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Hi, I'm Debbie (or Debs) and I've spent much of my career doing everything except being creative (12 years in academia, more years than I care to count in IT related positions, teaching etc).

My creative aspects have always been sidelines, but that is going to change now as I've given up full time paid work to give these aspects space to grow.

So (deep breath), I aspire to being a writer, multimedia artist and photographer. 😊

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This sounds like a wonderful adventure! Good for you!!

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ah wonderful Debs. I am sure that you wont regret it. I left employment to pursue illustration full time and did it for 18 months. I learnt so much and although the journey didn't lead where I thought, I felt like I'd woken up and I understand so much better what I really want and what makes me happy. Excited to see how your journey unfolds

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Best of luck to you on this journey!

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Hi, I'm Emily, I'm an accountant by day and an illustrator by night! I used to aspire to be a full time arty everything and for a short while, I was painting murals, drawing fine art pencil drawings, business illustrations, personal commissions and also illustrating a picture book.... It took me a while to work out what I really wanted, which was to draw what I love for me. I work as an accountant in the NHS in England but I aspire to work for myself as an accountant for creatives, where I can balance my illustration and artwork alongside working as an accountant in practice...

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Hi Emily, I always appreciate you in the comments and appreciate you for being a reader for some time! I think the beauty of the creative path is we get to build for ourselves out of our selves and every path is different... at the same time we can learn so much from each other, that's really something unique about the creative community, it's not competitive in the traditional sense, we're not fighting for each others places, rather we are 'fighting' to create our own beautiful places.

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Thanks Adam, what an amazing thread this is! So true and beautiful said. I guess because creativity is so personal and unique to each of us, competition just isn’t a thing 💛

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Hi Emily, I really appreciated your perspective on this. Trying to figure out what will actually work for your day-to-day life can definitely be a bit harder and result in something a little different than one originally thought (speaking from experience!). I’m always thinking about the concept of “day jobs” and how they fit into a creative life - it was interesting to read your take on it.

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Yes absolutely true Kelsey, I think often what we think we want isn't the same as what we really want, but it takes time and experimentation, trial and error to get there! I want my day job to support my creativity, but I want some creativity in that too - and I want to not be an employee, so hope to move towards a time when I wont be!

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An accountant for creatives. What a great way to bring both types of work together!

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It's funny that I qualified as an accountant so long ago but had never thought to bring the two together and (hopefully) get to a place where I can work for myself as an accountant, rather than having my creativity pay the bills!

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My accountant is also a poet, and I think that’s so great. He really gets what it means to be a creative, while the accounting pays the bills and lets him have the freedom to really express himself during his off-work hours. Congratulations on seeing this connection for your future!

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That’s so cool! We can assume everyone is only the dimension we see and not a multifaceted being 💛

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I love hearing about your journey, Emily. I feel like I’m trying out different aspects of being an artist too, and still clarifying exactly where I want to devote the majority of my time. It’s comforting to hear you found your unique niche!

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It took me some time to work out what I really wanted Sara - I think that experimenting and trying out different things is so exciting and definitely worth keeping doing until you understand better what you really really want. And I also think its a journey and doesn't necessary stay the same, so what you feel like you want now might well change and evolve over time

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Wow. I love this.

It's so important to bring the arts into traditionally non-creative spaces.

We were all once children, and thus must have a creative bone in each of our bodies.

I can imagine that in the world of accounting, those bones are often left neglected; inactive and brittle due to a lack of attention.

Stretching their surrounding muscles and tendons is the way to begin, which it sounds like you've done a lot of.

I'm so curious to know what impact you've seen in your professional space. Have any of your colleagues started to show/stretch their creative muscles at work?

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Wow love the way you plan to bring your two passions together!

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I'm Rebecca and I'm a children's book author, poet, and artist working toward making illustration a real part of my children's book creating career. I also have a picture book manuscript critique service. I used to actually sell my art (mostly watercolor paintings and pencil portraits back then), but for some reason I got away from that when I seriously started pursuing writing. Now that I'm creating consistently again, I'd love to put some of my art out there. My priority right now, though, is illustration.

