Category: read alongs

Read Along: The War of Art Book 1

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a read-along and I’m still working with some of the exercises in Artist As Brand before I can return to that one.

In the meantime, I’ve started reading The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield .  This book has been on the lips of a lot of independent artists I know as a must-read for motivational purposes.

Part 1 focuses on ‘resistance’.  Resistance, as it is defined here, is a mercurial force that embodies our excuses, mental blocks, etc. and it comes purely from within and feeds purely from one’s own psyche.  Pressfield breaks down all of the elements and characteristics of resistance in Book 1: Resistance – Defining the Enemy.

Do you say you’ll write your symphony, but that you’ll start tomorrow?  That’s Resistance.  Do you get caught up in a drama of life with you or your loved ones that keeps you from working on the things you really want to work on?  That’s Resistance.  Any form of self-sabotage or acceptance of external factors that keeps you from doing the grand, epic thing is Resistance.

My knee jerk reaction to Book 1 is that this is all pretty straightforward and unsurprising.  It reads more as a collection of quotable anecdotes without solutions (which I know the future segments will go into in a deeper capacity).  I also take some issue with the section which describes mental illness as a form of Resistance.  And I quote:

“Attention Deficit Disorder, Seasonal Affect Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder.  These aren’t diseases, they’re marketing ploys.  Doctors didn’t discover them, copywriters did.  Marketing departments did.  Drug companies did.”

“Depression and anxiety may be real. But they can also be Resistance.”

He’s not wrong in that sometimes we can get wrapped up in the drama and difficulty of depression and anxiety, but this feels awfully dismissive of genuine disorders of chemical imbalance or the validity of research that has helped us to understand behavior and treatment better than we have in the past.  The large ‘but’ at the end doesn’t feel adequate to resolve that dismissiveness for this reader.  Perhaps feeling annoyed or negatively towards some of these topics is all part of this book’s strategy to get us to feel defensive and start analyzing the reason why?

My sensitivity to this topic aside, there are also some great anecdotes I highlighted for my own inspiration.  This was one of my favorites:

“Rule of thumb: The more important a call to action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we feel towards pursuing it.”

Truth, my friends!

While so far the voice of this book doesn’t connect with me as much as I’d hoped, it definitely has me examining my own sources of Resistance.  Taking a deep, down look into our inner selves is what I consider to be strategic planning for artists.  I know for me, my sources of Resistance look something like this:

  • Confidence.  I’m always afraid my skills aren’t up to par with the vision I have in my head, so I save my challenging products for the never-ending agenda of ‘later’.
  • Flow.  I get caught up by the fact I personally like to have large swaths of time to ‘get into a flow’, so when I know something is going to interrupt that flow (friends visiting, appointments, basically everything that is called interacting with the world, etc.), I get frustrated and don’t start a project.
  • Envy.  I look a lot at how motivated my artist friends who are further along than me in my career are and wonder why I can’t seem to be as motivated.  This usually just sends me in a self-destructive spiral of ‘my work will never be good enough’ or an equally as damaging spiral of ‘if I work until my eyes bleed, surely I’ll get ahead?’.

The list could go on, but those are my top sources of Resistance right now that I shamefully admit to my dear readers.

I’m looking forward to reading the future sections which will hopefully move from this mood of ‘Be an inhuman machine and get over your problems instantly, you lazy, fragile human flesh bag’ and more into offering thoughtful solutions and dialog.

Onwards to Book 2: Combating Resistance – Turning Pro!  In the meanwhile, I leave you with another of my favorite quotes:

“The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 8 – My Website

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section VIII. What Makes a Great Website/Blog.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

Blog vs Website

Section VIII talks about what makes an interesting website and blog.  I love the allusion to a website as your studio while your blog is a conversation and is more interactive.  That immediately puts into perspective how a website should reflect your style while a blog can be more conversational and more casual.

For those who don’t have much experience designing a website, this section has great tips on suggested sections (ie. About, Contact, Press, Newsletter sign up, etc.) and exactly why you’d need them.

