Some Days the Raptor Hunts You

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Some days are better than others. Some days you just want to forget. One day you might be on top. The next day you might get torn to shreds. What matters is that you showed up ready for whatever comes instead of staying in bed, because no matter the outcome of the day you're going to learn something and be stronger from it.

When you go out an take action it means you might hit a home run, but you might also strike out. In his historic career as a professional baseball player Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs, but he also struck out 1,330 times. You don't hear about the strike outs very often, at least not as much as you hear about his home run record. Your errors are the same way. They are dwarfed by the impact you create by your action. 

So, yeah, you'll have bad days. Days where you didn't get anything done on your list. Days where you put out fires instead of making meaningful progress on important work. There are days where you get sidetracked, confused, blindsided, or hand tied. 

I love this quote from Emerson:

"Finish every day and be done with it . . . You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. To-morrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

At the end of a bad day ask yourself this: Did I get up today and do my work? Did I dress for the hunt? If the answer is yes, then know you did your best, learn from you mistakes and move forward. Tomorrow is a new day. A perfect day for a hunt. 

Writing this because I needed to hear it today. Thanks for reading.

Jake

Hunt print is available in my shop: LINK

On Being an Independent Illustrator

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I love working as an independent illustrator.

It’s pretty much like being an entrepreneur, except your start up company is your illustration work, and you are the only employee.

  • You set your own schedule.

  • You decide where you want to live.

  • You decide how much vacation time you get to take.

  • You decide what projects you want to work on and what you get to say no to.

  • You decide what people you want to work with.

  • You have to pay entirely for your own health insurance.

  • You bill people, and then are in charge of following up with them.

  • You do all your own promotion.

The more creative, and smart you are in these areas the more successful as an illustrator you will be.

Many illustrators work with reps or agents. These people take 15%-30% of every deal they negotiate for you. But if they are good at their job, you'll make enough money for it to be worth it.

The most successful illustrators I know needed 5-10 years to get their careers going strong enough to start making a comfortable living.

In that time they either relied on their spouses income, they worked a day job while growing their illustration career on nights and weekends (me), or they just lived a bohemian lifestyle with zero dependents.

They needed that time to build their network, master their craft, grow their audience, and wait for everything to click.

Many independent illustrators, myself included, rely on multiple revenue streams to make their living.

So far this year I've gotten an advance payment for a children's book, a couple royalty checks for books I've done in the past, sales from my online shop, sales from online classes I've sold, sales from live workshops I'm doing, money from a convention I attended, money from youtube videos, money from amazon affiliate links, and money from a speaking engagement.

There were a few months there where very little money was coming in, and then in May I made $40K. So you need to be good at managing your money. Don't expect a steady paycheck.

I guess whether or not being an independent illustrator is a good fit for you depends on your personality. If you need financial stability, are risk averse, and not very entrepreneurial minded then I would pursue a career in animation, video games, or entertainment. You'll get a steady paycheck, good health benefits. You just show up, do your work, go to a few meetings, and then you don't have to think about it at all until you arrive to work the next day.

However, if you are constantly coming up with ideas for making money with your art, are willing to bet on yourself, don't like people above you calling the shots for you, and are willing to fall on your face frequently, then there are ways to make an illustration career work for you.

Sometimes I feel like I’m way in over my head and the work load is too much. But each challenge has refined me and made me stronger and better equipped to handle the next project I take on. This wasn't always the job I wanted, nor could do, but I'm very happy where I am right now.


Note:

This post was taken from a response I wrote to an email I received from a student at BYU named Conor Searing. Conor had a bunch of questions about choosing illustration for a career as apposed to entering the animation industry. I answered him privately and with his permission I posted our correspondence here to hopefully help others in the same situation as him. Here’s what he asked:

I was wondering if I could ask you what you do as an illustrator? Has money been a huge stress for you? Do you feel you have enough time to commit to being a good artist as well as spend with your family? If you had any doubts about making a career of illustration how did you over come that?

Thanks for the questions Conor!

Style vs Technology in Feature Animation

Just wanted to note that Sleeping Beauty was released 21 years after Snow White was released.

