Patreon Blog

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to use Patreon as my blog now. There are a lot of behind the scenes things that, although I’d like to share, I don’t want to be public, if you know what I mean?
Blogging and website presense is really all about presenting a coherent image, and I don’t think I can do that whilst showing the eratic nature of my process. So I’m streamlining. Polish for the store front, and patreon for the workshop.

Not all blogging posts will require sponsorship; I don’t want to disappear completely, and I don’t want to turn into one massive advert the whole time, but this will help me know how to present myself. So. Patreon it is.

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2018 – New Website, New Products!

Hello! Sorry for my absence here but I’ve been working and peddling furiously behind the scenes to get my new website and product-line up and running. Yes! Another site! But this one is fancy pants and grown up: Green Man Art.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be popping by here, and over at my Patreon Page, and then there’s Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest, oh my!

So what is this new website and product thing all about? Well….

I’m getting all my products under one roof. I’ll keep with etsy for a while to lure people over, but I want all my things where I can see them. It’s less complicated (to me) that way.

Also, as well as Behind the Scenes peeks etc on my Patreon Page, and round ups of what I’m getting up to at this space, I’m integrating a crafty blog within the new website – it won’t be as personal, but I hope to keep adding to it and build a nice little resource up there.

But right now I’m all excited about my new CRAFT BOX range – seasonal craft boxes that will include two crafts tutorials, the things to make them, an art zine, art prints, free download art codes, and treats and goodies in one letterbox-friendly box delivered to your door – with FREE shipping for U.K. residents! All that goodness straight to your door! Subscriptions will open a month before they start shipping (the Spring Craft Box is open now, will begin shipping 1st March) but boxes are LIMITED, and once they’re gone they’re gone. There will be no re-issues.

So PLEASE go take a look at my fancy pants new website, and PLEASE tell everyone you know too – and if you’d like to sign up to a craft box subscription then we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other!

To 2018

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It’s usual at this time of year for a bit of reflection on the year that was. To be honest, I don’t really want to do that, but I think it will help focus on the coming year.

This time last year some heavy truths hit home and it was clear that the family and life I had envisaged was no longer a reality, nor had it ever been, nor would it ever be. I had been fooling myself for well over a decade in the hope that I could make the pieces of my life fit the jigsaw picture on the box. Unfortunately it was someone else’s box. When I saw the picture of my actual jigsaw I knew it was time for change.

Since my children were born I have home-schooled them. I’m not sure I’ve done a very good job, but they have had room to play and explore, and a closeness to family that is rare these days. I hope that counts for something in the scheme of things. It has meant that working outside the home took a back seat, and I have made pennies by working from home in several guises over the years – from selling hand made items, establishing and publishing a magazine, and now art.

In reality I’ve been solo parenting all my children’s lives.

For many years I’ve lived with the feeling of anxiety and worry over money, my children’s futures, and a constant physical ache of feeling utterly buckled. Sometimes this would spill over into actual depressive episodes where I would then spiral into being even less useful than I was already. Doing everything spreads you thin, and when there’s no help from anybody ever you get used to putting yourself last. You get used to never asking for help.

But what’s worse than that is living with lame hope it will ever change.

Last year, on Solstice eve, that final snap saw me adrift with both paddles for the very first time. For the first time ever the boat was all mine, I was looking for shore, unconcerned with what had passed, and zero shits were given about anyone else apart from the two reasons I get out of bed in the morning – my children. I was unencumbered, unconcerned, willing to depart from the course set by others, welcome of the challenge and glad to be free. I didn’t just burn bridges, I razed them and the surrounding territory to the ground.

It is worth noting that I have not had a depressive episode since. Perhaps it is true that ‘before you diagnose yourself with depression that you first make sure you are not surrounded by assholes’.

It was then that I got serious about making my art work for me; if you believe in second chances then why go for second best? I’ve had office jobs and teaching jobs, and pin money jobs; what I wanted now was to be able to do the work I’d always wanted – I knew that I wanted to be an Illustrator (and get paid for it).

