StudyPost 09 / Figure drawing, magmastudio doodles, final LightBoxExpo 2020 Online thoughts & making most sketchbook posts patron-only again

In this sketchbook post:

I didn’t have much time to do figure drawing in recent weeks

I haven’t had time to recover and had learning to do :’)

Some doodles from the Sketching session with the Columbus Zoo stream too! So cute seeing them live! 😀

Leonie is rusty

and trying to figure out ClipPaintStudio ahhhh

Portraits from talks ;D
MagmaStudio doodle and study

It went from photo study (the middle portrait), then I attempted to do this study a handful of times and strove not to use too many layers :’) I don’t really like it but hey progress!

It forced me to work within limitations :0

The challenge here was to transform a blob into something so this happened

I had no plan whatsoever so I guess this came out okay considering :0

Another experimental blob

I hope to do more embarrassing, impromptu experiments and rough studies in future sketchbook posts for patrons only as it feel safer that way haha!

I’ll post a few that I’m happy with later on social media? But so far these are so impromptu, rough, badly put together and I didn’t really go through my usual art process :’)

Hey it’s true that not every art I do needs to be posted on social media and I shouldn’t have to post everything on my blog either ;D

LeonieArtRambles: My LightBoxExpo 2020 reflection

Thoughts on LightBox as an online event

I’ll still be slowly catching up on recordings (most are available for all) for a long time but at least the ones I watched so far I found super valuable, interesting or it’s artists rambling about relatable feelings and artist mental health. I can learn better, especially now that my brain is functioning because I’m living within my own time zone again, taking things at my own pace and I’m not as sleep deprived ;P

It suits me well since I can pause, speed up things and process things at my own pace! And if I can’t take anymore in, I can rest up (unlike real life talks)! And no overwhelming crowds and noise (okay but there’s countless digital chatter)! It’s great for a super introverted, autistic, art hermit like me ;D

I don’t think I should sleep deprive myself next time and stay up all night for 3-4 days in a row. At most I’ll wake up super early instead? I don’t know as I was able to catch some random things live but overall I wasn’t fully functional, felt unhealthy, missed out most things, there’s constant low level anxiety and I needed lots of recovery time afterwards :’) Gosh I feel so torn :<

Digressing. Please note that I have no experience with artist conventions or anything specialised for industry artists before so my thoughts here are super subjective. And I completely understand that this is their first online event and there’s a lot of growing pains. It’s all good and I enjoyed my experience (:

Okay here’s some more LightBoxExpo 2020 thoughts and observations!