Sleeping Beauty, 1959

Sleeping Beauty, 1959

Snow White, 1938

Snow White, 1938

Sleeping Beauty, 1959

Sleeping Beauty, 1959

Snow White, 1938

Snow White, 1938

The same amount of time had passed in between Toy Story and Finding Dory:

Finding Dory, 2016

Finding Dory, 2016

Toy Story, 1995

Toy Story, 1995

Finding Dory, 2016

Finding Dory, 2016

Toy Story, 1995

Toy Story, 1995

I’m guessing in the first 20 years of Disney animated films the artists were more concerned with advancing style than they were technology. Once they figured out the techniques of 2D animation, style and artistry became the focus.

In the first 20+ years of CG animation the focus has been technology over artistry. “Look how realistic we can make: plastic/wood, grass, fur, water, lighting, different water, wet fur, clothing, wet clothing, explosions, humans...”

In the last 5 years pretty much every CG technological mountain has been conquered. Right? When the artists no longer have limits to what they can create in CG, they can completely focus on style. Spiderverse is the perfect example:

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018

I think Spiderverse was just scratching the surface of what CG artists can do stylistically and it makes me really excited for the future of CG animation.

-Jake

The gravitational pull of your work

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Currently Reading the War of Art by Steven Pressfield

I always like to have one foot in a book about creativity, or creating, or how to improve your life. I can't read these kinds books for more than a few pages at a time because they give me so much to think about and process. I can't recommend this book enough. I'm about 3/4ths through it and there's so much I can relate to and apply.

One idea he stresses is that of resistance and how real it is. He spends plenty of time defining it, casting all kinds of light on it so that you can identify it easily in your work. But then he goes the next step and shares ways to fight it, to stab a sword into it and kill it dead...for a day. It always comes back the next day.

The latter half of the book is about the muse, and how we can tap into creative energy and use it.

I'll leave you with one thing I've been thinking about a lot: The gravitational pull of your work.

On page 108 Pressfield says, “When we sit down each day to do our work, power concentrates around us.” It costs us energy to produce something, but when you show up to do it (and by that I mean actually putting pen to paper) the gods of creativity lend their hand and help. At the end of the day you have a small mass of creative matter that's managed to hold itself together. The more you work on it, the more creative mass your project builds, until it has enough pull to get you out of bed each morning and suck you into it every day. However, leave it alone for a day, or a week, or a month, and that energy dissipates. It starts to lose mass and as a consequence has less pull. If you let go of an idea it floats away instead of falling towards the center of the mass.

All this to say, get up and do your creative work and be consistent. It's the only way you'll ever finish a thing.

-Jake

Also reading:

Batman: White Knight: What if the Joker was a good guy? Really good story and art. Like REALLY GOOD.
DUNE: To much going on to explain... but I'll try: a inter-galacti-political storyline with giant sand worms. I read the first half last year, but didn't finish before I left Greenport. Picking it up where I left off. 
All-New X-Men Vol 3: The X-Men from the 60s are sent to the future to stop their present day selves from making a mess. I've been reading X-Men off and on since the early 90s and it's a huge convoluted mess, but man I love it.

Why I Make videos

After 5 months, I finally made another YouTube video.

The reason I haven’t put a ton of love into my channel this year is because I’ve been really busy with projects, and at the end of the day I don’t want to be a YouTuber who draws. I’d rather be an artist who makes YouTube videos.

As an independent artist you are always on the look out for ways to make money and support yourself with your art.

The ideal project is something that:

  1. Uses existing artwork that you’ve already created

  2. Puts something cool and/or useful into the world

So, when Rhinoshield contacted me about making phone cases with my artwork it was a no brainer for me.

  1. I get to use art that I’ve already created

  2. They make sturdy, sleek cases that legitimately protect your phone, and look cool. A useful tool for us phone wielding sapiens.

Part of the deal with them was, they would prep my artwork for the phone cases, manufacture the phone cases, run the website, process orders, and package up and ship the phone cases out to people.

In turn, all I would have to do is some social media posts about the cases. They also specifically asked for a Youtube video.

I’m trying to be as transparent as possible with my Youtube channel. I told my audience that I’d never make a video just becasue I needed to upload a video that week in order to stick to some sort of posting schedule. I don’t want to be a part of the problem of time wasting videos on YouTube.

Also, to just make a video that was all about “BUY MY PHONECASES” seemed a little disingenuous and spammy. So,for this video I did something that I rarely do on my channel: I showed step-by-step how I made the art that ended up on one of the cases Rhinoshield is selling.

