Drawing for pleasure, not for work

Hey there folks! I’ve just returned from Burning Man, and it was a welcome break! I had a few back to back freelance jobs in addition to my full time job, and I was happy to have nothing to do but look at artwork, talk to people, and dance!

Baba Yaga's house Burning Man 2018

My favorite piece of art this year was Baba Yaga’s hut - if you know me, you know I love fairy tales and the scary witch from Slavic legend is one of my favorites from childhood. Baba Yaga lives in a house in the swamp which has giant chicken legs, allowing her to walk it around. True to the fairy tale, the Baba Yaga hut at Burning Man was a large cabin sized house on giant metal chicken legs! Ladders in the front and back allowed visitors to go up and explore the witch’s cottage. It was fantastically detailed inside and out - above is a photo of me and my beloved Annie in the upstairs room. Just look at those hand crafted paper flowers adorning the ceiling! It was a truly immersive experience.

After getting back home, I had a weekend before going back to work. On Saturday, I had booked Dre (the 18 year old) a 5 hour survival training workshop in the Santa Cruz mountains, about an hour’s drive away. I wasn’t going to drive home while he was taking the class, so I packed up my iPad Pro and decided to take advantage of the hours of blissful alone time.

After I dropped him off to learn how to make fire and shelter, I drove a short distance away to a cute little mountain town. I found the first (I think the only) coffee shop in town and set up shop. Then name of the shop was Jenna Sue’s Cafe, and the actual Jenna Sue was serving up coffee, croissants and bagels to locals and tourists. I can not tell you the last time I visited a business that featured the namesake and owner behind the counter!

Being so burnt out from client work and Burning Man, I just wanted to draw a nice, pretty illustration that wouldn’t tax my brain too much. I also wanted to try out one of the newest Procreate updates - symmetrical drawing!

Symmetrical drawing is where you can draw a mirrored image. It’s an awesome feature that Photoshop doesn’t have, for some reason. The only program I know of that has the ability to do so is Clip Studio.

Procreate’s symmetrical drawing feature allows you to pick the number of mirror repeats you want - so you can draw a face that’s even on both sides or a mandala image, like I did!

Procreate symmetrical drawing

Just a simple sunflower and doodle design, but it’s so soothing to look at! It was soothing to draw, too. I used my Pen, Ink & Sketch vintage comic style brushes to line it, and made the halftone dots with the bonus Manga brushes included in the pack.
To color it in, I used my Gouache Paintbox brush set. Both sets are available on Creative Market. These links are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and buy them for yourself, I get a small commission. (yay!)

I can tell you, it was SO wonderfully relaxing to just sit there, drink coffee, chat with the girls behind the counter and listen to the local regulars chat about their lives. In Silicon Valley, coffee shops are busy as hell, and the conversations are mostly about tech and business - everything is fast paced and frankly not relaxing. At this little coffee shop in the mountains, it was slow and very down to earth.

Everyone in the Valley has an iPad. If I draw in a coffee shop, no one notices. In the mountains, I was approached by several people to see what I was doing and ask what program I was using. It was nice to have the interest! Everyone told me how pretty it was. :) Sometimes I miss living in a place where everyone isn’t completely jaded by the wonder of the technology we have. I grew up with no electricity and I didn’t get a computer of my own until I was in college. I remember going to the computer lab in my high school and using the mouse to draw anime on Microsoft Paint - I didn’t know it, but I was starting a career as a digital artist! Now I have wonderful technology that I use to create client illustrations, that fits right in my tote bag. Life has changed a lot!

Anyways, another great new feature Procreate has is the ability to download a 30 second video instead of a long video of your painting. They are so fun to watch!

I think I’ll take a self-imposed break from client work for a while and do some more illustration for fun. I love doing my freelance, but balance is important! Burnout is real, y’all. How about you? Are you creating anything for pleasure? Do you mix personal and client work? How are you dealing with feeling burnt out? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Rachel Lang2 Comments