Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday Faith Post

I was just sitting here thinking about God and what blessings I've had in my art career these past few years, and I thought I would write them down for anyone who's interested & also for my future self.

Years ago, I was blessed to work on 4 or 5 coloring/activity books through Warner Press. It was one of those things that I don't remember sending them a postcard, but they found me just the same. It was a great first gig for me and I love creating them.

Fast forward through several children's illustration assignments and getting more confident in my work, but not having consistent work. I walked away from an art rep, tried a different career path but came back to illustration because that's where my passion is.

So, I wanted that feeling back from when I did the activity books and prayed that I could find work for another Christian publisher. And guess what! Regular Baptist Press called me one day! Again, I don't know how they found me - probably childrensillustrators.com - but they were offering me a 2 year project with a family of characters facing every day situations and how they would relate to a Bible story. I just finished up the last section of that project 2 weeks ago, but it has taken me through a lot of stress and grief in my personal life and I will be forever grateful for having that to focus on. I remember back in January 2018 when I was showing my Mom the initial sketches I was doing and she was so excited for me. I didn't know that in only a few months she would be diagnosed with AML and pass away in May.

Within the last year, I joined Matt Tommey's Mentoring program, Created to Thrive. I mostly went to work on myself spiritually and include my art in the process. I've been enjoying it very much, and really love listening to Matt Tommey's videos and FB messages.

Just before I was about to begin the last section of my RBP project, I got an email from Zonderkids. They asked if I would be interested in illustrating one of their board books! Zonderkids is a Christian division of Harper Collins (I'm seeing a pattern here). I'm over the moon to have this opportunity!! However, I was super worried that things were going to get crazy with 2 projects at the same time and my full time office job. I worked hard to finish RBP final color illustrations, and in the process sat at my desk too long every night & weekend and pinched a nerve in my neck and pulled a muscle. O-U-C-H!!! So much pain. So, you can imagine how much I was stressed out over being able to do ANYTHING with my neck hurting every time I stood up or sat up. I prayed a lot. I asked God to take my worries and let me relax and know that things would all work out. I managed to get the cover and interior sketches sent in on time and get myself to the doctor and chiropractor/physical therapist.

Here I am 3 weeks later, still have some pain but not anywhere as bad as before. And yesterday I found out that the correct template will be released next week along with feedback on my interior sketches so that means the deadline will need to be pushed back. Whew! What a relief. I'll have the time and the good health it takes for me to do the best work I can. I'm so thankful.

I've also learned that I need to take better care of myself, physically and mentally. I need to get up from my desk more often and walk, and make exercise and eating healthier part of my life. I bought a sit-to-stand desk for my home office and my office manager ordered one for my day job. I'm grateful for all the opportunities I have. And I say Thank you, God all the time. :)

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year 2020!

2019 was pretty great for me, and I'm really looking forward to 2020.
Each year I put little notes in a jar to help me remember the great things that happen in the year.
Here are some of the notes:

1-1-19  Three mile walk for the past 2 days. Very grateful for the ability to move freely & enjoy life.

1-22-19 I signed up for the Highlights Foundation Summer Camp July 7-12!

1-23-19 Market Street Cherry Pie is AMAZING!

1-24-19 I got 2 new really large monitors at work!

Alright, so somewhere after that I stopped writing the exact dates on my notes. haha January is always the best month on resolutions; right?!

But here are the other notes:

July 2019 I spent the most magical week at summer camp at the Highlights Foundation. (OMG That was awesome!)

August 2019 Awarded a 1st place Blue Ribbon at The State Fair of Texas. Way to Achiever your goal, Deb! You did it!

September Joined the Thriving Christian Artists Mentoring Program

October 22, 2019 Email from Zonderkids to illustrate a board book! Thank you God!

October Signed the contract to illustrate the board book!!!!!!