I usually charge for tutorials like this, but when I’m already getting paid to do a video, I figured I would give away my knowledge for “free.”

-Jake

Click here to check out my RhinoShield Phone Cases


Advice for Recent Graduates...or anyone walking the creative path

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!” - Dr Seuss

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!” - Dr Seuss

In the last few weeks I’ve been visited by a handful of high school kids and college underclassmen asking for advice on what they should do to prepare to get a job in the art world. In response to that, I asked a bunch of my artist friends at Emerald City Comic Con what was once piece of advice they had for someone graduating high school who wants to be an artist for a living. I made a video of their responses.

Lacking from that video was my advice. I have some things to say to people who have chosen to walk the creative path. If that’s you, then settle in. If it’s not you, please share this with a person you know who’s going to art school, or recently graduated. You can read it too, or course. This advice is universal and it just might help you no matter what stage in life you’re at.

A Career in art is possible

By now you’ve probably figured out that it is possible to have a career in art. Some art careers make more money than others. Some are more stable than others. But for anyone who has the skill, the drive to improve, a healthy work ethic, and isn’t afraid of the unknown it’s possible to get to the point where you can support yourself and a family with a career in art.

I want to share with you five things you can do to help you get there. This is stuff I’ve learned over the years that has helped me succeed, and I wish this was advice that was given to me as a high school kid. I remember graduating, having no idea what to do, or where to go, but just knowing that I loved to draw and really wasn't qualified to do anything else. If someone had sat me down and told me these things as a high school kid it would’ve saved me years of spinning my wheels.

1 - Focus on one path.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose. “ - Dolly Parton

You need to be a heat seeking missile focused one thing. A heat seeking missile works by finding a heat target and then ignoring any heat signal that doesn’t come from that target. That’s why heat seeking missiles don’t just fly straight towards the sun when they’re launched.

Picking one thing to do does not mean that’s the thing you’re going to do forever. In fact, it’s very rare to be ONE THING you’re whole life. Steven Pressfield tells us of this truth in his book The War of Art:

“As artists we serve the Muse, and the Muse may have more than one job for us over our lifetime”

That said, you have to start somewhere, knowing how to do something. So pick something and learn what you need to master in order to get a job in that discipline. Learn how other artists got their job. Study the art of people who work where you want to work. That’s the bar that you need to reach. Visit the studios, meet up with the artists, acquaint yourself with recruiters. Do internships. Insert yourself into that ecosystem. Make it so that when you finally apply for that job, it’s a no brainer for whoever is hiring, to hire YOU.

The side benefit to doing this is that whether you want to go into animation, illustration, video games, film, comics, or children’s books the skills you learn to do one of these jobs has applications for other jobs. If you get into it and realize it’s not quite for you, transitioning to another job isn’t going to be an impossible feat.



2 - Learn your craft.

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” -Archilochus

It’ll take you about 4 years to learn the fundamentals of art and a lifetime to master it. So learn how to learn, because the most successful artists I know are continually pushing the limits of their abilities. They understand that the levels that can unfold in art are inexhaustible.

Draw things you’re not comfortable drawing. If you’re bad at drawing people, draw people. If you’re bad at drawing environments, draw environments.

Read books on the subject. There’s an amazing amount of information stored in these relics.

Find a good school that can teach you these fundamentals. You’ll know it’s good if the work coming out of the school is good. If not the school, then find a teacher who knows her stuff. Your focus at school isn’t grades or a degree, it’s skill, portfolio, and friends. Those are the three things that matter and are going to stay with you as you leave the school.

Learn from your peers. It’s not who you know, it’s who you help, so look for ways you can help others succeed, and in return you’ll be made better for it as well.

Find a mentor. A mentor doesn’t have to be someone older than you, just someone more experienced than you. Again, see how you can help them, become a linchpin in their system, so that they need you as much as you need them.

3 - Get a life.

“It’s more important that you go off and learn what to make movies about, than how to make movies.” - Advice given to JJ Abrams from his father.

If the goal of mastering your craft is to be able to show the world your vision, then the goal of every artist is to have a vision that’s worth showing. In order to do that you need to live life and have experiences worth building off of and sharing.