Newsletter Strategies

Spalenka also presents great suggestions for writing newsletters. I always have a hard time figuring out what’s relevant and have had a problem having enough art to show (since my attentions/products were so split up).  My newsletter has gone quiet while I build up enough of a buffer of a new consistent body of work to talk about.

Example of Online Brand (from My Own Experience):

Shadowscapes – The Art of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law immediately sprang to mind for me while I was reading.  She has a fantastic online brand identity and social media/website presentation.  Most impressively, she built most of this herself from the ground up, having been a computer science wiz before she became an artist.

Stephanie has a centralized shop on her site and I can always tell I’m on Stephanie’s sites when I see her dreamlike Celtic knotwork, watercolor textures, and soft color palette.  Her newsletter also has a similar feel and updates her fans on upcoming events, new art, new tutorials, and a monthly giveaway which all feels relevant and cohesive to her brand identity.

My Homework

These sections definitely got me thinking about how I want my Angelic Shades and The Fantasy Art of Angela R. Sasser sites to be different.


Angelic Shades Studio – Should be a vintage inspired theme with Art Nouveau flow and flourish.  Soft pale colors (blue, purple, light grey, and white).

Store should serve fine art buyers and my target audience (ie. fancy mats and framed art, postcards, greeting cards, etc.).


The Fantasy Art of Angela of Sasser – Should be elegant and sleek with just enough flourish to not make it too stark.  Black, white, or neutral with accent colors.  Words and images blended together to reflect my love of characters, stories, and narrative images.

Store should serve book lovers, gamers, and character fans. (ie. journals, bookmarks, playmats, dice bags, themed sketchbooks/storybooks, graphic novels, etc.).


Re-designing these sites with more of a specific identity in mind is definitely high up on my to-do list!

I’ve left out SO much concerning all the various resources Spalenka mentioned, so definitely go support Spalenka’s book/workshop if you are finding this blog series helpful!

Next Up: High Touch Venues – Conventions to Galleries

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 7 – The Art of Social Media

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section VII. Brand Promotion – The Art of Social Media.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This section  provides a detailed list of forums and communities for networking, many of which I hadn’t heard of before.  There are a lot of sites dedicated specifically to networking ‘tribes’ (ie. Ryze.net and Tribe.net) that I have yet to tap!  I’ll have to post later over at The Muse’s Library with some thoughts on these sites and their usefulness for artists once I’ve had a chance to properly assess them.

Shop Tips

Spalenka also makes a strong argument for having a shop on your website instead of using a portal shop like the many POD sites (Zazzle, Fine Art America, etc.) or markets like Etsy.  I’ve been back and forth on this issue for years now.  Running a shop on Etsy, for instance, gives me a shop front that’s easily accessible and discoverable by a public market and is supported by the marketplace.  Etsy does take a percentage, but the setup provides a nice backbone for a shop that I didn’t have to build myself.

I’ve built shops from the ground up, spending hours upon hours perfecting it, only to have something go wrong on the technical side of things.  Not to mention the fact my website alone simply does not get the traffic of eBay or Etsy, no matter how much I promote it.  Even still, Spalenka argues that marketplace trends are always changing while your website will always be the same central location and this is very true.

Etsy, for instance, is battling with changes at a corporate level with many artists left disgruntled by the flood of wholesalers taking over the market.  Your central website, however, will never go out of style and a shop would be easy to find if it were located there.

Bearing this in mind, I aspire to create a shop front on my site using WooCommerce, which I hope will be an easy to implement plugin for this WordPress based site.  I’ll probably still use Etsy during high traffic seasons and to sell quirky cute handmade things featuring my art, but it will probably not be my main shop front anymore, granted I can get WooCommerce working!  Adding one more thing to my business re-organization to-do list.

Publicity Tips

This section also features some fantastic tips on publicity, such as ideas for blog events and links to press kit tutorials.  It’s a bit overwhelming!  I know I need to hit publicity harder, as it’s something I really haven’t relied upon. I’m just never sure where genre art like mine can find an audience and partner site to be featured on, since I don’t work with well known IP’s, nor do I have a really recognizable body of work, just yet.

