The challenge has started

[Featured image is my drawing and painting from days 2&3 from the daily challenge! Check out my Instagram for more detail on this image!]

I decided this year to make a resolution to challenge me to become a better artist. I am to draw everyday, nothing too elaborate and time consuming but a good sketch that I spend at least an hour on everyday. The goal of this has many angles to it. I want to become a better artist, I want to make sure I spend at least an hour everyday to myself doing something I enjoy, to show my kids that mommy has more ambitions than a clean house, to make my art into more than just a hobby, etc. The list really does go on because there are so many positives to taking on a 365 day drawing challenge, but I won’t bore you with every detail.

If you want to see the pictures, I post them everyday on Instagram and Facebook! I have also updated my Patreon rewards to include discount codes, tutorials, fan art, original prints, stickers and more! The rewards are for those who want to get to know me as an artist better, help the aspiring artist or just want to show their support! Make sure you check it out and spread the word to your friends!

Take a look at the menu on my site and you’ll notice more categories such as blog post, free coloring pages and a shop! The shop has my links for my coloring books and to a new account on Threadless where my designs can be printed on blankets, shirts and bags! I will add a new design every month so don’t forget to check back!

There are a lot of good things happening this year and I am to share it with you!

 

The most nostalgic Christmas

Today is the last day of 2016. Some of you are reflecting on the year and feeling many emotions over it. Maybe it was really successful and you accomplished more than you expected and maybe you didn’t realize the year was ending and wished you had more time. You may also not care at all about the fact that a new year is approaching because its just another way for you to spend all of January (or the first half of 2017) accidently writing 2016 on everything. Whatever your feeling may be on the subject, I will still tell you happy New Years Eve and I hope 2017 is a great year for you.

I typically spent New Years thinking about all the good things that happened to me or the lessons I had to learn, with either life or general knowledge, and talk about them with others and listen to their stories as well. But as I reflected on 2016 there is one thing that holds my heart more than anything.

When I was a kid I lost most of my childhood toys. Under very sad circumstances, I was left with just a few things to show my kids that I had from growing up. Not every toy had a special meaning but a few did and unfortunately, those were the few I would never see again. I would tell stories about them a lot to my kids and husband and they thought they were so cool, because they were! A couple of those was a Tuggabows doll I would call ‘Big Head’ because when I was little, she was so big and had a very heavy head that was covered in yarn hair, and an orange towel like blanket that folded in the middle into a pillow and zipped up. The blanket had a flower embroidered on it with the word flower underneath it. A Japanese girl scout who spoke very little English gave it to me and also took me out for a day to see what the Japanese culture was like with her family.

Yeah, I told you they were cool. So this year, during our many Christmas’s at multiple families homes, my husband decided to give me my presents before we got back home. We were at his parent’s house and it was pure chaos. There were 18 of us there with only 17 unwrapping gifts (the 18th was still sleeping and growing in my sister in law’s belly! (;  ) and my husband hands me two big bags and says, ‘Here’. I knew he had been up something and he isn’t a mushy romantic, he’s more like an awkward romantic, it’s really cute. So after he hands me the bag, he steps back and watches me open the gifts. I pulled out a pillow that had a sunflower print all over it and realized it unfolded from the pouch into an orange blanket. I stood stunned and looked at him and my eyes started to water. Before I could say anything else he pointed to the other bag that had a Lalaloopsy doll with a head full of yarn hair. I smiled and laughed to myself and had to hug him. He had no idea what he was looking for when he was buying me those things but he wanted to do something for my old childhood self. And I can tell you now, she was very happy!

When I think of 2016 and my accomplishments, hardships, lessons learned, and fun times had, I am happy to be where I am now. But those few minutes over Christmas when I was standing in a living room that wasn’t my own, mother of 5 children, holding a doll and blanket that my husband bought for me, I felt blessed and elated. It was truly the best Christmas I had ever had.

Are you done wiping your eyes? Because I still tear up when I think about this and it was almost a whole week ago when it happened! But that’s what floods my memories and heart when I spend time reflecting on 2016. I am truly grateful for other things, my kids scoring high academically, publishing 2 coloring books, starting a blog, getting a novel half written, spending time with my husband, expanding  my art career and so much more. There were a lot of hardships also, but the way I handle those times are to remember the good that came from it and move forward. That wasn’t always easy but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have so many things to be grateful for.