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That's so exciting Rebecca, illustration is such rewarding work, I follow many childrens book illustrators and I love to be inspired by the gorgeous imagery and how the words and pictures come together to create something so magical

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Hello Rebecca, thank you for being here, wonderful to meet you! how can people find out more about your critique service? Just like Neil, it seems your creativity gets packaged in so many different ways. Do you have a question you might want to ask of the community, and do you a gem to offer aspiring creatives maybe advice or some habit that really works for you?

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People can find out about my critique service by visiting my website, rebeccajgomez.com, and clicking the "writing for kids" tab. For aspiring creatives, particularly those who are writing picture book manuscripts: The only "gem" I have to offer is to write as much as possible (as in lots of different stories, not just one that you revise over and over) and to read hundreds of picture books, especially the kind you want to write.

I've been writing picture books for a long time, and I'm really confident in what I do, but it's not the same for my art. Well, for illustrating specifically. Any tips on getting into a good groove, gaining confidence, and figuring out my style? I'm guessing part of that is similar to the advice I gave above, but I'm a bit of a chicken. LOL

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Over the past 2 years, that’s all I would write about, I think there are steps, and the biggest step is to commit a DAILY time for the practice, for me this was waking up at 4am. Then I committed to do it for 10 years regardless of outcome. This allowed me to take the time and not rush to build up the specific skills and knowledge I needed. I already had a background in art, but it still took me years to translate that into a style that was appealing to the children’s market. This started by understanding the contemporary children’s market (which includes the history via reprints), then finding a place that I could fit in in that and also where there was a lot of demand. Once I knew this I Taylor’s a style by focusing on the process, the steps it took to turn text into a piece.

Then I built up a body of work over 9 months to prove I could do a professional job.

I did all of this in public, to gain feedback but also to build credibility.

I think it’s impossible without the daily habit of showing up at the allocated time, no excuses.

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This all makes a lot of sense. No more excuses!

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Drawing from life, TV, animal cams and Zoom drawing sessions really helped me! Carrying a sketchbook everywhere has made a difference too.

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I need to get back into a regular sketchbook groove!

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Ooo how fascinating!!!

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Hi Adam (and everyone)...spent about 20 years starting in my late teens as a working musician...studied some music in school and jazz improv privately with a couple great teachers...some writing and art along the way...all has resulted in this kooky thing I’m doing here!

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What instrument(s) do you play? Getting a saxophone and learning to play jazz is on my list for my 40's!

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I am mainly a piano player, but I can get by on all the standard rock band instruments without getting tomatoes thrown at me.

That is so great. I think learning a new instrument at a non traditional age is one of the best things a human can do! Changes your brain for the better :)

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Aug 7, 2023·edited Aug 8, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

This is a nice idea. Hi. I’m Neil, and I am a street photographer, photography teacher, writer, and critic. Elsewhere, I have spent 20 years around the music industry as a musician, songwriter, and indie record label owner. I'm looking forward to meeting more creatives in the comments here. Cheers!

Quick update: I also started a wee initiative on Substack called Photostack, to bring together as many photographers / photography writers as possible. If you want to be added to the list, visit the note, comment, and restack and I'll add you in. https://substack.com/@lionelsmint/note/c-21492727

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Neil, What a rich creative background you have behind you! And I looked a your Substack, your photography is amazing! What advice would you give creatives with diverse interest such as yourself? And what question might you ask the creatives here?

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Thanks Adam, that's much appreciated. Good to meet you. I'll be diving into your Substack when I have a little time. (I'm writing my next post, so I'm neck-deep in that).

As for advice on working across diverse interests, I can only speak to what worked for me, which was to have a common thread that ties them together, no matter how tenuous. For instance, when I began photographing in 2006, my first jobs were making photos at music shows. On the flip side, as I worked in music, I would often use my photography background in devising and designing cover art (when the artist didn't choose that responsibility, of course) or promotional materials.

I don't know if that's particularly helpful to, say, someone who builds motorcycles while also crochets but, it's how I managed to keep both outlets. :)

What question would I ask creatives here? Hmm... oddly enough, I think I would ask those with diverse creative outlets the same question as I wonder if others have a similar experience to me or vastly different. That, and how on earth do we make money as creatives these days. Seems to be more of a struggle every day. Uhh.

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I think I’ll make that second question the topic of next weeks chat! It’s a great topic! In fact it just came up on Twitter as well!

