Stepping Outside


I just put a second coat of stain on half of my deck. It’s been three years since I moved into this place, and until this summer, my backyard remained unfurnished and unused, which is a shame because it was one of my favorite features of my townhouse. This summer I committed and purchased patio furniture from IKEA, but once I laid everything out, I realized that the deck floor was coated with years of mucky grime and algae. After giving it a much needed scrubbing; once the wood dried, the deck also needed staining and sealing. My virgo sun couldn’t let the work go unfinished.


Oddly enough, I always tend to begin big manual projects at the end of a book. Right now I am putting the finishing touches on my next project with Lee and Low, and like my deck, now that the spreads are completed, I am noticing little things that need adjusting (this is of course before I turn it in and have my editor and art director notice other little things that need tweaking). Fortunately, this book is 80% digital, so unlike my other books, making changes won’t mean completely redoing spreads. On the opposite side of that coin, I can tweak until the cows come home if I let myself.

Working on books is not always fun for me. It’s work, and like all jobs, you have great days and really sucky days (when you wish you had become an accountant). I find that exercise and manual labor give me more good days than bad. When I was finishing work on Bird, I compulsively decided to paint my half of my Brooklyn apartment. Now, with this new project, I am creating a backyard oasis. There’s something to be said about getting outside of my head (which is often messy and filled with cobwebs and dark spooky shadows) and completing a small to medium-sized project to help propel me through the end of a book. I wish I could channel that energy into cleaning my house, but that is never a small project.

The virgo in me loves to work, loves to complete things, loves to help people, and loves to be good at stuff. I was born under a productive and communicative sign –  along with Michael Jackson (MJ FOREVER!!!), Beyonce, soccer champion Ronaldo, and Mother Teresa. When I am not allowing myself time to go outside and play, I become paranoid, stressed, and a bit depressed. I also indulge heavily in sugar (honeybuns give me life!) which leads to weight gain, which leads to lethargy, which kills productivity, which then makes me a crazy person. Summer is a time for renewal. I run and do yoga 5-6 times a week, put down the carbs (okay, most of the carbs) and celebrate the outdoors. It’s also the time when I can fully focus on my art and finish projects. This cycle of growth, productivity, and then self-destruction is one that I am vehement about changing for myself.

As I get older, I aim to be active throughout the year. Many of us artists, though wonderful and creative, can fall into cycles of sadness, self-doubt, and inactivity easily. We work in isolation sometimes also live in isolation. Stepping outside of our heads and selves is key to staying positive and creative. Taking care of our physical bodies is crucial to keeping things in balance. Namaste homies!

Welcome to my blog SCBWI members! I hope you find some of these posts to be of use~