InkTober 2018 Challenge

InkTober 2018 Challenge

Thoughts on InkTober 2018

InkTober is a really interesting creative challenge. Participating for the first time this year, I was pleased to get as far as day 20 before dropping out.

I enjoyed the challenge for several reasons: how to interpret the word prompt and making time to complete a response piece.

I alternated in my approach to the word prompt by examining it through various lenses: from the perspective of Sass and the characters of that comic, from my own perspective and from the perspective of brainstorming story ideas, such as with my response to day 8, Star: “Sea of Stars”.

As for finding the time to complete a response piece: it became impossibly difficult. My main work, the coding of the Secret Project and the animation pieces for that grew increasingly demanding. As such, I ended up ending the InkTober challenge early.

My key takeaway lessons have been: a stronger sense of “good enough”, when to call it a day on a piece and better time management as each piece had a shorter and shorter amount of time to complete. Before prioritisation took it out of the picture completely.

I don’t think I have made a massive improvement in my art techniques, but I did surprise myself as I usually work digitally. Drawing on paper was a lot easier than I remembered it being…!

Maybe I will see more improvement next year. 🙂

Parkinson’s Law: Deadline Reassurance

Parkinson’s Law: Deadline Reassurance

Good Morning!

I hope you have had a marvellous weekend. I had planned on doing even more work, but I had such an eye twitch I had to do what I could offline instead:

  • caught up on my InkTober drawings (before promptly falling behind again)
  • made some notes on the soundtrack I wanted for my upcoming animated film
  • thought strategically about what I may need to outsource in the near future
  • went over the storyboards again
  • And did some general worrying

I was worried about my deadlines: where they too unrealistic? What if I add on another week to the deadline? Plus, working offline was a nice change of pace which I enjoyed. But could I afford the “break”?

Perhaps this was why the habitgrowth.com post on the Parkinson’s Law supported by the Pomodoro technique resonated with me so much when I was scrolling through Twitter last night.

…Although, the Pomodoro technique is 25-minute sprints followed by a break, and mine has been more like 25 days sprints and then a “break”.

Parkinson’s Law: Deadlines and the Elasticity of Work

Parkinson’s Law states that:

work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

If you say that something will take a week, even if it can be done in a day, it will take a week to complete.

Originally, this law was used to describe the growth of democracy within an organisation. However, it can be applied to a lot more than that.

Growth and work, for example, are not as intricately intertwined as one might think.

For example: Getting a lot of “busy” work done will probably not grow your business.

The focus for boosting your growth and productivity here is to instead of being task orientated, you should instead look to be time lead.

As Horstman’s corollary to Parkinson’s Law states:

Work contracts to fit in the time we give it

So in order to get something done in the most timely and focused manner, you absolutely should consider bringing the deadline forward.

For your tasks this week: write them down, give them an allotted time of what you think they should roughly take, and then immediately cut that time frame in half.

Reduce the time allowed by 50%.

HOWEVER.

While it is possible to, let’s use HabitGrowth.com’s example, reduce the time of writing 10 blog posts from a month to 2 weeks, 50 is very much unrealistic. (Unless they are short and largely consisting of photos, quotes etc.)

I think, I will leave my current schedule alone, as it is already absurdly ambitious.

My To-Do List this Week

In no particular order:

  • Continue the InkTober 2018 challenge
  • Finish the rough keys for the animated film
  • Get a colour palette for the film
  • Code checking and tweaking for the Secret Project
  • Don’t panic
  • Have fun with it 🙂

 

Summary:

I really recommend you read HabitGrowth.com’s post on Parkinson’s Law. I have heard and read about it before, but sometimes it’s good to read it again. It’s a well-written article; somehow, it has helped me to not panic about the state of my deadlines. As such, I have greater confidence that I can get everything that I need to do, done.

 

Secret Project Update #01

Secret Project Update #01

Well, hullo there!

