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  • Week #06 & #07 2018

    There was obviously no blogpost last week but I will try to combine the last two weeks in this blogpost. Due to a bereavement I just had no inspiration and drive to write something.

    In the meantime I started to join a drawing challenge on instagram that is still ongoing until the end of february. The challenge by Karoline Pietrowski is about drawing facial expressions for a character every day. I really like doing challenges on instagram because there is so much to discover and it’s much more easy to get in contact or conversation with others. Also there is this topic for a whole month that you can discover and you can practice your drawing abilities and improve – not just with drawing your own works but looking at all the other artists works and how they translate a certain word or topic. So far I’m doing really well although I sometimes struggle with some expressions because I feel some are very similar and I guess I sometimes don’t get the right essence on the paper. My personal challenge was not to use gesture to support the expressions so sometimes, the faces just look sad when the are supposed to look offended, ashamed or touched. But that’s also what it’s about – working on your skills and realising in which areas you have to put in more work and effort. I guess when you also use some gesture with hands and arms you can convert a more accurate interpretation of feelings and expressions. I’m also very happy that I already made it this far. I made 19 Illustrations of my character yet, and there are still a few to come but I am really really confident that I can pull through until the end. I’m already thinking of doing another challenge in March. Are there any interesting challenges you know about? Do you think I should start my own challenge? Can you think of a topic?

    I also Illustrated a few artworks for my newest project that I call “Take Care Of Yourself”. This is more a working title than an actual project title. It’s a series of illustrations about what you can do if you feel stressed or uncomfortable or just to feel better in general. I get stressed very easily and a lot. When I’m stressed I turn into a monster. I cry a lot and have bad moods. So it’s very important to reduce the stress by doing things I like and make room for nice things. With a relaxed mind I can be more creative and have more fun in general. A bit of “Me Time” is important for everyone. Take your time to calm down a bit and find things to do that are good for you. This is also a great chance to get to know yourself a bit better. Listening to your inner voice. Mabye becoming friends with youself. All that leads to new strength and confidence. And maybe everything will seem easier.
    The first few illustrations I made are already available as prints in my etsy shop. You can use them as reminder or just as nice small poster to hang on yor wall beside your workplace or living room or even in the bathroom to see it every morning. I am very curious: what is something you do, to do something good for yourself, to calm down and relax and take time for yourself or even get to know yourself better?

    At the beginning of the last week we went to ikea to get some new shelves because I desperately needed some storage space. Because we already have severals Kallax shelves at home we got a 2×4 and a 2×2 one to fit the “Style”. I also bought some more Dröna where I store all my paper, pencils and other stuff I need more regularly. It’s not perfect yet but it doesn’t look that messy anymore. The best solution would be a third room which I could use as an working room/ studio / atelier by itself, but thats just not possible yet. So I try to make more room by creating more storage space. The next project will be to make my desk a bit bigger. It always is loaded with stuff and it’s hard to clean everything up every time to have enough space to draw and put the laptop somewhere. Also it always looks messy because it is loaded with a lot of stuff that I need regularly, and well, who doesn’t like some decorations as well? I couldnt imagine my workspace without my stones and crystals anymore. If I can manage to expand the table plate I will also have the window right in front of me and that would give me some extra daylight for myself and for drawing and that would be awesome. And new plants. I just cant have enough of them. I want to have a Jungle at my workspace!

    At the end of the last week I worked on a portrait commision. It was quite a challenge because I haven’t worked with a ballpoint pen in quite a while. I still love drawing with ballpoint pens and I guess I will do that more often again. For me it’s really relaxing and I get to see fast results. For this drawing with the size of Din A2 I needed about 7 to 8 hours to draw and I split the time up (because i had enough until I had to finish it) in three days. I also posted the process on my instagram stories by small videos. Of course I asked my client if he was okay with that. I am very happy how the finished artwork turned out and I also got a lot of compliments by my client and the family. If you are also interested in me drawing you or a family member or a friend, a loved one or just someone, let me know, you can write me a message or an email with your idea and we will figure out the rest together. I already drew portraits for birthdays, confirmations, anniversarys, weddings and that one was sadly for a funeral.

