I have a hard time relaxing. I wear a nightguard when I sleep.  I enjoy painful deep-tissue massages. My brow is naturally furrowed. When I’m at the beach, I’m constantly checking to make sure I have enough sunscreen to cover my pasty body, and when I lie down, I keep an eye open for anyone looking to steal my belongings. And even though I see the need to relax more often, I don’t like taking many breaks away from art. Though recently, life has forced me to take one.

Don’t worry, the reason is a good one; a very good one, actually. A couple of months ago, I became a father, and there is so much to unpack from that statement alone. Even during the pregnancy, I couldn’t anticipate how profound an impact having a child would have on my life.  The moment my son was born, I felt like I had stepped into a new world with new realities. And while the transition to fatherhood has been such a blessing, it comes with its own set of needs, needs that take priority over being an artist.

To help me during this adjustment, I wanted to write a short post as a little self-therapy. When I say “self-therapy”, it’s not that I’m struggling with being a father (I am), there’s just been a lot to think about these past few months. Part of it is the process of sorting through priorities now that the time available to make art has become much more limited. In terms of art, there are certain projects that have been on my backburner for a while, and now there’s a sense of urgency to finish them. But even art takes a backseat compared to the responsibilities of being a father and husband.

Because I didn’t draw that much during the break, I’ve got a lot of rust to shake off. I feel like I’m a better artist than I was a year ago, but I wouldn’t say I feel that confident in my art at the present.  Lately, I’ve been revisiting some basics to help build my confidence back, and while it looks rough, I have hope the practice will pay off. Eventually I’d like to show some of the progress of that journey, but right now, things are a bit messy. (Then again, this post isn’t what you call a literary masterpiece.)

Anyways, it’s an exciting time. I look forward to sharing more with you in the months to come. Thanks for listening.

-N

Sometimes I’m asked, “What pen do you use?” or “What kind of pencil is that?”  or “What kind of tablet do you like?” I’ve been asked about my art supplies so much now, that I think it’s helpful to provide a blog post about the topic.

Before I go into my art supplies, I need to say that it doesn’t matter what tool an artist uses, it’s the artist behind the tool that matters. While working with good art tools is nice, it’s the artist’s fundamentals that provide the foundation for great art.

It would be too long of a post to talk about all of my art supplies. So for now, I’ll show what art supplies I use for my inkwork and for when I sketch on the go. I also provided links below to each item in case you’re interested in finding them for yourself. (more…)

Recently I had someone ask me how I got back into art after taking a break from drawing for six years while studying engineering. I told him in general terms to develop a habit of drawing a lot and that over time his skills would improve. But just drawing for it’s own sake can be boring after a while, so I also add that it would help to set some mini-goals for motivation. That’s where art challenges come in.

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