Making Peace With the Past: First Teen Crush

My main project for 2018 is recycling painful past journal entries to create new art and make peace with the past.

I wasn’t kidding about taking my time with this project, huh? I started this second spread in January and I finished it this morning, but I think during that time I finally figured out the right balance of old versus new that I was trying to achieve. Even though it’s probably going to be my most light-hearted page, I’m glad I took the time to process it and build on it.

The meaning behind this page isn’t very deep. Dexter Holland (The Offspring) was my first teenage crush and 2000 was the peak of my obsession – I don’t think there was a journal entry from this time that didn’t mention him. It was such a pure over-the-top teenage girl crush that I thought it was only right to preserve it and dedicate a spread to him!

As usual with this project, I tore up pages from an old journal (summer of 2000) and painted over them. I left some writing and clipart about Dexter peeking through and added pictures of him and Noodles that I drew in 2000. I added in the drawing/painting of the Smash album art, some doodles based on other Offspring album art, and lyrics. I think I made a page that 13 year old me would be proud of!

Who was your first teenage crush? Do you still like them or do you look back on it with a “what was I thinking?!”? I would love to hear about it!

Making Peace With the Past: Taking My Time

My main project for 2018 is recycling painful past journal entries to create new art and make peace with the past.

I started keeping journals in the summer of 2000, just after turning 13. My first attempt at journaling was quite cute, really. It stemmed from boredom at having to be dragged around the country watching my younger brother play cricket. I was still slightly too young to stay home alone, so 3-4 times during the summer holidays we would stay in hotels for 2 or 3 nights at a time and visit different cricket grounds around Wales and England. To amuse myself, I would provide a running commentary of our travels while writing about my favorite things (namely The Offspring, my cuddly toys, wrestling, and boys – it was a simpler time) and also fill the book with little doodles – I was sort of art journaling before I even knew the term!

July 21, 2000 – An excerpt from the original first entry in my first ever journal

I decided to start this project with the journal from 2000 not only because it made sense chronologically, but because I thought it would be an easy one to deal with. I was barely a teenager and my writing was still very upbeat and optimistic (even though I was bored and hated not being at home on the computer!). However, I still found it difficult to start this process.

July 23, 2000 – A drawing of a school near the cricket ground my brother was playing at

It took me two weeks to finish the first spread, which was frustrating to me. During my Year of Creative Habits project last year, I got in the habit of making journal pages quickly and often. I think this is going to be a good lesson in slowing everything down and taking my time. I will have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t something I can just finish in a day, week, or even a month. Just because I am able to complete pages quickly, it doesn’t mean I necessarily should. I want to make sure I do this right and in a way that I won’t regret later.

I made the decision to do my best to preserve any art I made or ephemera I kept from the time. I am also keeping a note of anything I think might be important for me to remember, with the rest being torn up and covered over. Here is how the first spread turned out:

The page turned out messier and busier than I would have liked, but I think it was because I started pushing paint around in frustration. I wanted to start but I didn’t know how. Slapping paint on haphazardly meant I was at least doing something with it.

I was tempted to update the doodle and make it bolder/better, but ultimately thought it was better to keep it the way it was drawn the first time. I think it gives that part of the page a dreamy, “in the past” look. I also kept the Offspring clip art I was so proud of!

Hopefully now that I’ve made one page, it won’t be so difficult to carry on… but I’m also allowing myself to slow down and take as much time as I need.

Looking Back On 2017 & My 2018 Goals

2017 Journals
My 2017 in journals & zines

In February 2017 I laid out my goals for the year on the Get Messy forum. I was concerned it was too ambitious with working a 40 hour a week job, but I think I did pretty well! Here’s how my year went:

Goal 1: Participate in Get Messy ✓
My goal was to create at least one page a week and get better at working from the prompts. I ended up completing 5 seasons of Get Messy during the year (Gifts, Art 101, Contrast, Color, and Fairytales) and I definitely created at least one page a week! I tried (to varying degrees) to get better at working from the prompts, but I think it confirmed to me that I don’t enjoy working from prompts and they’re not helpful to how I work in my journals. Even though I enjoyed aspects of the group (mainly the community) I decided that I would not be continuing with Get Messy into 2018.

Goal 2: Complete Year of Creative Habits ✓

I am still stunned that I managed to complete this goal! Sure, the end result wasn’t how I envisioned, but I think I prefer how it turned out. My original plan was to make art on a post-it note every day and stick them in mini journals. After 100 days of this (which I think is an accomplishment in itself!) I started counting everything creative I did towards YOCH. I have never followed through on an art challenge before this, so I am proud of myself for persevering! See my 2017 Year of Creative Habits project.