    The last important thing I began to make last weekend was a video for my kickstarter project. I really was nervous in front of the camera and I really hate talking while I am recorded. I can’t stand to hear my own voice and I even cringe when I have to hear me talking. So my boyfriend came up with this idea for the video and I felt comfortable with it until I had to sit in front of the camera and see myself on the monitor. I just had some flashbacks from the time I made some youtube videos and remembered all the bad and negative comments I received back then. But this project is too important for me to not give my best and stepping out of my comfort zone and make a video. Although you obviously see that I read all my texts from a piece of paper I guess it is important to show a bit of myself and I hope I don’t seem too unappealing because I just dont know how and when to make the right face expressions or even talk in the right flow to make it interesting what I have to say. I really have some deficits in talking to people that i don’t know. And I also know that people notice this. There are -as always- too much thoughts in my head which will result in fear and anxiety. But I already made it through the video recording and I think that’s already a small success by itself because normaly that’s a thing I would try to pass by somehow and not work through.

    So far for this time.
    All my best,
    Anja

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  • Week #02 2018

    While scanning some illustrations that I want to insert in this blogpost I wrote in my calendar what I did today and looked back at what I achieved this past week. On monday an important appoitment was short term cancelled which turned my whole planning for that day upside down. I then answered some business emails and felt a bit lost because I hadn’t planned anything else for that day except this appointment. I really can’t handle spontanious changes very well because I prepare the situations and what will happen in my day in my mind a lot. I just have to know what is going on in my day to feel I am under control and not feeling lost or that I waste too much time doing nothing (what i actually do most of the time and it makes me feel bad because i know better). In general I need to change a lot in my daily routine. I need to get up earlier. Although I am a freelance illustratror and I actually work better at night when it is quiet outside and everyone else is sleeping. On the other hand I know that I get even more stuff done when I also get up earlier than I currently get up. Time management is so important when you are self employed and there are a million ideas in your head and another thounsand ideas on your to do lists. I still have to learn to manage my time better to be more efficient and productive. That’s one thing i started my calendar and started blogging again just to see that i’m not doing nothing all day. My mind tricks me a lot and at the end of the day the negative things weigh heavier than the rest.

    We also visited my boyfriends mom and made a litte sleepover. One of the reasons for that visit is because we are thinking about adopting a cat and my boyfriends mom has some furry friends at home and we wanted to check out how much my body still reacts to cats. As far as i can think back my family always had cats and even when i lived with my mom we had a cat at home but in the last few years my body reacted bad to cat hair. My eyes, ears and nose all went itchy and once even my eyes were totally swollen. When i knew i visited someone with cats i took allergy pills for prevention. The symptoms didn’t get worse with the pills but they also knocked me out and made me very very tired and sluggish. The last visits went really well, because i avoided to touch a cat or go near them and i nearly had no itchy eyes or a running nose or even worse even without allergy pills which felt really positive. The last visit i tried to cuddle a lot with the cats to see if i still have allergy reactions or if it was just something temporary. All i got was a bit of any itchy nose, no other reactions. Once a doctor told me if an animal gets sick/ill you can develope allergic reactions towards those animals. Sadly “my” cat that lived with my mom died this year and since then i didn’t notice any reactions towards other cats. I suggest “my” cat was sick/ill way before we even noticed it and my body just reacted to this or maybe it was just something else, i guess i will never know exactly what happened and why. For now we are pretty positive and i can’t wait to have a cat around me again.

