My five favorite Christmas illustrations of 2021

Christmas is my second favorite holiday of the year, and each year I like to surf the web and pick five or ten christmas illustrations, depending on how busy I am, to enjoy during the season and to learn from them and their authors.

Here are, in no particular order, the five I picked this year, hope you enjoy them as much as I do:

1.“Christmas snow globe” by Scott Wilson

2. “Santa on the phone” by Ronald Searle

3. “Winter walk” by Steve Mack

4. These variations of Santa by Lauren Minco Lowen.

5. A grumpy Santa by Linzie Hunter.

Ansiedad

Hace unas semanas mi sobrina Regina me pidió que hiciera un episodio de mi podcast sobre la ansiedad, le tomé la palabra y decidí hacer una entrada aquí en el blog también.

En mi experiencia la ansiedad surge cuando la persona pierde el significado y el rumbo en su vida, y surge también cuando una persona compara su vida contra un parámetro inalcanzable o cuando se compara con otra persona, también inalcanzable.

Creo que es un mal de nuestra ´época moderna, en la que somos bombardeados continuamente con ideas prefabricadas sobre el estilo de vida, el éxito y lo que debemos pensar, sentir y comprar.

Además del bombardeo, tenemos la epidemia del culto a la productividad, en la que las personas dedican cada vez menos tiempo a conocerse y explorarse a través del arte, o el deporte, sí, hay muchas personas que hacen ambas cosas, pero la gran mayoría las hace para llenar sus redes socio digitales, para publicar la foto perfecta y no para buscar dentro de su mente y corazón, lo que esa actividad está detonando, los insights que está teniendo y las emociones que están surgiendo.

Creo yo, y claro es sólo mi opinión, que se puede resolver gran parte de la ansiedad que una persona vive si hace una revisión de contra qué y contra quién se está comparando, y si reflexiona si esa comparación le está aportando bienestar y felicidad genuinos o si sólo la está poniendo en una carrera de hamster interminable.

Y a la par de esa revisión y reflexión, creo que sería súper útil, que la persona encuentre aquello que la hace sentir viva y que lo haga todos los días, aunque sea por una hora.

Para encontrar qué es lo que te hace sentir vivo, pregúntate ¿Que cosas me dan curiosidad? ¿De qué cosas o temas me encantaría saber más? ¿Hay algo que con sólo pensar en hacerlo me hace sonreír? Haz una lista con tus respuestas y encuentra qué tienen en común, encuentra cómo puedes unir esas cosas que te prenden y explóralas así.

Esta última sugerencia, es un asunto de vida o muerte, es un asunto de pasar la vida sintiéndote muerto o sintiéndote vivo, es un asunto de cuidar la propia salud mental.

Y recuerda que aquello que te apasiona, o aquello que quieres explorar, no necesariamente tiene que convertirse en un negocio o en un emprendimiento, puede quedarse sólo como algo que te da sentido de logro, alegría y salud mental y eso ya es una gran ganancia.

Gracias por leer.

Si te gusta lo que escribo o te ha resultado útil, por favor considera invitarme un café (hacer una pequeña donación). Aquí está enlace.

A little practice break

I try to have small practice breaks a long the day, at least 2, in those breaks, I drop whatever work-related thing I’m doing, to make a different drawing within a 30 minute window.

The point is to draw something different from the thing I am currently working on, usually I have folder with photos, illustrations and screenshots ready to use in this little practice breaks.

The image above, was made in a 17 minute practice break, taking inspiration form WJC, I love the way he synthesizes the shapes of the human body.

I am planning to make a digital zine with some of this drawings, right now, I am thinking to choose the ones I like the most and see I can have 49 to 72 drawings to make the zine. The zine will be for sale at my Gumroad page. 🙂

In the meantime, I will publish some of the drawings here.

Thank you for reading.

If you like what I write or you find it useful, please consider buying me a coffee. Here is the link. 

Drawing naked people

When I was in college at the FAD in Mexico City, we had life drawing classes mostly with naked models, and I sucked at it.

I was never good drawing human proportions, and drawing a woman’s body was a nightmare.

But I decided to practice daily, I would draw naked people and people with clothes as well, which turned out to be a great decision.

Drawing daily, made me feel more confortable with my own lines and with the way I saw the shapes of the bodies, and made refine the way I represented the shapes I saw, today, someone can look to my drawings and recognize a woman’s or a man’s body in it, which is a great improvement. 🙂

Drawing naked people made me see the human body with more detail, to understand it at different levels and I learned to appreciate the visual details each body has to offer, a wrinkle here, a tiny spot there, some very clear muscle lines in some bodies, some large and interesting curvy lines in others.

But the best decision was to draw people with clothes, something we almost never did at school. Why was it the best decision? Because the vast majority of drawings I have made, as a professional have involved people with clothes.

In my case, it is very, very rare, that I have to draw naked people in my professional projects, most of the people I draw are drinking coffee, watching tv, repairing things or having dinner with some one, and all of those activities, are done (almost always) with your clothes on.

So, if you are an art student, or an aspiring illustrator, do not just draw naked people, even if it is the only live drawing classes you have at school, practice drawing more people with clothes and in daily activities.

Having said that, I want to add that I still enjoy very much drawing naked people, and I enjoy even more, being able to represent their bodies more are less correctly, which is a huge improvement since college.

Here are two instagram accounts that have very good photo shoots for life drawings: @croquiscafe and @lifedrawingbarcelona hope you find them useful.

Thank you for reading.

If you like what I write or you find it useful, please consider buying me a coffee. Here is the link. 🙂

Forms of abundance

Autumn and winter are times for gratitude for me, so I have been thinking of the things I am grateful this year, one of them is abundance.

For some people abundance is about buying expensive cars, or having fancy trips around the world, or wearing very fancy and expensive clothes, or buying the new Iphone as soon as it appears in the market.

For me, abundance has taken many forms, today, as I write this post, it has the form of a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and several ink cartridges that I just bought a few days ago and that I am enjoying a lot.

Why a simple pocket brush is an abundance marker for you?-You might ask.

Well, because there was a time in my life when I did not have enough money to cover my monthly expenses and to buy a cool pocket brush, not even color markers.

At that time, I only could buy drawing supplies once a month, in the form of a couple of pencils, an eraser, some white paper and a couple of cheap black pens, like the ones people use to take notes everyday.

Having color markers was a nice dream, but not accesible at that moment.

So, today being able to buy a Pocket Brush and several ink cartridges, with ease, is a hell of an achievement for me, it may sound silly, or very a low marker, but to me, it is a precious one, it feels awesome and I am very, very grateful for it.

Because it is not just the pocket brush, is all the things that allowed that purchase: mindset, money, work, taste, priorities…is a new version of me.

By the way, of you are into journaling, and having an illustrated journal, feel free to copy the composition I used on the page at the beginning of this post, remember, good creators steal, like Austin Kleon says.

Thanks for reading.

Juan.

If you like what I write or you find it useful, please consider buying me a coffee. Here is the link. 🙂