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Hey friends 👋 My name is Ben and after being a graphic designer wage slave for 20+ years, I've decided to pivot to my true illustration passion. I am now the proud owner of a small baby-sized business and have spent the last 2 years experimenting and reigniting fun 🎉😸

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Congrats on your baby sized business, you know what they say about babies; "enjoy each moment, they grow up so fast!"

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Thanks! Its true *looks at actual grown up babies*

I look forward to another round of teething 😅

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Sounds wonderful! Lots of hard relating here! Also been in the design world for 23 years, and cultivating my illustration work. FUN is the main driver!

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Hello Ben! An exciting journey - fun is so important!

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Thankyou 😊 40 something years in and I'm back to searching for simple things like fun 🥳

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Hello, I'm Srinidhi and I'm an artist and maker of things, I enjoy drawing and making picture books but I also enjoy painting, sketch booking, sewing and crafting. I'm kinda floating around these days kind of directionless and I don't know what I should do next. But currently filling my sketchbook pages and painting is keeping me happy and warm.

I aspire to be a write of MG mystery books but I have never really tried that, its always been in my head. Maybe I should start taking time to put them down on paper.

Have an amazing, day everyone and cheers!!

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Hi Srinidhi, welcome! May your sketchbooks and notebooks always be full!

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Thanks Adam, I'm new to Substack and getting a bit about how to get around here. but I love the content that you have put out here. So much information. Thanks for that and have a great day!!

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Hi Srinidhi! I love that you're a "maker of things"! I love making things too, and I have way too many creative hobbies in addition to what I'm doing for a career. If you've always wanted to write MG mystery, you should go for it! There's no time like now to give it a try.

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Hi Rebecca, haha yes I can totally relate to that, I have too many hobbies too and enjoy each one of them. Yes, thanks for your kind words, I have always wanted to give it a try, I don't know what scares me. But I will definitely give it a try,I owe that to myself. Cheers and have a great day!

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Lovely to meet you Srinidhi! I love doing all the creative crafts too :) I say follow the happiness. Admire your sketchbook practice, that’s something I’d like to build up again.

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Thanks Kim, tbh I have been following happiness, its been a conscious decision to try out all activities that spark joy and that's how I got into sewing, stitching, crocheting and a lot more. I wasn't big on sketch-booking (because of perfectionism) But I have overcome it and let loose, since then I fill up pages so quickly and I'm down to finishing one sketchbook a month inclusive of all ugly and messy art. Yes, you should build that again too, it's so liberating to make a mess and love it.

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I’m into quilting and crocheting too 😊 it’s wonderful to play will all these different mediums.

Okay you’re convincing me! Might set aside a few minutes a day to play in a sketchbook. I struggle with perfectionism, so that resonates.

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Haha yes, I hope you do get back to sketching, more power to you!!

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Hi all! I’m Kim and I’m working on illustrating and writing picture books. I studied Interior Architecture and worked in residential architecture for years. I then shifted to furniture design for a while before having kids. I’ve also painted and made jewellery.

My kids are still young, and I’m a full time stay at home mum, so my work happens in the cracks. But the goal is to build up my creative business over time. I see it having several facets that feed into my different interests, but focusing on illustration, art and writing.

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Hi Kim, thanks for being here being a stay home mom is truly an amazing gig! And I love the long term thinking of building a business over time across different interests!

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Thanks Adam! Love being here, thanks for gathering this community!

I’m feel very lucky to be a stay at home mum 😊 it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it’s not always my favourite, but I’m so grateful to get to spend this time with my kids.

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Hi Kim! I did the writing while staying at home with the kids thing for years too. It's amazing how much I was able to fit into the cracks, as you call them. I'm really curious how your work in architecture influences your picture book illustration style.

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That’s awesome Rebecca! It is amazing how much can be achieved in the little moments.

That’s a good question! I like to look at the shapes and lines, I think it’s probably influenced my use of white space too.

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I love this Kim! I am a full time mom as well and know how it is to be working an creative practice into the cracks. I can attest to the light at the end of the tunnel though - my youngest turned 13 this year, and my time has expanded hugely. Keep at it! ❤️

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Thanks Sara! I love hearing that 😊 its a long game isn’t it.

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Aug 8, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

Hi I’m Alice, I do children illustrations primarily, and, on the side I also do graphic design!