Setting the ship on a new course my art work has been stepped up this year; I see it as work and not a game. I no longer listen to the snide ‘frenemies’ who say things like, ‘Oh I wish I could draw all day too’, (but I don’t – I’m still homeschooling and mothering 24/7 and my art is additional to that). I no longer doubt myself.

On a whim I applied to the local college to enrol in an Art A-level course. At the interview I was accepted instead to the pre-university Foundation Course and told to start applying to universities straight away. The ship was setting sail.

This coming year my children will be readying themselves for school, and I will be readying myself for college and hopefully university thereafter. I will have to take so many loans that I’ll have to live a week past my death just to pay them off. There are going to be so many ducks to line up that it will look a fairground stall here. During all the plotting and planning, it never occurred to me to ask for help – firstly, because I’m used to doing everything all the time, and secondly, because I hate the feeling of begging – the feeling of being in debt to someone else’s kindness or patronage.

But pride doesn’t pay the bills, and British Gas do not take goodwill to all men as payment. So after much squirming I opened my Patron Page. And to my utter amazement I got patrons!

At first I felt like paying them back and closing the page. I’m not worthy of your support. I am a fraud. I should be able to do it all and not bother anyone. But the extra income did make a difference. For the first time since records began I felt my shoulders ease up about money; not because I was making enough to live on, but because I knew there were people out there who supported me. It let me plan ahead, buy a few art supplies that I would not have bought, and be able to think that maybe I could be a real live illustrator one day.

This coming year will see me prepare a portfolio, hopefully line those ducks up, and get into college to hit the ground running of making this dream a reality.

But this year will also see me work harder on my store than ever before. I have many ideas – many things that I can’t wait to share with you – that I am working on right now. My house will probably look more like a warehouse than a home. I have no idea if they will work, but I have no option but to try. I will be opening a new website (with integrated cart rather than rely on Etsy) – only made possible due to my Patrons support – business websites cost a lot to run, and my Patreon contributions have meant I can step up my web presence and also have money for food this week. If you are one of my Patrons, I cannot thank you enough.

And so in 2018 there really is change in the air, a definite new direction, but instead of doing it all I’m also asking for help a lot more. If you have a spare £1/$1 it would make a huge difference to my, and my children’s, life to have your support as a Patron. It may not seem like it could help, but you have no idea how it really does. And I know times are difficult, oh my God how I know that, which is why I appreciate the support I get so much more.

If you would like to support me this year on this new adventure then please consider signing up to my Patron Page by clicking HERE. You will get to see behind the scenes, into my sketchbooks, works in progress, earlybird offers and money off vouchers, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

I’ve been walking this path silently solo for so long that it feels good to feel the support of people who have no ulterior motive other than to see me fly. It’s humbling in every way.

So here’s to 2018! I hope and pray that it will be a good year for you and your loved ones. Onwards and, hopefully, upwards!

Organised Studio, Organised Mind!

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I’ve had these Ikea drawers for years; last week I added some brass handles (which I’ve also had for years off a seller from Etsy I think) by using superglue, and added labels. I can’t tell you what a difference this has made – not in a big way, but in terms of decluttering my mind.

I love everything having a place; I seem to work better when there is a clear desk and a tidy space. Being surrounded by nick-nacks and whatnots just doesn’t inspire me; it wears me down (the introvert in me is strong), and I seem to get more energy with minimal, organised things.

How do you work? Clutter-free or surrounded by whatnots?

Winding Down for the Year

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I’ve closed the shop for the year; most Christmas things sold, for which I am grateful. Right now I am working on things for next year, and when I have further news I will be letting my Patrons know.

I’m still figuring out how much to share, and where. I don’t want to go silent here or on social media, but I do need to keep things back until the time is right. But you can see some more shots of what I’m working on at Patreon.

For now I will work when the light is good and chip away until there is something to show!

Making It Happen

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I have a great deal of difficulty compartmentalising my time. It annoys me no end when men get praised as geniuses whilst all they’ve had to do is ONE THING all day long. I mean, which idiot couldn’t do that?