Putting a pin on this section to come back later when I feel I’m finally ready with a decently sized body of consistent (theme and skillwise) work!

I’ve left out SO much concerning all the various resources Spalenka mentioned, so definitely go support Spalenka’s book/workshop if you are finding this blog series helpful!

Next Up: What Makes a Great Website/Blog

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 6 – My Market Niche

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section VI. Creating Your Market Niche.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This section covers a lot of ground concerning how to establish a connection with your target market and present yourself in such a way that you can find and appeal to your audience while preserving their loyalty and encouraging them to invest in you as a business.  This is particularly relevant to artists who rely on a symbiotic relationship between themselves and collectors to maintain their income.

This section reinforces the advice I’ve been hearing from other successful artists I know that having great art is the best starting point, but selling your passion and your story is where the magic happens.

But who is my audience?  I’ve struggled with this for years because I started out wanting to go one direction (concept art and book covers) and being drawn towards another (angelic art, Art Nouveau, and mask-making).  In the end, I just did everything, burned myself out big time, and realized I was not really making the kind of advancement in my career that I wanted.

My artistic identity was like someone changing the channel back and forth and never deciding on something to watch.  I’ve had some folks interested in my work, but I’m pretty sure if I had a more unified identity that I would be more successful than I am now.

This has been the reason for me splitting up my current identity into several faces.  I hope this will help my audience more easily identify with my work and locate what they’re interested in.  For those who have been asking how the heck I handle it all, truth is, I haven’t really been doing it well in the past!

All of these ‘brands’ used to be thrown together under the umbrella of Angelic Shades Studio.  Now, they’ve each been given their own real estate completely separate from one another.  Cover art is going to be my focus from now on, while the rest will be side projects I attend to when I have the time outside of this endeavor.

So Who is My Audience?

What do they do?  What do they love?  What do they spend money on?  I did the initial brainstorming for this in my Vision Board.


For Art by Angela Sasser (Fantasy book covers and character driven art)

Audience – Usually readers and/or writers, Magic the Gathering fans, Kushiel’s Dart fans (thanks to my Kushiel cover project),  Game of Thrones fans, folklore enthusiasts, 18+ and up demographic, both male and female.  May be able to expand into a fine art gallery audience if the topics are more surreal or based on mythology (ie. Flowery Mythology series).

Current experience shows most of my customers who buy my character-driven fantasy work are interested in buying prints and books with a more specific narrative, bookmarks, or other book-related things.


For Angelic Shades Studio (Angelic art and Art Nouveau)

Audience – New Age enthusiasts, Angel therapists, decorative art enthusiasts, generally female, 18 years old and up.  Current experience shows most customers seem to be buying gifts for others, usually for moms or wives.

May expand out into fine art gallery audience with the Art Nouveau pieces and to a younger demographic with more fun series (ie. Cake Dresses and Butterfly Masque).  My Angelic Visions art instruction book appeals to art students, but not necessarily to my main buyers.


For Angelic Artisan (Masks and custom accessories)

Audience – Cosplayers, Renaissance festival attendees, mask lovers.  Generally an older demographic with expendable income and a passion for costuming.  Most are interested in buying cosplay masks or other accessories to help them channel their favorite fandoms and original charaters.


For The Muse’s Library (Art-related book/product reviews, art marketing articles, and stock art resources)

Audience – Art students, working artists, game artists, and art educators, creative professionals, art entrepreneurs, usually 18+ up demographic.  Best-sellers so far have been the stock art, since these resources can be used directly in artists’ personal projects for free with a fee for commercial use.   Most of my target audience for this brand are passionate about art, mastering their skills, promoting their creative businesses, and saving money.


Writing this all out really helps me focus on purposefully targeting people rather than accidentally stumbling upon fans.  As ever, this doesn’t cover half the info provided in the book! Go support Spalenka if you’ve found the information I’ve been writing about useful.

Next up: VII. Brand Promotion: The Art of Social Media

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 5 – Declaring My Name!

