As we leave 2016 and look at the beginning of 2017, I have been thinking about some of the creative blessings I experienced this year. While the year was filled with ups and downs personally, I really enjoyed teaching, learing about and creating art. Take a look at some of my favorite experiences from 2016.
I started the year by meeting some beautiful people at a MLK celebration that I participated in. We also published a new art resource featuring outstanding African-American visual artists.
While we facilitated some fun paint parties in the spring, one of the highlights of spring was meeting and hosting award winning illustrator, Vanessa Brantley-Newton at our school. She is a phenomenal artist and presenter.
During the month of May we released Jamilah Loves To Talk About Art and had a fun book signing party to celebrate the book.
I was excited to go home during the summer to visit my family and friends. It was also a working trip in which I hosted several art events, including a book signing party and an art workshop.
As the year progressed and fall rolled around, I continued to host paint parties and began teaching part-time at a new school.
We also published a new coloring book and had an intimate coloring party with some of my favorite friends to celebrate the release.
As we approched the end of the year, I participated in some fun art pop-up shops, attended some fantastic art exhibits and created new art products. One of the most exciting things that happened was, that I got to see beautiful art at the Museo De Arte in San Juan Puerto Rico. I am so grateful for the new people I met and places I went this year. I look forward to greater things in 2017. Have a blessed and prosperous New Year!
Recently, we celebrated the release of my latest art education resource entitled, Jamilah Loves To Talk About Art. While the party was a great experience, getting to that point was hard. I decided to write the story after taking a part-time art teaching position at a local school. Being in a school setting is inspiring and helps me to develop art education resources that I share on my other website.
After using many other children's books to enhance the art lessons we present at school, I thought that I could use the same medium to introduce young people to artists they may have never learned about or heard of. Easy peasy, right! Wrong!!!
Writing the story was pretty simple because I already had the main character and a list of artists in mind that I wanted to talk about in the story. But creating the art for the story was a whole different animal. This book is the first story I have ever illustrated and shared with the public. Even though I am a professional artist and art educator, I did not realize how hard creating the illustrations for the story would be.
I experimented with various media, did tons of revisions for each drawing and edited them on the computer a dozen times. My hands and wrists would ache at the end of each day. Once I had a mock up ready to print, I had to go through at least 7 different revisions with the printing company before I finally settled on the version of the book currently for sale.
It took me approximately 8 months from start to finish to complete this book. Even though doing the art was challenging, overcoming self-doubt was the biggest challenge. There were so many times when I wanted to quit, but thankfully had lots of support and encouragement from my husband and friends. I also did a lot of praying in which I received strength from God to help me finish. I am so glad that I finally finished this book and now it's time to take a break!