Hello from Boston, Massachusetts! My name is Christina Yee. Wow, let me just start by saying how thrilled I was when Charlie from Doodlewash contacted me about being a featured guest artist. And how much my heart sank when I realized I have to write about myself. All of a sudden, I am feeling mute. I’m at the beginning of my art journey and I really feel like I have nothing exciting to write about. And then I realized, this was exactly where I was one year ago.
After a few months of doodling around with my watercolors, my husband mentioned casually that my work is good, and maybe I should post it on social media. I thought, what a great idea and maybe I can even make money doing what I am passionate about. That would be amazing! Then that feeling of dread dawned on me. I would need to let people know that I can draw and paint. This would mean that I have to show other people what I do so they can see that I can actually draw and paint. I was paralyzed.
I was so afraid of what others would think or say, when they see my art. Or worse, I was afraid that if I posted online, it would be met with crickets. I procrastinated for months. I know I’ve overcome difficult challenges before, but this one was especially hard to get past. This was very, very personal. Art has been my passion all my life.
I had turned to art for stress relief. It was my little piece of heaven. It was me. If I showed my work off and the response was negative, I knew it would shatter me. But I had bigger goals for my art, and for myself. I needed to take this little step (albeit big in my mind) so I can then take the next step and move forward. I needed to do this.
I’ve always said to my kids that anxiety is caused most often by a feeling of not being prepared. So I finally took a dose of my own medicine and worked on breaking down those barriers. Over the next couple of months, I built up my network of supporters. I shared my art with them, and asked for feedback. Little by little, my anxiety calmed and my confidence grew.
I also gave myself a due date: January 7, 2019. School vacation week would be over, the kids would be back in school and I would have time once again for myself. When that time comes, I would share my art “to the world!”. It does not need to be “perfect”, I just need to do it.
January 7, 2019 came. I posted a quick sketch I did of a tiger along with the progress pictures to my Facebook page. It was met with such an amazing response. I would check it every hour (ok, maybe a few times more frequently than that) and there would always be more likes and more comments. The feedback was so overwhelmingly positive that I couldn’t even remember what I was stressing about. I was already thinking about what to share next.
These days, I still fret over my content but I no longer have anxiety over my artwork. I still have my network of supporters, but I’ve also started to work on building up a community of like-minded art friends and supporters online. I do my best to do some sort of art everyday and I try to hold myself accountable by posting as often as I can.
Time is my biggest challenge as my family comes first, and oftentimes, that takes up the bulk of the day. So I do what I can to squeeze in time for a quick sketch. I usually pack a little travel kit with me so that should I find myself with a few extra minutes, I can take advantage of it. I have two travel kits prepared: one for pencil drawing and one for watercolor painting.
For pencil drawing, I have:
- Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting pencil, 0.3mm (2B)
- Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical Pencil, 0.5mm (4B)
- Faber-Castell pencils (2B, 4B, 6B) (I love my mechanical pencils but nothing beats a real pencil.)
- Blending stick
- Artist kneaded erasers
- Faber-Castell Grip Trio Pencil Sharpener (sharpens beautifully and holds your shavings so you don’t have a messy car!)
- Strathmore 400 Series Drawing paper
For watercolor painting, I have:
- Derwent Art Supplies Waterbrush (this brand is living up to its reputation so far. the body of the brush holds the water so you don’t need a separate holder for water; and best of all, these brushes don’t drip!)
- My own custom paint pans
- Paper towel
- Winsor & Newton watercolour aquarelle paper (5×7)
- Field Artist watercolor notebook (5×5)
- Hahnemühle Watercolour Book (A5)
I try to have a subject ready so I don’t sit there thinking about what to draw. I usually reference the many photos on my phone that I’ve taken that I thought would make for a good drawing or painting. For the past few months or so, I’ve chanced upon these art challenges that gives you a daily prompt and that helps tremendously when you have a mind block. The Doodlewash monthly challenge is one that I had been following along with the longest and one that I find the community to be most engaging and supportive.
For my bigger projects, like commission works, I reserve those mostly for work at night when the house is winding down for bed. I would turn on my audiobooks or podcasts and put in some uninterrupted time. My good old favorite supplies for these are Arches 140lb paper, Winsor & Newton 140lbs cold pressed watercolor paper, Silver Brush Limited – Susan Louise Moyer Basic, and Mijello Mission Gold Class.
And that’s it. That’s my story. I made it to the end! And now I’m ready to take my next step. Thank you for reading. And if you see yourself in my story, remember to jot down what it is that you’re afraid of and then come up with ideas on what you would need to do for you to overcome that fear. It doesn’t need to be perfect. You just need enough to take that step.Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in