This is embarassing. It happened years ago. I signed up for an illustrators academy at the SCBWI Spring conference. I was in way over my head. Matt Phelan was there. He’s a super nice guy if you are in way over your head by the way. He showed us slides of his process in creating The Storm In The Barn. Okay that’s how long ago it was. I could have gone through a box of kleenex looking at that art. It was so daring, so lovely, so loose. Puddles of watercolor spreading in the frames. It was atmosphere on steroids. I love loose. I don’t do loose. I basically am so stuck in coloring book mode with my collage work. After lunch we had portfolio reviews. Time to sweat. Big time. Such kindness in those workshop leaders. Kindness and wisdom. What stands out still is Matt Phelan’s question to me. “So do you draw first or tear first?” Dry mouth, can’t talk, manage to utter, “I draw first.” Of course he could tell that is what I do. Did. Still do. Fear. Today I vow to get out of my own way and just rip stuff up. See what happens. It’s so hard to do something else. Anything else. So here’s to standing down fear even if just for a day. Pencils out the window. Collage sketchbook open. Go. Thank you Matt, SCBWI, and Yes! paste. Let ‘er rip!


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