I'm working very hard to illustrate my first picture book! My insta https://www.instagram.com/musetto_illustrations/ and my website: olloillo.com

Any advice, comment or suggestion is suuuuuper welcome! Thank you!

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Hi Alice, definitely see your hard work! Thanks for being here!

Did you have any specific advice you're looking for?

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Thanks Adam! I admire your work so much. I'm currently doing the mats bootcamp because I feel my characters don't have a strong soul and personality. I want to get better on that and I would like to be more spontaneous and free with my pencil. I love illustrators that don't follow the right proportions or sizes of a body but their characters are full of life! Any advice on this topic? Thanks in advance!

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Are you saying I’m bad at drawing? - LOL, just kidding - Thank you for appreciating my work... This is a great question, I’ve developed a method. The first step is very free energetic drawings, I learned this from Quintin Blake, via the book “Drawing for the artistically undiscovered” , I draw multiple sketches until i get one that has some life in it, sometimes it’s just a fragment of a pose. Step 2: I try to mould that into something like acceptable proportions, the process is part collage, part sculpting and it happens digitally, then I create an outline drawing of this Frankenstein, this becomes a guide to fill shapes and later textures, I finish it up with loose scribbles. It’s an elastic process of being very loose, then very rigid, then loose again. I’ve figured out for myself how to get the spontaneity of a sketch into a final drawing. The other thing I have is an artist statement that i measure my work against “I make witty and energetic illustrations with a comic sensibility” hope it helps a bit. I love your subjects, rendering and concepts... I think what you are looking for is how to put more ‘you’ into the drawing. What I just explained is how I accomplish that, also I write a lot, writing helps!

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Ahahahahah, no man you're def an inspiration! :) Thank you so much for the advice Adam, you got it right, I'm trying to put more ME into my drawing, I'll try to follow your steps and see what happens! Thank you agaiiiiin!!!!

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Hi Alice! I recognize your carrots from the MATS gallery! :) Love your surface pattern designs - such cute characters and a really cohesive color story through your work.

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Aug 11, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

Thank you Jen! Appreciate your comments and I'm glad you can see a cohesive color story through my work, I keep trying new palettes but at the end I always come back to my 10 favourite bold and vintage colours! :) See you in class! (still very behind with Lenny!)

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I just started on the new assignment today, and by started I mean I used it as an excuse to go to the zoo and a ramen shop for research and sketching. :)

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I only did a few sketches!!!! Time flies and I have so many things to do, hopefully this week I'll manage to focus and create something! <3

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Hi My name is Kinga, I work in finance by day and dabble in art and illustration by night. I'm not sure I'd ever want it to be my full main career as I'm rather risk averse and not sure the life of a freelancer is for me. Drawing is one of those pandemic hobbies we were all picking up early early in 2020, except I can't shake mine off and I've been drawing every day. I am also a writer and had some little things published.

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Hey Kinga, I think I know you, sorta, from the ...gram. It's nice to see you over here. Ah, that life of a freelancer. I recently left 13 years sharing corpo with creative and it's been the best decision I've ever made. It takes a confluence of circumstances to overcome that aversion to risk, that's true - and that was my feeling too. I really like the illustrations I've seen. Good luck with it!

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Hi Neil! Nice to see you here too!

Living in London with a toddler and spending all our money on rent and childcare, I'm probably not ready to make a freelance jump just yet! :D But I will be cheering you on!

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Hah! Thank you. Being childless with a partner who owns a flat certainly does make the jump easier. I am certain I wouldn't have been able to without those circumstances, so I understand it. I'm looking forward to see what you do with your newsletter! :)

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Oh, we’re quite similar!! I work in the finance sector too. For a long time I thought I wanted my art to be my main career, but I realised recently that I’m much happier to have it be a side gig. I can follow all my joy without getting bogged down by the risk and the fears and the marketing side of things, which makes me quite anxious!

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Exactly! If it starts bringing some side income at some point, then great, but I don't want to have to rely on it to pay my bills. I don't need that stress and pressure when I'm arting.

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Hey Kinga and Shinjini! I'm so excited to be connected to you both - people have always commented on the oddness of the combination of being an accountant AND an artist/illustrator and I've tried being one or the other, and neither worked for me. I'm hoping to find a way of balancing them both so I can have the flexibility and creativity that I want, but the stability of a more traditional career. I did 'give up the day job' for a while, it was amazing, but also terrifying and not financially sustainable at the time. I'm now looking for ways to balance the two more harmoniously.