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section V.  Declare Your Name – Taglines, Blurbs, Business Cards.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

Spalenka gives a plethora of examples about how a business name can say a lot about you, but also cautions about being influenced by your ‘tribe’ to change what your identity represents.

I experienced this exact thing when showing off my logo from this workshop to my family.  They all saw a shrimp or a squid.  I’ll admit to an aquatic vibe to my logo, but I still feel it represents me very nicely.  I won’t be changing it any more than it takes to bring it more towards a wing/cocoon/seed vibe.  Feedback can be helpful, but it can also be dangerous, especially when you respect the critiquers!  It ends up being more about pleasing them than your original idea, if you aren’t careful.

Cannot unsee the shrimp/squid in my logo now…

A more serious example would be my past experiences with being cautioned away from the book cover industry by very embittered artists I respected.  These artists were my ‘tribe’ and they were so very detrimental to my development.  Stick to your core beliefs!  This is all about having faith in your ideas and skills.

Next up, taglines.  I’ve never really had one before and I feel that has been to my detriment!  My ‘Angelic Shades’ name was a catch-all I started years ago for all of my art, but now I realize that using it this way just made it a very unclear brand with an unclear target audience.

Now, it seems I’ve splintered my business into several brands, all which I can link back into some form or fashion to my core virtue of ‘unlocking potential through discovery‘.  Here are the taglines I came up with for them:

Angelic Shades Studio (My Art Nouveau and angelic art brand)

Creator of Whimsical Art Nouveau and Angelic Art for Classical Souls.

Angelic Artisan (My masks and leather crafts brand)

Revealing the Being Within through Masquerade.

Angela Sasser Art (Fantasy covers and character art brand. This brand will possibly combine my fantasy author identity as well, should I ever choose to publish any stories.)

Exploring Humanity through Mythic Visions.

The Muse’s Library (A new brand I’m working on inspired by this workshop!)

Creative Resources for Artists by an Artist.

Thinking about these concepts has helped me better understand what I’m attempting to do with my varied areas of interests and creative output.  (You guys remember that CRAZY Vision Board I did).

Somewhere along the way with this workshop, I realized yet another facet within Angelic Shades and that is my passion for providing resources (reviews, stock art, etc.) for other artists.  I’ve finally given this passion a name in the form of The Muse’s Library, thanks to this workshop.  More on that later!

Other useful info included in this section:

  • Strategies for engaging people in conversation that extends beyond “I draw stuff” (aka. your 30 second elevator speech/blurb). This is especially useful if you’re bad at small talk, like most artists I know, including myself!
  • Tips for creative and unusual business card design.
As ever, pick up the book and support the author if you want to learn more!  There’s so much I can’t capture here in my blog entries.
Next up: VI. Creating Your Market Niche
Back to Part 4
Back to Part 1

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 4 – Plan the Brand

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section IV. Plan the Brand.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

 

A lot of this section talked about the concept of job security being an illusion.  This comes up a lot in books I’ve read about creative professionals because so much of our downfall is that constant fear of where money for bills is going to come from.
We struggle, we burn out, and then we get sucked back into the trap of ‘security’ and all the people in our lives (our ‘tribe’, as Spalenka calls it) help reinforce this illusion of safety because it is what they believe to be the most prudent way to go about one’s life.  We want to please these people we care about, so we define our success by their values.
Unlike a more stable “real” job, there is no veil of safety convincing us that because we’ve worked 30 years at Such-and-Such Incorporated that we’ll always have that income and nice, cushy benefits.  Freelancers have no such safety net.  We must accept the truth of the world as it is. (Though that doesn’t mean we can’t be smart about it by planning ahead, either.)
If this were a live reading, I would’ve stood up and cheered at the end of this section.  My whole thesis was based around the fact that audiences are evolving and finding new ways to connect with artists and that the old traditional methods of connecting via institutions were becoming obsolete. I believe this to be true.  Our modern age has allowed artists so many diverse ways to profit that aren’t constrained to one institution or the other.  We are more in control in our destinies than ever we have been!
The rest of this section covered the familiar territory of describing the cost effectiveness and thought process behind planning products and ideas for varied income.  It’s a good rundown if you’re brand new to thinking about what goes into making products or considering less common income streams for artists, such as art licensing.  With several working examples provided.
Random Note – I learned from this section that the founder of Etsy is a young wood worker who was going to start a furniture company.  That company became Etsy, which is what he would’ve named his furniture company.  Cool!
The homework from this section was to start building a Business Plan starting with several prompts about products, including projecting how complex they will be, how long they will take, etc.
Including all of that would make this entry super long, so I’ll just list off some of the products this book has me considering for my business:
  • Stock reference photos for artists.  I’ve been doing this in a small capacity, but now I feel like it’s something I should be spending more time doing.
  • Educational resources for artists (ie. book reviews, product reviews, etc.). I’ve been doing this via my blog, but have never considered making it a commodity for my business.
  • Yearly sketchbooks based on themes.  Having themes and a yearly time table would help focus my very flighty muse!  Inspired by Cory Godbey’s interview over at One Fantastic Week.
I’ve really been supercharged by this book! It has encouraged me to zero in on where my passions really are and to step back from other projects that were less appealing to my core interests.As always, there’s SO much I’m leaving vague.  Be sure to pick up the book from the links at the top if you’ve found any of this useful!