Left off the notes was the Sunday School project I worked on for the 2nd year in a row. That project has gotten me through some rough times personally. It got me illustrating consistently with the same characters. It gave me a big boost in my confidence so that when this book deal came by I didn't have the usual feeling of self doubt. I had confidence.

So my word for 2020 is Confidence. God gave me the desire to illustrate and it's my duty to practice, grow and create as often as possible.

Speaking of creating . . . I bought this strange, unfinished ceramic item for $2 in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby and painted it today. One side is the guy with the glasses and the other is the lady with the button lips. That was fun! I think it turned out great.



I hope 2020 has started off to be your best year yet!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Things I've created lately

So, it's been way too long since I posted anything here, but I've been busy creating.
I'm working on two illustration projects - Sunday School educational pages with Regular Baptist Press and also my very first board book for Zonderkidz. Super excited to be reaching this goal.

In addition to my illustration, I've been creating with paper mache. I created this Mister Rogers for The State Fair of Texas and he won a 1st Place Blue Ribbon! I've been a fan of Mister Rogers since I was very little, so I love that I won my blue ribbon with Mister Rogers. Everything is paper mache except his sweater. I crocheted that.


Last year I got a 2nd place Red Ribbon with a Conan O'Brien paper mache:
I also love to crochet. This past summer I also entered this Freddie Mercury in The State Fair of Texas. He only received an Honorable Mention award, but he sure is handsome.


And because I love to create, no matter what, I recently created this fun Christmas sweatshirt for our Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest at work:

Apparently, he wasn't ugly enough, and I was tied for 2nd but ended up in 3rd place after we had to pick a number between 1-100. 
Oh, and I made cookies too:

So back to work creating fun things! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're inspired to create something today.

Bonus: I just read back to my last post almost a year ago. I did go to the Highlight's Foundation Summer Camp last July and OMG I LOVED IT! So much that I signed up for another workshop this coming July! I can't say enough fabulous things about that place. It's magical! Get there if you can!!!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Friday Five on Monday

I was going to post to this very neglected blog on Friday, but couldn't remember my log in. :/

So, here are my 5 for Friday on a Monday:

1) I recently completed another round of final artwork on a Sunday School project I'm working on for Regular Baptist Press. It's a 2 year project, so this marks the halfway point. I've enjoyed working on it, and I feel like with all this work I'm definitely improving with my drawing skills. Super happy that there weren't any changes requested on finals either. I must be doing something right over here. :)

2) I'm participating in #PBPitch and webinars. Last week was #PBPitch and although I didn't get any likes from agents or editors, I had a lot of good feedback on my pitches. Over the weekend I watched a webinar put on by the Utah SCBWI. Very informative and for $15 for a 2 hour webinar and an opportunity to submit to an editor at the end . . . what a bargain. Definitely recommend any webinar that regional SCBWI chapters provide.

3) I signed up for the Highlights Foundation Summer Camp in July!! I'm so stoked about this. It's going to be fabulous, I'm sure. It looks so beautiful there, and I've heard great things about their programs.

4) I'm writing again. There were a couple of months in there that I wrote down story ideas, (especially during Story Storm in January) but I haven't written a pb manuscript in months. Maybe it was finishing up the illustration project and getting more sleep, but I feel inspired to write again.

5) I'm taking better care of myself. I think it's all related, so I'm going to say that eating healthy, getting enough sleep and also making time to exercise is important for the creative soul. I tend to enjoy activities that require me to sit (drawing, writing, crochet, watching movies/TV) so I have to make time to move more and to eat things that are healthier.

