My Studio Bullet Journal

Well, it's not really a REAL bullet journal. I don't have the patience to make sure everything is lined up and perfectly straight (though I WISH I did, when executed with exactness bullet journals are so, so beautiful!)

EH-Sherman_journal.jpg

It's taken a decade or two for me to understand that if I commit to a habit, I need to have wiggle room - and while a perfectly designed and measured bullet journal might work for a few days, it's not something I'll keep up. So, messy, unmeasured journal it is.

My main focus is to break the day down into blocks for scheduling, but also keep a running tab of non time-specific to-dos. Between these two and all the extra space for notes, sketches and other blurbs I have found my holy grail for keeping the studio organized.

EH Sherman Studio Journal Organization

The physicality of the journal is super important to me. This journal isn't something that leaves my studio, and I absolutely have enough filled books already -- so the bigger the better.

This the Art Alternatives Giant Sketchbook (currently out of stock on Amazon, but I have few others listed in my shop here) and it feels like a wizard's tome. It's really heavy, but when I pull it out to plan the day and hits my table, it feels like this sacred moment before finding some ancient bit of knowledge... it engages me completely.

If you've never kept a bullet journal before, there are a bunch of great tutorials on Skillshare. To sign up follow this link and get access to their videos for 2 months for just 99 cents! I think the most important part is to find a system that clicks with the way you work and the habit will naturally take root. I couldn't commit to a perfectly measured out grid book, and I imagine in some one else may not be able to keep a book that was as scrawly and uneven as mine. Find what works for you!

If you do keep a studio journal of sorts, I'd love to see it! Comment below with an image or link of your journal, or share your organizational practices - maybe I can learn something new :)

EH Sherman bullet journal

Happy 2018!

Happy 2018 friends.

Just wanted to check-in briefly here to officially reopen my commission page for 2018, talk about a few changes you might see in this space. (And to say “hello!”It’s been awhile!) Hope you all had a warm holiday season and a great start to the new year!

On the subject of commissions; my studio is back up and running in this beautiful new space, recharged and revitalized from the time off. To get started on a project, you can either email me here, or fill out the form here. Projects are being scheduled for February-April currently, so let me know if you have a rush deadline.

Regarding changes; I’m in the middle of a site overhaul. (Finally!) Tending to my web presence hasn’t been top of my list for the last few months, with shows and holidays orders demanding most of my time. Now that I’ve got a pretty good handle on my winter schedule I’ve been able to devote some time to update my available work and redesign the flow of my site. I’m hoping to having it completed soon - sign up for my newsletter to get word of the official relaunch.

In other news, my Instagram following just passed 30k - a very nice little surprise to start off the year. What began as a personal, journaled approach to my art practice has morphed into a space I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve made lifelong friends, been a part of some truly fantastic projects and have found a wonderful community of artists and collectors to connect with. If you follow me over there, thanks so much for coming along for the ride - it’s been such a pleasure to share my process with you <3

Cheers to 2018!

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My Morning Artist Routine

My ideal morning is waking up refreshed, a healthy 5 minutes before my alarm. I’ll throw on my silk robe and follow the sunbeams into the kitchen, where I absolutely remembered to prime the coffee maker the night before, and dispense an instagram-worthy frothy cashew milk latte to a chorus of songbirds outside.

I then float on clouds of fresh morning air down to my studio, and immediately begin to paint, refreshed and energized with literally hundreds of ideas.

Right.

I get a lot of questions about my schedule as a full-time artist, particularly about how I settle into my practice in the morning. Part of me wishes I could write something like the scene above truthfully. Something I could photograph, slap a nice white handwritten title on and put up on Pinterest and feel just so accomplished over.

The reality is far more mess and completely un-pin worthy. But it’s mine, and it works for me - so I’ve embraced it and will share here it in all it’s unorganized glory.

EH Sherman Art - Morning Sketches

 

7:30 - 8 : I try to wake up. I prefer not to use an alarm, and I can generally get up in this time frame without using one, but if I’m particularly tired or it’s imperative I get up at a certain time I’ll set my phone alarm to vibrate and set it in between the bedframe and the bed. Instead of a shrill song that shocks me from sleep with extreme rudeness, the vibration mimics a more natural waking, and I don’t shoot out of the bed expecting bombs to be falling from the sky. (It doesn’t take much noise to wake me, I’m a VERY light sleeper.)

8-ish : Coffee, maybe some toast and BASIC news. I used to launch into a full-scale rundown on everything that had happened in the last day, but it was just getting too depressing and I found myself starting the day already down in the dumps. I limited my news to 20 minutes of reading - and that’s it. I’ll finish reading news after dinner, when it’s less likely to interfere with my work.

8:30 - 9ish: Warmup time. I’ll throw on a podcast and just sketch a bit. No real purpose, just to shake off the sleep, let the coffee work it’s magic and draw out any ideas I had from the previous night. It takes me a long time to wake up, I’m absolutely not a morning person. This is my time to be sluggish and not feel guilty, just to embrace the motions of the pencil or paint and connect to my work.

If I’m still feeling disconnected, or unsure about where I want to take my practice that day I’ll do a bit of yoga in my studio. I’ve also been known to sneak in a few asanas when waiting for layers to dry - the more movement I can work into my day the more I seem to be able to focus.