Next:  V: Declare Your Name – Taglines, Blurbs, Business Cards

Go back to Part 1

Go back to Part 3

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 3 – My Vision Board

My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section III. Your Vision Board.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This section focused on another visual brainstorming exercise meant to help you visually map your passions and interests and connect them with products, people, and places.  I found a lot of value in doing this because I have a lot of interests, from video games to art marketing to folklore and beyond!  It’s always so difficult for me to narrow down my projects and focus, which has been a constant challenge for me over the years.

View a larger version of my map here.

I went a little insane and fit as much on the board as I could.  What a crazy web I wove!  The text at the bottom represents the connections I drew with colored lines between my top three activities from the first circle, the products I can produce, and the people and venues I could reach those people through.

That’s a pretty powerful thing to figure out for yourself!  So many of us just throw art out there with no thought put into who that art is meant to resonate with.  Creating with purpose seems a valuable way to focus your time and energies and make your brand more consistent, which is something a lot of novice artists don’t do when they’re first starting out (I’m guilty of it, myself!).

I also made a .psd template, since one wasn’t provided in the book. Feel free to download it here for your own use.

Download the blank template I made here.

As ever, I have left some details of this exercise (such as the explanation of Mind, Body, and Spirit and other instruction) vague on purpose to encourage you to purchase the book.  It’s a really worthwhile read thus far and I would recommend it based on the helpfulness of the exercises I’ve already completed!

Next up, IV.  Plan the Brand
 
Go on to Part 4. (coming soon!)

Book Club: Artist As Brand Part 2 – My Virtue’s Shield

Chapter II. Your Core Virtue Emblem of Spalenka’s Artist As Brand is one I was particularly looking forward to, as it deals with coming up with a logo or an emblem for your core virtue.

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

 

I’ve struggled with coming up for a logo for years and was never quite satisfied with the images I developed.  I knew I wanted something related to butterflies, a personal totem of mine.  I identify strongly with them and now, having solidified my core virtue, I understand why.Unlocking creative potential is a value I strongly resonate with and what are butterflies but the ultimate symbol of realized potential?  They start as unassuming larvae that morph into a chrysalis and emerge as something else entirely, something beautiful that always existed within that original form.  They carry the map of what they will become inside themselves always.

But how to make a butterfly logo that wasn’t cheesy or gaudy looking?  Here were a few of the designs I made years ago before I gave up and moved on to a generic font logo:

Spalenka offers a strategy for logo sketching which I found to be particularly helpful.  Trying his approach helped me to break away from the geometric patterns that I was never quite happy with.

Again, I’m purposefully leaving some of this process and explanation vague.  Go buy Mr. Spalenka’s book if you want the full explanation straight from the teacher!  This is merely my interpretation and specific results.