I am glad about 2016 and am excited for 2017! What makes it better, is that my followers, supporters and patrons from Patreon, are here by my side! I can’t thank you guys enough for your encouragement and helping make all of this possible. I could just be sending words and pictures into the abyss of the internet, but you decided to stick around with me for my art and writing journey and that’s just amazing!

I hope you have a fun and safe evening bringing in the new year and as my husband would say “Happy New Year where the cubs won the world series since 1908″……..so there ya go! He’s always been a die hard fan!

Thank you all for being you! Happy New Year!

 

Want to have tips and tutorials to help you become a better artist? Or maybe you want a print every month of one of my art pieces? Come by my Patreon page and check out all the reward tiers or just make a donation, that is always appreciated!

Don’t forget to check out my coloring books that are still available on Amazon! Fun for Hours and Stressed Out!

 

 

So….where is Nell?

If you remember, a few posts back I wrote about a woman named Nell whose husband was ordered out of the house by a group of men from the military because the second civil war had finally broke out. She was distraught, helpless and confused. She couldn’t figure out what to do but knew that if she were to stay where she lived, she would die.

I got a great response and I had a few people say that they are ready for more! I even managed to get my husband excited about it, which may not be a big deal, but he prefers non fiction, sports and religious books. So for someone like him to like a story, it really needs to capture his attention. And to some writers, the interest of a few followers and a spouse isn’t something to get excited about. For me, it’s huge. I have taken the leap into sharing my stories and there are people who appreciate it. So I am going to keep following those dreams and turning them into goals!

So what is going on with Nell?

We left her driving away from the bomb that just detonated in her neighborhood and now has to find her way to the Midwest where the detachments are. At a security stop she ends with a man named Howard in her car and he basically takes over the talking to all the officers so no one suspects anything from either one of them. While they are driving on the highway, Nell notices that all the highway signs are painted four different colors, each representing one section of the country where everyone must go according to their political or wealth. Nell and Howard are headed to the Midwest to join the rest of the detachments, those who don’t have a preference of either political side.

The highway runs relatively smoothly but on occasion there is a rush of cars from one exit because of another explosion in another town. One point there are helicopters that will pick people up from cars that have been pulled over. Howard says they are being arrested, but Nell isn’t convinced of that. She still believes that any side of the government holds any power that high. Howard is constantly telling her that she is naïve and gullible and gives her the nickname ‘Gully’. To no one’s surprise, Nell doesn’t like that nick name and isn’t very fond of Howard.

 

Well that’s pretty much all I am going to write. At the advice of some friends and my husband, I need to turn this into a book. Fortunately, I have so much of it written that not only is it turning itself into a book that people are interested in reading, there is a way to make it into a series! I will be posting updates on the book and of Nell throughout my blog so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

In the illustration: It’s Nell and Howard. I didn’t want to have them in the car like most of their dialogue is upon their first meeting, so I went with her closer to the front and him in the background. I like the red pencil and ink. It was actually an accident when I found that technique. I was sketching ideas for another YouTube video and stumbled across it. Thoughts?

What do you think of Nell’s situation so far? What would you do?

Self Promoting Journey (plus TIPS!)

(Does anyone know where the image reference is from? I love that meme so I when I thought of this post, I figured that would be a good drawing! Share this with your friends to see if they get the reference)

On November 11th I made a pact with myself that I would promote my blog, channel, Instagram, facebook, coloring books, writing, nearly everything I have been working on at home for at least 20 minutes a day for a whole year. Not only is this a great challenge for me, but its a way for me to get in the habit of staying on top of my work from home.

I can say that for the last 3 weeks, I have been successful in building a bigger audience and making a little more money in my sales. I still have a long way to go, but I want to go ahead and give you a run down of what I have done and hopefully, if you are trying to find ways to build your business and marketing, then these tips can help. Or maybe they can encourage you to keep moving forward with your business and to know that your hard work will pay off (one day).

First my Instagram grew by over 100 followers. I was tempted to use those apps that allow you to like or follow other people and they do the same with your account. Seemed simple enough. But the thing is with those apps and programs, they aren’t genuine. Nobody actually cares about what you are putting out there or what you are selling. So how are those numbers mattering in any way? They don’t. If you want just numbers, then go for it. I heard it really works and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. But to make money, you’ll need more than just numbers.