Cut the fat, and live deliberately. Live less online, and more in life. Make friends. Date people. Get married. Go places. Whether it’s exploring the south side of town or the southern hemisphere, there’s something to be gained from every excursion outside of your home.

The purpose of this is to fill your creative bank account with enough creative capital that you can barely contain it.

4 - Do one personal project a year.

“You make your place in the world by making part of it.” - Art & Fear

Take all your pent up creativity and use it by putting out a finished product at least once a year. Something tangible. Something you can point to and say, look, I made this thing.

Pump all your experiences, the craft you’ve attained so far, and your passion into this project.

This is going to give you a benchmark for yourself. This will give you something to aspire to beat with your next project. This will also be a calling card and something that other people can point to and say “look, this person made THIS.”

You only become known for your projects you make, not for the craft you’re privately learning. No one will know the experiences your privately having unless you share them through your projects.

5 - Share your work.

“An artists job is not to be perfect, but to be creating.” - Jeff Goins

The students I’ve talked to are a little afraid to share their amateur work. If that’s how you feel, quit thinking of social media as an art gallery with wall space reserved for your best work. Instead, think of social media as a peek into your studio. Invite them in, give them a glass of water and a comfy chair, and show them what you’ve been working on. No pressure there. Use twitter, facebook, or instagram as a way to document your progress online. Think of it as a public journal of your development as an artist.

Tell people who you are and what you’re about. Tell them what you’re going to be someday, and invite them to watch your journey.

What will happen is your audience will grow as you grow. They will be your online cheerleaders sharing your work with others, and first in line to buy whatever you make.

Lastly, I just want to share this quote from Bob Dylan:

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night, and in between does what he wants to do.”

Remember, life is too short to be stuck doing something you don’t want to do, and it’s also too short to waste time doing something that isn’t working for you. I hope these five things give you a head start down that path of doing what you want to do in life. As the good doctor once said, “Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!”

-Jake


Order a “Your Mountain is Wating” Print here.

Thank You Mom

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She passed away on March 22 and I’ve been thinking about her life a lot. I don’t normally post personal stuff on here, but I just wanted to talk about my mom for a bit.

The reason I decided to pursue art is largely because of her support, encouragement, and example. If you like anything I’ve created, it’s because of her.

The daughter of a cowboy and an elementary school nurse, her father was a gifted woodworker who always had a good clean joke to tell. Her mother was a skilled artist who knew how to get things done. These were traits instilled into my mom’s personality which filtered down to me.

She was an educator who found many ways to help encourage, support, and inspire students from all walks of life. She was also an incredible seamstress. Happy to share her love and talent with anyone, she sewed countless dresses and blankets for friends, family and those in need.

She always made sure there was plenty of paper in the house. Though we didn’t have very much money, one time she bought me a full set of Prisma Color pencils. Every Christmas and birthday she made sure I got some kind of art book or comic collection to inspire me.

She taught me to be kind, to help others, to share my knowledge, and most importantly how not to wet the bed (something my wife is incredibly grateful for).

Thank you mom. Everything good in my life is because of something you did for me, or something you taught me.

Thank you for reading this. I just wanted you to know a little bit about her.

- Jake

I Love Star Wars

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I love Star Wars. Love it. Even the bad stuff.

My unapologetic love and fandom for Star Wars is probably like someone who is a life long Dodgers fan.

As a kid they get taken to the games, they collected baseball cards, they owned a jersey, and are brought up knowing all the players. As adults, regardless of how the Dodgers are doing they still watch the games, they still root for the team, they still want them to win the World Series. 

They also know when the team stinks, but that doesn’t diminish their love for the team...in fact, it might make them defend them and love them even more.

That’s me and Star Wars. Seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater when it came out as a six-year-old made a deep deep impression on me.

It would probably be like taking a kid who was into sports to a professional game and having them high five one of he players as he entered the arena.

I came home and replaced my Batman costume with a black Luke costume (with one black glove), and my RoTJ Luke action figure became a daily carry. A life long Star Wars fan was born.

I’ve never felt franchise fatigue for Star Wars, and I can plainly see that so much of it is designed to make money, but at the heart of it, just like in Major League Baseball, there’s people who are making it not just to collect a check, but for the love of the game.

That love still shines through in a well acted character, a really thoughtful piece of concept art, and an exhilaratingly creative scene. 