    Since a while my boyfriend, his friends and me regularly play gta 5 online together which perse is a lot of fun but i also like just to drive around alone and look at the landscapes. I am very enthusiastic about one special radio station which i ALWAYS listen to. It’s just called “Los Santos Rock Radio” and i’m actually following that playlist on spotify. To those who are familiar with the game: I love the Faggio. Almost daily i listen to this playlist and never get tired. I can recommend it a lot. I never thought i would once listen to those bands my dad always talked about. I especially enjoy Kansas, Boston and Chicago a LOT. I also added most of their albums to my favourits and listen to them regularly. Thats just a very new experience for me because i never really liked to listen to “old” music. I just don’t hope thats part of getting older or growing up ; )

    For the plan of adopting a cat I started to felt a little cat cave. I don’t felt with water a lot anymore so I’m a bit out of practise. When I started that projecti had exactly in mind what I wanted it to look like. Nothing complex, in fact pretty easy to make and with no extras. Imagine a biiig egg in black with a little hole to enter. Well it turned out like a black shapeless UFO that just crashed the earth. I am really unhappy how it turned out and although I already placed it on the couch I want to work on it once more and hopefully it will turn out as a wonderful black dragon egg. I worked on that thing really hard and I even had aching legs after I felted for at least five or six hours on that unsatisfying thing. I had to work on the floor because we don’t own or have a place for a table that would be big enouth for such a project. All in all when you are wet felting you have to work bigger in the beginning. While felting the wool will shrink a several percentage of it’s actual size. My UFO was really big at the beginning and also the texture turned out really nice and even. Just the shape is not twhat I had in mind. I will report about this thing again when it hopefully will look beautiful one day.

    Of course i made some Illustrations and drew almost daily. Randomly I made a really tiny comic strip because from time to time i lose my motivation and can’t get excited about any idea that comes to my mind. Nothing seems good enough. So tha’s the simply story of this one. Also i made a little private Illustration for myself. I made a little handdrawn self portrait which i want to send to send to a few illustration websites. All in all i just worked on personal projects which is a lot of fun. Sadly for now i have no new commissions. Lucky for you if you have something in mind that you want me to draw for you. Maybe as a gift (valentines day is coming for couple portraits) or for your blog/business? Maybe you need a new mascott or a new individual handdrawn logo or lettering? Let me know and write an email!

    Quite a while ago i started this “thing” to draw and experiment with and i want it to come to life again or maybe come to life at all. i started this imaginary band thatt is called “Yes this is Bear” so make some cool band merch and album art works and everything visual around a band. I want to come up with cool storys, comics and so on. So i started drawing again and made a cool handletered typo and an Artwork with the girl and the bear. I still have to figure out a lot, especially the real music part. I think this is a great idea to tell a lot and draw a lot of stuff that i like and can relate to. I hope i can show the final artwork and some other ideas, drawings and projects within the “Yes this is Bear” project. Furthermore i am working on other personal projects and ideads that i am super excited about but i don’t want to tell too much because i don’t know how to realize the whole project exactly. Basically i want to make a kind of collection of my 2017 drawings and illustrations as maybe a zine or a booklet. Just can’t put my thoughts exactly in words yet, thats what I want to figure out in the next week.

    My excercising this week didn’t go very well and I just made space two times this week to run which is not acceptable for me and my plan also my eating was a bit off and too much. I just made too many excuses with the visit and other things. Coming back to time management I need to make space every day again. No excuses. Just trying to do it better again the following week. YAY.

    Best,
    Anja

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  • Week #01 2018

    I dont’t want to predict too much when I say I’m back at the blogging game. This is just a little try to start again as one of my new years resoutions. In the last few years the distance between me and what I share on the internet grew and when I look back at the time when I blogged more I also had more interactions and communication with people in general. I really hid into a little hole and just watched everyone doing great things and having a nice time. I need to change that again, be more open, find myself again, finding my voice and space, communicate, be present and more social. And I think it is a great step to start blogging again and share the stuff that I do on a daily or weekly or monthly basis.

