Fueling My Mojo–Doodling

In my effort to be a more effective Illustrator and Graphic Designer, I’m brushing up my doodling skills. Most of my designs tend to feature abstract whimsical geometrics. I really enjoy those, but I’d like to develop my skills to include other motifs. Seriously, don’t laugh at my sketches…

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I generally prefer to use media where my mistakes can easily be erased, i.e computer sketching. If I mess up a line I can just ctrl +z out of it and redo it. Not so with hand drawing. This intimidates a lot of would-be drawers, because after all, you are forced to look at your mistakes. Because of this I end up starting my design on computer a lot of the time.

While effective, the computer is only a tool to carry out your ideas. It is not a replacement for skill. The  drawback with drawing exclusively on the computer is that you don’t really get to think through your design, which usually leads to wasting  a lot of time in front of the computer without having anything to show for it. At least if you sketch the old fashioned way, you may have a lot of goof-ups, but you also end up with a body of work for your time, and one of those goof-ups may have a kernel of a good idea that can be developed and refined.

So I’m facing my fears. I’m starting out with recipes (like cooking, no?)

Most people who don’t make a practice of drawing generally take one look at a finished drawing and decide that they can’t do it. The idea behind recipes is to break up each drawing into short, sweet, do-able components.  Like So:

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from the book: “Craft-a-Doodle” by Jenny Doh.

You might initially take a look at the final Owl drawing and feel like you could never draw that. But if you can break it down to small lines and shapes (what I call small victories) the next thing you know, you’ve drawn a sweet little owl.

Here’s my rendition, in my signature imperfect style

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The point of the exercises is of course not to just copy, but to develop your own unique style after you learn how to build basic shapes. Even though I followed the recipe, my drawing does not look like the example, though it looks like an owl. It looks like an owl that Yetunde  (and nobody else) drew.

So, I encourage you to bring out your inner illustrator. Everyone can draw, you just need practice.

Here are the books I’m using:

“Craft-a-Doodle – 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists” By Jenny Doh
”Zen Doodling” by Carolyn Scrace
”Creative Lettering, Techniques & Tips from Top Artists” by Jenny Doh

If you draw something, I’d love to see it!

Midsummer 2014 and a quick project

I hope your summer has been going well…

It’s been all rain, rain and more rain in my neck of the woods. So much for lazy days spent at the pool or the park. I must confess, I secretly love the not-sticky-icky-muggy summer we’re having. If the weather could be like this year round, that would be perfecto! We did have a few moments of the sun peeking through…like this picture perfect day last week when we met up with some long lost friends…

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And this day, when I took my cute bike out for a spin with my DIY bike basket…

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Although I’ve been light on projects, I did a few small things around la casa… I hope to show more of those later when they actually get completed. The best projects often happen by serendipity, like this one, which my FB & IG folks seemed to really get a kick out of:

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Putting curtains in that doorway is something I’ve thought about on and off for the past couple of years. I never actually did it until I need to block sun glare while making an upcoming video. I put the curtains up and I loved it! So, I didn’t actually use curtains, I used Knoppa twin flat sheets from ikea that I’ve repurposed over and over. I didn’t actually put up a rod (although I plan to in the future) I just tacked them up with thumbacks. I especially love the look of the tie-backs.  I used some strips of leather cording that I already had. So as you can see, adding some drama and flair doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

I’ve been light on projects because I’ve been focusing on the AfroMartha Studio upcoming workshops! The next one is coming up on August 1st, so if you’re in the Dayton Ohio area, make sure to come! Get your tickets here.

So I hope your summer is going well. I’d love to hear all about it!

On Being Kind to One’s Self…

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“Be Kind to yourself,” said my Interior Design professor, regarding overcomplicating my first project of the semester. That saying stuck in my head like a whisper. It was there to remind me every time I would disappear into the rabbit-hole that is sometimes my mind.

“Be Kind to yourself” I would hear in the back of my mind, as I was racing out of the house to run yet another series of errands after having only 3 hours of restless sleep the night before.

Each and every time, I would bat that thought aside. ‘Ain’t nobody got for that!’ I would counter, thinking about all that I (thought) I had to do that day. I thought relaxation and self-care was just for women of leisure.

