I was lucky enough to take a mokuhanga or Japanese woodblock print workshop with Elizabeth Forrest. The process to plan, carve, ink and print the wood is fascinating. The way the wood works with water, ink, rice paste and the paper is truly fascinating.
My video got cut off in instagram, but if you watch till the end, you'll see the final peel off of the paper with the second colour to reveal my Totoro. Laying the sepia over the purple creates a deeper richer "black". A watercolour mixing trick I applied to the project.
Elizabeth Forrest is a true master and a very gracious and patient teacher. If I have time, I definitely want to learn more with her. She mentioned that it was the Ukioye woodblock prints of Eco-period Japan that was a basis for the manga art that would later be developed in Japan.
I'm definitely keen on learning more and seeing how I can apply some of this technique to my comics or illustration work. Here is a slideshow of the process from the carving of the block, to the first colour print and then recarving the block and paying the second colour down.
LIVE from The Sidekick Comic Cafe at The Toronto Comics Anthology’s Sunday Social 7
featuring chats with contributor Marcia Iwasaki and Lead editor Steven Andrews.
I was really nervous at first, but Jason is such a smooth interview, it just ended up feeling like a comfortable and casual conversation. During my interview I chat about my art influences, what brought me to comics and a little bit about my story in the Yonge at Heart Anthology, "The Tanuki of Riverdale". You'll also get to hear the lead editor of the Yonge at Heart anthology talk a bout some of the cool comic details in the 4th Anthology of Toronto Comics.
Illustrator from Nova Scotia Now working in Toronto (Recap from November 2015 Canscaip Meeting)
5 key points I was able to glean from his talk:
His many projects show amazing versatility and mastery of technique.
I’m just realizing now how much of a perfectionist I am when it comes to my art. I never seem to be 100% satisfied. I need to make a conscious effort to put down the brush, pen or mouse lest I overwork the image. Once, I’ve managed to do that, I inevitably begin to analyze my work and can still find 20 adjustments that I would have liked to make so that my piece is just “perfect”.
Lately I feel as I have been caught up in my own little hurricane of projects, assignment and deadlines. It’s nice to take a moment to stop breathe and take stock of things. Like climbing and struggling through the rough terrain deep in a forest, and making it to a vantage point to take a break, it's nice to admire the scenery, and look below to see how far you’ve come. Similar to a hike, you get a boost of energy and renewed sense of passion to keep moving forward when you stop and take a moment to survey the all changes and the different ways you’ve developed in your work. Whenever I start to feel my life is tipping out of control, my wheel are spinning and I’m frothing at the mouth like the Tasmanian devil, I try to remember to stop, breathe and reflect.
I like to listen to different podcast while I’m working. In particular, I enjoy and appreciate the insights of Ira Glass on This American Life. A few months ago I came across a short video illustrating his pep talk to those of us that find ourselves at the beginning of their creative journey.
I like to revisit it every now and then to remind myself that we are all in the middle of our life’s journey.
I love his words of wisdom on closing the gap. His talk about being patient with the process and keeping your eyes on the prize is humourous, witty and inspiring. It's a reminder that every creative goes through the same roller coaster of emotions and struggles. It’s also heartening reminder that we are not alone in our efforts to create something out of nothing.
I’ve learned to stop, let myself park the adjustments and criticisms in the section of my brain called “remember for next time” and truly appreciate what I’ve done up to that point. Keep moving forward, but every now and then it’s fun to take a look back to take stock of just how far you’ve come in whatever endeavor it is that you are challenging yourself to try. Give yourself a pat on the back and forgive any imperfections and just keep on doing it every day until that gap is finally closed. Onward and upward my friends!
As promised, here are a few sneak peaks of the two issues if my zine, "Cosmic Brews" that I'll be selling at Canzine Toronto 2015 on Saturday October 17 at the AGO from 1-7 pm. It looks like it's going to be a fun day full of activities for all ages!