    All in all I want to record more of what I do and have accomplished during the day in general like in a diary. When I tried to look back at 2017 it was really hard for me to remember all the good stuff that happend. In the last few days of 2017 I started to set up a very simple bullet journal just to track what I want to do, what I did during the days and what I accomplished or produced to see it written on paper and feel better about myself and get a better mindset about the stuff that I do and achieve. Also I made some lists for my ideas, projects, personal stuff and work that I can update from time to time which are also in my journal. On new year’s eve when I tried to look back at the year and what happened I could just remember things that hurt and didnt turn out as I wanted and it just depressed me that these unhappy things stuck in my mind more thand the good things that happened and I want to change this for the new year. Doing small steps and a step at a time and change things slowly to not make it too overwhelming.

    When I look back at the first week, the page of my journal looks pretty full and that just feels very good. I started with my wii workout again which consists of running on the spot (I try to do it every day), which is called freerun, for a certain time. Ususally I do it twice successively a day what makes a total of one hour. And I also made a new personal wii freerun record with 19830 m in 30 minutes. I don’t think these are real meters that would be way too much. When I first started all I could do was about 6000 wiimeters in 30 minutes and i thought this was already my best. With this exercise and some changes in my eating habits I lost 20 kilograms from june to october 2017. Due to some sad circumstances and a sad mindset I made a weightloss break until the 1st of january. Gladly i didn’t gain any weight during the break and now i’m back on track to try and lose another 10 kilograms.

    On friday I finished a private commission. I drew the client’s children as a portrait with some specific things they like and some typical characteristics all in my stle. It was so much fun to draw the illustration because I had full creative freedom, the children were so cute and the communication with the client was so easy and comfortable. Also I made it ready to print and went to my local print shop and sent it away last week. I really like the end result of the illustration a lot also because I had so much freedom in my creative process and decisions.
    I also had time to do some personal drawings. In the last year I focused a lot on digital drawing so I decided to draw some small characters on paper and took some coloured pencils. I really like how the little faces turned out, but i’m not sure if there will be a project behind it. I think i was just drawing them for the sake of drawing with no big meaning or story behind them. i often think that I have to make some big meaningful projects that will change the world and that I have to say something with a big story behind it. These thoughts often keep me away from creating something just because I have fun to do them or trying something or just practicing on my style or experimenting with tools and pecils. And it’s totally okay if I can’t tell an entire novel about a picture. Sometimes it is enough if it just looks nice.

    I was more active on instagram stories and posted some short videos of my drawings and some photos of my surroundings and food that dont’t fit in my regular timeline. I guess I just have to try and figure out what is interesting enough for my followers to see. I really like to interact more on that platform too.
    Furthermore I updated my online portfolio and added some childrens illustrations I made for my physical portfolio I took to the bookfair in Frankfurt to introduce me to some childrensbook publishers and I added some handmade and handdrawn monster pins to my etsy shop. On sunday I took the time and watched the entire season of “The end of the f**king world” on netflix which i enjoyed a lot and afterwards I did some bookkeeping/accounting that was too long due.

    That’s it for now and I hope I will write another blog post next week : )
    best,
    anja

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  • Storytime Part 01

    hey

    A few days ago I cleaned up my workspace and found a quick sketch that I totally forgot about. I was thinking about this sketch for a while and came up with the idea to build a little story around it. For me it was quite hard to think about a story that makes sense, is exciting and entertaining. So i talked with my friend and my mom about it. Then the next day was all about the writing. Very slowly and with a lot of breaks i managed to write the story in one day. It turned out as a little christmas story. So my plan is to draw every other day and post the artworks immediately after finishing and post it with a part of the story on my blog until christmas. I already started a little storyboard that isn’t finished yet. Until now I have 11 sketches and I think in the end there will be about 15 to 18 artworks. I hope I can manage to draw all the pages until christmas since there are only two weeks left. When I think more about this schedule I have to draw at least every other day two or more drawings a day. Planning is the key but I think it is very do-able because the format isn’t too big and i have a very clear vision of each drawing. Said enough, here is Maus storytime part 01.

    maus-storytime-01-1000

    Tonight a family celebration will take place at the family’s Maus, to which they have invited a few friends. Early in the morning it snowed for the first time this winter. However, Maus had promised to help his mommy in the preparations for the Christmas party and wants to keep this promise, of course, and will have to do without playing in the snow, building a snowman or an adventure today.

