I’m a creator, watch me grow.

Can I admit something to you? I found it incredibly hard to figure out the first part of this posts’ title: I’m a(n) _____.

There’s something about labels that makes things feel so… official. And since I’m currently doing this art thing predominantly for fun, where there’s no income involved or group I’m apart of or published work to present, I almost feel like a fraud for applying such a label to myself.

Is that normal? Or am I being just being crazy?

Growing Creator || Self-Portrait || Illustrated by Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Growing Creator || A self-portrait of yours truly

Originally I was going to say I’m an illustrator. Because in a way I think you could consider what I do here on the blog to be illustrative work. I create images to go with and help communicate some aspects of my post. (Well, not this post specifically, this is mostly one of those: look, here’s a bunch of random girls I drew out of magazines posts.) But does that really count? Most illustrators design for books and magazines. Official stuff. Group efforts. Published work. I don’t feel right putting myself with them.

And then there’s the term doodler. That’s what I usually go for because I feel it doesn’t hold as much weight; it doesn’t seem as serious. But that’s a lie, in a way, isn’t it? Doodles are scribbles or drawings done absent-mindedly. And believe me, my mind is fully involved when I create.

I even tried artist… but I can’t say even that feels right either. Am I an artist? I create, yes. But in my mind I feel like artists are these deep thinkers who work their thoughts into their art. In contrast, my work is so… surface-level. I draw things I think are pretty or that show snippets of my life. There’s really no secret message involved.

I just don’t know. I’ve settled for creator because really, that’s what I do, create.

I do believe this is part of the growing process as a creator, though. At a certain point, it’s hard not to look at what you do and think: “is this just a hobby or is this something that is part of who I am?” And art isn’t just a hobby for me anymore. It’s a love, it’s a peace, it’s a joy. It’s something that I want to stay in my life, a staple in my day. Even if I don’t produce deep philosophical pieces or traditionally published work, I’m creating art that is growing with me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So yeah, I’m a(n) illustrator doodler artist creator growing with her art because she loves it. I think that sounds about right.

And now for girls who are growing in their own way… with flowers in their hair. (10/10 segue there, right?)

"Flowers in the Attic" || March 2016 Vogue reference || Illustration by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

Reference: “Flowers in the Attic” (p. 491) photographed by Willy Vanderperre from the March 2016 Vogue

"Loves me, Loves me Not" || March 2016 Vogue reference || illustration by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

Reference: “Loves me, Loves me Not” (p. 495) photographed by Willy Vanderperre from the March 2016 Vogue

"Lavender and Lace" || March 2016 Vogue reference || illustrated by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

Reference: “Lavender and Lace” (p. 489) photographed by Willy Vanderperre from the March 2016 Vogue

"Heavy Petal" || March 2016 Vogue reference || illustrated by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

Reference: “Heavy Petal” (p. 490) photographed by Willy Vanderperre from the March 2016 Vogue

"Gather Ye Rosebuds" | March 2016 Vogue reference | Illustrated by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

Reference: “Gather Ye Rosebuds” (p. 497) photographed by Willy Vanderperre from the March 2016 Vogue

"Green Light" | March 2016 Vogue reference | Illustrated by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

Reference: “Green Light” (p. 492) photographed by Willy Vanderperre from the March 2016 Vogue

What do you think? Have you ever come to that point where you’ve wondered if you should apply a label to yourself for a hobby you love and, if so, did it ever feel… uncomfortable? Whether it be author, illustrator, blogger, crafter, designer. If you feel like sharing, what kind of label do you tend to apply when thinking of me? (I know what you’re thinking and crazy is not an acceptable answer.) 

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Have I Found my Art Style Yet?

Have I found my art style yet?

One of the hardest things about illustrating again is attempting to figure out my “style”. I try not to think too much about it because I believe in many ways it can be counter-productive, but I would be lying if I said that part of me doesn’t want to be able to look at my work and see traces of consistency.

Of course, the funny thing is, oftentimes when I post my illustrations on the blog or on Instagram, my friends will respond and say “Your drawings are so you!” or “I can always recognize when one of your illustrations pops up in my feed.” How do they recognize my style when I don’t? To me, the illustrations I posted in my last art update, were sort of all over the place. Some had dark outlines, some had lines in their hair, some had (bad) coloring, etc. I mean, variation is great and I like each of those pieces for one reason or another, but to me it was still very obvious that I was just trying to get used to creating again.

I’m happy to say though that with this next batch of illustrations, I see a consistency and I really like the results. And it’s not even because most of my illustrations are based on the same photo shoot, though I’m sure that helps. I just see a connection here between each image where even though they contain different personalities and looks, they all represent a similar style.

That being said, this batch of illustrations is from January and I can assure you that changes are still taking place, especially as I experiment with adding colors to my work. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. I like still being able to see my growth each month as I reflect on earlier pieces and it’s encouraging to know that my style is making itself known.

Illustration based on Feb 17 Vogue: Dior Ad || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, Dior advertisement

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Dangling Modifier" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Dangling Modifier” as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Small Wonder" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Small Wonder” (p. 168) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "At Attention" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “At Attention” (p. 165) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Far and Wide" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Far and Wide” (p. 163) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration Based on January 2017 Vogue: "Moment of the Month" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, January 2017 ed, “Moment of the Month” (p. 98) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Business as Usual" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Business as Usual” (p. 164) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on November 2016 Vogue: "Gray Lady" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, November 2016 ed, “Gray Lady” (p. 205) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on November 2016 Vogue: "Flower of the Flock" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, November 2016 ed, “Flower of the Flock” (p. 207) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on December 2016 Vogue: "Eye to the Ear" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, December 2016 ed, “Eye to the Ear” (p. 241) as photographed by Josh Oline

Let me know what you think! Have any thoughts on the illustrations above? Any comments on my style or your question to find your own? I know a lot of creatives who read my posts are writers so would love to hear from your perspective as well: do you ever think/worry about your style when writing or are you too caught up in creating to notice? I’m curious!

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I’m creating again, reasons be damned.

I'm creating again, reasons be damned. || Blog post and illustration by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

I have to admit, it’s been a long time since I last sat down and allowed myself to create freely. Something about creating without a purpose has always felt wasteful and not allowed in my mind. I could flex my creative muscles if it were for a blog post or to go with a letter I was mailing to a friend, but to create for just the sake of creating? Well, that mostly hasn’t been the case for me since high school. (And believe me kids, that was a long, long time ago.)

The only exception has always been during my depressive episodes in which I turn towards creating to escape the thoughts of my racing brain. I find it’s one of the few things in life that absorbs me fully and brings me a sense of peace (which actually seems a bit counter-intuitive as a perfectionist who can always find something to hate in everything I do).

With my last fall into that dark world, I finally realized that my creating doesn’t have to be limited to bad times. If it helps me when I’m feeling down, surely it can make me feel even better when I’m feeling up. And so, over the last few months, I have created regularly again, without a reason, and it feels great.

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