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Finding My Path As A Visual Artist

March 21, 2016

Mark Armstrong Illustration is one of millions of blogs on WordPress.com.BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.6pixels

In case you’ve ever wondered:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

WordPress.com is a blog web hosting service provider.

WordPress is also the name of the open source software that powers all the blogs.

WordPress.com is owned by Automattic, Inc. The name derives from the first name of company founder Matt Mullenweg.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Automattic has an editorial team that produces a blog called WordPress Discover. It includes editors’ picks, must-reads, undiscovered writers, and conversations with artists.

I was flattered to be featured in the March 10th edition.

Here’s the header and the opening question.

You can read the entire interview here.BlankVertSpace.8pixelsblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

Wordpress Discover feature commercial illustrator Mark Armstrong interview on art design humor blogging business of illustrationWordpress Discover feature commercial illustrator Mark Armstrong interview on art design humor television theater editorial controversy advice opinion social media marketing

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highYou can read the rest of the Q&A interview here.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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BlankVertSpace.6pixelsHas anyone else bounced around a bit before finding the right career path?

Do you have a blog? Do you use it to attract clients by demonstrating your expertise?

Did you read the whole interview? Did you do it without falling asleep??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, please click the Like button below.

If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon or one of the other Share buttons.

I also invite you to get updates. Just click the Get Updates button in the sidebar below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or click + Follow in the blog menu bar.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you’d like to buy prints or greeting cards, click on any of the large preview images in the sidebar below the Get Updates button.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Fruit Snack Helper & Writing What’s In Your Heart

March 19, 2016

Most of the work I do nowadays involves social media and content marketing.

I still do editorial illustration, however, including some very interesting assignments from The Rumpus, which specializes in artist and writer interviews, offbeat topics, and highly personal essays.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

I recently illustrated Writing My Context, by Lyz Lenz. The opening paragraph creates some tension:

BlankVertSpace.8pixelsThe flight attendant drops her wings. They ping on the ground as she walks by checking the cabin before our flight. They are brass and feel heavy in my hands. The pin is bent and pricks my palm as I hide it in my lap. I want to keep them. I am a thirty-two-year-old mother of two children. But right now, I am alone on an airplane from Chicago to Portland, with an overwhelming urge to do something completely out of character.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

She continues:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

My trip is an escape. I am on my way to a week-long writers conference. It is a chance to slough off the skin of mother and wife for a week. To be seen as an individual, a writer. To be responsible only for myself.

I have no business stealing the wing pin. I don’t really want it. But as the plane takes off and we hover over the land, I want to be, just for a moment, without context.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

We learn that the writer’s everyday context is motherhood:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Most of my days are spent in the company of two small children, who demand cheese sticks, games of hide and seek, and always seem to have some remnant of a barely-eaten meal stuck to their cheeks.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

I sit on the plane holding those brass wings. I want to keep them because I know that in my everyday life, I would never steal them. But in this moment, I want to believe that anything is possible. That I am capable of anything.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

Finally, the tension is resolved:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

The next time the flight attendant comes by, I hand her the fallen wings.

I am not that person.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Woman being dragged up into sky by balloon shaped like airline stewardess wings trying to cut herself free with scissors

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detail image of Woman being dragged up into sky by balloon shaped like airline stewardess wings trying to cut herself free with scissors

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highThe author expands on her everyday context:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

I write in moments that feel like plunging underwater. During naptime, while the baby sings himself to sleep and my daughter plays with her toys…

I write in the afternoons when I turn on the TV, hand out snacks, and put the computer in my lap…

I hand out fruit snack after fruit snack, until they are gone and my daughter hits me in the head with a foam sword.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

Mom writing on iPad laptop child hitting her with toy sword using sugary fruit snacks to keep baby quietblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high
detail image of mother writing on iPad laptop child hitting her with toy sword using sugary fruit snacks to keep baby quietblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highFurther along in the essay, her words made me think of that old adage that every writer has heard: “Write what you know.”BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Before I was a mother, I was a writer. Before I wrote about my children, I wrote about books, politics, and sex. No one really read that work. It was rejected a lot. I gave essays to my friends for critiques and they politely handed them back telling me, “It has promise.” Later, when I had my daughter, I still wrote about politics, sex, and books, but I also wrote about her. That was the writing that got published…

I once held fast to the feminist narrative that having children wouldn’t define me. But I know that they have. I didn’t want children to change me, but the reality of my new self is inescapable…

Surely we secrete our secret selves through our skin in ways we do not always recognize. For now, writing my children is writing my body. It’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins…

Parenting books tell me that I ought to draw healthy boundaries between myself and my children. But I once read that cells from the fetus stay inside the mother long after the child is born. Scientists don’t know what those cells do to the mother exactly, but they do know they linger forever in her heart and in her head.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Freelance writer mother with two children on her mind and in her heart channeling her kids into her writing on laptop computer

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highdetail image of Freelance writer mother with two children on her mind and in her heart channeling her kids into her writing on laptop computer

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highThe concluding lines are both touching and wise:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

I think again of the flight attendant’s wings. I am glad I gave them back. I return home… I hug my children. I am glad for the week. I am glad to be back. I know I do my best work surrounded by the waffles, the dog-eared pages of feminist theory, bright plastic cars, and silver wands.

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Any moms out there? Did any of the above passages strike a chord?

Have you ever been tempted to “steal some wings?” i.e., to do something completely out of character?

Has anyone else used fruit snacks as a sedative?? (Maybe I should keep a few boxes handy for when I’m under pressure to meet a deadline!)

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, please click the Like button below.

If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon or one of the other Share buttons.

I also invite you to get updates. Just click the Get Updates button in the sidebar below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or click + Follow in the blog menu bar.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you’d like to buy prints or greeting cards, click on any of the large preview images in the sidebar below the Get Updates button.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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