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Oh yes, Emily. People often comment on the oddness of this combination. But I think having a somewhat cut-and-dried job just boosts the creativity we have, so we can dabble in many creative things. Do you find that to be the case too?

Btw, I love your illustrations!

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I do, I find the stability it offers allows me to freely experiment and explore creativity without being reliant on any financial gain from it. It’s freeing 💛

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Hi, I’m Claire. I’m an engagement consultant, creative producer, fundraiser, mentor, project manager for the arts and heritage sector. I also teach folks how to stay creative on Substack! ✨

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Hi Claire, I've enjoyed engaging with you here for awhile and more recently on your new Substack! it's a great community for growing substacks and I'm so glad you're doing it... you do it so well!

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Oh thanks!! I’m so genuinely passionate about helping people to share their gifts!

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Hi Claire! I feel like no matter where I go on Substack, there you are! 😆 I’ve really enjoyed diving into your offerings. Cheers!

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Oh thanks!! I don’t “do” any other platforms and I’m in my launch window for Sparkle on Substack... going on hols next week so might disappear into a puff of smoke 😂 xxx

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Hi! I’m Shinjini, I’m an editor by day and an artist, tarot reader and writer by night. I love mixed media art journaling and intuitive painting; I’ve exhibited some of my work at art shows; sold a couple of paintings (mainly to friends); and teach art and tarot courses both online and offline.

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Hi Shinjini, just wanted to say Welcome! and Thank You for being here!

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Thanks, Adam!

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Oh! I feel like we have so much in common! I also work in mixed media (and not mixed), practice intuitive painting, and am an avid art journaler. Happy to have come across you here!

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Oh, how lovely!! Wonderful to meet you!!

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Intuitive painting sounds amazing - do you have classes on that?!

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I’ve had a couple of people ask me for intuitive painting classes, but I’m struggling to put together a proper course outline. There are so many different approaches, and I think I’m just over complicating it all in my mind, as I tend to do!! 🙈

It’s definitely on my list of courses I want to create, though!

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You know Shinijini I had this and that’s why I switched my teaching to masterclasses! I found that people weren’t really finishing my course content anyway... although they kept telling me they loved it. It’s just a big commitment on both sides!

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I was leaning towards the idea of master classes -- but since it’s art, a series of project-based classes, so I can introduce different aspects of intuitive painting and different directions you can go in, without it being a huge massive time (or money) investment. Thanks for nudging me in that direction!

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Yes so my thought is after I’ve delivered 6 of mine now they could sit together in a bundle...

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That’s a great idea! Now I’m eager to jump in and get started!! Planning cap on!!

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Project-based classes are a great idea - you give people a sense of the outcome and they have a finite structure. I created a master class in June and now looking at a sequel for the fall. Makes it easier as a teacher/facilitator too to plan it and get started.

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Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Considering that I myself find it difficult to keep up with long classes, I imagine a lot of people would prefer a master class or shorter format.

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Aug 8, 2023·edited Aug 9, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

I'm building an author career at the moment but I've been writing online since 2010. I used to be an interiors blogger, which included styling and photography, but I've also been a makeup artist, art and design teacher. Hello 👋🤗

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Hello Susan! A great point you made about our creative path being evolution rather than pivots!

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Fascinating spread of creativity there Susan I love it!!

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Thanks Claire! From the outside it looks like many pivots but for me it feels like evolution.

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Oh love this Susan. I think how we grow isn't meant to be linear - when I gave up my employed role (which I've since had no choice but to return to) I felt like I woke up to a whole world of inspiration and ideas and possibilities that I had never considered before.

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Yeah, forward isn't always a straight line!

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Same here! I totally see that!!!

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Hi everyone, I'm S.Pam and whether it is painting or making/building something, I love creating with my hands. I'm currently still a student (about to go into high school) but I aspire to turn it into a full-time job. Anyways thank you so much for reading! I'm so excited to meet other creatives here!🎨

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Hello S.Pam, so happy to have you here! How's school helping with your love for making/building?

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I've been homeschooled for a couple of years now and the free time I have has really helped nurture my love for creating!