Since my Instagram is artwork and business related, I needed to network like a business, not a machine. I utilized hashtags all related to my artwork. If my drawing had a girl with blue hair, I would use #art #bluehair #blue, etc. Why? Because its all related to my picture in some way and like I have said before, there is an audience for everything out there. Then I would click on the hashtags that I used and go through other people’s post with the same. I would like and comment on pictures I actually liked or I would mention my artwork. I kept doing this and eventually I had people following and liking my posts.

My blog and YouTube grew by 10- 15 followers each in 3 weeks. To me, that’s huge. I applied the same method I did to Instagram to my blog and YouTube channel. Networking on these two platforms take more time and brain power honestly. I don’t like to just click ‘like’ on everything I come across or comment with ‘Nice’ ‘Interesting’ ‘Way to go’, because I want to show that I care about what other people are saying and doing. So honestly, if I don’t have the actual time or energy to invest into reading blogs and watching videos, then I just stick with Instagram.

Growing a good audience on a blog or a YouTube channel is really competitive now a days. Literally anyone that has a computer can do either of these two and post whatever they like. I make art videos and you know how many other artists are out there that are doing the exact same thing? A lot. So many great artists and we are all fighting to share our work with everyone. Same thing with a blog. Anyone can just write about how they feel on the internet and click post. But how does that relate to an audience? Who are you targeting? What’s the purpose of your videos and posts? These are important aspects of using these two platforms and will help you figure who to go for to network.

My Twitter feed has not done that well. I have gotten about 10 followers on there, but there isn’t a lot of interaction. I have the numbers but not so much the communication. Which is okay. I am not that active on there unless something is shared from another site or media outlet. If that were my only form of networking, I’d be a little discouraged. So for now, I can handle just the numbers until I find a way to work in networking on Twitter.

So I had to choose what I actually wanted for my business. Is it easier to work my blog? My YouTube Channel? A social media outlet? Should I network more than one? What kind I realistically do to manage my time? These are all questions I asked myself when I set my ‘year of networking’ goal. They weren’t easy and I had to do a bit of thinking to really get a feel of what I needed and I had to come up with a good plan to start with.

I hope you see what I have been doing to make more of an impression with my business and maybe these simple tips can help you also. I am not a professional marketer. Even if my husband is a natural born networker and can literally talk to anyone about anything, I am not good at it. And asking him to take on a third job of networking for me, isn’t on my agenda. This post is just about what I have been doing on my own and how/if it has helped me. If you have any special tricks you do, share them with in the comments below!

Happy Small Business Saturday!

www.facebook.com/madelynjanelle

www.instagram.com/madelynjanelleart

www.twitter.com/madelynjanelle

http://www.patreon.com/madelynjanelle

Fun For Hours coloring book- for those who enjoy a challenge for their coloring! https://smile.amazon.com/Fun-Hours-Madelyn-Janelle/dp/0997885211/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490732&sr=8-1&keywords=fun+for+hours

Stressed Out! – For those who need to let out some anger without the profanity! https://smile.amazon.com/Stressed-Out-swear-phrases-profanity/dp/099788522X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490861&sr=8-1&keywords=stressed+out+madelyn+janelle

 

offspchickwords

Free Coloring Page- Native American Beauty

Coloring page download here! —-> nativeamerican

 

This was so much fun to draw and color, I really want to try this with more detail after I do some research about the Native American culture. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Passion over fear!

I have to say, the feedback I got from my previous post ‘The Second Civil War’, was relieving. Now, I didn’t have hundreds of readers comment me saying its the best writing ever and they are sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to continue (although that would rock my socks off!), but the little bit I did get, was positive and helpful. So, naturally, it was encouraging and kept me wanting to write more.

I was really nervous about my writing. I have always wanted to write and have filled many notebooks with stories that varied in genre. Instead of publishing it on the internet or in a book, I just left them there. Just untold stories, some with characters that have no names and unfinished dialogues. I lacked confidence in my writing, even though I have such a passion for it. I was more fearful or publishing my writing than I was my artwork.

With artwork, the reaction is immediate. The image you see makes you feels something , or nothing, right away and then you move on. With writing, there’s more to it. Time is invested in reading the story and then thinking about what was just read. For whatever reason, I was always intimidated to ask people, ‘Hey, read this please.’ I had this irrational fear that if they didn’t like it, they would be mad at me for even thinking about wasting their time to give them such garbage, even though they were willing to read it anyway.

