaaaa!

Seriously, one day nose photography will become a thing!

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Yours truly in action, setting up my phone for a “nose photo”.

Oh and if you are wondering whether we saw the Northern lights in the end…

We did!

Twice! (Hooray!)

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Photo courtesy of Glød

See you again soon for more updates and my latest artwork!

Look Within

Hi everyone!

I completed my Bootcamp assignment for this month and posted it to the class gallery.

In case you missed it, this month was all about tea and our main assignment was to create a journal cover on the theme: tea leaf reading.

I went for something a bit old school (with a twist) and mystical as I wanted to revisit old imagery, symbols, and do something that would allow me to use brush and ink, dip pen and hand lettering – my tools of predilection.

This is the result:

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