    Heute Abend soll bei Familie Maus eine Weihnachtsfeier stattfinden, zu der sie ein paar Freunde eingeladen haben. Früh morgens hat es das erste Mal diesen Winter geschneit.
    Maus hatte seiner Mama jedoch versprochen bei den Vorbereitungen für die Weihnachtsfeier zu helfen und will dieses versprechen selbstverständlich einhalten und muss zumindest für heute darauf verzichten raus gehen um im Schnee zu spielen, einen Schneemann zu bauen und Abenteuer zu erleben.

    Best,
    Anja

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  • Maus Prints

    hey

    Some of you who follow me on instagram know that i did a drawing challenge in june. Altough it was “just” an everyday doodling challenge i made little pencil illustrations in black and white. I decided to take the daily topics/words and combine it with my Maus character. All in all I really enjoyed the challenge even though i had some bad days when i couldn’t draw or wasn’t motivated enough. Altogether i managed to make 20 Illustrations in that month. For the moment i just scanned them and put the drawings just somewhere in the drawer i put all of my personal illustrations after i scanned them. Yet a few weeks later i thought it was a pity if the drawings were just forgotten somewhere so i thought i give it a try and work on them again. To not destroy the illustrations because i know i am not that good with colours and colouring i decided that i would colour them digitally. For that i used ArtRage that came with my tiny Wacom Bamboo One tablet. It’s quite nice for blending colours because with some settings and adjustments it behaves just like real paint on canvas and you can mix the colours really nice and smoothly. To use ArtRage for me is so much more easy as trying so hard in Photoshop where i have no clue what to do when it comes to painting and all the different functions and brushes. So i had the layer of the drawing and i just multiplied the other layers of paint together. For the colours i try to not use much darker shades than the pencil drawing to not mess with the contrasts. So far i only coloured my five favourites but in the end i will colour them all when i find enough time. I put the drawings together in a set of prints that are each 14,9×14,9m that you can now find in my Etsy Shop.

    maus-cat

    img_1716

    unbenannt-1

    maus-dandelion

    maus-hammock-1000

    maus-hangematte

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  • Hello World, Again!

    hey

    This is it. This is a complete new start for the blog. This Year wasn’t the best so far. A lot happened and i had to take care of my health. 2016 started with bad and extreme pain in my back. For a few days i thought it was just another lumbago. I dealt with that several times and thought it would just go away if i waited long enough. I got worried, because the pain started to grow down my leg. I then went to doctors and specialists, they gave me some pain killers and said it would just go away by itself. After several months of taking painkillers, having physical therapy, MRTs, more appointment at doctors and people who were supposed to help me instead of telling me to wait, the pain got worse and worse. Since february i knew it was a disc prolapse. I really tried to do exercises to build some muscles, but the pain in my back and my right leg made me quit moving a lot. Since may i couldn’t sit anymore. Did I tell you that I didn’t feel ANY effect from the pain killers i took? By the time of june even going for groceries was horror. Once i even passed out from the pain. At the beginning of August it was bad enough to call the ambulance. I still couldn’t sit, I coulnd’t stand and walk anymore and I needed help to go to the bathroom, the only possible way to lay down was to lay on my belly. It was a huge overcoming for me to go to hospital because i didn’t think i was an emergency case. At long last the pain was bigger than my anxiety. When I arrived at the hospital they immediately decided that i need surgery. About 8 days later I could go home. Complete painless. I didn’t even take any pills since the day i was at home again. I can’t tell you how happy I was to put on my socks on my own again. I felt like a super hero. After being at home for 2 weeks I was sent to rehab. Now I am at home again, I can finally move, walk and sit again. Still I have to do some excersises to do to prevent new pain. I am looking forward to do a bit more for my health. I go for long walks every two to three days now. I am also including some stretching excersises while working on my desk. I am ready now to start work, print, draw and finally blog again.

    anja-sturm-drawing

    working-on-monster-postcards

    Best, Anja