Why is it that we wear busy-ness as a badge of honor?

Why do we race from place to place, cramming way to much into our way-too-busy lives, yet feeling guilty for not doing more? Why do we feel guilty for taking time to rest and relax?

These are questions that I’ve been pondering in the last few weeks. This has come on the heels of me being diagnosed with Anemia and High Blood Pressure and being dehydrated.

Last week I made myself do something that terrifies me.  I actually went to see a doctor for a check-up. I’ve always been pretty healthy.  Up until about 8 years ago, I took my relative good health for granted. I looked forward to going to the doctor because I just knew there was no cause for alarm. But as I’ve gotten older, and actually developed the kind of scars that come from living life, I’ve gotten to be terrified of any kind of check up.

Why? Because finding something wrong means I now have to change my life. I must now tend to what is wrong. I will no longer be able to flit about, following my impulses. In short, life will no longer be normal.

Yes, I’m well aware that finding something early means a better chance of successful treatment. But nonetheless I was terrified of going to the doctor.

So I ignored the dip in energy levels…the climbing blood pressure readings…the persistent itchy rashes…the worrisome headaches…the muscle spasms in my neck…My husband telling me I don’t get enough rest, and that that I do too much unnecessary running around.

Then 3 weeks ago I got what I can only assume was the flu. And I was knocked flat on my ass.   I could do nothing but lay on the couch and feel like death. I binge watched my Hulu queue, listened to some audio books, coughed and sneezed. A lot.  Heck, I’m still coughing and sneezing…

Where was I racing to all the time? Apparently to a stroke or heart attack.

Why did I feel pressure to do so much all the time?

Why do I let guilt force me to try to be EVERTYTHING to EVERYONE, EVERYTIME?

That’s what I’m trying to figure out and correct.  So now I’m re-evaluating the path I’ve been on, trying to control what I can, and manage what I can’t.

What about you? Are you being Kind to Yourself?

A Few Updates

Hello Friends! So, this weeks marks the beginning of my 4th week of school. Yes, I finally took the plunge, and I’m now an Interior Design student at my local community college. I am beyond excited to learn all the technical nitty-gritty details of properly designing a room. My program, though a 2 year program is rigorous and demanding. Curiously, the courses I’m currently enrolled in are making me a better Graphic Designer as well as preparing me to design rooms. I have been joking that my Graphic Design Bachelor’s program just gave me the paper (and what an expensive paper it was!), but my Interior Design Associates gave me the TRUE design skills. A few weeks into the program, and I already feel that this is one of the best decisions I’ve made in life.

My workspace and a print I designed and made for class.

My workspace featuring a print I designed and made for class.

So, yes, I’m loving it, but as I mentioned, it is very demanding! I am enrolled in 3 studio classes and 1 lecture class. I work part time (from home, yay!) and I’m keeping up the blog and shop. Oh yeah, there’s also a matter of some kids and husband and home to tend to, so, ya, I’m busy. But that’s not to say I will be neglecting my readers. I won’t have nearly as much time for big posts, but I will be in touch. Sometimes I have an idea that suddenly occurs to me that people might want to find out about…could be a meal I’ve prepared, a decor or storage hack, or what have you. When I do get the idea out, it’s usually been ending up on my Instagram feed, but they deserve to be on the blog as well. I have now found a way to direct them here. In fact you may have already been bombarded with some posts. I’m sorry if I cluttered up your inbox…I’m still tweaking the program. Hopefully soon I will be able to condense my posts into one daily digest-type post instead of a series of small posts.

another one of my pieces for class.

another one of my pieces for class.

I think this is a win because it gets the idea out there quickly and effectively without having to wait for an opportunity for a full-blown post. Plus, you readers are a smart bunch. You don’t always need a step-by-step tutorial, but I won’t hesitate to provide one if needed. So, with that said, you will be hearing from me, more frequently in shorter bursts, which will hopefully lead to better ideas. Thank you f0r reading!

Mama’s Day 2013

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mother’s out there! I hope your day was full of love, laugher and *ahem* rest. If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t relax for too long…

I got to work on some projects that I will be posting shortly (wheee!) and tried really hard not to run away from home to my local Ikea for a little light window shopping.

