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  • Writer's pictureTony Jackson

Keep Calm and Colour In.

Updated: Jan 25

Since it's been a couple of years I thought it was about time I actually updated my blog. The pandemic is all but over. Activists have taken to glueing themselves to walls and roads, smashing petrol pumps and throwing their dinners at works of art. And don't get me started on the UK Government. By the end of this post there may well be a shiny new Prime Minister leading us into oblivion.

Regardless of your views you have to admit, never has it been more apparent that we might be living in Clown World. For a while I was actively trying to share views that I thought people should be aware of, but alas, it was in vain. After all, how could I possibly compete with media and political giants and why should anyone care. Social sites, the internet and the media have invaded our lives to a degree that many are at its mercy. Which is one reason why my presence on social media has largely been scaled back as you may have noticed. No longer am I a slave to political/media messaging or scrolling through feeds for a hit of "feel good" dopamine. I'm busy and i've got more important things to do.

Takes a deep breath...

So now i've got that off my chest it feels like a good time for an update. In my last post I was expressing my interest in pursuing a career Illustration and Concept Art. I'm glad to say there have been some developments. Following my curiosity for the subject I came across some vintage cartooning and illustration courses online and was able to acquire them for myself. They are absolute gold. Most of my time is taken up between work and studying. There is a definite sense of urgency to run off ahead and start making stuff, but I have come to accept that I can not rush the process. It's also important to understand that even though completing these courses is the aim it is not an end to the learning process. The sheer enormity of detail and skill that goes into illustrations was an eye opener and a test of any artists commitment. Revisiting lessons, practicing techniques is key to success.

Studying these courses has not prevented me from pursuing other related interests. In fact it has branched out in different directions. Mainly Illustration, Concept Art and Writing and Film Making.

I now have a better understanding of the differences between Illustration and Concept Art. In general, Illustration is open to expression and used to tell a story, decorate, be informative or put emphasis on and idea over reality. Concept Art should describe how objects, scenes and characters function, look and behave in their environment. However, there is a lot more to it and I continue to harvest information where I can get it. From books, blogs, tutorials and lectures.

Upon learning about narrative art I have become interested in writing. Not only to understand stories and ways to express them visually but also how to write them. Film making also interests me, but to a lesser degree. I'm mainly interested in the visual side as opposed to the entire process. Framing, Storyboarding, Lighting etc.

Early last year I was considering applying to University in Dundee to study a Computer Arts degree. I was researching the idea for weeks and working on a personal statement. After weighing it up I decided against the idea. Computer arts is constantly changing. Teaching myself or working within a company may be a more viable option should I choose to go that route. It wasn't time wasted though as its all relevant and I gathered some interesting info about the industry.

A change of lifestyle.

Juggling multiple interests is extremely overwhelming. It's easy to become disheartened and feel like it's a an impossible mountain to climb and you're not getting anywhere. Even more so in recent times. It's hard to know which direction to take as so much seems to be changing or uncertain. Nevertheless we must all endeavour to persevere.

With these things in mind I have had to make certain changes in my life in order to be more organised. Im no stranger to making sacrifices. (not the life taking kind) Since 2019 I have quit smoking, eat healthy and drink less. My work life balance is much more balanced. I work the same few days every week to make some money and spend the rest of my time studying as much as I can. (Within reason obviously, i'm not a sadist). Making changes is not easy. it's not even obvious what needs changed sometimes, but it's possible with a little patience and readjusting.

Taking on all these courses and interests is where it gets really overwhelming. Without any sort of order or strategy it would just become one big obscure blur of information. A situation like that can leave you disheartened or frustrated in any walk of life.

In terms of art courses I have worked my way through by creating fact sheets. These include practical drawing examples, bullet points of information that I think are most important and any other notes. In general, I created weekly schedule to organise the different subjects. Within these subjects I have elaborated on the tasks that need completing. I've had to make changes here and there and sometimes it doesn't go to plan, but on the whole it seems to be working.

Endeavour to Persevere.

I have scaled back my presence on social media. Its true that I have removed all my personal accounts and only my business accounts affiliated with remain. There are several reasons for this. Social media became a terrible distraction. So often they are filled with adverts, click bait or posts designed to reel you in or influence you politically. I don't know about you but i'm not comfortable endorsing big tech companies that push political agendas. It is not the same as it once was.

I also found that social media wasn't serving me any purpose. Some people ignore you, others just want to be nosey and some are just fake. Some people just want to boast about their holiday or lifestyle for likes and attention. Words are so easily lost in translation, but thats been obvious since the written word. It's all very odd when you think about it.

That being said I can't completely disappear from social media. At least not yet. Though my output on my business pages has also been cut back, its largely due to not having any new content to share. It's also because I am not interested in attention seeking for cheap likes. (no dopamine addicts here) My website has been lying dormant for the best part of two years. Hopefully there will be movement in that area soon...

What do you think about Social Media? If you have any questions regarding this post or anything i've discussed feel free to get in touch. Maybe you're studying and have some ace tips for me. Hell, maybe you're even interested in collaborating. I'm open to ideas and would love to hear from you.

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