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Aug 8, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

Hi, I'm Courtney. I'm the comic artist behind "Not Suitable for Humans" (available on Webtoons). I left the world of professional kitchen work about a year ago to pursue my dream of creating comics and (eventually) graphic novels. Excited to meet so many other creatives!

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Hi Courtney, I love comics as an art form all the best with your pursuit! And thank you for being here!

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Hi Adam, I love that you are engaging the creative community. I work with creative leaders to help them stay focused, prioritize their ideas and bring more of their brilliance to life. I also am revising my first novel. As a hobby, I dabble in several art forms-travel photography, watercolor, acrylic and print-making. I recently launched on Substack and writing my first post.

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Hi Kathy and welcome! All the best with your substack! is what you do a course or like personal coaching? Art as a hobby sounds like such a dream :)

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Thanks Adam! I offer both group and 1-1 mentoring and coaching. I focus my energy on clients, then writing and make time for art when everything else is done. Several years ago I had two shows with another artist. Nothing like a deadline to get things done. I decided to focus on writing but the thrill of creating art is unparalleled.

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Hi! I’m Sara. I’m an abstract painter and creativity mentor. I teach workshops on mindful art and intuitive painting, and I lead an art journaling focused membership program. I paint professionally but find myself riding the fence a bit between totally pro artist and teaching artist. Haven’t quite figured out where I want to be, so why not both until it becomes clear? 😂 I’m also a stay home parent, but since my kids are much older now the scales are tipping to full time art/work. Lovely to see so many creative people here!

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Hi Sara! I love the idea of your workshops, and I think it's great when creative people include teaching as part of their jobs. But I know it's a lot of work! I've done picture book writing workshops and they can be big time drains! The ones I've led have been through SCBWI, but I've considered offering them myself, but haven't taken the plunge yet. I don't know if it's because I've got too much going on or because I'm a little bit chicken. Maybe both!

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Ha! Yes! They can be draining, but so incredibly rewarding. I actually thought I never wanted to teach, but then I was sort of forced into it. That’s when I learned I love connecting with students and watching them light up as they experience the course material. It’s lovely to watch people reacquaint with creativity they may have not been in touch with for a long time.

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Hi Sara, so great to have you here! I love that we can learn direct from artist these days, and I feel it's almost a duty for every artist to teach, it pushes them and brings others along. This is of course just my personal view :)

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Hi Adam! Thank you. I like your personal view. :) it’s definitely taught me so much.

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Wow these work shops sounds great

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Thanks, Jennifer! They’ve been a lovely surprise for me, and I hear such positive feedback from the students. Enjoyable all around!

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I love the sound of everything that you do!!

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Same! ❤️

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Hi, I am Rekha Salin, and I am a Children illustrator working on 3 PBs currently.

I also write an article every month for SCBWI British Isles Magazine Words n Pics. And I do interview an author/illustrator who is an SCBWI BI member for Inspiration from BookShelves. And I am always looking for opportunities to be amongst creatives either co-working, drawing/sketching or simply chatting.

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Hello Rekha, we bump into each other here and there on the internet! And I've appreciated you being a reader and seeing you in the comments! I am looking forward to this being a space for creatives sharing ideas around various topics!

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Lovely to see you here Rekha xxx

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Aug 7, 2023·edited Aug 7, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

Hi I'm Karen and I'm an educator and writer. I'm new to Substack and finding my way around. I'm researching books about ambiverts and highly sensitive people (HSP) for a book I'm writing. Please send any book recommendations or your own personal experience with discovering you're an ambivert or HSP my way!

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Hello and Welcome Karen!

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Hi Karen! I thought I was HSP but I’m actually neurodivergent. ✨

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Same!

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That's really interesting Susan. I'm in the early days of my research, so this is going to broaden my reading!

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There's a definite path of discovery which seems to begin with HSP. I've a post on being neurodiverse on my substack. It's not massively in depth, more of a resource list, but you might find it useful.

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I'll take a look. Thanks Susan. I love a good resource list.

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How interesting. This is new territory for me, so any books you've found helpful, please let me know. I'm only jus reading about HSP as a result of discovering Sensitive, a new book co-written by Jenn Granneman.

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Have you listened to any of Katherine May's podcasts?

