Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tales from an Illustrator: Just keep Doodling!

Surrounded by papers, ink pens, paint pallets, sketches…sometimes when I stare in the distance it feels a bit surreal that what I love to do, is my work now.

You know, looking back, the way up to my decision of quitting my studies was very difficult, taking the final decision wasn’t. Lack of courage, fear of doing something completely different without having a degree, was it the right thing to do & what would people think of me; these types of things clouded my mind for a long time. I guess the only thing that makes it difficult for most people, is to actually go through with it all. For me, there’s no turning back. I do not want to turn back. I took this adventurous leap and I can’t honestly think to go back to where I was a year ago.

Even though you’re good at something, you are not successful overnight. It all takes time & patience and A LOT of hard work! You don’t get projects falling in your lap nor clients ringing your doorbell saying they have a job for you. It’s constantly finding a balance in working on personal projects, researching the market, applying for jobs etc.

You know what also helped me is to have the mindset: ‘I am an illustrator’. It helps me to focus on what I want to do in the long run. And in short, in order to get there: I just gotta keep doodling! The tiniest drawing can help to improve your skills, so you got to move forward and always believe in yourself, that one day…it will all pay off ^_^.

Of course starting to do something for yourself, doesn’t have to be a business. It can be anything, like a diet, a hobby, a new way of living. You will always have people around you who support you or who will raise their eyebrows (I seriously typed rainbows at first). Personally, I try not to pay attention to people who are skeptic regarding what I'm doing now. You have to keep in mind why you’re doing it in the first place. In the end, you are the one who’s responsible for your own decisions and who's making a difference for yourself right? That’s the base for most things in life. You need to start with yourself to make the world around you a better place.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. Did one of you decide to make a change in your life that wasn't welcomed with open arms? Do you think the most difficult part in doing something new and different is actually the part of going through with it? How easy do you find it to push all the negativity & skepticism from others aside?

Oh oh in other news! I’m working on a second site behind the scenes. Will update when it’s done of course, so stay tuned :D.

Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. Funny you say that, because I want to, at some point, have you be a part of my blog redesign. I want new buttons, header, everything, and I want you to create it. Think about a round about figure for the cost and I will see how long it may take me to jump in. -Dana

  2. If they say anything negative, just bake them some cupcakes to change their minds! ^_^ haha! Sent an email for this comment, too long to write here! Great entry TJ!

  3. Awesome post, TJ!
    So inspiring. I salute you and congratulate you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. Just sharing, you are helping so many people think about their paths in life. I know you will do very well.

  4. We have had many a LOOOOOOONG conversation about this subject, but is just something so cool about seeing you write like this on your blog.

    What seemed like such a horribly difficult decision at the time, has definitely been a great on for all those that love you artwork. Imagine what we would have missed out on, if you hadn't took the leap. All those lovely mermaids and dancing ladies would be trapped!

    I know its going to be hard work, but you could ever imagine it getting boring? no way!

    I am about six months behind you in making the big brave scary decisions and the more I realise that I have made the right decision, the more I have realised that the biggest skeptic is me.

    I have a MAHOOSIVE blog post in works on this subject, as well as epic emails.

    Just keep doodling!!

  5. You ARE an illustrator and your work brings joy to so many people. You know it's your calling. When there is something that YOU love to do and it brings joy and love to others, you know that's the right thing. :)

  6. you know Pretty TJ, i wish i could say something like "i am a damn illustrator" to myself, but the fact is that is not so easy to do that as i never consider myself an illustrator :/ though i enjoy what im doing, of course!

    ps: love the lady, she's as sweet as Pretty TJ, can i borrow her dress some time? :D

    kisses hugs

  7. The point is that you have to try yes or yes because doubts about what you feel you should test are very negative. I thin you are very brave. We better believe in ourselves in first place!

  8. TJ, this is an excellent post. I wish I could drill this into my students who are afraid to make that first brush stroke.

  9. Thanks for this post, TJ! It pretty much sums up a lot of what I have been thinking over the last couple of months! :)

  10. @ Dana: Oooh how cool Dana!! That sounds awesome! I shall email you about it soon! Ciao!

    @ Ollie: Got your email! Haha cupcakes usually work. It’s not that people say negative things though; it’s more that they pretend to be happy for you, but you can tell they don’t know what to really think of it haha. Thanks for stopping by!

    @ Gonzalexx: Thanks so so much Jose! You’re so kind & your comment humbled me and made me happy haha :D. Talk to you later!

  11. @ Claire: Ciaoooooo Creative Partner in Crime! You’re right, we’ve had many great conversations about this :D. I’m so glad you liked this post and you’re comment made my day! Aaah trapped :|. You know, just thinking about it makes me sad!

    I shall never settle with boring work, my mind is too wild for that haha!

    I have no doubt at all that you’ve made the right decision and slowly it will work out for you! You know I’m your number one doodle cheerleader ^_^.

    I am really looking forward to your MAHOOSIVE blog post & your awesome EPIC mails! Xxxx

    @ Tricia: You’re awesome Tricia! Thanks so much for your lovely & true words :D. I'm just so grateful for everyone who loves my work, it brings even more joy to me ^_^. My calling, that sounds really cool! XOXO

    @ Sympathy for the Devil: Ciaoo Pretty Mita!! You’re absolutely right. It isn’t easy indeed, but in the end, if you have this mindset, it can make things much easier. Because you act like you feel and it can give you a certain confidence to overcome scary decisions that may come your way. You are an amazing illustrator & writer!! You know I love your work!! Of course you may borrow her dress! It would look lovely on you ^_^!