At one point, I stopped my writing all together. Never bothered to attempt to write down any cool story ideas or even draw character designs for some awesome hero I just conjured up in my head. Now of course, I regret that because I could’ve at least had those ideas tucked away some where for the chance to have them written out. But at the time, I just didn’t see a future in writing for me, so I just didn’t see the point.

I had (still kind of have some left) self-doubt and fear about something I not only enjoyed, but that made me feel good about myself. I was realizing that in the end, I was wasting my own time with dreaming and not following through. So I stopped. Literally. I told myself, enough is enough, go for it and stop doing it, which is why I started writing my first story and later decided to write an online fiction.

So if you have any doubts about your dreams and passions, remember, you are not alone. Everyone does feel this way and it’s just a matter of your will getting in the way. There is an audience for everything out there. Maybe you’ll have to dig a little bit and network yourself a lot (A LOT!), but it will be worth it in the end because you did in fact do something for yourself and your passion. Following dreams wasn’t meant to be easy, otherwise everyone would do it. But don’t completely discard your passion because you think that no one could care about it. If you truly care about it enough, it will show through in what you do and then it really won’t feel like work.

What are your dreams?

Catching up with life

I have to say that I am pretty good at staying on top of tasks and getting things done. I personally don’t like to procrastinate but it does seem to happen from time to time and its seems to be inadvertent when it does happen. I take on too much, I know that, and therefore in the chaos of it all, some things slip through the cracks even though everything else seems to be on point.

I.E. My blog post

I knew for a fact on last Friday that I needed to have a drawing done for this blog AND start writing. So, I started writing a new post. It’s a great one, too. I am becoming more confident in my writing and so I thought a little fictional story on my blog would be fun to share and to also draw some concept art for it. Who knows, maybe even publish it into a book one day.

Well, I started writing it at 11 pm. It’s late but not too late, but being the time it was and the depleting energy level I was experiencing, the story is not up to par. No worries there, I will just edit it in the morning, since it’s not a long introduction to the story anyway, and then I will spend a couple of hours drawing concept art for the story and post by Saturday evening and viola! Only ‘Viola!’ didn’t happen. I never edited the intro the next day and I completely forgot about sketching a character design or any concept art for that matter. I, instead, got the house cleaned, helped 3 of my 5 kids with their rooms, went on a walk, went to church, played on the trampoline, checked on the garden, helped locate our two very large dogs that escaped the house, and made a bonfire and had cocoa with my kids just before putting them to sleep and literally passing out myself.

Sunday was my husbands full day off from both of his jobs so I told him to sleep in and I will take care of breakfast. Well, I did that and a lot of the same things from the day before along with 3 hours of yard work and sawing a tree branch into multiple logs. Yes, my arms are sore. After another bonfire (we have a lot of those) we put the kids into bed, I played Tetris with  my husband, and grabbed my sketchbook. I drew a rough sketch of my main character and still didn’t edit my story intro.

Today it needs to be done. I am not one to really stress over missed things, but I don’t like delaying on my art, writing, or learning. Its really not a habit I care to get into. So I have planned out meals today and told my children that I need to get my work done. Thankfully, I have thoughtful children and when I tell them that, they usually return with ‘okay’, ‘do you need anything done’ or ‘when can I read it’. I love their encouragement for my work and they do see that from their dad, who always asks those same questions.

I did manage to get a YouTube video done so that will have to be the image you see today. This image is from another story I am writing and its actually the first story I started this year. I am excited for that book to be published as well, and I do plan on having illustrations within the story and those will take a lot longer than the writing.

Be on the look out for my story that I am posting on here ‘The next civil war’

Here is the YouTube video I managed to get up and if you like it, be sure to share with your friends! This illustration is from the first story I came up with the year ‘The royals legacy’ (title a work in progress!)

www.facebook.com/madelynjanelle

www.instagram.com/madelynjanelleart

www.twitter.com/madelynjanelle

http://www.patreon.com/madelynjanelle

Fun For Hours coloring book- for those who enjoy a challenge for their coloring! https://smile.amazon.com/Fun-Hours-Madelyn-Janelle/dp/0997885211/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490732&sr=8-1&keywords=fun+for+hours

Stressed Out! – For those who need to let out some anger without the profanity! https://smile.amazon.com/Stressed-Out-swear-phrases-profanity/dp/099788522X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490861&sr=8-1&keywords=stressed+out+madelyn+janelle

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