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No - I haven't, but it's going on my list. Is this the right one? https://katherinemay.substack.com/t/how-we-live-now-podcast

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Aug 8, 2023·edited Aug 8, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

Hi! I’m Jen Gubicza (rhymes with pizza), and I was a graphic designer & creative director, but now I primarily make humorous stuffed animal faux taxidermy, and on the side I’m also an author, illustrator and D&D player.

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Hi Jen, I'm thinking carefully about which piece of faux taxidermy to get from you! And I feel so privileged to watch your stories grow, I love all the creative things you do so much! you are such a potent creative force of nature! But the question on everyone's mind is what character do you play in D&D and is it always the same one and (maybe it's just me who wants to know, but I really really wanna know :)

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Adam I highly recommend the Axolotl, it makes the perfect studio companion :)

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haha! Well, I’ve tried out almost every class at some point, but my favorite characters to play have been bards and rogues. I had a halfling rogue character named Fergle Davis who was named after someone’s pet pig who was named after a music producer. Fergle battled raccoons in the dumpster over day old pastries. She had plenty of money to buy them fresh, but outsmarting the raccoons was more of a challenge. She hid her most valuable treasures in boobytrapped bakery boxes and buried them all over the kingdom. Currently I’m playing an ghostly alligator bard who plays her own scales and a set of bone windchimes and tells ghost stories to inspire her adventuring party. And, if you ever narrow down which taxidermy you want, we can do an art trade sometime! I feel lucky to be able to follow your journey for the past couple of years as well!

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Hello! 👋😺 I’m Beth. I love drawing animals and people of all varieties. My college degree is in journalism, but somehow I ended up in web design, then worked in an animal shelter, and now I’m working on a picture book that’ll be published in 2025. I also host drawing sessions via my Substack, Introvert Drawing Club. 😄

I enjoyed reading everyone’s intros! This is a lovely community you’ve cultivated, Adam! Thank you! 😄

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Hi Beth, thank you for being here I've really appreciated it! I'm excited about your picture book! looking forward to the next time i'm in your drawing club, and I definitely recommend it to EVERYONE!

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Hi Beth, fellow introvert here! Love the sound of your Introvert Drawing Club. :)

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Hi Gaynor! I'm happy to hear it! All are welcome! 😄

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Ooh introvert drawing club sounds right up my alley

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Hi, I'm Juliana. I'm a children's book illustrator. I studied architecture, and have been trying to make a living from illustration for quite a while. Sometimes I think I'm nearly there. Right now, I'm represented by a fabulous agent, and we're working really hard for me to be published in the US. It's been like doing a PhD on children's literature! I'm finishing a book. Let's hope is my break through!

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Hello and welcome Juliana! I'm wishing you breakthrough. Do you find there are similarities between architecture and making picture books?

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Hi Adam! Thank you for doing this, it's a great way to connect!

That's a hard question! Right now, both trades seem so different to me! Plus, I haven't worked as an architect for so long, I'm not sure I remember much! I think both have drawing as a way of communicating. In architecture, we use it to show the building and its technical details. In picture books, we tell a story through images. That has a whole set of rules that meant a steap learning curve for me!

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Good luck with your book Juliana x

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Hey all! RA Friedman, boldly unpopular fine artist and educator in Philadelphia, PA, USA, exploring the poetic niche between tradition and post-modernism.

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Hi RA Friedman, thank you for being here! Poetic niche indeed!

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Hi I'm Adam, I've been illustrating Children's books for the past couple of years, and on the side I do a wee bit of other illustration work. And I write this thing.

I'm trying to work some writing time into my schedule so I can write my own picture books too.

It's so nice to see everyone connecting, and to 'meet' some of you for the first time. Thank you so much for being here! I'll be opening up threads like this every so often so we can talk about all things creative career related!

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Hi Adam, this is a great idea! It's amazing to see how your illustration journey is evolving since those early days in MATS classes. :)

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Thanks Gaynor, it is going well, though there are challenges, writing about my journey daily since the beginning has been so helpful in giving my clarity and focus!