BONUS:

I just signed up for 12x12! I wish I had signed up immediately in January, but I was worried I would be overwhelmed. With only 3 days left until registration closes, I decided to jump in anyway.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

First Runner Up in Sub Six Banner Contest


Recently, I entered an illustration contest just for fun. I've decided to get my work out there more this year, so it would be a fun way to play and work on my skills. It was for a Facebook Banner for Sub Six. The assignment was to draw a wild animal that represents the group which is basically support for children's book creatives (AKA the subtitle of the banner). I chose a turtle because you have to be patient in the publishing business. It's not typically a quick & easy journey. There will be many ups & downs and times when you don't think it's possible, but you have to dig deep and continue if that's what makes you happy. Well, I'm so excited to announce that I was First Runner Up! I'm so proud of that! There were so many amazing illustrators from different countries. The winner is from Thailand and the Second Runner Up is from Chile. Pretty darn cool!! :) Here's my design. I hope it makes you happy.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Being creative brings me joy

I've had a really rough couple of years. In July of 2016 my Dad died suddenly. I live in Texas, my parents, sister and in-laws live in Michigan. It was a horrible time for me as I've never really experienced death that closely and I felt like my Dad and I had a special bond. The next summer, my husband's favorite aunt died of lung cancer. Shortly after that one of my aunts passed away too. Then last March my mom was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I feel blessed that I visited her for a week in January for my birthday - just a fun week without talk of cancer since we had no idea of what was to come. While she was going through chemo treatments & blood transfusions, I visited often. I thought she looked really good in April when my husband and I flew up for his father's funeral, but by the end of May my mom was gone too. I was blessed to be there at her side for a few days before she passed and also a week afterward helping my sister get through this devastating loss. So, if you're keeping track, that's 5 people I've lost in the past 2 years (both parents within 22 months). I feel like my life is completely different than what I'm used to. The upcoming holidays are not as exciting and I have to keep reminding myself that no, I can't call my parents and tell them about my day and ask how they're doing. Every day frustrations don't bother me that much anymore because I know there are worse things that happen all the time.

So, in order to put a smile on my face and live a happy life like I know my parents would want me to do, I focus more on my goals of writing & illustrating children's books. I've also added in creative projects with paper mache, sewing, cross stitch, and crochet. This year, I entered 4 items in the State Fair of Texas and won two 2nd place ribbons (Mister Rogers cross stitch & paper mache Conan O'Brien) and two 3rd place ribbons (crochet Mister Rogers and stuffed llama that I sewed).


I'm also working harder on my writing. I am determined to become a published author. It has been a goal of mine since I was in elementary school. I've gotten sidetracked throughout the years at various times, but it's always been a fire in my soul. I'm not giving up.

Life is short and if you want something badly enough you have to work hard to grab it before you're gone. If you're going through a rough time and are feeling defeated and sad, try something creative. Watch a youtube video of someone painting or creating something, bake, draw, get messy with paint/clay/paper mache, listen to upbeat music and go for  walk and think of things you're grateful for with each breath you take. That's what I do. It's easier to push down your grief when you're working on something joyful. It's the one thing I can control - I can't change the past, but I can control my happiness by doing what brings me joy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fabulous things are happening at Deb Meyer Creative




I thought I would post a little gratitude about something I'm hard at work on. I feel like the windows are open and the fresh, spring air is flooding the room.

Recently, I was contacted to work on a rather large project for a Christian publisher involving Sunday School for preschoolers. What's really cool about this whole thing is that 1)I had never heard of this publisher, so I didn't send out promotional mailers to them - they found me. 2)I had literally prayed about having an opportunity to work with a Christian publisher and specifically for preschool children. 3)I instantly felt extremely confident about this project and being capable of doing a great job (honestly, there is usually a moment of panic on whether I'm good enough or have the time due to my day job or just my inner Eyeore that tries to ruin the moment, but not this time!)

My soul-searching has paid off. Prayers have been answered. It feels wonderful to be working in illustration again and to feel confident about my abilities. I'm grateful and proud every time I get an email back from the publisher that says my sketches have been approved or that it was unanimous that they wanted ME! Wow. What a great feeling.

Plus, I'm writing again and enjoying every minute of it. Looking forward to putting together a dummy book from a story I wrote at the airport while waiting for a connecting flight.

Thank you, God, for planting this desire in my heart and for guiding me through the ups & down. I'm honored you chose me.