My time, like yours I bet, is broken up between mama and worker – home bird and work lady – parent and student. I find it hard to get traction on anything, because I need to swap around as soon as I’m started. Homeschooling kids, cooking and cleaning, trying to work and make a portfolio – it seems as soon as I’m on one track I’m being pulled on another. The only time I get anywhere is if I let one area slide – usually my stuff.

When I’m on an art roll make no mistake the house looks and smells like a byre. I day dream of being able to afford maids – or even live with people capable of picking their own crap up – of course I can’t afford a maid, and slavery is illegal, so what I really need is a wife.

I’m either in one zone or another and flipping the switch is really hard for me.

Anyone out there with any tips on making it all happen??? No ‘get your husband to help’ BS, because I’m on my own ALL THE TIME.

Totally frazzled brain now needs to iron and hoover….

Where to begin…

If you follow me on Instagram or my Patreon page you will know that my recent online silence was born out of difficulty; my laptop died in spectacular, unfixable fashion (even though I bought a new hard drive to boot). Like I joke to people, I’m saving up to be poor (you too? Tell me about it!) and buying a new one was like planning a mission to Mars. Add to that everything I have is broken and in need of repair, a living metaphor in so many ways; my car has been off road since June; my freezer fluctuates between FREEZE ALL THE THINGS INTO A MONOLITHIC BLOCK or let’s just chill out; my fridge, which was second hand 16 years ago, needs replacing; I have bills to pay, kids to feed, kids to educate, my own cup to fill and a house that looks like someone committed aggravated burglary.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, firstly because it’s all true, and secondly, internet world can sometimes make the grass look a lot greener. Maybe if we all told the truth we’d all be happier with our lot?

So, yes, like you, I struggle. My home is small, rented and crumbling; I have rats in the garden and outside room; I have simple dreams that will never come true, and I’ve spent the last 17 years lying to myself that things will be OK, and those dreams might happen.

But if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

My simple dream was to be able to work enough from home to be able to continue to homeschool my children. I have turned myself inside out to make that a reality for as long as possible, but this year saw a lot of letting go. My children are getting older (and so am I!) and our needs are different now. Add to that I cannot make a living doing what I love from home. It’s a hard hustle.

So, I’ve shaken things up, let things go, popped some bubbles and buried some dreams. And that’s OK, because new ones have taken their place.

To raise money for a new laptop (my priority given that I can’t run a business without one) I stripped my house for anything of worth to eBay – mostly yarn and fabric, but also my spinning wheel and serger. Couldn’t quite manage to sell the sewing machine, but I will if I have to. My wardrobe was ransacked. My bookshelf obliterated. It’s looking a lot more streamlined here, and after a twinge of sadness, I love it. I got a new Patron (thank you!) and a couple people even gifted me money towards my laptop fund! And as this was happening, on the spur of the moment, I applied to go back to college to do an art A level, got an interview and was accepted onto the Foundation Diploma course instead, and am now booking open days to university! I put one foot in front of the other and see where I end up. My children will have to be schooled and I’m in the process of appealing a place for the youngest.

And just like that, one door shuts and another one opens. New compromises are made to substitute for older ones which weren’t working. For the first time since forever ago I am looking forward to something – a dream which is hopefully within reach this time – to get to university to become an Illustrator. A proper one.

I will continue to run my online business, Patreon page and blog, but now it’s with the purpose of supporting me and my children as I put myself through art school. Once major ducks line up. If ever.

Thank you for your support. I hope you’ll continue following me on my journey through art. I appreciate you so very much.

Behind the Scenes

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The second ‘Behind the Scenes’ post is up over on my Patreon site – click here – there is a flurry of making happening in chez Green Man Art – it includes glitter!

As well as $1 option for a newsletter every two weeks (and Behind the Scenes), there is also the option to watch me draw, and be the first to have access to new products before I launch to the public. If that interests you then hop on over to my Patreon Page and subscribe!.

And thank you to those who have – you have no idea how much it means to have support. Just even knowing people like what I do sometimes is the wind beneath my wings to carry on.

Have a great weekend folks!