EH Sherman Art - Morning Yoga

After that, I usually start the bulk of my “job”. Emails, client questions, commission follow-ups, sketching for projects… anything with a deadline. During this time I’ll solidify the rest of the day’s plans and make sure that day’s canvases are ready, packages are mailed and that I can spend the next 8-9 hours comfortably working without any distractions.

Like I said, nothing pin-worthy going on here - just a girl trying to wake up and get to work. But it’s a process I enjoy and I’ve come to rely on. I’d love to hear about your morning routines! How do you start your workday? (art or otherwise!) Any coffee recipes you swear by to start your morning?



 

5 Things that Un-inspire Me

I’ve talked a fair amount about inspiration in the past. It’s a common topic I am asked to discuss and it’s a theme I find myself revisiting fairly frequently as my studio habits evolve. Going back to my “what inspires me” lists can be a good way to climb out of a creative rut too!

So, with “inspiration” fairly well covered for now, I thought I might talk a bit about my anti-inspiration, uninspiration; the things that take that creative spark and just snuff it right out.

EH Sherman 5 things that Destroy Inspiration

But first, let me define what I’m going to refer to as ‘uninspiration’. I don’t mean those ‘creative-blah’ days, or those phases we go through where we just aren’t psyched about the work we’re making. (Those are topics for another day and I don’t think they deserve their terrible reputations anyway!) I’m talking about being ready to work, brushes cleaned and canvas laid out - when boom, creative juices sapped. The willpower/passion/energy to work has just up and left the building.

5 Things “Un-inspire” Me:


1.) Exhaustion.

There’s only so much caffeine in the world. Nothing drains my creative willpower more than a few all-nighters, or a really REALLY busy schedule. Over the years I’ve had my full-time studio practice I’ve come to realize the immense importance of actually getting enough sleep. In this age of ‘soloprenuerism’ it’s common - even desirable to run ourselves ragged. To chase the dream until the point of exhaustion… to hustle until our bodies just give out. And that just doesn’t work for me. Thankfully I’ve gotten better about my sleep schedule (at least 7 hours on the regular!) and scheduling my projects to allow for a bit of recuperation at the end.

2.) Doing Too Much.

I love a challenge. Due to this, I also used to have a bad habit of taking on more than I could handle, assuming I could “make it work” in my schedule. There was a paralyzation that I would sometimes experience when my lists were too long, and I was trying to reply to too many emails. Knowing I had an unrealistic amount of work to accomplish that day was to be a surefire way for me not to get anything done. In the last few years I’ve adopted a much more realistic way to plan and budget, knowing that multi-tasking isn’t really my thing. Ron Swanson summed it up brilliantly, “Never half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”

3.) Uncomfortable clothes.

It sounds silly, but if my socks are itchy or my pants fit weirdly I will have a hard time proceeding with my work. I move a lot when I make my paintings, most of them are rooted in the motion my arm makes across the page, so anything that restricts movement is an absolute no-go. It may be cute, but if I can’t comfortably pop into a few yoga poses it’s not something I’ll wear in the studio. My usual outfit consists of a soft t-shirt under my favorite blue button-up (now covered in paint) and some good stretchy yoga pants. I think this applies to rest of my life as well as this point, not just the creative aspects of it. The older I get, the softer I want my fabrics I suppose.

4.) Weird smells. (don’t laugh!)

My nose is suuuuper sensitive. I can’t complain too much, it’s saved me from a possible apartment fire back in college. ((I woke up to a weird smell, traced it to my fridge and apparently it had just started sparking. Thankfully I was able to disconnect power before it caught on fire.)) This can also get in the way. A neighbor across the hall in Miami used to cook some very pungent dishes every now and then, and the smell would be so strong to me that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on my work. I would go for a walk, or work outside instead, there was just no way I’d be able to ignore the scent. I now stock up on good vanilla candles, in case of a weird smell emergency.

5.) No clear plan.

Sometimes the plan can be “no plan”, but that’s still a plan. If I approach a blank canvas with truly nothing in mind, nothing comes from the work. If I want to paint but am unsure of where to start I usually peruse a few old sketchbooks until something calls out to me.

I realize these are relatively specific and a bit personal, so your 5 things are more than likely going to be entirely different. I’m really curious to know what yours are; what pulls you out of your work mode? What “un-inspires” you?

Sketching Forms - Runspiration

Running is everything to my art practice.

In Miami, I made a point to get outside every night (or every-other night) and go for a longish, meditative run. Usually I would wait until the sun had dipped behind the taller condos, because, well, Miami… but here in Michigan I’ve been looking for the hottest part of the day to head out, because it’s cold.

And now that I’m running while the sun is still up, I’m finding myself stopping far more frequently to take pictures. Some are just cute (ducks in a pond, flowers pushing through ice...etc) but most of them are images I plan to play with and expand on once I get home. Branches making shadows on the snow, patterns left by melting ice, anything with an interesting composition or color story.

I am loving all the shades of blues and greens I’m finding up here.

I am loving all the shades of blues and greens I’m finding up here.

EH Sherman sketch

I’m not sure if this habit is so great for developing as a runner, but it’s been a wonderful tool to get my brain in gear to paint for the day.

With that being said, the trails are calling my name.

<3