I knew I wanted something asymmetrical to represent my work, which I feel is more organic and flowing than hard lined and symmetrical.  I also needed something simple enough to be iconic and easily stamped on cards and other marketing collateral.

My rough sketches for each keyword based on

Spalenka’s ideation technique.

 

Next we have the culmination of all of my sketching!  It’s amazing what mental associations and symbols you can discover if you just sit and think hard enough.  I ended up leaning towards a design that echoes the form of the chrysalis and the wing of a butterfly all at once, while also incorporating the theme of a seed, another representation of potential which might also double as a keyhole.

2nd row, the last one on the right is my fave! What’s yours?

This has been YEARS of frustration solved for me.  I consider this book worth the money spent just on this section alone just for the help it gave me when coming closer to resolving this personal struggle I’ve had with defining a logo.

Next up, III. Your Vision Board
 
Go on to Part 3. (coming soon!)

Book Club: Artist as Brand Part 1 – My Core Virtue

It’s been an introspective week for me while I ponder my current re-branding efforts and enjoy a much needed vacation after the convention/Halloween rush.  I’ve been enjoying the time off to clear my mind and to start reading Greg Spalenka’s book, Artist as Brand.  I thought it’d be interesting to write about my journey as I read this book and (hopefully) learn a little more about myself and my art!

I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!

This book really called to me thanks to recommendations from other artist friends and for the fact Spalenka is also an artist himself.  I’ve read a fair few marketing books, all which read like dry instruction manuals.  Artists, however, are a different breed of business.  We are in the business of passion and vision.  There’s an undefinable element to an artist that can’t be quantified by marketing and price tags.

Spalenka has a unique insight having worked in publishing, entertainment, genre art, and fine art.  Artist as Brand compiles Spalenka’s advice as given in his workshop meant for artists seeking to define their vision and business and also offers person to person workshops on the matter.  This book is the self-paced version of his workshop.

An example of Greg Spalenka‘s dreamlike art.

The preface of the book addresses Spalenka’s experiences moving between various industries as an illustrator, all which seemed to keep an artist’s visions at the whims of a larger machine at work, none of which seemed to satisfy his own creative instincts.  It wasn’t until he saw artists selling well for themselves at conventions that he realized the potential of micro-businesses, or artist as self-representing entrepreneurs.

As an Arts Admin MA, I studied the potential of the internet to allow artists to connect directly to their audiences for my thesis and I couldn’t agree more with this emerging trend.  Artists are now more able than ever to nurture private collectors through the interconnectivity of the internet and other opportunities outside of the expected ones.

But that means so many of us need to figure out what it is that we can offer when we don’t have a business calling the shots.  What is our vision?  What is that special something that we have that no one else does?  This book is all about that discussion.

After Spalenka’s bio, the first instructional section deals with defining what your Heart Virtue is.  This doesn’t even relate directly to what you like to draw, which I found interesting, but also somewhat confusing.  What core defining value dictates your emotional reactions to the world around you?

I found this offputting, at first.  Wasn’t this something only fine artists really needed to think about?  As a genre artist, I’m not too concerned with political or emotional statements in my art (if that was where this book was headed).

But the more I thought about this section, the more I realized just how deep the rabbit hole goes.  It’s not just any ol’ fantasy art that appeals to me.  Most of what I enjoy and what I’m passionate about creating is fantasy art that makes an emotional statement, that says something beyond the surface prettiness of glamorized and idealized figures that most fantasy art portrays.  Fantasy art and literature, after all, are a mask with which we can tell the spiritual and moral stories that pertain to humanity as a whole.

Spalenka guides this introspection with several questions which help you to figure out what your heart virtue might be. Mine ended up being this, which I suspect will change and be refined as I go along:

I am devoted to unlocking the potential of creativity in myself and in others through self-discovery and acceptance.

How this pertains to my art, I’m not quite sure yet, but I’m looking forward to finding out!  I’m purposefully leaving some of this discussion vague so as to not give all of Spalenka’s knowledge away for free.

This book has been an enjoyable revelation thus far and I hope you will go show him your support, if you find my journey with his book interesting and helpful!

Next: My Core Virtue’s Emblem