Scaling Back

I’ve always been an all or nothing type of person. As a kid I would play outside in the hot sun all day until I would be attacked by a crazy migraine and my mom would have to place cold compresses on my head and soothe me until I’d eventually throw up.

Now, I know to stay out of the sun, but instead of regular migraines my body tells me I’ve had enough in other ways. I can usually tell that I’m run down with physical signs like frequent tiredness (which I try to combat with a regular workout schedule), light headedness, and dark circles under my eyes. When my mom would facetime me, she’d always say “there you go with those dark circles under your eyes” and prescribe a couple of days of rest (which I rarely followed). Now that she’s gone, I facetime with her sister who usually after a few minutes into our conversations says to me, “you need to take some time off and rest with those dark circles under your eyes.” I swear my mom must have coached her to point that out before she died.

I now wear more hats that ever as a full time art instructor, illustrator, (occasional) writer, editor, and agent, and I’m feeling the weight of things pull me down a bit. We just had spring break last week and instead of resting, I presented at the Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, MO, finished my taxes, packaged a stack of orders from Etsy shop, and closed off the week by traveling to NY to see some friends and eat one last time at my favorite Brooklyn restaurant and bar. On Monday I had a client meeting with a new editor. I came back to Baltimore on Monday and had class on Tuesday. I’m exhausted.

I do love to go! go! go! and to say yes! yes! yes!, but I’m spending less time making art and more time managing it. It’s time to work smarter. I’m hiring a research assistant to help me prep for two big picture books in my queue and as of April 1, I will close down my Etsy shop until late May or June. I’m also learning to say “no, no, no (thank you)” to conference and school visit invites to hopefully keep them down to about three or four a year. Presenting is always a blast, but the travel destroys me.

So, stay tuned to more art making in the next few months. I have two books in various stages now and two more to follow those. I’m also planning to make more personal work and add more to the shop once it comes back online this summer. I really am amazed at how it has taken off over the years and am truly grateful for everyone who has collected prints! I also want to carve out more time in my life to write. Most importantly, I need to leave some space in my head for dreaming.

See you soon!