Johanna Basford is on a four-month sabbatical from paid work to concentrate on making herself a better artist, illustrator and all-round creative person.
Every week Johanna aims to publish a diary entry, which we'll be running on Digital Arts so you can follow the ups and downs – hopefully mainly ups – as she pushes her creativity and vision into new areas.
If you've missed week one, you can read it here.
Fuelled by a potent mix of Berrocca, caffeine and nervous adrenaline, it was time to kick start week two.
This week I’ve continued working on my first supersized illustration. I’m creating a forest of delicately hand penned trees, each between 60 and 100cm tall.
The opportunity to work large is wonderfully self-indulgent. Filling huge sheets of paper with inky intricacies is massively time-consuming and rarely plausible on commercial budgets and lead times. It’s this type of work though; the tiny details, the little areas of curious and the delicacy of working with a 0.05 nib that makes me happy. In an age when speed and mass production is everything, dedicating your day to crafting something so meticulous both enchants and delights.
I do however, on some level, have a need for speed. I’m no arborist, but I’m guessing four trees does not a forest make? I’ll definitely need a few more. And maybe a squirrel or two…
The completed woodland will form the first exhibit at my DCA show.
This week I picked my way through Stanford University’s Entrepreneurial podcasts; an audio Aladdin’s cave brought to my attention by Alex Barton of Student Designer – if you haven’t met him, do. Although not a fan of the term ‘entrepreneur’ – I lump it in the same category as 'social media guru', ie if it’s in your bio, you probably aren’t – I loved the podcasts.
You need to shuffle, some are bit venture vapitalist- and Silicon Valley-centric. One absolute gem is a 2005 talk by a young guy called Mark who’d come up with this thing called The Facebook.
My osmosis-like approach to listen and learn means I don’t always catch the details, but I latch onto the nuggets. Here's a case in point using a great quote I heard:
“Problems are just opportunities for creative thinking. The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity”
Awesome, inspired, game changing advice.
But I have no idea who said it.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll know I’ve been searching for a white car to form part of an inky installation. It proved tricky and the little automobile of my dreams was not materializing.
I trawled social media, gumtree, eBay, garages and scrapyards. Nothing.
This was problematic. Or was it actually opportunistic?
At 4:23am on Thursday morning, inspiration struck. I emailed myself: “boat not car” and went back to sleep. If I couldn’t source a car, look for something else, something better.
The solution to my problem was the little white fishing boat I found the next day. Now, to call the long-suffering parents and ask if they’ve got room at the farm for a boat…
I've also learned never to leave the studio pup to roam the house freely…