Sunday, September 28, 2008

Three Tips on Kicking Artist's Block to the Curb

Since I wrote about writer's block for one of my guest blog posts this week, I figured it would be appropriate to write about Artist's Block for my tips post. They're rather related -- sort of evil kissing cousins and it's easy to believe when you're in the grips of one or the other that you will never do anything creative ever again.

So what is artist's block? It's when you've got the time, the materials, and sometimes even the commissions lined up, but you just can't bring yourself to put pen to paper or brush to canvas or Sharpie to wall or glue to trash.

And here are three tips for shaking it.

1) Immerse yourself in someone else's art. There are some amazing websites out there for Safely Dead Artists. For instance, I was a huge Monet fangirl when I was a teenager. I had Monet posters all over my bedroom walls. Sadly, back then, they didn't have this amazing site. Definitely lots of fodder for thought there. If you can, get to a local museum. The idea is to remind yourself what you found exciting about art in the first place.

2) Give yourself permission to create something unuseful. I used to get artist's block a lot when I was creating art for a series or doing a lot of portrait commissions. Every piece of art I did had a distinct purpose and deadline, and I knew before I started that I not only couldn't mess it up, but also that I pretty much knew what it was going to turn into. Giving myself permission to do something entirely not useful in the general scheme of things (like "The Summer Girls" at right) always got my juices flowing again.

3. Switch media. When I get stumped with my colored pencils, I pull out my acrylics, and vice versa. They both offer such a different experience -- one offers total control and the other total freedom and messiness.

Joy in art, for me, is really connected to learning and changing as an artist. So when I'm stumped, it's almost always because I've let myself plateau and get stale.

And that's our three tips for this week! I've got to go Febreeze a dog. Anyone else have tips for shaking off Artist's Block?

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Reason for my Disappearance REVEALED

So I know you guys think that I've abandoned you and this blog for Lament, but it would take more than that, my dear readers. I've had a good reason since back in May, I just couldn't announce it until now.

But it's official in Publisher's Weekly now, so here it is:

Abby Ranger and David Levithan at Scholastic prevailed in a multiple-round auction for world rights to Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver in a two-book deal with Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown. This YA novel describes the first love between a 16-year-old girl and a mysterious boy who spends his winters as a wolf and is fighting to stay human as the temperature drops. The 26-year-old Stiefvater has a YA novel, Lament, just out from Flux, with a sequel to follow. Shiver will be published in fall 2009.

This means that I've been working hard with both editor Andrew at Flux and Abby & David at Scholastic since then, and the amount of the deal means that I'm doing it full-time -- no art at all for income purposes. I'm still pinching myself on that front.

But that also means that this blog is going to have to change. I've given a lot of thought to this, and I think this is what I'm going to do, unless someone else has a better idea. Tomorrow, I'm going to officially announce the date of my sketchbook giveaway for blog subscribers and announce the end of this blog as a purely art blog.

From Wednesday on, this blog will mirror my blog on Livejournal, which is a mix of writing, life, and art. I understand if it loses me some subscribers but right now, that's what my life is. I'm planning on doing more close artistic studies later in the year, but for now, the emphasis is definitely on my writing.

So . . . um . . . yeah. That was longer than I planned for it to be!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It's 9/11, so I'm going to be doing radio-silence today aside from this post. Even though it's been 7 years, I can still remember the moment I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon. Not the NYC ones. I must have heard about the NYC planes sometime when I was driving to my morning class, but I don't remember it.

I do remember hearing about the Pentagon plane, though. That was when I pulled into a gas station and found a pay phone. There was already a line of people waiting to use it, and when I got to my turn, I called my new boyfriend, who was a paramedic. I knew he'd be called to help at the Pentagon and who knew what else would happen there -- what if there was another plane? I'd just started dating him a month before but I was insanely in love and all I could think was that I'd just met him -- I wasn't ready to say goodbye yet.

Seven years later and he's still my husband. Seven years later and a lot of other people had to say goodbye that day.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Moose, Revisited

"Guess Who?" - 8 x 16" colored pencil on gessoboard.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.

As I haven't had a Moose-the-Cat piece available in a long time, I wanted to let you guys know that one of my old Moose pieces; the owner is selling it on eBay. It's one of criminally insane Moose hanging off the back of my computer desk while I worked.

If you're interested, it's here.