  12. @ Encaracolada: heeeeey Encaracolda! How are you! I haven’t spoken to you in ages! Thanks so much for your comment! And yes, we need to believe in ourselves in order to make a change! Hope you’re well!

    @ Judie: Thanks so much Judie! The first brush strokes can always be a scary thing, but if you believe in yourself, you know it will turn out great in the end. Also, you mustn’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can always start again if you do and get better in the process. Xoxo!

    @ Kristin: Heey Kristine! Cool to see you here again and you’re most welcome! I’m glad you can relate to it :D. You are one talented artist yourself!

  13. Wow! Honestly, you have such a talent, I can't believe there was even a question that you wouldn't pursue illustrating as a profession. Still, committing to the arts can be met with so much skepticism and worry, huh? For some reason, it's looked upon as selfish, too. I can't tell you the responses I got when I told my family I wanted to be a writer. They were gung ho in the beginning but, like you said, it takes time. Hopefully, one day (and one day soon? please?) I'll get my break. Until then, we've got to do our best to support each other and, baby, I've got your back!

  14. For me the most difficult decision I have made in my life was to stop working and stay home with my kids. Getting my career going again has been hard work. The marketplace is not kind to people who almost disappear for 7 years! On the other hand everyone in my life is very supportive of my design career, but then I come from an artistic family so my decision to work in a creative field kind of went with the territory.

    And I know what you mean about doodling! The more I draw, the better I am at it.


  15. TJ-I was so proud of you when you made this decision to follow your heart rather than head. Hard to imagine you anywhere except in the arts. You have all the ingredients-courage, talent, self-confidence and determination to make this your career. Meanwhile, just keep learning and doing what you're doing. You're going to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people.

  16. I actually took the plunge and left my cushy office job to become a maths teacher. Having said that everyone thought it was an excellent idea. I can remember though at the time having to have the courage to quit the job and just go for it. it helped though that what I was doing was getting a bit boring. Unlike the swashbuckling world of mathematics...

    You obviously have the talent that justifies your decision and I hope it proves to be an excellent choice (as I am sure it will).

  17. Oops, I stared at your header till I forgot everything I wanted to say.. when I remembered, I stared at the pictures of the mermaid and fireworks went off in my chest. IT'S ALL SO PRETTY!!! OMG! OMG!!

    I always get stupid reactions when I see your art. They make me stupid and all I say is OMG OMG! And all words get forgotten. TJ, you make me weird T.T

    Gorgeous, you have the talent and I know it wasn't an easy decision. But I believe you'll succeed in anything you do.

    You're a good person to boot so I'm sure someone is watching out for you up among the eyebrow..oops I meant rainbows..

    much much love!

  18. Ciao TJ!
    That was a very interesting blog. It's really inspiring, I enjoyed reading it very much!!
    Also thanks for the comment on my blog, it's very much appreciated


  19. @ Janene: Ciaoo Janene!! Thanks so so much for your lovely words! Perhaps people react the way they do because it’s new, it’s different, it involves more risks. Well most things in life involves risks, but for some reasons unknown territories always have a higher risk potential to others. They just don’t know better, but hey, we have to proof them otherwise right :D. We know in our hearts what we want, so we have to go for it. Just know that I’ve got your back too!! Xxxxx!

    @ Heather: Hello hello Heather! I can only imagine how it must be like when you have kids. It’s such a huge responsibility resting on your shoulders, because little individuals are counting on you. It makes a huge difference if you people around you that are supportive of what you’re doing! I have a few uncles and an aunt who are talented drawers, but no one pursued a career in it. So when I was younger following a career in wasn’t that obvious, even though I loved to do it. Well I’m going to make a difference now hehe! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Xoxo!

    @ NP: Mister NP! You’re one of the few who followed my journey through time and I’m truly grateful for that! Your comments are uplifting and always make me smile! Thanks so much for strolling around my blog and having faith in me! Oh and for letting me stalk you as well hehe. Big hugs to you!!

  20. @ MC: Hi there MC! Woohoo high five for taking the plunge as well! Making the final decision is the difficult part I think, simply because it means that there’s no turning back. Well there is one, but why would you make the decision in the first place, just to go back to how it was? Maths and I don’t match at all though haha. So when you say ‘swashbuckling World of Mathematics’….I truly envision a pirate scene where people are throwing numbers towards each other…

    I kid you not.

    Thank so much for strolling by & your lovely comment!! Oh and also a big welcome here!!

    @ Hevn: Ciaooooo Bella!!! Awwww hahaha you’re too funny and so sweet! You know I shall never forget the words you’ve said to me and that you (and sweet Elyn) will support me no matter what I do. A HUGE THANK YOU for that!!

    See eyebrows…rainbows…so easy to mix up hehehe.

    Your comments are one of my faves :D and it’s not because I make you weird hehe.

    Love ya lots!!

    @ Netina: Ciaoo Netina! How nice to see you here! Thanks so much for stopping by and I’m glad you liked the post too :D. Grazie!! Xxx

  21. I have to say, your tone seems so much happier since you made the decision to change your life path. Things seem to be going very well for you since then--a sure sign you've made the right choice! Keep up the good work (& may it always bring you happiness!)

  22. @ Lana: Hi Lana! Thanks so much for your comment :D! I do feel happier now, so the fact that you can notice it, is a really good thing haha. I'm just happy that I'm pursuing something I truly love to do. So even though things can be rough, it makes it all worthwhile in the end. Thank you for your well wishes!! Xxx


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