Which is why I love this brilliant, flawed, beautiful, stupid, but most of all FUN galaxy far, far away.

Tabling at ECCC: What would you do?

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For the last 10 years I’ve ran a table at at least one comic con show a year. The most I did in one year was around 2016 when I did 6 or 7 shows. However, I’ve been seeing a steady decline in the amount of money I’ve been making at these shows and I think it’s time for me to push pause on cons for the foreseeable future.

Here’s why I do comic cons:

  • I love meeting the people who support my work

  • I love making friends and strengthening old friendships in the comic industry

  • I like getting out of my studio and seeing new places ( also like the long road trips to clear my head)

  • I always come away from the shows wanting to do better and be better in my career. I get ideas from other professionals and fans about how to improve my work and business

  • Its a way to supplement my income

EMERALD CITY COMIC CON NUMBERS

By far the best show I do every year is Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. All my other shows gross roughly $4,000 to $6,000, but Seattle is always a good $2,000 more than that. I’m going to talk about Emerald City because I’ve decided that if I do any show from here on out it’ll be that one since it’s my biggest money maker.

In 2015, the first year I did the show, I grossed $9,053. My expenses for a show are between $1000 and $2000 depending on the amount of tables I get and what my hotel situation is. I walked away from ECCC 2015 with about $7,500 in my pocket. Not bad!

BUT, Here’s how it’s broken down since 2015:

2015: $9,053

2016: $8,745

2017: Took a year off

2018: $6,283

2019: $5,743

That’s a pretty steep decline. This year my best seller was by far my new SkyHeart book. I sold over 60 copies of it! However, this last year I sold less prints (for less money), less books overall, and I only did 2 commissions instead of my usual 9 or 10.

REASONS FOR THE DECLINE

Here’s some of the reasons I think there’s been a decline:

1) I don’t sell BIG Marvel Fan Art prints any more. They were 13 x 19 and sold for $30 a pop. (I don’t sell them any more for a few reasons which I’ll get into on another post) Also, the prints I did sell at this show are half the size of what I used to sell and go for $20. I made them for a smaller show and I’m just clearing them out. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

2) It’s been a few years since I’ve done any comic work for Marvel, and I didn’t bring any original comic art with me.

3) After FOUR Drawings books I think people might have all the Drawings books they need. Sales of those have definitely slowed down. (Maybe I should do Drawings 5?)

4) In 2018 and 2019 I moved my location to the Sky Bridge. Emerald City is set up with two main halls connected by a narrow glass atrium that looks over one of the main streets in downtown Seattle. It’s called the Sky Bridge and it has a lot of traffic, but it’s not direct traffic. It’s mostly people just passing through to get to the other side of the con. The first two years I was in the Artist Alley and I think the people who cruise Artist Alley are more likely to be there deliberately and are looking for specific things to spend money on.

I can fix most of these problems to maybe squeeze out a few more dollars from a show, but is it worth it?

But here’s some other theories of mine that I don’t think are fixable:

1) People are just suffering from con-fatigue and not spending as much money.

2) Cons growing in the amount of artists that are showing and the attendees spending the same amount of money, but distributing it to more people. (it looked like ECCC Artist Alley was BIGGER than it’s ever been this year)

3) I’ve tapped my full audience at comic cons. It’s entirely possible that everyone who is a fan of Jake Parker in the Seattle area already has everything they want from me. There were lots of people who came by just to say hi, which is super nice, but they didn’t buy anything.

REASONS TO QUIT

There’s a handful of reasons I do not like doing cons. They are an incredible time and energy suck. There’s the days leading up to the con that you’re getting everything ready. There’s the travel to and from. There’s the con itself which can be brutally noisy and socially draining. And then there’s picking up the pieces of your life when you get home. I usually have to spend a day doing all the house chores and errands I didn’t do while I was gone.

When I look at the reasons I like going to cons I wonder if actually tabling at a con is the best way to address those needs. It seems like the amount of time, effort, and creative energy that goes into setting up a table for a weekend at a convention could be better spent on deeper pursuits. A monthly google hang out could be a better way to meet fans in a more personal way. There could be a better way to maintain friendships in the industry via phone calls, texts, and skype hangouts. I could make a trip to another city where 100% of my time is spent exploring and experience everything that city has to offer and not have to spend 10 hours a day at that city’s convention. I could also spend money on specifically focused professional development courses/seminars and probably get more ideas and inspiration than what I would get from a convention. There a lot of better ways to make a few thousand dollars in a week where I still get to sleep in my own bed.