It is more or less the middle of October, and I have made soooo much progress in the Secret Project than the last time I posted here. If you were allowed behind the scenes, you too would be amazed! 🙂

but I’m too shy and nervous to share too much here. I have this notion that if I say anything, the bubble will pop, and I’ll wake up from this dream – and be back to square one!

So here is a quick rundown of what I have been doing. I’ll make this so super quick as I want to get back to work to work – it’s 5:30pm GMT and I wanna get back to work before 6pm if at all possible.

So, so, so. What is the Secret Project again? What am I allowed to tell you..? Oh yes, you know it’s to do with animation and there is perhaps coding involved. (There is definitely coding involved… and a lot of it!)

I’m sorry if I have been excessively secretive: I am just one of those people who feels that the “answer” is so obvious about what I’m up to that if I say one more word, you’ll figure it out! And then it won’t be a secret anymore, will it?

What I am developing is a very custom site wherein I can post animations. And with Christmas coming up, I thought I’d make a Christmas film…I just hope I get it done in time! Again, I am running into the issue of adding too many parts to the story and it keeps getting longer.

Ha, ha, ha. I was warned about doing that at the university course I attended. But there is no-one to stop me here. Except, maybe myself. But I am just so excited to make this, that I can’t help but add this element, and that camera angle, and so on…!

It’s going to be breathtaking…either in a good way or a bad and messy way. In the end, at least it will be done and I can get on with the next bit!

I don’t have any nice visuals to show you, which makes me sad. I want to keep you up to date with it, so I will probably have something nice for you to look at this weekend. But I’m not making any promises!

Until then, it’s 5:56pm time for me to get back to work. 🙂

P.S. I am participating in InkTober. You can follow my Instagram to get updated on that or stay tuned, as I will be posting a gallery of all the pictures together at the end of the month.

Sass Character Sketch  #01 Josephine and Le Roy

Sass Character Sketch #01 Josephine and Le Roy

Josephine and Le Roy Sketch #01

Before I dug into the Secret Project in earnest today, I thought I should do a brief watercolour piece. I needed the practice, but didn’t really have any idea what to draw. Still, I collected the materials: paints, water.

Just needed some paper. Snuggled in my work bag beside my sketchbook was my notebook for my comic work.

As such, I decided I should do something in relation to my now much neglected comic characters.

Subject decided, I submerged into the process.

Evidently, there is considerably more practice required. I need to get used to drawing the characters again…!

It was fun to draw them again. Here, Josephine is bartering for another chance (to misbehave) with her chief babysitter, Le Roy.

The paper wasn’t coping too well with the medium, thus keeping it simple was mandatory. As such, I attempted a blue background wash, which didn’t go overly well.

Regardless, the minimal rendering kept it as a sketch, which was all that I wanted for this piece anyway.

 

3 Simple Steps to Break A Negative Thoughts Cycle

3 Simple Steps to Break A Negative Thoughts Cycle

“I am such a bad person”. “I can’t do this, I am not strong or smart enough.” Have you been letting destructive thoughts take the lead recently? Here are 3 simple steps to break the negative thought cycle from having a picnic festival in your head.

If you get into negative thoughts very easily, your brain has developed it into a habit. So the solution is actually quite similar to correcting a physical (bad) habit – which may help you in your pursuit of a better state of mind.

I have written on such topics before, and mention other useful resources throughout this post, so do look them out if you need further assistance.

You will need:

Affirmations

I AM. The I AM principle of affirmations can be very powerful in correcting negative thoughts as they amalgamate in your mind.

Take the direct opposite of what you are thinking about yourself, how you handled a situation, or how others think of you and place I AM in front of it.

Example:

From: “I am not smart enough”

To: “I AM smart enough.”

Pro tip: repeat the positive thought out loud 2-3 times for maximum reinforcement.

Postive thoughts = more solution-based thinking, better overall health and internal tranquillity. Excellent.

Further (easy) reading on Affirmations from Psychology Today.

