I'm in a lovely stretch of life that is productive, enjoyable, and full-filling. Before, I thought that I needed to work harder and harder to be an illustrator full-time and not let anything get in the way of that. God definitely has the upper hand, because I've been gently led into a life away from illustrating full-time - and I actually love it!
Here's what I'm up to these days:
High School Art Teacher (Full-Time!)
I'm now teaching art full-time at EastPointe High School, a local alternative charter school. I started working part-time at EastPointe in January and absolutely love it. I particularly enjoy interacting with teens and the soulful faculty. I've never worked with a more loving, positive, and productive staff.
School started this week. It was a lot of fun and I ended the week feeling energized and excited for the future. I teach three periods of art a day and then assist in an English class. I want my students to see how magical art can be and the fun of creativity and innovation. To help put them in that mindset, I decided to create an enchanted forest. I painted a mural and built a tree! My boyfriend even called 8 different turf grass places to get some donated grass! He was there many days helping me put my vision together.
Pursuing a Masters in Art Therapy
My high school agreed to pay for me to obtain a masters degree - including the prerequisite classes! I feel so blessed! I need some psychology and art classes to apply for a Masters in Art Therapy, so I'm currently taking those. Over the summer, I took a ceramics class, which was a blast. I also took developmental psychology and abnormal psychology. This fall I will be taking a drawing class in the evening.
Writing/Illustrating my Second Book
One of the best decisions I made this summer was to start an independent study with a professor at my local community college. I chose my second book as my independent study project because I needed some accountability.
I've wanted to write a book about chemotherapy for a long time (I once wrote a comic book for my mom called "Chemo Sucks"), but I've been scared to pursue it because I've never been through chemotherapy myself. I'm letting go of that fear and I'm capturing the experience of chemo with humorous animal illustrations. It will be similar in artistic style to Grief is a Mess, except there will be backgrounds included. I've completed about 20 illustrations and I expect to be done this fall.
Overall, I think I am much happier with this balance in my life because I get to interact with people daily, continually learn more (I love school!), and still feel like I'm using my talents to help others.