Fighting the burnout – Step 1: Acknowledging it and taking action

It’s somewhat ironic that exactly a month after feeling so pumped I am now feeling that I am reaching a near-burnout point.

It is nice to talk about the happy things – you know, those times when you are making progress and everything seems to go well – but I think that it is also important to acknowledge that there are also moments when I feel creatively drained and when I feel kind of lost.

I am in one of those phases at the moment and it’s not good to stay in that zone for too long so I decided to take action.

I am starting a new personal project that I will be sharing with you step by step.

Maybe something will come out of that and maybe not. Maybe I will love it and maybe it won’t be my best piece of work. Who cares? What matters right now it to give myself something to focus on. Something that I can have fun with and that will hopefully revive my ‘creative spark’ in the process.

The project

The theme

I wanted to paint something to do with space because I had a lot of fun working on my last space painting and I felt that I wasn’t completely done with the theme yet.

While having a quick flick through the pages of my sketchbook I found those very rough sketches from early February this year.

File 26-04-2017, 19 21 26

So that’s it! Put on your space suit people because we’re going into space!

First thing first…

Space means A LOT of dark blue. I naturally started painting the background first.

Here is a quick hyperlapse:

Then I painted some placeholders for my little space guy and his spaceship, and for planets. I can’t wait to add the stars – it’s a really fun part! – but I think I will wait until pretty much the end for that.

File 26-04-2017, 19 11 25

By the way, if you think that you are seeing some shapes in the background you’re not mad: I painted the background over an illustration that I didn’t like and redid on a different sheet of paper (yes, I am one of those people who doesn’t like waste). Hopefully those shapes will disappear as I start adding details to the painting.

Aaaannnd… that’s it for today, but stay tuned as I will keep sharing my progress on this painting!

Until then, take care!

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Pumped

Hi everyone!

What a fantastic week it’s been! I was pumped and with all the positive energy came lots of creative ideas and the start of some new personal projects!

This week in the studio: the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge on Instagram, my work in progress, my latest creations and what I got in the mail!

Have a lovely weekend!


* The illustration and postcards that I received in the mail are by Carmen Saldaña

“I’m a survivor”

Hi everyone!

Long time no speak!

If you have been following me on Instagram you might know that it is because my workload got insane for 10 days.

During those 10 days I worked on a variety of projects but there was one project in particular which, although super exciting, had a very short deadline for the amount of work that was needed.

I normally tend to work a lot anyway but I’m telling you, I haven’t had to work this hard towards a deadline in a very long time!

So in order to make it I ended up working more than 12 hours a day for 10 days.

Working long hours for an extended period of time can take its toll on you both physically and mentally.

Here I compiled my experience as a survival guide. Some of the things I did instinctively, others I didn’t and wish I had in hindsight. I hope it can help you too if you ever face the same situation:

  1. Plan your work and prepare your files at the beginning of the project while your brain is still fresh.
  2. Be kind to yourself:
  • eat well (both in terms of quantity and quality – don’t skip your fruit and veg!)
  • drink lots of fluids
  • work out if you can, move around, stretch
  • take breaks and also rest your eyes, look away from your screens (all of them!)
  • SLEEP! (It might be tempting to skip it, especially when the deadline approaches and you’re still nowhere near finished but it will come back to bite you, believe me.)
  1. If you can, ask for help. Not necessarily with your work although if that’s something you can do good for you! I mean with the little things of life like grocery shopping, food-making (not having to think about cooking meals even once or twice can be such a relief!), house chores if you like things to be spotless,… whatever frees you some extra time and gives you some peace of mind. And don’t feel bad about asking for help: chances are that the people who help you are happy to do so! Just find a way to thank them once you’re done!
  2. Once it’s over, celebrate! Reward yourself! You’ve made it through (well done you!) and you deserve it.
  3. Rest! Whether it is a whole day off, half a day off or a lay in the following morning plan yourself some rest. Your brain and your body deserve it for being such stars when you needed them (remember: be kind to yourself)!

That’s it people!

These are the things that worked for me or that I learned the hard way.

Feel free to share your own tips for when work gets tough and your experience with us in the comments!

Speak soon!

Exotic week

Hi everyone!

It looks like this week I have been fighting the gloomy weather with some exoticism!

Tropical trees and plants – if you watched my previous videos you saw that I started sketching tropical trees and plants a couple of weeks ago. I got some new Inktense pencils (by Derwent) for my birthday and this week’s coloured sketches were an excuse to try them – they’re absolutely brilliant and I love them already!

Peacocks – they are one of my new obsessions at the moment. I am drawing and painting lots of them. What for? I am still to figure it out.

Etsy – my new products are up! Click here to have a look.

Doodles – Crazy what you can draw when you’re on the phone/Skype! When I came up with this whole page of bacteria I was like “What?!“. Have a go and see what happens!

Admin and database work – Not the most exciting job but necessary! I’m sure ‘Future me’ will thank ‘Past me’ for being so organised.

I didn’t mention it in the video but this week I also worked on some character concepts for one of my clients – exciting! Hopefully I will be able to tell you more about this in the near future but for now let’s just be patient.

A short week in the studio

You can get to my Etsy shop by clicking here or by clicking on the ‘Shop’ tab in the top navigation bar.

This week in the studio

Hi everyone!

After much thinking about where to take my blog this year it was time to take action!

I really enjoy sharing the ‘behind the scenes’ side of things on Instagram so I decided to carry on along those lines, make a video and see what happens!

I hope you enjoy!

Don’t hesitate to let me know what you think.

Have a good weekend!

Reassessment Time

I was just watching some my friend Trista’s vlogs and today she really got me thinking.

In one of her latest posts she talks about the changes she is going to make to her vlogs and why. One of her main reasons for making changes she says is that she hasn’t been happy with the quality of her most recent vlogs.

That totally struck a chord because I feel the same way about my blog posts.

When I look back at 2016, a lot of improvements where made to my blog at the beginning of the year (in terms of the overall look, I was posting twice a week, etc.) and then things changed a few weeks (maybe even months) before Christmas.

So what happened?

One of the major changes is that around October I became more active on Instagram (it was Inktober remember?). This means that all of a sudden, the content that I was posting on here I was also posting on there. And when people come to see what I do, they don’t want to see the same things everywhere (I certainly find it more intersting when I follow somebody and their content varies from one platform to another).

This was confirmed by an illustration and portfolio consultant I spoke to around that time.

I was advised to use my blog to talk more about my creative process, and Instagram for the images that I was posting on my blog until then (both finished pieces and behind the scenes snapshots).

I thought that this piece of advice made perfect sense and to be fair I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that myself as it sounded pretty obvious.

But quickly after that I realised that:

  • A lot of the time, I don’t really know what to write about
  • The lack of inspiration means I can’t keep posting as regularly as I used to, and to be honest I liked that frequency
  • Writing takes time and I don’t have much of it these days (I know, I know, it’s a question of reassessing my priorities and changing some of the ways I do things in order to make the time; except that I am not ready yet to make the change)
  • And finally, I don’t enjoy writing that much (ironic for a post that is all text). When I say “writing” I mean essay-type content. I am more of a “lots of pictures with a short blurb” than an “lessons learnt” type of person

So in the past months I have been posting less, I have enjoyed blogging less, I have been unhappy with the quality of the whole thing and as a direct result I feel that I have let you, my dear readers, and myself down.

This needs to change!

So while I spend some time reassessing what I want to do, write and show on Camille’s Land and if you’ve made it this far in your reading, now is your chance to let me know what you would like to see/read more of this year (FYI I can’t post videos on here). I’m all ears!

Thank you all for your support, comments and your suggestions so far!