All in all, it was a wonderful day.

My older son (pictured above on the left) presented me with a handmade greeting card.

But wait, this wasn’t just any handmade card, this was an Olu original, limited edition, epic novel called “The adventures of Builder M.”

It depicts a superheroine who happens to be a mom, whose superpower is fixing things with her super-power tools!

Got  that? My kid thinks I have super-powers!

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What I love the most about this?

That children pay attention.

They really see you,  sometimes even better than you see yourself.

Sometimes it’s easy to believe that your children don’t know or appreciate all that you do. This is a reminder that they do, and they do.

The babies are the greatest.

Play the video below to see the rest of my son’s artistic stylings.

A superheroine named Mom whose super power is fixing things. Yup, That’s me!

Spring Has Sprung.

Spring has been my favorite season since the summer of 2003. Up until that point summer had my unending devotion. I suppose being pregnant THE ENTIRE SUMMER had a little something to do with that. Now I simply can’t take the heat and humidity of the summer. Spring though? We’ve become BFFs. I feel renewed and optimistic, which is a feeling I wholeheartedly welcome after the past year I’ve had.

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In an effort to conserve our gas consumption, I’ve been riding the bus to work in the morning. I must say at first i was a bit nervous, but its been rather pleasant. It’s amazing what you miss when you drive everywhere. Things like when you notice that a building has been torn down. A building you have zoomed past a million times, too harried and rushed on your way to your next what-ever. But now you can not, for the life of you remember what that building was

I love being downtown watching all the people shuttling around trying to get to work/school/what-have-you. And the people watching…oh the people watching!

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The beautiful spring weather has also caused me spend all my work breaks walking the parking lot , which is where I took these gorgeous shots.

It’s been so lovely being outside in the sunny-cool-crisp morning that I’m already wistfully stashing the memories for when its hot and sticky. Or worse yet, cold and snowy.

It is then that I have to tell myself to slow down. Enjoy the moment while it is still here.

So how about you? What is your favorite thing about spring? What have you done differently lately?

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In Memoriam…

jibiTwo weeks ago my Aunt passed away after a long battle with a reoccurrence of breast cancer.

She was not just some random Aunt.

Despite the fact that she was only 14 years older than me, she was my mother-figure of sorts. She helped raise me since I was 13 years old, 4 years after my own mother unexpectedly and tragically passed away. She was my Mother’s youngest and closest sister. In a way I resumed that role with her in my adult years.

It was with her, along with my father and brother, that I arrived in Morgantown West Virginia from Nigeria in 1985. For most of my life she was my only link to home (at least as it related to being a Naija woman)

It was exactly 3 years ago during one of my many visits to her home in southern California that I created AfroMartha. It was there in the guest room of her sprawling estate that I introduced myself to the world for the first time on this blog.

Like most family relationships, ours was a complicated one. In spite of the ups and down, we were close. Whenever either one of us was in a position to help the other, we never hesitated, not even for a second. In recent years, our relationship really solidified as an adult to adult relationship.

Although I was not able to be present at the last moment, I was able to spend time with her just 2 weeks before she passed away. The unfortunate occasion became a reunion with my long lost cousins from as far away as London. We reminisced about old times, and even broke out some Yoruba hymn books and sang long forgotten songs. We skyped to London and Nigeria with relatives who could not be present, but wished to be a part of it all, even if just one last time. Those moments are precious to me and I will never bee replaced.

No matter how prepared you are for that moment when you get the phone call, it is still surreal.
On April 17, 2013, 1 month after her 55th birthday, and 32 years and 7 days after my Mother, my beloved Aunt departed this world.
She fought long, and she fought hard, even to the bitter end. I believe she made it that far just by the sheer force of the will of her indomitable spirit. As with any challenge she faced, she was not backing down. She simply ran out of steam, and in the end, she was simply taken.

She leaves behind her sweet and wonderful husband of 20 years and 2 lovely daughters.

Although she was gone from us way too soon, I am happy she is no longer suffering and has moved on to a better place. I will continue to miss her.

Rest well, Auntie.