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Generally the amount of projects I was working on at one time!

Goal 3: Collaborate ✓

Technically I kept this goal! I have been working on a collaboration with Beatriz Helton since January 2016, which I continued until April 2017. I think we both got a little burnt out on it and wanted to pursue other projects – but it still counts! I also wanted to try collaborating with Messians. A number of the collabs fell through, but I did finish a Women Rising Collab with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd. Basically, I did collaborate but not as much as I had planned. Honestly, I learned that I find collaborating very difficult – but maybe that’s a post for another time.

Goal 4: Work in my “main” journals ✓

I’m not even sure what “main” journal even means anymore, since I started about 20 different art journals/sketchbooks this year! But I did other projects besides Get Messy and the post-it notes, so I’m taking this as a win.

Some zines I had art featured in

Goal 5: Submit work to zines ✓

I submitted my work to 7 zines in total, and I had my art featured in 4 of them! I had 1 rejection, 1 zine fell through, and the other is still in the works (hopefully). I’m really happy with how that turned out! One of the zines also involved being involved in an art show, which was an amazing (albeit terrifying) experience.

Goal 6: Project Life/Awesome Ladies Project

Well, technically I didn’t complete this goal – but something else came of it, which I see as a bigger win. My plan was to try and do a version of Project Life for my Awesome Ladies Project throughout the year, but even at the time I wasn’t convinced I’d have time for it. I put it down as a “loose” goal and proceeded to do nothing towards Project Life haha. HOWEVER, in July 2017 I was chosen to be a Creative Team member at the Awesome Ladies Project, created four projects, took part in 100 Days of All About Me, and contributed two blog posts using the ALP Story Journal. I think that outweighs not starting Project Life haha.

Other Highlights from 2017

  • I sold some art! I painted three commissions and sold postcards on Etsy

Honestly, I am stunned at everything that happened this year! I think I’m going to slow it down a bit in 2018 and keep my goals simple (mainly because I am now working a job I love and I want to dedicate more time to my “real” career). Here are a few things I want to accomplish this year:

  • Sell more of my art
  • Begin my recycled journal project
  • Keep working with the Awesome Ladies Project and Book of Me
  • Set up a YouTube account
  • Contribute to more zines/be involved in the zine community (I will be involved in a Zinefest as part of my new job)
  • Generally make art I love

Here’s to an arty and productive year! How did your 2017 go? What are your goals for 2018? I’d love to hear about them!

Synapse Zine

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I’m excited to announce that my art has been featured in Synapse Zine #3, a not-for-profit collection of counter-culture art and literature. You can view the digital version or buy a physical copy for $1.60 (all money goes to printing costs) – Chris also has some amazing stickers for sale!

I have a ton of exciting things going on right now, which should all be revealed in the next couple of weeks – watch this space!

Girls Only Zine

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I’m excited to announce that my artwork is going to be featured in Girls Only, Issue V! This issue’s theme is Mystic and it features one of my pieces of post-it art from my Year of Creative Habits project. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see one of my little post-its in such a gorgeous zine! You can buy copies of the zine on Lorna’s Etsyall proceeds go to future issues!

Pushing Through the Fear (Revisited)

In January I published a blog post called Pushing Through the Fear, which was all about how in 2016 I would be pushing myself out of my comfort zone and start believing in myself and what I create:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a problem with “putting myself out there”. Not only am I an introvert, I am a fairly shy introvert. I’m nowhere near as shy as I used to be, but still; I don’t enjoy being the center of attention, I don’t know how to take a compliment, and I often worry that, when I do try to put myself out there, I’m coming across as pushy or thinking too much of myself. This isn’t exactly helpful when you want to share creative projects and get involved in a community.

I have many conversations with my husband about what makes someone an artist, since he calls me one and I completely avoid using that word to describe myself. He thinks that you don’t need formal training or an exhibit at a prestigious gallery; anyone who creates things is an artist. I obviously have a different opinion, although only when it comes to myself it seems.

Recently I’ve been thinking more about this avoidance and how rationalizing “not being an artist” holds me back. I use it to talk myself out of sharing or submitting work, making things for people, or getting involved with other artists. I fear putting myself out there and that my work isn’t good enough, so it’s easier to tell myself that I’m not a “real artist” rather than risk whatever it is I think is going to happen if I try.

Continue reading “Pushing Through the Fear (Revisited)”