Positively Productive Habits

Harmful habits tend to develop as a coping mechanism when you are feeling down.

If you’ve got self-destructive habits that need correcting, such as overeating/emotional eating, you’re going to have something else that you’d rather do instead to replace it.

Let me reinforce that: something else that you WANT to do, instead of the habit that’s bringing you down.

Perhaps putting money into a holiday fund, or going for a walk, a drive. Find something small that brings you joy and is good for your wellbeing. Let that be your new habit, your reward.

So, can forego your reflexive consolation habit stemming from your thought patterns. Instead, you’ll be reinforcing the positive with something positive, compounding the effect.

Once you have that, you can break it down into an actionable plan. If you need some guidance on this, take a quick look at these articles on setting new, actionable goals and habit changing.

Ready? Now, in 1, 2, 3 – here is how to break the negative and insert the good.

  1. Interrupt
  2. This step was inspired by Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule. It’s an efficient way to interrupt your thoughts every time: count backwards from 5 to interrupt and create a break in the thought pattern.

    Doing so gives you a window to act in a way that is contrary to what’s “usual”, such as spiralling into negative thoughts.

  3. Affirmative Action
  4. Once you have interrupted, immediately do the positive action.

    Tell yourself in no uncertain terms:

    “No, that is not true.”

    Speak aloud your affirmations.

    Take out a notebook if you’d rather not speak aloud. Write your affirmations down several times within, slowly.

  5. Meditate
  6. Reflect on the affirmative action. Notice it helping to reshape your mood, your thoughts.

    Now, rather than your bad habit that was making your negative thoughts a more or less self-fulfilling prophecy, you can reward yourself with the new habit you have already prepared.

    Well done!

Sunday Letters: Exciting Announcement! Rebrand is on the Way!

Sunday Letters: Exciting Announcement! Rebrand is on the Way!

Exciting announcement! A rebrand is on the way for this blog and with it will come more frequent updates in terms of art, Sass webcomic, and the “secret project”.

I have been really working hard on the main “secret project” these past few months and, unfortunately, this has caused the blog and all the other projects (webcomic Sass, products, art pieces, programmes, workbooks, freebies) and posts that I had been sharing with you to fall by the wayside.

Sorry.

THANKFULLY, while working through my new branding books by Fiona Humberstone, I decided to take a practice run on “branding” with this blog. Then I’ll dive in with the “secret project” afterwards.

What I discovered in defining what the grit of my blog was: what I thought was the mainstay of this blog, wasn’t the mainstay at all.

I had thought that this was primarily a productivity blog. Where I discussed creative techniques and workflow tips only on the side. With my comic work and other creative endeavours serving as an example of the “productivity” working.

What I found was instead much simpler. And much more enticing.

This blog is supposed to be my main creative hub, wherein:

  • I share my creative works
  • discuss all things about my creative ventures
  • share business tips and useful information for other creative solopreneurs
  • I post my comic updates FIRST before adding elsewhere
  • give sneak peaks and behind the scenes of what’s up on all the projects
  • with a side of “productivity” and all the other useful things I’m into

I am going to continue working on the rebrand as well as the brand of the “secret project” this week.

This may include a redesign of the blog, so say a sweet farewell to it – whether this week or not, it will be going sooner rather than later!

I will be sharing more information on all of the bits and pieces as the week progresses and I have more tangible updates. Now that I am getting some clarity on what I should be doing I should have an easier time explaining -and showing – what’s up!

Hopefully, I will have a lot of these bits tied up by the end of the week.

I plan to keep you in the loop more, especially now that I am discovering what this blog is actually about!

Thank you for bearing with me.

P.S. If this post felt a bit scattered, please excuse that. It’s late, I need to be up early tomorrow to leave my brother to the airport, but I was just too excited to wait until tomorrow evening before sharing this news with you.

