What I personally took away from the Illustrator Intensive in L.A.

Last week I posted some highlights from the amazing Illustrator Intensive at the 2011 SCBWI Conference in L.A. It's been a few weeks since the Intensive -- a good amount of time to offer a small bit of perspective on what I took away from the day, personally. SO...today I’m getting a bit more personal and reflecting on...

5-minute drawing.
Things I took away from the Illustrator Intensive in L.A. regarding my own work and art:

-WOW! (Did I say this already?)

-A feeling of needing to stay true to who I am, individually, as my own artist self. Insecurities are part of what make every artist grow, but so too are my own individual approaches to how I work. I feel proud and psyched for how I work and for my work in general; and I want to take better ownership in my individuality, while also always aiming towards growth and improvement in my work.
Imperfect daily play drawing.
- A feeling of excitement to come back to my studio and play. I'm the sort of person that thrives with semi-spiritual daily practices. I journal regularly (and write things I'm grateful for everyday), I do yoga daily, and of course I draw and make art regularly. I've tried before to start a DAILY drawing practice (quick 5 minute drawings), but haven't figured out a way to connect with the DAILY part of it on a level that made it sustainable. I've always been too critical of the outcomes. Or too serious about it or something. It seems rather obvious to say me now, but I think viewing the exercise as play, and well, not exercise, is the key I've been looking for (Isn't it funny how some AHA things are so obvious?). My art is often best when I don't take myself too seriously. A daily practice of drawing play  = very appealing and (at least so far) fulfilling.

-Listening to the artists share details about their tools and what they use to draw or paint inspired me to buy a few new drawing tools when I got home (art stores aren't quite the same in KL, which has added to the fun). We'll see how the play influences my art.

More daily play in drawing.
-Umm... Something I can let go of. YAY! I have been entirely too paranoid in the past that I work too slowly. I think this is a classic case of my inner critic going overboard. Sure my finished collages don't take 5 minutes, but I realize my habits are completely within the realm of normal after hearing the artists saying how long their finished pieces take them. I usually take 2-3 days with an average collage, with the rare detailed specimen taking a day or two extra or a day less. I thought that made me a slow-poke. I believe I thought that because I envied people who finished paintings in an hour. The thing I should always keep in mind when my inner critic blasts me for the time I spend on a piece: I NEVER EVER miss external deadlines (and only miss internal ones -- sometimes -- because I purposefully challenge myself to aim for the impossible). After the illustrator intensive in L.A., I've realized that being paranoid that I work too slowly is a paranoia I need to put to rest. (Now... under-submitting or being slow to submit my work because I'm a perfectionist -- that is something I aim at improving on. Because I am way too slow to submit my work… and I know it).

So far my daily play sketchbook features a lot of Oscar.
-There's a bit of a determined tigress in me when it comes to my art; and I repress her too often. I feel inspired to let her loose more. I think this is a good thing. I believe I rather look like and come across as a mild-mannered-but-quirky librarian, but that librarian within has also a fire in her belly, and I'd like it to show in my work more. I guess what I'm trying to say in an awkward sort of way is that the artists at the illustrator intensive have inspired me to be braver. To tap into my own emotions more when I make my art. To be brave enough to share more of those emotions in my work. Cheers to that!

I’d love to hear what others gained, personally, from the day, if there’s anyone out there who was there who is reading this. Please share in the comments!