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  • Writer's pictureCindy L

The Joy of Learning - My Journey So Far

Hi friends! Please be nice, this is my first time writing a blog, and I'm taking this as another opportunity to learn something new. It is the last month of 2023 and I wanted to take the time to reflect on my journey as an author/ illustrator. It's definitely been a lot of learning for me and it never seems to stop. On that note, I wanted to share with you all my favorite mantra. It has helped me through some doubtful times and has provided me with some ease when I am being hard on myself.


"You are exactly where you need to be.

You will continue to get better, in time, with practice."


The Beginning..


When the pandemic hit, I finally decided to start pursuing a dream that I've had since I was little. I mean, why not? We were stuck at home anyway. I was already nearing my 40s, in addition to being a busy working mom of 4 kids, but I was ready to take on this challenge. I realized that I had so much to learn. First, I was not up to par with the illustrators in the market. Their artwork is amazing and I would look through Instagram accounts and portfolio websites, and feel so intimidated. I was messing up on body anatomy, perspective, heck, I was horrible at color combinations! It got pretty overwhelming, but I decided I would just do one thing at a time, anything that would help me with improving. No rush, there is always something to learn with every workshops you take, every tutorial video you watch, every critique meeting you attend. Also, I had to be ready and willing to be judged! Let people critique you and your work. Use what people say to improve, don’t get butt hurt about it.



The Struggle..


Impostor syndrome is REAL! If you've ever felt like you didn't belong or you didn't deserve recognition, you have it too. This has been one of my biggest struggle on this journey, and I still experience it to this day. One major turning point for me is when I did a workshop, and learned that we should claim our title RIGHT NOW no matter what stage we are in our journey. Heck, if you want to be an author/ illustrator, then call yourself an author/ illustrator! Not aspiring, not future, none of that stuff.. You are putting in the time to learn, you are writing those drafts, you are drawing, you are taking workshops, you are accepting feedback, you ARE an author/ illustrator! Wear it like you own it! (Snap snap!) Well, after I took that workshop, I went on my social media bio and removed the word “aspiring” in front of author… I AM AN AUTHOR! (bangs fist on table)



The Now..


During the months of July-ish to September, I was going through my down moments. Hey, it happens! I was not chosen in the PB Party 2023 Challenge, I submitted multiple queries to agents in the beginning and middle of the year, and received several rejections, I just wasn't feeling good. Every time I feel overwhelmed, I draw. It is so relaxing for me, and I would just tell myself that at least I'm getting some practice. In the midst of this down time, I received the best surprise and acquired an agent in October. I finally found someone who believed in my stories and willing to represent me! I can't even believe where I am at now. I am so ecstatic! Also after my break, I have noticed a drastic improvement on my illustrations! I used to think, “Meh.. They’re alright”, but now I say, “Whoa, did I really draw this?!”






What Now?


Now, new things to learn and new goals to meet. I definitely still need more work on my writing. I recently took my first poetry workshop, which I LOVED! I l cannot believe the way people write and the perspective they take on the world. Something as simple as a leaf being a window to let the rays of sun in.. whoa! I am also updating my portfolio website, so my illustrations show my current skill level. I am writing more manuscripts to add on to my portfolio, lots of ideas! I DEFINITELY want to make a graphic novel one day. So much to do, so little time.. But like I said before, I am just doing little things, something different each day, which will add up into bigger changes, bigger improvements. I can’t imagine where I’ll be 2-3 years from now! I’ve only been on this journey since Oct. 2000.. Wow, so much has changed! I’m excited! 🙂

 





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