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I congratulate you in sticking with it...I'm procrastinating about my first post!! :)

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Hi Adam and other readers! I’m Janneke and I’m an writer, illustrator and textile artist from The Netherlands. My four-legged friends Brom, Mies, Rinde and Mitje are my biggest inspiration. I’m currently working on a children’s picture book and lots of textile pieces! ❤️ By day, I work as both a part time communications manager for a nature conservation organisation and an freelance journalist, photographer & photo editor. You might notice I wear lots of different hats, but I honestly feel very blessed to be able to show my creativity in so many different ways! ☺️

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Hi Janneke, Thanks for being here, I noticed so many of us have so many creative hats, maybe that's the nature of creativity, I like that you see it as a blessing to show creativity in different ways, I've never thought of it that way before!

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Definitely! At this point I couldn’t really imagine my life differently: I don’t really know where I’d be if I had a job where no creative thinking (and doing) would be required. 😋

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Hi Adam, I'm two days away from not even being 60 anymore...I had a decent career in corporate finance in London and the North of England, and for twenty years now I have sat as a Non-exec on boards in the not for profit sector, NHS and education. But about ten years ago I got engrossed in a project researching an unknown Victorian artist which led me to write a book. When I couldn't get it published, but knew I wanted to keep writing, I went back to college to do an MA and start a new project. The amazing news is that led to me winning a prize, finding an agent, then a publisher, and my book, Literature for the People, comes out next May. And meanwhile here I am loving Substack and practising and improving my writing skills everyday while I gear up for another project. Thank you for asking. Never too late!

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Hi Sarah, so inspiring! Congratulations on your book!

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Thank you! I'm also just a single figure number away from a very nice round number of subscribers...anyone fancy giving me a FREE birthday present?!!

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Yay Sarah! I love this ! I have just started with my art in the last ten years , and I think doing something that you love as you grow a bit older and recreating yourself is very exciting and amazing . You have done it on a vary inspiring level . Congrats on all your achievements and here’s to many more !

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Hi Sarah, congratulations on the book deal! It goes to show, never give up. Also, Happy Birthday! :)

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Hi, I'm Garrett! My day job is in content design, but I aspire to be a full-time writer (novels, creative nonfiction, screenplays, children's books), and have been working at it for nearly 15 years now.

Also, I love photography. Very, very new to it, but my 3yo gives me plenty of moments I want to capture.

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Nice to meet you Garrett!

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Such a great idea Adam! I am Jen, I am a full time children's book illustrator (you can find me here https://www.instagram.com/jen_jamieson/) and in a previous life I was a freelance graphic designer. As a designer I found I loved working on novelty projects or stuff for kids, but I always felt like design clients expected me to change to suit their brief, rather than coming to me because they love my style. So in lockdown I decided I wanted to try and find an illustration style that suited me and might get me the sort of work I wanted. I met a wonderful online community of other aspiring artists and it's been so great to all grow together and be able to follow each other's journeys. Thanks again for using your platform and helping so many interesting people connect Adam.

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You’re living the dream Jen! People are always asking if they should have a style or be flexible, I love the decision you’ve made and I love your style... and I love it in a way I’ve never loved other art before, normally my reaction to when I love and artist work is to want to emulate it, but yours, I just want to enjoy it! I think your style makes me feel like a kid, that’s the spell it has on me:)

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Wow Adam thanks so much for your kind words. I think with style, whether it is rigid or flexible, its more about having ownership and people coming to you because they trust you and your delivery, rather than showing you a bunch of references from other artists and them dictating what they want from you. Does that make sense? Anyway I think you have achieved this brilliantly and its a joy to watch your journey and hear you reflect on it in this space.x

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That makes so much sense, it’s about attitude, self belief and the ability to deliver at a high standard

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Hi Jennifer, it's great seeing so many familiar faces here. Adam is doing a great job bringing people together. :)

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Hi! I'm Katie and I am an illustrator for children's books and greeting cards. On the side I'm also a museum educator! Any other teachers here?! I taught in a school for about a decade before venturing in the kid lit world.

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Hello Katie! Thanks for being a reader since the beginning. The surprising thing I've noticed this week is how so many creatives express their creativity in different ways, we often say we one to do one thing, but I suspect we don't actually do! Thank you for being here, and shout out to your drawing meetup which I also highly recommend!

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Hi I’m Terry. I am a Jazzercise instructor primarily, and on the side, I am the voice of the CYBILS Awards social media and writer for our blog.

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Hi Terry! It's nice to finally put a name to the LOGO!

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You are most welcome. Truly love the way you push me to think creatively, Adam!!

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