  • lots of professional artists and recruiters selling and marketing themselves through the virtual artist alley and/or their talks
    • mostly artists selling and marketing to artists and companies for their services, tutorials, streams, social media, patreon, books, prints, merch, mentorship, etc
    • hub of artists who are independent and/or freelance (youtube, streams, patreon, tutorials, graphic novels, picture books, products, etc) and those who provide their experiences as studio artists
    • note that if you wanted to sell your own products and make a profit, you need to seek out non-artist audiences elsewhere (unless you’re selling your mentorships and courses to artists)
  • the virtual artist alley is good!
    • I already answered in my feedback survey but I wish there was also search bar to look up an artist straight away rather than loading the whole page each time I search down, find the artist I was looking for among many buttons and click an artist button.
    • I gave up and ended up browsing every single aisle until someone’s display looks interesting to me (which is what I did)
    • hope to see the artist displays/booths and art closer without too much clicking to get a pop up to zoom into artwork. Or simply click through to a designated artist page; that might be better? I don’t know :’)
  • lots of professional artists generously teaching, chilling or talking for free on their own platforms (within reason while marketing themselves)
    • it gets confusing because it’s all over the place (zoom, twitch, youtube, instagram live, stories, etc) and you discover where most events happen when it goes live on the schedule or if you stalk every artist on their preferred social media platform :’)
    • on my end I had to keep searching where the talk/stream will be hosted as things tend to change :0 I hope they link to the relevant social media and platforms in advance next time so we can directly follow the artists and/or where it’s hosted.
    • most are recorded for public viewing so you don’t have to stress too much like I did :’)
  • lots of artists lifting up each other and others are just catching up with art friends they met with previously
    • it feels wholesome when artists buy each other’s stuff, watch each other’s stuff or share things with each other :’)
    • I guess this is what people feel like with curated facebook groups and discords?? And make lots of art friends?? Gasp :0!! I think I’ve made lots of casual artist acquaintances as I’ve been mostly a lurker :0
    • I’m just glad I’m able to understand and learn from the “top of the entertainment industry” at a general, casual level
      • of course a lot more deeper, specific, intense educational stuff is through buying tutorials, mentorships, courses and resources from the artists
    • I’ve been distancing myself from toxic and/or inactive communities because I’m the kind of person who lurks and occasionally participates if I’ve warmed up to the people and I feel safe and comfortable to express myself.
      • I’m not usually brave enough to initiate (and continue to do so) when I don’t know what the social dynamics and culture is like after some time :<
    • I’ll keep practicing to be chaotic and say something if I feel like it :’) It’ll be hard when I’m so used to feeling I don’t have a voice :<
  • it’s nice that it’s not American/Canadian centric now that people can attend from other parts of the world
    • maybe next time we can have even more online talks from professional artists not from the American entertainment industry hub (if it gets bigger in the distant future). I’ll have to sleep normally and not bother catching things live – I can’t function without sleep at all :< And maybe I’ll stay up again who knows :’)
  • enormous amounts of newbie, aspiring and/or graduate artists around the world – lots of understandable anxious and enthusiastic energy haha
    • countless of chatter & people posting/spamming their social media everywhere (I’m learning to do that within acceptable limits too and getting over my awkwardness haha)
    • it’s like any other huge industry event where you need to make the most of things with what is relevant to you
    • it gets overwhelming, lots of the same questions keep getting asked, not everybody can catch up and read hundreds of messages either and so you end up lurking :’)
    • I think I am an intermediate artist somewhat :0
    • still it encouraged me to be a bit more brave, ignore my shame and post my art a bit more
  • feels like an overwhelming online event covering a huge range of tracks and types of talks and events
    • I appreciated that times can be changed to match my timezone (approximately 11pm to 3pm each day for me haha)
    • there was much stress and anxiety that came along with not knowing which things were recorded and which won’t be in advance (and it was a common and repeated question too in many of the chats).
    • sometimes there were attendance limits that was up to the presenters (similar to a conference room limit) when it’s on zoom
    • there were 10-15 things going on at the same time slot at times; ah I don’t miss this stressful part of struggling to see talks you want to see :<
    • there’s lots of streams where it’s just artists doodling, hanging out and answering questions – it suited me when my zombie brain couldn’t process anything :’)
    • I wish they tagged/labelled and colour coded the schedule in hindsight because everything was overwhelming and I took days checking the constantly changing long schedule to figure out what’s actually relevant to me :’) There’s an incredible range of tracks and specialisations I’ve ever laid my eyes upon so hopefully it will be easier to navigate next time. Suggested tags for:
      • types of events/talks: panels, draw together, tutorial, Q&A, recruiter information sessions, podcast, art demonstration, art process/stream, art talk, lecture, interviews and so on
      • artist name tags
      • whether it’s recorded/not recorded (due to NDAs with big businesses or personal reasons of the artists)
      • art tracks: tv animation, feature animation, game art, concept art, storyboarding, illustration, kidlit, sculpture, visual development, freelancing, mental health, personal projects/independence, self marketing, 3D art, VR art and so on?
        • I don’t know if they do all of these tracks extensively and deeply because I haven’t checked everything out!
        • I could be wrong but there’s generally a lot more events to do with film, feature/TV animation and demonstrations/talks from popular, famous artists
    • definitely a huge range and there’s a bunch of specialised events for imaginative fantasy/sci-fi illustration, game art and whatnot out there too if you want to seek out more specific groups and niches.
      • LightBoxExpo is not the only event for artists; this is just my first industry one so I don’t really have much experience to gauge with :0

Overall for me it’s an incredible online artist event that felt inspiring, engaging, hopeful and mentally energising for me (while physically I’m a sleepy zombie). I don’t think I’ve ever felt that before with events because I usually end up emotionally drained too, hopeless, isolated, confused, masking myself too much in person and depressed :’)

I feel less alone and isolated even though I’m a newbie to all this! Even though I’m a little hermit artist in a world of many, I don’t really feel jealous/envious at this moment and it feels nice to be able to let go of my personal insecurities and not feeling like I have to be competitive to survive (: Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of hope, that we’re all humans and always more things to learn from everything :0

Finally it’s both reassuring and terrifying to know that we’re all struggling with the same things as artists; we’re technically all freelancers and nothing is stable (being made redundant is a thing)!

I’m going to share some personal takeaways, reminders and points of reflection for me (:

Self confidence and acceptance

Before LightBoxExpo I read about how confidence is really about being able to believe in yourself to deal with failure, mistakes, uncertainty, challenges, rejection, being wrong and things going wrong.

Another tweet that’s been going around says that surviving each day is not about positivity (let alone force it) but more about accepting and acknowledging all good/bad/mundane things and feelings as they are. Things happen and that’s okay; it’s not the end of the world.

I’m shaky on this as I don’t have stable work but I move forward anyway :’) There were periods in my life where I experienced deep helplessness and felt trapped by my personal circumstances. I do hope that I’ll keep building my confidence in myself and my own work through perseverance, personal growth at my own turtle pace (and build my own little support group too) <3

Find something you can’t stop doing!

A common theme I hear! When you’re making something you love, people will recognise that. From there, note what people hire you for and with which of your styles.

In my personal experience, when you first start as a newbie you’re pushed to do other styles and to do what they want you to do, just to see how you can adapt. I definitely learned and grew a lot by jumping out of my comfort zone :0

But after some experience and time, a difference reveals itself between being able to do the work and actually being happy and passionate designing and creating in a given style and subject matter. How versatile in style, skill and content you are depends on you and how hirable you’d like to be. It’s a long road to carve out your own niche and uniqueness, which I hope to do so for myself someday, so I’m excited for that when it happens!

