When I was a little girl, I loved to draw and paint, so I've always been a bit of an artist. Growing up, art was one of my favorite classes. In high school, though, I thought I wanted to pursue a career in math or science. Upon entering college, I majored in architecture for my first semester, which required a basic drawing class. That was all it took. True to form, I returned to art once more.
After receiving my art degree back in 2005, I suffered from lack of focus and direction. I knew I loved art, but what to do with it? During school, it seemed like my choices were limited to narrative illustration, graphic design, fine art, or teaching—all great, but none felt exactly right for me. I half-heartedly pursued children's illustration like my sister, Dani Jones, who has built a nice career for herself in the field. I did not stick with it, though, and if there's anything you need to become a successful freelance artist, besides talent, it's persistence. (Read Dani's thoughts on her success as an artist on her blog here.)
When illustration didn't pan out, art was put on the back burner again. I found a job as a book compositor, laying out pages for trade and textbooks for various publishers, which is where I am today. I don't regret anything, though. I like what I do for the most part, and I have learned a lot from it. Certainly, a majority of my technical knowledge developed while on the job, such as experience with Adobe software and learning some of the processes behind book publishing. Plus, I was lucky to have found a job with regular hours and a regular paycheck, and with not much else going on in my life up till now, I had the luxury of time to develop new hobbies and discover the things that really interest me, such as crafting and my relatively newfound love of pattern design. Not that I always used that time wisely, seeing as it's been ten years since school and I still don't feel like I've reached my artistic or professional goals. But I've made my peace with it. I'm an artist and always will be, whether I'm making a living at it or not. All you can do is move forward.
My sister always tells me to just draw. Draw every day. And I still have trouble with it. But this month I'm determined to follow her advice by participating in InkTober next month. InkTober is an artistic exercise created by illustrator Jake Parker in 2009, where artists around the world take part in making ink drawings throughout the month of October as a way to develop one's skills and drawing habits. I did it a couple years ago, and it was really fun. Here's some of the drawings I did that year:
These were just small sketches done on index cards. This year, I would like to create some full-page pieces as well. I encourage you to follow along with me and other artists around the web by searching for the hashtag #inktober on various social media sites. And if you're an artist, try it out yourself! I will be posting my drawings regularly via Instagram and Facebook, with occasional updates here on the blog. So keep a look out starting on October 1st!
View my sister's work and read her blog posts here.
From my art and illustration website:
See my InkTober sketches from 2013.