Cheers! x

Sunday Letters: Balance Multiple Ambitions

Sunday Letters: Balance Multiple Ambitions

It is no mean feat to balance multiple ambitions at once. It is something which I am currently striving for myself, and a lot of the posts you will find here discuss some of the methods I am currently using to get things done.

And done well.

You can read some of these things here (in no particular order):

It is a messy learning process, certainly. Rather than focusing on one thing, I am the type to put on several (very) different dishes on the stove and cook all of them at once. (And some of them even turn out edible.)

That’s just the sort of person I am. I love the challenge, the complexity.

And, I sort of believe I need the distraction. Else I will end up sabotaging my own work irreparably under the intense focus on learning, boundary-pushing, and creative experiment.

But perhaps, that therein shows that I am missing the point. Surely, the whole point is to be hyper-focused on your craft, push boundaries and discover and invent new possibilities under the spell of curiosity and drive for more?

As such, I am going to again minimise my “distractions” – the wild assortment of projects I enjoy working on simultaneously – this coming week.

I had been learning about branding, having come to the conclusion that the branding for this blog is a bit… scattered, feeling.

I would like to complete just something, soon. I enjoy the feeling of completing something, the satisfaction, no matter how unperfect it may be.

So, if I am to complete something, let it be the main project.

Let me apply my new knowledge to the freelance work as well as the odd and secretive “other project” I may have mentioned here or there in the blog and elsewhere.

I look forward to being a bit more guilt-free working creatively and on my blog when the odd and secretive “other project” is completed.

I have so many blog posts planned. I look forward to fleshing them out and sharing them with you, with the new branding in place.

Hopefully, it will look nice and read well. Perhaps it will even be useful to you? That would be nice, I should think.

A life, no matter how seemingly plain or unexciting, is truly exceptionally interesting.

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Sunday Letters: Model Success or No?

Sunday Letters: Model Success or No?

It’s a regular Sunday today. Grey skies blanket the world below. Brief bursts of April showers fall now and again, but never enough to soak the ground.

Gentle lofi plays while I sip my americano – a jazz and hip-hop mix.

To “Model Success” or No?

This week I have been doing a lot of thinking. About what it means to “model success”.

Don’t do something new! One, then many sources seemed to shout at me over the internet airwaves recently. Copy what has already been done and proven to work.

Well. That sounds all right and dandy. But, see the thing is, I’d really rather not.

Honestly, I have always been a “rebel”. Or more accurately – I’d rather do my own thing.

This formula – to model, to copy. To define your brand from the very beginning, and then to only do what is “on brand”. Then do X, Y and Z… but not necessarily in that order.

All these directions on what it is to “find success”.

But then are you truly growing your own unique business (and) creator’s voice?

I recall the story of how some young entrepreneurs leased a store. (Where this was or what kind of store I can’t quite recall.)

There were no “rules” that said they couldn’t make it into both an independent music venue as well as a shop.

It was possible: they checked the lease agreement and so on. But it was new – it hadn’t been tried and tested; there wasn’t really a “model” to copy.

As the town was in the middle of a long stretch between two main stops for a lot of tours, they hoped to bring in artists who would be passing by anyway. And then they would have to go all the way to either A or B to see a particular artist. They’d come to them.

It was an ambitious ask.

They could have “modelled” success and made a specific venue for concerts, but they did it in their own unique way.

And it turned out to be incredibly successful.

My Conclusion…

Sure, there is nothing wrong with “modelling success” if that suits your business and where you want to go.

Nor, indeed, defining your brand. Have a direction sure, but let it grow organically – even just a little. Don’t second guess every decision’s brand worthiness (or you’ll get nothing done!).

But if a business model doesn’t yet exist, or has yet to be tried and tested, don’t stop yourself from doing so. Don’t be afraid to push the boat out. Even for experimenting with the “tried and true” routes.

If you have the vision, curiosity and can-do attitude for it: do it.

Bringing your own original spark to your business. It’s an adventure, there is no right way.

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