“What can I bring to the table??” comes to mind also. Always reminding myself that it’s okay if I’m not the right fit for everything. Not getting picked is fine, because everyone on the team should be excited to work with each other on the thing. I presume that I’m not the right fit all the time though because I can’t force myself to be sociable when I’m in work mode during work times; I tried and don’t function that way :'(

For me, I can do vector art but perhaps people can tell I don’t enjoy doing it plus I don’t put it in my portfolio :’) I have let go of the “just get hired on anything” mentality because forcing yourself to do something that drains and burns you out really takes an emotional and creative toll on you. Then you feel guilty for feeling ungrateful for the job. Being told that artists should seek out opportunities they’re genuinely interested in and not let others dictate your path was reassuring :’)

Sidenote: I’m not someone who can teach and articulate art topics well since I’m more of a sentimental, sappy, overthinking, slow, rambly artist haha! So I don’t think I’ll be a good art teacher (at least not live!) I’d rather write about what I’m learning and thinking here ;P

Anyhoo I want to express and communicate feelings, ideas and appreciate character designs through character illustration, comics and studies I guess – so what does that mean in action? I’ll have to keep learning, experiment and find something to latch onto that’s enjoyable, challenging, true, interesting and fulfilling for me to keep doing :0 I don’t feel like I’m there yet but I hope to keep testing and working at it (:

Embrace what you create and Tyler Edlin’s “Enjoy the art of creating more” is inspiring on this topic!

Other random artist commonalities: we are doing our best

  • we’re all struggling with our own internal dialogue, self esteem, fears of not “making it”, not “being enough” and being irrelevant, self doubt, frustrated, isolated, disappointed, rejected
  • even the artists currently with studio jobs fear that they’re going to be replaced, made redundant and suffer from impostor syndrome
    • well I’ve been there (in terms of redundancy), nothing is safe and life moves on :’)
  • a lot are spreading themselves thin, trying to get noticed by people, clients, audience, companies, consumers, social media metrics and so on
  • that we need to have other hobbies and not romanticise the starving, struggling artist that neglects everything and everyone else all because of art
  • burn out and crunch is not healthy nor sustainable; a job is just a job in the end. Yes that said I’m super guilty of burning out often on projects :<
  • mental health care is something we all need
  • have hobbies outside of art! I guess one of mine is playing games occasionally haha
  • exercise is important and breaks!! Remember and keep going Leonie haha
  • we all have to manage negative feelings towards ourselves, towards others and our craft and be more self aware about it
  • it doesn’t matter how good you are because everyone is so good with skills now – what stands out is your own unique voice. Something I’ve been hearing plenty in recent years.
  • I agree that putting artists on pedestals just because they’re working for big companies causes separation and dehumanises people
  • every artist feels like they suck and gets frustrated at art :’)

Okay I think I’m done rambling about LightBox itself. I’ll have more art topics to ramble about as I plod along! I hope my rambles are coherent enough and thank you so much to everyone who was part of LightBoxExpo and making it happen! And all the wonderful, inspiring, brave artist peeps too! <3

Looking forward to continued online art learning shenanigans next year hopefully! :0

Why I’m making future sketchbook posts patron-only again

I know I said I wasn’t a fan of paywalls and since then I have processed my mixed feelings with it. I’ve seen many independent artists doing behind the scenes and private posts for their patrons, to keep themselves going during the long, difficult dry seasons and to provide some reasonable incentive for people to join in.

I’ve been blogging for many years, I don’t have stable freelance work and people in general are complacent with free content so I think it’s time to value myself and my work more and attempt to create my own little safe space to experiment, post studies and reflect about it.

I put a lot of thought, time and effort into reflecting and writing my blog posts. Sometimes it does feel overlooked, within the turbulent seas of the internet and social media.To create a space where I’m just speaking to my patrons and not to the general public would be a good change for me where I won’t be trying to create things for the sake of “performing” on the internet (:

Occasionally I might do a public podcast youtube video for an art topic but only when I can manage it and it feels necessary.

From here at least I’ll do a Monday LeonieUpdate art post and a Thursday Sketchbook patron-only post (2 posts a week) and take an occasional week or month off as I juggle with my routine! I’ll let you know if I’m struggling and I’ll strive to not push myself too hard. Sometimes I might manage extra posts, taking care to not burn myself out :’)

Actually I’ll take a week off from posting from the 5th of October because I’m still all over the place and haven’t had a proper break since LightBox; I’ve been busy trying to catch recordings that were going to disappear and I wasn’t able to do much art either eep! I’ll let you know again closer to the week.

Thanks for understanding and patrons, let me know if you have any feedback, concerns, questions or thoughts! (:

Thank you so much for reading!

Please stay safe and well during the rest of this week!

Here’s a Hollow Knight: Greenpath Jazz Arrangement (insaneintherainmusic) for you, Undertale: Death by Glamour – Jazz Cover (insaneintherainmusic ft. The Consouls) and Ace Attorney: The Fragrance of Dark Coffee – Jazz Cover (by insaneintherainmusic) to tide you over time (:

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