I’ve noticed that a lot of artists, writers and creators make it a point to include movement into their daily life as an important part of their creative process. Whether it’s to clear the mind and push away the weight of everyday worries, or to get some fresh air to free your mind up and allow some creative breakthroughs, it’s definitely a good thing.
From my own experiences the times when I have felt most free, and most alive were the times when I was moving and exploring in nature. And it’s when I’ve felt most alive, whether it was a stroll through an urban park, a hike , or a camping trip in the wilderness that I have been able to create the works that I am most proud of and that are most authentically me.
After reading some of these articles about the exercise-creativity connection, I’m hoping I’ll be inspired to make a better habit of incorporating more movement into my lifestyle in order to better support my creative life. They say it takes at least 21 days to form a habit right? Hopefully I’ll be able to get that ball rolling before the cooler couch potato inducing weather sets in.
Speaking about walking, there is a great chance to get out, walk around and enjoy the fall weather.
The most talented illustrator/zinester Fiona Smyth who taught my Comics and Graphics Novels Continuing Education class will be participating in a workshop at the Word on the Street Festival is happening this Sunday September 27 at Harbourfront Centre.
Some gems on creativity and exercise from around the web.
Contemplation, Creativity and Walking and "Forest Bathing":
If walking and running aren’t your cup of tea, there is also some good ole “forest bathing” or Shinrin-yoku. ( I think this is more down my alley).
Parker Palmer's essay on Autumn as a time to reflect on endings but feel joy with the possibility of new beginnings.
Going for Broke. All out running if you’re feeling ambitious.
Haruki Murakami's What I talk about when I talk about running.
A how to guide with tips on starting and keeping up with a running routine.
Exercise and Creativity: If you want to try to figure out how it all works.
Huffington post article on exercise, creativity and physical activity.
Livestrong article on food, exercise and creativity.
I've been trying to move full steam ahead in preparation for Canzine Toronto 2015 on October 17 at the AGO. This picture is a teaser for some of the goodies in the September-October issue of my Cosmic Brews.
As the temperatures begin to dip, my thoughts tend towards my inner life. In anticipation of cool nights wrapped in a blanket sitting by the window catching up on my reading, I got my grubby little fingers on a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic. I can't wait to dig in.
I love her style of writing and her thoughts on a creative life are truly inspiring and insightful. I am sure I will pick up some tips to apply to my art.
Happy Autumnal Equinox to you all!
You'll be able to find yours truly at a table with some of my zines.
You can check out the October 17th event on their website. The folks at Broken Pencil have added to the programming schedule and it looks like it's shaping up to be a lot of fun. As we get closer to the date, I'll be posting little teasers of some of the next issues of my zine Cosmic Brews.
I made it out to the show opening reception. It was nice to be able to catch up with my former classmates and the instructors. It was also fascinating to see the technique and aesthetic of the other artists. It's amazing to see how unique each artist's creative approach is.
I'm so glad I made the decision to get back into school mode at the start of the summer. I took the leap to sign up and register for some continuing education courses at OCAD. I have to admit, I had some first day jitters before that first class, but as soon as I sat down and met the instructor, I knew I had nothing to worry about. The class was organized in a way that people from all kinds of backgrounds could contribute and learn much from each other. Looking back, I am amazed at the level of work that both me and my fellow students produced over that short 6 week period.
Riding this wave of creative productivity, I took the plunge once more and signed up for the Comics and Graphic Novel class. Once again, I am happy to say the instruction was stellar and the content of the lectures, presentations and in class exercises very stimulating and interesting. I can't believe I haven't given myself the chance to muck around in this genre before. I sooo suits my current styles.
Long story short, we were asked to submit works for the OCAD continuing studies show and my pieces were chosen. The Show starts tomorrow night and rounds until November 13. I hope to see you there.
Decided to listen to an On Being podcast about creativity while working on some projects tonight. The podcast was a conversation with Professor Rex Jung. I think I need to listen to it again as they covered some pretty deep topics.
I am never disappointed when I listen to one of these podcasts with Krista Tippett.
What podcasts do you like to listen to? Feel free to share if there are some interesting ones I haven't found out about yet. Over and out.