In short, maybe the money I make at a con isn’t worth it.

QUESTIONS

My questions I’m trying to answer right now:

Should I fix what I can and go one more time and see if the numbers rally?

Should I stop for a year?

Should I bid ECCC adieu?

What would you do?

BELOW: A sample of what I had at my table this year:



To Art Students in Puerto Rico

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I met Samuel at the CTN Animation Expo last year. He’s an animation student from Puerto Rico. Last summer Puerto Rico was hit by a massive hurricane that destroyed a lot of the infrastructure of the country and, by extension, the infrastructure of the art school Samuel attends.

I’m trying to imagine the full extent of the damage this caused. Two months after the hurricane Samuel told me that there was still no power. A trip to the school that took 45 minutes took 2 hours. Instead of washing clothes in a washing machine, clothes are washed in the river.

I’m trying to imagine finishing school under these circumstances.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of news cycles, the situation in Puerto Rico has largely gone forgotten by the world. There are problems that can’t be fixed in six months and the effects of this hurricane will be felt for years to come. This leaves the people left cleaning up the mess to feel even more isolated and marginalized.

At CTN Samuel asked me if I had any words I could send along to his fellow classmates. Anything positive that might inspire them to keep going.

At Samuel’s request I’ve written this letter to offer a message of hope in the face of such hardship:

To the art students of Puerto Rico let me first say I’ve never had to face mountains like yours, but I’ve had my own mountains that have tested me. In those times I’ve had to remind myself this:

You need to create.

Your community needs you to create.

The world needs you to create.
 

There’s a reason you chose art as a career path. It is in your nature to create and share. That’s because you have stories, images, characters, and experiences inside of you that need to get out. Leaving those things to wither and die inside of you is not an option. The act of creation is also an act of healing. It requires your mind, your emotion, and your body to make something. Engaging all of those at once provides an outlet for your frustrations, but also elevates you out of your situation for a moment, and shows how things can be. For your own well being you need to create.

As your country rebuilds it needs healthy communities who live and work together peacefully. Your art can be a part of this by showing your community an ideal by which it can strive for. Your art can be the language in which your community uses to understand each other. As your community comes together there are experiences it might not necessarily fully understand or know how to express. You art can help share thoughts, ideas and a vision of your community that may not be able to be articulated any other way. In order to thrive your community needs you to create.

Lastly, artists are on the frontline of culture. They give us tools to understand our past, what we are dealing with now, and most importantly how things can be. Throughout history the world has been changed forever by small groups of artists who dared to create in the face of uncertainty and instability.

Think of Picasso’s Guernica which brought the horrors of the Spanish Civil War to the attention of the world. Or the impressionists which showed us that art shouldn’t just be a representation of what we see, but also of what we feel. Or Disney’s Snow White which showed that animation wasn’t just for gags and laughs, but could be used to tell meaningful, emotionally impactful stories. Your art could be just as provocative. What you create in this situation could just be what the world needs to see right now. The world needs you to create.

Now, telling someone to create, and actually creating are two different things. I understand that making a work of art falls to the bottom of the list of priorities when most of your energy is finding a way to feed yourself that day. Don’t let that stop you from doing these two small things:

  1. Make something every day.

  2. Be 1% better than you were yesterday.

It might be one drawing on one page in your sketchbook. Or a scribble on a napkin. Or a journal entry. Or a quick sketch you made on the bus. Whatever it is, make/draw/write something every day.

It might be that today you spent one more minute creating than you did yesterday. Or you started a second drawing and the day before you only did one. It might be that instead of having a moment of feeling sorry for yourself you took one moment to feel gratitude toward some thing. Whatever you’re doing, try to just be one percent better today than you were yesterday.

Both of these compound. They are small, but after weeks and months of doing these seemingly insignificant things you will see change happen. Something bigger will start to come from your small, consistent acts of creativity and self improvement.

First you will see change in yourself.

Then you’ll see it in others around you.

One day the effect will be noticeable in your community.

In time, it will be felt around the world.

And that’s something you, your community, and the world need right now.

-Jake

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